The Reds are the Super Rugby Champions of 2011. Who would have thought that the Australian side could pull off an unlikely win against the Crusaders who looked unstoppable in Cape Town last week?
This is a great victory for Australian Rugby and probably the first warning shot to all opponents that they will be a force to be reckoned with come the World Cup in three months time. It has been very clear throughout the tournament that the Reds have the best halfbacks in the competition. The only question was if the reds pack could stand up to the physicality of the Crusaders who absolutely annihilated the Stormers pack last week. The Crusaders managed to get the upper hand in the scrums, but they couldn't force that pressure to get through to Genia at nine and Cooper at ten. These two players were absolutely brilliant under pressure and made the difference between the two sides. It was a typical final and it was anybody's game with 15 minutes to go. As is the case in these tough and tight games, it is a piece of individual brilliance that swings the pendulum. Will Genia's run-away try from 60 meters out turned out to be the defining moment of the match. It has long been said that the teams with the best nine and ten win matches, and this rang true on Saturday afternoon in Brisbane. So what does this mean to Australian Rugby? Well I guess the biggest effect it will have is that it has given them a massive confidence booster going into the International Rugby season. Many people will question the importance of the Tri nations in a World Cup year, but I am sure the Aussies will try and build on the winning ways of the Reds. Success in Super Rugby does not guarantee you any success in the Tri nations but it can give your key players confidence going into the upcoming test matches. In 2010 South Africa had two teams in the Super Rugby final and we had a dismal Tri Nations. Given the form of the rest of the Australian sides I think the reds deserve a medal for winning in the year that all the Aussie teams were supposedly weakened by the introduction of the Melbourne Rebels. It will be interesting to see how this win affects Australian Rugby. South Africa couldn't make the supposed advantage count in 2010, but I think the Australians will and this is why. They have arguagbly the best coach in World Rugby and he has been shaping and working with this team for a couple of years now. Mark my words the Wallabies will be a major threat in the World Cup this year.
On the Springboks I see that P Divvy has picked a very inexperienced side for the Tri Nations. Jake White did exactly the same in 2007 and nobody moaned when John Smit lifted the World Cup 3 months later. Let's see if the likes of Stegmann, Mvovu,Ralepele,Hargreaves and company can step up and challenge the older more experienced Springboks to lift their game. P Divvy will be fielding no less than six new caps in the next few weeks, and if the Boks don't perform the pressure will start mounting. It will be very interesting to see how the All Blacks and Wallabies manage their senior players going into the next two months. My guess is they will give them enough game time to keep them in awesome game fitness mode. One thing is for sure and that is that we as the spectators are in for one hell of a treat come the International Season.
Corné Krige; former captain of the Springboks has had a successful rugby career, playing 39 tests for South African in total of 18 of which were as Captain as well as leading the Springboks in the World Cup in 2003. Corné now lives in Melkbosstrand with his wife Justine and three children. He owns his own company, CK Outdoor which specializes in Outdoor Advertising and is sports contributor to Bizcommunity's BizLifestyle section.
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