Anyone who follows my blog and knows me, knows that rugby is a large part of who I am. I am a Sharks supporter and I am a Springbok supporter. But 2012 has really changed for me and by that I mean that life has got so busy that there isn’t enough time to do anything which doesn’t add value or provide some sort of entertainment or relief. I will always enjoy my sport but sometimes it is important to separate oneself from constantly watching and to define your own identity without the tag of Sharks/Springbok supporter. If your team loses it doesn’t mean that you are a loser.
The Sharks started 2012 off rather badly and lost several of their matches before they finally turned the corner and started to win and they started to win with the kind of excitement that made rugby entertaining. Keegan Daniel would flick back passes to Paul Jordaan who would cut back through the defence to score a try under the posts. That’s just one example of the kind of entertainment you would get while watching their rugby toward the end of the Super Rugby season. At the end of the season they made it all the way to the Super Rugby Final having to fly back and forth between the Antipodes and South Africa three times to reach that final. If they had won the final it would have been a fairy tale ending because no one had ever been able to do it before.
Did they win? No. They were beaten (and well beaten) by a team that had been the form team of the whole competition at home – The Chiefs. The Chiefs deserved to win and congratulations to them and their fans for the victory. We had just moved into our new house and there was a load of work to do to get everything ready so when it became obvious the Sharks weren’t going to win, I switched off the TV and got to work. There’s just not enough time any more to do anything that doesn’t pay off in the end or entertain.
Besides the Springboks were going to be playing a week or two and if anyone would be able to win, it would be the Springboks. Heyneke Meyer selected the best from the options that he had (well most of the best, but fans are always going to differ with the national selector on who should play) and gave them a game plan. The Springboks won the first match of the new Rugby Championship in Cape Town against the Argentineans 27 – 6. A good decisive win although they only scored three tries and missed out on the fourth try for a bonus point. The game plan was the most sterile, dull game plan possible. Good bye to the adventure and skill from the franchises and hello to the game plan of kick the ball as far and as hard as possible and hope the other team makes more mistakes. The Springboks didn’t deserve to score four tries. And not scoring four tries against an Argentinean team in South Africa was close to sacrilege. Keegan Daniel the creative flanker/eighth man for the Sharks was forced to try and play a bash-it-up, no brain game plan and he doesn’t suit that sort of Neanderthal tactic. Patrick Lambie, one of the most creative and attacking players in South Africa, was forced to sit on the bench and watch the whole fiasco without getting a single minute on the field.
After that game, I resolved that I would not care if I missed the next game against the same Argentineans in Argentina the following week. We had friends over for a braai (barbeque) the next week and I ended up missing most of the game which ended in a 16 – 16 draw and I was fine with it. The coach complained that the players hadn’t followed through with the game plan although it was the same one from the previous week. Patrick Lambie again got to ride the bench for the whole game without setting foot on the field. Keegan Daniel was dropped to the bench before the game to make place for a mediocre crash baller who was average at best I hear. The Argentineans had come ready for the same tired game plan as Cape Town and only a charge down try to Francois Steyn saved the Boks from actually losing.
This weekend the Springboks take on the Australians in Perth, no doubt with the same limp game plan and tired back line. Keegan Daniel was dropped from the Springboks and was instrumental to help the Sharks win in their Currie Cup match against the Cheetahs. Patrick Lambie will no doubt be confined to the best seat in the stadium and watch the sideline while valuable position is hoofed away.
And me? I’ll tape the game while I help my dad build a dining room table and if I hear that the game was worthwhile I might watch it. If I hear that the Wallabies anticipated the game plan and blunted our grunt and beat us, then I can delete it and carry on with my life and not worry that I had just wasted about 100 minutes of my life.