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The End of an Era

Bobby Londt

To describe King Kallis’s career in a blog would not be possible, nor would it do justice to a career that ranks up there with the best. For this reason, this writing only serves as a reminder of the greatest cricketer South Africa has ever produced. If one takes into account the names on that list (Pollock, Richards, Barlow et al), he leads great company. Few could argue his credentials and he is seen by many prominent figures in the cricket world as the best cricket player of modern times.

His technique was once described by Steve Waugh as flawless, and his mental strength second to none. He could play all formats of the game with distinction with bat and ball and those buckets for hands claimed a record number of scalps in the slip cordon. He could score runs for fun and take your head off with the ball.

What makes it even more remarkable is that the legend that Kallis became was accomplished during the time when greats like Warne, McGrath, Ambrose, Walsh, Akram, Waqar Younis, Tendulkar, Lara and Ponting were at their peak. His game evolved with time, and with what was required by the team as well as how the game developed in terms of the demands of professionalism – characteristics of a champion!

He set new standards – at a time when a great average was thought to be in the 40s, he took it to the better end of 50s. The influence he had on others like Amla, de Villiers and Steyn is immeasurable. He boasts a test record that equals top players like Rahul Dravid (batting) and Zaheer Khan (bowling).

Jacques Henry Kallis performed and inspired and will be sorely missed. We wish him all the very best for his retirement and thank him for the lasting memories.

Super 15 Review

Dan Retief wrote a thought-provoking article in yesterday’s City Press: A not-so-super year for SA Rugby. He makes some interesting statistical comparisons to prove that our general style of play has become outdated in the modern era.

He then makes the very good point that the flair evidenced at the Craven Week tournament should ideally flow through to the next level. It goes further than this, though – Varsity Cup produces sparkling rugby and many tries, because the rules encourage this, and deflates the urge to win games through goal kicking.

The final between the Waratahs and the Crusaders provided ample proof that running rugby can out-muscle the powerhouse stuff we have come to rely on. Whilst our teams lagged the Australasians in terms of total tries scored in the Super 15, the Springboks scored a large number of tries in their last four matches.

The players selected in the 30-man squad seem to indicate that this trend will continue, but there are some concerns about whether the absence of Fourie du Preez could nullify this. Ruan Pienaar will take over the mantle, being the elder statesman amongst the three scrumhalves selected, and Cobus Reinach is sure to provide some spark as a replacement, but who will wear the number 10 jersey?

Morné Steyn has played well, as has Handré Pollard, while Pat Lambie needs game time after his lay-off. The two relatively easy matches at home and away against Argentina will allow Meyer some time to experiment, but the showing of the Aussies and the Kiwis in the Super 15 is a clear indication that we will have no room for passengers in the Rugby Championship.

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