If you want to listen to Rick Nelson’s song as you read here, click on this link.
Stormers 20 – Reds 15
The day after the match I saw a picture in my head of two boxers. One of them appeared punch drunk, the other nimble, but lacking coordination. Somewhere in the middle of the fight, the punch drunk guy landed a very good blow which helped him win on points. Quade Cooper was a delight to watch, as was Tiaan Liebenberg, Eben Etzebeth and Brian Habana.
Kings 22 – Cheetahs 34
It was a closely fought first half, but once the Cheetahs found their mojo, they were unstoppable. The rising stars, Willie le Roux and Piet van Zyl once again shone for the Cheetahs, although I noticed, just after half time, how Van Zyl made four mistakes in two minutes, the last one resulting in a penalty for the home team.
Sharks 16 – Bulls 18
Brenden Nel summed it up well when he wrote: “The freedom to play was second to the desire to win and, in this case it, and the dew, influenced the game to a large extent.”
This was a typical SA derby with plenty of muscle, and the boot winning the day. While one feels for the Sharks, it is almost a relief that they can now relax and focus on rebuilding. The Bulls proved that they need not dominate up front to win. Despite being given a hard time in the scrums, they still managed to salvage enough possession to pull this one off.
This weekend’s match in Bloemfontein between the Bulls and the Cheetahs is bound to be a more open game. Their respective placings on the log is testimony to the fact that it is going to be a tough one for both sides.
Springbok Training Camp
The original list consisted of 19 forwards and 19 backs.
Forwards: Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Jannie du Plessis, Coenie Oosthuizen, Wiehahn Herbst, Adriaan Strauss, Bismarck du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Eben Etzebeth, Flip van der Merwe, Juandré Kruger, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Marcell Coetzee, Willem Alberts, Arno Botha, Lappies Labuschagne, Pierre Spies, Ryan Kankowski.
Backs: Jano Vermaak, Francois Hougaard, Pat Lambie, Morné Steyn, Elton Jantjies, Demetri Catrakilis, Jean de Villiers, Juan de Jongh, Jan Serfontein, Robert Ebersohn, JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana, Lwazi Mvovo, Raymond Rhule, Lionel Mapoe, Bjorn Basson, Gio Aplon, Zane Kirchner, Willie le Roux.
I asked my colleagues who they thought should be here, and who not? André Marais came up with the most sensible, tongue-in-cheek answer: He would like to see Jacques Kallis in the side.
There was far less controversy when this group was announced, possibly because we all know that there are scores of players who are not there through injury. Franco van der Merwe joined the squad this morning, and Zane Kirchner, a Heyneke Meyer favourite, might be ready to play against the Cheetahs on Saturday.
The team for the first test against Italy will be announced on Saturday. Italy had a good Six Nations tournament, including their first win ever over France. I hope that we will make use of this opportunity to give some future stars an outing with the experienced boys. Lappies Labuschagne and Willie le Roux immediately comes to mind, but there is also Pieter-Steph du Toit who looks to emulate Etzebeth in making the number 5 lock his position before he turns 21.
The sun is indeed shining on our rugby future.