I blame the poor rugby, from all but one team, squarely on today being Monday the thirteenth, and I am doomed to try and find something positive to say after the way the Sharks, Stormers and, to a lesser degree, the Cheetahs, confused rugby with Harakiri. Perhaps, with all the players going off to play in Japan, they are so busy brushing up on their Japanese that they forget to play rugby.
I came across a very interesting comment in Mail & Guardian where Steve McMorran writes on how close the weekend’s games were:
All but one of the games—Queensland’s 32-17 win over the Sharks—were decided by less than seven points, and there were 37 tries scored in six matches in the latest round—16 by losing teams—and six out of 12 teams claimed four-try bonus points. That now seems almost standard: there were 41 tries scored in the 12th round and 31 the week before.
Looking at the list of leading try scorers, the top five contains only one South African team, and, not by coincidence, the one leading the SA conference:
- Chiefs (35)
- Waratahs (32)
- Brumbies (30)
- Crusaders (27)
- Bulls (24)
The bottom of the pile looks like this:
We feature very strongly here, unfortunately, with three teams in the bottom section of the try scoring log. Perhaps “unfortunately” is not the right word. The Sharks and the Stormers appear to have lost the road map to the try line. Or they have already set their respective GPS’s on “Home”? The Cheetahs will do well to remember that winning and humility go hand in hand.
The way the Kings picked themselves up after being trounced last week, says much for the character of a team who may be short on big names and experience, but make up for it with guts and blood. Their total of four tries equalled the total number of tries scored by the other three sides.
Instead of yet another routine training session, the coaches of the three losing sides of the past weekend may want to consider showing their charges a replay of the Kings match.
Cricket South Africa and “slange & rotte”
Cricket has always been able to deliver unexpected plays and that is half its attraction. A side could be cruising to victory and then suddenly lose 5 wickets for 15 runs and lose the game. I suppose it is the “uncontrollable factors” in the game which makes it so attractive and loved by all.
Unfortunately, I do not believe in coincidence, especially when it comes to the man in charge. Gary Kirsten is meticulous in preparation, planning and running his ship.
Firstly, I don’t buy the fact that Jacques Kallis won’t play “for personal reasons”. It’s never been in his character to make such moves. Like his batting, he is calculated and well organised.
Smith’s injury might be genuine, but to the point that he needs the operation NOW? These guys know how to buy time to participate in big tournaments. I find it hard to believe.
Lastly, there is the decision by Kirsten not to extend his contract. That’s 3 huge announcements in a very short space of time.
Perhaps it’s the recent turmoil in Cricket South Africa, and the embarrassing infighting that makes me sceptical to believe everything they say. I suspect, as the Afrikaans saying goes: “Daar is ‘n slang in die gras”.
All this saddens me deeply – as soon as we rise, and build something we can be proud of, like our recent test ranking, management, often its own worst enemy, implodes, and dismantles all that has been achieved.
I really hope that I am wrong, but mark my words: “Ek ruik ‘n rot”.