|Volume 1 - Week 12|
Brilliant! Isn’t unbelievable how time flies? RF is yet again in your inbox to raise an appetite for what will be the penultimate weekend of Super 12 rugby. There is a salivating selection of games to look forward to, the best of SA and the best of Australia fighting it out to proceed to the first non-Kiwi final in history!
The Super 12 has been a fine competition over the years and the 2001edition is no exception, RF will be working on a post mortem of the year where we will try and analyze, summarize and speculate of the season that was. To help us in this assessment we would like to involve you, the reader to attempt a similar exercise and e-mail RF with your views. Look out for the “State of the Competition Address” in the week following the final.
I was in Gauteng over the weekend and it struck me how many people are devoted to their respective teams, the Cats and the Bulls, gone are the days of an identity crisis amongst the players and supporters of these two franchises. One can only congratulate the respective administrators, coaches and players for establishing a strong brand with loyal support amongst notoriously the most fickle supporters in South Africa. The other thing I noticed was the 4X4’s and fancy cars, my word! No wonder it’s a hijacking heaven, if you don’t own a luxury car, in other words you are not an MP on the Defense committee, jealousy must make you nasty!
RF is sporting a new bit of technology this week and I hope most of you will be able to access it, below the ‘letters to the editor’ there is a heading ‘briewe en opinies in afrikaans (kliek hier)’. Thanks to Geoff we know have a section that can expand (once you clicked on it) with all the Afrikaans letters, articles and views. Due to time constraints it will be impossible to replicate the entire RF in Afrikaans but it provides an opportunity for those “Boerseuns” amongst us to write in their own language. For those of you who cannot read the language, it will only be a heading that you can’t read anyway!
The Springbok squad deserves a quick mention because as always it is of “national importance”! Harry Viljoen has chosen a well-balanced squad and except for a few unlucky players most of the form players of the season so far is present. Harry must also be congratulated on the bold moves with players he deems to possess the ability to represent the country at some stage in the future and expose them to the Springbok culture. The more players involved in a national setup they better they will become, I’m not saying we should cheapen the colors, by no means but exposure on a higher level even only on the training pitch does wonders for any young aspirant Springbok. One thing we as rugby public can do is debate at length but when it comes to the crunch we must support wholeheartedly.
The 12th edition of RF is out and once again my thanks go to all the contributors, MF and MM for their fine efforts. If you are anywhere near Durban go and support our two teams vying for the final position, I’ll be in front of the telly with a cold one (or three)!
Mail me at RugbyForum@freemail.absa.co.za to include or remove your address or to request an RF Omnibus of all the previous issues in MS Word format.
The Final Weekend by Mark FosterThe Final Weekend by Mark Foster
The final weekend of round robin matches in this year’s Super 12 competition delivered the usual surprises and upsets we have now become accustomed to. Of the six teams vying for the 4th semi final position the Reds proved their pedigree with an awesome away win at Sydney. The Brumbies demolished the Chiefs thus leaving this columnist in no doubt about the professionalism of these two teams as questioned last week!
The knock out stages has finally arrived and to borrow the immortal words of the Highlander, “there can be only one”! Two Ausie and two South African teams are playing each other as if the local derbies last week were not tough enough! From a South African perspective the Reds’ win was a blessing in disguise, I believe the Reds’ are one of the few teams in the competition that can stage an upset at Bruce Stadium. There is no jetlag to worry about and both sides are well versed in each other’s ways, “BMT” on the day will decide the winner.
The South African clash will be very interesting; the teams have played each other twice this season, a warm up match and the real McCoy, the score is 1-1 however the Cats won the vital competition clash at Ellis Park. Saturday’s game, at fanatical Kings Park (ABSA Stadium as it is now known) is set to be a bruising encounter. Players omitted from the Springbok squad will want to prove their worth to Harry Viljoen not to mention qualifying for a final. Of the two teams probably only Mark Andrews, Ollie Le Roux and Japie Mulder has played in any international rugby finals. The winner? As a firm believer in hindsight, a cruel and exact science I’m not willing to bet on one horse but, the team with the coolest head wins a final and usually that characteristic couples with experience.
