Moonstone/Getwine Superbru Pool

Baie geluk aan Melissa van Rensburg wat ons manne, wat dink ons ken rugby, so lekker afgestof het – beter nog as wat die Bokke met die All Blacks gedoen het. Sy het nie net twee maal die geel pet verwerf nie, maar is boonop die wenner van die hoofprys ook. Getwine sal jou prys nog dié week aflewer, Melissa.

Claude Malan het met ‘n kortkoppie sy neus voorgekry in die laaste rondte en die laaste weeklikse prys van ses bottels wyn gewen. Baie geluk, Claude. Ons is veral saam met jou bly oor die uitslag van die tweede wedstryd die naweek.

Turning the Tables

A feature of All Black rugby over the years was their ability to lift their game in the dying minutes of both halves and score while their opponents already had their eyes on the change room.

On Saturday, we did it to them when Pollard scored his second try just before the halftime whistle, and then again when Pat Lambie kicked that monster penalty goal to seal the fate of the All Blacks.

Much has been said about Pollard, even by the All Blacks in the run-up to Saturday’s test. It took them all of forty minutes to adapt to his in-your-face style of play, rather than the old predictable “skop en bid” style of play by the Bok halves of the past.

Like the corresponding match last year, it was a spectacle for the true rugby lover. Both sides will continue to draw record crowds wherever they play. A particular highlight for me was the mutual respect shown after the match.

A lot of praise must also go the crowd at Ellis Park. I think that atmosphere was another reason why the usually unflappable All Blacks took so long to get their game in gear.

The road ahead

A year ago, the Springbok side looked particularly vulnerable at numbers nine and ten, but not so now. There is even talk of using Pollard at inside centre to make way for Lambie in the starting line-up. In the absence of Fourie du Preez and Ruan Pienaar, Hougaardt rediscovered his mojo and deserves selection before the imcumbent second choice, Pienaar. I would have liked to see Reinach get a bit more game time, but his performance as an impact player was promising, to say the least.

Whilst the victory was sweet, we should heed the lessons of the second half. I was expecting the All Blacks to fade, given their exhausting flight schedule and playing at altitude, yet it was the Boks who seemed to wither as the game wore on. Conditioning remains a major focus, but I suspect that players like Vermeulen and Jannie du Plessis are at the edge of exhaustion right now, and the few weeks off will help them recharge their batteries.

The four-day training camp, which starts in two weeks, sees the return of a number of major players, including Willem Alberts. I am delighted that the contracted Springboks will not be allowed to play in the rest of the Currie Cup. They certainly deserve to be wrapped in cotton wool before the next gruelling tour starts against Ireland on 8 November at Lansdowne Road.

The New Zealand Herald posted a very interesting player versus player comparison. Judging by this, the All Blacks should have won by at least 15 points. Kieran Read, for instance, gets a rating of 7 compared to Duane Vermeulen’s 5.5.

I have a suspicion that the guy who drew this up is an Australian – this is not the normal style of rugby writing in New Zealand.

Click here to read the article.

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