Front Row Grunt

Rugby … with cauliflower ears

Weekend wrap and chat …

A look at the weekend’s rugby results …

Vodacom Cup:

Border 20 (20) Pampas XV 46 (15)

Border – Tries: Gareth Krause, Logan Basson. Conversions: Louis Kruger (2). Penalty goals: Kruger (2).
Pampas XV – Tries: Javier Rojas (3), Mariano Galarza, Bruno Postiglioni, Rodrigo Bruno. Conversions: Benjamin Madero (5). Penalty goals: Madero (2).

Griffons 12 (5) Pumas 43 (22)

Griffons – Tries: Nicky Steyn (2). Conversion: Reinhardt Erwee.
Pumas – Tries: Coenie van Wyk, Deon Scholtz, Jaco Bouwer (2), JW Jonker, Wilhelm Loock. Conversions: JC Roos (5). Penalty goal: Roos.

Valke 31 (12) vs Leopards 28 (14)

Valke – Tries: Marco Kotze, Bradley Fortuin, Kyle Hendricks, Sinovuyo Ganto, Anrich Richter. Conversions: Juan Kotze (3).
Leopards – Tries: Adriaan Engelbrecht (3), Berty Visser. Conversions: Andre Pretorius (4).

Free State XV 38 (17) vs Sharks XV 51 (25)

Free State XV – Tries: Francois Uys, Kholo Ramashala, Leroy Bitterhout (2), Marcel van der Merwe. Conversions: Riaan Smit (5). Penalty goal: Smit.
Sharks XV – Tries: Chris Cloete, Gouws Prinsloo, Jean Deysel, Sibusiso Sithole, Wandile Mjekevu. Conversions: Prinsloo (4). Penalty goals: Prinsloo (6).

Blue Bulls 49 (18) Golden Lions 10 (3)

Blue Bulls – Tries: Basil Short, Jurgen Visser, Vincent Koch, Ruan Snyman, Ulrich Beyers, Tony Jantjies. Conversions: Jantjies (5). Penalty goals: Jantjies (3).
Golden Lions – Try: Anthony Volmink. Conversion: Marais Schmidt. Penalty goal: Schmidt.

WP 30 (11) EP 25 (19)

WP – Tries: Ederies Arendse, JP du Plessis. Conversion: Demetri Catrakilis. Penalty goals: Catrakilis (6).
EP – Tries: Andile Witbooi, Scott van Breda. Drop goal: Justin van Staden. Penalty goals: Van Staden (2), Van Breda (2)

SWD 26 (16) Boland 46 (20)

SWD – Tries: Elric van Vuuren, Lyndon Hartnick, Michael Vermaak (2). Penalty goals: Van Vuuren (2).
Boland – Tries: Zandre Jordaan, PJ van Zyl, Nolan Clark, Jonathan Francke, Franzel September, Brendon April; Penalty try. Conversions: Elgar Watts (4). Penalty goal: Watts.

Super Rugby:

Waratahs 34 (13) The Sharks 30 (17)

The Waratahs put in a solid second-half performance as The Sharks seemed to lose steam in their 34-30 defeat to the team from Sydney on Saturday morning. At times, the KwaZulu-Natalians looked very dangerous, but the home side finished stronger, scoring three second half tries to one in a very even match.

The Sharks were quick out of the blocks, with Lwazi Mvovo crossing in the fourth minute. Keegan Daniel’s try later in the first half put the visitors ahead at the break, but the Waratahs came out stronger in the second stanza.

The home side fought back with two quick tries midway through the second half, but John Plumtree’s men were ahead on the score board going into the final 10 minutes, thanks to Bismarck du Plessis’ earlier second half try and some pin-point goal kicking by Pat Lambie, who slotted six from seven shots at goal to surpass 250 Super Rugby career points.

Then their concentration slipped again as young Waratah-winger Tom Kingston broke Sharks hearts with the winning try five minutes from full time.

Tahs – Tries: Brendan McKibbin, Bernard Foley, Tom Carter, Tom Kingston. Conversions: McKibbin (3), Berrick Barnes. Penalty goals: McKibbin (2).

The Sharks – Tries: Lwazi Mvovo, Keegan Daniel, Bismarck du Plessis. Conversions: Pat Lambie (3). Penalty goals: Lambie (3).

Crusaders 28 (11) Cheetahs 21 (3)

The Cheetahs delivered their best-ever Super Rugby performance against the Crusaders in New Zealand when they were pipped at the post 28-21 by the seven-time champions in Christchurch on Saturday morning.

In their three previous visits to Canterbury, the Cheetahs lost by 39 points (2010), 48 points (2008) and 36 points (2006) respectively. On Saturday, they were still level with the Crusaders with less than five minutes on the clock, but then Israel Dagg scored the winning try for the home side after a period of relentless pressure.

They never gave up (until the last kick of the day that is …) even though it looked at stages if the Crusaders were going to run away with it. Two second half tries, by Johan Goosen and Robert Ebersohn, kept the visitors in the hunt.

