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Super 14 Wrap - Week Four



Here's the weekly Superwrap as posted on www.supersport.co.za

Baring in mind it's a South AFrican site, with a South African perspective. However, it's pretty unbiased, and a bloody good read with tons of humour.


Bulls captain Victor Matfield is the SuperWrap’s choice to receive the accolade of Best Player in South Africa in this week of the Oscars.

Matfield is the only local player who has been included in the SuperWrap’s “Springbok Barometer†for all four weeks of the 2007 Vodacom Super 14 rugby tournament.

The “Bok Barometer†is exactly that; an indication of the atmospheric pressure of the nation’s rugby.

Each week a team is compiled on the weekend’s form and by the end of the season the accumulated XVs will provide a pretty good indication of those who have played consistently well.

Matfield, in what could well also be described as the week of the SuperSub, literally towers above the rest as the one player who, weekend after weekend, dominates his position.

There is little doubt that Matfield is the finest ball-winning lock in world rugby and last weekend he had his sparring partner, Bakkies Botha, back alongside him locking the Bulls scrum and doing enough in the first 47 minutes of rugby he has played in nine months to also force his way into the “Bok Barometerâ€.

Botha was not alone in using limited time to make a strong statement about his quality as a player but also highlighted the growing phenomenon of players making a big impact in only a segment of a game.

Indeed, the “Bok Barometer†for Week Four includes three other players in Gurthro Steenkamp, CJ van der Linde and André Pretorius whose appearances were a good stretch short of an entire game.

The Super XV, which takes in account all the players in the weekend’s fixtures, was not only dominated by New Zealanders but underscored that country’s amazing depth.

The positions of flyhalf and inside centre went to a pair of Crusaders, Daniel Carter-clone Stephen Brett and gravity-defying Rua Tipoki, but No 10 and 12 could as easily have gone to the Blues twosome Isa Nacewa and Luke McAllister, not to mention Ma’a Nonu, and there would have been no complaints.

The Super XV for Week Four:

1 Gurthro Steenkamp (Bulls), 2 Corey Flynn (Crusaders), 3 Neemia Tialata (Hurricanes), 4 Bakkies Botha (Bulls), 5 Victor Matfield (Bulls), 6 Marty Holah (Chiefs), 7 Mitchell Chapman (Reds), 8 Thomas Waldrom (Hurricanes), 9 Fourie du Preez (Bulls), 10 Stephen Brett (Crusaders), 11 Rudi Wulf (Blues), 12 Rua Tipoki (Crusaders), 13 Casey Laulala (Crusaders), 14 Lelia Masaga (Chiefs), Scott Hamilton (Crusaders).

The Springbok Barometer for Week Four:

1. Gurthro Steenkamp (Bulls), 2 Gary Botha (Bulls), 3 CJ van der Linde (Cheetahs), 4 Bakkies Botha (Bulls), 5 Victor Matfield (Bulls), 6 Cobus Grobbelaar (Lions), 7 Danie Rossouw (Bulls), 8 Willem Alberts (Lions), 9 Fourie du Preez (Bulls), 10 André Pretorius (Lions), 11 Bryan Habana (Bulls), 12 Wayne Julies (Bulls), 13 Jaque Fourie (Lions), 14 Breyton Paulse (Stormers), 15 Johan Roets (Bulls).

Match of the Week: The Crusaders displayed all the Ps you need to be a really good side â€" passion, preparation, pace, possession, position and points â€" as they crucified the Cheetahs. Coming back from a disappointing defeat against the Lions the Crusaders finally shrugged off the absence of their seven All Blacks to show what true champions are about. Fittingly, we call on coach Robbie Deans to come up on stage to receive the Oscar on behalf of his team.

Try of the Week: In the most closely contested category of the weekend the Oscar goes to the Hurricanes for the wonder try they constructed to send Thomas Waldrom over the line for the must-score try that gave them a one-point victory over the Brumbies after time had elapsed. The ‘Canes kept the ball alive for 95 seconds, all 15 players on the field handled the ball at least once, there were nine phases and they made 27 passes. A miniature goes to the cast of the Bulls who set up Brian Habana for his side’s winning try over the Chiefs. After the big bust-out by Danie Rossouw the Bulls showed that they can do this kind of thing by taking the ball through two quick rucks and making nine passes, including a poetic skip-pass by Victor Matfield in midfield, to help Habana make up for previous lapses as he skidded in at the corner.

