The 2013 Boks after their two June tests.

June 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

What can we expect from the Boks this year when we get down to the business end of the test season . The truth is that we still don’t know. I was totally convinced that our best scrumhalves would be the Cheetah duo of Sarel Pretorius and Piet van Zyl. Then Heyneke did not pick one of them. Van Zyl then got picked after an injury to Vermaak. After Van Zyl replaced Pienaar on the weekend he looked the part in the short time that he was on. Morne Steyn did well in the first test , but less so when the Scotts turned up the pressure. That said , Steyn is still our best option after the serious injury to Goosen.

Looking at the centres and the wings i think it is only a question of picking the right players in the right positions. At this stage i will not pick JJ Engelbrecht at centre. He must play another season of superrugby at outside centre and get real comfortable there.For the immediate future i would want Serfontein and De Villiers to man the midfield. I will then pick Engelbrecht and Habana as my two wings. Willie le Roux will be my fullback . Francois Hougaardt and Patrick Lambie will be my backline reserves

The forwards poses a much bigger problem. In Bismarck ,Adriaan Strauss and Chiliboy we have more than adequate hookers. The tighthead prop is a big problem in modern day SA rugby. Herbst from the Sharks and Malherbe from the Stormers looked very impressive during the season but not one of them is in Heyneke s group. After the fiasco in the scrums especially against the Italians Heyneke will have to pick Coenie Oosthuizen and Nyakane as his props and rest Jannie and the Beast on the bench. Jannie and the Beast is definitely not playing their best rugby at the moment.

I honestly thought that Heyneke has chosen the two best locks available. Etzebeth is turning into a true test lock and is playing better and better. His discipline is also admirable because Hamilton and his offside number 6 flank were begging the boks for a good hiding. The poor ref was totally out of his depth and should be sent to a SA referee academy for classes and a good optician for glasses. Jeandre Kruger has disappointed but i am not so sure that we have a better lock available . Pieter Steph du Toit is injured and also still a bit green and needs another year to toughen him up for Bok duty. De Kock Steenkamp, not in the group and Flip Van der Merwe is possible solutions.

The loose forwards poses more problems. Arno Botha would have been my first choice as eightman and Jaques Engelbrecht the 2nd choice and because Duane Vermeulen is currently injured. Spies i would only consider for the Bulls or as a wing for the Boks. Now there is also Lappies Labuschagne(not sure if he is injured), Brussouw, Kolisi and Francois Louw fresh from his honeymoon. With Botha obviously out with injury we are stuck with Spies on number 8 and Jaques Engelbrecht not in the group.

The best solution will probably be 6 Louw 7 Kolisi 8 Spies with Willem Alberts as cover on the bench. A thought for Heyneke . This was an ideal opportunity to blood as many young guns as possible , but at the same time we know how demanding the SA public is. If everything goes well you are a hero. If anything goes wrong, it is usually blamed on the coach.

Well lets wait for Samoa for a true test of our abilities and see if we are ready for the Pumas, Wallabies and the All Blacks. Our scrumming performance in the last two matches suggests that we are very far from ready. I would play at least three fetchers, namely Francois Louw, Bismarck and Coenie Oosthuizen and call up Brussouw for the 4 nations. As much as i am in awe of the blistering pace of JJ Engelbrecht  as an outside centre i would just sleep so much better with Jan Serfontein and Jean de Villiers there. Both of them natural centres. It is much easier for a centre with pace to slot in on the wing than it is for a wing to slot in as a centre.

a Month can be a very long time.

May 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

Since my last post the Super rugby landscape changed somewhat. The Stormers and the Sharks effectively played themselves out of the competition. Both of these outfits should have a serious look at themselves. Two of the strongest franchises with a lot of money and a lot of star players on their books but no Super trophies to show for it.

How to win a Super rugby trophy? I guess i would take a look at what the Crusaders did to win so many trophies. What kind of game plan do they use? Where can i find a coach that can coach along the same lines? Assist the coach in finding the players with the necessary skills to execute such a game plan. Look at the Brumbies in their golden years as well as the Bulls and identify the  qualities that made them successful and throw it into the mix.

The Stormers forwards worked very hard but the backline is badly coached. They tackle like robots and has no imagination on the attack. Fleck should definitely go. I will once again as in the past advise the Stormers management to try and get David Campese as a backline coach. If you do not get a proper backline coach you must not try to tell me that you are serious about winning a Super trophy.

