Normally posted on a Thursday, but given that we were honouring the ladies in our lives yesterday, this Friday sees the sneak preivew of Tank Lanning’s column that will appear on Sport24 later this morning, no doubt ruffling a few feathers at Newlands …
Hands up those who know the Currie Cup fixtures for this weekend! Right, no need for a deodorant sponsor there, then? Can’t sleep due to the excitement? Thought not …
That is what you get when you make Super Rugby longer than a tapeworm, turn the Tri-Nations into the Four Nations, and try and squeeze the once proud Currie Cup between the two …
So the Currie Cup is the new Vodacom Cup, and it becomes the perfect time to experiment with new players and game plans, perhaps with a view to entertaining the crowds by scoring tries … Surely?
Not down in the Western Cape …
“We want to do well in the Currie Cup, but the management team sees it as the first phase towards next year’s Super Rugby competition,” said Allister Coetzee.
“We won 14 out of 17 matches in the Super series – and that shows that there’s not much wrong. There will be one or two small changes, but we don’t need to change a lot,” he said.
This after failing to secure a single four-try bonus point win and scoring the fewest tries of all the teams? Don’t need to change a lot? What planet are they from?
And if they are going to use the conference trophies of the last 2 years as proof of how well they are doing, then they are in a deeper hole than I thought.
Defence might get you through the league stages of Super Rugby, but unlike Test rugby, history has proven that you actually need to score tries to win the play off matches. So based on their inability to do this, there was no way they were going to win a playoff match, even at home as log leaders. And while the Sharks played really well, to not beat a side that had travelled to Brisbane to win a quarter final the week before, in front of 50 000 adoring fans, borders on the criminal!
Besides that, what has happened to the proud WP tradition that used to see the Cape side playing open, attacking, attractive rugby? With all the talent that comes out of the schools (Paarl Gym top the national rankings), universities (Maties and Ikeys dominate Varsity Cup), clubs (Hammies won Club champs recently) and the institutes, this province should not only be dominating, but leading the way by doing so through improving player skills and scoring tries!
Throw in the much talked about boardroom politics that saw Rassie Erasmus depart the union saying that he was spending more time fighting the politics than he was on rugby, and sees the coaches having to defend their teams to the blazer brigade, based not on skill level but ethnicity and the club they play for, and it becomes apparent that a rot has developed that needs a strong dose of antibiotics!
They are yet to fill the post of High Performance Manager, which means the role – surely vital in a pro era – remains shared amongst the coaches and administration. This saw Allister Coetzee – who remains at the helm during the Currie Cup, unlike in some other provinces where an up and coming coach takes the reigns – was explaining Duane Vermeulen’s Post-it filled contract to his new agent this week instead of preparing the team for the Sharks game on Saturday.
Bryan Habana, Juan de Jong, Gio Aplon, Jean de Villiers, JP du Plessis, Marcel Brache, Danie Poolman, Joe Pietersen … And you can’t score tries? No man, pull the other one, it’s got bells on it!