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Super 15 - Week 5

Posted by McLook on March 25, 2014 at 3:45 AM Comments comments (5)

The matches played by South African teams during week 4 of the Super 15 in 2014 were;

• Blues versus Stormers;

• Lions versus the Reds;

• Sharks versus the Reds

• Cheetahs versus the Hurricanes.

 

Blues versus Stormers

Blues just returning from Africa was under the pump desperate to win. The Stormers on the other hand is a team struggling to find form. Both teams were in a desperate situation and striving to put a good performance on the park. The Stormers falling back on their defensive playing style did not play very well. They were out-scrummed, out-rucked, lost the lineout battle, and outscored. The manner of defeat is a bigger worry than the dismissal results. The Stormers are two the games into their tour, and are still searching for a win. It has been mentioned in the Cape media that the Stormers coaching staff Allister Coetzee, Matt Proudfoot and Robbie Fleck have met with The Western Province union president last Sunday. The speculation is that Brendon Venter or Gert Small will replace Coetzee as director of rugby in Cape Town. This this is a change that is long overdue but it will be too late to salvage the Stormers season.

The Blues had a reasonable game. Not as good as they were against the Crusaders but they scrummed well, their lineout looked solid enough and they scored some really good tries.

 

Lions versus the Reds

It was another victory for the Lions thanks do some dubious refereeing by a South Africa referee. In fact, to be accurate, it was the same referee that gave them a victory the previous week against the Blues. Referee Stuart Berry had another shocker. Last weekend he gave the Lions a victory by allowing a try after the ball was knocked out of the hands of a Lions player. His ruling that the ball was knocked forwards by the defending Blues player did not sit well with most pundits and media commentators. This week he penalised the Reds out of the game in the second half to the dismay of most of the South African pundits. Nick Mallet wrote that Stuart Berry spent the entire second half looking only at that Reds he penalised the Reds with four minutes to go at a scrum, which was never the penalty. He then allowed the skew lineout throw with two minutes to go and gave a try when the grounding was inconclusive. It was a shocking performance, writes Mallet. The manner in which he allowed the Reds to waste time at that scrum is also a concern. There was only about seven minutes left on the clock and Berry allowed the Reds to waste well over five minutes with substitutions and treatment of blood. The fact that neither Berry neither the Lions captain picked up the time wasting endeavours of the opposition was disturbing.

Mark Keohane writes that Stuart Berry's performance at Ellis Park was shameful, disgraceful and simply embarrassing. He opinionated that there should be referee accountability in Super rugby. It is not good enough to every week released a statement admitting to the referee and television match official mistakes.it is not good enough to publicly admit that apply shibboleth been awarded one of the yellow card should not have been issued. The result doesn't get changed. The Lions players that were asked to play with 16 men and to be honest the Lions should be complemented for their fighting spirit. They were totally outplayed the first half but showed some real grit in the second half. They clearly were the better team in the second half and it was the furiousness of their attack that forced the Reds into multiple infringements at the breakdown. They exhibited some real urgency at the tackle ball, good technique at the rucks and a willingness to run the ball. Their commitment and high energy levels clearly had the Reds against the ropes.

Winning with help of the referee leaves a bad taste in the mouth but this is a team that were thrown out of the Super 15 last season. They were thrown out of the super 15 as a result of a history of gutlessness. This season at least they are showing some guts and a willingness to front-up. That culture or softness that Coach Mitchell used to complain about has been replaced by a willingness to die for team and franchise. It is a vast improvement from what we used to see from the Lions. So whether it's with the help of the referee or not the Lions, this year, is a different team: a team who have won three out of the first four matches.

 

Sharks versus the Bulls

This was a typical South African derby. It wasn't grand attractive rugby. Sharks renowned for their running rugby was disappointing. They showed little ability with ball in hand probably due to the fact that they were totally outplayed at the set piece and the tackle ball. Losing both starting half-backs in the first five minutes must have had an impact on the Sharks. Replacement flyhalf Tim Swiel playing in his debut lacked the confidence to take responsibility. It was a Victor Matfield master class. Nobody could deny the impact that Matfield had on this franchise since he took his place in the starting line-up. If there was in doubt whether Matfield should be included -yet again- in the South African national team, his performance over the last two weekends must have silenced the doubters.

The Bulls have evolved -within the two weeks since Matfield’s elevation to the starting line-up- from a team totally inadequate at the set piece and at the tackle ball to a team that looks like they could go all the way. Matfield’s influence was clearly evident when he left the field late in the second half due to cramps. The Bulls as a consequence struggled to close the match in the last minutes.

