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Random toughts of a Sports Lover…

Super Rugby – The real conclusions from week thirteen


And then the ref said:”Knock on Blue.” and I was like:”Stop it, you’re killing me!” And Berrick was like: “This isn’t funny”

Ok, so I had to wait until midnight on Saturday to get some joy out of a match and I had to revert to soccer to find said joy. Hence my previous post.

But seriously. Everything have gone wrong for the Bulls on Saturday that could go wrong. Not only did they lose against the Highlanders, but the Crusaders, Sharks and Stormers all picked up victories in their respective matches and the Bulls were leapfrogged at the top by the Stormers, Chiefs and the Brumbies.

I supposed it could have been worse. The Stormers again failed to grab the four try bonus point after dominating almost the entire first halve and at least we got a bonus point for losing by only four points.

Here are my conclusions then.

1.) Trust the Stormers for turning rugby into soccer.

Probably one of the more difficult arts to master in soccer is securing the ball from a pass and then to connect with it perfectly to send it through the net. Compare this with rugby’s equivalent.

You catch a ball with your hands and then you run a few paces and put it down. As simple as that.

Not for the Waratahs. Two opportunities where a player only needed to hold on to the ball and fall over the line went astray due to the ball not sticking to the players’ hands.

The reason this is so difficult to master in football is because of the small window of opportunity. You only get one or two shots on average and on these rare occasions you must make it count.

The reason I blame the Stormers for this is because they put the same stigma into rugby. On those two occasions that the ‘Tahs were in a position to score late in the second half, both were knocked on due to what looked like over excitement from the player. Thanks to the Stormers’ defense, scoring opportunities have become so scarce against them that opposing players get stage fright when the moment suddenly arises.

This, to me, is their best defensive tactic so far.

2.) Their coach may be defiant about it, but the ‘Tahs’ season is over. With four matches to go and a maximum of 20 points still in it for them, they are 13 points behind the sixth placed Sharks. A loss in any of their next four matches, which includes visits to Bloemfontein and Brisbane, will surely be the final nail in the coffin for them.

3.) Despite their loss in Dunedin, the Bulls position is still a very good one.

The Sharks are on the rise. Just how high they are going will depend on how they match up to tournament favorites, the Stormers. At least this match will be played at Kings Park. For the Bulls, to realistically state their claim as tournament contenders, they have to match the Stormers’ three wins on tour and not lose any home matches for the remainder of the season.

A Sharks win at the Tank and a Bulls win in Hamilton will put the Stormers under a lot of pressure heading to Loftus in two weeks time. This will reverse most of the damage done by this disastrous weekend’s matches.

3.) Like I said in point number 3, the Sharks are on the rise.

They won’t be very patriotic when the Bulls play the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday morning. A loss for the pink side will give the Sharks the opportunity to reel their countrymen when they play the Stormers later that afternoon.

Should they win and the Bulls lose, they will be within four points of the Bulls and they’ll be big Bulls fan next weekend when the Bulls play the Stormers. If the Bulls then manages to pull that one of, July’s battle at Kingspark will go a long way in deciding the SA conference leaders.

4.) Despite their good form, the Stormers still got some work to do.

They have defied expectations so far by winning all but one of their matches so far and their reward for their good form will be a relatively relaxed first part of July should they win in Durban and in Pretoria. If they are successful, then they will leave the Bulls and Sharks at each other’s throats to fight for second place in SA and probably fourth overall.

However, losses at one or both of theses venues with mean that they’ll have to settle for second and probably third in SA. They’ll thank their lucky stars for the seventh placed Highlanders’ grueling June fixtures against the Chiefs and Crusaders.

5.) Deja Vu for the clan?

The Highlanders are in danger of repeating their trend for the last few seasons for starting with a bang and dropping out of the tournament in the latter stages. An away win against the Crusaders will set them up nicely, but they’ll still have to play the Chiefs at home at the end of June and the go to Brisbane to play the Reds.

6.) McCaw’s men also still have a tough road ahead of them.

If they didn’t lose against the Rebels, the ‘Saders could have displaced the Bulls in fourth position, but now they are five points adrift with two tough matches against the Chiefs and Highlanders still to come. At least they have a bye this weekend, followed by a visit to Dunedin before the June break starts.

If their players can return from the series against Ireland unscathed, they’ll have a good shot at topping the NZ log but, this will depend on the Chiefs losing to both the Bulls and Highlanders as well. On current form, this is highly unlikely.

7.) The Brumbies can cement their place at third overall with a win against the Reds this weekend.

They play at home and they are way ahead of the rest of the Aussie teams. From here, Jake White can pace his troops to the end of July, banking on an implosion if one of the other conferences to take second.

With very little Wallaby prospects in this team and a favorable fixture list towards August, they might hit the playoffs as the most settled and well conditioned team remaining.

Take note of Mr. White’s antics. It’s the thing of legend. He took a World Cup from underneath everybody’s noses while the rest of the world’s attention were set on NZ, Australia and France. He can easily grab a Super Rugby trophy while we all focus on the Bulls, Stormers, Sharks, Crusaders, Highlanders and Chiefs.

That’s it for this week’s conclusions. Only four rounds left and a slip up for the team currently sitting on top of the standings can cause them to make the playoffs by the skin of their teeth… Exciting indeed!




Filed under: Sports

3 Responses

  1. Roly says:

    Bulls or rather Morne lost the plot in the last 20 min

  2. So much for all the overly positive attitude from PinkCow about the Bulls making a clean sweep Good post!

  3. So much for all the overly positive attitude from PinkCow about the Bulls making a clean sweep 🙂 Good post!

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