It was the mother of sporting weekends. Vodacom Durban July, Silverstone F1 Grand Prix, second last weekend of pool games in Super Rugby, the start of the Tour de France and of course quarterfinal time at the Soccer World Cup.
I would love to use three pages to explain to you what my strategy was to try and handle all this sport, but alas I unfortunately did not have the “problem” of struggling to juggle it all.
I pulled the short straw and thus had to represent our Cricket Umpire’s Association at the national conference. Which meant a potential weekend on my living room couch swopped for a hard conference chair in Johannesburg.
Before my Friday flight I was able to witness the Crusaders pretty clinically put the Highlanders away at home. With Richie Mo’aga pulling the strings the home side were ruthless as ever. It is only a small natural disaster (perhaps in something in the line of a Hurricane or a Chiefs surge) that can stop the mighty march, or should we call it a crusade, to victory from the men from Christchurch.
When I left the house to get my weekend travels under why the Rebels were still looking good but clearly they lost the plot in a big way. Brad Thorne has got one thing right at the Reds at this stage and that is that they appear to now have one of the stronger Aussie scrums. They used this advantage with good effect on Friday.
Some of my fellow attendees would have been excused for thinking the liberal use of the bar tab had caught up to me on Saturday morning as I spent most of the early stint with my head bowed but instead it was only a case of the Protea Hotel’s wifi getting used to maximum benefit as I tried staying up to date with all the rugby. The Chiefs had me slightly concerned due to a late Brumbie comeback but the Canes and the Tahs did things easily enough. I always expected Folau and Naiyaravoro to create havoc on the little Japs and it appears Taqele did indeed go King Kong on them to a degree.
As the talk of LBW’s and not taking nonsense from unruly fast bowlers or chirpy spinners was finally halted at 3:30pm I made a b-line for the hotel elevator with more determination than Lance Klusener charged toward Allan Donald in 1999. Back in the hotel room I was just in time to miss the early Argentine flurry but caught the Bulls showing off some good attacking flair, usually with WarrickGelant the common denominator when things showed attacking potential for the men in blue. In 2019 Mitchell will hope to add a bit more solidity to their defence as you will never go all the way playing a game of rounders – red rover, red rover, the Bulls let another try over…
I was “fortunate” enough to be able to watch the entire Sharks game. Oh what joy… The second half was a miserable affair – a Sharks fan watching the game in a hotel pub surrounded by a bunch of Stormers supporters. In all though the biggest disappointment was the fact that it was just a piss poor game of rugby! Many are trying to do the mathematics of how the Sharks can still sneak into the semi-finals, but in all honesty the Durbanites might be better off skipping this “honour” and saving the union the financial expense and humiliation of traveling to Christchurch to go fetch an ass whipping!
With the Crusaders leading 45-22 and comfortably on their way to victory against the Highlanders with only five minutes left to play. The home side broke clear and looked certain to add another try to the score but Ben Smith showed his determination and doggedness by tracking back and making a superb try-saving tackle. Tip of the hat to the ultimate professional that is Ben Smith.
It was the only full game I watched and both the Stormers and especially the Sharks deserve a WTF for a very poor game of rugby.
The only other live piece of sporting action I saw was some of the soccer action. A WTF moment came from the home town hero who tried to get too clever with his spot kick methods and cocked up his penalty attempt royally and in so doing sent his side home.
I am still a bit miffed that the bloody English find themselves on the fast track to the finals and will be shouting Belgium home all the way as it would be a sporting disaster to have to listen to the Poms gloat for the next four year (and believe me they will stretch the boasting for the entire four year period). I know it is just the luck of the draw - despite the Queen’s men clearly having no interest in winning their pool fixture against Belgium- but it leaves a bit of a sour taste when one team cruises into a final without having to face any of the likes of France, Germany, Argentina, Uruguay or Brazil.
Who is Couch Critic?
Hein Diemont is the resident “Couch Critic” in the Goodforthegame Forum and he shares his weekly Super Rugby Blog the “Post Match Scuffle” or “PMS” with us.
In his blog Couch Critic channels his usual weekend swearing, ranting, cheering, whinging and bickering to the written word. Brutally honest opinions of how the Super Rugby action went down from his perspective – no punches pulled, it’s PMS time…
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