From Heroes to Zeroes

To describe the series loss as a disappointment, is an understatement.  Although the Proteas seemed to be cruising to a win at a 160 for 1 the side imploded to lose the game quite comfortably. This handed the Black Caps their first series win in South Africa ever!

Apart from the solid stand between Smith and Ingram, the rest of the show in the field, and at the crease, seemed a bit lost in terms of direction, strategy, execution and decision making. An obvious contrast to our test performances.

Experience does play a role and luck was not on our side either. Loosing AB and Amla for this game was unfortunate and seriously threatened the middle order in terms of handling the pressure. Possibly one of the most inexperienced sides we have chosen in recent years.

All is not lost, however. Young De Kock’s brief innings looked impressive and Behardien did show some potential on the batting front.

Some tactical errors from Faf on setting his fields, coupled with the lengths the bowlers bowled, cost the side heavily. In contrast, the Kiwi skipper was quite superb in his field settings, applying pressure on the batters by cutting their ones and two’s. The experience and performance of Kyle Mills was also the major difference – he would have made a massive difference in their test side.

Williams scored an awesome hundred and that, on its own, enabled the Black caps to compete. Ingram and Smith both had their opportunities to see it home but, as we all know, five run outs later, we lost!

Perhaps a timely wake up as the Proteas are playing a significant number of one day internationals this year (23) which includes the ICC Champions trophy.

Ringing in the changes
– By Paul Kruger

The South African teams kick off their Super 15 campaign with two derbies:

The Bulls hosting the Stormers at Loftus, and The Sharks playing at home in Bloem against the Cheetahs. (Sorry guys, could not resist that one!)

Briefly, the changes this year are:

  • A three call scrum – “Crouch, set, engage” only
  • New rules regarding quick throw ins at the line-out
  • The five second rule at rucks

We saw the first of the above during the Bok tour of Europe, and it can only improve on the current situation.

An interesting change regarding the quick throw, concerns the situation where the ball crossed the line after a knock-on. Apart from the non-transgressing team being able to select whether they want to scrum or form a line-out, they will also have the option of a quick throw in. 

Possibly the most exciting change concerns the five second rule at rucks. A scrumhalf has five seconds to clear the ball from the base of the ruck before the referee calls “use it”. If he doesn’t, the ref will award a scrum to the opposing team, much like a maul that is held up.

Looking at this closely, my first reaction was that it will benefit the New Zealand sides more than it will the Aussie teams. The South African sides, particularly those who rely heavily on structured play, will have to make the biggest adjustment.

If, however, the result of all of the above is that we see more rugby played in All Black fashion, the fans will be delighted. This one included.

Lekker naweek, ou Grote!

Lanced for Life

Lanced for Life

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