Sunday, August 2, 2009

Test Rugby: South Africa Too Good

South Africa 31, New Zealand 19 in Durban (Tri Nations)

Well, much the same as Bloemfontein. A few moments of inspirational rugby, otherwise it was a hard grind between two defensive offenses in which South Africa came out on top.

New Zealand has a long way to go before they come within cooee of the team that swept all before it in Europe last November. Too many wrong options, too many handling errors, too many turnovers and too many penalties given away. It was a woeful display.

South Africa kept on doing what, at the moment, it does so well. Dominate up front, grind the opposition into the turf, defend like crazy and sweep up after the opposition makes the errors under pressure. Sounds a bit like how New Zealand used to play. It ain't pretty but it makes for a healthy scoreboard at the end of the game. The Springbox must now be favourites to take the 2009 Tri Nations trophy.

And the overall summary. 8,000 empty seats for a test match between the two top teams in the world signals warning signs for the directors of international test rugby. Is there too much rugby at this level? So much so that the crowds are staying away in their droves?

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