A quick word re the poor Kiwi’s, ag shame! For the first time in history there is no New Zealand team in the final four… about time the men in black resort to introspective analysis, Aus and SA’s been doing it for years!! Admittedly some teams played very well and the Chiefs in my book deserve a special mention for an entertaining season of exciting running rugby. But the wheel turns and you can bet every dollar that the Kiwi’s will be back with vigor next season, if not earlier in the Tri Nations, they have loads of time to rest and prepare. A wounded animal is the most dangerous kind!
Mr. Harry Viljoen selected a squad of 30 + players for a training camp in lovely Plettenberg Bay, one of the premier resorts on the Garden route and host to the Springboks for similar excursions the past few years. The squad is a mix of experience, exuberant youth and to be honest wild surprises. The majority of his previous players remain however Harry’s surrounded himself with future talent which in my mind will no doubt be there to learn and observe for future reference. The inclusion of 19 year old Swart, a flyhalf (now there’s a surprise) is the “wild” spoken of, nobody has heard of this player but then the same was said of a young slender whitehead boy called Naas Botha employed by Buurman van Zyl in the seventies, we should give the lad a chance.
The squad is interesting but more importantly it is Harry’s, he knows what his game plan and mission is, by all accounts RWC glory in 2003 and with that in mind his thinking and selections are quite correct. A pity about some players and here we have to include Davidson, Halstead, van Rensburg, Venter from the Sharks; Lombaard from the Bulls; van Straaten, Rossouw, Louw from the Stormers and Human, Swanepoel, Meyer, Esterhuizen from the Cats. The players as with any Springbok squad (one hope!) can still force their way into contention with quality performances in the Currie Cup and the motivation should be even higher to perform better. A great like Frik Du Preez was dropped or overlooked a few times in his illustrious career, he never gave up and always continued to prove his worth and his detractors wrong.
A great weekend await, the rugby will be of an exceptional quality, don’t expect a try feast rather the test rugby type of grind where any errors are punished and a game is won or lost by a kick.
Youthfull Loyalties Rekindled by When-we van Tonder
The last two weekends have each afforded me the opportunity to escape the clinical rough ‘n tumble of the Super 12 and to return to the carefree world of schoolboy rugger. Actually that’s far too dismissive, and I’m doing a great injustice to the young warriors who played in the two games, as each was played with a spirit of pride, punctuated with occasional bouts of ferocity, that is normally reserved for test matches.
As a hot-blooded old boy of Greensleeves Grammar School, I was only too pleased to look on as my old school demolished their seaside rivals in the first game. I cheered on hoarsely as wave after wave of glorious backline running resulted in a glut of tries out wide. Afterwards, I and my fellow loyalists sipped on our flasks of whiskey long into the wintry night, smugly contemplating the looming match against a XV of hirsute boyjies from across the boerewors curtain. The bravado of the marching Orangemen of Ulster had nothing on us, as we contemplated global domination. Never fear, we assured ourselves, those pap-guzzling monsters would be no match for our dashing Natalians.
How wrong we were! An audible gasp echoed across the grandstand a week later as our hosts loped casually onto the turf, each proudly sporting the sponsor’s logo on his breast and (to our eyes) a five o’clock shadow. These chaps can’t be schoolboys, we mumbled indignantly amongst ourselves. Grizzled runaway welders from Danville maybe, or Recce awollers, but never schoolboys!
Our worst fears were confirmed shortly after kickoff, as these marauding boerseuns began to grind our plucky fellows into the pitiless Highveld soil. Their banana-fingered locks soared in the lineouts, their burly centres thrust through the midfield, and their trio of psychotic looseforwards was here, there and everywhere. Our plucky scrum toiled manfully and remained unbowed, our backline managed the occasional spirited dash, dagger in hand, but in the end the weighty broadsword of our hosts deservedly prevailed.
We sipped our whiskeys again after the match, but the cheery celebrations of seven days earlier were nowt to be seen. We grimaced into our goblets, offering mumbled praise to the victors, as we contemplated our melancholic journey home down Van Reenen’s Pass. Our hopes of vicarious glory and another undefeated season had been royally crushed. So much for global domination, we snorted sadly. Well, till next season anyway.
