The Spred and Spri awards
Again let me remind you what these awards stand for based on last week’s article:
Shields Prize for Enterprise and Distinction (SPRED the Love) is awarded to the teams who:
*uses or tries to use all 15 men on the rugby field to try and win a game, not to try and NOT LOSE
Shields Prize for Rugby Idiocy (SPRI the sHIT) is awarded to the teams who:
*tries not lose by using only safe options ie. using big slow ball carriers in positions where they could have opted for playmakers or game-breakers and ignoring for the most part their own backline
So who spred the love this week?
Let’s start with the Cheetahs in the first 20 minutes of their game. Again they played sublime 15 man rugby until they realised they might win the game. They then reverted back to the laager and started passing laterally ball after ball until they themselves got tired of running. At this very point the Tahs started playing some great rugby by using their wings right next to the breakdown and punching holes through the Cheetah defence. Oddly once the Waratahs claimed the lead they also tried to defend it, only to see the Cheetahs (now behind) play some enterprising rugby thanks to Willie and Rhule.
The love fest of the year however has to be Brumbies in that first half. That my friends, is what you call 15-man rugby. Maybe not the most enterprising stuff but the handling and the interplay between forwards and backs made Shieldsy very happy for the game.
Who threw shit through a sift?
After their sublime win against the Blues last week the Bulls decided to close shop and test what the result will be if they kick every ball and then defend badly. Their game strategy is similar to my wife’s reason for watching the Kardashains: “you don’t have to engage the brain while doing it.” Problem is, often in rugby you actually play against an opponent, which is different to training drills where the Bulls strategy obviously worked. Hmmmm well yes. Rugby Idiocy
Not to be outdone the Sharks also decided this week to merely show up and scare the opposition by how fearsome their pack looked on paper. I honestly think Plumtree’s Coup De Grace (in his mind) was that Jake and the Brumbies would look into the stands and see Bismarck and then get so scared that they will merely surrender. They did not tackle well at all (at one stage a Brumbie backline player made something like 45 metres with a simple supported leg-drive while the Sharkies scrambled to hold on. When the Sharks eventually scored their pressure try it came after a couple of phases which saw Pieter Stefp Du Toit, Coetzee or whichever non-back they could find take the ball in the 10 channel and just bliksem into the nearest man.
That try would no doubt have made Heyneke Meyer a happy man because he is pretty much the father of the dom-doos-in-the-ten-channel philosophy so eagerly adopted by other SA side in the knowledge that they don’t really have to play rugby in order to not lose by much.
The King of SPRI this week goes to our own Francois Steyn who at some stage collected a ball on the 22 and decided to charge like a bull away from his support and into 3 men. He held onto the ball and was penalised. Steyn hopefully realised he is not 15 years old, the Brumbies are not some poxy English private school and there are no girls cheering him on next to the field. Most importantly he might have realised that he is not a giant Pokemon with powers to run over people. Or maybe he did not realise this. He is after-all, a sure starter for the Boks on current form.