Goosen’s try started with a turnover deep in the Cheetahs’ half of the field and ended with the SA Under-20 flyhalf, who is currently at the top of the points’ scorers list for 2012, crossing in the corner after some good handling and running down the left side of the field.

In the end, the Crusaders’ experience probably won them this game – their first back in Christchurch since May 2010, following last year’s devastating earthquakes.

Crusaders – Tries: Israel Dagg, Robbie Fruean, Sean Maitland. Conversions: Tom Taylor (2). Penalty goals: Taylor (3).

Cheetahs – Tries: Johan Goosen, Robert Ebersohn. Conversion: Goosen. Penalty goals: Goosen (3).

Bulls 61 (16) Reds 8 (3)

It was one-way traffic at Loftus as the Bulls crushed the defending Super Rugby champs, the Reds, by 61-8 on Saturday afternoon. It’s the biggest defeat ever by a team defending their title and also the seventh biggest victory in this competition.

The home side scored eight tries – seven of those coming in the second half – against a depleted Reds side that struggled with the physicality and intensity displayed by the Bulls.

The Reds’ defence was also not up to scratch as they recorded their biggest defeat since the final round robin match of 2007, when they were also slaughtered by the Bulls in Pretoria (92-3).

The Bulls squandered a number of try-scoring opportunities in the first half, but still went into the break 16-3 up. The second half was a completely different story as they almost scored at will. Three of the Pretorians’ tries came in the final 10 minutes, while Morné Steyn slotted all eight his kicks at goal for a personal contribution of 19 points.

The biggest wins in the history of Super Rugby are: by 89 points (Bulls 92 Reds 3 in 2007), 77 (Crusaders 96 Waratahs 19 in 2002), 64 (Brumbies 73 Bulls 9 in 1999 and Brumbies 64 Cats 0 in 2000), 61 (Bulls 75 Stormers 14 in 2005 and Waratahs 73 Lions 12 in 2010) and 53 (Bulls 61 Reds 8 in 2012, Blues 60 Hurricanes 7 in 2002 and Crusaders 53 Force 0 in 2007).

Bulls – Tries: Zane Kirchner, Wynand Olivier, Flip van der Merwe, Jacques Potgieter, Jano Vermaak, CJ Stander, JJ Engelbrecht, Bjorn Basson. Conversions: Morné Steyn (5), Louis Fouche. Penalty goals: Steyn (3).

Reds – Try: Don Shipperley. Penalty goal: Jonathan Lance.

Lions 19 (7) Stormers 24 (18)

The Stormers had to dig deep to hold on to the first position on the log as the only unbeaten side in 2012 when they beat the Lions 24-19 at the Coke Tin on Saturday evening.

It was a game in which the Capetonians dominated early and then took control again towards the end, as the Lions never gave up. The Stormers raced to a lead of 18-0 in the first half hour, but the home team clawed their way back to 18-16 after 60 minutes.

The Lions enjoyed the bulk of the possession. As a result, the Stormers had to make almost three times as many tackles as their hosts, but their defence held firm.

The Lions discipline let them down towards the end as two Joe Pietersen penalty goals put any hopes of a victory beyond them. They did get a bonus point thanks to a drop goal by Andries Coetzee.

Early in the match the Stormers scored two “milestone tries” – first by Tiaan Liebenberg in his 50th Super Rugby match for the Cape side before Bryan Habana got his 50th try in this competition, making him the first South African and sixth overall to reach this landmark.

The first five players to pass 50 Super Rugby tries were Doug Howlett (59 for the Hurricanes, Highlanders and Blues), Caleb Ralph (58 for the Chiefs and Crusaders), Joe Roff (57 for the Brumbies), Christian Cullen (56 for the Hurricanes) and Stirling Mortlock (55 for the Brumbies and Rebels).

Lions – Try: Tian Meyer. Conversion: Butch James. Penalty goals: James (3). Drop goal: Andries Coetzee.

Stormers – Tries: Tiaan Liebenberg, Bryan Habana. Conversion: Joe Pietersen. Penalty goals: Pietersen (4).

Other results – Round 4:

Blues 25 Hurricanes 26 (Auckland)
Melbourne Rebels 30 Western Force 29 (Melbourne)
Brumbies 33 Highlanders 26 (Canberra)

And a few Super Rugby flashpoints or observations that I looked to address in the pilot Front Row Grunt Show that I shot for on Sunday morning:

* Canes played fantastic attacking brand of rugby – with Taylor, Smith, and Jane to the fore
* Nonu used his boot at least twice, which saw the Canes playing in the oppositions half
* Blues scrum was giant – with tighthead Charlie Faumuina to the fore, yet they were taken to task by the Stormers last weekend!
* Hooking Daniel Braid with 15 to go might be the error of the weekend …

* Rebels over Force by 1 … Unwatchable but Cipriani try celebration something to behold … And not for good reasons …

* Sharks had game in hand with 20 mins to go
* Tahs fullback off side and deliberate knock down … Could have been a Penalty try and yellow card … Marginal call ..
* Great final Tahs scrum and holding onto the ball to finish the game
* Whoop from Benn Robinson in post match interview could well see him expelled from the Front Row club!

