Bryan HabanaThe most unproductive time in South African industry has struck again, with onslaught that is the Rugby World Cup 2007. Hundreds of thousands of women are giving up on their husbands for the next couple of weeks as the sporting event of the year grips the sanity and general ability to function as normal human beings of South African men nationwide.

It kicked off on Friday evening with the opening game between France and Argentina, Argentina earning themselves an upset victory against the hosts France. A scrappy, hard fought game and very much a curtain raiser to the sporting action that is going to be coming our way! Eight games down (summarised below) and a whole lot still to go :)

Obviously I’m more interested in the South African games than anything else, and I must commend SABC on making an effort to strike a deal and at least broadcast some of the key matches to the millions of South Africans that don’t have access to DSTV (me being included I’m afraid). Too bad they cant seem to source decent guest studio commentators though. I mean, Cabous van der Westhuizen? From under what rock did they pull that has been (or rather never was) from?!? But moving on from that, Saturdays opener against Samoa had me going through a fair bunch of mixed emotions, from complete anger at our inability to play proper rugby and hurling insults at our team, to glowing reviews and a warm fuzzy feeling as we went from strength to strength as the game progressed.

A few players stuck out, Bryan Habana obviously being one of the main players. I was impressed with Francois Steyn, despite his inexperience, and Schalk Burger was an absolute stalwart as always. Yes, he keeps getting into trouble, but damn, he just about single-handedly tackled the entire Samoan team. Old Os was as solid as a rock at always (though it seems like it is getting harder and harder for him to complete a 80 minute game) and JP Pieterson showed some real enterprise and skill. Bakkies Botha was in the thick of things as always, and to be honest, apart from Percy Montgomerys lukewarm game (he seemed to have misplaced his kicking boots a little. That said, I am being harsh. He was awarded Man of the Match and scored two tries as well!), the team looked good once they got more into the game. I can just imagine the half-time team talk though Jake White must have torn into the guys, similar to what Carlos Alberto Parreira allegedly did, following Bafana Bafanas rather embarrassing 3-1 defeat at the hands of Zambia.

Samoa played a good hard game, but in the end we outclassed them like we usually do. Eddie Jones has slotted in nicely as technical advisor, even if SARU refuse to allow him to wear a South African jacket just yet. The only bad news for South Africa is the departure of Jean de Villiers thanks to a torn bicep muscle. Luckily we have the on fire Wayne Julies coming through to plug that particular gap, so hopefully De Villiers departure wont hurt us too much.

Our next match is Friday against England, and boy do I hope the Roses are prepared to enter a world of hurt if we can play against them like we played against Samoa (ignoring the first half of the first half of course)!

The matches thus far:
08 Sep England 28-10 USA
09 Sep South Africa 59-7 Samoa
08 Sep Australia 91-3 Japan
09 Sep Wales 42-17 Canada
08 Sep New Zealand 76-14 Italy
09 Sep Scotland 56-10 Portugal
07 Sep France 12-17 Argentina
09 Sep Ireland 32-17 Namibia

And to make the sporting weekend even sweeter, South Africa thrashed Australia in a T20 warm up game by 8 wickets as well!

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