SHARKS VS WARATAHS: 32-10
Great maul try from lineout by Sharks; quick-thinking try by Daniel. W's seemed out of sorts and unfocused. Beale is playing great rugby: he made Foley's brilliant try late in the game. There was too much brutality for me e.g. tackles by McCabe and Steyn. Unnecessary, crude and not in keeping with the spirit of this great game. They should both have been banned for four matches.
A negative feature of the match was the shockingly bad passing! Again! Why don't they practise under pressure? To quote just one example: a pass on attack to Ndungane was high. The try was on, but he had to check, so no try – inexcusable!
BLUES VS HIGHLANDERS: 30-12
Blues at last at their best: first try from a poor rebound grubber attempt from Ben Smith; wings kept overrunning the passes; two perfectly kicked grubbers from Hickey and Nonu led to tries; Hall's break – what a player – to take the Blues to 17-9 was outstanding. A missed touch kick into the Blues half by ? meant Blues kept possession and with great inter-passing, scored a wonderful try. If you going to kick for touch, kick the bloody thing out! Poor captaincy by Braid meant the Blues failed to take the option to go for a bonus point. Fair result.
REDS VS STORMERS: 30-12
Too many professional fouls in the red zone – no comment. Reds overall ran better lines, were more decisive and, with Genia and Cooper dominant, cruised to victory. Lovely early try by de Allende. The Stormers continue to kick far too much possession away – really poor display esp by Grant, who is tidy but ineffective. An exception was Schreuder who put in two finely judged box kicks. Stormers' mauls, as usual were very good e.g Noetsie (?) try. ( Why aren't so-called interviewers trained. The beaut who attempted to interview after this game, asked not one question; he merely made statements which included the answers in his statements. Commentators are, on the whole, pretty good; interviewers are the pits!)
BULLS VS CHIEFS: 34-34
What a match! Rugby at its very best! Lessons in a) how to support b) how to pass c) how to kick touch d) how to play at speed d) how to drive forward at every opportunity f) how to defend g) how to make space. I could go on and on. To mention just two tries: the one where Basson gave a poor pass ( !) inside to the right (!), scooped up by Muliaina who passed ( surprise, surprise!) to Cruden, the perfect grubber and the try. Exceptional! Then, I have never seen a better try than the one worked from the Chiefs' 22 to level the scores: Anscombe at speed, support every where, lineout drive, twelve phases and the try of the weekend. ( Muliaina takes up where he left off: seldom passes the ball, so he's predictable, runs into opposition and gives possession away; I consider Anscombe his superior by miles.)
I caught only the highlights of the Rebels' superb victory over the Brumbies – what a performance. Same with the Hurricanes' win over a disappointing Crusaders team. What's gone wrong?
There's some great rugby being played. We're lucky!
Captained Rhodesia 1962 – 1969 Rector of Michaelhouse. (1978-1986)
"Rugby is a thinking game – its’ not a running or a kicking game. This mania for running with the ball and playing open rugby at all costs is stupid – you must adapt yourself to the circumstances and play to your strength"
Now 50 years later Niel Jardine writes for Frosty Rugby Fans ...