Credit Where Credit Is Due
What a weekend of sport. What a goal by Tshabalala. I have now added his name to my list of possible names for my future son, right behind Schalk, Brussouw and Hercules Adonis.
This post though is about the rugby. The Bokke totally dominated France from start to finish and I have to say that we are looking faaaantastic. PdV has managed his team to perfection and, dubious replacements aside, deserves some high fives should you see him in the street.
Specifically though, I would like to start a slow clap for Ricky Januarie and Chilliboy Ralepella.
Now I must admit neither of these guys are my favourite players. Nor would I have necessarily chosen them as replacements for Fourie or Smit but I have to say both of them have really impressed me recently and have fully justified their selections.
It amazes me how quick we are too completely write players off. It is true that neither of these guys have been regular starters for their provincial teams but seldom does that mean that they are not ‘good enough’. You hear it often around braais “…how can he play for the Bokke if he doesn’t even start for the Bulls”, “If he can’t make the Stormers, he can’t make the Springboks” and “hey, I think there may be some rhythmic gymnastics on later”. Ok I only heard that last comment once and after an hour or so we did get back to the braai.
What amazes me is that these same guys second guess and criticize the S14 coaches throughout the season but when it comes to backing up opinions on their preferred Springbok team they act as if the S14 coaches’ selections are 100% correct.
Ricky Januarie has not put a foot wrong since coming back into the starting team and neither has Cilliboy. Ricky’s experience is invaluable and although his kicking is not as good as Fourie, his defence and general play has been top class. You know he will not back down for anyone and is like a fourth loose forward with his in your face, “I will moer you if you get in my way approach”. He will never be a Fourie Du Preez but he does bring that something extra to the team, don’t forget that he is the main reason we finally beat the All Blacks in New Zealand with that little piece individual awesomeness.
When Chilliboy came onto the field on Saturday, our scrums actually seemed to get better. His line out throws were spot on and he turned over the ball at the tackle on at least 3 occasions, thus fulfilling the role of Bismark as an ‘extra loose forward’. His tackling is immense and he received high praise for his efforts from John Smit after the game. This guy can play and has rugby in his blood, you don’t captain Pretoria Boys High without knowing what you are doing.
I am not saying that he is the finished article by any means but he was excellent on Saturday and is getting better and better with each game.
So let’s throw out those blinkers and set in stone opinions of players and judge them on their performances on the field. If you are only as good as your last game then these two players are FiretrUCKing good.