It’s the start of February and we only just finished the Currie Cup.
Unprecedented times indeed.
So what exactly did we learn from the Currie Cup and Super Rugby Unlocked competitions that ended with the Blue Bulls beating the Sharks in the domestic final last weekend?
Here I take a quick look at the domestic season that was.
WHO’S COOKING WHAT?
I have written about my unhappiness with the way the log points system didn’t favour the teams that did well to limit the spread of Covid-19 in their squad.
I still maintain that in these times, the team that is not able to field a matchday squad should register a loss, with the other team getting a bonus-point win.
Anyway, other than that kan die administrators by die South African Rugby Union maar vir hulself ‘n klop op die skouer gee for finishing both these tournaments.
IN TERMS of quality, the rugby on display was not pretty.
But I wrote back in December 2020 already that playing rugby in the summer time is not an easy feat.
Compared to the rugby we saw in New Zealand and Australia, the quality of SA’s game was a bit substandard.
But you have to remember that those teams started playing much earlier than our teams, meaning they didn’t miss as much time off the park.
Furthermore, they also didn’t have to play in the extreme heat in South Africa during summer time, as they managed to finish their season in what is more accepted as rugby season.
It wasn’t pretty. And without fans it was at times really tough to watch. But luckily there can only be improvement from here on in.
I WOULD like to set the record straight with regards to Cornal Hendricks.
He is and was always an inside centre. To me, that’s where he played his best rugby for the Boland Kavaliers back in the day.
But for some reason he was moved to the wing, before Jake White moved him back to the No.12 jumper. And now we’ve finally seen the best of Hendricks again.
At 32, the Paarliet has become an exciting midfield option for the Springboks.
It was two golden oldies in the Bulls backline that sparked their title run in both competitions, with veteran flyhalf Morne Steyn, 36, also showing that he still has what it takes to play SA aan die brand.
If the Boks had to play the British and Irish Lions tomorrow, these two would be in coach Jacques Nienaber and his selectors’ discussions.
I am not mentioning the likes of Frans Steyn and Duane Vermeulen, who are also on the wrong side of 30 and had standout performances, because they are already involved at national level.
IN JOHANNESBURG, the big boot of Golden Lions fullback Tiaan Swanepoel emerged as a big weapon.
The Namibian-born 24-year-old, who grew up in the Mother City, was one of the shining lights in the Currie Cup competition and alongside teammate Wandisile Simelane, 22, are worth a closer look at when it comes to the Green and Gold.
Much was made of Sanele Nohamba, 22, at the start of Super Rugby Unlocked, but by the end of the tournament it was the rise of another Sharks No.9 Jaden Hendrikse, 20, that eclipsed his rise.
At Loftus, Bulls flanker Elrigh Louw, 21, also emerged as one to watch.
TE WARM INNIE KOMBUIS
AFTER almost single-handedly kicking Western Province out of the tournament at Newlands in the semifinals, Sharks pivot Curwin Bosch was the talk of the town.
The whole week building up to the final against the Bulls was about Bosch and how he would square up to the more experienced Morne Steyn.
Bosch didn’t have the best of outings in the final and I believe it is because of the expectation created by the hype.
When a player is “in-season”, we South African fans tend to make a big fuss about them. But just like that we can turn on him also and I believe this pressure got to Bosch ahead of the final.
It’s my opinion that our own Damian Willemse is learning to cope with the “superstar” tag too.
Both these players will be better for it in the long run and would have gained valuable experience from these experiences.
HOE PROE HY?
BITTER, if you are a Western Province and Stormers fan.
I wrote last week about the expected exodus following their Newlands exit and it kicked off on Monday night with the announcement that Jaco Coetzee has been released early from his contract to join Bath in England.
En daai is maar die eerste happie…