This is not the place to find who won, who scored, or who played well. This is what I thought of what I saw, mostly useless information, and why the refs and commentators were sh1t.
Sharks v Blue Bulls | 4 October 2013
Jacques Botes equalled Helgaard Muller’s record number of Currie Cup appearances (142) in this one, confirming that this record will always be held by someone who is exactly good enough to always play for his province but could never make it at international level.
I’m getting tired of hearing several players (and medics and water guys), in what is normally (it just is) a strong Afrikaans accent, shouting (whether it is or isn’t), “Skew, Mr Ref, skeeyuuuuu!” at every lineout.
The Blue Bulls have been terrible this year, and I’m starting to wonder whether there’s a stronger force at play, a force that cannot allow a team from Pretoria to win when a third of the starting XV is as English as Small-Smith, Paige, Ross, Bulbring and Kirsten.
Western Province v Golden Lions | 5 October 2013
Commentator Gareth Wright kicked off the quality comms by informing us that “The Lions have a a lineout in the WP half for the first time in this game.” After 37 seconds.
His co-commentator Hanyani Shimange then accused Lionel Mapoe of “over-sharing”. Of course, Lionel had just told us about the wonderful, crisp sh1t he had expelled just before kick-off, so that was probably fair enough. (He told us about his poo, “Ma-poe”, get it?!)
On-field comms guy Toks van der Linde interviewed Demetri Catrakilis at half time looking like the Goodyear Blimp holding a microphone. I assume Toks is the on-field guy because there isn’t an elevator at Newlands that could lift him up to the commentary box.
Toks did get some valuable insight out of the interview, however. Catrakilis is one of the sharpest shooters in the competition, and his secret in the slightly windy conditions was “Kick it straight and hope, hey.”
Professional sport. Sometimes it feels like anybody could do it.
I’m amazed every week by how far above their weight the likes of Aplon, Kolbe and Deon Fourie are able to punch. I’ve decided to put it down to the energy (ohhmmmm) that comes from being 100% committed to something.
Or, to offer a more scientific explanation: force = mass x acceleration. Because those little guys go hard into tackles, hard and fast. They accelerate into the contact, not with a view to ending at it, but to bursting through. And it catches a lot of bigger guys by surprise.
Pierre Spies has none of this energy, Zane Kirchner (who is slowly winning me over) has very little of it, but WP’s tiny guys have it to spare.
As well as energy, Chesslyn Kolbe has the lowest centre of gravity ever observed, apparently somewhere towards the top of his shins. His balance is superb, his acceleration is astounding, and if you don’t actually knock and hold him down he’ll be gone before you hit the ground yourself.
The Lions were poor for most of the game, out-played and out-thought, but they didn’t need any creativity at line-out time, as we were subjected to several minutes of kick to the corner and try and drive it over. Over and over. It was effective, but sh1t it was uninspiring. And fortunately, ultimately, it wasn’t enough.
The Alternative Review | Rugby Championship
If you’re interested, there’s more talk of Pierre Spies, sharia law and reference to the Australian 12th Man tapes over at my international edition (SA v NZ and Arg v Aus).