Secondary

Bumble in the Jungle

JP Pietersen, Lwazi Mvovo, Frederic Michalak

JP Pietersen, Lwazi Mvovo, Frederic Michalak,

One can throw stones, make excuses or simply swear or cheer, but the fact remains that the Sharks simply peaked at the right time, while the Stormers did not, on Saturday.

Watching the Chiefs out-muscle the Crusaders (despite my prediction that it would be their downfall) I considered the two remaining contenders, and decided there and then that, despite the jet lag factor, our best chance against the Chiefs lie with the Sharks.

And so it proved on Saturday. Despite all the factors in their favour, the home side was simply boxing above their weight. The Sharks, despite a last minute backline shuffle (was it planned or not?) simply outplayed the Stormers with 15-man rugby. Sixteen, actually, if you add the combined genius of JP Pietersen and Freddie Michalak.

Arme ou Brok. Hier na die derde skrum toe wonder ek of dit nie is waar hy sy naam kry nie – as die ouens die brokstukke na die wedstryd optel. So twaalf mandjies vol, as mens nou in Bybelse terme dink.

Ter versagting kan mens die Stormers se losvoorspeler beserings aanvoer. As jy kyk hoe hul opponente as trio saam gejag en mekaar ondersteun het, dan verstaan jy hoe ’n geweldige belangrike komponent van die spel dit is. Dat hulle in ’n stadium net vier punte agter was, vertel die verhaal van ’n span wat ’n rekord opgestel het vir seges in die super-15 reeks. Ongelukkig kon hulle dit dié keer nie regkry om net-net te wen nie. Sub-standaard spel van twee sleutelspelers, Pietersen en Grant, het hul ondergang bewerkstellig.

Maar dit is nie die werklike rede vir die nederlaag nie. Benewens hul probleme in die skrums en die losspel, was die Stormers nie op dieselfde geestelike peil as die Sharks nie. Mens kon dit hoor aan Michalak se woorde toe hy die Speler van die wedstryd toekenning ontvang het.

Vir my was die hoogtepunt uit ’n Stormers perspektief toe Etzebeth vir Bismarck skouer dat hy soos ’n vrotvel deur die lug trek. Gelukkig is Bismarck nie van vandag se kunsmatige materiaal aanmekaargesit nie en het hy voortgegaan om weereens sy aansienlike impak te maak.

Bottom line: the Sharks are best equipped to represent South Africa in the final. In terms of personnel, condition, support (both on and off the pitch) and mental strength, they have what is required to perform the physical miracle of winning in Hamilton.

Everybody, including some of the most ardent Sharks fans I know, have already succumbed to the belief that it is a bridge too far.

Me, myself I, in the words of Joan Armatrading, do not share this belief. If there is one team in this country capable of doing it, it is the team from KZN.

Just do it.

Please?

Olympics Thrills and Spills

Cameron van der Burgh

Cameron van der Burgh

What more can one say about Cameron van der Burgh? A young man who set a record four years ago, and who could have rested on his laurels, yet changed the event in which specialises and now have both the world record and Olympic gold medal in the new event, plus his old record still stands.

Call me old-fashioned, but when he was standing on the podium, mumbling some of the words of the national anthem, despite being overcome by emotion, I choked back a tear too. It felt good to be a South African.

Let me re-phrase that: I was proud to be a South African.

Our ladies hockey team were blasted off the blue Astroturf by a very talented Argentinean side, ranked second at the Olympics. I was quite shocked when the captain said afterwards that they did not expect to win, but did not anticipate losing by such a large margin. I hope that this aspect is addressed rapidly.

Siestog. There were some other results beter left unmentioned. Soos jou broer in die tronk vir wie jy lief is, maar nie oor praat nie.

Ou Manie wou by my weet waar hulle die seesand gekry het waarop die meisies beach volleyball gespeel het. Dit lyk na die sand wat hy al gesien het op Nice and ander topless strande nie. Ek kon hom ook nie antwoord nie, maar dalk moet hy by Prins Harry hoor – dié stel glo net so baie belang in hierdie sportsoort wat nou nie juis as nasionale Britse sport sal kan kompeteer met sokker en darts nie.

Lekker week, ou Grote.

, , , , ,

Comments are closed.