This is one of the most talented backlines on paper that the Stormers ever fielded, but between the white lines on the field they are probably one of the worst that ever played for the Stormers or Province. The Sharks are very much in the same position as the Stormers. All talk and no play.

The Cheetahs are still doing amazingly well. I however still believe that they punch way above their weight and that they also does not have the necessary depth to win a competition of this caliber. The Bulls left me with  serious doubts a month ago. They now started firing properly on all cylinders and they have enough depth to go all the way. This has been made largely possible by their youngsters coming through and making the adjustment needed for Super rugby. I also changed my mind about the way the Bulls are managing their players and think that  they are actually doing the right thing by properly managing the youngsters and not  throwing them into the cauldron when things are reaching boiling point.

The Kings is actually not too shabby for a team in their first Super rugby season. Watch them closely. They might even beat the Stormers.

 

CHEETAHS ,STORmers, Bulls and the kings.

March 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Cheetahs is still the only team that can bring me to my feet and keep me on edge as far as the South African teams go. Once again they made mistakes , but was brilliant more than enough to show that they have huge potential. Their loosetrio is very good and their frontrow are beginning to gel. Lood de Jager is a revelation this far and although he made a few mistakes he is learning very quick and at this age he is already  a star. Coenie Oosthuizen is turning into his old mean self and that means bulldozing through the opposition. Welcome back Coenie. Sarel Pretorius is constantly brilliant , Burton Francis did very well, Willie le Roux is brilliance personified, Sadie is growing into the player he was destined to be and this leaves a big questionmark about the coaching skills and people management skills of the Blue Bulls. The brilliant Pollard is lanquishing in the varsity cup ranks and is played out of position in the Tukkiesteam while the Bulls is struggling to make any inroads with the current favourites at number 10. Robert Ebersohn was his dangerous self and Rhule is becoming a very good player playing alongside all these talents. Last but not least, Daniller is a tower of strenght at the back . Well done Cheetahs on slaughtering the Rebels without breaking into to much of a sweat.

The Stormers started of as if they were going to carry on where they stopped in the first half against the Brumbies. It did not last for long. Pat Cilliers was not very good to say the least. He looked out on his feet in the first half already. Deon Fourie could not find the locks and surprised us the few times he did find them.Frans Malherbe played very well. Ellstadt and especially Kolisi played their hearts out. Duanne was okay, but not unstoppable and hotheaded at the exact wrong time. That said , the Crusaders got away with murder by playing our players , sometimes in offside positions without the ball. Craig Joubert was totally blind to this . Andries Bekker was again the pick of the forwards and the absence of Kitshoff and Tiaan Liebenberg had a big impact on the Stormers. I think their absence was the difference between winning and losing.

Dewald Duvenhage had a few good moments , but Groom is definitely the better scrumhalf. Some of Duvenhages passes did Elton Jantjies no favours. Jantjies could not blame his poor form on the day on the passes and would want to forget this nightmare as soon as possible. Jantjies must however be retained . He needed this as part of his learning curve . He and Groom must get the chance to grow together as a combination. De Jongh did not do to badly , but Jean de Villiers was very good in a backline under pressure. Aplon and Joe Petersen did nothing special , but Van den Heever is starting to regain the brilliant form of a few seasons ago. Hope his injury is not too serious. De Allende looked good when he came up. Taute made no impression. The Crusaders was on the day the best defending outfit that i saw this year. I do not think that any other team in the competition could have beaten the Stormers yesterday. At the end it was the skills , power and gameplan of the Crusaders that was superior on the day. The Crusaders showed that without their big names their future is indeed healthy.

The Bulls played once again below par and gifted the Brumbies  4 game points which the below par Brumbies gladly pocketed. The highlight of the game was the sparkling try by Engelbrecht. The positive out of this is that the Bulls can only get better from hereon. If i had to pick a Bulls backline , i would pick as follows. 15 Prinsloo   14 Bjorn Basson 13Rohan Van Rensburg  12 Jan Serfontein 11 Engelbrecht  10 Handre Pollard  9 Vermaak  (Hougaardt when available) Morne Steyn  on the bench. Then Venter and Swanepoel as backups for centre and fullback. Time for a new start. The old guard has had their time.

