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Springbok

Tougher than the rest

Tune in to Boss Radio as you read this week’s sport and sports column.

The title of this Bruce Springsteen song came to mind this morning when I was reading the sports pages of my newspaper with my first cup of coffee.

Let’s get physical

OK, let’s not watch the Olivia Newton-John video, or you could find your pacemaker opening the garage door by mistake.

In an interview, Adriaan Strauss makes the point that we should not emulate everything the All Blacks does, but rather focus on honing our own skills and strengths to become more competitive. Players like Bismarck and Etzebeth gained world-wide respect through the way they play.

The way Peter-Steph du Toit is playing this year is the perfect example of how we can move beyond physicality and match the All Blacks at their own game.

Strauss also refers to the focus on structure, and says that this is what creates opportunities, if applied correctly.

The best example of this came on Tuesday night when the junior Boks found themselves down 14-19 at halftime. Dawie Theron admitted that they had decided on a game plan, based on an analysis of how Japan played in the junior tournament last year. When this did not work, they switched to plan B, and Pearl Harboured the Japanese in the second half.

Let’s hope the senior teams, including the SA “A”, can emulate this from this weekend onwards. That is exactly why the New Zealand side excels – they can vary their play if the run-on game plan does not work.

Using the SA A side as a test and feeder ground for the senior side is a great innovation. It provides a number of talented youngsters with the opportunity to test themselves at a new level, while the coach replicates the senior coach’s approach, thereby ensuring continuity at the top.

I think SA rugby is on the right track.

Clowns to the left of me

In case you forgot – a line from Stealers Wheel’s song “Stuck in the middle with you.”

The inclusion of two left-arm bowlers in the Proteas side on Tuesday night proved inspirational and, was it not for one or two dubious umpiring decisions, Trabaiz Shamsi may have had an even bigger impact on debut than he did.

I am proud to say that my favourite sports writer at the moment is Antoinette Muller who writes for Daily Maverick. In an article in today’s online paper she discusses five talking points after the first round of South Africa’s ODI tri-series. I found the two below very enlightening:

Transformation moving forward

During their victory against Australia, South Africa fielded eight players of colour, two of them black Africans. With transformation dominating the discourse, this was a milestone for Cricket South Africa, who has come under fire from South Africa’s sports minister recently. More important, those who want to cry “quota” will be hard-pressed that there was a player in South Africa’s XI on Tuesday who did not deserve to be there.

The burden on the top order

A big issue for South Africa remains their reliance on their top four. Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers and Rilee Rossouw are pretty impressive names to have in any side’s batting line-up, but the Proteas rely heavily on these four to score the bulk of their runs. The balance of the side still seems slightly lopsided and while they got away with it against Australia, it cost them against the West Indies. Fortunately, this is exactly what this series is there for: to fine-tune the balance of the team ahead of next year’s Champions Trophy in England.

Springboks/Ireland

Publication deadlines unfortunately prevent me from expressing my view on the Bok side which will only be announced later this morning. I suspect that we will see a repeat of what happened to the junior Boks on Tuesday – a shaky first half, followed by a much improved second half as the nerves settle and combinations start to gel.

En natuurlik sal ek, soos alyd, my Ierland trui vir die duur van die sing van Ireland’s Call aantrek en lustig saam huil.

In Edinburgh het ek een aand ‘n Skot raak gedrink in so ‘n t-hemp:

Scotland PP blog

Skotte kan ook nie spel nie…

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