It would appear that my days of watching live Super Rugby are over 😦
Let me explain.
There are 6 major playing regions here in South Africa but only 5 places available in the Super Rugby competition (in it’s current format.) I’ve explained previously that for as long as there has been Super Rugby my little part of the world has been completely ignored, that was until this year.
Be it politics, compassion or just plain old common sense our rugby hierarchy decided to to give us a chance and entered Eastern Province (under The Southern Kings franchise) in this years competition, at the expense of last year’s lowest ranked S.A. team ( The Lions) with the proviso that the Kings play the Lions in a home and away relegation / promotion series of matches come the end of the season.
Well, the first of these relegation / promotion matches was played last night, right here at our magnificent new FIFA world cup stadium, and yes, you’ve guessed it, the Kings lost.
Had the Kings won, we had plans for the 2,000km round trip up to Johannesburg to watch the 2nd leg, but we agreed at the end of last night’s game not waste our time, effort and money! Continue reading “Kings v Lions”
Ja well, that’s our last home game done and dusted 😦
Our visitors The Stormers, that’s the classy Springbok filled outfit from Cape Town, hugely experienced and although perhaps playing slightly under par this season still tough opposition. The Stormers finished top of last years Super rugby log!
We were offered tickets for the Royalty Loungeat R150.00 each, (£10.00) that’s the most I’ve ever spent on a ticket to watch local rugby but, hey, it’s great there, right on the half way line, I like it and it was the final home game of our Super rugby season, so we splashed out!
We met at a local coffee shop at 11.30 for brunch and the Lions / Aussie match, what an entertaining couple of hours that turned out to be, then off to the stadium for our game (kick off 5pm)
We had high hopes of a result today, none of our 3 wins this season have been against an S.A. franchise and having only lost to the Stormers down in Cape town by 8 points our hopes were high.
We started well, 6 – 0 up after 15 minutes or so which quickly due to (more) ill discipline by my Kings quickly became 6- 6 all, we had a player sin-binned but were holding on. And then the dreaded score 2 minutes before half time, not for us, for them. The second half continued in much the same vein as the first, we got a couple of penalties, so did they and then a late try.
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.
The first test of the three match series started on Friday, February 1st, Graeme Smith’s 32nd birthday. It also marked the 100th time that ‘Biff’ had captained a test team, (99 SA, 1 world XI) what a remarkable achievement!
Other captains noted for their longevity in the job include Border (93), Fleming (80), Ponting (77), Lloyd (74)
Smith won the toss and decided to bat, it’s never easy on the first day up at The Wanderers, Protea’s wickets fell at regular intervals but I was buoyed by a comment from Andrew Samson that an average first innings score up there was ‘only’ 260. Average is rarely good enough but I was reasonably satisfied with our 253 at the end of the day.
Who could possibly have predicted yesterday morning’s carnage Pakistan 49 all out! Just slightly better than NZ’s 45 last month and Oz’s 47 in Cape Town (Nov 2011.)
S.A. ended the day on 207/3, a lead of 411.
A bit more batting practice for our middle order today, improve those averages, get some time at the crease, build confidences where necessary and then unleash Steyn, Philander, Morkel and (perhaps) Kallis.
They say that there’s a first time for everything, today is certainly the first time that I’ve sat down and watched a complete innings of test cricket over breakfast and 2 cups of coffee!
Reminiscent of that famous demolition of Australia back in 2011 (also at Newlands, 47 all out, 18 overs, 95 minutes, Philander also bagged 5!) scorecard here. The Kiwis lasted 8 balls and 5 minutes longer!