The Kings fought bravely as always , but i never thought that they had a realistic chance to win . They are definitely getting better and i hope that Watson will be back soon which will add a lot of value. I would also like to see some of the Madiba frontrow forwards coming through.They gave Maties a torrid time last week.

This week i will have to make a few changes to the SA Super 15 team.

15..  Hennie Daniller  14. Raymond Rhule 13 . Robert Ebersohn 12  Jean de Villiers  11. Sergeal Petersen 10 Willie le Roux 9 Sarel Pretorius  8. Jaques Engelbrecht  7 Siya Kolisi  6Heinrich Brussouw  5 Andries Bekker 4 Lood de Jager 3. Frans Malherbe Adriaan Strauss 1 Coenie Oosthuizen 

Reserves  Beast Mtawarira, Wiehahn Herbst, Kyle Cooper, Labuschagne , Ellstadt, Lambie , Groom.

Stormers facing another acid test this weekend

March 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

Can you imagine playing the Bulls , Sharks, Chiefs , Brumbies and the Crusaders in your first 6 matches? It sounds like a diabolical plan hatched by the devil himself to keep the Stormers from winning the Super 15 competition. Then , if that is not enough injuries is following the Stormers around like a blind man his guide dog. But alas, then Kitshoff is suspended for a tackle on Tomua that looked like childsplay if you watched the Crusaders continiously late tackling and high tackling the brave Kings team. Smells like double standards and if you were into conspiracy theories there is a lot here that you can go and investigate.

Any lesser team would have folded like a pack of cards , but this Stormers is growing stronger week after week. Allistar and his star Stormtroopers are shooting incoming attackers  down with missiles. Hitting form but irritatingly not yet in top gear according to my observations the team played well as a unit and contained an immensely physical Brumbies outfit. The Crusaders without Read and Mccaw definitely loses some  very good leaders and hard men in the pack. and without Carter definitely a bit of it”s edge and sharpness in the backline.

The Crusaders is also without a doubt the team that plays the most intelligent rugby in the competition. You can put money on it that somewhere along the line they will create an overlap and then score from there. If you look at the names in the Crusaders team like Wyatt Crockett , The Whitelaws and the Franks and Israel Dagg, Guildford, Crotty and Robbie Fruean we can be sure that you will have to be at your best to beat this Crusaders team.

If possible we will have to be even more physical than against the Brumbies and if we falter in our concentration and tempo like against the Brumbies, especially in the 2nd half, the Crusaders will make you pay..Against the Brumbies the Stormers played brilliantly together as a team and because of that players like Aplon, Jean de Villiers and Jantjies were starting to deliver the goods.

The Stormers must now keep to the blueprint and grow further as a team and remember that Newlands is a ground where there is magic in  the air. The Crusaders is here to not only outmuscle you but play you into the ground. The Crusaders is here to destroy the Stormers chances of getting into a position where they can have a chance to  win the Superrugby trophy.. To the Crusaders this is the big one. The Stormers will have to hit them with the ferocity of two tsunamis rolled into one. Elstadt and De Kock Steenkamp has shown that they are Bok calibre last weekend and must now take another step up to support Bekker and the rest of the pack to gain dominance in a big way.

I have no doubt that the Stormers can pull it off if they come out with all guns blazing. Craig Joubert must just watch the Crusaders with a hawks eye . They are masters of running obstructing lines and made a few hair rising illegal tackles against the Kings last week. Discipline will again be a key aspect of the game this weekend.

Stormers running into some sort of form

March 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

What a rugby weekend. The Crusaders giant, awakened by the faltering Blue Bulls a week ago  ran havoc against the EP Kings. The Kings tried bravely, but bigger and better ships than theirs has been torpedoed by the classy Crusaders outfit over the years. Even without Mccaw they made a big statement against a Kings team that tackled ferociously. On the positive side Sergeal Petersen is definitely one of the best wings now in the country and Jaques Engelbrecht is a monster of an eightman.

The hapless Bulls squandered another match that was there for the taking. It looks like the Bulls are lost in a desert without A GPS and no knowledge to navigate themselves out of there.

The Cheetahs won another one and that without Johan Goosen. On that we can congratulate them, but without Goosen there is no sparkle in their Champagne. I love the brand of rugby the Cheetahs play , but can not see them go all the way without Goosen and the lack of depth  that they have to deal with. If the Cheetahs could keep all the players they lost over the past three years and Goosen were not plagued by injury,  they would have been in with a big shout this year.

