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Rules is Rules

One unforeseen outcome of the extensive Super 15 series is the long list of fallen comrades.

If one bears in mind that the competition has been running for nearly 5 months, with a three-test series between fixtures, it is no surprise that all the teams have been decimated by injuries, some more so than others.

Add to this the unavailability of overseas players at the start of the competition, and the ability of teams to field their strongest sides, going into the play-offs, is seriously hampered.

HKGK

HKGK

Of all the likely contenders, the Stormers have probably been hit the hardest. Their loose trio this weekend consists of a number two at number eight, a number eight at number six and a number four in the number seven jersey. Their selectors probably require a degree in mathematics to make sense of these equations. Their problems do not end there. We recently ran into Schalk Burger at O.R. Tambo (figuratively, that is!) and, in my lay opinion, he will not play in any of the Super 15 games. Other specialists, like Duane Vermeulen, need time to get back in form, but there will be no such a luxury, as the Stormers will have a bye next weekend.
The Bulls are probably the least affected in this regard, thanks to their incredible depth. This is not something they conjured up overnight. It is the professional way in which they run their set-up which makes this possible.

The Sharks applied to Sanzar for Frans Steyn to be included in their line-up, but with Whitehead and Bosman at their disposal, it is highly unlikely that their request will be given the green light. We all hope and pray that Bismarck’s injury is not serious. As well as Craig Burden played when replacing him, there is only one unsinkable Du Plessis in world rugby.

The rules of the competition that prohibit teams from making changes at this late stage will have to be reviewed. There is no way that a team can make it to the play-offs, and then lose because of the serious depletion of top players.

The Sharks, for instance, could have included Steyn in an enlarged group, knowing that he would not be available for most of the games before the play-offs. The Stormers actually seconded some of their players to other provinces to get experience and stay fit, but now that they need them, they will not be able to use them.

I know that life is not fair. If one had a crystal ball at the beginning of the season to determine who would be injured, it would have made life a lot easier. Even the Bulls, despite their depth, may just encounter problems with these restrictions, with one or two away games after this coming weekend, if key players suffer injury.

Maar nou ja, dis hoe die kaarte gedeel is en dis hoe ons hulle moet speel.

O ja, net so terloops, ons het na ’n konferensie in Johannesburg gou ’n bier gaan drink en toevallig, so halfpad deur die eerste een besef ons sit langs Schalk Burger toe hy met ons begin praat. Wat ’n lekker, plat op die aarde mens is hy nie net nie. Dit kon net sowel enige iemand anders gewees het met wie jy sommer toevallig sit en nonsens praat. Vir die rekord: ons het nie oor sy besering gepraat nie; net oor sy eersteling wat oor ’n maand of wat hier is en hoe dit sy gesinslewe gaan raak. Gelukkig het ek baie meer ondervinding op hierdie gebied en kon hom ten minste daarop voorberei.

Hier sit Schalk, hand op die blaas (wel amper, ons het meer as een bier gedrink) met my kollega Bobby Londt.

Mark Boucher

Sport is a hard master, and an even more cruel mistress. With Bouch on the brink of achieving immortality in respect of a number of records and “firsts”, an accident that could have happened at any stage of his career as wicket keeper, forced him to retire. As with any top class player, he had his critics, but somehow always managed to bounce back on the pitch without jabbering to the media.

In my view, he is one of the old school glove men that any team would rather have on their side than against them. His current and future involvement in saving rhino is exemplary, and we wish him all the best, and hopefully no permanent problems stemming from the freak incident which forced him out of cricket.

Hawkeye

Maandag se prentjieraai het minder antwoorde ontlok as die vorige weke. My vermoede is dat dit nie aan die betrokke dame te wyte is nie, maar eerder die feit dat sy meer klere aan het. Gelukkig was daar een regte antwoord, anders sou ek self die wyn moes gebruik. Wat my wel die skrik op die lyf gejaag het, was toe ek verneem die wenner, Ben Krige, woon in Kanada!

Dis nogal lekker om te hoor ons artikels word internasionaal gelees, maar hoe kry ek nou die wyn daar? Gelukkig het Shelley met Ben kon reël dat ’n kennis wat op Stellenbosch woon, dit kom afhaal.

Baie geluk Ben, ek is seker jy gaan dit baie geniet. Dis is nou te sê as jou vriend wat dit namens jou kom haal, dit nie ook sommer namens jou gaan drink nie!

This week we ask you to name the two people in the picture below.

Answers to Shelley by Monday at 10h00 please.

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