Athough I am not surprised that the Stormers lost. I was hoping against hope they would show their class, sadly a few costly decisions and poor finishing proved costly, and in the end the team with more resolve and eagerness to take the four points took them. I mean how do you let your scrum be bullied in the last play of the game? The thought had to be keep it steady get it to the 8th man and hold it until you hear the hooter and then kick it out…
I do, however, think that winning is a habit and a culture that must be cultivated and encouraged. The only acceptable result is a win. Something Lions players have not had for a while but you can’t blame the few lions players in the team for the second half walkabout.
The Stormers seem to start really well but the second halves of each game so far this year, even the ones that they won in the end, were poor by comparison. Let’s not forget the crusaders game where the Stormers were leading for the first twenty minutes before they watched the game get taken from them.
But there you have it. Play off mode is beginning to become the Stormers reality.
On the other hand we see the Sharks learning how to grind out wins in tough circumstances and still play the expansive games in the “give-aways” so to speak. They ran in enough points against a poor rebels side to show their ability to finish. No one can knock the sharks attack because they couldn’t score against the crusaders it was really tough to break their defensive lines.
Hats off to the kings for the draw. It’s a pity they couldn’t pull off the upset of the season with a win. While the Brumbies still look dangerous they expose their lack of experience by underestimating the opposition. Clearly they have not learned from last year.
So far this year a pattern has emerged with teams losing a match quickly following with another loss and vice versa with few exceptions. The cheetahs must get an award for most improved team over the past three seasons they have gradually worked on their game and are starting to come together in a big way. The most recent additions have been their defense and ability to close out close games. That is twice this year against the Stormers.
The bulls pick up the bye and from what a little birdie told me lose a head coach. While rumors are unconfirmed I am pretty sure many a Bull supporter will silently rejoice in the resignation of Mr. Ludeke, as many a Bull supporter has attributed the lack of success of the Bulls over the past few seasons to him. Although from an outsider looking in he has got two super rugby titles while Mr. Meyer only has one. Although I am pretty sure an injection of an original strategy may be the best thing for the Bulls. Whilst the Bulls game-plan has been effective it requires a very high skill level and a very particular type of team to execute correctly.
The first tests are two months away and many an injury headache faces Mr. Meyer for selection of his squad.
While selections should always be made in order to execute a particular game-plan and also in a horses for courses manner i believe South Africans would truly like to see the Bok squad of last year for the most part get some game time and prove form before selected for the national team even if the June test window is against supposed lesser opposition. The likes of Alberts, Etzebeth and many others have not been able to really get into their stride this year.
I do not think that a team can only be picked on form I think experience should count for something, as mental toughness in pressure situations cannot be coached, these attributes can only be attained in the fiery cauldron of test match rugby.
Here is hoping for a stronger showing of the South African teams in the cross conference battles and in so much also a stronger showing of the Bokke in the Rugby Championship(I wish they had thought of a better name although I honestly can’t)