The not-so-healthy state of SA rugby

IT WAS not a Currie Cup weekend to remember as the first round of this year's competition drew to an end.

IT WAS not a Currie Cup weekend to remember as the first round of this year's competition drew to an end.

The Sharks took over the first place on the log and consigned Griquas to third place with their 41-6 drubbing of the Kimberley side.

The Lions fought back to bring some excitement to a dour clash at Newlands before losing 25-20 to Western Province, and the other two matches, rather predictably, were runaway wins for the Blue Bulls against the Leopards (44-11). The Free State Cheetahs ran in nine tries in their 59-8 win over the Boland Cavaliers.

If the Sharks and Griquas, who went into the match in Durban as the country's top two, are the best on offer, South African rugby is not as healthy as is often purported, with question marks surrounding execution.

When the Sharks decided to attack they looked very, very impressive. Griquas were out of their depth with mistakes in all facets showing up their deficiencies under pressure. To say their bubble has burst is perhaps unkind to the Kimberley side that led the log for six rounds, but Griquas will now be under no illusions about what can be offered at this level.

Western Province have been and still are shopping all over for players but not even a Bryan Habana, who is on their shopping list, will be able to cure their illness.

At Newlands they scrummed well against the Lions and the highlight of their play surely was the patience in their build-ups.

The fact is that WP scored two tries in a first half against a very average Lions side that spent close to 70percent of this period in their own 22.

The Free State Cheetahs are slowly but surely playing catch-up on the log, and their win over the Boland Cavaliers in Bloemfontein underlined that the Cape side simply do not belong at this level. It was Free State's third consecutive win after four defeats on the trot, and they're within striking distance of the top five, but they will do well to remember that this win was against a weak side playing poor rugby.

The Blue Bulls played six Under-21s in their Currie Cup squad against the Leopards and gave some fringe players a run at Loftus.

They were always in control, not always very good and easily won 44-11 with six tries against one in a match where the Leopards got four yellow cards and two reds.

The Blue Bulls lost Akona Ndungane for the season with a broken leg on his return following shin splints on a night that again proved that the rethink about the Currie Cup competition must be speeded up. - Sapa