There are few things as frustrating as a team who fails to show composure under pressure and instead make bad decisions/mistakes– aka the notorious brain fart. But in week 3 of Super Rugby we saw a few examples of this phenomenon.
There were also a few teams dishing up the equivalent of shit soup (mostly Aussie of course) and then there was some champagne attacking flair on display as well.
The Blues are notorious for having a skilled team on paper and often scoring some of the most mesmerising tries of the season. Unfortunately for Tana Umaga it also seems to have become intertwined with their DNA to bottle under pressure and make things unnecessarily tough for themselves – losing games that seem well within their reach. This theme continued for them against an under-strength Chiefs side on Friday. Umaga will do well to either get a season-long retainer deal with a very good shrink to at least try and remain somewhat sane and/or talk to Shane Warne and Jacques Kallis about how to get a good deal from Advanced Hair Studio to try and get back some of the hair he already lost last season and is still going to lose for the rest of 2018.
Whilst the Blues managed to lose a game which seemed easier to win than let slip, the Reds and Brumbies were involved in a clash where it almost felt like neither side had any interest in wanting to win the contest what so ever. Okay so we all know we can’t just kick the Australians out of Super Rugby but at least they can do us viewers the courtesy of scrapping the Aussie derbies. The level of rugby dished up between the Reds and Brumbies is nothing short of dire. In terms of entertainment value a Kiwi derby equates to watching Usain Bolt being challenged by Gatlin, Gay and Blake at an IAAF meeting as opposed to the Aussie version being an under 11 inter-school dash on the B rugbyfield at your nearest primary school.
Bright and early on Saturday the Samurai soldiers battled well to stay with their opponents in the first 40 minutes but fell away in the second stint. The Rebels appear to be the one team from Down Under who might not force you to down something stiff at the shear sight of their play. The character of the son-wolvies will be well tested as they embark on a trip to the Republic.
Most were fearing the worst as the Stormers travelled to Christchurch to have their fortune told to them by the defending champs. At half-time the Capetonians would have been gasping for air in the changerooms and listening to Fleckie trying to convince them to not throw in the towel and try and fight back from the five tries to one deficit they found themselves facing. In the end the visitors did well to keep things tidy but the fact of the matter is that with the class of the likes of Richie Mo’unga, Jack Goodhue and David Havili the hosts were always streets ahead of their opponents in terms of class. A bachelor student might be proud of pulling off half decent stroganoff (as in the case of the Stormers’ second half effort) but in terms of New Zealand opponents you are going up against master chefs – and in the case of the Crusaders perhaps Gordon Ramsey himself. A lot more time in the kitchen is needed yet for the SiyaKolisi’s young chargers.
When everyone and his dog expects something from the Sharks you can pretty much guarantee that the Banana Boys will wet the bed – and boy is there a call for new bedding after what transpired in Durban. Yes it isa slippery, sauna-like atmosphere in Durbs but it doesn’t give the home side a free pass for their pathetic showing. The basics were non-existent from the Sharks and they never managed to shut a poor Waratah team out of the game as they should have.
A lot of work lies ahead of Robert du Preez and his coaching team to get the Natalaians moving in the right direction. They had the look of a potential speedboat coming into this season but a present they appear to be stranded with seized motors in choppy water.
In Pretoria excitement was high as Mitchell was going to square-off against his ex-employers. One always expected that the Bulls were a team still finding their voice whilst the Lions are well and truly already a platinum selling rock band. What this critic didn’t expect was to see the home side being the ones giving the ball air and props and locks executing pop passes whilst it was the Lions who reverted to driving mauls and bashing their big men over the line from close range.
The manner in which the Lions adapted their play for this clash showed some great maturity from the team under Swys. For the Bulls we will have to see how they evolve further - the Australasian tour will go a long way in determining the direction their season will take.
OMF Moment of the Weekend
A number of contenders here.
- Crusaders running in four tries oh so easily within only 20 minutes
- Travis Ismael’s seething run coming almost straight from the kick-off against the Lions
- Both the Sharks and the Lions pulling off training ground moves perfectly for the tries of Am and Ross Cronje
- It might not be Super Rugby but there is only one real OMF moment that stole the show this past weekend and that was the incredible dodging, weaving and seriously pacey run from Perry Baker for the USA Sevens team.
- The Blues gave themselves one final shot of beating the Chiefs by setting up a close-range lineout after the hooter only for the hooker to throw the ball horrendously skew
- The Sharks might have been sunk by a poor kick chase but there was one moment causing a collective face-palm in Sharks country; the extremely experienced Keegan Daniel making his name Margaret as for a reason unknown to anyone he took a quick throw to himself, coughed it up and handed a try to the Tahs on a plate.
Who is Couch Critic?
Hein Diemont is the resident “Couch Critic” in the Goodforthegame Forum and he shares his weekly Super Rugby Blog the “Post Match Scuffle” or “PMS” with us.
In his blog Couch Critic channels his usual weekend swearing, ranting, cheering, whinging and bickering to the written word. Brutally honest opinions of how the Super Rugby action went down from his perspective – no punches pulled, it’s PMS time…
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