Bulls 23 – Sharks 19
Heyneke Meyer will no doubt be very happy about a new “problem” which emerged from Saturday’s big tussle. The two Blue Jays in the Bulls side, Jacques du Plessis and Jacques-Louis Potgieter will certainly ask questions of their counterparts in the Bok side. While the established loose forwards in the national side will be difficult to dislodge, Du Plessis is certainly pressing very hard. Add to this his style of play which is very much in line with the likes of Vermeulen, Alberts and Louw, and he must be on the short-list, should an injury sideline one of the established players.
What a pity that Pat Lambie was injured early on. It is impossible to say what his impact would have been on the result of the match, but watching him and Potgieter compete was something I was really looking forward to.
Their intensity in the third quarter of the match won the day for the Bulls, and their ability to withstand the onslaught from the Sharks in the last twenty minutes was probably largely due to the cool head of Oom Victor Matfield. Jake White was at pains to explain the changed role of the more senior Matfield in a proud Bulls side.
Lions 23 – Reds 20
One gets the impression that even the Lions are shaking their heads in disbelief at what they are achieving this season. To turn a 17 point deficit into a three-point victory takes a lot of self-belief. Apparently, Johan Ackermann told them at halftime to revert the scoreboard to 0 – 0 for the second half, and it worked.
Yet again, an impressive showing by the halfbacks of the Lions kept them in contention, despite a number of kickable goals not aimed at the posts. Faf de Klerk is proving to be more than a handful, and is improving with every match.
The Aussies are bleating badly about the penalty count against them, and have indicated that they intend taking the matter up with Lyndon Bray. Three referees have been “stood down” by Sanzar, as they so politely put it, as a result of poor refereeing: Francisco Pastrana, James Leckie and Lourens Van der Merwe.
Brumbies 25 – Stormers 15
Despite the faux pas made by Kobus van Wyk which allowed Robbie Coleman his second try, the entire Stormers team, and their management, should plead guilty to a charge of culpable suicide.
It became more and more evident that the selection of Peter Grant in the starting line-up was a mistake, yet they refused to replace him with Demetri Catrakilis, who not only is a deadly accurate goal kicker, but also has the ability to win matches with drop kicks.
The ultimate lowlight of the match was the Stormers being outscrummed by an Aussie pack on their own goal line, and having a penalty try awarded for their lack of effort.
Ag nee sies man.
This was one match which the Cape side could have won, were it not for their own poor showing. Perhaps they should approach the Cheetahs with a suggestion that the two sides swop backline coaches for the rest of the season so that the Stormers can learn to attack, and the Cheetahs defend.
The Stormers have seven home games left, but I suspect that Newlands is going to be a lonely place for them this year.
Blues 40 – Cheetahs 30
The fact that the referee was removed from the panel, after his poor display, will do very little to console the Cheetahs. It will also not impact on the result. In the time that Boom Prinsloo was off, the Blues scored 17 unanswered points, which is almost impossible to chase, unless you are playing for the home side at Ellis Park.
Like most other rugby supporters, I love watching the men from the Free State play. At least it makes a defeat more palatable than the kind of grind dished up by the Stormers.
Johan Goosen may be on the recovery trail, but he has yet to show the form which made him the potential star of the future. Elgar Watts impresses me, every time he comes on the field, and is a vastly improved flyhalf from when he first appeared on the scene.
At least the Cheetahs now have some time to recover from jet lag and a gruelling schedule. I suspect, or rather, I hope, that their focus will be on addressing their defensive deficiencies.
Having jointly scored the fourth most points in the competition is commendable, but only if the stats do not also reflect that you conceded a double century of points – 208 to be precise. The average result after 6 matches is 23 for, 35 against.
Maar ons is nog altyd lief vir julle, hoor?