This week I am commenting on the Shark attack, fake bear, Candice cubicle cuddling and an opportunity missed for Crusader conquering. Here’s my view from the couch.
It was a typical Kiwi derby on Friday. The Highlanders being dominated in terms of territory and possession (especially in the first half) came as a surprise but in the end they had a great chance of securing the win at the death - a soft turnover three meters from the line is without a doubt a coach killer. Personally I am still not quite ready to label the Chiefs potential winners of the comp though.
It was the top Aussie team squaring off against the top New Zealand outfit and many were predicting a tight tussle (some going as far as to suggest the Rebels had a realistic chance of producing an upset victory– don’t know what you were smoking lads!) in Melbourne. Thirty minutes into the contest the pundits favouring the Rebels to go close must have been puffing their chests with pride but the men in yellow engaged a higher gear from this point on. There is a gulf in class between what New Zealand has to offer and what there is from the Land Down Under and it’s bigger than the width of the Tasman sea at present.
The Sharks produced some magic out of nowhere to beat the Blues in an incredibly open affair in Auckland but more of this later. In Canberra on Saturday it was business as usual with an Aussie derby producing only three tries and the Tahs eventually proving themselves to be somewhat less hapless than the Brumbies.
The Bulls hosting the Stormers had the country divided as usual. The Michelin-men had the most of us convinced that better days were lying ahead whilst the Stormers had shown glimpses of what they could do on home soil. Unfortunately for anyone with a number plate starting with a “C’’ it was proved that the Stormer home form is still only confined to Newlands and not the whole of Mzanzi. The Stormers were never able to stamp their authority on the match and the Bulls forwards dominated most of the tight exchanges. Back on Saffa soil the Loftus faithful could be in for a good dose of entertainment from their team over the next few months.
Easter Sunday was spent watching the Lions bring the visiting Crusaders down to their level. The previous day this critic sat down for lunch at an immaculate venue overlooking the coast only to be told that the establishment did not offer alcohol. The Ellispark clash promised to be a mouth-watering re-match of last year’s final but left the same stale taste in my mouth as the alcohol-free Becks did the day before. Both teams are yet to fire on all cylinders in 2018 but it is the Lions who are now in danger of losing the plot in a big way if they aren’t able to turn things around. Despite still sharing the top spot on the overall log Swys’ troops have now lost two home games and will without a doubt know that their match against the Stormers this coming weekend is already pretty much a must-win.
Pre-season much was expected of the Sharks. Yet prior to the weekend the Natalians were a damp squid. In Auckland Robert duPreez’s chargers finally found their attacking voice. Running in six tries there were finally signs of the attacking flair everyone was calling for from the new breed of black and white. Of course one swallow doesn’t make an orgy and they could be brought down to earth hard as soon as this coming Friday as a leaky defence will result in tries galore against the lethal Hurricanes.
Allow me the opportunity to go off Super Rugby as topic (only slightly though) for this one. Many scribes who were calling for blood a week ago are all sympathetic to the culprits of the cricket ball tampering saga all of a sudden. Candice Warner went the way of stepping into the line of fire for her man the past week as a tearful press session led to her taking the blame for her hubby’s underhanded tactics. But between the tears it was not missed by this critic that she actually moved the blame to the South African supporters who, by pitching up in Sonny-Bill Williams masks,“forced” Mr Warner into cheating…
Dear Mrs Warner, it was commendable of you to step up and take some blame since it was your cubicle shenanigans which created the opportunity for such difficulties to come the way of your man. Of course we all do some things which we later regret and no one should hold it over your head to infinity. HOWEVER if your cocky spouse decides to be the foul mouth bully of international cricket, picking on the likes of Johnathan Trott and apparently some others in a completely over the top manner regarding off-field matters, then unfortunately he is by default making your colourful past fair game. So suck it up cup cake.
Secondly to the media men who have gone soft, it is often you who climb on the bandwagon of a divided team in terms of representation yet to me there is no better sight than when a nation comes together to support their national sporting heroes –in this case De Kock and Rabada.
So, for this Critic I don’t blame the SA public one bit and in fact it is a tip of the cap from me for their unity and support. I do feel sorry for Smith though, who it seems had to fall on his sword.
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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