Super Wrap - Week 5

Discussion in 'General Rugby Union' started by DNAPlay, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. DNAPlay

    DNAPlay Guest

    As seen on www.supersport.co.za



    A key aspect of South Africa’s greatest day in Super Rugby, four victories over four overseas opponents, was that it coincided with excellent performances by all the flyhalves involved.

    A weekend in which no South African side lost with the Stormers, the Bulls and the Lions scoring away victories and the Sharks “stealing†an amazing win over the Crusaders emphasised the vital role played by flyhalves.

    A feature of the season -- until Saturday -- had been the absence of outstanding showings by local flyhalves which made the compilation of the weekly “Springbok Barometer†problematic.

    For the first four weeks the No 10 spot tended to go to a player who had made the least number of mistakes rather than someone who had really caught the eye.

    The absence of a luminous flyhalf was commented on by the like of Naas Botha but in Week Five that changed -- and with it the results of local teams.

    Whereas finding a flyhalf had been difficult previously the latest round produced outstanding play from Peter Grant, Derick Hougaard, André Pretorius and Butch James -- all of whom were fundamental to the success of their teams and with strong claims to having been the best in their position on the day.

    Grant’s return to the Stormers has provided a new impetus for the struggling men from the Cape while Hougaard’s early dropped goal and accurate goal-kicking set the Bulls on their way against the Brumbies.

    James and Pretorius, the two old hands, made key contributions to their teams’ successes; the former subtly mixing up the options and the latter coming on in the second half to, as presciently predicted by the Aussie commentators, to give young Quade Cooper, who made an impressive starting debut, a lesson in controlled flyhalf play.

    Pretorius’s tactical kicking was crucial in halting the Reds tide and eventually turning the match back in the Lions' favour and he had a hand in both his side’s tries.

    Interestingly, in the match not won the Cheetahs returned to Willem de Waal, who was obviously a little rusty, in an effort to instil some stability.

    In the end the Bok Barometer spot went to Pretorius, arguably the most complete of all local pivots, but there probably would have been few objections from the readers (many and dedicated) of the SuperWrap had the nod gone to Grant, Hougaard or James.

    Yet again it was shown that no matter what you call him, flyhalf, first five-eighth or standoff half, the man in the No 10 jersey has, is and always will be the one whose judgements, in the words of former All Black five-eighth Doug Bruce, “determine the outcome of a game -- more so his misjudgements.â€

    It was also an excellent week for loose forwards. The trio picked were Luke Watson, influenced by his wonderful cross-kick to set up Corné Uys’s try, Ernst Joubert, who has been so impressive in holding the Lions together in the absence of André Pretorius, and Pedrie Wannenburg but the like of AJ Venter, in the midst of an inspirational final season, Jacques Botes, Wikus van Heerden, Schalk Burger, Cobus Grobbelaar and Justin Melck all fought mightily in the cause of their teams.

    The most contentious selections in Week Five are probably those of Stormers props JD Moller and Eddie Andrews. The clincher for them was Justin Melck’s pushover try against a useful Hurricanes eight ranged against vivid images of the Bulls scrum in reverse gear against the Brumbies, the Lions struggling against a Reds pack not renown for scrummaging, the Sharks battling against the Crusaders and the Cheetahs failing to gain the dominance one would expect from a team with their frontrow resources.

    Young Andries Bekker’s burgeoning contribution to the Stormers, especially his all-round involvement in every aspect of play, earned a significant inclusion, looking ahead to the World Cup squad, ahead of Victor Matfield.

    South Africa’s excellent weekend resulted in six locals making it into the “Super XV†for Week Five -- a number which might have been higher but for the outstanding individual form of the like of Troy Flavell, Stephen Brett and Luke McAllister.

    The Super XV for Week Five:

    1 Nic Henderson (Brumbies), 2 Corey Flynn (Crusaders), 3 Rodney Blake (Reds), 4 Bakkies Botha (Bulls), 5 Troy Flavell (Blues), 6 Luke Watson (Stormers), 7 Ernst Joubert (Lions), 8 Jerome Kaino (Blues), 9 Ruan Pienaar (Sharks), 10 Stephen Brett (Crusaders), 11 David Smith (Hurricanes), 12 Luke McAllister (Blues), 13 Jaque Fourie (Lions), 14 Lelia Masaga (Chiefs), 15 Percy Montgomery (Sharks).

