Welcome to Politics, John

This was the remark made by my colleague, Bobby, when he read about Brian van Zyl publicly contradicting John Smit regarding the future of John Plumtree in Sharks rugby.

John certainly is no stranger to shenanigans of this nature, having led the national rugby side during the tenure of Piet Helium, but this will be different. There are sure to be people who will not be happy about Plumtree’s sudden departure after serving the union with great distinction, both as player and coach. It is in the interests of Sharks rugby that any discord is addressed immediately. As a major feeder to the national side, it is also important in the Springbok set-up.

Choking the Opposition

My favourite headline of the week reads: “Proteas choke … gloriously”. This was after an incredible bowling display by the young Proteas attack, standing firm and delivering a well executed game plan.

We have seen quite a few low scoring games in this tournament, which turned out to be real nail biters. The problem with low scoring games is that the entertainment only really starts in the 2nd innings, which makes it a bit of a bore if you watched the first half. I imagine most of us had our doubts at the half way stage, and were quite frustrated by the recent lack of runs in ODIs.

Dale-SteynThe Proteas face a tough challenge from a very competent West Indies outfit on Friday. Chris Gayle is the obvious threat, but players like Marlon Samuels, Kumar Roach and Sunil Narine can also act as game breakers. From a South African perspective, the news is that, if Dale Steyn is fit, Chris Morris might be the unlucky player to miss out, should the Proteas select 3 spinners.

In my view, the better option is to opt for 3 spin bowlers, as the Islanders prefer the ball coming onto the bat. Slowing the ball down might just restrict the hitting powers of a Chris Gayle a bit, but this requires a low, slow pitch.

The Proteas have lived with the “Chokers” label for years – they might as well embrace it and apply the hold to choke the opposition!

International Rugby this Weekend

Tonight, the junior Bokkies take on the home team, France, who will be desperate to win, having lost to England earlier. They need a bonus point win, so I expect them to give the ball a lot of air – not by kicking, but playing a running game. Against England, our defence was, at one stage, not up to standard, although we managed to improve towards the end of the game. I am also a little concerned about all the selection changes. While the coach hopes for fresh legs after the tough England match, I am concerned about continuity.

The senior national side shows little change from the team which did duty last week. Meyer indicated that he wants to identify and involve his back-up players for the first choice ones. This is possibly the single biggest reason for the success of the All Blacks, and should get the nod from all those for whom Springbok rugby is more important than provincialism. The thin blue line representing Scotland is even thinner this weekend, with key players injured. They should pose no problem for the Springboks, provided that we use this opportunity to hone our killer instincts. In the words of the Boss: no retreat, no surrender.

As daar een ander wedstryd is waarvoor ek moeite gaan doen om dit te sien, is dit die tweede toets tussen die All Blacks en Frankryk. Ek wil voorspel hier kom ‘n ding – ‘n Franse ding. Die Franse is een van die min spanne wat grootskaalse veranderinge kan aanbring sonder dat dit lyk of hulle kontinuïteit prys gee.

Tiger Tiger Burning Bright…

Dan is daar natuurlik ook nog die Amerikaanse Ope, om te sorg dat ons nie bedsere opdoen van te veel slaap nie. Met Tiger as die oorweldigende gunsteling, is die kanse skraal dat ons iemand anders as die Tier op TV sal sien. Waar hy buite bereik van die kameras is, sal hulle waarskynlik terugflitse van hom wys. Ai, sal dit nie lekker wees as een van die 8 SA spelers wen nie?

Die meeste van ons is veel meer optimisties as realisties, maar as ons die slag reg is, is die lekker baie meer as net ‘n vinger lank.


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