The Sharks was highly motivated after the fiasco against the Brumbies and hit the below par Rebels side like an unannounced Tsunami. There was a try fest which would be good for their confidence, but the game against the Brumbies will be in the back of their minds for some time to come.

Then the big game of the weekend, Stormers against the Brumbies. The Stormers answered the Brumbies fire with fire. At the end the Brumbies came back strongly, but in the first half the Stormers played brilliant rugby and only a brilliant turnover by George Smith lead to a try for the Brumbies to keep them in the match. The Stormers whole pack fared brilliantly and the frontrow did very well and scrummed exceptional  at times, taking Kitshoff and Malherbe”s age into consideration. Kolisi is slowly coming back to form, Duanne was good, Elstadt was enormous and De Kock Steenkamp was a revelation. If Andries Bekker was not playing one of the best games that he ever had i would have considered De Kock for the man of the match award.  The backline made a few mistakes , especially Jaco Taute,but in general played very well with Gio Aplon, Elton Jantjies  and Jean de Villiers outstanding .  Van den Heever had a very good match in a backline that did really well on the day. Gio Aplon were the big star for me in the backline  if i am forced to pick one. The little guy is truly amazing.

My choices for a Bok team this week on the form displayed over the last few weekends and especially this weekend will look as follows.

15  Gio Aplon  14.Sergeal Petersen  13.Paul Delport  12. Jean De Villiers  11. JP Pietersen 10 Patrick Lambie  9  Sarel Pretorius

8  Jaques Engelbrecht  7  Reinhardt Elstadt  6 Marcell Coetzee  5 Andries Bekker  4. Pieter Steph Du Toit  3  Frans Malherbe 2 Adriaan Strauss  1  Beast Mtawarira

Reserves  Elton Jantjies ,Cobus  Reinach,  Frans Steyn, De Kock Steenkamp, Duanne Vermeulen, Tiaan Liebenberg, Steven Kitshoff, Wiehahn Herbst.

Brumbies turns Sharks into Shark biltong.

March 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

I can not remember when last i saw the Sharks so completely outplayed like on Saturday. I think i actually stared in disbelief at the TV screen  watching this absolute carnage taking place.  It was like somebody using a nuclear bomb to blow a small nation away. I guess we all now know that the Brumbies is the team to beat this year.

If the Stormers can beat this Brumbie team, the Super rugby trophy will come to Cape Town. Does the Stormers possess the capability to beat the Brumbies. I believe they do . Like the French i believe that the Stormers when they click is just about unbeatable. On the other hand they are playing a Brumbies team brimming with confidence and also a team that does not make many mistakes.

The Stormers will have to bolster the pack and fight fire with fire. The forwards will have to come to the party. The best pack that the Stormers have available should take the field. We have to make the Brumbies just a little bit uneasy. How? Well, i will shuffle the pack just a little. We start with a frontrow of Kitshoff, Liebenberg and Malherbe. The locks to take the field should be Bekker and Elstadt. The Loosies Fourie on 6, Vermeulen  obviously 8 and Rhodes on 7. Kolisi on the bench to come up for the last 30 minutes at 7. De Kock Steenkamp to be there in case of injury or a heavily fatigued lock  and then Pat Cilliers and Deon Carstens also on the bench. Then i really would want to see Fourie playing again with a smile on his face. He plays absolutely super rugby when he does that.

The backline should not be chaged for the sake of change alone. Jantjies was always someone that keeps his best for the big games and De Allende was born to play in big games like this. Use Taute on the wing and leave Petersen at fullback. A quick change action could be discussed with the 2 players if things does not turn out right. It is also very good for the team to have experienced players like De Jongh and Duvenhage on the bench. Groom is also an unknown factor to the Brumbies. He is also the kind of player that could keep them busy. If the forwards are going to take the Brumbies  back over the advantage line and the Stormers is going to be very accurate  with ball in hand then Groom can put the Brumbies under real pressure.