Letters to the Editor
Thanks once again for a truly brilliant magazine. Congrats to the Sharks and the Cats for making the semi's of the Super 12. I am disappointed to not see at least one New Zealand side in the Super 12 and would suggest that it is their management schemes that are faltering. There certainly seems to be enough talent in those New Zealand teams to have won the championship this year but they seem to be lacking a certain something I can't quite place my finger on.
Enough of that now. What about the new Springbok team. I haven't had a chance to look at it properly yet but am I right in saying that I did not see Craig Davidson's name there. What you have to be kidding me right. Tell me I was seeing things. I hope that this was just an oversight on my part but if it wasn't then Craig my heart goes out to you as you have been outstanding this season.
Mmm Skinstad back in the fray. I wonder has he done enough to deserve this. There is no doubt that he is brilliant and that one day he will be one of the greats. I just don't think you should pick someone after he hasn't really worked hard for it yet. Makes making the team a little to easy hey and the expectation then will be that, it doesn't matter if I am not 100% they will choose me anyhow cause of my skills. Sounds a little like my child saying, I don't have to study cause I know my work - not always a wise thing.
Adrian Jacobs - I mean there is no doubting his ability but he is still very young and why not send him to play in the Under 23 team and put pool Trevor Halstead into the team. Halstead for my money is the best specialist inside centre in the country and provides a second five eight who can do almost anything, including set-up backline play. Jacobs against the Cats on Friday looked alot like Fleck, "I don't pass the ball cause a rush of blood after the last two performances has gone to my head and suddenly I am invincible". Mmm talent is doing your best at what you do well. Someone please tell that guy.
I agree with Matfield and Andrews but not so much Ackerman and Van den Bergh. I was previously quite taken by Ackermann but he has failed to maintain his high standard over the last three performances. Albert on the other hand has been knowhere this year, and Hottie Louw has only put in a few good performances. Who then? Can't we once again find space for Venter at lock as he is not only mobile but has played the position before. I also think that his size helps to lock the scrums.
Wayne Julies, are we pulling another Skinstad with him? Anyway just thought I would air my views!!! Once again thank you for a highly entertaining and informative electronic magazine. Maybe Harry should hire you guys instead.
Thank you for the kind words Bryan but I'm quite happy to let Harry hire some Ausies to do the work! Ed.
With regards to your comments on Stefan Terreblanche selection in the RF's Springbok Team, I have to disagree with your comments kind of comparing him with Lomu! Let me ask you something - when last did you see Lomu playing? Reason I ask is that Lomu is as useless as can be!
With all due respect, the only time Lomu is a good rugby player is when he has a couple of meters to pick up speed and yes by all means then nobody can stop him! Its like an Centurion Tank on the run and its going to be very hard to stop, but remember there is more to rugby than only that! Lomu is hopelessly overrated! How about his defence? Non existent! How about his general thinking and plan making during open play? - non existent!
Lets face it, all he is waiting for the whole of 80 minutes, is time to pick up pace to get the ball and to crash whoever comes in his way!
Lets go back to 1995. Remember how he destroyed everything and everybody that came in his way during all the games leading up to the Final? Oh yes , what did he do to that England fullback? Oh yes, what did that England fullback say afterwards? Still remember? Well what he said was something like: "I feel sorry for the South Africans, don't know how they going to stop him?".... and what did the South Africans do to him? Stopped him in his tracks! Remember one tackle on Lomu was done by Joost ALONE!! - I still have this on tape if you wish to see! The South Africans showed the rest of the world how to stop Lomu.
Did you know that Lomu in his entire International Rugby career NEVER scored a SINGLE try against the South Africans! Its been 6 years now! Well, do I need to say any thing more?
Please do not misunderstand me. I'm only trying to be fair towards Stefan and as far as I'm concerned Lomu "has a fair bit to go to be mentioned in the same breath as Stepan" when it comes to playing rugby in general. Lomu can't kick, can't catch high balls, can't pass to another player, as a matter of fact all he can do is run when he has space. Thats all!
