What a weekend!! Great wins by the Bulls and Lions, and a close shave for the Bokke!!
Let me start off with my ranting about CJ Stander! I usually save this for last, but after yesterday he deserves to be mention first! Scored a very good try, just about made Arno’s try, and started the move which led to the 3rd try! Apart from his attacking ability, he is a monster on defence and always gets the Bulls on the front foot with ball in hand, and not scared to get stuck in at ruck time. After the horrific excuse of rugby we saw being played in Mendoza last night, I am now, more than ever before, of opinion that CJ needs, no CJ MUST be in the Bok team!!!
On that note, let’s get to the Bok game. We all read through-out the week about how the field conditions will favour the Bok style of play. Now if the pitch did in fact suit the Bokke last night, I am scared by the thought of what would have happened if the pitch didn’t suit them... Let’s be honest, playing in Argentina is something quite new, and with a very vocal crowd it could not have been easy. Secondly, the Pumas are a bunch of dirty buggers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making any excuses, but these are all contributing factors to the outcome of the game. Just about at each and every ruck a Puma was hassling a Bok, and the Bokke let it get to them, instead of just carrying on with their game. But none of this takes away from the fact that the Bokke played poorly to say the least. Our tight five was pathetic, apart from Eben, was one of the very few highlights in this match. I honestly don’t know what Bekker is doing in the Bok team. Missed line outs, missed tackles, hanging around the backline while our ball gets turned over. Our loosies were just average. It’s hard to judge Hougaard’s play as he has a hard time at ruck time because our forwards fail to deliver clean ball. Would still prefer to see him on the wing and Ruan starting. Morne had a sub-standard performance. I was really hoping he had turned the corner last week, but it seems I was mistaking. With Goosen making his return, Fouché having a brilliant game and Jantjies impressive for the Lions, I really think that Morne has to start getting his act together. I spoke about the centres last week, and still feel that Francois and Jean aren’t the answer here. The wings didn’t get to see much action, so it would be unfair to judge them. Zane didn’t really do much wrong, but I think he lacks that something extra. That little moment of magic. Our line outs were woeful, our scrums aren’t where they are supposed to be, Jannie being the main culprit here, and we still lost a big amount of ball on the ground. At least our defence only leaked one try, but Jean still shoots up out of the defensive line, trying for an intercept. Doing this against the AB’s will have disastrous consequences. Having said all this, we have to keep in mind, that this was a first for alot of players. Taking into account the way the Wannabe’s played, I think Deans and his guys will be have a very hard time during their time in Argentina. Heyneke HAS to sort out his scrum, line out, and the amount of ball being lost, otherwise I foresee a big loss coming our way in NZ.
Getting to the AB Wannabe’s game. 22 – 0, need I say more? Good solid defence, doing enough for a comfortable win, without really having to shift to top gear.
Down to Currie Cup action. Cheetahs v Griquas. Yet again the men from Kimberley grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory. Cheetahs were unimpressive after a good showing against the Bulls last week. Griquas really up for it for most of the match, but it’s still the 50/50 passes and calls and decisions at crucial times which let them down.
Lions v WiePie. Very well done by the Lions to come back from a disappointing defeat last week. Although it was an excellent team performance, I really think Josh Strauss was impressive (another Bok candidate, maybe???) scoring a good try, solid defence and doing his part in the rucks aswell. WiePie was just terrible. The whole week leading up to the game we had to hear how certain players will have a point to prove seeing as that they weren’t considered for the away leg of the Championship. Funny enough, this morning I had to read about how young the current WiePie team is, and how inexperienced they are as opposed to the Lions... Already saw alot of supporters crying about Stuart Berry’s competency this morning. But the fact remains, you can have the best player pool in the world, but if your coaching isn’t up to scratch, you will get nowhere!! The Captain of the team giving away a STUPID penalty right in front of the sticks after the siren has gone. And yes WiePie fans, it was penalty. He was in the wrong. “Hands off” and “Leave it” were called and he kept on playing the ball. Mindless play, and even more so coming from the Captain. Nienaber’s great work being undone by Fleck and AC.
Bulls v Sharks. I didn’t give the Bulls half a chance of winning this one after poor showing a week ago. How wrong was I??? I already sang the praises of CJ, but Akona Ndungane, Jurgen Visser and Louis Fouché had outstanding games aswell. That 55+ metre drop from Fouché!! WOW!!! Haven’t seen one of those in a while. Sharks didn’t play poorly either, but that 15 – 20 minute spell in the 2nd half just about blew them away. I do have a bit of criticism for the Sharks (and alot of other teams might take note aswell) I do feel that with ball in hand and few only a few meters away from the touch line, they tend to play very stingily, and instead of trying to put a supporting player trough a gap – something Fred Michalak is great at, some players choose to rather go for glory themselves. Blatant obstruction leading to the Sharks try just before half time was sad to see. After going to the TMO to check for a forward pass, Jaco Peyper could’ve just asked for the incident to be looked at. Bulls looked much better with Paige on the field; don’t think Snyman is the answer at 9.
Please feel free to comment or make suggestions on my views.
That’s my say, until next week. Keep well!