For the better part of this Super Rugby campaign coach Rassie must have had tears in his eyes and no hair left to pull out. Yet both the Sharks and Stormers have proven there could be a proudly South African template to going toe-to-toe with the Kiwi’s. The Bulls, Stomers, Sharks and Lions have also all proven very competitive overseas.
Whilst the World Cup campaign will always be as big a challenge as a six hour physics exam for Erasmus and his team at least we now know some studying has been done – all we can do now is hope we get to the exam venue and find out it’s an open book paper.
SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE
Both he Hurricanes and Rebels were hosts who started with a bang. Both had their first tries notched inside the opening ten minutes but then hit a roadblock and struggled to add to their points from this point on.
The Bulls showed plenty of grit and determination in pulling off a valuable away victory in Aus. With the game dead-locked at 17 apiece, around the hour mark, the Rebels attacked and the experienced Will Genia opted for the chip over the defensive line. Unfortunately this prove about as effective as a condom in a convent – the Bulls turned the ball over and a few moment later the hosts were licking their wounds in the shadows of their own sticks.
The Canes exhibited their lethal expansive game early doors but were soon mauled, battered and bruised by the abrasive Argentines. With the hard work done upfront the visitors showed their own total off-loading and nippy running attacking style for which the home side had no answer on the day – pummelled into submission were the Kiwi side (not something we can say very often).
CAPED CRUSADERS FOILED BY PRIME SOUTH AFRICAN BEEF (AND JONKER)
The Sharks showed it a fortnight ago and the Stormers followed suit – these Crusaders are a brilliant rugby side but like any other they prefer to play the game on the front foot and not have big brawny South Africans in their faces getting stuck in physically and often tackling them backwards. Of course they would also prefer a tv referee who actually knew the forward pass law…
I saw a few people moan about the fact that both the Sharks and Stormers have merely tried to contain the men from Christchurch rather than offer something in the way of attack themselves (Kolisi’s penalty option at the end further sighted as a negative in this regard). Let’s get one thing straight here – the Crusaders are currently the Harlem Globe Trotters of world rugby. Regardless of how you get it done, keeping them to an even score is commendable. Yes, we would love to build ourselves into a nation who have a habit of winning and who can attack with confidence, but let’s settle for the baby steps for now. Marius, I completely understand how you didn’t want to see those Cape Crusaders go bonkers over “their team” pulling off the late win.I hope you were at least invited to join Eben and the lads in the change room for a cold one afterwards – you deserved it.
The Lions would save their fans a lot of grey hair if they could just grasp the exit play after a try. On so many occasions the Lions get their noses ahead after a good score yet instantly hand the initiative back to their opponents by ALWAYS trying to run the ball back from the re-start. Can one of the coaches please opt for watching the tape this week and address this!
There was also the Rieko Iona moment where he just gave the ball back to the Chiefs after doing all the hard work on the cover right on his own line and then of course the Marra moment with the over ruled pass.
Both Springbok pivots combined beautifully with their Sevens stars for these two highlights. Pollard hit Specman with a flat bullet-skip pass which put the speedster in to space along the left touchline. The dreadlocked winger chipped over his direct defender and did brilliantly well to regather, stay in-field and then get the crucial offload away to Burger Odendaal who pinned his ears back for the score. In Johannesburg Elton Jantjies stepped off his left and accelerated off the line faster than a Lamborghini (over the first 10 meters) to break the line and feed Kwagga Smith. The lively loosie rounded his defender with pace and a swerve before getting the ball away which saw the try notched up.
Whilst IssieFolau is out looking for a new job (and hopefully someone to handle his social media account on his behalf) Samu Kereviis now firmly the most important man in Aussie rugby. Against the Tahs he powered past two defenders before being gang tackled by the men in blue to somehow try and stop the robust centre, yet he managed to get the miracle offload away and ensure a try for his winger. Pure class!
Your resident Couch Critic
Who is Couch Critic?
Hein Diemont is the resident “Couch Critic” in the Goodforthegame Forum and he shares his weekly Super Rugby and Sports Betting 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…
This Blog is brought to you by leading South African bookmaker BetOlimp - Claim your 1st deposit bonus of up to R3,000 here
You can follow Hein on Twitter @HDiemont