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 A rugby lesson to all the folks that think you can still win matches with outdated gameplans .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.