So apparently Peter Grant tops SA’s kicking list and should really be starting for the Boks. That is if the largely Cape based scribes at Sport24 and the way they interpret the data are to be believed. I think there are a lot more things to consider so allow me to touch on a few of them before coming back to the kicking success rates.
I do also want to pay respect to Morne Steyn. Fans are very quick to change their views and turn on someone that has served them well. That is not to say the man should be an automatic selection game after game because of his history (read: John Smit), but it also does not mean the guy deserves malicious treatment. Benefit of the doubt needs to go to him – for a short while at least. Not to mention respect! Read the rest of this entry →
There will be many important areas of the game that the Cheetahs will need to dominate to overcome the in-form Stormers. The breakdown is the obvious area and I think Brussow, Coenie and Adriaan will have that covered.
That alone however is not going to win it for the Cheetahs and it is my belief that it will be won or lost in the back-line, and this is where the Ebersohn twins have a key role to play!
Robert and Sias Ebersohn – The key to a victory over the Stormers?
Sias obviously did himself no favours with his kicking against the Chiefs, and I believe he kicked better than his 3/7 against the Force suggests. He is undoubtedly capable of better but this is not the area of his game that I think will be the most important on Saturday.
I have made no bones about the fact I believe Goosen is the future Bok 10, and my opinion on this stretches back to even before his debut for the Cheetahs. Sias however is a more than worthy replacement and, taking his recent kicking-for-posts exploits into account, for me he is the complete flyhalf outside of goal kicks.
His tactical kicking is phenomenal (just watch the Force game again) and he can break the line at will. Sias and Robert were the shining lights in the Cheetahs back line against the Force and if the rest of that back line were playing the way they usually do the scoreline would have been vastly different.
Everyone keeps going on about Roberts lack of defence and they seem to base this on the number of ‘missed tackles’. What also needs to be considered though is the number of times Robert is responsible for, or assists with turnover ball. He is a smart tackler that focuses on winning the ball and not just bringing the player to ground. Add to that his attacking capabilities and the best side-step since Danie Gerber and you have yourself a match winner.
Some will say that the Stormers cannot be beaten in the back line but I disagree. If the Cheetahs run in two quick tries the Stormers will revert to a panicky state and could start to look like deer in headlights! What really needs to happen on Saturday though is that Robert and Sias need to go back to their roots and be as dynamic together as they were at school.
Yes yes I know, Super Rugby is a different beast altogether but the Ebersohn twins have the experience, skill and talent to cut the line just the same at this level. For those of you who haven’t seen it, or for those who simply want the joy of watching it again, here is a clip of some highlights of the twins playing for Grey Bloem in 2007:
I back the Cheetahs to win by 8 and Sias to put in a man-of-the-match, match-winning performance!