Have I mentioned how much I’m enjoying this year’s Super Rugby season?
As mentioned elsewhere, it was the turn of the New South Wales Waratahs to visit our shores. Our Kings have had a good record against Australian teams this year, in fact all 15 of our log points have come against Aussie opposition. (Wins against the Perth based Western Force and Melbourne Rebels and of course that last gasp draw against The ACT Brumbies)
Hopes were high, well mine were, for all of 30 seconds that is, for that is just how long it took for this Aussie outfit to score their first try!
After that? Believe it or not it got worse, they ran in try after try and for all of the first half consistently had more points on the board than minutes passed! Men against boys I kept thinking, it was really really difficult to watch. As a life long Eastern Province supporter (a team who’ve never won any top flight competition) I’m sort of used to losing, this wasn’t just ‘losing’ this was ‘annihilation!’
It wasn’t all doom and gloom, our new darling of E.P.rugby Sergeal Petersengot us out of our seats with a brilliant try just before half time, but I’m afraid that was all my Kings had to offer.
After a glorious victory against the Aussie Force two weeks ago (and a bye last week) our Super Kings hosted the first of the heavyweights last night. The Sharks were last year’s losing finalists, they are a side packed with current Springboks (we have not one) and we kept them tryless!
Our magnificent Nelson Mandela Bay stadium was a sell out, that’s 42,000 people packed in to savour a super rugby derby. Sure it’s been full once or twice before but that was during the FIFA world cup, no passion, no partisanship just an extravaganza (albeit a jolly good one) and of course our two rugby tests against England and the All Blacks, this was different, completely different!
If our first victory in the competition hasn’t made the opposition sit up and reconsider our ‘whipping boy’ tag then last night must have, our Kings were simply magnificent.
One report tells us “only 1 tackle missed out of 107” They defended like lions (not the Transvaal kind but the four legged ones with manes!) and on attack? Opportunities though few and far between were taken, so much so that with only 2 minutes to go we were in a bonus point winning position but fate dealt a cruel blow, we were robbed of that bonus point in the last minute of the game.
I’m sure that the hoards of avid rugby followers that read these pages will agree with me that the gap between the two tiers of S.A. Currie cup rugby is larger than we first thought.
Although the E.P.Kings went through the season undefeated, (2 draws) and rightfully earned their place in the promotion / relegation playoffs, (home and away) last nights hammering at the hands of the Free State Cheetahs brought us all down to earth with a bang.
Ironically on the left try scorer Andries Strauss has already signed for The Kings for next season.
The score? An overwhelming 53 -14 (8 tries -2) Match report here
Here’s hoping that we don’t have more of the same next year during our first Super Rugby campaign, sure we’ll have a few new signings to strengthen the squad but against full strength outfits from the Crusaders, Reds, Bulls, Sharks et al it could be a very long season!
Perhaps the worst game of rugby that I have ever attended!
Our hopes were raised for a couple of spectacular events, our Baby Boks started proceedings at Newlands (Cape Town) on Friday night, they beat the Baby Blacks 22-16 to claim the IRB Junior World Cup in an absolutely awesome game of rugby. This after progressing through a difficult group (England, Ireland, Italy) and a tough semi (Argentina.)
Saturday started well enough, (members may recall that I was an invited ‘VIP’courtesy of Castle Lager, the title sponsor) a gathering at a local sports club, transport to the brewery and a super lunch.
It went quickly downhill from there.
Our tickets were awful, (on the goal line, front row ABOVE the boxes.) If I’d known I would have kept my original onesand binned these.
The VIP area was a well structured tent, adequate, plenty of beer and grub (burgers, beef or chicken!) with inadequate seating and no service or refuse bins!