DURBAN - Independent Media rugby writer Mike Greenaway has listed the five most important talking points from this weekend's Super Rugby games.
Stop the Bulldust
Springbok rugby cannot afford to see a bastion of the game such as the Bulls crumble in the fashion that they are. It is obvious to even the most ignorant of rugby fans that the chemistry is just not working at Loftus, both between the players and between the players and the coaching staff. Rugby really ought to learn a lesson from English soccer. A run of five defeats and the manager is sacked. Simple. Managers rotate around the Premiership all the time. It is about players and coaches gelling. The recipe that is being cooked up at Loftus is rubbish. For goodness sake sack the chef.
Fleckie on track
It might raise eyebrows to say the Stormers are on track considering they conceded a whopping 155 points on their three-match New Zealand tour but the bigger picture is that the Cape side have scored 40 tries, the fourth most in the tournament and they never stopped trying to score tries on tour. Looking at the bigger picture, kudos to Fleck for sticking to attacking rugby against three exceptional NZ teams playing on their home grounds. Now the Stormers have to sort out the rest of their game. Obviously defence is an issue and are they fit enough?
The Cheetahs are their own worst enemies
How on earth do you lose a game when you are 17 points ahead with four minutes to go? Honestly, it is good and well to marvel at the way the Cheetahs attack with brave abandon but they have to learn to close out matches if they are to be taken seriously. How many times have we seen the Bloemfontein men rattle up what appears to be an unassailable lead only to disintegrate in the last ten minutes? Their coach, Franco Smith has his team playing attractive, try-scoring rugby. When he moves up to the Boks, please let Allister Coetzee keep him away from defence!
Consolation for South African rugby
If we are worrying about the state of our rugby, consider the following fact about Australia’s Super Rugby teams. In the last five rounds of Super Rugby there have been just five wins for Aussie teams. In 25 matches, they have had just two wins against non-Australian teams, and those were against the touring Kings. And in the Kings’ third match of their tour they beat the Waratahs in Sydney. These are Worrying times at Walllabies HQ.
It has been said before and it has to be said again and again until something is done about it. The New Zealand teams are streets ahead of South African teams when it comes to conditioning. This weekend we saw yet again how the Kiwi teams run in tries with abandon in the last 15 minutes of matches when South African defences are flagging. It happened to the Stormers against the Hurricanes, to the Cheetahs against the Highlanders and the Bulls against the Crusaders (discounting the Bulls’ two against-the-run of play tries at the end of their game). Why can’t we copy what the Kiwis do in pre-season training? There is clearly something the New Zealanders are doing right in how they train, and it is very different to what our teams are doing.