Well done Leicester. The better team won. Harsh but fair. Now for the vitriol:
1. Stuart Dickinson cements his place as the crappest ref of modern times. In fact, he’s closing in fast on Clive Norling for the worst ref ever. Name one other ref that would allow 7 consecutive penalties without reaching for his pocket, I dare you. He’s always been rubbish, and he remains rubbish. There are ways for rucks and mauls to end other than in a penalty, but his almost perfect 1-to-1 ratio would have you believe otherwise. And obstructive running? Not sure he’s heard of that rule. I can’t accuse him of bias in this match. Just shiteness.
2. Ruan Pienaar. In the dictionary, under Flogging A Dead Horse, there’s a picture of Ruan wearing a number 10 jersey. Put him on the wing or centre or fullback. Or prop for god’s sake. But not number 10. For more detail on this, refer to M. Steyn.
3. Committing players to the breakdown. The Tigers monstered us at the breakdown. This is a combination of poor performance by the Bok flankers and the tactic to not commit players. For a country that has world-class loosies hiding under every rock, it certainly didn’t look like it.
4. Ashley Johnson, Heini Adams and Ndungane looked like the only boys who actually wanted to win the match. There were almost no attempts to charge down kicks or pressurise the Tigers back line. Which is even worse when you consider that the players weren’t exactly all lying at the bottom of a ruck, committed.
But the biggest culprit for the day was the single lack of brains by the Bok squad.
* You can’t show up expecting to win, EVER. Facing a team with Castrogiovanni, Mauger and Tiquiri, you can’t take it lightly.
* Basics, basics, basics. Your hooker must be able to throw a ball. Your props must be able to scrum. And your flyhalf needs to be able to make decisions.
* This kak about expansive, running, open rugby being the holy grail must stop NOW. The correct brand of rugby to play is winning rugby. When you’re 20 points clear with 10 minutes on the clock, get cocky by all means, but win first. Naas Botha, the greatest match winner in the history of the game, showed this beautifully. Or, the Currie Cup final this year. Or England in 2003. Or Australia with Lynagh at 10. Or the Boks in the Tri Nations this year. All of these teams had excellent outside backs providing scintillating rugby, but on the foundation of an intelligent grasp of how the game should be played. Gerber & Du Plessis scored their best tries with Botha at flyhalf, a man blamed for killing the game, and reducing it to a kicking spectacle. Messrs Lynagh, Fox, Clarke, Wilkinson et al had the same accusation levelled at them. And they’re ALL remembered as being part of winning teams. As much as it pains me to say it, the Bulls (and the 2009 Boks hitherto this match) had the right formula:
1. Create a solid foundation.
2. Have a pivot pair who can intelligently trade off possession for territory
3. Finish it off with quality outside backs.
4. …and have a captain who makes the right decisions.
The closest we got to this today was number 3, and that was barely. Earl Rose played the best I’ve EVER seen him play, and he was still shite. I’m afraid the blame for the loss must sit with the selectors and coaching staff more than with the players.
But well done Leicester. Hope they had a solid party last night. They deserved it. And hopefully the kick up the Bok pants has come in time for the Saracens game.Tweet