Hertford Highlander

There’s no place like home

Written by Gwyn Pratley (Hertford Highlander)

Posted in :Original Content, Stormers, Super Rugby on 27 Jun 2011 at 12:37
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

The Crusade marched on during Saturday evening in Nelson with the Crusaders disposing of the Sharks in fairly comfortable fashion. Although the margin on the scoreboard was convincing it masked a fairly average first half from the so called home side. Such a first half performance this week at Newlands will surely leave the seven time Super champions short when the final whistle blows. The Crusaders have however been there before and have come up trumps. In Round 12 the visitors took the spoils 14 – 20 in arguably the finest game of the 2011 Super season.

This week’s flight to Capetown should surely be one flight to many and one away game too much. In a stellar match up in Round 12 the Crusaders produced an epic performance to steal a victory from the top South African side on home soil, doing it again looks mission impossible.

Anyone who has made the trip from New Zealand to South Africa will tell you it is a gruelling trip on the body-clock that does take time to adjust to over the best part of three days. That will mean the Crusaders will have a light week training wise and may be found out in the dying stages of the match – fatigue will be a factor just as it was for the Sharks last weekend against the Crusaders.

This Crusaders squad of 2011 are a wonderful group and man for man is easily the best in the competition, however if any team can nullify their strengths it is the Stormers at home in front of their parochial fans. The Stormers forwards will be able to match if not better the New Zealanders at set piece time and more specifically the Crusaders lineout may be an area that the Stormers blowtorch could be applied to. The other often decisive area where the Crusaders have intimidated the opposition has been their 10, 12, 13 axis, the Stormers will be far from intimidated with arguably a better axis of its own.

If the Crusaders can win this one then it will be against all odds, but ultimately as soon as they finished behind the Stormers on the end of season log their fate was confirmed.

That therefore will mean that the South Islanders should join their North Island countrymen to miss out on the Grand Final with the Blues getting torn apart by the Reds in Brisbane.

The Reds versus the Stormers should also go the way of the home side in what will be a logical end to a brilliant Super season, a season that has had its fair share of twists and turns. It has been a new 15 team format and a new Conference styled competition, which has taken some getting used to and it seems like we have been going for quite a prolonged period, however we all knew RWC year was going to be a long haul.

With two weeks to go in this year’s Super season the Reds and Stormers will be laughing all the way to the next round just like last week’s home sides the Blues and the Crusaders were. That will leave one last hurrah for the Reds in Brisbane to illustrate loud and clear that when all is said and done there really is no place like home with all five finals matches going the way of the home team.


  • Crusaders are going to have more fans at Newlands than that dismal bunch that turned out at Nelson.

  • Comment 1, posted at 27.06.11 13:04:27 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Go stooooormers! Call me petty but I hope Craig blows as biased as Lawrence 👿

  • Comment 2, posted at 27.06.11 13:08:40 by Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette Reply

    Sharksmad - The Blog's Dudette
  • @Salmonoid (Comment 1) : Thats true. Is the NZRU not worried about the low crowd attendences? There is RWC around the corner. Did they need to upgrade the stadiums? They may not even fill them at the old capacities.

  • Comment 3, posted at 27.06.11 13:09:11 by waje Reply

  • pppffffttt there is no way i am supporting that stormers brigade 😉 i’d rather hit the club on saturday with my mates :mrgreen:

  • Comment 4, posted at 27.06.11 13:15:35 by Muzi Reply

  • @Sharksmad – The Blog’s Dudette (Comment 2) : That really is soooo petty. I like it. 😈

  • Comment 5, posted at 27.06.11 13:25:26 by Salmonoid Reply
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  • @hertfordhighlander: “arguably the finest game..of 2011”.I’d argue that.:-)

  • Comment 6, posted at 27.06.11 13:27:19 by bergshark Reply

  • @waje (Comment 3) : There must be huge warning bells ringing in NZ at the moment. Not being able to fill a small stadium when the Super Saders put in an appearance for a knockout game must be very worrying. Maybe they are all “Super Rugbied” out, I know I am.

  • Comment 7, posted at 27.06.11 13:31:19 by Salmonoid Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Crusaders will have another home game this weekend – with all thos Cape Town Crusaders – filling out Newlands!!

  • Comment 8, posted at 27.06.11 13:31:34 by PietPloos Reply

  • @PietPloos (Comment 8) : howzit Piet… nice to see an old face

  • Comment 9, posted at 27.06.11 13:36:50 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @Salmonoid: I’d never be “super rugbied out” 😀 .. Problem has been the format-then again,if sharks took their chances and played to their potential I might not have been worried about that.

