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Stormers to get Red Faced…

May 23, 2013 in Rugby, Super Rugby

Red FacedMy weekend predictions:

Chiefs vs Crusaders, Hamilton, Friday, 9:35

Chiefs:
15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Patrick Osborne, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu

Substitutes: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Toby Smith, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Dan Waenga, 22 Lelia Masaga

Crusaders:
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Tom Taylor, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett

Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Robbie Fruean, 22 Telusa Vaianu Read the rest of this entry →

Does the punishment fit the crime?

May 16, 2013 in Rugby, Super Rugby

Long has it been known in Rugby circles that Referee’s are the holy cows. The Untouchables. If there were Gupta’s in Rugby, it would be the Referee’s.  They can do as they please and you have hell to pay if you dare question them. Ok, the Gupta’s did get a little red faced, but see if anything comes from the screaming and shouting of the opposition parties. Just like nothing ever comes from the screaming and shouting of rugby commentators when referee’s screw up.

It’s beyond my imagination how Rugby players, from club to the most senior levels, have not learned the hard truth that no referee ever in this history of Rugby, as far as I know or have read at least, has ever changed his mind about his decision after someone told him he is wrong or questioned his decision. I think it’s the ultimate sacrilege. Breaking of the secret Referee’s code: Never admit mistakes during the game. It’s written just above the other sacrilege: Never publicly question a fellow referee.  Not too long ago we saw a referee being sacked because he dared question another referee’s decision on Twitter.  But have we ever seen a Referee sacked for being just pathetic? Nope. We haven’t.  Bryce Lawrence retired. He wasn’t sacked. I am yet to see a Referee being sacked for being too poor. Read the rest of this entry →

Marching to Pretoria!

May 10, 2013 in Babes, Rugby, Super Rugby

998_930[1]Time for the Bulls haters to get out their pitchforks, crucifixes and anti-boer spray! Here is the news you all know has been coming but no-one just wanted to hear or say.

Yes people, the Bulls are currently the team best poised to win the Super Rugby competition this year.  No, I’m not only talking the South African conference, I am saying the Super Rugby. 

The Bulls had a bit of an iffy start, while some other teams started with a bang and thrashed everything in their way.  But as we know, the Super Rugby is not a sprint; it’s a marathon, and if you do great in the first 5 rounds, it is not to say you will get anywhere near the finals. 

We have just passed the half way mark, and at the time where the tournament is gaining some momentum, and where the goats are being seperated from the sheep, it is increasingly difficult to see who the probable log topper will be. Read the rest of this entry →

No clear favorites, as Super 15 takes its toll

April 29, 2013 in Rugby, Super Rugby

Habana TiredBy this time in the competition last year, the top 6 were pretty much set with about 8 teams still in the running for the top 6 spots.  More or less the same could be said of prior years, with the top teams in the competition being relatively clear between three or four contenders.  This year though, its a little bit different.  Ask me last year this time who will be the champions, I would have said its gonna be between the Chiefs, Stormers and Crusaders.  Ask me now? Well, it can be anyone from the Brumbies, Reds, Crusaders, Chiefs, Bulls, Sharks, Stormers even the Cheetahs. Fact is, the playing field is so level this year, the only certain thing is that the Force, Rebel, Kings and Highlanders will not be making the playoffs.  All the other sides are still in with a chance.

I wonder though if this isn’t another symptom of the most idiotic system ever developed by Sanzar? With professional Rugby players playing physically the thoughest and most demanding rugby on this planet week after week, with little or no time to recover and rehabilitate, it is no wonder that several teams are struggling with many injuries, and that Springbok players like JP Petersen, Bryan Habana, Fourie du Preez, Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw, Juandre Kruger, to honestly name but a few, are looking to Japan and France where conditions are much more favorable to the player to prolong their careers. Read the rest of this entry →

Sharks: Plumtree panicking?

April 24, 2013 in Rugby, Super Rugby

"Keegan, Marcell, Kanko, F*k off!"

“Keegan, Marcell, Kanko, F*k off!”

Yes, the Sharks are in a spot of bother.  They started off extremely well, winning several tough encounters, and when the flood gates opened on the Rebels, one would have not been blamed fo thinking they may have finally stepped up a gear.

Follow a rather dismal loss to the Stormers, and an uninspiring performance against the Cheetahs, not to even mention, but I will, the plethora of Injuries, and the Sharks are suddenly in a spot of bother to get their initial promising campaign back on track.

Then, Plum goes and as if saying the Cheetahs didn’t play Rugby, (yet still beat the Sharks), wasn’t bad enough, he now goes and throws all his toys out of the cot, and includes the gravity hungry Frans Steyn at Outside Centre with the injury to Jordaan, drops Keegan Daniel and Marcell Coetzee to the bench and includes Derick Minnie from the Lions instead, with Mtembu at number 8. Read the rest of this entry →

The battle for number 8 is on!

