America delivers a big wedgie to the Springbok reputation

Ahhh.  Somewhere in the States today, there sat a fellow in a faded green and gold jersey (circa 1995 or 2007?), slowly sipping on his Sierra Nevada, with the sudden realization that the Blitzbokke were about to lose twice in the same weekend to Team USA.    Clutching that beer very tightly, he eyed the exit of the local pub wondering if it would be possible to slip out before anyone noticed his Bok jersey.

First of all a 19-12 “sharp punch to the nose with the clenched fist” in the final round robin game of the London Sevens to announce to the world that nobody can take an Eagles sevens team lightly anymore (editors note: I saw many a post this weekend remarking that the Blitzbokke “need only beat the Eagles” to win their group).  Then the Eagles follow it up on Sunday with a “kneel on your chest and repeatedly slap you in the face whilst delivering a wedgie” 22-5 dismissal in the plate semi-final to deliver the one of the great David and Goliath feel-good victories.

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New Springbok Sevens kit revealed…and it’s something else!

Either SARU are on the cutting edge of fashion and are hoping that the ‘undies on the outside’ look is going to take-off at the next Paris fashion week – or they have just lost their minds completely.

The new Sevens kit revealed yesterday has raised a few eyebrows to say the least and it has already been dubbed the ‘diaper kit’ by the South African press.

In SARU’s defence, they have vowed that the players will take to the field in the more traditional ‘tighty whities’ (who comes up with these names?) to avoid national humiliation and shame.

Personally I think the kit works – all it needs is a bib and a bonnet to complete the overall look.

It takes real men to wear their pants on the outside

What a weekend!

What a weekend for South African rugby fans.  It’s been a long long time since Saffer Super Rugby franchises played so well against their Antipodean opponents.

In the dark days of my college studies, I can still remember several weekends where the South African franchises all managed to lose against their overseas opposition and the only (relatively) bright moment was a South African win over another South African team.  I’d like to go back to my old college self and tell him things will change my friend.

All South African teams playing Aussies and Kiwis won this weekend.  Sure the Cheetahs managed to lose to the Bulls, but somebody had to, and in doing so they allowed the boys in blue shirts to stay in the hunt for the playoffs.

As if that wasn’t enough for you rugger loving Saffers out there, the Blitzbokke managed another top performance to win the 7’s in Edinburgh with a come from behind freak three tries in two minutes jail break against Australia.

If you’ve ever worn a green and gold t-shirt and tried to sing the anthemwhile simultaneously shoving biltong and Klippies down your throat, then this was your weekend! I hope you made the most of it. Heck, I hope for your sake you bought extra lottery tickets, placed money on your Superbru and even tried drunk-dialling Danica Patrick hoping for she’d remember that time you cheered for her when watching Indy on the telly.

Danica Patrick. Sometimes the sporting gods can look down upon us with favour.

On the flip side,here is a cautionary note to any girlfriends out there who have rugby loving South African boyfriends.  If he was still moody and depressed this weekend, it’s time for a change, because it doesn’t get much better than this for SA rugby fans.

Yes, it’s true that only one SA franchise is likely to make the playoffs this season, but it can’t be discounted just how significant winning in New Zealand is for South African rugby as a whole.  This is the stuff that goes into your memory banks and makes you believe you can win matches from behind. Winning is a habit as they say. Even if the Stormers don’t go on to claim the Super 15 title, the fact that the Stormers came from behind to win a match against a quality NZ team at the venue where the world cup final will be played will not be lost on the players themselves.

Just as well us South African fans had a good weekend. We’re still owed plenty from the Rudolf Straeuli era.

So when can we raid the 7s cookie jar?

After watching the carthorses Habana and Pieterson during the Stormers-Sharks derby, the worrying thought occurred to me that come the world cup one of these circus donkeys are most likely going to be wearing the Bok jersey.  That frightens me.  Despite all the PR coming out of training camps (Bryan is back to best did 100m in 7 seconds and ate Jannie Du Plessis for breakfast) every time we watch these two in the Bok jersey they look like speedboats trailing a cement anchor along False Bay. In other words… slow.

Watch the Blitzbokke 7s teams and one of the many things that you will notice is that they are all without exception fast. Very fast. In the kind of way that Habana was in 2004.  These guys would put the 15 man carthorses to shame.

Cecil Afrika is so ridiculously talented that the entire Bok backline could only get down on their knees and pray that one day they could be as talented as this guy. And the ridiculous thing about this 7s teams is that unlike ponies like Quade Cooper, they can all, to a man, tackle the hell out anything that moves.

Cecil Afrika. Warrior. Poet. Bob Marley inspiration. Destroyer of defenses. Lover of film noir.

Just look at Big Daddy’s man crush, Gio Aplon. That guy can tackle a wildebeest despite being the smallest lightie on the field. He literally looks like he was drafted in from the Sweet Valley under 10s, but he can smash back the big boys in the tackle.

So here’s Big Daddy’s request to the Bok selectors.  Oh please, please, please sneak a fast one on the rest of the world and usher in guys like Cecil Afrika and Branco du Preez into the Bok squad. Start them against the minnows, when no-one is watching, and Afrika will leave Habana and Pieterson in his wake.

Besides, look at Afrika, who wouldn’t want a warrior-poet Bob Marley in your starting 15?  As for the Blitzbokke themselves, the 15 man side can look to them. They have set the standard for the rainbow nation. It looks like a banking commercial watching all these smiling faces at the prematch huddle.  Let’s hope some of the wisdom and talent in that Blitzbokke team makes it way to the fifteen man game.

I fear however, we might have to wait until the Blitzbokke have taken their shot at the Olympic gold medal in 2012 to see these bad boys in Bok 15 jerseys, but we can always dream.

Vegas 7’s wrap – A warrior poet uncovered

Paul Treu’s team at last delivered on the promise they have shown in flashes throughout the season, with a 24-14 win over Fiji to take the USA sevens title. In Vegas the Blitzbokke demonstrated an ability to play the game not only with physical power and speed, but also with mental sharpness.

In the semi-final against England, the Blitzbokke, 17-10 up,  chose to go for posts with 40 seconds on the clock, snuffing out any remaining hope that England might have had of sneaking back into the game.  It was significant, because it showed the Blitzbokke have started to learn from the painful losses of the earlier defeats this season.  Fiji and New Zealand are formidable sevens opponents and the Blitzbokke have left it too late in the season to be able to win the series, but the squad is starting to look more like the 2008-2009 champion unit.

But  more significant than Paul Treu’s team finding their feet is the emergence of a new star for the Blitzbokke. Cecil Afrika, the young Bob Marley look-alike and team’s self appointed warrior-poet is already the series’ lead try scorer, despite missing some games with injury.

If it were up to me, I’d bring Afrika right into the 15 man Bok squad. Aside from seriously upping the coolness factor of the hairstyles in the squad and having a fantastic name, he is a complete package for a wing. He has speed, strength and a great ability to read the game. Usually newcomers to test rugby struggle with defense, but Gio Aplon has proved that sevens players will put fifteens players to shame when it comes to tackling.

Besides, the Bok squad’s hairstyle factor took a serious dent when they let Francois Hougaard in.