So it looks like Pieter De Villiers took the rugby lovers' advice about reading the book Rugby for Dummies. Yes, it was great to see a Bok side win against Australia, and yes, it was fantastic to score eight tries against the Ex-Cons. But sometime still does not sit well with inside my belly.
No, not last week’s bunny chow, as I hear some of you call out. No, it is the fact that we can only turn up and play when the opposition allows us to. If anyone tells you that the Aussie team we played against was motivated and wanted to play, think again!
They reminded me more of us from the last two weeks playing New Zealand in Cape Town and Australia in Durban last week. If the Wallabies want any chance of beating the Blacks at Suncorp next Saturday, they will need to put their game faces on and play the game on the season, because they were poor. But let’s give credit where credit is due—Bokke you Beauties!
It is amazing what happens when a team competes for the ball. That is what we did on Saturday. A back would get tackled and a back would clear the ball. A forward would get tackled and a back would clear the ball, meaning that there was no delay in waiting for the forwards to get to the break down to do the cleaning.
This also meant that the backline got clean and fast first and second phase ball, thus allowing us to run from deep and creating gaps in the opposition’s defense. Butch James distributed so well, putting Nokwe and the rest of the backline away. AD Jacobs scored again to become the leading tree scorer for the Boks in the Tri-Nations.
The BEAST had a storming game, and had it not been for Jongi he should have walked away with man of the match.
The other major aspect of our game was the fact that we won first phase ball with ease. Our line-outs were good—in fact, I counted five steals on Wallaby ball.
I stand corrected, but there was a tight head taken towards the end of the first half. Our loose forwards played some rugby, Juan Smit had a great game, carrying the ball up front, and Pierre Spies tried hard and improved still not my first choice at No. 8—I still think Big Joe should be at eighth man.
Ruan Pienaar showed his great running technique around the fringes, even though he was running at first five eight. He is a better reader of the game than Fourie Du Preez and has a quicker service. It will be great to see the two take each other on in Saturday's top-of-the-table clash at Kings Park 17H00, when the Sharks take on the Blue Bulls.
Onto Currie Cup news, The Sharks traveled down to a very wet and muddy paddock in Wellington to thump Boland by ?-7. The forwards dominated so much and the defense was so good that Boland could only score in the 82nd minute with two Sharkies off the field due to Yellow cards.
Rory Kockott was back, which is a good sign for the Sharks. However, next week will see the return of the Springboks. Mind you, some, like JP, can stay on as there would be no loss to The Sharks should he not recover from injury. The Bulls will be bolstered with Rossouw, Mattfield, and Fourie Du Preez. It is going to be a cracking game, so get there.
The Blue Bulls dispatched Western Provinceon Friday night after being allowed to score two tries in two minutes to get a bonus point try. Gutless province were just that—gutless.
AJ Venter, thank you for all the years of service for the Sharks. But after that stupid, stupid punch of yours that meant WP had to play the last 7 minutes with 14 men, we are grateful that you are now not our problem. The Bulls won 37-6.
In England, 3-0 the Arsenal…Even the most ardent Manchester United supporter can not deny the fact that Arsenal play exquisite football when on song and the high-flying Newcastle stood no chance.
Man U went down to St. Petersburg, 2-1, and in a moment of pure stupidity Paul Scholes got himself sent off for punching the ball into the net of St Petersburg. He may be in big trouble for this, and could face upto a six-month ban for his antics. Hopefully this is just hearsay.
Liverpool and Aston Villa played to a very boring 0-0 draw. The scary thing here is without Stephen Gerrard, Liverpool seems flat and directionless. It is time they start finding playmakers, or else that is the best that they will get.
Chelsea and Spurs played to a 1-1 draw, earning Spurs their fist point of the season. Everton took a beating of 3-0 to Pompey, and Shaun Wright-Phillips scored twice on his return to Man City in beating Sunderland 3-0.
The PSL got off to a great start with two of the KZN clubs both getting important wins against much vaunted opposition. Kaizer Chiefs lost 1-2 at home to Thanda Royal Zulus, and Golden Arrows beat Pirates 1-0 at home.
Not such a great result for Clive Barkers charges as they lost 0-1 at home to Platinum Stars. Defending champs beat Free State Stars 1-0, and Gavin Hunt will be very happy with that result, a start in the right direction to defend the title.
In the Old Firm Derby, Rangers thumped Celtic 4-2. This puts Rangers on top with 10 points, Kilmarnock also on 10 points. Celtic is fourth and The Dons are lying sixth.
The Proteas are currently the joke of England—the whipping boys! Not much to comment on them. They are weak, have no drive, and already seemed to be on the plane back to South Africa.
Smith is out due to a knee operation that he needs to undergo. Kallis has lost all form, and nobody seems to be putting his hand up to be counted. Amla has done very well and so has Gibbs, but as for the rest…yes, sorry, forgot about that other South Africa—Kevin Pietersen is doing exceptionally well. The only problem is he is captain of England.
The Doctor won again in the Motor GP in Italy, San Marino. This has brought him to joint record holder with the great Giacomo Agostini on 68 victories. Yamaha got a one-two finish, with Valentino’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo getting second.
Current world champion Casey Stoner crashed out while leading on the sixth lap. This gives Rossi a 50 point lead with five races left.
Formula One goes to my favorite circuit of the racing calendar this Sunday. Yes, it is time to go to Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. It is fast, with plenty of overtaking, and nobody knows what the weather is going to do. Ferrari and McLaren are again the two teams to watch, but I think Kimi Raikkonen is going to be the surprise package here after being terrible over the last few races, I think he will strong.
At Flushing Meadows in New York, my baby Anna Ivanovic got knocked out in the third round to a girl that is seeded at 186 in the world. She has been struggling with a thumb injury, but on her website she reckons she will be back and will win before the season is over.
Federer and Nadal seem to be heading for the final again. If Roger wins, it will make it his fifth title, and if Rafael wins it will be his third grand slam in a row. Exciting times ahead for tennis fans.
On my final note of the week, Percy Montgomery has donned his Green and Gold for a final time last Saturday. He will still play for WP, and they do need him and will be hoping to have one last season in Super 14 for the Stormers.
He made his debut against the British Lions in 1997, played 102 test matches, scoring 893 points, including 25 tries, six drop goals, 148 penalties, and 153 conversions. Montgomery has always been an ambassador on and off the field. Yes, we never needed a reason to rip him off because he played for province, but when he wore that Green and Gold we loved him.
Percy, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your contributions to rugby in South Africa and around the world. I will miss cheering for you in a Bok jersey. Well done, you legend.
Until next week—take care, keep fit, the beers cold, and never burn the braai meat.