This week the All Blacks are all gold in all forms and it’s a horror at pool-side for the Sharks.
As always it was a royally entertaining affair between the Hurricanes and Chiefs on Friday. The Canes are a side who at times seem to almost enjoy not having the ball since they know that a counter attacking opportunity offered to them against an unorganised defence is an even better attacking platform than any set phase. The Chiefs tried some McKenzie led magic but in the end Beauden Barrett waved his wand and cast his game-breaking spell on the clash.
The Brumbies implemented a solid game plan well and trailed by only two at half time against the Highlanders. But like a WWE wrestling match the result always felt scriptedwith the home hero destined to come away with the win in the end. The Aussies dominated territory and possession for the most part but just didn’t have the ruthless finishing edged required to keep the home side under pressure – an intercept try when enjoying a one-man advantage was crucial. With Ben Smith at his sharpest and Naholo and Li looming as dangerously (and as predictably) as a WWE wrestler coiled for his finishing move the Aussies were always going to go down for the three-count in this one.
In the land of rice and Sake the Blues showed that they are by far the bottom dwellers of the Kiwi sides as they struggled their way past the Sunwolves. At the SCG the Tahs were 6 for 3 as the lunch break approached. Fortunately for the home team they were finally able to hold onto a catch (after spilling many opportunities prior to this) to put the Reds under serious pressure at the break. The big roller was used during the interval and fortunately this led to a livelier track offering both runs and wickets. The colossus that is Naiyaravoro continued on his rampaging path and proved the difference between the two sides.
The climate in Durban makes it one of the stickier places to play rugby and thus the introduction of a pitch side swimming pool was hardly the most surprising innovation to be introduced by the union this past week. Unfortunately for the home fans things hardly went swimmingly for their side and they would have preferred an expanded bar section instead as everyone in attendance would have been in need of a stiff drink after the game as their team never pitched up to the races. A mate mentioned that he watched scary movies with the kids and family on Saturday evening – every Sharks fan who tuned into the game will concur that they too had to endure an Alfred Hitchcock level fright-film with the Bulls starring in the lead role.
Another shared award this week. The Cheetah fans let the country down with Friday evening’s Pro 14 match as only a handful of people pitch up to watch one of the best teams in the Northern Hemisphere tackle their (somewhat high flying) Cheetahs. As someone stated on social media one wonders what the excuse could be since there surely can’t be many better things to do on a Friday night in Bloemfontein. Seeing this sparse crowd brought back memories of a David Cramer song I once heard him perform: “Bloemfonteen (sic) oh Bloemfonteen, it’s the kakkest place I’ve ever been!”.
Talking about all things k@k the second award goes to the Rebels. Much was expected (by“much” I mean most thought they would be less crap) of the Melbourne based outfit coming into the season but after being humbled by the Canes a few weeks ago they suffered a second sad home loss. This time the Rebels led 14-3 at the break and 19-6 at the 50-minute mark only to lose the plot. To make matters worse Dave Wessel’s chargers opted for the brave (aka stupid) option of going for a match-winning try instead of taking the option of settling for a draw with the penalty kick. When these gambles come off you’re sipping champagne from a flute, when they don’t you’re just left with lukewarm piss in a plastic cup.
In an incredible contest of immense grit and determination from both sides the New Zealand women’s Sevens side literally outlasted their Australian opponents to claim gold at the Commonwealth Games. The final match went deep into the first half of extra time (more than six minutes over the normal match playing time) and in that extra stint it was a real battle of sustenance as the women on both sides of the pitch looked out on their feet. In the end it was settled by a fend-off from Kelly Brazier followed by a 70 meter (and what felt like a slow-motion Baywatch-esque) run for the line as Brazier pleaded with her weary legs to get her across the chalk.
This superb effort from the fairer sex was followed by an equally determined and arguably more impressive showing from the men as they shut out the mighty Fiji for their gold medal. The Kiwi men dominated the first half of the game and then courageously held their ranks in tact in the second stint. Remarkably the mini-Blacks reverted to fifteen style rugby as they even implemented the rolling maul in the latter stages to clinically use up some additional time.
Yes folks the All Black dominance is far reaching and far from dwindling…!
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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