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Currie Cup Log

Team Points
Premier Division
Xerox Golden Lions 10 10 48
Vodacom Blue Bulls 10 8 39
DHL Western Province 10 7 35
Toyota Free State Cheetahs 10 3 24
Cell C Sharks 10 4 22
Steval Pumas 10 3 17
Eastern Province Kings 10 2 12
ORC Griquas 10 1 8
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The weekly whinge, continued…

Written by Richard Ferguson (Richard Ferguson)

Posted in :Cheetahs, Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks, Springboks, The Rugby Championship on 26 Aug 2014 at 10:34
Tagged with : , , , ,

And so we meet again. Another weekend has passed and yet another four hours of my life has gone missing thanks to my life decision to support both the Sharks and the Springboks.

Last week’s whinge was primarily focused on the Springboks, even though a pretty lengthy article could have been penned had I focused my attention on the Sharks. This time around, my dear friends in black and white do not escape unmentioned.

The Sharks may be sitting pretty at 3 wins from 3 matches, but I have this nagging feeling inside me that the end of this winning streak may be upon us. If not this weekend then certainly within the next fortnight. That said, the Cheetahs could well have ended it this weekend passed had they had a little more self-belief and a little more killer instinct to put away the Sharks. The old line rings true, the Sharks didn’t win that match, the Cheetahs simply lost.

A few things irritated me. Talk pre-Currie Cup was that a concerted effort was going to be made to run the ball more. We had a few hiccups in the first two games, but things looked like they were getting better. Then a horrid first forty minutes against the Cheetahs and that goes out the window. The old kick and hope for an error default setting kicked in (pun intended). The one attacking move that came off resulted in a try for the Sharks, a move that even surprised the Cheetahs. So surely that puts in perspective that the rest of the 78 minutes of kicking brought us little more than a few penalty opportunities and 5000 less supporters at the next game.

The Currie Cup is the perfect opportunity to blood some exciting youngsters, and while I see what the Sharks are trying to do with Tonderai Chavanga, I simply do not see the point of playing Odwa Ndungane anymore. Chavanga has probably been our best back so far in the competition, yet we still persevere with next to nothing games from the likes of Odwa. You cannot tell me that there are no other exciting wingers that can be brought in? SP does not fall in the age category, but why he is still starting is just as baffling.

Jake White started the year by trying new combinations and putting players in new positions. One of those resulted in Sithole getting a call up to the Springbok squad. Yes he may not have played, but what that must have done for his confidence cannot be measured. He has continued in that form and is likely to be the find of the season, amongst the backs (Thomas du Toit being the other gem unearthed this year). Where I am going with this is, White put a young man at fullback before the season started, and while he got very little game time, he did have some moments that inspired. I am talking of Tyler Fischer of course. He may have been injured during the first half of the year, but he is back playing off the bench for the U21’s. If there was any further talk of testing him at fullback, is this not the ideal opportunity?

There might be some resistance to this, which I can understand. He has been injured for large parts of the year so far, and he should probably work his way back through the system. But then try him at fullback in the juniors. I mean, it’s not like they are winning anything anyway, so we might as well use the platform to test players and see if there are any shining lights. There was a huge uproar over Andre Esterhuizen being selected at flank. Understandable, I see little point in moving a junior Bok into a position so much different to his own, but at least there is a bit of imagination, am I right? It’s a shame he got injured in the match, it would have been interesting to see what unfolds.

It feels as though I am harping on a bit here, but the point I am trying to make is that SP Marais is simply not delivering at the moment, and by continuing with him, there is little pressure on him to put in the time to get back on track. I’m not saying he is lazy and just walks into the team, but we saw how he came back in the Super Rugby season when he was dropped, so why not bring in a junior and drop him to the bench to see if he can rekindle some of his previous form.

As for the Springboks, a lot of what was said last week still applies. Regardless of the fact that the Boks looked even worse in the sunlight in Argentina than they did in the rain in Pretoria, it all points to the same thing: One massive wakeup call is needed if the Boks want to stand any chance whatsoever to win any of their four remaining games in the Championship.

The front row was poor, or rather, the front row was shown up by the Argentinians who had their numbers from the get go. They were simply not good enough, and even the replacements had no effect. Somehow the Boks should try invest in a scrum machine and get the guys to work on their technique, because something is very wrong.

The Handre Pollard experiment exposed the young man to some difficult situations and I am sure he will learn from that, but it is without question that Morne Steyn has to start the next match. He was much more assured of himself and there was actually a fair bit of exciting play once he came on. We want more of that please sir!

Seeing the tour group announced this morning meant that no specialist 13 will go to the Australia and New Zealand, meaning that Damian De Allende will continue to act as a centre in the Bok midfield, where he was seriously shown up on Saturday evening. This, unfortunately, is set to continue as no other player can step into the void. How we wish to have a solid Frans Steyn back in midfield. It’s funny how things work out.

Anyway, I could probably go on for another few pages, but let’s stop at the 1000 word count and leave the rest for next week. Let’s hope the Sharks can somehow hold onto that unbeaten streak, the Pumas are tough and we will need some new ideas if we are to stand a chance in Nelspruit.


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