What a Wonder Weekend

I hummed this adaptation of the Louis Armstrong hit to myself as I drifted into a peaceful sleep last night.

Bulls Played the Blues

Must admit I enjoy reading the NZ newspapers the day after we managed the treble:

“The Bulls’ win, their first at Eden Park, represented a South African trifecta over New Zealand teams this weekend after the Cheetahs beat the Highlanders and the Stormers beat the Chiefs.”

Nie net behou die manne van Pretoria hul trotse rekord ten opsigte van eerste toerwedstryd oorwinnings nie – hulle stof die vormspan in die kompetisie af.

Sonder om afbreuk aan hul oorwinning te doen, dink ek die afrigter van die Blues, wat ek aanvanklik as die ridder op die witperd gesien het, word die Sancho Panza wat hul kasteel in ‘n windmeul verander het. Nie net sy vreemde besluit om tien veranderinge aan die beginspan aan te bring nie, maar ook die vervanging van Piri Weepu en stut Charlie Faumuina, net toe dit lyk of hulle uiteindelik begin ritme kry.

Soos die koerante vanoggend sê: jy weet wat jy gaan kry as jy teen die Bulls speel, maar of jy hulle as gevolg daarvan gaan ontwrig, is ‘n ander storie. Voeg by die beproefde resep nou ook baie meer vlytvoetige agterspel, en hier kom pêrre. Of is dit nou Bulle?

Stormers staan op uit die stof

Om die kampioenspan van 2012 te klop, al is dit in jou eie agterplaas, is geen grap nie.

Seldom have I seen such die-hard, never give up competitiveness in two evenly matched sides. The tackle statistics alone tell the tale of how hard the Stormers had to work at keeping their try line intact. Even so, the visitors still managed to score four tries, two of which came from the clever grubbers by Cruden.

His opposite number, Jantjes, failed in this regard. I suggest that Coetzee stick with the tried and tested Peter Grant, and leave the kicking to Joe Pietersen.  Jantjes should be eased into the side as an impact player, if the game allows it. The fact that you paid R4 million for a player, does not mean that you have to select him. He will be of more value later in the season when he has settled into the team on a more gradual basis.

Cheetahs slag Highlanders

Die NZ Herald som dit so mooi op:

The Highlanders were made to pay by the Cheetahs – a side whose results give entirely the wrong impression. They don’t win much but that doesn’t mean they are not a talented outfit that present multiple problems for opponents. They have been one of Super Rugby’s great improvers in the last few years – at least in terms of consistency of performance and endeavour.

They have willing ball carriers as the Highlanders discovered. They have a set-piece that benefits from the coaching input of former Springbok Os du Randt – as the Highlanders discovered. And a willingness to play on the counter attack and trust their skills – as the Highlanders discovered.

The Cheetahs, again as the Highlanders discovered, are a side that just need a sniff of encouragement – a little help in building momentum and they are off.

Kom ons hou duim vas dat hierdie inspuiting hulle gaan inspireer om te speel soos hulle kan – vir 80 minute elke wedstryd.

Kings defeated, but not disgraced

The Sharks certainly came away from PE with more food for thought than they expected, as will, hopefully, the other teams still to play the Kings. We know from the Australian experience that building a new side takes more than a season or two, but the signs are encouraging. The game against the Chiefs, this weekend, will give us a real indication of where they currently stand.

A Pride of Proteas

Colin Ingram

Colin Ingram

Despite my misgivings about our bowling attack, the whole team did more than enough to win convincingly against a strong Pakistan team. Colin Ingram proved that his confidence is back, and ably supported by the rest of the top order, they set a challenging total despite a slowish start. It is good to se the likes of Behardien, McLaren and Kleinveldt no longer looking like wild-eyed schoolboys amongst the big names. They are holding their own, and have become more than able replacements for the established players.

The most important aspect of this series, for me, is consistency in performance. By the time the next world tournament comes, we want the team to have confidence in themselves to handle any situation.

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