Much is being said about how depleted our teams are due to injuries. The list is horrific, and if this does not shock the rugby authorities into reducing the players’ workload, nothing will.
In spite of that, if one looks at the teams we are still able to field, we should have more teams towards the top end of the log. Look at the Cape side for Saturday, for example:
DHL Stormers team: Joe Pietersen, Gio Aplon, Jean de Villiers (capt), Damian de Allende, Bryan Habana, Elton Jantjies, Louis Schreuder, Nizaam Carr, Don Armand, Siya Kolisi, Eben Etzebeth, Gerbrandt Grobler, Brok Harris, Tiaan Liebenberg, Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: Martin Bezuidenhout, Chris Heiberg, Marius Coetzer, Rohan Kitshoff, Dewaldt Duvenage, Gary van Aswegen, Gerhard van den Heever.
Not exactly a Micky Mouse outfit, is it, apart from their replacement for Sireli Naqelevuki – no prizes for guessing who I am referring to. Can they turn their game plan around in two matches? I have my doubts, and think the Reds, with much more to play for, will win this match handsomely.
Are some teams more equal than others? I am tempted to ask this if we look at the top team in the SA conference. Yes, they did have their injury problems earlier, but they go from strength to strength with what they have.
Vodacom Bulls team: Jurgen Visser, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Wynand Olivier, Bjorn Basson, Morne Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Pierre Spies (c), Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Juandre Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dean Greyling.
Replacements: Willie Wepener, Frik Kirsten, Grant Hattingh, Arno Botha, Jano Vermaak, Louis Fouche /Jan Serfontein, Lionel Mapoe.
I can think of a number of sides who would love to have the replacements in their starting line-up.
The rumble in the jungle this weekend is going to be huge, as are all matches between the Sharks and the Bulls. If the Sharks follow the pattern of only playing in the second half, they will find themselves in very deep water. The disciplined Bulls will not give them a change to catch up.
Naka Drotské has the luxury of demoting a Springbok wing to the bench because of poor form. Continuity obviously plays a huge role in their success this season, apart from their improved defensive structures.
Cheetahs: Hennie Daniller, Rayno Benjamin, Johann Sadie, Robert Ebersohn, Willie le Roux, Elgar Watts, Piet van Zyl, Philip van der Walt, Lappies Labuschagne, Heinrich Brüssow, Francois Uys, Lood de Jager, Lourens Adriaanse, Adriaan Strauss (capt), Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: Ryno Barnes, Trevor Nyakane, Ligtoring Landman, Boom Prinsloo, Sarel Pretorius, Riaan Smit, Raymond Rhule.
The Kings were waiting for news on the fitness of Andries Strauss before announcing their team. It sounds boring, I know, but it could be fatal to underestimate this team who plays as a unit, and for each other. Plus they have a great captain who leads by example.
The State of Denmark
Shakespeare’s famous quote appears to apply to the sad state of refereeing in the Super 15. When a renowned figure like Sir Graham Henry joins the fray, it is time to stop treating referees like South Africa treats its politicians. I know that steps are taken behind the scenes, but some perpetrators just appear to outlast their shelf life.
Alex Bax sent me information compiled by the SA referees on two incidents in the Stormers match last weekend. Please click here to read the article, comments, and actual applicable rules of rugby.
In confirmation of this view, I came across an article on the Supersport page regarding the same topic. Sanzar’s head of referees, Lyndon Bray, has come out to say that the awarding of a penalty try to the Melbourne Rebels during their game against the Stormers was “an honest mistake”. Read full article.
The room was full of pregnant women with their husbands. The instructor said, “Ladies, remember that exercise is good for you. Walking is especially beneficial. It strengthens the pelvic muscles and will make delivery that much easier. Just pace yourself, make plenty of stops and try to stay on a soft surface like grass or a path.”
“Gentlemen, remember — you’re in this together. It wouldn’t hurt you to go walking with her. In fact, that shared experience would be good for you both.”
The room suddenly became very quiet as the men absorbed this information.
After a few moments a man, name unknown, at the back of the room, slowly raised his hand. “Yes?” said the Instructor.
“I was just wondering if it would be all right if she carries a golf bag…while we walk?”
Brings a tear to your eye doesn’t it? This kind of sensitivity just can’t be taught.