5 talking points: Super Rugby Week 1 + 2

by Benice BurgerFebruary 27, 2018

Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points after Round 1 of the 2018 Super Rugby competition:

  1. Discipline issues at Newlands

It was no surprise when the season’s first yellow card went to a Jaguares player – fullback Joaquin Tuculet was sent to the sin-bin in the 26th minute of his side’s clash against the Stormers at Newlands.

The Argentine side’s discipline has left much to be desired since their introduction into the tournament in 2016 and the happenings at Newlands on Saturday suggested that not much will change this season.

The Stormers were themselves guilty of giving away silly penalties and hooker Ramone Samuels’ 64th minute yellow card almost cost them the game.

Overall, the Stormers conceded 13 penalties and the Jaguares 15 but what will be alarming to both coaches is the fact that several of these penalties were conceded near the respective trylines.

  1. Is it ‘unfair’ to take a quick tap?

There was an interesting scenario early in the second half of the Stormers v Jaguares clash.

The Stormers were hot on the attack in the red zone and had a penalty advantage which went on for several phases.

They couldn’t force their way through, but referee Jaco Peyper played a long advantage which saw Stormer’s flyhalf Damian Willemse sprint towards the mark to take a quick tap.

However, the Stormers pivot was told by Peyper that he wasn’t allowed to take a quick tap because it would be “unfair”.

I was a bit puzzled as I’ve never heard a referee make such a call on a rugby field before, with SuperSport commentator Jean de Villiers at the time also questioning the call.

We’ve often witnessed referees stop players from taking quick taps if a player is not on the right spot – or if too much time has elapsed – but in this scenario Willemse was imminent with his intention.

I brought up the matter with retired referee Jonathan Kaplan, who said he “was not aware” of such a ruling.

It’s wasn’t a massive call in the outcome of the match, but nevertheless worth mentioning.

Overall, Peyper had a good game and he was spot on when he penalised Stormers reserve scrumhalf Justin Phillips who had retaliated after being shoved by a Jaguares player.

According to the laws, the retaliated player ends up the guilty party.

  1. Scrum woes for Sharks

The foundation for the Lions’ 26-19 victory over the Sharks at Ellis Park was built on their domination at scrum time.

From the get go, the Sharks scrum was under pressure and in the end they lost no fewer than six of their own scrums.

The Sharks’ problems during last year’s Currie Cup final against Western Province also started at scrum time and it’s clear they have lots to work on in this department.

Sharks props Juan Schoeman and Thomas du Toit were replaced by Tendai Mtawarira and John-Hubert Meyer at half-time and the substitutions proved to somewhat stabilise the Sharks scrum.

The Lions even conceded two scrum penalties of their own in the second period but overall still had the upper hand in this department.

From a Sharks point of view, it’s clear that Du Toit is still battling making the transition from loosehead to tighthead.

  1. New find on the wing for Lions

Lions left wing Aphiwe Dyantyi, who scored a spectacular solo try on debut, was named man-of-the-match for his efforts.

He stepped up to the plate after injuries to Ruan Combrinck and Courtnall Skosan.

Dyantyi’s moment of brilliance in the 22nd minute, when he produced a strong run down the touchline before gathering his own grubber kick to score in the corner, will be a contender for try of the season.

It was remarkable to learn that Dyantyi had given up rugby for a while after being told he was too small at school.

But while at the University of Johannesburg he started playing hostel rugby again before being drafted into UJ’s Varsity Cup team, where he caught the eye of the Lions selectors.

  1. Intriguing flyhalf battle 

Sharks flyhalf Robert du Preez was a prominent figure throughout for the visitors. The big flyhalf’s willingness to take the ball on the gain line will get his team on the front foot more often than not – as was evident when he burst through the Lions defence for the game’s opening try.

Du Preez’s opposite number, Elton Jantjies, also marshalled the game well for most parts but both players will rue missing vital kicks at goal.

Jantjies, especially, lost his range completely in the second half. He missed a relatively easy conversion in the second half which would have stretched his team’s lead to 28-19. Then, in the 65th minute, I was surprised when Jantjies’ long-range effort from just inside the Sharks half did not have the legs.

Normally at altitude this distance would not prove a problem and when Jantjies missed a sitter in front of the posts in the 73rd minute it was clear he had lost his confidence.

What should have been a relatively comfortable win for the Lions, forced them to hang on for dear life at the end.