The fact remains that if the Stormers beat the Brumbies at Newlands then the Stormers will not easily be denied silverware in this 2013 competition. This to me is the Stormers make or break match. If the Stormers cannot beat the Brumbies, I think that the Brumbies will without a doubt go all the way. Only the Crusaders(without Mccaw) and the Stormers have a realistic chance to beat the Brumbies. Hopefully the Stormers starts firing on all their pistons this weekend. It is going to be a very physical battle and we will have no choice but to take the fight to them. It is going to be do or die. This is the type of game where a player can step up and announce himself as a Bok of the future. This is as close to test rugby as a young player can get without actually playing in a test. So step up Stormers or bow out. There will be no place to hide at Newlands come Saturday. This is a field where history was made by players like Mannetjies Roux, Jannie Engelbrecht, Carel Du Plessis, Divan Serfontein, HO De Villiers, Morne Du Plessis, Rob Louw, Jan Boland Coetzee, Hempies Du Toit, Shaun Povey, Henning van Aswegen, Hennie Muller en les bes Dr Danie Craven self. Cometh the hour , cometh the man. Die skale is gereed om julle te weeg. Is julle gereed.

Onthou Stormers, dit gaan n oorlog wees en die Brumbies is die gunstelinge, maar hulle het soos julle twee bene en twee arms. Man vir man sal julle moet opgaan en in die loopgrawe veg. Daar is net een pad en daardie pad is vorentoe. Of dit nou om die Brumbie of deur hom is. There will be no retreat and no respite.

Some Bullss@*& rugby and the Sharks on curry and a dash of Lambie

March 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Bulls started the first half like they planned to explode a few crackers in Christchurch.  The Crusaders were as poor as they were in their opening games. The Bulls only flattered to deceive. One could argue that they did have to deal with an All Black frontrow. But that is as far as it goes because the rest of the Crusaders pack was not very good. Furthermore the Crusaders backline were totally of the boil. The Bulls crackers all fizzled out and there were to be no bangs. The Bulls played so bad that they were solely responsible for reawakening the Crusaders and restoring their confidence. And all of this happened in the first half.  A really poor display by the Bulls.

Well surely this respected Bull outfit will hit back and take better advantage of a Crusaders pack without the wile and guile of a Richie Mccaw in the second half , i told myself. But alas, it was not to be. Well , within the first 5 minutes after the restart a try was scored. Unfortunately it was the rejuvenated Crusaders that the Bulls brought back to life, rather with methods like a Doctor Frankenstein if you ask me , that scored another easy try. Vermaak behind the Bulls pack was just a link and had no presence behind the pack. This resulted in a lot of pressure on Morne Steyn that did not cope well with the pressure. The prop Wyatt Crockett even succeeded  to sell a dummy to one of the Bulls backs. We will not mention his name here to protect his identity. This little beauty of a try was scored by Crockett in the 60th minute.

A try by the Bulls in the 67th minute by Stegmann after organiser of defence for the Crusaders, Andy Ellis left the field, felt a bit like an anticlimax , because the Bulls never looked like they were in the game up to this stage.  The Bulls were as impotent as a 90 years old alzheimers patient trying to remeber what it”s for. And all of this against a pretty average Crusaders team minus Mccaw? Then, just to rub salt in the Bulls wounds, the Crusaders scored another try in the 78th minute. The only positive that the Bulls can take out of this game is that they can hardly do worse. From here on it can only go better. No intensity or zing, no imagination and definitely not a gameplan worth mentioning and  no resolve in defence. A rugby lesson to all the folks that think you can still win matches with outdated gameplans . I do believe the Bulls are better than what we saw tonight. They do need to make a few changes to get going. Also one must take into consideration all the young players on tour. Ludeke is a good coach and him and his staff will certainly turn things around. The matches in your second week of a tour is rumoured to be very difficult due to the fatigue setting in after the long flights to get to Kiwiland.

Then the hour cometh for the Sharks. The Sharks clearly did not have such a hectic day at the office in mind. They clearly had a more leisurely start and then a slow build up to an eventual win in mind. The Brumbies had fire and brimstone lightning and thunderstorms on their mind and within 25 minutes the Brumbies scored 3 tries and the Sharks had to be happy with a miserable penalty. There was only one team on the field and that was the Brumbies. I am not sure if the Sharks actually had any rights to being on the same field than the Brumbies . The Brumbies would  have been quite within their rights to feel insulted with such a halfhearted attempt by the Sharks playing in this game. When the 30th minute came the Sharks looked as miserable , clueless and down and out like the hobos in Joubertpark. Can not remember when last i saw such a sorry lot. Super 15 aspirations  if they play like this at home. They must be joking , with acknowledgement to Leon Schuster.