Your comments about Stefan has a fair bit to go to be mentioned in the same breath as the Big Fella, is very unfair! I believe Stefan had a excellent year by far better than Lomu.
Keep up the good work!
A second letter from Frans! Ed.
My apology, I misread your comments as you were talking about Dean Hall and not Stefan Terblanche. I still stick to my comments about Lomu. He is totally overrated. No rugby brains no nothing at all. The dumbest player I've ever seen on a rugby field.
Your comments about Jonah are valid (the first letter) and apart from one or two good matches have never really featured in this year’s Super 12. His prowess though is legendary and he's been spectacularly successful as a try-scoring machine and intimidation factor except against the Springboks but then all efforts is aimed at Lomu while Mr. Cullen has proved to be far more devastating! Good to hear some support for Stefan Terreblanche though! Ed.
Mail me at RugbyForum@freemail.absa.co.za to submit your own 'letter to the editor'
Briewe en Opinies in Afrikaans
Kan julle dit glo, Rugby Forum in die moedertaal! Ek het 'n paar weke gelede 'n brief ontvang van 'n leser wat graag RF tweetalig wou maak, ek het sekere probleme voorsien maar soos julle weet is bittermin struikelblokke werklik onoorbrugbaar!
RF is gebore as 'n Engelse konsep om rede ek graag die hele wereld wil betrek m.a.w 'n internasional lesersgroep daarstel. Een van my groot hoofbrekens was hoe om 'n Afrikaanse gedeelte by te voeg sonder om die "internasionaliteit" te verloor want ek is bevrees "Souties" in Engeland en ander lesers in Europa en Australasie gaan nie deur paragrawe van 'n ander taal wil deurworstel om iets in Engels gelees te kry nie. Julle sal egter met my saamstem dat Afrikaners meer geneig is om Engels te praat/skryf en daarom nie 'n probleem het met die taal as sulks nie. Dit is egter onrusbarend dat Afrikaans afgeskeep word en met die hulp van 'n goeie vriend wat ietsie van programering af weet het ek op die beste oplossing afgekom (wel ek hoop so!) waarby Engels as hoof spreektaal behou word maar Afrikaans bekikbaar is vir die wat wil in sy moedertaal oor rugby lees en gesels.
Supersport het bewys dat meer Afrikaanse mense betrokke is by hulle webblad asook by hulle boodskapborde en ek hoop van ganse harte dat hierdie Afrikaanse hoekie net so suksesvol sal wees en dat ons lekker in Afrikaans ons opinies kan lig oor die spel waarvoor ons almal so lief is. Laat asseblief weet wat dink julle van die inisiatief en skryf gerus vir my 'n e-pos in Afrikaans!
Baie dankie vir 'n oulike nuusbrief - ek geniet die oulike taalgebruik en vind die opinies nogal ingelig en objektief. Die kwot's is ware juwele.
Kommentaar oor spankeuse:
-Paulse - vlugvoetig en rats maar julle kritiek pla oor verdediging en is geregverdig. Waarom het die snuiter Jacobs so maklik by hom, Barry en andere verby gehardloop. BP is 'n goeie speler maar weens sy beperkings nie werklik geskik vir die top liga nie. Die groter spanne kan hom te malik teiken as 'n strategiese swakplek.
-Andrews - Kommentaar oor hom is korrek behalwe dat hy beserings gewys kwesbaar is. As jy in so 'n geval nie Ackerman het om op terug te val nie, het jy diep moeilikheid. Matfield het duidelik talent maar sy werktempo in die laaste wedstryde was maar swak - so ook sy lyf wegstekery en om in die agterlyn te staan. Ek dink hy moet eers verder in die Curriebeker en/of in 'n beter span beproef word om sy krag en rugby mentaliteit werklik te beproef. Wat sal Martin Johnstone en kie met hom doen?
