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Diatribe 1

 

By Rob Martin

Here we are at the end of the Super Rugby Season looking at a final between a Team that looks South African but is Kiwi and one that Looks Kiwi but is South African. The Crusaders have a brutal big pack and live off defence, the Lions have a fast mobile large pack, great backs and they live of dynamic open play. What has happened? It’s good to see of course as the competition needs something to smile about. I think it’s going to be a ripper of a game. Somehow South Africa has taken a big breath and looked at their depth and decided on a way to go forward (which is something Australia could learn). It’s yet to be fully seen, but the Rugby Championship will give us a good look at Springbok hopes for 2019.

The Final.

  • It’s in South Africa so advantage Lions.
  • Lions destroyed the Canes who beat the Crusaders recently so psychological advantage Lions.
  • Lions fell asleep in the first half against the Canes, they cannot give up that lead to the Crusaders so advantage Crusaders
  • Crusaders put on defensive masterclasses in their last two games so advantage Crusaders.
  • Lions have been putting on attacking masterclasses so advantage Lions.
  • Lions have had recent scoreboard pressure and come back fighting so advantage Lions
  • Crusaders have been there done that so advantage Crusaders

I could go on (I am known to) but looking at the pros and cons it seems very even. The styles are quite the opposite but both teams can morph as required. I think the Crusaders can choke the Lions and inhibit their natural open plan. It will all come down to the travel factor and the BIL series and the last two hard, hard games the Crusaders have had. If they wilt like the Hurricanes did, it’s all over and the Lions will gain confidence and just steamroll them. Key players in my mind are in the forwards where the hard work will lay the platform with Whitelock leading from the front and with Crotty out in the backline becoming the general more and more as he grows into this role (no one saw this coming, his ascension to being a premiere All Black).  The Lions have dynamic players all over the place but they can switch off and if this happens……

This seems like a final it’s the Lions’ to lose. They are ahead in my mind in the physical and psychological areas. But I cannot discount the Crusaders tenacity. Lions should do it and what a boon for Rugby of they do. Blasphemy from a rapid All Black supporter, but I believe Rugby should be the winner in the end.

The Skipper.

Hooper eh?  Some of the quotes are a bit bizarre, but I can see he’s trying to gee-up his troops. I want to see some real leadership. Hooper does lead from the front, but I agree he’s too loose these days and doesn’t do the grinding work that someone like Pocock might…. (What happens to Pocock?? If the Captain is number 7 . . . . . confused!!!). Time will tell. I’m not sure he’s the inspirer, but I am open minded. I had been saying for ages that Moore was done and dusted and this turned out to be the case.

The Rugby Championship

The Wallabies will be stronger and faster. But as has been pointed out, they don’t carry a ball in the gym or up the hills. Cannot see them seriously challenging the AB’s or Boks for 80 minutes.

The Boks are going to be riding high on belief if they see the Lions getting over the Crusaders. Even if they don’t, this team looks to be on the up. I eagerly await the clash with the All Blacks. I worry for them that they might be overly open and this plays into the AB’s hands.  Win it up front, the backs will follow

The AB’s seem to have plateaued to me. But I could be wrong. The Lions series didn’t play out as expected (Note: they didn’t lose, or win) and the Hurricanes capitulation was unexpected. The Lions series will be ringing in their heads, so it’s either get them pumped and they’ll hammer all comers, or it’ll drag them down and they may struggle. I hope on the side of motivation.

Argentina are unknown knowns as usual and they may have some fun with the Wallabies. It’s not their year to crack the AB’s and the Boks are looking good.

Rod Kafer

OK, I’ll be open minded ….. nuff said

The Mouthpiece (Spin-Doctor)
Anticipation grows……

Some segment name suggestions:-

  • The base of the scrum
  • The Carping Halfback
  • The Djuro Reddemption
  • Spin master Sen
  • Crouch, Bind, Spin

Diatribe… out