A bonus point try in the 35th minute by the Brumbies. I did see that Jake White could not get the smile of his face even though he did try out of respect.  And then , just before the halftime whistle went , the Sharks suddenly woke up and realised that this is not a nightmare. They are on the pitch in Kings Park stadium and there is a lot of people and the crowd are strangely quiet. They are playing the Brumbies that scored 4 tries in 35 minutes against them . It really is the stuff nightmares are made of.

Then , in the 2nd half a couple of young forwards were sent up to replace some of the old guard. In the 45 th minute the Sharks started to play like they actually still know how to rumble in the jungle. Kankowsky burst over after some fiery play by some of the youngsters. But that was about all they could do . From here on the Sharks played with more spirit , but up to the 70th minute they could not show any points for all their effort.The Brumbies just smoothly shifted gears into the Jake White defense plan and kept on frustrating the game Sharks. The Brumbies destroyed the Sharks with their uncompromising forward play and the high intesity of their play and some brilliant running rugby balanced with deadly defence.

I think the Sharks should hand out a shark tooth , as a souvenir to every  teammember of a team that beats the Sharks at home and scores 4 tries for a bonuspoint , simbolizing a toothless shark.The Brumbies would be worthy first recipients of such a souvenir. Well , we all know sharkteeth grows back , don ‘t they?

After all has been said and done i would like to pick a Super team out of the SA teams after this weekends matches. Because of some poor performances i will have to consider some Stormers players that i actually did not want to because of their bye.

15   Joe Petersen   14  JP Pietersen  13 Robert Ebersohn  12 Jean De Villiers 11 Sergeal Pietersen  10  Johan Goosen  9  Sarel Pretorius     8  Vleis Engelbrecht  7 Reinhardt Elstadt   6 Marcel Coetzee  5. Andries Bekker  4 Pieter-Steph du Toit  3 Wiaan Herbst  2 Adriaan Strauss   1 Beast Mtawarira

Reserves  Frans Malherbe    Coenie Oosthuizen   Tiaan Liebenberg   Siya Kolisi   Elton Jantjies  Francois Steyn   Nick Groom.

Till next week.

 

Cheetahs and the Kings opens the ball.

March 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

What a lovely way to spend a Friday morning watching the Cheetahs securing another overseas win. The pack was not as good as last week against the Highlanders but maybe that is because the Waratahs fields a better pack. All circumstances taken into consideration any win overseas is a good win. The best players this week was as usual Adriaan Strauss and Sarel Pretorius. Willie le Roux and Raymond Rhule as well as Hennie Daniller did quite well. Although Sadie and Ebersohn did not do to badly on attack , the Waratahs broke through too easily in the midfield. To me this was not such a good game by the Cheetahs. On the other hand , if they play like this on their off day i definitely do not envy the teams thats going to meet them when they are on fire. Goosen kicked well but blew hot and cold. He is slowly but surely getting back to his best. I like the way how he told a newspaper about his shortcomings. To me that s a sign that he will keep on working hard and that he won t get a swollen head and think that he is bigger than the game.

Enough about the Cheetahs. The Kings made every true South African proud of them. I have never seen the Lions play with this much heart. The Kings may not have the depth or all the talent that the Lions and other franchises have or the big burly players that the Sharks , Bulls or Chiefs has in their arsenal, but they do have big hearts, a good coaching staff and a never say die attitude. If you have to go to war, this is the outfit that you would want to go with. Their strenght is in their collective effort. If the TMO  did not get two decisions wrong, the points difference would have been only one point difference between the Chiefs and the Kings. But, before some wants to tar and feather me, i know that the Chiefs were never in danger of losing here. They had just too much ammunition to their disposal to lose here. If the Kings did get to close , i am sure that the Chiefs would just have doubled their efforts. That said , i must say that i was once again very much impressed by Jaques of is dit Vleis Engelbrecht en natuurlik die bloedjong Sergeal Petersen. To me they were the two big individual stars of the Kings. One thing is for sure. There will be no easy games in Port Elizabeth this year. Those that think they just have to turn up to collect the points will be in for a rude awakening. Hopefully the Kings won t have to wait to long before they again produce the likes of Anton Lombard, Frans Erasmus, Andrew Patterson, Schalk Burger, Adri Geldenhuys, Danie Gerber, Garth Wright,China Bell , Deon Keyser, Hermanus Potgieter and Johan Heunis , just to mention a few stars from the old Eastern Province.Some people might think of some of them as Blue Bulls or Western Province players, but , they actually started their provincial careers in the old Eastern Province now known as Eastern Cape. And for the record, the Kings lost against the Super rugby champions today and did better than many other supposedly better teams would have done.

