I’m back! Sorry for not keeping the articles coming, but I’ve been too busy at work lately. So the Bokke have had their Australasian tour and one home game since my last article. The tour wasn’t all that great. But we could have come home with two wins, were it not for some factors.
First of which was kicking. Kicking out of hand and goal kicking weren’t up to scratch. If the Bokke (read Morne Steyn) were able to goal all kickable penalties we would have triumphed in both Perth and Dunedin. But we all know that rugby isn’t made of if’s, but’s and maybe’s! But besides the poor goal kicking, where is the “running” Morne Steyn that was the alternative to a “kicking” Derrick Hougaard??? With a great showing by Johan Goosen last night in the number 10 jersey, I think Morne has his work cut out to make it back into the Bok fold.
Coming to think of it, the way Louis Fouché is playing, he’s going to have a hard time making the Bulls starting 15 aswell! I really hope that this is only a temporary loss of form for Morne, and he can come back even better than before – Habana being a good example of this! A few negatives I’ve picked up. Discipline – We tend to give away too many penalties, and then we have players who just lose it for a couple of seconds, enter Dean Greyling and Eben Etzebeth. Now I do understand that players get worked up, and I am big fans of both these guys. I’m sure both of them learnt a big lesson and I hope it rubbed off on the other players. Secondly, Kicking – I already touched on this earlier, but I do think that the problem might lay deeper that just Morne losing form. Even though we had a great game yesterday, our kicking game still wasn’t where it is supposed to be. Louis Koen maybe? Can’t we get some like Percy or Carlos Spencer to come help out a bit??
Negatives aside. The Bok team is starting to gel, and things are looking up. I’m confident that we can beat the AB’s this coming Saturday. Huge congratulations to Johan Goosen for making his run-on debut and to Jaco Taute and Elton Jantjies on winning their first caps. To the Currie Cup! Because I’ve neglected to do weekly articles, this time round I’ll discuss the Currie Cup action team by team.
Lions – They just keep marching on! During the past week, I’ve had quite a few guys telling me now that the Lions also have players doing Bok duty, things would even out a bit, and they won’t be as good as they were thought to be. Funny thing is, all these “experts” are strangely quiet today. All the other Unions can learn something from this Lions team. Even with Bok call-ups, injuries and players and coaches leaving, these guys still manage to pull together and give their all for one another and the team. When John Mitchell got sacked, I thought it was the end. When Josh Strauss left, I thought this time it really was over. And when they were 10 points down with 10 to go at Kings Park, I said “I knew it was over!” But somehow they once again pulled together and ground out a victory. Beating WiePie at home, a WiePie side I thought were starting to look better in the later stages of the Currie Cup.
Although it’s hard to single out players, I do have to mention two. I take my hat off to JC Janse van Rensburg. “The strongest, most technically sound Loosehead in South Africa” – according to Balie Swart. Besides being what Balie thinks, I also think that he is by far the best Captain in the Currie Cup. The evergreen Butch James. Need I say more?? Lions to make it two in a row? I think so! Sharks – After a disappointing loss to Griquas, the sorted themselves out, and are playing very good rugby at the moment. A good solid victory at a soaked Kings Park against a tough WiePie side. A couple of very good youngsters coming through the ranks. Sharks Academy seems to be working well. It’s good to see that Keegan has come back from Bok duty still in a positive frame of mind.
He is the heart and soul of the Sharks team, and I think it was his influence alone that enabled the Sharks to beat the Bulls Friday evening. If I do have to be critical, Keegan will have to start watching what he says and how he talks to the referees. I’ve seen more than one referee get irate with Keegan about the manner he speaks to them. WiePie – Like I’ve said earlier, after beating Griquas I really thought that they were on the up. The terrible and shameful showing against the Sharks (and SARU spectacularly failing once again to take any action against thuggery) and the loss to the Lions at Newlands - the first time in 7 years, I think – somewhere alarm bells should be going off.
AC seems to be undeterred by the fact that his Captain is by far the most penalty prone player on the field, and sulks like a big baby when he does get penalized. It also doesn’t seem to bother him that about a third of his team are more focussed on trying to intentionally hurt the opposition than they are to playing the game. Saying all this, I do think there are a few players who really give their best each time out. If AC and WP Management don’t wake up soon, they will be leaving for greener pastures. Damian de Allende – remember this name!! Cheetahs – The Cheetahs are like the French of South African rugby. On the day, they can beat anybody in front of them.
Pity that they can find any continuity. Good game to edge past Griquas yesterday, came back strongly against the Bulls and just falling short in the end. Very good players in each position, but still lacking the little bit of magic they used to have a few seasons ago. Griquas – Upset the Lions, Sharks and Bulls, only for the wheels to come off against the Cheetahs and WiePie. I think the lack of depth is starting to show as the season goes on. Still a very well coached team - might want to invest in a good Defence Coach? - and players weekly putting their bodies on the line for the team. Some really good quality players, but they will have to look to grow their pool of talent. Two hard games remaining, Lions at home and a trip down to Durban. With a bonus point or two and maybe even a sneaky victory, I would really like to see them in the semis. Still of opinion that they are a better run Union than the Kings.
Lastly, Bulls – Pine Pienaar must go. Easy as that. That the talent is there, cannot be disputed. But looking at the playing style, it is evident that Pine is completely incompetent. The idea of have separate Coaches for Currie Cup and Super Rugby are failing miserably. Bulls Management must be weary not the get caught up in a similar situation than that of WiePie, where the Coach is good enough to get the teams to semi’s but not win anything. The Players are getting frustrated, and if a plan isn’t made very soon, they will have a massive exodus. Some might be happy to know that I have just about given up my CJ Stander for the Bokke campaign.
That the guy is pure class, cannot be denied. But I think he has his mind set on Ireland. Lastly it was with great sadness to hear that one of my Role Models, Corrie Sanders was shot and killed over the long weekend. I never had the chance to meet him, but from what I’ve heard he was a great guy, always willing to pose for a picture and give out a signature. Humble and down to earth. A lot of young sportsmen can learn from that. A hero to the end, using himself to shield his daughter. My condolences to his family. RIP Sniper.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.