Super 15 Log Review after Round 5
We are roughly one third through the round robin section of the competition. While those at the top will regard complacency as their major threat, others lower down will need to consider remedial surgery to avoid further embarrassment.
Not inside – On top
The Sharks lead the competition with four wins in as many encounters and look to be safely ensconced there. The Chiefs, the only other unbeaten side, are second after three games, and five points behind the Sharks. The Brumbies are third, having suffered one loss in four games. The biggest surprise is of course the Lions claiming fourth spot, albeit after 5 matches. It may be a surprise, but is certainly not undeserved, and should act as an example to the more fancied South African sides who look more like bottom-feeding guppies than serious contenders.
Only their “superior” points difference keeps the Stormers (62 for, 102 against) ahead of the Cheetahs (109 for, 168 against) at the bottom of the pile.
The Stormers can raise a number of excuses for their current position, specifically their tough schedule and injuries to key players, but that does not wash with me. A team who achieved success with a strategy built only on defence will eventually be found out, and the five tries scored by the Chiefs seems to prove this point. It can only get worse.
A franchise with such an amazing breeding ground of talent and a rich heritage should know how to address such problems. I suspect that we are now beginning to see the impact of poor administration which became evident when Rassie Erasmus packed his bags. You can only last so long when all you have to rely on is the talent in the team. Despite having an inspirational captain and star players, there is an urgent need to review the current state of affairs. It would be easy to throw the coach to the wolves, but that will solve nothing at this stage, other than give the administrators more time to smear over the cracks.
Cheetah fans are also nearly as despondent with their team as I am with mine. Every match they play ends up with big numbers on the scoreboard, but usually a narrow points difference. On Saturday a total of 87 points were scored, but only 27 came from the Free Staters. The last victory for the Hurricanes came in May last year, also against the hapless Cheetahs.
I enjoy watching the Cheetahs play. Aussie journalists could not praise Willie le Roux highly enough, which is a rare thing indeed. The prime objective of the game is to win though, and though I do not suggest they adopt a Stormers style of stifling the opposition, they need more balance in their approach if they wish to remain competitive.
When Irish Eyes are Crying
As a keen student of Irish history, I know much about the woes that have befallen the nation over centuries. In modern days, they managed to extricate a lot of national pride through the exploits and inspiration injected by the man known as BOD.
Brian O’Driscoll was the inspiration in 133 tests for his country. He rates their victory over France in 2000 (the first in 28 years in Paris) as a personal highlight. What set him aside from most other centres was that he was always able to create space, and score tries, despite being a highly marked man.
Former Springbok forwards coach Gary Gold Tweeted:
Of all the tributes to @BrianODriscoll this one sums up the man best! True Legend, both on and off the field. (picture left)
I will certainly miss him, and when Ireland’s call sounds at the start of their next match, I will be sure to raise a Guinness to the legend that is Brian O’Driscoll.
To be sure.