Bokgroep nie reg nie
Hoe kan spelers soos Pieter Rossouw, Trevor Halstead, Braam van Straaten, Craig Davidson, AJ Venter en James Dalton nie 'n Bokgroep van 30 haal nie? Hall en Paulse is tans die beste vleuls in SA, maar Rossouw is beslis beter as Conrad Jantjies. Wat het Jantjies op die Cats se bank gedoen om 'n plek in die span te verdien? Wayne Julies het nog nie rugby gespeel vanjaar nie, terwyl Halstead teen al die top senters in die Super 12 meer as sy man gestaan het. Braam is steeds die beste losskakel in SA - sy verdediging, ervaring en stelskopwerk is goud werd vir enige span. Davidson het teen die Stormers gewys hy is baie beter as De Cock. Hoekom word daar vyf stutte gekies? AJ Venter verdien 'n plek bo Sephaka. Dalton en Smit is by verre die beste hakers in die land. Al wat Lukas van Biljon in die Super 12 gewys het is dat hy nie die bal reguit in die lynstane kan ingooi nie. Harry Viljoen moet vergeet van Dalton se omstrede verlede. Hy het verander en is steeds 'n wêreldklas haker. Mark Andrews moet kaptein wees, want Vos is nie meer die beste agsteman in die land nie, Skinstad is. Kom ons hoop die Bokkeurders haal hul oogklappe af voor die Drienasies begin!
Stuur jou e-pos aan RugbyForum@freemail.absa.co.za om jou eie opinie te lug
(answers at the end)
Blues 36 - Hurricanes 17
The match was always going to be a difficult affair after copious amounts of rain left the playing field soaked and condition treacherous. Eden Park, always a formidable venue for the visiting team was no different this time and the Blues although out of contention for the semi-finals produced a good display to discard any hopes of the Hurricanes to play in the semi’s.
The Hurricanes began the match without Lomu but seem to adapt to the difficult conditions far better than the Blues by scoring the first points and the first try, an excellent effort from Tiatia in the corner after a blind move from the lineout. James Arlidge kept the Blues in touch with penalties but a flurry of tries from Taylor and Crib after some suicidal running from the Hurricanes assured them of a 7 point lead at the break. The conditions did not allow for attractive running rugby the Hurricanes are so good at producing and needed to produce to boost their hopes of a place in the play-offs.
The second half continued in similar vein with the Hurricanes trying their best to run everything from anywhere and the mistakes being punished by the Blues. Penalty attempts from both teams increased the points but the margin remained, Holwell missed a few opportunities where Arlidge proved the more reliable of the two on the evening. For the Hurricanes, Norm Hewitt proved disastrous with his lineout throwing and this cost them valuable possession. Doug Howlett scored a magnificent try in the dying minutes to ensure a victory for the beleaguered Blues and for good measure sneaked in another to provide the Blues with some consolation for the season.
Robin Brooke fittingly added a conversion in his last act for the Blues on Eden Park, the All Black lock deserved a better finish in his final season though and the Blues will look to a far better showing in 2002.
Man of the match: Ron Cribb
Brumbies 49 - Chiefs 6
The Brumbies at Bruce Stadium, it is beginning to sound like the Great Wall of China, insurmountable. The Chiefs, one of the few teams who have won there before traveled away from soaking New Zealand to receive a jolly good thrashing from a team peaking at the right time.
A lot has been said and written about the Brumbies but they deserve their plaudits with some magnificent crafted rugby. They are meticulous in their build up and possess world-class players in all the right positions. The Chiefs had hardly run on to the field when sustained pressure and a seventh phase move created an opening for Joe Roff to burst through, 3 minutes later ditto, only this time it was Jeremy Paul. With a start like this it was always going to be an uphill battle for the Chiefs.
Stirling Mortlock continued to punish the Chiefs for any indiscretion and although no more tries were scored in the first half the penalties assured the Brumbies of a healthy lead at the break. The Chiefs lost Bruce Reihanna to the bin after a high, late and dangerous charge and he was forced to spend 10 in the bin.
The Brumbies playing against 14 men began the second half like the first, a great grubber from Mortlock was pounced on by George Smith, try time! The lead was now fairly out of the Chiefs reach and they tried their best to run the ball but turnovers cost them dearly. The Brumbies, masters of the counter-attack pounced on a turnover after a Rhys Duggan break and Rod Kafer, standing in for Larkham ghosted his way around a few forwards to provide Bond with some space and the ballgame was truly over for the Chiefs as well as any semi-final hopes.
