Sadly this was not South African referee Craig Joubert’s nor the TMO’s finest hour. Certainly the last minute penalty that saw Michael Foley snatch victory from Scotland when they had the game all but won, looked a legitimate penalty but it seems Aussie Scrummie touched the ball. When in doubt the TMO has been called all too frequently so why not call in the TMO for such a vital decision. Generally Joubert had a reasonable game but his, and the TMO’s decision to yellow card Scotland’s Sean Maitland was also a shocking call. The replay shows Maitland stretching to catch the ball with his left hand clearly cupped to try and catch the ball, not to knock it on.
Roll back the clock to 2011 when South Africa’s favourite referee Bryce Lawrence single handedly destroyed South Africa’s aspirations of proceeding further to understand how the Scots must feel. Lawrence certainly would not have been a welcomed visitor to our shores and it may be a good idea that Joubert not venture north of the English border anytime soon and it is doubtful he will be invited to take tea with Princess Anne anytime soon. It seems it is the no longer “luck of the Irish” but rather “Luck of the Aussies” when it comes to rugby matters.
Lawrence retired shortly after that game so one wonders how long Joubert will be around.
Obviously for us ‘Souf Effricen’s’ the highlight of the weekend games was our slaying the Dragons. So many doubted the wisdom of recalling Fourie du Preez after he had hardly played a game in the past 12 months, but Heynek e’s decision was certainly vindicated. A hard fought contest with Captain Marvelous finally braking the Dragons back with a well worked try with giant Duane Vermeulen tht also possibly saved a few heart attacks or bouts of depression that would have boosted both pharmacy and bottle store sales for weeks to come.
A concern for us loyal supporters must be our upcoming contest with the world champions. Certainly Meyer will have to come up with a new game plan for the AB’s will thrive on the aimless tactical kicking, or should that read non-tactical kicking. Pollard is certainly growing in stature and attacks the gainline but maybe a little too often he takes it on himself instead of giving his outside backs a run. Certainly the Welsh defense created problems and with Schalk Burger seeming to receive more ball as first receiver than Pollard our backs never really given a chance to run. It is little wonder Burger was named ‘Man of the Match’, he saw more of the ball than any other player on the field, wales included.
A big concern must be the performance of Willie le Roux. He is a fantastic attacker and all the more reason why he should be brought on as impact player for he can and does make a difference when the game opens up in the latter stages. Some have suggested recalling Kirchener but please no! The little maestro for the Pat Lambie was given just four minutes on Saturday and other than a kick to touch from a penalty has not really been given a chance since that disastrous Japanese game. Lambie is the Mister Cool and Calm and he has more than enough experience to hold his own at No 15 and if Pollard is again off target with his kicks, Lambie certainly can step up to the kicking tee.
A great weekend of rugby with the AB’s slaughtering the French, indeed a worrying display but it was the Irish / Argentina game that was the pick of the games. After this Argentinian display South African’s need no longer feel depressed over their beating us and thus relegating us to wooden spoon status in the Rugby Championship. Always known as great scrummers, it was their backs that were simply outstanding.
If South Africa fails in the semi-finals which sadly looks a real possibility, we could see a bruising final between Argentina and New Zealand for if the Aussies managed to beat Argentina in the semis, New Zealand will blow them a way in the final.
With only Southern hemisphere competing for silverware one wonders if a World Cup is really necessary. Maybe in future they could just add an extra round to the Rugby Championship for there is a real possibility that the 2015 Rugby Champion Log will be duplicated at the World Cup.
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