Would love to do a S15 post about all the games this weekend, but really don’t have time at present. SO let’s look at the SA players who stood out this weekend:
Guthro / Natanieel - Has to be the starting loosehead of fit. His scrumming power, his general play, his fitness, his heart means that he is a HUGE asset in all senses of the word. I like the way he has come back from a long term injury to dominate his position.
Lionel Mapoe – I know that we highlighted Bjorn Basson as the new wing on the block, but this guy showed up his opposite number prodigiously. In one play he slipped 5 tackles made by the Bulls tight 5 to make 10 metres.
Jano Vermaak – showed what a really strange purchase Rory Kockott was for the Lions. Far superior in all facets of his game.
The Bearded Strauss – Tough customer for the Lions, a real hard grafter. Looks like an Amish fellow or Moses, but gets around the field in the mold of Kieran Read.
Gerhard van der Heever – scored a scintillating try for the Bulls that literally scythed through the entire Lions team and no-one laid a finger on him. It wasn’t great defence from the Lions, but he is elusive and quick.
THE WORLD CUP
Watching the Sharks versus Cheetahs borathon it struck me that the World Cup is going to most likely be played in NPC conditions and worse. This means rain, rain and more rain (and probably mist too). This changes things in a number of ways
1) Handling is going to be shoddy, the ball will pop out in contact very often. What does this mean? The mighty scrum will come into play and it will be vital to have a powerful scrum and it will be an effective offensive weapon against weak scrum teams (Wallabies, I’m looking at you).
2) Games will be tighter than even previous World Cups and there is a higher likelihood of an upset. Look what Scotland did to the Boks in the pouring rain in Edinburgh. Not that I am saying we will be beaten again by the wee laddies, but the likes of Fiji, Argentina, Italy and others could surprise a couple of the first tier sides on the day.
3) Good scrums, kicking for territory, making sure of your penalties and keeping the pressure up on the opposition. Sounds like the Bok game-plan to me. It’s hard not to see us meeting NZ in the semi’s and having the best chance of beating them on the day.