    The Springbok Barometer for Week Five:

    1 JD Moller (Stormers), 2 John Smit (Sharks), 3 Eddie Andrews (Stormers), 4 Bakkies Botha (Bulls), 5 Andries Bekker (Stormers), 6 Luke Watson (Stormers), 7 Ernst Joubert (Lions), 8 Pedrie Wannenburg (Bulls), 9 Ruan Pienaar (Sharks), 10 André Pretorius (Lions), 11 Corné Uys (Stormers), 12 De Wet Barry (Stormers), 13 Jaque Fourie (Lions), 14 Odwa Ndungane (Sharks), 15 Percy Montgomery (Sharks).

    Match of the Week:The Sharks against the Crusaders -- has there ever been a more exciting finish to a Super Rugby match than this one?

    Try of the Week: Odwa Ndungane’s exhilarating sprint for glory against the Crusaders; not only was it “hoek toe†with every centimetre of pace he could muster but it atoned for an earlier blunder when sweaty hands caused him to lose the ball as he was crossing the goal line. Talk about going from hero to zero and back again! No try is possible without teamwork so congratulations too to JP Pietersen for getting the vital turnover, Butch James, Bismarck du Plessis, Waylon Murray, Deon Carstens, Ruan Pienaar, AJ Venter, Rory Kockott and Adrian Jacobs for the part they played.

    Kick of the Week: Ruan Pienaar’s touchline conversion of Odwa Ndungane’s last-gasp try to give the Sharks their 27-26 victory; probably made more special for the man himself as his mind must certainly have gone back to missing a similar kick when the Sharks drew 20-20 with the Cats in Bloemfontein in 2005.

    Newcomers of the Week: Tendai 'The Beast' Mtawarira of the Sharks and Will Genia of the Reds.

    Tackles of the Week: First up we have to mention Jimmy Cowan, the Highlanders’ scrumhalf, who has made something of a speciality of putting his body between the ball and the in-goal area to prevent much-bigger opponents from scoring; this weekend stopping tries by Isaia Toeava and Ben Atiga in this manner. “King-Hit†statuettes to John Smit for cutting down Kieran Read, Scott Staniforth on Kurtley Beale, Peter Hewat on Ryan Cross, JP Nel on Adam Wallace-Harrison and Victor Matfield on the same player (small wonder the Bulls finally won in Canberra!) and Andries Bekker on Luke Andrews.

    The best day for South Africa -- ever: Never before in the history of Super Rugby have all the South African sides been unbeaten over the same weekend but this was the first time four local sides, the Stormers, the Bulls, the Lions and the Sharks, beat overseas opponents on the same day.

    And the worst for Australia! All four Australian sides failed to win, with the Waratahs and the Force playing to a draw, leaving the Force, in sixth spot, as the best-placed Aussie side after five rounds followed by the Brumbies (10th), the Waratahs (12th) and Reds (14th).

    Plus a sister kissing record: The 16-all draw between the Waratahs and the Force in Sydney followed by the 22-22 result between the Cheetahs and the Chiefs provided the first back-to-back draws since the inception of the Super 12. And you have to wonder what’s up in Pretoria. The Bulls/Northern Transvaal have been involved in six draws with the Waratahs, the Blues, the Stormers and the Force, after less than two seasons, all having done the “kissing your sister†thing three times.

    The records also show…that the Bulls were not the first South African side to win in Canberra. On their way to the semifinals in 1998 the Sharks smashed the Brumbies 41-23 in what was then the Bruce Stadium.

