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European Tour Overview

European Tour Overview

The difference between the All Blacks and the Springboks is exactly the same as that which differentiates their supporters.

After a very touching opening to the match (the band stopped playing halfway through Flower of Scotland, leaving the audience to finish on their own), the All Blacks bided their time, waiting for the right moment, and opposition mistakes, before unleashing their devastating scoring ability.

The Springboks, and us, their supporters, lack the patience of the world champions. I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now. Until we can move on from this, we will never sing that other Queen song: We are the champions.

Still, the second half proved that we are on the right track. Like the Proteas, the ‘Boks also lost a key player on the morning of the match. The real surprise was when Heinke van der Merwe came on and did a one man demolition job to earn us a vital penalty. This, despite the fact that he did not train with the squad at all.

Our normal reaction to a close encounter like Saturday’s, is to call for changes. De Jongh in place of Taute, Taute in place of Kirchner and so forth. Consistency comes when the core of your team has eaten the proverbial bag of salt. We as supporters, need to show more patience, both in the players selected, as well as in the coaching staff. Just look how well it works for the All Blacks.

A highlight for me this weekend was the superb performance by Argentina in beating the Six-Nations champions, Wales. There is a remarkable change in their game after the first Rugby Championship series, and I will not be surprised if they become a big threat to the other three in next year’s competition.

Frederic Michalak

Frederic Michalak

Die Franse is vir my baie soos die Vrystaat – al die ander spanne se ondersteuners se gunstelinge, as hulle nie teen jou span uitdraf nie. En waar wil jy nou lekkerder kry as wanneer jou aangenome kind die Aussies ordentlik afransel? Michalak, na sy tyd by die Sharks, is soos ‘n eie kind vir ons, en sy man-van-die-wedstryd toekenning het my net so trots gemaak asof hy ‘n Springbok is.

So gepraat van man-van-die-wedstryd – wie was die Bokke s’n? Vir my was veral Flo Louw en Etzebeth sterk kandidate, maar die ouens op kantoor vir wie ek gevra het, het ook nie geweet nie.

Scotch is a wonderful drink. One double can make you think you are single.

Mooi loop Ou Grote.

Protea Risk Management #EpicFail
– by Bobby Londt

With Australia taking the lead by the end of day four on a pitch that seems to do little for the speedsters, a result seems unlikely in the first test in Brisbane.

If we were to reflect, we could admit to some good and bad fortune for both sides. Fortune, good or bad, could in some instances be planned for, in terms of managing risk and it is here where I think the Proteas failed in their preparation – they got too clever in electing to exclude a specialist spinner, like Tahir.

The injury to JP Duminy at the end of day one, did not jeopardise the risk to the batting unit as much as it did the bowling unit. For instance, if it was Tahir who was injured, the Proteas would have had a very capable part timer in JP to cover his role. But with JP out, we are relying on the not so good part time spinners, (Smith and Amla) and Peterson, who has not bowled regularly.  The risks are evident, and I find it hard that they overlooked the possibilities in their scenario planning.

The risk it left, was upsetting the balance of the team – the very strength of the Protea side, and a huge contributor to its success in recent times. It took away from the armoury and eased things for Aussie batters.

My other frustration is why Allan Donald has not yet managed to sort out Morkel’s no-ball issues! Morkel had the Aussie opener, Cowan, caught behind with his score in the early forties. Cowan went on to score 136! It’s hardly a once-off occurrence – hence my frustration. The fact that I now see articles on cricket websites referring to “doing a Morne Morkel” when a bowlers gets a wicket off a no-ball, adds insult to injury.

Nevertheless, I think we might have gotten away with it, as the game should peter out in a draw. We can only hope that they manage their risk better in the next match by selecting a more balanced side.

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