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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 →

Stormers should not try so hard!

May 3, 2013 in Rugby, Super Rugby

It’s always seen as a bit of an injustice when a team loses a Rugby match despite having played the best Rugby all game long.  That was the case again this morning when the Stormers, despite winning every aspect of the game, lost to the Blues in North Harbour by an agonising 1 point.  What makes this loss even more agonising, is that the Stormers scored the only 2 tries of the match, while the Blues, traditionally known for their dangerous running rugby, didn’t score a single try.  A feather in the Stormers defensive cap as you may, but that’s where the party ends.  Scoring the most tries doesn’t win you matches.  Scoring the most points does.

It’s irritated me to some extent when, for the past two seasons, the Stormers suffered harsh critisism for not scoring enough tries. Yet, the ended first and second on the log, which is the important thing in this competition. I mean, you can be everybody’s favorite team, but if you don’t bring in the money, you soon find yourself on the street…like the Lions. 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 →

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 →

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!

Stormers must win, for SA’s own good! « For the love of it!

July 23, 2012 in Rugby, Super Rugby

First and foremost well done to the Sharks for a brilliant performance this weekend against the Reds. It was delightful to watch a match where a South African team played rugby with such fluency and flair that it seemed like a Mozart composition being enacted by 15 men in black. Simply stupendous!

But as the final whistle went, my provincial bias and competitiveness got the best of me, and as strongly as I supported the Sharks in the game, so strongly am I now against them. I am a Stormer, after all, and until next weekend, we’re enemies!

No doubt the Sharks are currently the form team in SA rugby and their supporters and all South Africans can be proud and excited about the manner in which they are playing as a unit. This is one team that’s not bother about running over the opposition, but rather making the ball do the work! Read the rest of this entry →

Genia the key for Sharks…

July 18, 2012 in Rugby, Super Rugby

End of the road?

The Bulls have all but been written off for their encounter against the Crusaders this weekend, while there is some hope for the black and white dynamites to come good against the Reds in Brisbane. 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 →

Can’t we have Friday on Saturday?

July 5, 2012 in Rugby, Super Rugby

If, like me, you are a hard working individual who spends most of his day in a 3×3 office banging away at the keyboard without any hope of watching Rugby at the office, looking at the fixtures for this weekend makes for depressive reading.

On Friday, while I’m in my office finishing off my year end, the Chiefs take on the Crusaders and the Reds face the Highlanders, which is about as entertaining as you can get from the overseas teams this weekend, and then later on Friday night it will be another classic encounter when the Sharks host the Bulls in a must win match for both teams. Read the rest of this entry →