Secondary

Hot and Cold

Knit one, pearl one appeared to be the recipe for the weekend’s rugby – there was one good half and one not so good half.

This goes for both the Boks and the All Blacks, but the latter chose the right half to improve, thereby imposing a Herculean obstacle in the way of the Springboks if they want to win the Rugby Championship on Saturday.

Ek stem saam met die mense wat voel ons kla met ‘n witbrood onder die arm as ons ongelukkig is om die Wallabies met 20 punte te klop, maar dit wys ook watter hoë standaarde ons aan die span stel. Die vierde drie is verspeel, en daar is ‘n paar redes voor.

Die twee geelkaarte dui op swak dissipline, en ek glo daar sal ernstig met die ootreders gepraat word. Willem Alberts het net so dom kaart in Australasië gekry. Mens verwag dat senior spelers meer beheersd sal optree.

Flip van der Merwe het sy goeie spel in die eerste helfte ongedaan gemaak met daardie elmboog hou. Kan die Bokke bekostig om hom, met sy groeiende reputasie as Bakkies Botha se troonopvolger, in die span te hê? Dis een ding om teenstanders te intimideer, maar as skeidsregters jou al voor die wedstryd teiken as moontlike bullebak, kan die span daaronder lei. Kliek hier om die insident weer op video te sien.

Dit is nie dat die Aussies soveel beter in die tweede helfte gespeel het nie – ons moes vir 20 van die veertig minute met sewe man skrum. Dit het ons ontneem van ons sterkste wapen teen die Wallabies.

The All Blacks showed wonderful composure after a disappointing first half. They did not try and force matters – they focussed on the basics, bided their time, and only started thinking of the fourth try after scoring the third. That is why they are the number one team in the world.

But the gap between them and the Boks has narrowed remarkably. Home town advantage will have a major impact on Saturday, as will history. From my perspective, the Boks will have to focus heavily on their mental preparation in the build-up to the match.

The major difference between the two sides is the ability of the Kiwis to convert opportunities at crucial times. Ben Smith’s try, twenty seven seconds before full time, is the perfect example of what I am trying to say.

The All Blacks are not invincible – Argentina showed that in the first half on Sunday. We have the personnel to out-power them in the scrums, and outwit them in the line-outs. Without possession, it will be impossible to score, but that will take a fifteen man effort – for the whole game.

We will need to eradicate mistakes at critical times, and make sure that our discipline is impeccable.

Currie Cup Comments

The play-offs are two weeks away, and it appears fairly clear who the final four will be. Should the returning Springboks be included after the Rugby Championship? Methinks not.

Those players who got their teams into the play-offs also need the experience in this aspect of rugby. For the Boks, it is old hat. We need to use the Currie Cup to allow rising stars to experience the new kind of pressure. Only then will we know if they have what it takes to move one step up to the international arena.

Fred Zeilinga (pictured above) was my player of the weekend. A lot of focus was placed on Handré Pollard and Johan Goosen as would-be crown princes for Morné Steyn, but Zeilinga, a born and bred KZN product, must surely be in contention now.

Nou ja, kom ons gaan werk. Daar lê n kwaai naweek voor.

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