18 Mar

Tah Very Much
by Paul Waite
18 Mar 2003

Well I’m the first to admit that I’ve been openly critical of the Waratah’s style of rugby over the past two seasons, but all that could change if they repeat their form of this last weekend.

This season they seem to have replaced the bizzy-buzzy, flattering to deceive, pretentious rugby of yesteryear with something of considerably more merit. For one thing they shunted a Bulls pack which weighs more than the Titanic did, and which demolished the Hurricanes pack a couple of weeks ago, to score a try from a rolling maul. No mean feat that. But one incident doesn’t sum it up – basically the Tahs look like they’ve grown up a bit and learned to put together some solid rugby, rather than the previous mis-guided stuff with all its tricksy-wicksy cuts and chops which promised much and delivered little. For their part the Bulls only managed a solitary try, and looked fairly toothless – or should that be hornless.

Speaking of a bunch of very big players with little in the way of creativity, the Sharks have to take the biscuit hook line and sinker, as it were. In seasons past this team have decided that the quickest route between two points is a straight line and who are they to argue with Euclid (as if they had a clue who Euclid was). Having no truck with the “hit spaces, not faces” brigade, the Sharks have also embraced the concepts of Newton, and determined that momentum is the second key ingredient of success on the rugby field. Indeed that old chestnut of Physics students, F=ma or Force equals mass times acceleration is obviously a favourite refrain on the Sharks’ whiteboard at halftime. It has to be said that in the aforementioned equation of physics legend, the “mass” part is evidently given more weight (sorry about that) than the “acceleration”, but our intrepid men obviously reckon that if you have enough of it then the resulting Force will be enough to propel you (in a straight line) right through, or over, the opposition defence.

Watching this bunch of rugby cretins you have to wonder at the aptness of the name Sharks. The array of very large animals with seemingly nothing but cartilage for brain-matter battering mindlessly away won’t be lost on the observant fan The fact that they need to field a player named “Wylie Human” might be evidence of a certain defensiveness in this regard. The Hurricanes ran rings around them on their first foray away from home, dealing with the awful attempts at attack fairly easily, and confusing their opponents with their radical non-Euclidean ideas when they had the ball. God preserve us from over-large morons.

Back here at home the Crusaders took on the Chiefs. The rumour is the Saders are over the hill, past it, shot their bolt, been reigned into the pack. It’s true that it looks like it. They are all playing like a bunch of stiff old farmers out on the back-blocks at 6am on a white-frosted morning, pretty much buggered but still grafting away for 12 hours a day nontheless and getting a result.

Key players have been missed and none moreso than Andrew Mehrtens, who is probably a few rounds away from being match-fit yet. Carter is an enthusiastic opportunist, but is too young to run a game the way Merhts can. Aside from that, the side hasn’t clicked at all and looks a bit ragged.

But a glance at the top of the Super 12 table will tell even an arithmetically challenged imbecile that, at equal first with 15 points writing the Crusaders off might be a tad premature. As usual they will be right there, on top form at the sharp end, and then we’ll see whether the rest can stand the pace. Even looking turgid and out-of-sorts, they managed to put away a spirited Chiefs side 36-29 and get the 5-pointer.

In the other games, the Brumbies plugged themselves in to their Bruce Stadium power supply and came out recharged enough to dispose of the Stormers 37-22. Like the Crusaders, a bit of early season off-form isn’t going to alter things. This team will pick up and be there at the end too.

Finally the Highlanders threw away a good chance to neuter the Cats, but allowed showpony Skinstad to go into the dressing room with that irritating smirk of his fully engaged. The highlight of this game was the sleight-of-hand by the Cats’ Bobo, as he made their final try. very nice. To the Highlanders – get the basics right and the rest will follow; you are much better than this.

Paul Waite

Paul Waite

Haka editor-in-chief. Please do not feed.

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