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Cheetahs and Kings take honours

Brumbies v Kings

An amazing performance by the now not so unknown Kings! The log leader Brumbies would not have expected a display like that and I imagine Jake White could be a bit muffed at that result as home games is a  must win in this tournament.

A draw is often described as the same as kissing your sister but in this case of the Kings, I think it might be a gorgeous model stepsister!  The Kings are showing their hunger to be in the competition and deserve the respect of the South African viewing public – yes , even the Lions fans need to applaud their showing. They seem to step up every weekend and threaten to take over the Cheetah title of “everyone’s favourite second team”.

Sharks v Crusaders

A win that counts but boy did they make it difficult for themselves! The Sharks arguably SA’s most balanced team, made hard work of their win and could quite easily have lost, was it not for some poor kicking by the Crusaders fly half, Tyler Bleyendaal. The risk of not bringing their first choice, Dan Carter on tour cost them an important 4 points away from home and could prove costly as the tournament progresses.

The biggest concern was the Sharks inability to finish off try scoring opportunities – within the first 3 minutes of the game they had the golden opportunity of scoring and a further 2 opportunities later in the game. Hence my statement that they made it difficult for themselves!

The positives were a solid and consistent performance of Bok fly half, Pat Lambie which kept the Sharks in the game during that passive first half. Worries for Plumtree are his growing injury list – joining this week is Jacques Botes with a suspected broken arm. Already on the list is Bismarck du Plessis (knee), Willem Alberts (shoulder), Butch James (knee), Jean Deysel (ankle) and Tim Whitehead (hand).  Somehow the Sharks manage to have excellent depth in their squad and they are still competing.    

They will need to become more clinical in their approach and finish off their opposition when the chance presents itself. Never the less, they came away with a win – and a valuable scalp of the Crusaders is always a worthy one to have!

Cheetahs v Stormers

Strauss

Adriaan Strauss

The game in the Free State Stadium was an exciting game to watch. From a Stormer prospective, they applied great pressure on the Cheetah lineout and after last week’s dud (in the line outs) Bekker seemed to be at his very best in this department this week. He must have been very focused on this facet of his game as he seemed to be on the wing for quite some part of the game – I suppose he was waiting for the next line out…

I mentioned earlier that the Cheetahs might be losing their title as everyone’s favourite second team and I mean that as a compliment to them. For this first time they are delivering consistent performances in terms of results to fully justify themselves as contenders! They were always able to play the ball wide but they have added a competitive tight 5 to their game as well as an excellent defensive game.  The exuberance of youth in that side has delivered a confidence that makes the Cheetahs a side that is more than just competitive but a real threat for any side and the Bulls might just be in for a thing this weekend.

Lions win at last!

After an excellent year Geoffrey Toyana side won the RAM Slam T20 final against the mighty Titans quite convincingly! Excellent display by youngster Quinton de Kock once again proved as a solid knock on the door for regular inclusion in the national side. 

I suspect a bit of over confidence might have had something to do with the Titans loss, as Roelof Van der Merwe quite bravely stated beforehand that they know how to win finals… Well Roelof – now you can add losing finals to your CV.  That said though, Roelof and the Titans side has had an excellent run this year and as a star studded side they were able to capitalise quite effortlessly when they could include their Protea  players and kept up performance when they weren’t available. No doubt this side will be in the running again  next season!

The Lions victory capped a good year for them – they shared the Momentum Cup (One day cup) with the Cobra’s and were runners up in the SuperSport 4 day competition.  Adding the winners title of the T20 RAM SLAM competition yesterday, is just reward for Coach Geoffrey Toyana. He has definitely set the bar high right from his first year in charge.
Lions

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