Darryn Pollock offers 5 points to ponder about after this weekend’s Super Rugby action.
1 Take rugby to the people
The Chiefs have done a brilliant thing, by playing a home game in the Pacific Islands once a season. It may seem like a small gesture, but it speaks volumes about returning rugby to its roots.
It is something South Africa should do a lot more of. Super Rugby sides should be embracing the whole province they represent, not just the rich epicenter. Dwindling crowds are a huge problem, but I assure you, take the Bulls to Mamelodi and watch the people come watch the game explode.
2 The Kings don’t deserve SA Rugby, and SA Rugby don’t deserve the Kings
When the axe does eventually fall on two South African Super Rugby teams, it is almost certainly going to land squarely on the neck of the Kings.
It is a sickening thought, especially after recent events. SA Rugby, in a misguided attempt to grow the game in the region, threw a corrupt and struggling Union totally unprepared into the Super Rugby deep-end, they spluttered and floundered with SA Rugby just pulling their head up to breathe at critical moments.
Now, with the Kings shedding their dead-weight and finally learning to swim, it seems that SA Rugby will finish their meddling by holding the Union’s head underwater until the bubbles stop. Shame on SA Rugby for building this area of latent potential up only to strike it down and take huge steps backwards in its own transformation goals.
3 Inexcusable to blunder with slow-motion replays
Officiating in rugby goes through peaks and troughs in terms of its accuracy and professionalism. It is understandable, they are human after all.
However, it becomes inexcusable and almost unfathomable when a TMO gets it wrong – on a number of occasions. Shaun Veldsman, the man behind the screens for the Stormers game at Newlands, has a lot to answer for after adjudicating on an incident involving a Shaun Treeby tackle.
The centre hit Blues flyhalf Piers Francis with a swinging arm that left the Englishman knocked-out, it was deemed nothing more serious than a penalty by referee Jaco van Heerden after asking Veldsman for his opinion.
What has made it even more shocking is that the citing commissioner, with the same footage Veldsman had, has deemed it a red card offence and banned Treeby for three weeks.
4 The Bulls are rotten down to the core
After the Bulls suffered another humiliating defeat, this time to the Lions, the calls for the coach’s head reached a crescendo, and perhaps, those calls will be heeded.
But it won’t be enough.There are rumblings from those in the know that the whole Bulls management structure is rotten, and it is causing a lot of unhappiness and uncertainty in the ranks. A bit like at the Boks, the Bulls need a total overhaul that goes deeper than the coach; they also need a man with a plan.
5 Rebuilding is a myth
Let’s agree, as a rugby loving nation, that we will no longer accept ‘rebuilding’ as an excuse for poor performances from our teams.
The Crusaders, that team with 12 wins from 12 games, would be considered to be at the very beginning of their regrowth, and yet, look at them. They lost messrs McCaw and Carter, as well as their long serving coach, and Crusaders man, Todd Blackadder, who called it a day. They have put their faith in some unheard of youngsters and they are unstoppable. They are rebuilding.