1 Refs again
It’s funny, and sad, that making special provision in your player ratings for the referee as well has become increasingly common. Mike Fraser’s time with the whistle was unacceptable, he influenced the game way too much.
I’m not saying the Stormers would have won the arm wrestle against the Chiefs had Fraser had a half-decent outing, they just weren’t good enough on the day. But being forced to wonder how the game would have turned out if it wasn’t tainted by questionable calls is nobody’s favourite past time, I’m sure.
Playing a team that boasts Brodie Retallick is challenging enough, and having to play that team and the ref is a tough one. The late penalty try surely was the final blow, but all the little raw deals before that was just as important.
What does that do to a team mentally?
2 On-and-off Stormers
You really can’t be blamed if you’ve grown tired of trying to figure out the puzzle that is the Stormers. How do you fire like that against the Bulls one week and fade against the Chiefs?
Inconsistency isn’t a recent issue for coach Robbie Fleck’s team, it’s been the case since the start of the season. They had a horror tour to Australasia, returned to Cape Town and were red-hot against the Blues at Newlands the very next week.
They were solid against the Reds, especially in the first half, and then terrible when they played the Bulls away the next week.
Why does that happen? How does it happen? It needs to stop.
3 New Zealand’s green light to everything
What kind of sense does it make for Sanzaar to fly a New Zealand ref to South Africa to officiate a game involving a Kiwi team? Weren’t any other refs with no blindingly obvious association to either team available?
Also, why do New Zealand teams continue to get away with so much?
Following the Stormers’ game against the Chiefs and Fraser, Siya Kolisi was asked about the opposition’s regular blocking runs. Now I doubt anybody would expect someone like Kolisi to lay out a complaint so long and intricate that it would rival the World Rugby law book, but his response was interesting. “We also do it, they just do it better than us”, Kolisi quipped.
In some way that response reminded me of the way-too-chilled, and almost accepting, attitude the world seems to have towards New Zealand’s tactics. I could be wrong, but I don’t think it would be unfair to say that when a SA referee takes charge of a game involving a SA side, he’d most likely be neutral, or even favour the Kiwis, I assume to prevent any accusations of bias.
But no, that concern with avoiding bias seems to have sidestepped our Kiwi refs.
4 Warrick Gelant = Bok fullback
The Bulls back has been in sizzling form this season, and yet he never fails to impress just a little more every time. He was outstanding against the Sharks on Saturday as he racked up massive metres, made defenders look silly and showed his ability with both boots.
Can there really be any doubt regarding his deservedness of the No 15 Springbok jersey?
5 Blissful Bulls
The Bulls backline in general was a fine vision. But those forwards and their offloads There’s few things more beautiful in the game of rugby than a superbly executed offload, and the Bulls forwards sure know how to do that. But it wasn’t just that. The Bulls’ attack in general was good, and so was the tempo and intensity.
The endeavour they showed with ball in hand was an exciting ad for what SA rugby can be.