    Correcting a cock-up: Thanks to SA rugby’s official statistician Eddie Grieb the SuperWrap is obliged to correct an error to give David Pocock, the former Zimbabwean, his rightful place in the record book. We claimed recently that Kurtley Beale was the youngest player to take part in Super Rugby but the honour in fact belongs to Pocock (born 23 April 1988) who was 18 years and 19 days old when he came on for the Force against the Sharks on the 12th of May 2006. Eddie has burnt the midnight oil trawling his musty books and has provided us with this list of the “babies†of Super Rugby. (birthday and debut day in brackets)
    18 years 019 days David Pocock ( 23/4/88 - 12/5/2006) Force vs Sharks

    18 years 027 days Kurtley Beale (06/1/89 - 02/2/2007) NSW vs Lions

    18 years 230 days Doug Howlett (21/9/78 - 09/5/1997) Highlanders. vs NSW

    18 years 236 days Mark Gerrard (04/9/82 - 27/4/2001) NSW vs Hurricanes

    18 years 301 days Elton Flatley (07/5/77 - 03/3/1996) Reds vs Highlanders

    18 years 311 days Quade Cooper (05/4/88 - 10/2/2007) Reds vs Crusaders

    18 years 347 days Caleb Brown (08/03/87 - 18/2/2006) Reds vs Crusaders

    18 years 364 days Jaco vd Westhuyzen (06/4/78 - 04/4/1997) Natal vs Hurricanes

    *Kurtley Beale at 18 years and 42 days became the youngest player to score a Super Rugby try, for the Waratahs against the Cheetahs on February 17 in Week Three of this year’s tournament.

    Congratulations to:Fourie du Preez, Jacques Cronje and Craig Newby on reaching their 50th caps and to Peter Hewat who scored 11 points at the weekend to take his career tally past the 400 mark. He is now on 410.

    Mysteries of the Super 14: Why were there no water breaks in the super-heated Sharks/Crusaders game?

    And the Jorrie goes too…The Highlanders’ replacement fullback James Wilson who managed to smash an attempted in-goal clearance straight into his own posts. Luckily the ball ricocheted over the deadball line; unlike in Week Three when a poor clearance by the same man resulted in a try for Percy Montgomery.

    And the Schlepper goes too… Sam Norton-Knight of the Waratahs whose brainstorm cost his side the chance of a penalty-kick win over the Force when he insanely tried to tap and go from all of 40 metres -- small wonder he got a shove in the back from Lote Tuqiri; small wonder Tuqiri is contemplating going back to league.

    No joking matter:There are currently six Van der Merwes involved in SA’s sides -- Kobus & Francois (Stormers), Franco & Heinke (Lions), Ryno & Flippie (Cheetahs); although if despatches from the Cape are anything to go by the number may soon be cut to five!

    Men in Black: Stephen Larkham, Stirling Mortlock and Clyde Rathbone looked chic in their suits sitting, injured, on the Brumbies’ bench but as the Bulls buried their teammates you had to wonder whether the choice of black was entirely appropriate.

    Men in Red? Something that has long worried the SuperWrap is why Queenslanders refer to their team as the “Reds.†A quick poll among the girls, who know about these things, in SuperSport’s offices came up with maroon, purple, magenta, burgundy and mauve for the colour of their jersey but none said red. Red is the colour the Lions were wearing or what Eddie Jones sees when he comes across a referee!

    Quote of the Week I: "We didn't deserve the win, but sometimes you get lucky when you're trying for the fairy tale in the last three minutes." -- John Smit on the Sharks’ great escape.

    Quote of the Week II: “We simply didn’t hear it. It was as loud as, out in the middle with everything that was going on, and all the crowd noise. If we’d known, we’d have certainly put the ball out, but we didn’t know!†-- Crusaders skipper Corey Flynn on the muted hooter at the Absa Stadium.

    Quote of the Week III: - "I don't know what happened, but we kept playing instead of kicking the ball out. It was one of those things. I didn't hear the hooter. We were just caught up in the heat of everything that was going on." -- Casey Laulala who with Rico Gear had a chance to kick the ball out and secure victory for the Crusaders.

    Quote of the Week IV: “It’s not a nice way to lose, but is there a nice way?†-- Crusaders coach Robbie Deans.

    Quote of the Week V: “They’re playing your song too, Dancing Queen.†-- NZ commentator Tony Jonstone to on-field reporter Frank Bunce. Wouldn’t you love to know the story behind that one!

    Quote of the Week VI: “If you control the ball, you’re going to control the game.†-- Phil Kearns.
     
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