In this morning’s newspaper, Louis de Villiers asks the question: what hurts more: to lose badly, or to win everything but the game?
If one compares this to the way our national cricket side bowed out of the world cup last year, I will gladly take the last option.
Most commentators are at a loss as to how it happened. Yes, the referee (and do not forget his two assistants) was shocking. Yes, Bismarck and Hougaard are beter than Smit and Habana.
In life, you play the cards you are dealt. If you do not play them well, you lose. The sad truth of the matter was our inability to convert field position into points, and the ability of our opponents, and particularly Australia and New Zealand, to do so.
Will the lessons learnt be applied? I think there are enough astute rugby people at the helm of SA rugby to be able to do so, and I believe we now have the right personnel to replace the current coaching staff.
As for the International Rugby Board, I am of the opinion that they are running a multi-billion dollar business like a family corner shop. The referee debacle is but one element. They are ruining the shelf life of their product by over-extending them. They are afraid to employ technology to address shortcomings, particularly as far as the human weaknesses of referees are concerned.
Steven Weiss, a regulator contributor to our discussions, suggested the introduction of appeals like they do in tennis and cricket. While this makes absolute sense to me, one wonders if the doddering granddads at the helm of this massive industry will see the need for change.
Wallis 22 – Ierland 10: Die wenners se fiksheid en verdediging het uiteindelik die verskil gemaak. Die veelbesproke slaankrag van die verloorders het toe nie regtig gematerialiseer nie. Ek het Saterdagoggend op Facebook gesê: “Ek hoop nie ek gaan more (Sondag) hierdie tyd, dieselfde ding hoef te sê nie.” En toe gebeur dit.
Wallis se uitstekende kondisionering mag dalk net vorentoe weer handig te pas kom, afhangende van watter Franse span vir die semi-finaal opdaag.
France 19 – England 12: Prior to the match, John Robbie said something along these lines: “The French are fighting amongst themselves, with their coach, and have trained badly or not at all, which is why they should win against England. Prophetic words. I would have loved to see them play the All Blacks in the semi-finals, rather than Australia.
All Blacks 33 – Argentina 10: The fact that Argentina managed to prevent the All Blacks from crossing the goal line for 67 minutes says a lot for their defence. Given how well the Aussies did against the ‘Boks in this department, it could well be their blueprint for the semi-final.