Three takeaways from past weekend
- 15 Oct 2017
- More by craig
What we learned from round 14 of the Currie Cup, according to CRAIG LEWIS.
Sharks remain the team to beat
Not too much should be read into the Sharks’ 31-20 loss to Western Province on Saturday. Yes, it ended a 10-match winning streak and may have caused the Durbanites to lose a little momentum ahead of the playoffs, but it was clear that the Sharks were missing their usual spark. The fact remains that the Sharks had nothing to gain heading into Saturday’s match, as top spot on the log was already well secured, and so it was understandable when coach Rob du Preez made a number of substitutions in the second half as he sought to keep some key players fresh for next weekend's home semi-final against the Blue Bulls. Those changes also coincided with a late surge from a desperate Western Province side that needed a victory in order to ensure a home semi-final. Ultimately, while the Bulls have found some momentum in recent weeks, it’s the Sharks who should still be regarded as favourites to secure a home final and another shot at the title.
Western Province must be wary of Golden Lions
Province should be commended for the manner in which they clinically finished off the match against the Sharks, but it wouldn't have escaped their attention that the Lions produced a dominant 80-minute performance against the Free State Cheetahs to clinch their spot in the playoffs. Despite the fact that the Cheetahs had been boosted by a number of Pro14 players, they ultimately proved to be no match for the Lions, who enjoyed ascendancy from the first minute until the last. The Lions’ returning Boks, such as Courtnall Skosan, Andries Coetzee and Ross Cronjé, brought confidence to the team, while Malcolm Marx made a big impact off the bench. So while Province will be desperately pleased to have secured a home semi-final, they will know that the Lions team coming to Cape Town is now a rather different beast.
Warrick Gelant must go on the Boks' end-of-year tour
Last week I highlighted the fact that the Blue Bulls fullback continued to knock on the Bok door with consistently impressive performances. After seeing him inspire the Bulls to a 53-32 win over the Pumas on Friday, I’d now suggest he has surely smashed through that door, and must be backed to go on tour with the Springboks at the end of the year. Besides scoring a well-taken try, Gelant provided two try assists, while he made as many as 132 running metres, 12 carries and three linebreaks. The 22-year-old is the Currie Cup’s leading try-scorer (10), and is ranked first for ball-carries and linebreaks. While defence remains an area of his game to work on, the Boks must take the opportunity to expose him to Test rugby on the upcoming end-of-year tour.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images
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