Currie Cup Final Four Preview

The preliminary fluff of domestic South African rugby is over and we’ve got a few weeks of “real” Currie Cup rugby with the return of the Springboks and the start of the post-season knock-outs.  It’s time for a look at the final four teams left standing.

Lions

Player to look out for: Elton Jantjies.  Watch him here before he gets set up by Heyneke to fail on the northern hemisphere tour.

Best known for: It’s an odd team strategy to base your chances of winning silverware by having the most rubbish squad available so that none of your players get picked for Bok duty.  This allows you to then clean up against weakened opponents while the Boks are away on tour.  The key is to then try to ride the momentum through to the final.  Also known for half time talks from the coach that involve hazing rituals, mental and physical abuse of the current scrumhalf.

Bob Dylan song that best describes them: “Beyond Here Lies Nothing”

Western Province

Player to look out for:  Bryan Habana. Those evenings spent around the campfire with Heyneke Meyer during the Bok season has allowed him to regain his form.

Best known for:  The ability to be on fire during the regular season but then fail to put together anything resembling decent rugby in the knock-out stages thus ensuring that their own fans boo them at home as they get knocked out of a tournament they once led.  The “Proteas” of South African rugby.

Bob Dylan song that best describes them: “Everything is Broken”

Sharks

Player to look out for: Pat Lambie.  It’s getting to be one of the last few times for Lambo to roll the dice to become the next big Springbok flyhalf hope.  He’s in danger of becoming another false hope.

Best known for: Good cheerleaders, not so good backline play.

Bob Dylan song that best describes them: “Just Like A Woman”

Bulls

Player to look out for:  Morne Steyn.  He’s not going to come good just in time for the final, is he?

Best known for:  With Heyneke Meyer’s mad King Lear like insistence on picking all things Bulls (including his lunch box), many parts of the country are turning against the Bulls franchise.  Some may go as far as to hope for a convenient injury to unpopular players.

Bob Dylan song that best describes them: “With God On Our Side”.

Lions fans can rub it in

Elton Jantjies brought down the house at the Four Ways mall Eagle Falls Spur restaurant after the Lions won the Currie Cup

Lions fans countrywide will be packing their middle finger for work on Monday after they smashed the Sharks to take home the Currie Cup.  In winning in emphatic fashion they have overcome all the criticism and cheap shots directed at them this season.

There were many who said the absence of the Boks during the World Cup favoured the Lions and for a while it looked like the early Springbok exit of the World Cup would be bad news for their supporters, but the Lions silenced their critics by putting away to teams laden with Boks in both the semi-finals and the final.

The Lions have had a shocking decade.  For a team that plays in the financial heart of South Africa, you’d expect them to be put out a team that conquers everything in front of it, New York Yankees style.  Sadly, instead, long-suffering Lions fans have been tortured with poor coaching, poor management and poor squads.

So seeing Elton Jantjies flaying the Sharks on Saturday evening must be sweet comfort to Lions supporters.  Elton was written off by many early in the season who tend to forget the basic rule of talent: that it needs to be nurtured with some experience. Jantjies looked the genuine article on Saturday getting his backs away and slotting his kicks – even with the disturbing spectre of having Hugh Bladen refer to him as a “boy” during the broadcast.  Clearly Hugh never took lessons on class and taste in the new South Africa. Elton looked on form and the future of Bok rugby looks good when you consider that we have Lambo, Jantjies and Steyn with years left in them all pushing for the Bok flyhalf spot.

Rumour has it, Elton was seen celebrating at the Eagle Falls Spur restaurant until all hours of the night.

Well done Lions fans, bring your coffee mugs, smug grins and your middle fingers to work and show them proudly all week. You deserve it.

Bulls vs WP: live analysis

I refuse to watch Currie Cup rugby this weekend as I am still wallowing in the pit of self-loathing that happens when the Boks lose.  The usual self pity has taken on a new air of despair after having to watch Morne Steyn’s attempts at “tackling” and Deon Stegmann’s “Red Sea defence”.  But on my way between the kitchen and the bedroom, in between the self loathing, I happened to take a quick glance at the TV screen and noticed somewhat suprisingly that Western Province are comfortably leading the Bulls in the 2nd half.  I will say this, and only this, by way of detailed analysis:

It must be because they are getting more ball to Brok Harris to give him time and space.