  • Comment 10, posted at 27.06.11 13:38:58 by bergshark Reply

  • @Salmonoid: I’d never be “super rugbied out” 😀 .. Problem has been the format-then again,if sharks took their chances and played to their potential I might not have been worried about that.no,wait,I would be.because of this whole conference winners thing.

  • Comment 11, posted at 27.06.11 13:40:59 by bergshark Reply

  • @PietPloos (Comment 8) :

    Welcome Piet. 😉

  • Comment 12, posted at 27.06.11 13:50:51 by wpw Reply
  • There is a lot of debate about the new stadium at Eden Park – much of the stadium is open to the weather and fans are not keen to stand in the wind and rain anymore. Are New Zealanders getting soft? It seems so – gone are the days when stadiums were full to the rafters for any game not just an international. Or are they, like us and others, feeling the pinch and would rather put food on the table before an afternoon at the rugger? We talk a lot about the recession, but rarely take it into account. 🙁 🙁

  • Comment 13, posted at 27.06.11 13:51:19 by Caratacus Reply

  • @Caratacus: or maybe they’ve gone soft -they even need their refs to help them win their rugby games 😉

  • Comment 14, posted at 27.06.11 14:00:39 by bergshark Reply

  • @bergshark (Comment 10) : I probably would feel more keen if we were still in it. But the truth is, gone are the days when I would watch a whole bunch of games on the weekend. I will now make a point of watching the Sharks play and might catch another game but it would be no train smash if something else came up and needed doing/watching…mowing the lawn excluded.

  • Comment 15, posted at 27.06.11 14:04:55 by Salmonoid Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @bergshark (Comment 11) : any reason you post your comments twice? 🙂

  • Comment 16, posted at 27.06.11 14:12:59 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan: oops,sorry..just trying to show how I’d never get enough of superrugby (or any rugby for that matter) 🙂

  • Comment 17, posted at 27.06.11 14:24:12 by bergshark Reply

  • @Salmonoid (Comment 7) : Maybe some holding pens for sheep would attract more spectators. 😆

  • Comment 18, posted at 27.06.11 14:28:07 by waje Reply

  • Dear All

    Interesting feedback and reaction all round.

    I think the small crowd size is an interesting one. I think the choice of Nelson said alot about the Christchurch mindset really. They hosted the most important match of the season away from home but within their own franchise (Nelson) which I think has a total population of about 30,000 people. I think the crowd size was half that. No one I knew in Christchurch was even remotely interested in travelling 4-5 hours to watch the match. Getting a capacity 18,000 was always going to be a tough ask.

    The Eden Park crowd is more interesting. They had a similar size crowd in a city of 1.5 million residents. The ground this week has been under fire big time. The upgrade means a lot of the additional seating is exposed to the elements so if the weather is poor …so often is the crowd. In this day and age you shouldn’t have to sit in the rain when you pay top dollar, you can pay top dollar in Auckland and do alot of other things instead.

    I am not sure if the public are Super Rugbyed Out…I’m not, but maybe I’m not the best example to use. So I do not think that is an excuse.

    Are they saving their money for the RWC? Well that remains to be seen but, I don’t know many people who are running out to purchase tickets, most think they are too expensive. Crowd numbers will be interesting in games where there are not a lot of visiting supporters.

    Re the Ref’s, it may be a bit harsh lashing into Bryce at this stage of the season. He probably has been given the final because he has performed better than any other Super Ref doing the rounds this season. I think most onlookers would agree at the beginning of the season the SA refs were easily the top of the pile, however some have had a dramatic fall from grace probably the biggest faller has been Mr Kaplan. However in his and others defenses I think the state of refereeing (and I would be interested to see what KSA thinks) has been very poor and other than maybe the two Southern Hemisphere Lawrences, very few Super Refs would get near the best N.H. Ref’s. The prime reason for this in my opinion is that in the Super 15 we don’t tend to ref’ the laws instead tend to ignore the infringements in the name of ‘letting the game flow’.

    I wish the Crusaders well at Newlands this weekend ‘I still stand by the opinion that it potentially was the match of the season to date last time out’ They will enjoy great support in Capetown, then again any team that is from NZ does. Later in the year the New Zealand Maori tour South Africa for the first time in history and I think they play the Springbok, I am not sure where it is scheduled to be played but if it is at Newlands, I would guess the Maori boys in Black Jerseys could be as well supported as the Bok on home turf… could that happen!

    Enjoy the semi finals

    Yours in Rugby


  • Comment 19, posted at 28.06.11 10:30:55 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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