* Did the Cheetahs really believe they could beat the Saders? Sent in a B team front row, and Johann Goosen kicked the ball into touch in the final minute to take the losing bonus point …
* Uncontested scrums … Scourge of SANZAR rugby … Need to be eradicated … Premeditated by Drotsky?
* Cheetahs play a great brand of rugby … Making Saru sweat on Kings decision

* Brumbies by 7 over Highlanders. Michael Hooper sensational as fetcher. Ironic given that he is winning games for Jake White …

* Bulls hammer Reds. Steals at breakdown excellent. Spies back on fire and Fortress Loftus loving their captain

* Stormers hold on for win. Duwenhage not going for poles in final minutes. Lions then not taking three at the death, but then getting drop goal for bonus point. Habana back at his best. Gutsy Lions playing above themselves. Credit to John Mitchell? Pat Cilliers taking on Etzebeth and losing his jersey …

* Bryce Lawrence axed, along with Jonathan Kaplan … Paddy OBrein shifted to sevens, with a new guy to be appointed in time …

Author: Tank

Ex WP prop with a fair amount of experience in all things media ...


  1. All the best with the pilot shoot Tank – If your show comes off and you are going to have guests on, I do hope you will choose them carefully and not follow the current obsessive trend of having to have recently retired players who cannot speak clearly and audibly and whose comments are nothing but drivel eg Matfield – “ja it should be a great game” x 3.

    • Thanks Neil. Thjat is one trap I will NEVER fall into … Shoot is in the can. Now for the editor / producer to make it look good …

    • Neil, real rugby supporters are more interested in listening to people with an in depth knowledge and experience of the game, like Matfield, than to a grammer lesson. Try BBC radio 4′s online streaming on Sundays for that.

      • James, what on earth has speaking clearly and audibly got to do with “a grammar lesson”? I don’t care how many matches a person has next to his name, if he cannot speak clearly and audibly he should not be on TV or radio until he has been trained. Gerald De Kock was a very average club cricketer(you, would probably classify him as having no experience or in depth knowledge) You would probably put Mat Pierce in the same category as De Kock when it came to knowledge and experience. Compare them to the drivel one gets these days. What makes up a real rugby supporter? Judging by what is written the majority of the time on the different websites, there are not many around. Just as a matter of interest, I did 2 pilot shows for TV in ’96, hosted a radio chat show interviewing young and old sports personalities(Bob Skinstads first radio interview,Trevor Immelmans first radio interview), had a number of special features for a sports magazine and recently did a number of articles for a particular website. Oh, and I did play at the highest level one could in the 70′s and I am involved in rugby 24/7. Experience and knowledge – I am sure I have a little of both.

      • I must say, it irritates me no end when they do not have a good command of the English language, but even more irritating is when some of them just spit out the cliche handbook … I think the point is that some ex players make for great analysts, but it is not a given that every ex player will make a good analyst …

  2. Tank,

    This from a serious Stormer supporter. If all our Saffa teams can play with the guts and determenation the Lions showed last night it would be awesome. I was at the game ….. And the intensity from the Lions is frightening. Yeah. The Stormers shows signs of being an awesome team. But the Lions, with no real big names have commitement levels, that i would like to see from my side too…. lions playing above themselves is almost an understatement.

    And then if I might….. Who will make room in the Stormers team when Scalla comes back…. with Kolisi and Duane playing the rugby they are, and Burger coming back….. Together with no nonsense locks and front row with grunt (pun intended)….. We might have the best pack that we had in a while….. Without a fetcher……


    • Thanks Hardus. Yes, loving the Gees created amongst the Lions, and how they play fopr each other … Brilliant to see.
      Kolisi has been outstanding in Schalk’s absence, and agree they are working well without a fetcher – such is the dominance of the tight 5, and that is key. I might be tempted to play Schalk at 6, Kolisi at 7 and Vermeulen at 8 with Koster on the bench. But Koster’s stats don’t lie!! Tough one for Coetzee …

  3. Tank, apologies if you are already aware of what can happen, but don’t make the same mistake I did in ’96. I did a pilot shoot, took it to a sports marketing firm to get a sponsor, only to see it flighted and hosted by a supersport presenter ( he got fired last year) some months later with the title changed around. Unless you have the copyright registered up front it is easy to steal these sort of things – in your case it can be changed to “The Grunt in the Front Row show”.

    Just as a matter of interest, Francois Hougaard is not a relation of Derick.

    • What a horrendous, yet sadly, believable tale … Shot for the heads up. Mine a slightly different scenario in that I host the show …

  4. The old boys network of jobs for pals and ex players as TV commentators/analysts etc. must go. A la “Lady Rugga” how about public auditions which can sift out the non-starters and leave us with someone who is knowlegeable, articulate, has some screen personality and knows a lot about the game. Sorry Vic, you’re the weakest link – goodbye. Sorry, 100+ caps doesn’t make you a good commentator or analyst of the game.