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by Baylion

Saffers Down Under

March 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Cheetahs and the Bulls recorded good victories against Kiwi opposition over the weekend and this could translate to good tours down under.

The Cheetahs, often their own worst enemies, put together a massive defensive display to beat the Highlanders and when one look at the tackle stats it becomes clear just how great an effort it was. They attempted a total of 273 tackles, compared to only 80 by the Clan, and although many tackles were missed (41) they still made a massive 220 tackles.

The Cheetahs will go into their remaining games against the Waratahs and the Force with confidence and, unless they shoot themselves in the foot, could come away from tour with three wins and their best result ever.

The Waratahs are in deep trouble. Not only are they plagued by injuries there is also an air of uncertainty to their game, possibly aggravated by the fact that 29 of their players will be off contract by the end of the season, and they are struggling to put a good game together. For the Cheetahs they are ripe for the picking.

And the Force, well, they lost to the Kings – enough said.

The Bulls, on the other hand, face a tougher task with three games of their tour remaining, against the Crusaders, the Reds and the Brumbies.

Coming off an unexpected win over the Blues, unexpected by most people anyway, after playing an unfamiliar brand of rugby, a running came that was totally unexpected by the Kiwis they next face the Crusaders.

Don’t be fooled by the Crusaders oh from two results so far. In their game against the Canes they scored four tries to two and only indiscipline and Beauden Barrett’s boot prevented a win. And the Bulls and the Crusaders are old foes so one can expect a tough and brutal game but the Bulls definitely have a good chance to come away with the spoils.

The Reds haven’t really convinced so far scraping through wins but, apart from their game against the Brumbies, they have been winning and the little genius, Will Genia, will get his first run against the Force this weekend, a week before they face the Bulls, and it has been obvious so far the Quade Cooper and the Reds just aren’t the same without him.

The Bulls’ last match on tour is against the Brumbies and they have looked clinical and polished in their performances so far but they have only played against Aussie opposition and we’ll only know this weekend how good they are when they play the Sharks. It is t the Bulls advantage that they take on the Brumbies a week after they return from their trip to South Africa when they will have the same jetlag problems the Saffer teams have first game up.

The Bulls can come away from the tour with a clean sweep but that’s unlikely although I wouldn’t bet against three from four.

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by Baylion

Springbok mix and scratch side

September 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

Heyneke Meyer made some changes to the match 22 for the test against Australia. Some of the changes were expected but he’s left the Boks with a very unbalanced backline bench.

South Africa:  15. Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Francois Louw, 20 Johan Goosen, 21 Patrick Lambie, 22 Lwazi Mvovo

Dropping Bekker from the team is a good idea but unfortunately he was stuck with selecting Flip van der Merwe on the bench as he didn’t bother to bring a better option into the squad when he had the chance.

Leaving Flo on the bench gives Michael Hooper a free run at the ball for the first 60 minutes or so although there is a bit more variation amongst the loosies with Duane at #8.

Hougaard is an ideal impact player and should have started on the bench with Mvovo on the wing.

Selecting both Goosen and Lambie on the bench means that there isn’t a specialist midfield cover. We know by now that Lambie is just there for in case Kirchner gets injured and will probably play no role in the match. Selecting de Jongh on the bench would have given the backline replacements more balance but then, Juan also isn’t on Meyer’s Top of the Pops list.

Goosen must be a quick learner, getting up to date with Meyer’s strategies and game plans inside a week. It will be interesting to see if HM gives him game time. Good luck to the youngster.

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by Baylion

Don’t underestimate the Wallabies!

August 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

All and sundry seems upset with Heyneke Meyer’s failure to get the best out of the Bok side, and rightly so. While we haven’t lost a test under Meyer yet we need to look at the opposition we played and our “progress” in the five tests so far. Unfortunately our performance seems to be going backwards.

vs England:
Although England is ranked fourth we played a weakened England side missing something like 11 players. FFS, they pulled in a guy who was in Joburg for a wedding!

First test: The Boks won a relatively close affair.

Second test (+): The Boks won comfortably although they allowed England back into the game in the second half.

Third test (-): Playing dire rugby and Steyn misfiring with the boot saw us scratch out a draw.

vs Argentina:
The Pumas are ranked 8 in the world and have never beaten the Boks.

First test (): While we won easily enough we weren’t convincing for a top team against the number 8.

Second test (-): We cannot even blame jetlag for this result as the Pumas travelled back and forth across the Atlantic.

The Wallabies:

We might feel fairly confident that we should beat a Wallaby side that lost twice to New Zealand, the last time a whitewash. In addition their Super Rugby sides were, for the most part, fairly poor.

But it would be a mistake to discount them as a force. While they lost against Scotland with a weakened team they ended up beating the Six Nations champions, Wales, 3-0 during their winter tour, albeit in close matches.

Their two test losses to New Zealand is more an indication of the All Black’s strength rather than the Wallabies’ weakness and, keep in mind, the All Blacks only outscored them 2-1 and 1-0 in tries.

So it would be a serious mistake for South Africans to underestimate the Wallabies.