I’d say Du Preez just about edged the battle with Jantjies…

Sport24’s Herman Mosterthighlights FIVE talking points after Round 2 of the 2018 Super Rugby competition:

  1. Stormers butcher golden opportunity

A comedy of errors at crucial junctures cost the Stormers badly in their 34-27 defeat to the Waratahs in Sydney.

The Capetonians had every chance to put what looked like an average Waratahs line-up to the sword.

They annihilated the ‘Tahs scrum – largely due to destroyer-in-chief prop forwards Steven Kitshoff and Wilco Louw – but will rue not capitalising on this handy platform.

The home side was also down to 14 men at a vital stage in the second period – instead it was the visitors who played like they were down a man.

The late introduction of reserve hooker Dean Muir proved costly as the Stormers coughed up two lineouts.

It appeared as though Muir did not understand the lineout calls and that is worrisome from a player and coaching perspective.

Aside from dominating throughout at scrum time, the Stormers critically lost one of their own feeds shortly before full-time.

The Stormers’ inability to remain composed when it matters most is nothing new to their long-suffering fans…

  1. Penalty try debate at Ellis Park

It has now become customary for a Super Rugby match involving the Jaguares to yield a yellow card or two.

The Jaguares suffered a double setback in the 33rd minute of their clash against the Lions in Johannesburg when winger Bautista Delguy was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-down which resulted in a penalty try.

Referee Jaco Peyper, along with television match official (TMO) Willie Vos, ruled that there were no cover defenders and that a try would in all likelihood have been scored had Warren Whiteley’s pass reached Aphiwe Dyantyi.

Referees have been told to be strict on any deliberate knock-downs but some pundits have questioned whether the knock-down was in fact deliberate and that the Jaguares did have a man in position to prevent a possible try.

It was nevertheless another ill-disciplined performance from the Argentines. They ended with two yellow cards and conceded 12 penalties as questions continue to be asked about the value they add to the competition.

  1. No Ackers hangover for Lions

A sign of a good side is one that wins comfortably even when not at its best.

I noticed a few scribes criticise the Lions’ performance in their 47-27 win over the Jaguares.

Yes, the execution of their plans was not always spot on and it wasn’t all plain-sailing in the scrums and lineouts – but I do feel the positives outweigh the negatives for Swys de Bruin’s charges.

Many felt De Bruin would struggle to step into Johan Ackermann’s shoes but he’s started on a high note by beating the Sharks and Jaguares.

The Lions may have made mistakes but dominated the Jaguares in the metres made (666m compared to 294m), carries (148-75), clean breaks (18-8), passes completed (207-89) and offloads (18-7) categories.

This indicates a willingness to attack – and that attack was spearheaded by winger Aphiwe Dyanti, who scored a brace of tries.

Dyanti has now won back-to-back man-of-the-match accolades and has been a standout with his acceleration and finishing.

His second try was a classic in which he bamboozled several Jaguares defenders, so much so that two of them ran into each other.

  1. Mitchell-factor rubs off on Bulls

John Mitchell’s hand was clearly visible in the Bulls’ play as they upset the Hurricanes 21-19 in Pretoria.

There was marked improvement in the skills level of the Bulls players.

Wing Johnny Kotze’s opening try was set up by a brilliant one-handed off-load in the tackle from centre Jesse Kriel.

Kriel’s silky skills drew two Hurricanes defenders to free up the space for Kotze to score in the corner.

Lock Lood de Jager’s first half try was equally spectacular – set up by a break in midfield from second-row partner RG Snyman, before the giant Springbok out-sprinted the two Hurricanes halfbacks TJ Perenara and Ihaia West.

The two above-mentioned scores were unthinkable from Bulls teams in recent years.

  1. TMO decisions at Loftus 

There were also two debatable TMO decisions in the game at Loftus.

Snyman thought he had scored close to the uprights in the first half but TMO Marius Jonker instructed referee Rasta Rasivhenge that a Bulls player had knocked on just before the Bulls lock scooped and barged over.

The Bulls will argue that the ball may have been dislodged by a Hurricanes player instead or that is was dropped straight down.

In the second half, Perenara was perhaps also a tad unlucky not to be awarded a try.

On replays it looked as though the All Black scrumhalf had some sort of downward pressure as he attempted to score. It’s clear he wasn’t in full control, but the slow-motion replay does reveal some sort of downward pressure… in my opinion…

 

Source1: https://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/SuperRugby/5-talking-points-super-rugby-week-1-20180219-3

Source2: https://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/SuperRugby/5-talking-points-super-rugby-week-2-20180226-3

About The Author
Benice Burger