It was not what I would call pretty. In fact it was exceptionally disappointing. The fact that this was my first Super 14 game of the year and purely because I have been busy with club commitments.
The fact that a professional rugby team like the Sharks knocked on about 12 times in the first half, besides the forward passes that went along, one cannot understand how a team goes from being the best to being a very ordinary side in the space of 5 weeks.
The fact that my mate Philip Bosch who fortunately has no rugby relationship to that great Springbok Gerald and the bully boy tactic from Craig Joubert trying to fix up his mistake from the week before by not issuing a Red Card and then getting it horrible wrong with a slap and he called it a punch, just added to the crowd's frustration.
All in all, it was a shocker and if the Sharks think that this brand of rugby is going to win them the Super 14 this year, they are in for a horrid nightmare, when they wake up and are not even in the play-offs.
There was some encouraging news, Steyn left the field with an injury and looks set to miss next week's game. Ruan Pienaar was back and looked good and fresh.
Andries Strauss and Riaan Swanepoel linked very well together and it was great to see Jean Deysel back. The Sharks ran out eventual winners 23-15. But at what cost?
If found guilty, the mandatory sentence for a Red Card in 3 weeks and it looks like Kockott has “Roostered it up,” meaning he will miss all games including the Semi Finals.
The young center from the Highlanders, Daniel Bowden has been given a one-game suspension for his dangerous tackle on Riaan Swanepoel.
The Hurricanes were fantastic again this weekend dispatching the Blues 45-27. They must have the best center combination in the Super 14 and don’t be surprised if they are the Blacks combo for the Tri-Nations.
The Lions lost to the Crusaders as that was to be expected as they had just returned home from tour. The Cheetah’s nearly pulled off another win this season but just ran out of options against the Tah’s losing 10-18.
The Brumbies thumped the Reds 52-13 in Brisbane in what was a very one-sided affair. The Western Force almost caused an upset in Pretoria but went down 32-29 to the Bulls, in what was a very entertaining game of rugby.
Then the Stormers had the last game of the weekend and a perfect opportunity to restore some pride and started well enough to go 7-0 up against the Chiefs, but did no South African team any favours by losing 28-14 and handing the Chiefs a forth try bonus point. No wonder Jean De Villiers is thinking of playing overseas next year.
In Heineken Cup Action this weekend, a world record was set for crowd attendance to a club game. 82,208 spectators attending the semi-final between Leinster and defending champions Munster in an all-Irish clash.
Leinster convincingly beat Munster 25-6. In the other Semi final, Leicester drew 26-26 with Cardiff to produce the first ever “Shoot Out” in Heineken Cup history.
This eventually went Leicester favour 7-6. The Final will be played in Murray on May 23.
On the football front the biggest derby in Africa took place on Saturday, between Orlando Pirate and Kaizer Chiefs at Ellis Park, in the first real big test of the stadium before the Confederation Cup.
Some of you may remember the 72 spectators that where killed at Ellis Park the last time these to giants of Africa football played each other at this same venue a couple of years back.
Well, the ground held out well to the 60,000 capacity crowd and by all account from SAFA, the stadium passed with flying colours.
Manchester United need just seven more points to clinch their third successive league title with a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough, who look set for relegation this season.
Liverpool beat Newcastle 3-0 to send them close to relegation and what a sad day that would be to have the once mighty Magpies playing in the first division.
Arsenal where to strong for Pompie beating then 3-0 away and Chelsea beat Fulham 3-1 at home, with the season almost done it looks like the log will finish as follows:
- Manchester United
With Newcastle, Middlesbrough, and West Brom going down. Birmingham City will be back into the Premiership next year along with the possibility on Norwich City.
On the boxing scene, Ricky Hatton got a snot klap from Manny Pacquiao on Sunday morning local time. Ricky did not even last two rounds from a boxer who has been rated as the best pound-for-pound boxer since Roberto Duran.
His hand speed was amazing but the power with which the southpaw stuck Hatton with a right hook was incredible. The Pom went night, night but managed to walk out of the ring on his own feet a few minutes later.
It was a great fight, but I think that this should signal the end to Hatton’s career. Pacquiao might have a fight lined up with Floyd Mayweather, but the exact details are still speculation at present.
The IPL as mentioned last week has taken off at a rate of knots. The amount of people going to each game of the past 14 week period must be double of all the spectators that have been to cricket all season, including the Internationals played in South Africa.
The Deccan Charges are top of the IPL, followed by the Kings XI Punjab. The surprise team is the Royal Challengers and with Kallis coming into form, they could be really hard to beat.
Last year's team the Royals are not doing too well and they are not likely to make the playoffs. The IPL has restored the entertainment factor of cricket with the South African public and hopefully this will bode well for future tournaments to be played in South Africa.
Until next week, may the sports be with you. May Barcelona and Arsenal progress to the Champions league final, may Newcastle find form and win the rest of their matches to prevent themselves from going down, may Ernie Els win something even if it is cake from a lucky draw and may we go a whole game 80 minutes of rugby without having to swear at a referee for being an idiot or a player for being a bigger one.
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