Super 15 Roundup
Injuries and lack of form have led to some interesting selections for this weekend’s Super 15 matches.
Sharks versus Hurricanes
With three Springboks out through injury, and Bismarck out of the starting line-up, the Hurricanes must rate their chances as being substantially improved. In my opinion, last week’s brave defence at the end was a turning point in the Sharks’ mental make-up, and they are not going to let a few injuries buckle them. With one of my favourite players, Michalac, as stand-in for Lambie, expect the Banana boys to have too much fire power at the back, and to blow away the Hurricanes.
Stormers versus Highlanders
The choice of young Malherbe as tight head to curb the Highlanders captain and stalwart, Jamie Mackintosh in the front row, is an interesting one. The retention of Rynhardt Elstadt at flank shows the respect Alister Coetzee has for the pack of the team blowing in their necks on the log. History shows that a team suffering from jet lag after travelling through ten time zones struggles in their first match, but I predict that the youthful exuberance and confidence of this Cape team will be stronger than this potential handicap.
Cheetahs versus Lions
John Mitchell’s selections often surprise, but it often ends up as a surprise of the more unpleasant kind for the opponents. When looking at the team selection, which includes nine changes, I got the idea that Mitchell has already started preparing for next season. But never assume that he has given up on this one. The Cheetahs will make a serious mistake if they underestimate the Lions under an inspiring Josh Strauss.
Ashley Johnston is terug in die beginspan vir die Vrystaters nadat sy spelpeil as impakspeler die verlangde peil bereik het. As fisieke speler, is dit nodig teen die Leeus, met Coenie Oosthuizen wat deesdae vir Heinrich Brüssow troef as balsteler, en meer drieë druk as die meeste agterspelers.
Bulls versus Crusaders
Net ingeval iemand gewonder het waar die maalvleis in die opskrif hierbo vandaan kom: ek voorspel dat die Bulls more hierdie wedstryd gerieflik gaan wen. Daar is allerlei historiese feite wat dui op ‘n oorwinning vir die Crusaders, maar niks wat sterker staan as ‘n gekweste Bul nie. Daar is nie getorring aan die span se samestelling nie, en kontinuïteit was nog altyd ‘n sterkpunt van die manne van Pretoria.
En hulle speel weer in blou.
Die Crusaders is ‘n slim span wat aanpas by die wedstryd se verloop, maar of hulle iets sal kan uitrig teen die Bulls se plan A, is te betwyfel.
Fed on a diet of braaivleis and boerewors, I expect the South African contingent to give their very best at what is arguably the top tournament in the world after The Open.
The preview in my morning paper relates how the old guard, who took over from Gary Player, are also no longer there. Retief Goosen and Ernie Els who, for me and peers, are still the number one contenders in view of their experience, are sadly missing. In their stead is a winner of the British open, and the defending Masters champion. The king is dead – long live the king.
Augusta reminds me in a way of an elderly Southern Belle who could put any potential suitor in place with a mere upturn of her lip, a la Elvis Presley. Fortunately, our boytjies are nogal attractive, so maybe lady Augusta (and lady luck) will smile on one of them again.