The chaos continued as the Cats took a 50-3 walloping from the Waratahs in the Vodacom Super 14.
The saddest truth of the disgraceful scoreline is how it shouldn’t surprise anyone. They were always going to get thrashed, the only variable was the margin.
Frans Ludicrous has often stated that the Cats were one match away from turning the corner. The reality is they were one match away from an annihilation. Tonight in Sydney it came.
Outplayed, out-thought and outclassed, the 14-0 scoreline after six minutes said all you need to know about the quality of the Cats and the commitment of their defence.
Not even the seven tries to nil scoreline accurately represented the home side’s dominance, and for the second consecutive week Ludicrous can consider himself lucky that the score wasn’t more emphatic.
Don’t be blinkered by a 15-0 second half score, either. As with the Brumbies last week, the Tahs took their whole team off a few minutes after the break.
Players of the calibre of Jaque Fourie must begin to wonder at their continued commitment to the Cats’ cause. Surrounded by donkeys and journeymen, he remains anonymous in the midst of such blatant mediocrity.
Not that the capped Springboks should escape condemnation. Ricky Januarie barely lasted 40 minutes before he was subbed for Jano Vermaak. What’s worse is he deserved it. Likewise Lukas van Biljon, who continues to turn in inacceptable displays for a campaigner of his experience. Even when his game is assessed kindly, the verdict on Grant Esterhuizen’s horrendous handling would not be printable.
The Cats are the first team in the competition to take 50 points. It is an appropriate reflection of the shambles that is their Vodacom Super 14 campaign.
Tries: Mat Rogers, Peter Hewat, Wycliff Palu, Adam Freier 2 and Ben Robinson
Cons: Hewat 5
Pen: Earl Rose
THE MOMENTS THAT MATTER
64 mins: The Tahs are on cruise control, and raise the intensity again briefly. It’s composure and panicky defence, and prop forward Robinson the beneficiary. He cruises over from the ruck. (Hewat 6/7)
42 mins: Consistent infringement on their own line, and eventually Whitaker decides to punish the Cats. It’s like a game of touch. Hewat nails the three points. (Hewat 6/6)
38 mins: Freier gets his second. Another lineout 5m out, and the ball is straight back to Freier who catches a sleeping Lukas van Biljon out. It’s abysmal and five more points. Hewat converts. (Hewat 5/5)
33 mins: Just over half an hour for the bonus point. From a line-out 5m out, the Tahs pack maul it over. Embarassing for the Cats whose tight five are being bullied. Hewat converts from the corner. (Hewat 4/4)
26 mins: Tahs score their third. Again it’s pretty routine, with straight running and good handling the hallmark. Whitaker times a good pass to the charging Wycliff Palu. Six cling to him but he’s still over. Hewat converts. (Hewat 3/3)
16 mins: Cats are on the board after the Tahs concede a penalty at line-out time. Vickerman drags down Stoltz, and Earl Rose steps up and nails it. (Rose 1/1)
8 mins: From the kick-off, the Tahs attack. It’s straight down the line, and the Cats have no answers. Lote Tuqiri cuts the line, and the simplest offload to Hewat and he scores. He converts his own try (Hewat 2/2)
4 mins: It was never gonna take long. Supreme confidence and handling from a Tahs scrum on the 22 leads to the opening score. It’s Mat Rogers, and after the tough period he’s been through, that try is very welcome. It’s evident in the celebrations. Peter Hewat converts. (Hewat 1/1)
2 mins: Marius Hurter concedes an early penalty on the floor for holding on. It’s kickable, but Sam Norton-Knight is instructed to kick for the corner. The Tahs want the bonus point today.