The Brumbies, now enjoying themselves scored another two tries, one was an exquisite piece of work from Andrew Walker. The small winger chased Randle after an attempted breakout from the Chiefs’ 25, his tackle caused the ball to spill into the hands of Joe Roff who beat two defenders after magnificent stepping of both feet and who was there to support? Guessed it, Walker, who with two awesome sidesteps of his own dotted down between the posts. Roff scored the final try.
The Brumbies are magnificent in their play, the only way to get the better of these guys are a supreme forward effort to deny them any ball and no mistakes on the turnover. George Smith is simply in a class of his own and his personal contribution is immense in the success of the team. The Brumbies will be hard to beat at Bruce and the Reds is probably the best equipped to do so this weekend.
The Chiefs played awesome rugby this year and they are to be commended for their efforts this season, beware, next year they will be strong contenders.
Man of the match: George Smith
Cats 19 - Bulls 21
Ellis Park, full of fans must be one of the most beautiful sights in South African rugby. The match between the aspirant titleholders and the bottom of the log team was always going to be a strange affair with both being local sides.
The Bulls began the match in a dreadful fashion with a kick-off straight into touch??? It probably summarizes their season perfectly, to top that Thinus Delport scored within two minutes of the ill fated start to send the local crowd into a frenzy. The Cats built purposefully and patiently on their next try and Jannes Labushagne put the Cats further ahead with a burst over the line. The Cats continued to dominate the half but failed to exploit mistakes from the Bulls and their own did very little to encourage for next week’s semi-finals.
The Bulls played much better in the last ten minutes and with Matfield prominent in the build-up Frikkie Welsch managed to score a fine try in the corner. The Bulls were now more confident and they piled on the pressure to equalize the game at half time. The match is reflective of the hard and tight rugby played when local sides meet.
The second half was a ding-dong affair with both teams countering on each other’s mistakes, the lineout throwing was shocking and Boshoff obviously needed replacing but his replacement was not much better! There were a few opportunities for both sides however fine defence and series of errors strangely prohibited any try-scoring efforts.
The Bulls, like in the first half was prominent in the last quarter with Hakkies Husselman scoring a try after just about every forward tried to barge over and suddenly the Bulls were ahead by 7 points with about 10 minutes to play. The Cats realizing the game was slipping out of their reach threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Bulls. The Bulls defended marvelously and Dean Hall amongst others was stopped inches from the line. Alcock’s effort was adjudged a double movement and the Cats were desperate, with the clock on 52 minutes Thinus Delport scored in the corner and all was left to Clinton van Rensburg to convert for a draw, he missed.
The Bulls and their fans were delighted with a famous victory over their rivals, the Cats with one bonus point was sure of a semi-final but losing the penultimate match could dent their confidence just a little bit.
Man of the match: Thinus Delport
Highlanders 26 - Crusaders 21
The Highlanders won a tight match against the Crusaders in the House of Pain, they had a sensational start with a try after only 30 seconds! The Highlanders needed to win the match with a bonus point to keep any semi final chances alive.
The match, as with the other New Zealand derby was played in very wet conditions that made running rugby extremely difficult. The Highlanders was given no charity by a valiant Crusaders team and after the speedy start the scoring was slow.
The match was a good trial run for All Blacks’ coach, Wayne Smith with interesting tussles between the two strongest NZ packs in the competition. Behind both were the two players to wear the no 9 jumper, Marshall and Kelleher and both played magnificently in the difficult conditions.
The second half like the first produced a try to the Highlanders from a mistake by Andrew Mehrtens, the poor man is a confidence player and clearly it has suffered of late. The Highlanders through Alatini and Brown’s kicking managed to stay ahead and although So’oalo scored an excellent long-range effort the writing was on the wall.
The Highlanders with untimely injuries through the season finished a disappointing 5th position, so close but yet so far. For NZ teams, 2001 was not to be.
Man of the match: Tony Brown
Waratahs 20 - Reds 25
The Reds did what no other team could do this year in Sydney, win. The match between two age-old rivals was quite entertaining and even though the Reds were lucky in a way to win this match, they did display more composure and class than their young counterparts.
