The Hurricanes started their clash against the Reds in Wellington like they were merely taking out the trash. Two tries after 15 minutes against a Reds side who have picked up a few hidings spelled danger.
Yet the Aussies were able to hang in and even after trailing 31-20 at the 50-minute mark the young Reds kept making a nuisance of themselves and refused to go away – like that pesky mosquito that keeps coming back every time you switch the lights off.
Whilst the Reds ran the Canes close the Waratahs went one step further and were finally able to turn the tables and get one back for the whole of Australia in terms of beating a Kiwi opponent. Yes one could argue that considering the Highlanders had to make do with 14 blokes for over an hour the result might be a bit tainted but in all honesty I don’t think any of the Tahs will be complaining or anyone left in Aus still supporting rugby. The streak is finally broken!
Kung Fu Kid, Tevita Nabura, and the Highlanders might have been a tad disappointed in themselves for letting the total Kiwi shutout slip but it should be nothing in comparison to the humiliation endured by the Stormers and their fans this week in the aftermath of the cock-up at Mong Kok Stadium. Despite three tries in the opening half the Capetonians found themselves struggling to handle the Hong Kong temperatures as well as the heat brought by the Sunwolves. Instead of arguably South Africa’s most consistent Super Rugby team flexing their muscle and going King Kong on the Japs in terms of fire, aggression and intensity brought to the game they were like untrained chimps running amok in the circus that is the Western Province Rugby structure. Surely something drastic needs to be done behind the scenes and possibly in the highest seats of the boardrooms to get the union back on track because these clowns have no clue right now.
In the all New Zealand derby the Crusaders came and conquered but were never able to completely break the resistance offered by the Blues. Rieko Ioane gave a timely reminder of how dangerous he can be when used correctly – on the wing of course. Ioane proved more difficult to contain than a graphic photo or personal voice message shared to the wrong Whatsapp contact!
Sharks and Lions fans were left with much the same feeling on Saturday evening. The Sharks picked up another moral boosting victory over a Kiwi opponent yet left their fans pulling out their hair in frustration at a host of opportunities left wasted. The Lions walked away with a bonus point win which is indeed “job done” for Swys but an hour into the contest the home side found themselves trailing and the Ellispark faithful wondering whether their team were going to slip on a Brumbies banana peel. One needs serious nail -and hair growth genes before applying for membership to these two teams.
The Jags came out fighting In Buenos Aires. The Bulls fought hard to stay in the contest in the first half but when the passes started to stick for the hosts the South Africans had no answer for the fast-paced, slick handling assault from the Argentines. The South Americans are now genuine contenders for playoff qualification as they are one of the most in-form players at present.
The props stole the show again this week. The Blues often rely on SBW to supply the magic pass but on this occasion the rush defence of the Crusaders was caught out by a behind the back offload from prop, OfaTu’ungafasi.
Taniela Tupou did the usual job of one of the fat boys upfront by flopping over the line from close range for the Reds. But when the big tighthead popped up on the wing and broke around the outside to get away for a 20 meter run before feeding the tryscoring pass he stole the show in the OMF category.
The Nabura kick and Stormers implosion all fail to compare with what transpired in the Supersport studio after the Lions game. With ex Bok Ashwin Willemse clearly feeling wronged and disrespected by his fellow studio members, Nick Mallett and Naas Botha the winger stunned everyone with an absolute “bolter”to rival some of his best breaks on the pitch.
The ex-Lion’s winger made it clear that he thought his background and race meant he didn’t get the respect or status bestowed upon Mallet and Botha and unloaded an emotional speech followed by his equivalent of a mic drop live on air. The actions that transpired in the studio proved to be much bigger than the rugby stars involved - it has once again ignited the long simmering quota/racial debate in social circles.
Hold onto your seats, things could get a bit hairy during the next week or so. Not only does Erasmus have most of the South African teams struggling at present he will now also have a rather less harmonious vibe around the Springboks coming into the June test series. God’s speed old chap!
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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