SA teams starting to run into some form.

March 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

After last weeks rugby I skipped updating the blog because I had more questions than answers. This week the situation looks much better and the Bok candidates are starting to turn up for the party. The Stormers was absolutely ferocious in their match against the Chiefs. This spells danger because I am quite sure that they are definitely not firing on all their cylinders yet. This is especially true of the backline.

The Bulls was stunningly good against the Blues and just in general outclassed the Blues. Their agressive in your face style of play and their confidence was just too much for  the game Blues.The Bulls will go far because of the depth in their franchise. They probably have the most young players on their books currently and they are all quality players.

The Cheetahs put everything together and swept the Highlanders from the park. This must be a good omen for the Cheetahs. Johan Goosen is not yet at his best despite his 21 points with the boot. That must be a worrying factor for all the teams that must still face the Cheetahs.

The Sharks did well with their forwards but their backs did not put the icing on the cake although they threathened to at times. Under the circumstances Ludick , Paul Jordaan and Reinach  and Steyn was the best in the backline. Lambie bagged more points with the boot. We must remember that this was the Kings and not the Blues, Chiefs or Crusaders. The Kings Engelbrecht was once again a stalwart.  The backline saw too little of the ball to really form an opinion about their attacking capabilities. About the Kings defence I can only say that I cannot remember when last  I saw such a tigerish display on the defence. Mannetjies Roux would have been proud of them and if one must mention a name it is that of Richard Strauss. Passing always seems like a good idea when he is in the vicinity.

My team based on form for this week taking into consideration also the previous two weeks will be as follows.

15. Louis Ludick  14  JP Pietersen 13 Paul Jordaan 12 Francois Steyn  11 Gio Aplon 10. Morne Steyn 9 Sarel Pretorius

8  Pierre Spies  7Arno Botha 6 Heinrich Brussouw 5 Flip van der Merwe 4 Andries Bekker 3 Jannie du Plessis 2 Adriaan Strauss

1 Beast Mtawarira

Reserves  Johan Goosen  ,  Nick Groom ,   Joe Pietersen  ,  Morne Mellett , Werner Kruger , Tiaan Liebenberg , Juandre Kruger , Duanne Vermeulen

Close but no cigar was the next players: Zane Kirchner was hot favourite but the tackle that he missed one would expect a Bok fullback to make. Ellstadt was in my opinion very close  as well as Jaques Engelbrecht  and Labuschagne and Viljoen of the Cheetahs and Jean Deysel that looks like someone thats got his eye on a Bok jersey this year. Robert Ebersohn looked to me the best of the other centres and De Allende is a player for the future. Lambie and Jantjies finds themselves out in the cold , but not because of poor play. Morne Steyn is sizzling hot  at the moment and Goosen is kicking well again and is a distibutor par excellence. Ludick was very good this weekend with Vermaak hot on his heels. Kankowsky did well against the Kings and Marcel Coetzee tried hard , but did not do enough for me to support Kankowsky and Botes against this level of opposition. Deon Fourie i would consider as a number 6.  I dropped SP Marais. He had one great game and this one nothing much happened. Although under great pressure someone that wants to be a Bok must show his potential at every opportunity and must create opportunities.

Till next week .

Ciao.

 

Super rugby kicks of in South Africa

February 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

The first weekend of Super rugby is behind us and it is clear that quite a couple of players is still a bit ring rusty. The Bulls , Sharks and the EP Kings won their respective matches and is off to a good start. Congratulations especially to the newcomers on an unlikely win against the Force. Clearly rugby in the Eastern Cape is still alive and kicking. Proud of you guys.

The Bulls and the Sharks looked quite well organised and the Stormers did not look to bad after they woke up during the second half. The Stormers paid the price for not playing against some better quality teams during their preparation phase. Elton understandably looked the most rusty of the lot. He will definitely bounce back rather sooner than later and should be retained as flyhalf.

Johan Goosen looked as if he is carrying an injury and were not up to his usual high standards.Catrakilis were struggling to adapt in the first half , but did much better in the 2nd half. Morne Steyn stood out head and shoulders above the other number 10 s with Lambie in a distant 2nd place. At number 15 Maraisof the Kings impressed me and Kirschner was the best of the rest..

