Pitched online – by Bobby
The Proteas followed up their T20 series win beautifully to claim first blood in the first of three ODI’s. The win, thanks to a calculated and clinical display led by skipper AB, applies more pressure on the Black Caps and the huge wins they had against Zimbabwe suddenly seems a long time ago!
The most pleasing facet of the win was the calm and calculated demeanour of skipper AB who simply worked his way to leading the Proteas to a comprehensive win, ably assisted by Duminy and du Plessis. The latter player’s innings of 60-odd certainly announced his presence and I am sure the Kiwis would have noted that he’s on a mission!
Wickets fell early in both innings, possibly as a result of the new ball. Justifiably or not, pressure will be mounting on Graeme Smith to put together some telling scores. It is possibly his last chance to ensure his place in the ODI squad for the England tour. Apart from that, the Proteas seems to be in a good “space” right now and the team, with it various options, are taking shape nicely.
So far everything is going according to plan, next up on Wednesday is the 2nd ODI and its do or die for the Black Caps – and we know from experience that they are at their most dangerous when not given a chance!
True to form, the Cheetahs managed to lose closely, and the Stormers, despite everything in their favour, failed to score the fourth try.
Around early morning coffee, we chatted about the fact that not one team managed to score a four try bonus point. Reasons given were the fact that it is early in the season, better defensive set-ups and the stricter application of the rules by referees.
I am certain that all these reasons, and more, contributed to the “pointless” weekend. In particular, the excessive number of penalties dished out.
Many readers will empathise with my view that rugby and the financial services industry are both over-regulated. Rather than trying to find ways to simplify the rules, we keep adding more and more. This leads to the situation where even those who have to apply the law is not sure of how to do it.
I am talking of rugby, of course.
Spectator empathy will only last so long. Were it not for sporadic signs of individual brilliance like Gio Applon’s try, there was is not much else to get excited about. How much longer will spectators be satisfied with watching rucks and mauls, kicks at goal and the occasional driving maul by way of diversion?
Watching Springbok Saga the other night, I was amazed at how quickly the two packs formed, rushed at each other and got the thing out of the way. These days it feels like minutes to go through the whole ritual, only for the scrums to collapse again and again.
What is the solution?
Go back to basics, simplify the game, and reward those actions which will ensure that the game started by William Webb-Ellis is given back to the people, whom it is all about.