This weekend rugby saw the first bit of action of European’s 1st and 2nd tier rugby competitions with an added African presence as South African sides made their bow in Europe. There was also 7s rugby in the Mother City as the Sevens series came to South African shores.
Leinster And La Rochelle Lay Down The Marker
Defending champions and runners-up by the slightest of margins, 2 of the best club/franchise sides in the world, La Rochelle and Leinster, were all class this past weekend as they went past their opposition to lay down a marker that they will also be dangerous this season.
La Rochelle thrashed Northampton Saints who could score tries in the last 10 minutes when the game was well won by Ronan O’Gara’s charges.
Indifferent Weekend For South Africa In Europe
It was an indifferent week for the South African sides involved in European competitions, there were wins, there were losses, and there were draws. It had different results all around and in a way, it showed just how tricky the European leagues are going to be.
Lions could only muster a draw and defending URC champions lost out to Clermont Auvergne. There were wins for the Bulls and Sharks as well as the Cheetahs who beat Pau
Cheetahs Surprise All
The Cheetahs, apart from the local Currie Cup, participate in no other high-level tournament and so for the most part it was expected Pau would walk all over them. Not to be as Cheetahs had different ideas
The experience of elder statesmen and some youth exuberance combined well to produce a good performance that saw the other teams in the European Challenge Cup take the Cheatahs a bit more seriously.
Blitzboks Missing Killer Instinct
The Blitzboks knack for landing the knockout punch seems to have dissipated with the exit of long-time mentor, Neil Powell. Sandile Ngcobo’s could only manage 4th spot in their home series, something that would have disappointed the locals and the team.
It would unfair to judge Ngcobo on the few months he has been at the helm, but whatever changes and systems he is putting in place, one hopes it will eventually start to show in their performances and killer instinct will return.
An Important Week For Players’ Mental Wellbeing
The confirmation that Sbu Nkosi was finally located after going missing for over 3 weeks was a huge relief for most of his fans and rugby spectators, he was located in Mpumalanga at his family home and was said to be healthy and in good spirits.
What is most alarming is the revelation that a lot of players are secretly struggling with the anxieties that come top-level sports Nkosi is struggling with. His situation should prompt greater investment into looking after our rugby stars” mental well-being.