Another positive in this match was the performance of Frans Steyn. Playing on inside centre he was less influential than previous weekend but it was his placekicking and midfield defence that kept the Sharks in the game. It was also good to see JP Pietersen back in South Africa and looking hungry.

Reminiscent of Ireland versus South Africa in 2010 when Jake White's big talk have inspired Ireland to a kamikaze effort to beat the Springboks Jake made a fool of himself yet again with his talk of how predictable the Bulls are and how easy it is to prepare for them. The sharks - after all that big talk- were totally outplayed and Jake is the one with the egg in his face. One would think that Jake is a senior campaigner would have learnt something about being humble and about not inspiring his opponents with dump remarks by now.

 

Cheatahs versus the Hurricanes

It was another dismissal performance by Cheethahs. This must be the franchise that is the hardest to support because one-week they can look like world beaters and the next week like chumps. As good as their attack seems to be as useless is their defence. At least they score tries something that the Stormers seems incapable of doing.

 

Some final thoughts

Watching super rugby at the moment is rather disappointing for me. The breakdown is a shambles. The attacking team doesn't seem to be favoured and the ball carrier seems to have no rights placing the ball; to many penalties at scrum time; no consistency in the awarding of yellow cards for professional fouls. The officiating is a mess, which makes for a messy tournament and messy viewing, according to Mark Keohane.

For me personally I find it hard to get into super 15 this year. The Bulls' victory over the Sharks was a pleasant surprise but they are back into their high school set-piece-box-kick-and-charge rugby. I just cannot see them beating the Chiefs or Highlanders with that sort of rugby. The Highlanders is the team that showed the most innovation and improvement so far since last year. Their performance on the weekend was the only one that really had me sitting on the edge of my chair.

Super rugby 2014 -Week 2

Posted by McLook on February 28, 2014 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (15)

On request of Micheal (Flourbomber) here is a spot where we can share some thoughts on the Super15 matches.

We are halfway through the matches of Week 2 and so far we've seen the Blues beating the Crusaders; the cheetahs getting thrashed by the Rebels and the Strormers securing a win in the last few minutes against the Hurricanes at Newlands.

 

Regarding the Blues/Crusaders match. I found the fact that that almost the entire Blues team consist of freakishly talented pascific islanders very interesting. The amount of talent amongst these Islanders is incredible. Big, strong and fast seems to be the norm and not a oddity. These big Islanders manhandled the 'Saders with ease and was clearly the better team -for me- on the day. Tom Taylor's place kicking was a bit of a disaster and McCaw did not feature at all during the time he was on the field. In fact he missed tackles in the run-up to the first two Blues tries.  I like the look of the new Blues flyhalf. He is playing so well that Benji Marshall is relegated to warming the bench.

 

The Cheetahs was just bloody ordinary. Everytime you think they've got game they turn gutless. Ek so gatvol vir daai spul ek wil nie eers hulle wedstryde kyk nie. The golden Goose (Goossen) is either struggling to get his form back or is totally over rated. His tactical kicking was horrible and he couldn't get his line away to save his live. Big boss Strauss failed (yet again) miserable as captain. This was a match where he should have shown his metal as it was clear from within the first minute that the Cheetahs was lacking passion and urgency. He was unable to deliver and ligt the team and hence -in my books- not even worth being metioned as a future Springbok captain.

Based on last weeks display against the Bulls Goossen might be the future of the No10 berth for the Springboks. This weekend he was poor.

 

Passion was what pulled the Stormers through but they were frantic in all facets of play. Motivated to the brink of self-destruction but there was -yet again- an absence of evidence that they are being coached. The backline play was lacking finesse and the line out display was the worst I've seen from an SA team in a long time. In the end the Hurricanes in my books didn't deserve to win (even though the Stormers lacked finesse) due to the fact that they scored two soft tries and was never really in the game.

The absence of Bekker and Etzebeth was clearly apparent in the Stormers line-out play. Bekker is -I believe- in Japan and have been a bit dissapointing in his last season (2012) at the Stormers but he was still better than the two that was on display this weekend.

 

The 'Canes almost won due to good defence but kept on infringing in the red zone to prevent tries being scored against them. The Stormes got three early penalties for such infringements at the tackle ball when they were stringing some phases together. This penalty leaking is a good strategy to break opponents momentum and I would like to see referees stepping in and warn teams that kept on infringing in the red zone to prevent tries.

