The cold sweated dread. That feeling when you squat down and dunk a load in the public toilet only to experience the dread of realising you never checked whether the white gold was in adequate supply next to you.
The skip of a beat of you heart when you see that white van parked (semi-obscured) next to the road and wonder whether you slacked off the accelerator pedal in time to avoid a heavy fine. That numbing experience of slamming your car door shut and - with your hand still on the door handle - peering in and seeing your keys left in the ignition. That sinking feeling when you turn over your test paper and the first few words/paragraphs your eye catches don’t look even vaguely familiar…
All of these are moments in life when you are temporarily panic stricken. I experienced this self-same feeling midway through he past week when I realised that there were only four Super Rugby games scheduled for the weekend!
Fortunately for the Couch Critic this included two superb Kiwi derbies. In a high quality encounter the Highlanders put in one of their best halves of rugby to eventually put the Canes away comfortably in Dunedin. A crucial moment in the game came when the visiting Hurricanes looked to extend their lead on the stroke of half time. Leading 7-3 the men in yellow pushed for what would have been a valuably try as they went for the lineout option. Not only did the “gamble” not come off but it boomeranged worse than the indigenous Aussie hunting weapon slung by an Aussie rugby player after a night out in Cape Town. The home side not only withstood the pre- half time push for points from their visitors but were able to turn the tables and come up with a score of their own in this post-hooter period. Instead of possibly leading 14-3 the men from Wellington found themselves trailing 7-8 and along with the accompanying swing in momentum the Canes would never recover from the boomerang head blow.
In Hamilton the Chiefs looked to pull everything out their bag of tricks (but weren’t able to find the rabbit) but the business-like Crusaders proved to be unfazed and un flappable as they seemed to have answers for anything and everything thrown at them by the home side.This was a classic Kiwi contest with just as many big hits as fancy footwork and smart offloads on display. In the end the difference between the two sides was the edge the visitors had in the set pieces with their scrum particularly dominant. It remains scary to see how the Crusaders can suffer injury setbacks yet replacement players appear to slot into their setup seamlessly. Richie Mo’unga yet again proved his credentials as one of the hottest young talents going around at present – this kid is crazy good.
I look forward to matches involving only Aussie conference teams as much as a visit to the dentist. On this occasion these two clashes delivered entertainment aplenty. An astonishing 26 tries came from the two games in Brisbane and Canberra. Thus this dentist visit was more like sitting on the chair, expecting root canal and then being told all that is needed is a quick polish – and then leaving the room with one of the lollipops usually reserved for the kids. The Tahs remain a dangerous outfit when they get going, as they clearly possess the most fire power of any of the other teams in their conference, but their attitude on defence leaves much to be desired.
Okay, I have to put my hand up here. I touted Rob du Preez to be the back-up to Pollard and the young pivot had a stinker off the bench. The main merdemoment was when Rob Jnr suffered the humiliation of having two kicks charged down within the space of 30 seconds and hand the Welsh the match winning score on a plate. From the highs of scoring your first points in green in gold to hanging your head in shame... Welcome to test rugby son!
In general the American experiment was one giant WTF experience. The timing / scheduling of this clash was pathetic to say the least. In the end it was a somewhat experimental Welsh team playing a game of kick-chase against a South African B team. Played in front of no more than 10,000 people in Washington DC this game will do nothing for promoting the game in the US, in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the stars and striped viewers will chalk this Rugby Union concept off as a poor substitute for American Football – and you can’t blame them!
From my vantage point there were only two B-team bloomers out of the DC debacle. Steven Kitshoff came off the bench and showed how the scrum should be bossed and was busy across the park as well. Andre Esterhuizen also didn’t appear to be out of his depth at all in his debut at 12.
Either WTF or OMF depending on which side of the fence you are on:
The Kiwis might be in their own league at present but whilst the South African can’t beat the Australasians off the park they do mostly let them look a bit sheepish off it. This past weekend Jordie Barrett attracted some unwanted media attention as he and a mate ended up dining out on McDonalds in a stranger’s house at 5am after a night out – apparently they had mistaken the flat for some place else, but we are being assured that the talented youngster was not intoxicated (of course he wasn’t). Rieko Ioane also found himself in need of a quick visit to a clinic (to stitch up a gash above the eye) in the wee hours after “some high jinx” between the winger and a few of his team mates at a private function. Boys will be boys eh – and All Black boys will be big naughty boys it seems. What do they say – work hard, play harder…;)
Personally, I wouldn’t mind a few more Bok highlights on the field and will be willing to trade it for the odd embarrassments incurred after hours.
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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