Ackers, the Gambler

At this stage of the Super Rugby competition, the words of the Don Schlitz song, made famous by Kenny Rogers, come to mind:

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

It seems that Gregor Paul of the NZ Herald holds the same view:

The gamble coach Johan Ackermann took in not sending his top side to Buenos Aires for the final conference game is starting to look wiser than anyone realised.

Ackermann gambled that his fresh troops would be too good for whatever Kiwi team had to trek to Africa for the quarter-final.

He was right. He also gambled that if a New Zealand team finished with the number one seeding, they would end up facing a Kiwi team in the semi-final.

He was right and no doubt part of his thinking, too, was that there would be a reasonable chance of there being an upset.

We’ll have to wait to see if he’s right about that, but a Chiefs’ victory at the Cake Tin is entirely possible.

They beat the Hurricanes earlier in the season, albeit by a whisker and on the back of some outrageous luck. But they did win and just because they rode their luck on that occasion, it doesn’t mean they can’t win again in the capital.

The Chiefs were impressive in beating the Stormers and with Seta Tamanivalu likely to return, they will have better shape to their midfield than they did in Cape Town. And while it will be a blow if they lose Sam Cane, they will miss him less than the Hurricanes are going to miss Dane Coles.

A Chiefs victory and the final could be at Ellis Park – which is why the Lions have to be seen as a contender.

An article in my local rag pointed out that the Highlanders travelled 46 640 kilometres in the last month by the time they landed at OR Tambo on Monday night and rightly points out that this, coupled with the altitude in Johannesburg, is bound to have an impact on the visitors. They are only human, after all.


Unfortunately, the results of both sides in last weekend’s encounters provide little guidance as to the outcome this weekend. Both the Sharks and the Stormers were outclassed. Perhaps the away victory by the Chiefs may just give them the edge in this regard, although the journey to SA and back may impact on them towards the end of the game.

Obviously, we will be elated with a Chiefs win, but the result is likely to be as close as their final points on the log, where the home side only managed to outscore the Chiefs by two bonus points.

All the NZ sides have made it very clear that they do not revert to conservative rugby when winning is all that counts. I thought the ‘Canes were particularly impressive in very adverse weather conditions last weekend.

Uiteindelik gaan dit ‘n heerlike naweek van goeie rugby wees.

Kom ons hou net duim vas dat die gekkespul wat vanjaar se formaat veroorsaak het, nie weer herhaal gaan word nie. Schalk Burger se beroep dat dit eenvoudig gehou moet word, verdien aandag.

Keep it simple, stupid. Is dit nou so moeilik?

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4 Responses to Ackers, the Gambler

  1. Margret 28 July 2016 at 3:10 pm #

    lovely new site – in lighter wyn – where did it go to ?

    • Paul Kruger 29 July 2016 at 10:08 am #

      Hi Margret. We still publish the humour, twice a week, in our newsletters. I must admit, it sometimes appears to be more popular than the stuff I have to break my head over. If you do not receive our newsletters, I can arrange to add you to the distribution list.

  2. Rally Samuel 29 July 2016 at 10:16 am #

    Ek geniet jou rugby artikels Paul, mag die Lions seevier en die Chiefs net net wen, sodat ons ‘n finaal in die Leeukuil het volgende naweek! Go Lions! Sluit asb aan my Fb groepie, “Sharkey’s Ruggabuggas & Babes”, ‘n groepie vir alle rugby liefhebbers! My broerskind Dylan Smith speel loskop voorry vir die Lions more!


    Voet up & happy hooking

    Rally Samuel aka Kaptein Sharkey

    • Paul Kruger 29 July 2016 at 10:30 am #

      Dankie Kaptein. Wie het nou kon dink die Lions van 3 jaar gelede is vandag die mees gewilde SA franchise in die land. Dis oor hulle die enigste span is wat rugby speel wat mens WIL kyk. Hoop die rugbybase dink sien dit ook raak. Ek was nogal ontsteld toe ek hoor Gert Smal sê dat die Stormers losgebreek het van hul konserwatiewe spelstyl onder Fleck. Sy voorganger is nou die Bok afrigter. Sal ons wat regtig lief is vir die spel rugby dan nou maar All Black ondersteuners moet word?