The rugby world has gone tits-up.
If you have a weekend when the only South African Super Rugby team to record a win is the Cheetahs, who are on tour in Australia, you know something is strange.
Add the fact that the Force beat the Reds in Brisbane, Italy beat Ireland in the Six Nations, the Valke beat the Lions in Vodacom Cup and you would be forgiven to think that you found yourself in some parallel universe for 48 hours!
So from the top… The Cheetahs have been the only shining light for South African teams in Super Rugby this weekend, even though it was just a dim, flicker of a light with a one-point win over the Waratahs on Friday. Make no mistake however, these are the type of games the Cheetahs have become too well known for losing so this for me, and their supporters, could be a crucial turning point for the franchise who often looks too much to entertain and forget to play rugby. They now go into their last game against the Force with the very real possibility of recording a 3 from 4 wins on tour! GO CHEETAHS!
Speaking of parallel universes – the Kiwi’s would have been very concerned about their most successful team, the Crusaders, for their start to the season – well up and till they came up against the Bulls…
As awesome as the Bulls were last weekend against the Blues, they were horrible against the Crusaders in Christchurch. They had virtually no territory and no ball. They were bullied at set pieces and rucks, and they were monstered in contact. If it wasn’t for the Crusaders’ pathetic handling in the first 20 minutes, the Bulls could well have seen 60+ points scored against them on the day. To add insult to injury, Olivier, Hougaard and Ndungane have returned to the Kraal following injuries – they face the Reds next weekend.
The Kings… Now while many admire their courage they still lost and gifted a Kiwi team 5 log points. Some players in that side really do some very good things – their problem as a team however, is that they don’t have enough of those players around to stop losing courageously and start winning by any means necessary. The Kings now head to Australasia on a 4 week tour where their first visit will be to Christchurch to take on the team that just gave the Bulls an almighty hiding – the ugly is about to start.
Speaking of ugly – enter the Sharks…
The government should not look to limit the trading hours of liquor stores to limit alcohol abuse, they must insist every Sharks game comes with a warning because what we saw on Saturday night in the first half is the type of shit that will drive the Pope to drink.
It was by far the worst 40 minutes of rugby I have seen dished up by any team in 5 years, and yes, that includes some of the rubbish and hammerings the Lions got in the past. The Sharks looked clueless, and worst of all, disinterested. The Brumbies came with intent make no mistake, and they are a very good side under former Bok coach, Jake White – but they are not a 4-try Bonus Point in first 20 minutes side against what is supposed to be our best SA franchises.
Plumtree called the performance embarrassing, slip in a few descriptive and choice adjectives and I just about agree.
So after the high of the week before, SA sides came crashing down not even 6 days later… Perhaps those folks that warned against over-hyping the previous week’s performances had a point?
Players that impressed;
Well I can only really include a handful of SA players this week, and only from the Cheetahs and Kings (and I had to stretch to get to 5 players) – feel free to agree, disagree or add:
- Lappies LabuSkaknie
- Adriaan Strauss
- Willie le Roux
- Raymond Rhule
- Seagull Peterson
Till next week…