March 11, 2013 in International, Rugby, Springboks, Super Rugby

With Pierre Spies’ performance this past weekend against the Blues, Heyneke Meyer will have taken note and may even be having a wry grin on his face.  Spies’ performances over the past few years were short of satisfactory, and along with his hand injury last year, allowed for Duane Vermeulen to step up and take his place in the Springbok camp.

Many viewers will regard Spies as the better player, but it is often the non-flashy players who are doing the hard graft around the park and goes unnoticed because they do not rely on open space to ply their trade as does Pierre Spies. Read the rest of this entry →

New Zealand teams running the most, but SA Flyhalves get the most ball?

March 5, 2013 in Rugby, Super Rugby

 

Week 2 (or is it week 3? these Aussies always just have to confuse everything!) has come and gone and already some teams are being touted as this year’s champions, and others are being written off.  It’s still early days, chaps, so let’s not jump to conclusions too soon, or make any rash decisions.

Lot’s of focus on the Stormers, which I can get because they have been South Africa’s premier team in the Super 15 and as they say, high trees and a certain south easter, does make for some spectacular viewing. 

Last week I asked the readers to vote for their stand out performance of the week in the weekly race to the Bok number 10.  As it stands, despite having a bit of an “off” day against the Chiefs, Johan Goosen is still in the lead on the votes with Lambie in second spot.  Morne Steyn, whilst he will still be around during the Rugby Championship (he is only leaving after the Currie Cup) is backing up the rear.  To me, Morne Steyn was again very accurate with the boot and actually ran a few times with the ball in hand, one of those runs leading to a try and one out of every 4 passes went to the wing.  Lambie on the other hand was a bit stuck in an arm wrestle, and while he did miss a couple, he had a few nice runs and 1 in 3 passes went to the wing.  Goosen was a bit unfortunate to run into a very strong Chiefs side.  He missed several of his kicks (all but 1 in fact), but he remained the go-to guy for the Cheetahs, hoping he would create something for them each time he touches the ball. His defense was a bit shoddy and some of his passes were poor.  All in all, considering zero missed tackles and surviving the onslaught of the Stormers, I pick Lambie as my pick of the weekend.  Who was your top flyhalf this past weekend? Read the rest of this entry →

Springbok Flyhalve: A 3 Horse race!

February 25, 2013 in Rugby, Springboks, Super Rugby

Well well! What a weekend of Super Rugby! Apart from the dull encounter up North in Bulls country and the snooze inducing encounter down under in Brisbane, this weekend’s “kick off” of the Super Rugby season really provided some much needed quenching of thirsts accross continents!

One thing is for sure, and that is the South African teams have a lot of work to do to match the intensity and raw speed of the New Zealand teams.  In Australia, only one team really stand out and that’s the Brumbies.  Sorry Quade, either go back to boxing, or get Genia back on your inside. Frankly, you are perhaps better at boxing than at Rugby without him!

And how about those Kings, hey? Love them or hate them, for me (with egg in my face) they earned a certain amount of respect for the way they played and kudo’s to the supporters filling a stadium, where Ellis Park would most probably have been as quiet as a….well, come to think of it, is there anything as quiet as Ellis Park right now? I still believe the venue is at the root of the Lions troubles…and perhaps a lesson to be learnt by some that perhaps encapsulating the festive vibes from what the 2010 Soccer World Cup stadiums provided may in fact assist with the longevity of the unions. Traditions unfortunately do not fill the pockets nor pay the bills. Feet do.  And pardon the little stab, Luke supporters, but what does he do on the field while someone like that Jacques Engelbrecht chappie is warming the bench? Does he still think he is a quota player or what? Read the rest of this entry →

Rugby: Not for dummies anymore

January 29, 2013 in International, Rugby, Super Rugby

You know the stereotype.  Rugby players are dumb.  They are the fat overweight props that won’t amount to anything in life, and then the fast 100m athletes who become wings, but cannot catch a ball, and then the only smart guy on the field is the flyhalf or scrumhalf who decides where the ball must go.  The rest are dumbasses that barely scraped through matric, don’t study at varsity, and spends all their time playing with balls.

Almost as dumb as boxers who get their brains bashed in all day long.  Rugby players are just a bit smarter cause they let their bodies take the beating. Read the rest of this entry →

More tries and less penalties in 2012 SR!

August 7, 2012 in Rugby, Super Rugby

It seems some of the tweaks the SANZAR made to the officiating of the Super Rugby matches are helping to make the game more attractive.

Still, the major issue remains that the sheer quantum of Rugby being played is just so much and it becomes a major effort to really enjoy the tournament. Now with the test break inbetweem, it becomes even more cumbersome, and the impact of such a long season will now be seen when the Currie Cup and the Rugby Championship series starts.

