The Easter weekend saw some interesting results. No one is safe with team number 14 beating team number 2 and team number 10 securing a hat-trick of wins on the trot. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to call but here are my chocolate-filled thoughts on this past weekend’s games. After my pathetic attempt last week, and to satisfy some google-less readers, this week’s will be highly thoughtful and technical with some real rugby thoughts and observations.
Hurricanes (26) vs Crusaders (26)
Even before the Easter Bunny started to pack his basket with eggs, the Canes and Saders gave us mixed emotions, like kissing your sister as the one commentator said at the final whistle – “screw you man, my sister is 11!” The Canes were absolutely desperate to win this game as you would expect after 4 straight boerewors lashings from South African teams. The game was tighter than a nun’s… moral fiber as the lead switched continuously. It would have been a boring game to watch if it wasn’t so much fun watching Kiwi’s bash each other to death. So, the stern and serious rugby points I took out of this game?
1. Carter is not back to his best. He is probably the 5th or 6th best flyhalf in the Super 14 at the moment and his kick at the end he missed wouldn’t have happened 3 years ago. Good news for the Boks.
2. Nonu had his best game in years. He is the modern day Spencer: lethal or dreadful.
3. Kaplan’s decision at the end was 100% perfect. I know a few folk in Wellington are crying into their wool but he didn’t ask the TMO if it was a try or not, he knew Saders had scored, he wanted to know what happened before it. Good refereeing if you ask me.
4. The Saders are beatable.
5. The fact that they managed to score after such a long build up at the end will unfortunately give them more confidence than we hoped. They might feel unbeatable right now after that and the result was certainly better off for them than the Canes who have to go kiss sisters.
The Hurricanes are now guaranteed to have their 6th week in a row without a win as they have a bye bye this weekend but luckily for them, they can’t slip any further than 9th. The Crusaders host the Tahs and FINALLY we’ll be able to really gauge how good these 2 teams are. Impossible to predict the game so expect the home team rule to apply here on Superbru (did you notice that all home teams were undefeated this past weekend? I F&%$ing hate Superbru).
Western Force (16) vs Stormers (15)
Another TTANMF (tighter than a nun’s…) game. I commented last week that I expected the score to be 0-0 after both teams seem to rely heavily on defence (damn American Apple trying to convince me to change defence to defense! I WILL NOT BUDGE!). Maybe each team should spend some time with the Taliban and learn a thing or two about attack. 16-15. That’s 1 point every 2.6 minutes. That’s 3 points every 9 minutes. Look, this game is hardly going to take up too much time on Channel 200 but the Stormers fans deserve to throw their handbags in disgust at this result while Luke Skywalker thrilled, he will be with their first win. Clearly the Kaapies missed Joe “Percy” Pietersen at the back for the game and you are left questioning the depth of this team. With Willem de Waal they seem to kick aimlessly, waste possession and spend as much time running as Steven Hawking. They will have to turn the gas up a notch or 6 if they want to challenge the Blues after the way the Na’vi demolished the Bulls. The Force will fancy themselves to get on a roll of 2 victories in a row when they play the weed-smoking Landers in Otago.
Blues (32) vs Bulls (17)
OK. So I called it on last week’s wrap that the Blues could win this one. I then decided they would. I then agreed with Rob when he commented on the wrap that he was going Blues for the game. I even read Tank Lanning predict that the Blues would win. And then I predicted Bulls on Superbru. WTF? The Bulls just had an invincible aura about them. Well, the Blues didn’t think so. Rob told me I can’t talk about politics on this site but if I did talk about politics I might at this point mention a certain song about the harming of Afrikaans farmers sung recently by a certain youth leader. But I am going to obey Rob’s wishes and not talk about it. The Bulls were absolutely lambasted at the break down point during this game. It is well known that big men of Netherlands descent were spitting their breakfast brandies while they watched their Blou manne receiving hit after hit so they ordered their wives to cover their children’s eyes who were whimpering in shame witnessing the impossible acts against their Pierre’s, Victor’s and Morne’s. Away from Fortress Loftus, the homesick Bulls played like boys vs men. Much has been said about the Blues’ backline but it was their forward pack led by Jerome Kaino that demolished the Bakkies-less Bulls sewing team. This could be the only team in the tournament that has the firepower in the forward pack to do this to the Bulls but my word it was carnage. The Bulls normally dominate the forward play, or in a WORST case scenario, are matched. Not here pappie. Big
Ben Vic understated after the game, “we didn’t perform.” Well they certainly weren’t allowed to as they conceded more penalties than the average varsity drinking game. And with things not going their way, Morne looked idealess and Gerhard van den Heever had a complete Earl Rose moment when he took the quick lineout that sent Zane Kirchner retreating like a wounded poodle. The Bulls have 2 options now for the season. They can HTFU and play like men and desperately try win a few away games to guarantee a home semi-final and then walk away with the trophy for the 3rd year out of 4, or they will lose in an away semi-final. Blues host the Stormers and this will be a completely different game. If the Blues still have any strength and energy left, nullifying the Stormers’ forward pack shouldn’t be too difficult but scoring points against the tournament’s top defensive team will be tough. I think the Stormers should win this as their attack is better than the Blues’ defence (if they leave Willem out of the side) while the Stormers defence is probably better than the Blues’ attack. Potential score? Something like 17-13 but the Stormers will need to defend like trojans.
