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Bleak Day at Black Rock

Aussies and Proteas Annihilated

The Aussies got truly trashed by the English in the second test. Unfortunately the same fate awaits them in the remaining tests. Ignore the media hype regarding the series and all the issues around it; even on paper, the English side is far superior. The difference between the two sides is that England has “recognised players” in their side – players who performed consistently in the last couple of years. Apart from the SA test team, I would go as far as to say that players like Cook, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Prior, Swann and Andersen would easily make any international test side. The Aussies only has one contender: their captain, Michael Clarke.

The Aussies show some talent, but like all international cricketers, they need to “pay their school fees” before they can play in the same league as the players mentioned above. The Aussie side might surprise with a consolation test victory once the series has been decided, but, “even a broken clock is right twice a day.”

The Proteas were taught a cricket lesson by Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakarra with his awesome 169. Our performance was, to put it mildly, disappointing and can only be described as lacking direction and application.

I would like to see young De Kock take over the gloves and bat upfront with Petersen. There are certain basics which the team should apply before getting cute in applying different strategies concerning the batting order. Allow Amla to bat at 3 and de Villiers at 4. JP Duminy at 5, Faf du Plessis at 6 and David Miller at 7. All those batters have the ability, innovation and experience to adapt to any game situation, should they be entrusted with the responsibilities.

Allan Donald has the toughest job, as I am afraid our bowling is our greatest weakness – the unit as a collective is not mastering the strategy and look hopeless in application. There are some individual performances, but it is clear that bowling partnerships are not clicking.

AB de Villiers is one of my favourite players, but I seriously question his ability to lead the side – perhaps we are only now realising the exceptional leadership qualities Graeme Smith portrayed. Good luck to AB though; I sincerely hope he proves me wrong.

Super Rugby Review

The headline in Business Day this morning provided an interesting perspective to the weekend’s results:

The Bulls will be feeling a lot better about their loss to the Stormers nine days ago, after a path to their hosting the Super 15 final was cleared during the wild card play-off matches this weekend.”

The implication being that, had the Cheetahs won, the Bulls would be facing the Crusaders this coming weekend. After their clinical performance on Saturday, nobody wants to play the men from Canterbury.  From a Bulls perspective, facing the Brumbies is a far more enticing prospect, although they should not expect to simply pitch up to make it to the final. The Brumbies shone in two areas where the men from Pretoria showed weakness recently: in the scrums and on the ground.

Vir al die slimjannies wat na die tyd presies weet wat die Cheetahs anders moes gedoen het om te wen wil ek net sê: as is verbrande hout. Die uitslag is bepaal, en soos Jacky Selebi ons so mooi geleer het: finish en klaar.

Dit was die Vrystaters se beste seisoen ooit, en die ondervinding wat hulle hier opgedoen het, tesame met die behoud van die meeste van hul beste spelers, beteken dat hulle volgende jaar met mening sal terugkeer. Niemand kan stry dat hulle verreweg die mooiste rugby van al ons spanne gespeel het nie. Dit, gekombineerd met hul verbeterde verdeging, maak dat ons ouens, wat deur ons eie spanne in die steek gelaat is, darem nog iets het om oor bly te raak.

Dieselfde geld natuurlik vir die Bulls. Boonop is hulle ook nog in die kompetisie. Ons vertrou dat die energie wat die Cheetahs Sondag uit die Brumbies getap het, tesame met vlugflouheid en die hoogte bo seespieël, die Bulls se taak gaan vergemaklik. Die Brumbies het Sondag die heeltyd gefokus om in die Cheetahs se halfgebied te speel. Kry die Bulle dit reg om dit teë te werk, is die stryd meer as halfpad gewonne.

Tour de France

Chris Froome se oorwinning laat my dink aan die tyd toe ek in Durban gewoon het. Snaaks hoe baie mense, wat ek in jare nie van gehoor het nie, my kort voor die vakansiedae gebel het om te hoor wat ons maak. Die feit dat hy bande met Kenia en Suid-Afrika het, word nou voorgehou as die eintlike rede vir sy sukses.

Ek moet erken, daar was tye wat die ryers mekaar so fisiek aangevat het, dat ek gedag het die naam van die kompetisie moet verander na Moer de France.

Lekker week, ou Grote.

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