In a most bizarre contest the Crusaders made a handling error on attack and soon after had to re-gather themselves under their own sticks; they got frustrated by the Waratahs rush-defence only to have to talk about the errand long pass under those posts soon after.
And finally they opted for the contestable high bomb but had to watch in horror as Folau plucked the ball from the sky and made the homeside pay yet again. The Crusaders trailing an Aussie opponent 0-29 at home was more freakish a sight than witnessing Naas Botha commenting on the technicalities at a scrum.
To their absolute credit the defending champs kept their heads and were able to pull the game out of the fire at the death.
In the all Kiwi affair on Friday the Blues were much improved with a few returning players clearly giving them some much needed impetus – SBW’s tentacle like limbs proving tougher to contain than the groping arms and hands of a spotty faced teenage boy in the back row of the cinema with a blonde either side of him. Despite taking the lead early in the second half one had the feeling that the log leading Hurricanes were always in control of this clash and they duly finished with a flurry to come away with a bonus point victory.
The surprise of the weekend came in the form of the sushi munchers dining out on the wet-behind-the-ears Reds. Just as you thought things couldn’t get any worse for the Aussies on the rugby front they choked on Sake and couldn’t handle the Wasabi as it ended in humiliation for the visitors, leaking 63 points.
I probably need to dedicate a whole page to this game as most would not have seen much of this clash between two average sides. But of course, I would not like to bore you! Let’s just say the Brumbies were the less pathetic of the sides for the majority of the clash but couldn’t close out the match. In the end the Rebels were a touch less hapless and walked away with the spoils.
In the Republic the Stormers were titans on defence but unfortunately weren’t able to offer much themselves on attack. Surprisingly it was their scrum, with two would-be first choice Bok props who found themselves under pressure and played no small part in the eventual defeat.
In Pretoria the Bulls once again proved that they were a different team when performing in front of their own fans. Yes there was some skill and daring attacking play on offer from the home side but in retrospect much of the game plan involved high bombs launched from the boot of Handre Pollard behind a pack that had the edge in the physical stuff.. It was an entertaining affair which showed that Kriel is still the best 13 in the country; the combination of Roelof Smit, Jason Jenkins and Marco van Staden is working well for the Bulls; RG Snyman and Lood have developed out of sight as a combination under Mitchell; and there is no need to look further than Akker van der Merwe as the bench Bok hooker.
Okay it is a personal WTF to myself for admitting that there is something seriously wrong with my social life that I actually watched a fair portion of the Brumbies v Rebels match! Just before the hour mark in the clash and with the Brums leading 24-10 a penalty was awarded to the home side and Hawera stepped up 40meters out but straight in front. I switched channels in the hope of finding something more soul soothing than watching two slugs race each other for a finishing line way too far away but alas seven or eight minutes later I was back to the Aussies derby only to be amazed to see the scores were tied up at 24-all. That relatively simple kick missed proving vital in the outcome of the game. To add insult to injury the home side had another shot at redemption - with the scores level the Brumbies had a lineout from 5 meters out and less than ten to play but the horrible home side fluffed their lines by overthrowing the lineout feed. WTF to the extreme!
The Stormers also get an “honourable” mention in this category for that dooming scrum capitulation on their own line costing them the game. The big issue I have here is that it was clear for all to see that there was only going to be one outcome at that scrum and the coaching team needed to make the big call and get a completely overhauled frontrow into battle right away rather than only bringing JC on at loosehead at that crucial stage.
The penalty-try from the scrum pretty much put the game to bed but before this the Stormers had resolutely kept their line in tact as they absorbed long periods of Chiefs pressure. It was an incredible effort in composure and discipline from the Capetonians.
There was also a few bulldozing runs from Akker van der Merwe which caught the eye and the Bulls had some nice moments in attack, mostly sparked by Gelant, but it is the Stormers’ defensive effort which wins my admiration this week.
An OMF Moment that few would have witnessed came in the Supersport Challenge where Sharks XV winger, Aphelele Fassi pulled of an overhead bicycle kick which Christiano Ronaldo would have been proud of. Laduuuuma!
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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