For those of you who have missed my regular updates on the (non) performance / (non) progress of my Eastern Province rugby team, fear not, we still go, we still watch and we still leave disappointed!
Some may remember my post on our first match since rejoining the top tier of SA rugby not to long ago. Well not much has changed since then, our record in this year’s tournament now reads played 7 – lost 7.
Yesterday was no different, we started off not to badly, went behind to a couple of penalties, conceded a try, scored a beaut of a try ourselves and went into half time trailing by only 6 points, then the wheels fell off!
Most disappointing however was the crowd, in my many, many visits to our stadium for a variety of football and rugby matches yesterday’s crowd has to be the smallest that I’ve ever witnessed, I know, supporters love a winner!
Notwithstanding the result, a great day, great weather, great company.
Only one more home game left, so not much more of the agony to endure.
(until next year that is.)
The Currie Cup is reputed to be the oldest rugby provincial competition in the world and after a 12 year absence my Eastern Province is back in it!
It’s the top tier of S.A. rugby and yes, you’ve probably guessed by now we (EP) have never won it.
We won’t be winning it this year either but that matters not, the season kicked off last night with our first pool game against Western Province.
After our highly successful Super rugby campaign last year most of our players have been bought / stole / enticed away to ‘bigger’ clubs. (A Scottish bunch even enticed our coach away along with one of our best flankers!)
So, lots of new names to learn last night, lots of fringe players from last season getting a chance to step up to the big time lots of mistakes and drama but who cares (not me) another great night of rugby in our very own new stadium.
You can see that the Eastern Province team have reverted back to the famous Red and Black hoops kit, no more pandering to advertisers and promoters, no more dull black or white shirts that any true EP fans have absolutely no affinity with whatsoever, no, back to our famous red and black.
As you all know by know, results are hard to come by down here, suffice to say that we scored our first Currie Cup try in 12 years in the 32nd minute and led 11-10 at halftime, then the wheels fell off.
But a great evening, a great competition, it’s good to be back! Read more…
Big day here tomorrow.
Scotland are in town.
For my fellow enthusiasts I’m reprinting the report from today’s daily read. It will / should give you …
a) An insight in our approach to the game, and
b) Perhaps a different perspective from whatever sports reporters are scribbling in your neck of the woods or
C) For those with no rugby reporting in their local press whatsoever a reminder that there’s a game on!
Did I get a surprise yesterday?
We went down to the stadium to collect our actual printed tickets for the upcoming Eastern Province Kings matches and the friendly against Wales and the test against Scotland (it’s going to be a busy June!)
The young lady at the counter gave me 2 envelopes, one with my tickets and another with a McDonald’s key ring!
As a Season Ticket holder we got a R500 casino betting voucher (long gone!) A book of discounts for a variety of restaurants and clothing stores (which I’ll never use) and most importantly stadium parking for every match day, nobody ever mentioned a McDonald’s key ring!
Check out what’s on the back… Read more…
So there I was yesterday, watching our sports news channel when a small clip on the 2013 performance of my Southern Kings appeared, as the camera panned the crowd after we conceded a try, I thought to myself “hey, that’s where I sit!”
So I rewound the programme (aren’t these new satellite receivers marvelous) and sure enough there I was!
Certainly a pic for my scrapbook.
(sorry about the flash, no, the chap in the foreground isn’t holding a torch, but .. well I’m sure that you understand)
Oh, Jaques Kallis retired from first class and test cricket yesterday, I’ve got his career stats on my pic, neat :) )
What a day! What a weekend! What an event! What a crowd! What an atmosphere!
On an emotionally charged weekend, how fitting was it for the very first International sporting event to be held on South African soil after the death of Nelson Mandela to be held in the stadium that bears his name?
16 teams, 45 games, an extravaganza of rugby if ever there was one!
It’s fair to say that we probably spent more time in the bar / lounge during the day on Saturday then in the stand (except of course when the Blitzbokke were playing) it is after all a day of preliminary group stages where the minnows get the chance to play against the big guns but today (Sunday) was the main event, and what an event it was.
The beauty of this format is that it splits into 4 competitions during the course of the final day (Shield, Bowl, Plate and Cup) with all teams having a chance of gaining a medal and silverware as late as the mid-afternoon!
We got the dream final we wanted. The Blitzbokke cruised through their quarter and semi finals as did the All (cough) (splutter) Blacks.
I’ve written elsewhere that I thought that the Ref had a couple of ‘Mandela moments’ during the final but who cares? Final score Blitzbokke 17 – AB’s 14 (3 tries to 2)
A win, a glorious end to a brilliant weekend Read more…
IT’S GO TIME!
We might just find the time to watch a bit of 7’s rugby while we’re there ;)
Ha ha, on the left you see the launch of the new Bulls super rugby home kit for the 2014 season, maintaining the traditional blue albeit with a few splashes of colour for effect, on the right you see the new away kit! The Bulls had a poor season this year, here’s hoping that they can see one another on the pitch in that camo shirt or things are going to get worse!
On the bright side, I’ve had a sneak preview of the cheerleaders outfits ….. Read more…
You know, the ones just above the tunnel on the half way line, with the royalty lounge bar and restaurant just 10 steps away, that’s right, those ones, but what a performance, let me explain …
The exodus of Southern Kings players continues. There can be but a handful of our Super Rugby squad announced in January still plying their trade here in the Eastern Province. The latest? Cornell du Preez.
“Watson (Kings president) confirmed yesterday that Cornell du Preez had also been released from his contract with immediate effect, to sign with Edinburgh Rugby in Scotland.
Watson said he was excited that Du Preez had been given the opportunity to further his rugby career.
“There is no doubt that Cornell was one of the stalwarts during the Southern Kings campaign and he has continued to play superb rugby for us during the Currie Cup First Division. We wish him everything of the best.”
Watson said he knew Du Preez aspired to build towards playing for Scotland, and did not feel he would be given the opportunity to play for the Springboks, because of the depth of loose forwards, if he remained in South Africa.”
And in other news … Read more…