The cricket fraternity is almost inconsolable as it mourns the death of the very talented Phil Hughes after he was hit by a bouncer in a Sheffield game in Australia 2 days ago. Phil was in an induced coma after emergency surgery, but sadly passed away today.
This has affected everyone. A simple glance at the social media reflects that all lovers of the game – be it the fan or the club player across the world – feels deeply saddened at Hughesy not being here anymore.
In coming weeks a lot will be discussed about the safety in the game, protective wear, pitches and bowling allowances in terms of bouncers… but for now our thoughts are with the family of Phil Hughes, his fans, team mates and all lovers of the game.
Spare a thought for Sean Abbott too – and exciting bowler, simply plying his trade, upon whom this tragedy has fallen. I have no doubt the cricketing world will take care of him too, with much support and encouragement as he, too, has to work through this horrendous tragedy.
Cricket will indeed never be the same again.
Rest in Peace young man
Battle of the Bulge
by Paul Kruger
Possibly the biggest challenge for the Springboks on Saturday will be the huge backline of Wales. Our inexperienced and relatively short back three will no doubt be tested by the Welsh flyhalf.
Willie le Roux has improved remarkably in this department, and Mvovu’s exposure at fullback will stand him in good stead. Apart from Hendricks’s relative lack of experience in this regard, there is also a question mark about his defence, which the opposition will no doubt try to take advantage of.
To do this, they require quality possession, though. Warburton is highly effective at the breakdowns, but with Bismarck as the fourth loose forward, he will face stiff opposition.
Talk about Wales targeting Lambie’s channel is not really a concern. Both Lambie and Pollard are fearless tackers, and with Marcel Coetzee appointed as their Ouboet to help against the school bullies, there should in fact be an opportunity to turn over possession.
The one thing we should guard against is allowing the Welsh team to build up a substantial lead, as they did against the All Blacks. One must remember that we beat England thanks to an intercept try and a drop goal – things that does not happen in every match. Catch-up rugby is far more difficult than protecting a lead. If we can be well ahead on the scoreboard by the last quarter, then our replacements can seal the match for us.
Mark Hammett, the ex-All Black number 2 who now coaches in Wales, commented on the lack of fitness of the Welsh national side. At club level, the players are not nearly fit enough for the demands of international rugby. This may possibly be why the All Blacks were able to come from behind and win handsomely in the last fifteen minutes.
We do not have that ability yet, so it is important to use every opportunity to score, particularly from kicks at goal. Once we are comfortably ahead, we can go for the 50/50 option of a lineout and driving maul try.
My voorspelling vir Saterdag? Bokke met 10 punte.
The infamous leaking of an email between Kiwi and Aussie referees about how they would blow the whistle against the Springboks some years back came to mind when I read about the French relieving Welsh players from their club commitments, yet insisting that the Bok players honour theirs.
This should in fact be an added motivation for the Springboks to beat Wales handsomely.
The absence of Habana and Pietersen, amongst others, is also the ideal preparation for a possible World Cup scenario where an injury in the squad of 31 can have serious repercussions on the composition of the side. This situation, coupled with the absence of the long list of injured “certainties”, is actually an ideal opportunity to develop the depth of the Springbok squad.
Totsiens, Jaque Fourie
Fourie’s a jolly good fellow, Fourie’s a jolly good fellow…
Ek moet erken dat ek sy uittrede met gemengde gevoelens bejeën.
Dat hy ‘n briljante buitesenter is/was, en saam met Jean de Villiers ‘n wêreldklas kombinasie gevorm het, lei geen twyfel nie. Behalwe vir sy puik veelsydige spel was hy ook ‘n uitstekende organiseerder van die agterlyn. Sy ondervinding gaan beslis gemis word.
Ek is seker maar outyds, en was teleurgesteld oor sy onbeskikbaarheid toe sy land hom broodnodig gehad het.
Desondanks het hy ‘n groot rol gespeel in die groei van Bokrugby, en wens ons hom alle sterkte toe op die pad vorentoe. Wie weet, dalk trek Heyneke ‘n Matfield of ‘n Os du Rand op hom, en sien ons hom tog by die Wêreldbeker volgende jaar.
Sy besluit maak ‘n gaping so wyd soos ‘n waenhuisdeur oop vir Jan Serfontein, Damien de Allende en verskeie ander aanspraakmakers om sy plek met onderskeiding te vul.