So far a rather dissapointing show by the SA sides.

Danie Craven

Posted by McLook on April 1, 2013 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (2)

For those seeking info about Danie Craven look here: http://springbokrugby.webs.com/australia1956.htm

Craven was Springbok coach in 1949, 1951/2, 1955 and 1956. I've not yet written anything about the 1949 All Black tour nor about the 1951/2 EOYT or the 1955 Bristh and Irish Lion tour.

However in the postings on the 1956 tour there are multiple references to Craven and even the odd video clip.

Craven had his flaws but was much revered and respected in SA and probably the best thing that happened to SA rugby. He was our North Star; the person that provided direction. He was a stability factor for SA rugby in a time when the country went through much political turnmoil. His presence kept the ship on course, intact and tidy in an enviroment/country characterised by outspokeness and split-ups ("dwarstrekkery' is the Afrikaans word which mean to pull sideways or to trek with your ox wagon in a different direction).

Rugby, politics and religion is probably the three domains in which most South African indulges with passion and abundance and which consequently causes the most arguments. Political parties came and went over the years and the church saw numerous split-ups leading to formation of new religious congregations. The fact that this did ot happen in rugby between the years 1930 to 1995 was largely, I believe, the result of the presence, authority and influence of Danie Craven.

It was also his status and international recognitions/contacts that allowed South Africa to bring tours to the country during the isolation years. Those tours kept SA rugby in  the loop with international developments/evolutions and fostered new partnership. This culminated into the SANZAR partnership and the Super10/14/15 championship in 1996.

Jan Ellis

Posted by McLook on February 4, 2013 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (1)

This is in response to a visitor who was looking for info on Jan Ellis and who visited only one page and then left.

There is actually quite a lot of Jan Ellis on this site and something like 66 pictures about Jan can be be found on the site as a whole (See photo gallery).

Jan started his international playing career in 1965 and there is info about him on almost every second entry of that 65 tour (see here; http://springbokrugby.webs.com/1965tour.htm).

There is also lots of info and pictures of Jan in the series about the 1970 All Black tour. See in particular the four test matches and the match against SWA.

During the 1971 tour to Australia Jan Ellis was outstanding (see here: http://springbokrugby.webs.com/the1971springboks.htm)

Ellis also played against the 1974 Lions (see the photo gallery) and the 1976 All Blacks (see the match against Transvaal and the first test match).

See tribute I’ve written re-Jan Ellis by clicking on this link (http://springbokrugby.webs.com/janellis.htm).

 

Tommy Bedford

Posted by McLook on February 4, 2013 at 4:25 AM Comments comments (2)

See more info about Tommy Bedford here: http://www.genslin.us/bokke/

Also look at the 1965 series especially the Australian part of the tour, the 1970 and 1976 All Black tours (see match against Natal).

The entry on the 1971 tour to Australia provide some more about Tommy Bedford.

Bedford played in 25 test matches and scored one try. The interetsing fact about Bedford is that he never played against the All Blacks. He went on the 1965 tour to New Zealand but got injured during the Australian leg of the tour and didn't play in any of the test matches against New Zealand in 1965.

In 1970 he played a great game for Natal against the All Blacks but didn't make the test side mostly due to his remark about Natal being the last outpost of the British empire in a post match speach a year or so earlier.

He was part of the Springbokside that toured to Australia in 19071 and was a likely test candidate but got injured early on tour and did not complete the tour.

In 1974 he got knocked unconscious by JPR Williams which left the Natal crowd furious. He was still playing for Natal when the 1976 All Blacks toured South Africa.

Lions of 1974

Posted by McLook on January 28, 2013 at 4:05 AM Comments comments (1)

I am currently busy with the 1956 tour to New Zealand. My next post on that tour will be the game against the universities. I will also do some additional posts on the Australian leg of that tour.

I've added today (28/1/13) a photo gallery page and started with two galleries namely some pictures of the first Springboks and a compresive visual tour of the 1974 Lions tour to South Africa. The 1974 gallery will be in order that the matches were played. I've added pictures up to the first test so far. I will add pictures to that gallery daily for the rest of this week until its complete.

Once I'm done with the 1956 tour I will write some commentary on the matches of the 1974 tour. Those who have any memories of that tour please post your memories here as I would appreciate any infromation. Video material and pictures of that tour will aslo be appreciated. 

So by the way don't go for the 3D option when you view the gallery. If have done so already go to your control panel and delete it. The 3D option make the viewing in my opinion a bit of a hassle.  


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