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 🙂 )
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!
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.”
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.
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.