Planet Rugby

Postcards from the Highveld 7

01st October 2012 21:43

Share:

Jaco Taute Springbok debut

SA's next big thing at 13?

The Wallabies have limped off to Argentina so it's time for a showdown between the Rugby Championship winners and their arch-rivals in South Africa.

Planet Rugby's Ross Hastie returned to the Highveld - where some Lions have added green to their gold - to give you a view from the inside.

Day 7 - When Lions add green to their gold

With Australia's mobile nurse's office heading towards a fierce reception in Rosario and the All Blacks travelling in the opposite direction with an extra, rather heavy, rather significant, piece of luggage, it's been easy to overlook the other tournament that should be getting attention on the Highveld.

But the Currie Cup is worth talking about this year, especially for the teams from Jo'burg and Pretoria.

Despite haemorrhaging players to greener pastures at a rate that must be giving the management at Ellis Park sleepless nights, the Lions look like a decent bet to defend their title.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Jukskei River, the Blue Bulls - South Africa's richest union - find themselves in the embarrassing situation of lying stone last (and potentially facing a promotion-relegation play-off against Eastern Province).

Interestingly, their respective fates lie largely in each other's hands since they are set to meet at Ellis Park in the last fixture of the regular season.

Good news for the Bulls is that they'll have their Boks back by then, while the bad news for the Lions is that they'll be without their three best players - Elton Jantjies, Jaco Taute and now Lionel Mapoe - for this weekend's tricky trip to Griquas. (For the record, prop Patric Cilliers is the fourth Lion in the Bok squad).

Jantjies has been on the verge of breaking into the national team for a good two seasons now but has a lot of competition for the 10 jersey. Taute, however, has burst onto the scene and could be a star in the making. With Frans Steyn on his way to the operating theatre and Jean de Villiers on the wrong side of 30, Taute's prospects - both long and short term - look bright.

He seems like well-grounded young lad. Even in the aftermath of his Test debut, he still had a thought for his Lions team-mates, who had upset Western Province in Cape Town earlier in the day.

"Just before we started our preparations I check in on the game," admitted Taute.

"I'm relieved they pulled it off. I feel really good in the Lions squad and I'm very proud of the guys."

The 21-year-old made a solid start to his Test career at Loftus and he appears to have the kind of character that thrives on big occasions.

"I felt very comfortable from the start," he said.

"The first few minutes and the national anthems were very emotional. I could barely hold back my tears.

"It is true what they say about your debut just flying by. I can barely remember a thing.

"It was what I expected and more. We could sense how much it meant for the country and its people."

Next week is set to be another special day, in front of 90 000 fans in Soweto.

"I went to the Test [at Soccer City] last year as a spectator and I promised myself that one day I'd come back as a player," said Taute.

"That is why you play. To play for the Springboks against the All Blacks and have millions of people behind you."

Indeed, judging my the comments coming out of the All Blacks camp upon their arrival on Monday, Saturday's crowd is already having an influence on the game...

Day 6 - The truth lies between the lines

Day 5 - Springboks rule at Loftus

Day 4 - When your friend is your enemy and your enemies are friendly

Day 3 - Quade Cooper: The Kevin Pietersen of rugby

Day 2 - Reconciliation at the Casino?

Day 1 - Removing Steyns from green jerseys ain't easy

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
Sunday , September 28
Exeter vs Harlequins14:00
Wasps vs Newcastle14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
Sunday , September 28
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Pumas vs Western Province19:00
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39