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For the Record

Before the Australia All Blacks game, it was mentioned that the average score between the two sides is 25 – 23 in favour of the All Blacks. There must have been more than a few decimal point changes after the second half during which we saw the Kiwis switch into top gear and annihilate the Wallabies. Despite the close score of 25 – 22 at one stage, the All Blacks were superior in all departments, and scored their points from structured movements, rather than broken play.

Despite the 18 points difference in the final score line, I thought Australia stayed in the hunt and will not be a push-over next week, or when they face the Springboks. Ironically, Quade Cooper was also overlooked by his Reds coach for the starting line-up, yet made such an impact when he came on that all the pundits raved about his play. Even my blue-eyed boy in the Aussie side, Jesse Mogg, together with Matt Toomua, looked like the step up to test rugby was a bit too high for them.

The All Blacks, like the Springboks, struck form on the day and just operated like a newly tuned engine. It would have been fascinating if these two were facing each other on Saturday, although I suspect we are in for a treat when they do meet.

Richie McCaw, and Fourie du Preez later, showed how essential a decent break is, and contributed magnificently to the performances of their respective sides.

Puma Mauled by Springbok

I guess that if this headline is published in a non-rugby playing country, it could cause consternation. We knew before the match that the visitors would be an unknown factor, and preparing would be difficult. I suspect that the thinking was: “Let’s concentrate on what we know we do best”, and it really worked well.

It was probably the outstanding match under Heyneke Meyer to date, despite claims from the inevitable cynical chorus that the Pumas were weak. “Let’s see if they can repeat this next week” and “Wait until they face the All Blacks.”

Why can’t we just, for once, allow ourselves the indulgence of donning that golf cap with the inscription that reads: “Damn, I’m good!” Magtag, mense, dit was ‘n rekord oorwinning!

What really drove this home this morning when I read that Fourie du Preez, who is renowned for not being an over-the-top kind of commentator, saying: “Hierdie span het skrikwekkende potensiaal. Ek sukkel om die regte woorde te kry – maar enige span met sulke uitstaande voorspelers en opwindende agterspelers het yslike potensiaal.”

Daar is nog plek vir verbetering – daar sal altyd wees, maar kom ons geniet eers hierdie vertoning, en die vertroue wat dit bring.

Curriebeker Floute

Dit was regtig nie die moeite werd om slaap te verloor oor die naweek se wedstryde nie. Dit was amper soos om kerrie te eet waar die kok al die bestanddele, behalwe die kerrie, bygevoeg het. Elke hou in gholf maak iemand bly, en mens kan dieselfde van rugby uitslae sê. Dalk voel ek maar net so omdat die hoofgereg van die naweek kaviaar en vonkelwyn was.

FNB Stadium Fans Rock

The experiment on Saturday of hosting both an international soccer and rugby feast seemed, from a distance, like a huge success in nation building. This exercise just showed the goodwill that exists, waiting to be tapped.

The number of dignitaries, including Mbeki and FW, indicates that it was government initiated. If so, then well done on a step in the right direction – just don’t stop as soon as the elections are over.

The Parting Shot

I resigned as coach because of illness and fatigue. 

The fans were sick and tired of me.

John Ralston.

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