The South African Rugby Wrap Edition One takes a look at the opening round of The Rugby Championship as well as the continuation of the Currie Cup.
The South African Rugby Wrap Edition One
The Rugby Championship
South Africa 30 Argentina 23
South Africa – Tries: Ruan Combrinck, Johan Goosen, Warren Whiteley. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (3). Penalties: Jantjies (3)
Argentina – Tries: Matias Orlando, Santiago Cordero. Conversions: Nicolas Sanchez (2). Penalties: Sanchez (3).
Springbok rugby fans wold have heaved a collective deep sigh of relief when Warren Whiteley eventually found a way to get the ball of the field after he had managed to direct an up and under at himself after the final whistle. That single act probably sums up the Springbok performance against Los Pumas. There were many moments of quality that highlighted the direction that Head Coach Alister Coetzee intends to take, but there were almost as many moments that would have left Coetzee pulling his hair out.
Make no mistake, Argentina came to play and put in a high quality performance and made the Springboks sweat for their win. At 23 to 13 down with ten minutes to play, the Springboks looked dead and buried. It was a try by Whiteley in the corner and then an excellent flat line run by Faf de Klerk, followed by a switch pass to put fullback Johan Goosen in next to the poles that saved the Springboks from another frustrating loss.
Lionel Mapoe dropping the ball in the act of scoring was a pivotal moment in the game, as was Elton Jantjies poorly directed clearance kick that landed squarely on Adriaan Strauss’s jaw. On the positive side, the returning Oupa Mahoje put it in a solid shift and was very good on defence.
Goosen at fullback did provide some of the attacking ability that Willie le Roux seems to have lost and he worked effectively as a second line receiver. His positional play and defence does need some work, but for someone who has not been part of the Springbok squad for two years that can be expected. There is a question about his ability under the high ball, but it is definitely worthwhile working with him. Some forget that he is still a young man.
Although a very frustrating game to watch, there was enough on show to indicate that there has been a shift in the squad’s attacking mentality. We may just have to give them a little time to build their attacking style and for everyone to understand their role on attack.
Currie Cup Results
Vodacom Bulls 49 EP Kings 35
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Tian Schoeman, Jamba Ulengo (2), Jannes Kirsten, Bjorn Basson, Burger Odendaal, Joshua Stander; Conversions: Schoeman (7)
Eastern Province Kings – Tries: Michael Willemse, Berton Klaasen, Johan Tromp, Siviwe Soyizwapi; Conversions: Kobus Marais (2); Penalties: Marais (2)
This was a very interesting game. The Kings, who have had very little time together as a squad, opened with two early tries and kept the Bulls under pressure for most of the game. The Bulls clawed themselves back into the game to eventually take the lead, but the Kings never gave up and continued to hound the Bulls. The Bulls will be disappointed that they were not able to really put the Kings away given the embarrassment of riches they have in terms of player stocks. The Kings will take heart from a very positive performance. The Bulls are currently third on the points table and the Kings eighth.
DHL Western Province 25 Toyota Free State Cheetahs 32
DHL Western Province – Tries: Huw Jones, Kobus van Wyk, Leolin Zas; Conversions: Brandon Thomson, Robert du Preez; Penalties: Thomson (2)
Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Nico Lee, Tian Meyer; Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (2); Penalties: Zeilinga (6)
An away win by the Cheetahs was probably not expected and Western Province are now none from two in the Currie Cup. Fred Zeilinga put in one of the best performances of his career and was deservedly announced as the Man of the Match.
It is still early days in the competition, but Western Province now find themselves in the rather unfamiliar position of 7th out of 9. The Cheetahs are flying high at the moment and are second on the log.
Griquas 30 Golden Lions 24
Griquas: Tries: AJ Coertzen, Stephan Kotze, Poerie van Rooyen. Conversions: Clinton Swarts (3). Penalties: Swarts (2), Andre Swart.
Golden Lions: Tries: Akker van der Merwe, Howard Mnisi , Cyle Brink, Corne Fourie. Conversions: Jaco van der Walt, Marnitz Boshoff .
The Griquas put their poor performance last week against the Sharks behind them and put up one of their almost legendary home performances. Akker van der Merwe scored a first minute try and it looked as if the expected win by the Lions was on the cards.
The Griquas did not buy into that script and hit back at the Lions and refused to take a step back against the form South African team. The Griquas are now sixth on the points table, with the Lions second and with a game in hand against their rivals.
Boland Cavaliers 20 Cell C Sharks 41
Boland Cavaliers: Tries: Demas, Torrens, Nell. Penalty: Scheepers. Conversion: Kotze
Cell C Sharks: Tries: Ndungane, Radebe, Esterhuizen, Ralepelle, Venter, Marais. Conversions: Bosch (3), April. Penalty Bosch
The Sharks went down to Wellington and took care of business with a comfortable victory against the always feisty Cavaliers. The Sharks currently sit atop the Currie Cup log with a full house of 15 points, with the Cavaliers sitting in fifth place. The Sharks have not really been tested yet as their opening games have not included any of the traditional rugby power houses, but what has worked in their favour is that they have racked up the points on offer and given substantial game time to some of the younger players in their squad.