After a much needed weekend off last week we were back at the stadium supporting our mighty Kings.
This weekend it was the turn off the Bloemfontein based Cheetahs to visit the shores of our bay. The Cheetahs are a strong outfit, with four or five Springboks on the team but their real strength lies in their squad.
They assembled a team of young players perhaps five years ago, these guys have played together, toured together, know each other well with the result that they are a really good team, no superstars but a good team.
They’re also presently fourth on the super rugby log, no mean feat that, there’s some tough opposition out there but after a stunning tour of Australia and New Zealand (3 wins in 4 matches) they’ve maintained the momentum and are having a good, no a great season.
I also think that our South African coaches study the opposition a lot more closely, the Cheetahs were able to nullify a lot of the tactics that I’ve been watching from my Kings this season (line out drives, rolling mauls, our tearaway loose trio, etc.)
After last week’s humiliation at the hands of those Aussie Warratahs my Kings hosted the Highlanders this weekend, a team packed with All Blacks and boosted with the confidence of a victory just last week against the Sharks, but more about that later.
Remember my “Super season tickets” post back in February? The one where I explained that a local bar had 2 ‘royalty package’ season tickets to hand out as prizes for all home game? Guess who won them this week? Ha ha I can hear you all laughing, of course it was me!
Now as you know, I go to the games anyway, we always have great seats but these? These are special, plus the facilities which were still being constructed during my first visit (bar, restaurant, lounge, flat screen tv’s, big screen etc.) are now all in place. It really is a magnificent (royal (?)) way to watch rugby, or any sport for that matter.
So how did my Kings do this week?
Most here aren’t going to believe me but I assure you that I’m telling the truth we WON!
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.
Thought that I’d share my good fortune with fellow members.
Although I already have super tickets for Saturday’s test here at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium (5 of them bought just a couple of days after ticketing opened, see here) I just had to simply share my delight at the phone call I received this evening.
You’ve all probably guessed by now, I’ve won them!
The small print says, ‘transport, brewery tour, meals and free beer’
This is about as cold as it gets, as I left the pub where we watched the rugby my car was showing 9º Centigrade, factor in the wind chill perhaps an effective 4º, it’s also pouring with rain, most unpleasant.
Perhaps you’d think that a 22 – 17 Springbok victory would cheer me up, well…. yes and no.
I had 22 – 12 in the pool, that was the score when the full time hooter sounded, I had the result on the nose!
But then Ben Foden touched down in the 82nd minute to spoil what was in any case a glorious afternoon.
Jo’burg next week and then right here in Algoa Bay on the 23rd, can’t wait!