I was trying to think of something profound to write about this game, but I have only come up with: "Oh... Crap!"
I watched the replay, and gee wasn't I glad I did in the end. I actually missed the first 20 minutes but I wasn't too displeased with the score at that stage (Stormers leading 10-7 I think). And I was quite happy with most of what happened up until half time.
But somewhere around then, I think I woke up, or the Crusaders went to sleep. I suddenly realised that this wasn't going very well.
There were a couple of things that I wasn't happy with. I was starting to get a little peeved with Referee Scott Young. Mr. Young is of the school that says that you should do all of the opposition's work for them by stating loudly when the ball is out of the ruck.
I don't want to coin a phrase here, but I think that this is "F***ing stupid" refereeing. Do you think that we watch to hear you continuously harping on about "...that's a maul, ruck formed, hands out, balls out!
Take it from me, Mr. Young, some of those young men are smarter than they look, and they can work out what is going on. Some of them have had extensive playing experience and even drills on how to play within the laws of the game. I know that this last bit is a fairly hard to believe sometimes, but it is still true!
So if you could just spend some of the time listening, instead of talking, well... that would be good!
As far as his general ruling though I didn't have too much problem with most of what Mr. Young had to rule on.
Mr. Young's second fault is that he appears to have taken an "Introduction to psychic prediction" course, and he believes that he can deduce what is going on in a ruck even when he can't see.
Now this was starting to occur eariler in the game, but there was one really blatant crappy decision where the camera could see exactly what was going on and it wasn't anything like the "not releasing" that the penalty was given for.
I would like to suggest to Mr. Young that intuition, like Tarot cards, have no place on the rugby field and you should leave it to the tried but true "let them ruck each other until they work the ball loose" method. This has been a great referee ploy for years and I believe that it is yet to outlive it usefulness!
My congratulations to the Stormers for a steady and straight forward approach to play. Namely "if we are in our half, kick it and defend in a solid black line" - I would say that this looked somewhat League-like, but South Africans don't play in the ARL, so Coach Solomons must have just thought it up for himself!
Playing so flat that they were practically over the advantage line was also a great ploy. And was obviously also a very subtle one, as our backs never noticed it, even when the tricky loop around and cross over pass moves failed one after another!
It wasn't just Mauger who didn't see this and adjust however. Mehrts spent the first 60 on (and off and on again) the bench. One would have thought that he would have gone out and said "right guys this game plan isn't working well, let's change".
But no... he felt that if he just tried one more floaty pass he could give away another run-away try, and blow me down if he didn't manage to do just that!
All bias aside, I was impressed by the determination of the Stormers when close to the line. They really did look like it was only a matter of time before they would score, and most times they did!
I was reasonably happy with alot of the Crusaders game, there were some plain dumb things, but that may have been to make the referee feel better.
And Scott Young is on the whole fairly average. This is the Super 12 Scott, average is annoying at NPC level! Oh... that's right, you Australians don't have a real domestic competition, do you? No wonder you look like you could use some more experience!
So now the Crusaders have a "statistical chance" of the making the top four. Well I guess that's better than the chance the Blues have.