March 17, 2013 in Uncategorized
It is disturbing that only two of the South African franchises have improved in their performance over the last four weeks and that the two franchises that are the main repositories of Springbok rugby have regressed dramatically.
After last week’s euphoria because of the three nil drubbing of Kiwi sides by Saffer sides we were quickly brought back to earth this week when the Bulls and the Sharks were totally outplayed by their opposition. What is even more disturbing is that it was so easy to see it coming.
Both the Bulls and the Sharks were still unbeaten before the weekend but the signs of a fall were there for all to see. And even more disturbing was the ease with which the Chiefs, Crusaders and the Brumbies scored their tries once they were on attack, even against the Stormers the previous week.
So far only the Cheetahs and the Stormers have improved from week one.
Waratahs vs Cheetahs:
After a poor start against the Sharks and a worse start to their tour down under the Cheetahs upped their defence against the Highlanders and played a more balanced game against the Waratahs to win two in row on tour.
Where the Cheetahs forwards were the main force in their victory over the Clan with the backs merely playing a defensive role, against the Waratahs they brought in their backs a lot more on attack while maintaining their defence.
If the Cheetahs can maintain their new-found defence through the season they have a good chance of improving on their best results of the past.
Kings vs Chiefs:
They defend with heart but the Kings have one objective and that, notwithstanding a fortuitous win over a pathetic Force side, is to lose respectably and they’ve been helped in this by a dire Sharks performance and a Chiefs side that took a break after they had scored their bonus point try.
Unlike against the Cheetahs where the Chiefs knew that the Cheetahs can come back and punish them if they slack off, they knew the Kings are of no consequence and they could rest their players for the last 30 minutes.
No matter how popular it is in the media to write up the Kings “brave” performances all the Kings real hope for is not to lose too badly.
Crusaders vs Bulls:
The Bulls manage to scrape home wins against a stuttering Stormers side, a poor Force team and then away against an inexperienced Blues selection. The only real positive for the Bulls is that Morne Steyn has found his kicking boots again but even that couldn’t save the Bulls from a six tries to nil blitz by a rampant Crusaders, a Crusaders side that struggled to keep the ball in hand in the first half and that left a number of tries unscored.
With Dan Carter having one of his better performance in recent times the Crusaders exposed the soft under belly of the Bulls and the Bulls were fortunate that this game didn’t turn into a real rout.
But the game had its moment of comedy when Deon Stegmann had to be lead across the tryline by Chiliboy because he didn’t notice the gap as wide as a barn door that had opened up before him.
Sharks vs Brumbies:
After beating the Cheetahs and scraping wins against the Stormers and the Kings the Sharks’ dependence on their big ball carriers were exposed by a polished Brumbies side. Without the likes of Willem Alberts to carry the ball across the advantage line the Sharks struggle without front foot ball and the deficiencies of their 9-10-12 combination was there far all to see.
But the worst was to see their lethargic and almost disinterested display on defence and the ease with which the Brumbies broke their line to score their tries. In the move to score their third try the Brumbies #13 struggled to get the ball under control while Burden and Jordaan patiently waited before trying to tackle him. And what’s with the little kick pass by Jordaan to Kanko?
The Sharks have now managed to score three tries in four games (one in their last three) and look more and more like a toothless old dog.
Meanwhile SARU’s monkeys in charge are maintaining their attitude of “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.
Last week the media spin doctors explained to us that a non-South African African player isn’t really a foreign player when the Kings fielded Daniel Adongo, Nicolas Vergallo and Hadleigh Parkes while SARU looked on in silence.
This week the Kings went a step further and played Tomàs Leonardi, Daniel Adongo, Nicolas Vergallo and Hadleigh Parkes. I won’t be surprised if SARU continue to allow the Kings to flout the rules with impunity.
Note: According to Rugby 365:
SARU confirmed on Sunday that they have asked for an “explanation” as to why the Kings fielded an additional foreign player from outside the African continent.
“Media are advised that the selection of three overseas players by the Southern Kings in their match 22 against the Chiefs in Port Elizabeth on Friday [March 15] has been noted by SARU,” a brief statement said.
“SARU will be contacting the Kings for a report on the situation.”
Update: The Kings continue to ignore the two foreign player rule by including all four their non-African foreigners in their touring squad:
Andries Strauss, Bandise Maku, Cornell du Preez, Daniel Adongo, David Bulbring, Demetri Catrakilis, Elric van Vuuren, George Whitehead, Grant Kemp, Hadleigh Parkes, Jaco Engels, Jacques Engelbrecht, Johannes Franklin, Kevin Buys, Marcello Sampson, Nicolas Vergallo, Ronnie Cooke, Rynier Bernardo, Schalk Ferreira, Sergeal Petersen, Shaun Venter, Steven Sykes, Tomas Leonardi, Virgile Lacombe, Waylon Murray, Wimpie van there Walt.
Will the softcocks at SARU do something more than wring their hands?
Varsity Cup Shenanigans:
According to media reports Tuks have been rake over the coals for the second year running because they didn’t have enough bona fide students in their team and for the second year running they have come away with only a warning.