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Worrying times

A much improved bowling and fielding performance by the Proteas in the 2nd one day international was not enough to secure victory. They fell 17 runs short in the rain affected, Duckworth-Lewis influenced result.

Much has been written in Sri Lanka about the ineffectiveness of our spinners – even the Sri Lankan part timer, Dilshan, out performed the specialist Protea tweakers.

Kandy is the venue for the 3rd ODI which is a must win game for the Proteas if they harbour any hope of winning the 5-match series. More bounce and carry is expected at this venue which might help our fielding and bowling, but the batting seems to be desperately wanting.  With Amla most likely to miss the next two games, Colin Ingram gets a reprieve to display his talents.

Words like “ownership” are being bandied about when the conversation turns to the Proteas’ batting, as does the old cliché “back to basics”. Talk is cheap, money buys the whiskey.  My concern is that our performance in the shorter format of the game might start creeping into the test side as well. Key players like AB, Faf and JP Duminy have not contributed thus far, yet they make up half our batting line-up for the tests.

Worrying times indeed!

The Lion King

For once I find myself in agreement with Jake White. Not about his Brumbies side, but about how both the Lions and the Kings should be in next year’s Super Series. Obviously, as an ex-Joburg boytjie, he will be sentimental about the Lions, but for a union with such a proud tradition to be left out, does not make sense.

Equally, the Kings, in his view, is good for rugby. The Brumbies, who finished at the top of the Aussie conference, draws 17 000 people while 44 000 Kings supporters attend their home games.

The two matches will be closely fought. I have a feeling that the Kings are slight favourites, having played in a far tougher league than the Lions. They also had two weeks in which to recuperate after the tough season, and prepare for this one. The Lions gambled seriously when they selected Elton Jantjes after a rather ordinary season in the Cape. One expected them to bank on the continuity built up through the year, and time will tell if it was the right choice.

Chiefs and Crusaders Clash

If continuity is the deciding factor, the Crusaders should walk this one. They named an unchanged 22 as opposed to the Chiefs, who made seven changes. Expect a great game, whatever the result.

Wynne Gray writes in the NZ Herald:

Crusaders have the momentum but history demonstrates Chiefs can turn it around at Super 15 showdown

The swagger has come from the Crusaders, the stagger from the Chiefs.

Rugby psychoanalysts will leap on that as a pointer to their Super 15 showdown on Saturday while those with rational rugby memories will deliver examples where form is deceptive.

The Chiefs qualified top in pool play but have struggled since the June test break while the Crusaders purred through their programme including victory against the Chiefs and then destroyed the Reds last week.

Momentum is with the Crusaders, however history is with the Chiefs as they and their supporters buckle up for this dynasty-defining clash.

The Chiefs have carried a yen all season to show their 2012 title win was no fluke while the Crusaders, for all their core of big-name players, have not won the big dance since 2008.

They were edged out by the Chiefs last year in one semi-final, lost the final in 2011 and semi-final matches in 2010 and 2009.

Cynics will suggest the Crusaders know how to lose and the Chiefs have learned to win, while the dispassionate will look for a great contest and diehard fans will not be swayed from their allegiance.

Bulle teen die Wilde Perde

Iemand het eendag, na ‘n rondte gholf waarin my maat goeie gholf gespeel het, en ek hulle met die mond ontsenu het, gesê: “You talk a nice game.”

Dieselfde kan van Jake White gesê, hoewel ek moet erken hy weet so ietsie meer van rugby as wat ek van gholf weet.

Ons het Maandag daarop gewys dat die Brumbies teen die Vrystaat sterk vertoon het op twee gebiede waar die Bulls juis nie te waffers vaar nie – in die skrums en in die los. Die groot uitdaging vir Ludeke en sy span sou wees om so daarop te konsentreer in hul voorbereiding dat hulle vergeet van hul eie sterkpunt, die lynstane.

Ek glo nie die Bulls sal in daardie slagyster trap nie, en Jake White ook nie. Dalk is sy kommentaar hieroor in die media juis daarop gemik om hul aandag af te lei van waarop die Brumbies gaan fokus.

Dis moeilik om te glo dat die Bulle ‘n kans staan om deur ‘n Aussie agtal oordonder te word. Ek dink oom Buurman van Zyl doen so 72 revs per minuut in sy graf as hy dit moet hoor.

My voorgevoel is dat die verskil agterlangs gaan wees, en dat Jan Serfontein, en veral JJ Engelbrecht, vir die Aussies gaan wys dat hulle verdediging toe nie so goed is as wat hulle gedink het nie.

Laastens, net dit oor White se persepsie oor hoe goed hulle vertoon in wegwedstryde. As jou wegwedstryd in Nieu-Seeland is, tel dit nie soveel as wanneer dit in SA is nie. Neem in ag die hoogte bo seespieël, en die harde stryd teen die Cheetahs verlede naweek, en ek kan nie sien hoe die Brumbies kan wen nie.

Die Bulls het ‘n beter kans om hulself te klop as wat die Brumbies het.


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