The Moonstone/Getwine Rugby Championship Challenge
Thanks to the unexpected draw in Sydney on Saturday, there were only two winners. André Marais and Deon du Toit will be given the choice of sharing the spoils or tossing a coin to determine an outright winner.
Their reward of six bottles of wine will be delivered by our sponsor, Getwine, this week.
The Moonstone/Getwine pool boasts 120 members, and will be a closely contested affair over the next 7 weeks.
Rugby Championship Review
The series got off to one of the weirdest starts that I ever experienced. The draw between the Wallabies and the All Blacks, coupled with monsoon rains in Pretoria, could not have been forecast by the most knowledgeable of experts.
At one stage during the game in Sydney I thought that Jaco Peyper was being very harsh in his treatment of the All Blacks, and expected a verbal barrage against him after the match. Richie McCaw openly admitted that they were under the cosh, and took chances which were spotted by the referee. Steve Hansen was as gracious in accepting that their winning streak of 17 matches came a cropper, and credited the Aussies for an outstanding display.
Despite words to the opposite before the match, the elusive goal of setting a new record played on the minds of the Kiwis. They were clearly nervous, and when the tenacious Wallabies upset their rhythm, they could not conjure up a plan B.
The gamble of playing Kurtley Beale at number 10 paid off, despite the All Blacks managing to stifle Israel Folau by leaving him virtually no space to perform his magic.
No doubt the tactical experts of the Springboks would have made a number of notes on how to approach these two sides later in the competition.
The result in Pretoria was possibly the best thing that could have happened to the Springboks, and is preferable to a huge winning margin which would only cause a false sense of security.
Was Pollard found wanting? Did De Allende fail on debut?
No sensible deductions can be made, given the conditions in which the match was played. Some positives did emerge, though.
Ruan Pienaar justified the coach’s persistence with him, and Willie le Roux (pictured above), amazingly, keeps growing in stature, playing great rugby week after week.
We need an experienced lock at number 5. While Lood de Jager did more than his share in general, there were some line-out calls which led to problems, rather than tries.
The selection of Warren Whiteley will hopefully provide some breathing space for the over-worked Duane Vermeulen. Willem Alberts’s withdrawal may also prove a blessing in disguise for later in the competition when we tour to Australasia.
Daar was nie eintlik veel verassings die naweek nie, behalwe miskien dat die WP sowaar ses drieë gedruk het, en dit nogal teen die Bulle.
Daar sal vandag weer kwaai beraad gehou word op Loftus na die afgelope naweek se vertoning, maar mens moet in gedagte hou dat die Bulle hierdie reeks gebruik vir die langer termyn ontwikkeling van jong spelers.
Vrystaat ondersteuners sal bietjie makliker asem haal na Saterdag se vertoning, en so ook dié van die Sharks, hoewel die komende naweek se kragmeting in Durban die ware toedrag van sake vir beide spanne sal weerspieël.
Die Pumas handhaaf hulself nog goed in die hoër liga, maar die Kings sal iets drasties moet doen na die loesing teen die Leeus.