Chiefs (27) vs Highlanders (21)
I think the main “serious” rugby talk to come out of this game was Mike Delany at 10. The kid has skills. Donald at 12 also looks more comfortable as his inability as a playmaker isn’t cast into the spotlight. With the pressure off he can attack the line with more time to think and the combo looks like the Chiefs are only going to get better from here on in. Wow, if the Joker was reading this post so far he would definitely put on his best Joker smile and say, “Why sooo serious?” “This is a real serious rugby review Joker! Go rob a bank!” Delany was seriously good and I can’t wait to see what he does in a tight game against the Bulls this weekend. Other than that, it was a pretty stock standard derby game, refusing to open up with the rolling mall even making an appearance which sent all late ex All-Blacks turning in their grave. Chiefs have the pre-mentioned task of facing up to a wounded Bull while the Highlanders will be desperate to win against the Force this weekend. DESPERATE! Even more desperate than housewives.
Waratahs (40) vs Cheetahs (17)
There was only one reason any of us actually gave a toss about this game: Superbru. Mine said Tahs by 29. With 9 minutes left, Tahs were leading 33-3 and 29 was looking solid. Suddenly though, the Cheetahs found some rhythm to score and made the score 33-10 and my spread was kicked into touch as I was now 6 points out. After some enterprising play, Josh Holmes scored to put the score at a nice, well-rounded 40-10 with about 2 seconds left. After dancing around the living room like a retarded monkey (sorry Rob, I am talking politics again), the Waratahs defence then opened up like a can of Chuck Norris whoopass and Corne met Uys strolled through to deny me of any Superbru success for the 8th week in a row. 23 was the margin. That’s all I have to say about that. Sorry, I don’t care any more about this game… Moving along. Here are plenty of real rugby match reports on the game if you care. (That Chuck Norris comment reminded me of what I heard this weekend: “Jesus may walk on water but Chuck can swim on land.” That’s an Andy Goodie).
Sharks (30) vs Reds (28)
Oh how beautiful a threesome is. Sharks have now had three wins on the trot and all have been pretty hard fought affairs, won through desperation. Considering I am now an adopted Vaalie, this Easter I packed my Venter trailer (not really) and shared the N3 with thousands of caravans to spend the long weekend in the the Ethekwini Metropol [for all my international readers, that means e (the) thek (Sharks) wini (winning)]. We gathered our best Derbin accents and ventured down to the tank for a blissful Saturday afternoon. After sampling the quality of Castle Draft at Collegians we hiked, trekked and followed our sherpa to our seats situated adjacent to the satellite that films Google Earth. My mate Phil went for the first round of drinks (2 jugs) of Windhoek (on another note, how did Windhoek get pouring rights in the tank?). My elaborated point is this: Watching the game from the Google Earth satellite through some lightly tainted beer goggles left my real serious rugby review ability slightly tarnished (sorry M______n – you know who you are). All I knew is that there was no way the Sharks would lose after I spent 8 hours on the N3, stood in the queue to buy tickets, selflessly sampled the beer quality in Derbin, hiked 3km into the atmosphere and watched the game from a satellite. I must apologise though because about 5 minutes before half time I left to go reload the 2 jugs and the team missed me badly, going from 9-7 to 9-21 down. But once I was back to my seat 5 minutes into the 2nd half (that 20 minute beer queue is not acceptable Absa Stadium Management if you are reading this), I then motivated the team to start performing like demons. The dancing Quade Cooper was sent packing and from where I sat (space) all I could see was the red scrum cap of Jacques Botes everywhere the ball was. The man was immense and had his best game ever. Even being slightly beer tainted, I do recall cheering on the decision to kick for touch with 3 minutes to go and a 30-28 lead. I highly doubt it was an attempt at a bonus point but wasted just enough time to hold out for a really good win. The quality of rugby I question but we won against a pretty damn decent Reds team with the flyhalf of the tournament so far (a rugby playing bar of soap). Now, the Sharks can chillax a bit, safe in the knowledge I spent enough after the game at Eighties to last them through the bye week. The Reds have a picnic at Ellis Park this weekend.
So after week 8, my final log predictions look like this:
Brumbies (sorry Jeremy Paul)
Wow it’s tough at the top of that log! The top 8 deserve a top 4 spot!
Have a good short week and at least we have the Masters to watch during the Sharks bye weekend! I’ll catch you later or I’ll catch you another time.Tweet