Schlepper of the Week I: Bantu Holomisa. You will recall that the “Schlepper†is a mocking “awardâ€, named after a word coined by Phil Kearns, to describe something really idiotic. Well the leader of the United Democratic Movement wins hands down for describing Springbok captain John Smit as an “old crock.†Not only is Smit still only 28 years old, but he is South Africa’s most-capped captain and the last man you could rap over the knuckles for not helping with transformation given that he and his family helped to put Chiliboy Ralepelle through Pretoria Boys High. Smit didn’t ask for the job which, incidentally, he has done extremely well and no matter what you think of him as a player he does not deserve to be denigrated in that hornet’s nest of schleppers known as the parliamentary portfolio committee on sport.

Schlepper of the Week II: Force scrumhalf Matt Henjak who still does not know the difference between a ruck and a maul. Not only did he spend ten minutes in the bin for fiddling with the ball on the ground but then he went and did it again to concede the penalty that André Pretorius kicked to deny the Force their much sought after first home win.

And the Jorrie goes to…Matt Giteau’s embarrassing attempt to kick a dropped goal to try to snatch the game out of the fire.

Newcomer of the Week: Hayden Hopgood a raw-boned loose forward who made quite an impression coming off the bench for the Hurricanes. Now listen to this… he’s actually from Canterbury, has led the Cantabrians in the Ranfurly Shield and was drafted to the ‘Canes because the like of Mose Tuiali’i, Johnny Leo’o, Kieran Read and Reuben Thorne reside in Christchurch â€" oh yes, and one Richard McCaw.

Boo Weekley: Is that an American golfer or the name of the Stormers’ fanzone.

Cloud-cuckoo-land: Translated from Die Burger in Cape Town. “More ineptness from some players and another poor performance by an Australian referee put pay to any optimism the Stormers supporters may have had before the Super 14 match against the Highlanders at the weekend.†Poor performance by the referee? He must have been a shocker; the Stormers were 35-5 down at which point the jet-lagged Highlanders decided the job had been done and it was time for a shower.

Bloemfontein freeway: The space between Herkie Kruger and Meyer Bosman in the Cheetahs backline.

Extinct species re-discovered… in Western Australia â€" the crooked feed â€" by New Zealand referee Bryce Lawrence while watching the Force scrum. A description of this beast, believed to have died out years ago, will be circulated to all referees for it is believed to lurk in the deep recesses of most scrums that are ever set down. Recognised by the shrill call “Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage!â€

Bad Hair of the Week I: Laurie the Grey or Gandalf Fisher of the Brumbies; and he’s not even embarrassed is the Brumbies coach. This is what he has to say about his shaggy-dog look. “They’re (the pony-tail and goatee) kind of my trademark now. There's no way I could get rid of them. Not after all the bullshit I have had to put up with."

Bad Hair of the Week II: Jaco “Robinson Crusoe†van der Westhuyzen’s facial adornment. Now we know what happened to Tom Hanks’s fake beard from The Castaway - it must have washed up on a beach somewhere in Japan!

Quote of the Week I: "I certainly won't be as candid about the game anymore." - Reds coach Eddie Jones comes to realise that honesty is not always the best - or the cheapest - policy.

Quote of the Week II: "That was a game we should have won. We threw it away. We did almost all the playing, but we just kept making stupid mistakes that cost us. We gave away 24 points through stupid errors." - Kobus van der Merwe getting some things right (the stupid part) and some things wrong (the all the playing part).

Quote of the Week III: â€He looks like a bloke looking for the keyhole at four o’clock in the morning.†â€" NZ commentator Tony Johnstone’s take on Clinton Schifcof’s “peek-a-boo†kicking style.

Quote of the Week IV: â€The breast of Bloemfontein.†â€" Commentator Matthew Pearse’s deliberate Freudian slip in describing the Cheetahs’ cheer leaders.

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