We’ve hardly played the Super Rugby final in the weekend that has passed, and this coming weekend it the players will be up against it again as the Currie Cup commences on this side while the ITM Cup in New Zealand only starts on the 23rd of August. And then, next week, the first matches of the Rugby Championship starts.

To be honest, be beer budget cannot handle this any longer, and my cholesterol levels are spiking from all the braaivleis…

But back to the Super Rugby that’s passed, I’ve collated some key stats and they paint a pretty interesting picture.

 

 

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

Matches played

120

          120             94             94             94
Points scored

5879

         5,561          4,907          4,203          4,128
 - Av per match                    49.0         46.3         52.2         44.7         43.9
Tries scored

589

          559           528           498           483
 - Av per match                    4.91         4.66         5.62         5.30         5.14
Home wins

69

            64             61               57             57
 - Home %

58%

53%

65%

61%

61%

Penalties

2193

         2,371          1,837           896          1,074
 - Per match                  18.28         19.8         19.5           9.5         11.4
 - Minutes per                    4.38         4.05         4.09         8.39         7.00
Bonus points

120

      108.00          89.00       106.00          82.00
BP per match                    1          0.90          0.95          1.13          0.87

From last year, the average number of points per match have picked up, but is still below that of 2010. But on the positive side is that the increase in points is attributed to an increase in tries from 2011 at 4.91 tries per match while 2011 had only 4.66 tries per match. It is still a tad off the pace in terms of the number of tries in 2010.

Looking at penalties, it’s relieving to see a reduction of 8% in the penalty count. However, the penalty count is still twice the number per match than it was before the implementation of the law interpretations back in 2009, when there were only 9.5 penalties per match vs the current 18.28 penalties per match.

The big culprits in conceding penalties were the Bulls, with 11 penalties per match, then the Chiefs with 10.93 penalties per match and third is the Reds with 10.53 penalties per match. The most disciplined team was the Blues, with only 7.93 penalties per match, then the Rebels with 8.73 penalties per match and third most disciplined were the Cheetahs with 8.87 penalties per match.

What is interesting about those statistics is that the most disciplined team in the competition this year had a hapless year in terms of results, well, in fact all three most disciplined teams were pretty much out of the top 6 by the halfway mark, whilst the most ill-disciplined teams reached the Top 6, with the second most ill-disciplined team walking away with the trophy.

If one looks at it over the season, the winning teams conceded 53% of the penalties overall; that number slightly made to look more equal than it really was, with teams like the Reds being punished by Bryce Lawrence in that 17-7 penalty count in the Crusaders favour in round 11 and similary Stu Berry penalising the Force to no end when they lost the the Cheetahs with an 18-7 penalty count against them.

Home games seem to be less of an advantage than it was back in 2010, although it was more of an advantage this year than last year with 58% of home games being won.

A big increase in Bonus Points though, with 12% more bonus points being scored than in 2011. Only one 4 try Bonus Point was scored more than last year though, with the 12 more losing Bonus Points being achieved.

That shows that the matches have, by large, been more competitive this year, and whilst scoring more tries, less penalties and a less convincing home field advantage, this year’s Super 15 was by far more improved from last year’s version.

Hopefully next year there will be even more improvement!

Letter from Jean De Villiers « 39th Avenue

August 2, 2012 in Rugby, Super Rugby

If you are a Stormers fan, you should probably be in the recovery phase of another Newlands funeral. I found this in my mailbox and thought I would share it with those still in denial, whose tears just cannot dry up. I hope you find some comfort. I did not. Read the rest of this entry →

The way weather should be broadcast!

July 27, 2012 in Babes, Rugby, Super Rugby

Meet Jade Fairbrother, Playboy SA’s playmate of the year!

Tune into www.Ballz.co.za on Mondays to see her deliver the weather forecast. Whether or not you know what the weather will be like, it’s still worth watching, as in this, her first High Tech delivery! Read the rest of this entry →

Are the Bulls ready for the Championship?

July 23, 2012 in International, Rugby, Springboks, Super Rugby

The Super Rugby 2012 competition is all but done and dusted, and thanks to a stunning performance by the Sharks on the weekend, South Africa is certain to have a team in the final for the third time in four years!

The Bulls were incredibly disappointing but did not fail to meet my expectation of the loss margin. How bad they would play though, I don’t think anyone expected. Read the rest of this entry →

Super Rugby 2012 a success?

July 16, 2012 in Rugby, Super Rugby

So we were left with the last round of the 2012 Super Rugby season to see who the Top 6 would be! The top 2 were basically already established, with the Crusaders also confirmed as finalists, but the Hurricanes, Brumbies, Reds, Bulls and Sharks all had chances to make the finals.

And up to the last game of the last weekend, the final spots have not yet been confirmed. Read the rest of this entry →

If pictures painted words….

July 12, 2012 in Babes, Rugby, Super Rugby

Almost time for the weekend….

And with this new platform, I’m bored as hell…

My picks for the weekend:

Read the rest of this entry →

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