Report card with a bit of everything

2015-05-13 06:00

IT’S AMAZING. People will see a rugby match and immediately pass judgement – indifferent, bad, good, sometimes even brilliant.

Rugby is a game in which success or failure of the teams involved is largely governed – as the war it often resembles – by attack and defence. Otherwise you’d get a lot of boring 0-0 results. This applies what’s more to any match from Under 10s to the Super Rugby series currently governing the lives of southern hemisphere lovers of the 15-man game.

To test the veracity of that statement let’s take some of the encounters the miracle of TV brought rugby enthusiasts last weekend.

Lack of consistency on defence put paid to a rousing attempt by the Sharks to put the overall log leaders, Hurricanes, to the sword in Wellington. The KZN franchise started like a house on fire. They led 7-0 after just six minutes. Back and forth went the lead, giving Sharks’ supporters real hope of a major upset. But gradually the old habit of sloppy defence at crucial moments began to raise its head.

The worst of them, which would turn out to be the killer-blow for the Sharks’ hopes, came as Hurricanes skipper, centre Conrad Smith, put Reggie Goodies into a gap for a try that heralded the beginning of the end for the South Africans. It was a defensive hole that shouldn’t have been there. Opposition centre, JP Pietersen, was so close he could have patted the Kiwi on the back, with an encouraging: “Go for it, lad. It’s a try all the way.” Who told Pietersen he’s a centre? The sooner he moves back to wing the better – for both the Sharks and his international career.

In all last weekend the Sharks missed 30 tackles. Perhaps the management should appoint flanker, Marcell Coetzee, as defence coach. Before the Wellington kickoff, he had made 100 successful tackles in this season’s Super Rugby Championship, missing a modest 10. There’s no arguing the case, sloppy defence has been the Sharks’ chief drawback since the start of the Super Rugby competition. Interestingly the Hurricanes remain top of the overall log by a long way – 48 points to second-placed Stormers’ 34.

You don’t get games that go closer than the Newlands affair between the Stormers and the Brumbies – the home side squeaking past the Australians 25-24. The turning point here came as flyhalf Christian Leali’ifano missed a conversion in front of the posts. Not surprisingly, you never saw a sadder face.

Opposite number, Demetri Catrakilis, never missed a trick – with five penalties, a conversion and a mammoth drop-goal for 20 points. Critics’ verdict? Dour struggle but a helluva game.

They may be only eighth on the log but Johan Ackermann’s Lions aren’t out of the playoffs yet. In a fine effort at Ellis Park they came from 3-23 at halftime to beat the Highlanders 28-23 in a thriller, sparked by an Oscar-like performance from halfbacks Faf de Klerk and Elton Jantjies that had their Kiwi opponents reeling. Verdict: a cracker of the first order. A few more like that and Ellis Park fans will be jiving

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.