John Eales opened the scoring after a bizarre set of events, Roalini the Reds’ scrumhalf passed the ball into the head of a Waratah forward, the ball spilt into the hands of the Wallaby skipper who after an audacious dummy galloped to the tryline. Stiles added a further 5 points after a good little break by Latham, who had a good game. Captain Matt Burke and a try from Johno West kept the Waratah’s in the picture but somehow destiny seem to be with the Reds.
The second half saw the best try and movement in the match when a long flowing backline movement punctuated by quick hands saw Junior Palesasa score after a good step on the line. The Reds inspired by Dan Herbert were solid on defence and the attacking finesse of Latham make them a very difficult side to play against.
The Reds made sure of their semi final place with this win and so dashed all the other hopefuls’ chances. They will probably be far happier to travel to Canberra than a trip to the “Republic” for their semi-final.
The Waratahs dearly missed Phil Waugh and his turnover abilities is a vital cog in their wheel, yet the young side of Bob Dwyer did themselves proud this year.
Man of the match: John Eales
Stormers 19 - Sharks 23
The much-anticipated Stormers Sharks clash turned out to be more of an anti-climax than anything else. The result in Sydney put all semi-final hopes beyond the Stormers and the Sharks were already assured of a home match thus the game was pure academic.
The Stormers had a bad start to the match when one of their discards, Justin Swart rounded their star player Breyton Paulse. Paulse’s lack of defence is very worrying and the way Swart slipped past on the outside does not augur well for the test series this year but all credit to Justin, he played a very good match.
The Sharks never really looked like they were trying very hard and with the opposition handing out tries like the one Albert van den Bergh scored, who can blame them? Van Straaten after an ill-timed inside pass found the rankly lock and there are very few players in the country who will catch him over 40 meters, yip that’s right a lock who wont be caught over 40 meters. Albert also proved his worth by stealing numerous lineout balls from the hapless Stormers’ forwards.
Robbie Fleck after a brilliant break and an easy run to the tryline suffered probably the most embarrassing moment of his career, a meter before the line he slowed down sufficiently to dot the ball down, Deon Kayser chasing on cross defence slammed into him with a crushing tackle and the Springbok test centre lost the ball over the tryline! Skande! Robbie managed to smile afterwards but the laughs from his teammates typified the atmosphere of the match, under normal circumstances it would have been sacrilege.
The Stormers did manage to score shortly afterwards through Quintin Davids to put them within 2 points of the Sharks. A few minutes later the third try by a lock on the day was scored by Mark Andrews after a television decision, he did look like he was out though. What followed was some good attacking by the Stormers and even better defence from the Sharks to deny them tries.
There were a few excellent individual performances notably from Craig Davidson and Butch James who overshadowed De Kock and van Straaten. Ettienne Fynn and Charl van Rensburg also impressed and Hottie Louw was good on the run but his lineout play suffered under the presence of van den Berg and Andrews.
The match, staged at Wellington was an apparent success but like the big Schalk Burger suggested beforehand maybe it’s a better idea to reserve games in the “Platteland” for visiting teams from Australasia and not big home derbys between two of the best supported teams in the country.
Man of the match: Albert van den Bergh
The final log:
Opinions and Views
Youngsters need heroes. They need figures like Batman, Tarzan and Naas Botha. Abe Malan
Have a go, you mug. That means, don't die wondering whether you were good enough to win; don't wait until you've lost to see if you can win. Bob Dwyer
Genius is great when it is on song. It is more of a nuisance when it goes bad, because it contaminates and destroys what is around it. Joe Mercer
Nothing can unite a country like South Africa more than a rugby Test macth - we become one. Danie Craven
These English you're just going out to meet have taken our coal, our water, our steel; they buy our houses and only live in them a fortnight a year... Down the centuries these English have exploited and pilaged us - and we're playing them this afternoon, boys. Phil Bennett, captain of Wales in a team talk before a test against England.
Answers: 1. Ray Mordt, 1981 2. Wales, 1908 3. Newport 4. Jonathan Davies, 3 5. 1987, Wasps beat Richmond
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