It seems that every time the Boks lose we go on a tangent about how dreadful they were and the many shortcomings that can be seen in their game. In contrast when Allister Coetzee’s side get the “W” the critics focus on how poor their opponents were and refuse to give much credit to the efforts of the Saffas.
Unfortunately I will not really be breaking this tendency. The French were poor last week and the Italians even worse this past Saturday. I do however give the Springboks credit for playing to the conditions perfectly. In fact, let me rather say they implemented their NORMAL strategy and it just so happened that those tactics suited the wet weather to a tee.
In the country of high fashion and also the home of Ferrari it is ironic that these two stuttering sides met. Yes the conditions wouldn’t allow it in this case but even leading up to the clash these two were dishing up some “ugly” stuff – think less Prada and more Crocs. There would be nothing flashy about this one.
The Boks are devoid of creativity at the back but the wet ball meant that this shortcoming would not hamper them on the day. The Italians were the ones who were even more toothless on attack and the visitors had little trouble repelling them from their line. The sportscar made way for a Mini-like performance from the Azzurri.
The Springbok pack was able to get on the front foot and dictate terms against their out-gunned opponents. The boot was used rather efficiently and the big boys were like a Defender chugging along in third gear – constantly going forward and hard to stop. Splinters, aka the Ten Second Man, aka Bongi Mbonambi, showed that it is a crying shame that he is clearly not trusted to perform in tight tussles by Toetie with a strong showing.
In a game that hardly challenged his entire skillset Pollard was sound and Francois Venter looked like he put his heart and soul into every effort. Francois Louw and Duane Vermeulen also continue to make a positive difference to the side.
Wins over Italy and the French will hardly save Allister’s bacon but the future of the under-fire coach might very well be weighed by what transpires against Wales next weekend. At current levels Warren Gatland will be licking his chops at the prospect of taking a shot at the limping Springbok.
ON THE TOPIC OF LIMPING ANIMALS…
Clearly Michael Cheika has not been contributing his tithes. Either this or a lifetime of flirting with the line between what is legal/sporting and what is regarded as cheating has finally caught up with the men in the yolk coloured jerseys as they were left with egg on their face after their second humiliating hammering at the hands of a northern opponent in as many weeks.
Seeking retribution after a bizarre match against the English the men from Down Under once again found themselves down on their luck in Edinburgh. Last week saw a string of incidents go against the Wallabies but in Scotland there was only one moment of bad fortune for the visitors. SekopeKepugot over zealous with a clean out and saw red for his efforts. The Aussies had fought back to leading 10-12 at this point but it would prove to be a losing battle from here on.
In the end the out-numbered Wallabies ran out of puff in a big way in the end of what was a long year. A Scottish side chalking up 8 scores against an All Black-beating Australian side was not a result many saw coming but certainly one that has been a long time in the making as these Scots have been honing their fearless attacking game over some time now. The second half in Scotland looked like a game of pin the tail on the donkey (with the donkey being a kangaroo in this case) as the Thistle chested home town boys ran circles around the clueless men in yellow to the absolute delight of the home fans – and surely a few others who love few things more in sport than a good Wallaby walloping (guilty as charged your honour).
OLD DOG NEEDS NO NEW TRICKS
It was the same-old, same-old with New Zealand playing in fits and starts against the Welsh. For much of the time it was the home side who were doing most of the playing. The AB’s weren’t at their clinical best as some passes, which usually find the mark more often than not, hit the grass with surprising regularity on this evening in Cardiff.
Yet when it mattered most in the finalKiwi quarter the World Champs were able to pull clear with the ever-impressive Rieko Ioane leading their charge home. Naholo on the other wing was only slightly less devastating. Form a Springbok perspective one can just shake your head and wonder how anyone can think CourtnallSkosan is capable of competing with the likes of these two monsters – who not only have their bulk but are also blessed with good handling skills and an eye for finding space (despite often not needing it due to their strength allowing them to go over their opponent should they opt for this method) and running into it at pace.
It was hardly a vintage performance but at the end of a long hard season Hanson will surely take this result with a smile. Critically they were able to achieve the victory without Dan Coles, Brodie Retallick or Read available to them.
Next week I will do an overview of how the European tour went for the Southerners.In the meantime get your tithes in, light the appropriate candles or say a few Hail Mary’s as Coetzee’s Boks will surely need some divine intervention, the bounce of the ball and a good dose of luck to bag a win over Wales next weekend.
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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