Habana and Mvovo was the best wings on display and Sergeal Petersen and Raymond Rhule the most promising. The latter i regard as an outside centre and i hope the Cheetahs use him there. Francois Steyn and Paul Jordaan would be in my starting 15 as the centre pairing based on this weeks play. I liked  young Reinachs play and was also impressed with the quick thinking Nick Groom. Francois Hougaardt was for me however the pick of the scrumhalves.

The best number eights on display for me was the reserve Jaques Engelbrecht of EP Kings, Ryan Kankowsky and Pierre Spies. Although i do not think Pierre is in the mould of a claasical number 8 i think he did enough to get my vote. Strangely enough i think that the biggest threat to Spies will come out of his own camp in the form of Arno Botha and then off course Duane Vermeulen when the Stormers starts firing on all cylinders.

Frans Viljoen, Morne Potgieter, Marcel Coetzee, Jaques Botes en Elstadt was vir my die beter spelers hierdie naweek. Die standouts was vir my Morne Potgieter en Jaques Botes met Frans Viljoen wat vat-vat aan hulle hakke en as ek sou span kies sou Morne en Jaques die manne wees.

Wat die slotte aan betref sou ek die kombinasie van Jeandre Kruger en Flip Van Der Merwe kies alhoewel Bresler ook beindruk het en Andries Bekker hard geveg het.. Wat die hakers aan betref het Adriaan Strauss kop en skouers bo die res uitgestaan met Chiliboy die enigste waardige ander kandidaat. Wat die losskop stutte aan betref is daar slegs twee kandidate. Mellet van die Bulle het my geweldig beindruk en ek het hom sedert laas jaar teen Tukkies al fyn begin dophou. Daar is Springbok op sy voorkop gestempel . n Sterke derduiwel wat tonne vernuf uitstal. Net jammer hy speel vir die Bulle. Mellet was baie naby om my regmerkie te kry, maar die Beast met n massiewe vertoning sal my duim kry op grond van sy  ervaring . Ongelukkig het net een vasskop die paal gehaal en dit sal Jannie du Plessis wees. Werner Kruger het egter genoeg gedoen om Jannie se plaasvervanger te wees .

My span uit ons verroeste klompie krygers sal dus as volg wees.  Heelagter Marais -Kings -L-vleuel Mvovo B Senter Frans Steyn  Binne senter Paul Jordaan  Regter vleuel Bryan Habana Losskakel Morne Steyn Skrumskakel Francois Hougaardt Agsteman Pierre Spies 6flank Jaques Botes 7flank Morne Potgieter 5slot Jeandre Kruger 4slot Flip van der Merwe Losskop Beast Mtawarira  Haker Adriaan Strauss Vasskop Jannie du Plessis  my reserwes as volg   Stutte  Mellet en Werner Kruger, Haker Chiliboy Ralepele, veelsydige losvoorspeler Frans Viljoen en slot Andries Bekker, Losskakel Pat Lambie en skrumskakel Nick Groom.

Kyk ons gou kortliks na ons spanne se kanse sal ons sien dat daar  net te min talent en ervaring by die Kings is . Geen span wen hierdie kompetisie in sy eerste jaar nie. Ek sal hierdie bladsy laat druk en opeet as die Kings die kompetisie wen. Die Cheetahs het ongelooflike talent agterlangs en baie goeie losvoorspelers met te min ervaring. Hulle vaste vyf het ook nie genoeg perde om die wa oor die bult te trek nie. Die Sharks en die Stormers het geen verskonings om nie aan die einde van die groot honde te wees nie. As hulle nie daar gaan wees nie , sal hulle die hand maar in eie boesem moet steek. Die Bulls wat n nuwe groeifase betree het eintlik die minste druk op hulle en het n magdom nuwe sterre in die pyplyn. Sulke jong talent moet egter goed bestuur word en ek glo Ludeke weet wat hulle doen. Die outjie wat ek graag wil sien is egter die jong Prinsloo. SPRINGBOK in hoofletters. Hy is die hele pakket. Slim gekoop Bulle. Ja en dan wil almal nog vir jong Serfontein sien en ons praat nie eers van die ander klomp goeie senters by die Bulle nie. Ja, die Bulle het verseker n meer as goeie kans om daar te wees wanneer dit saakmaak.