Editors Note


Volume 6, Week 6

Editors Note

Brilliant!      Yet another dismal weekend for South African rugby… bar the Bulls the rest drove supporters to the bar. Although the Sharks can be commended with one of the most spirited displays of all sides in the competition so far but just not good enough. Another team was just good enough…

There are times when great sporting events just cannot be ignored, rugby or not. If a quick list of the crème de la crème of sporting nirvana (last decade) is compiled, the 1995 RWC final, the Springboks victories in the Tri Nations over the All Blacks 1998, 2000 and 2004, Ernie Els’ titanic battle with Phil Mickleson on the back nine of Augusta 2004, the 1999 World Cup semi-finals between Aus and SA (cricket and rugby) will rank high indeed and then came Sunday’s one day international between the same two teams where both sides achieved the nigh impossible.

For those readers in the darkest corners of the globe, SA beat Australia by scoring 438 runs to top the 435 required. If you know anything about cricket, let that sink in. The rugby equivalent would be the All Blacks rushing out and scoring 50 points to 0 in the first half and the Springboks return with 51 unanswered points, sealing the victory with an injury time penalty from 45 meters out into a howling wind at Carisbrook. Unbelievable stuff.

What does this have to do with rugby you ask? Nothing in fact nought, nada, niks nie. But what it did was to return romanticism to professional sport. The highly paid individuals could have easily rolled over and played Cats but the fight back, determination and will to win displayed by the winning team was a lesson to their even wealthier cousins in the sport we love so much, rugby. Enough said.

The 2006 Six Nations is panning out to be one of the competitions greats. The Scottish revival, coupled with Ireland’s dogged determination, Italy’s great strides forward and the decline of England (again) makes for wonderful viewing. This weekend is the final hurrah and two teams seem to be very much in contention, France and Ireland.

France decimated an England team, who many had warned does not contain the right personnel make up, in Paris and must be favourites to win with their last fixture against the Welsh. Wales, the defending champions has find the going rough this season and their draw against Italy again highlighted the quick fall from grace in international sport (the SA cricketers experienced something similar today…). At home they are a dangerous side but this is the opportunity for the French to display the ruthlessness required to win a world cup on home soil next year.

If the Welsh win, they will certainly assist their Celtic cousins, Ireland who have the difficult task of beating England at Twickenham for a title. As poor as many make England out to be, they still have very good depth in personnel due to a strong league and massive foreign influence from players and coaching. They are able to call up two very strong sides, bad combinations or poor selection may have had an influence in their performance but they are not a bad rugby nation all of a sudden. Certainly the new generation has been given an opportunity to fight for honour, mathematics say they have a chance, safe money would be a few Zim dollars on the froggies.

The Super 14 seems to bring out the best and worst of SA rugby, the Sharks were very good value against the Brumbies, indiscipline and Stirling Mortlock stood between them and a famous victory. They have impressed on tour so far with a narrow defeat against the Crusaders but unfortunately a defeat is always that, a defeat and very little confidence comes from losing again and again. That said, compared to the Cats, the Sharks are the Crusaders. The less said the better but what a disgrace. Crusaders select second stringers, was touted in the headlines this week, can you blame them for targeting this match to rest key players? I think not.

Enjoy the weekend’s rugby, the Six Nations will be fabulous and all support behind the Sharks to pull off their first victory on tour.



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