Front Row Grunt

Rugby … with cauliflower ears

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Weekend WRAP

A sensational weekend of Super Rugby for SA as the Cheetahs, Stormers and Bulls all get wins over Kiwi opposition, who brought the best out of the SA sides says Tank Lanning.  

Kiwi ball in hand vs SA kick, chase and defend … It was always going to be interesting to see the two styles come head to head. And while the defence was indeed there, making it difficult for the New Zealanders to play their natural game, it was fantastic to see the SA sides embrace a more ball in hand game and take on what has been proven to be a slightly frail Kiwi defence.

The Cheetahs were the first side to suggest that while the Kiwis might look good when playing against each other, the frail defences aiding their cause, when up against any form of structured and organised defence, that ball in hand game suddenly becomes a lot harder to play! The Highlanders are not close to being the best of the New Zealanders, but the Cheetahs did well to frustrate the men from Otago into throwing Hail Mary passes from early in the game. The two resultant intercept tries went a long way to securing their victory. Fantastic to see Heinrich Brussow back on the park!

In Cape Town it was slightly different, with the Chiefs seemingly always having an extra gear to dip into. But the Stormers, with their lineout back in fine fettle (the three lineout steals from De Kock Steenkamp wins him my man of the match) and parity gained come scrum time, suddenly had enough possession to try a more enterprising game. Elton Jantjies was still a little lateral for my liking, but his attacking intent has definitely had an influence on the Cape side – a good one. And as the belief in their ability to play a more ball in hand game grows, so will their all round game. It felt good to be entertained at Newlands again.

And there was more entertainment at Eden Park as the Bulls pulled off an unlikely win against an in form Blues side. Pierre Spies made a timely return to form, showing pace in space, but more importantly, the ability to break a tackle, even from a stationary start when close to the tight stuff. Jano Vermaak got off to a shaky start, but after dusting off the rust, reminded us of his undoubted talent. Werner Kruger provided the moment of the weekend with his amazing pickup from his bootlaces … A pickup that kept the Bulls momentum going and lead to a try. Down by a point half way through the second half, the Bulls showed proper character to come back and win the game.

In PE the Kings deserve all the praise they are getting for keeping the Sharks tryless. It was not even remotely pretty, but given their player resources one can understand them playing more of a spoiling game. They are well drilled and do their basics well. And while defence might not win you games, it will keep the score down. The Sharks did not have their best outing though, looking fairly one dimensional in the face of the abrasive Kings defence. Brilliant to see the huge turnout at the NMB stadium – the Kings have certainly added a little spice to this tournament.

Two big injury blows though. Bryan Habana has done his knee and initial reports suggest he will be out the game for 10 weeks, which might then have seen him play his final Super Rugby game given his move to Toulon later this year. And Wallaby flanker David Pocock looks likely to be ruled out of the Test series against the Lions later this year with a suspected anterior cruciate ligament injury to his knee.

A look at the weekend’s rugby then …

Super Rugby

Blues 21-28 Bulls

Kings 12-21 Sharks

Stormers 36 – 34 Chiefs

Brumbies 35 – 6 Waratahs

Highlanders 19 – 36 Cheetahs

Rebels 13 – 23 Reds

Hurricanes 29 – 28 Crusaders

 

Log:

Brumbies Pld:3 W:3 Pts:18

Bulls Pld:3 W:3 Pts:13

Chiefs Pld:3 W:2 Pts:12

Sharks Pld:3 W:3 Pts:12

Reds Pld:4 W:3 Pts:12

Blues Pld:3 W:2 Pts:11

Kings Pld:2 W:1 Pts:8

Waratahs Pld:3 W:1 Pts:8

Crusaders Pld:2 W:0 Pts:6

Stormers Pld:3 W:1 Pts:5

Hurricanes Pld:3 W:1 Pts:5

Rebels Pld:4 W:1 Pts:5

Cheetahs Pld:3 W:1 Pts:5

Highlanders Pld:2 W:0 Pts:4

Force Pld:3 W:0 Pts:1

 

South African Conference

Bulls Pld:3 W:3 Pts:13

Sharks Pld:3 W:3 Pts:12

Southern Kings Pld:2 W:1 Pts:8

Stormers Pld:3 W:1 Pts:5

Cheetahs Pld:3 W:1 Pts:5

New Zealand Conference

Chiefs Pld:3 W:2 Pts:12

Blues Pld:3 W:2 Pts:11

Crusaders Pld:2 W:0 Pts:6

Hurricanes Pld:3 W:1 Pts:5

Highlanders Pld:2 W:0 Pts:4

Australian Conference

Brumbies Pld:3 W:3 Pts:18

Reds Pld:4 W:3 Pts:12

Waratahs Pld:3 W:1 Pts:8

Rebels Pld:4 W:1 Pts:5

Force Pld:3 W:0 Pts:1

 

Next week’s Super Rugby fixtures:

Friday 15 March

08:35 Highlanders vs Hurricanes

10:40 Waratahs vs Cheetahs

19:10 Kings vs Chiefs

Saturday 16 March

08:35 Crusaders vs Bulls

10:40 Reds vs Force

17:05 Sharks vs Brumbies

 

Community Cup

Welkom Rovers 20 – 51 Pretoria Police

Bloemfontein Police 19 – 34 African Bombers (EP)

Bloemfontein Crusaders 15 – 34 Roodepoort

Brakpan 134 – 0 White River

College Rovers (KZN) 30 – 18 SK Walmers (WP)

Despatch (EP) 30 – 20 Sishen (Griquas)

Noordelikes (Limpopo) 17 – 69 Rustenburg (Leopards)

Selbornians (Border) 19 – 13 Evergreens (SWD)

 

Vodacom Cup

EP 20 – 20 Pampas

Lions 45 – 15 Leopards

Pumas 62 – 0 Valke

Griquas 32 – 40 Blue Bulls

Boland 17 – 17 WP

SWD 8 – 31 Free State

Sharks 72 – 3 Border

 

Six Nations

England 18 – 11 Italy

Ireland 13 – 13 France

Scotland 18 – 28 Wales

Log:

England Pld:4 W:4 Pts:8

Wales Pld:4 W:3 Pts:6

Scotland Pld:4 W:2 Pts:4

Ireland Pld:4 W:1 Pts:3

Italy Pld:4 W:1 Pts:2

France Pld:4 W:0 Pts:1

 

Top 14

Agen 20 – 30 Bayonne

Toulon 50 – 15 Biarritz

Stade Francais 42 – 14 Mont de Marsan

Perpignan 20 – 18 Grenoble

Toulouse 33 – 32 Bordeaux-Begles

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Author: Tank

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

One Comment

  1. Hats off to the Kings for their defence and the way they got into the faces of the Sharks – As you stated Tank, what was so noticeable was the inability of the Sharks to change – they were 1 dimensional for 80 minutes largely due to Lambie – any 10 worth his salt has to be able to dictate what transpires on the field and change patterns of play if necessary. What made Plumtree make F Steyn captain is beyond me – I think Mallett was being very diplomatic when he probably would have liked to have said the Steyn could not lead ivy up a wall.