Craig Lewis

Three takeaways from past weekend

Kwagga Smith Kwagga Smith

What we learned from the Barbarians match and the Pro14 this past weekend, according to CRAIG LEWIS.

Kwagga Smith makes massive statement
Four South Africans started for the Barbarians against the All Blacks on Saturday, but none impressed more than the irrepressible Kwagga Smith. Many believed he was the man who should have been called up to the Boks’ end-of-year touring squad following the injury to Jean-Luc du Preez, but instead lock Ruan Botha received the nod. However, Smith certainly produced a timely display of his wide-ranging strengths as he gave a Man of the Match performance for the Barbarians. Besides Smith’s physicality in contact, he also made a couple of typically explosive breakaway runs that demonstrated his surprising speed. All in all, it was a performance that underlined his credentials to earn higher honours sooner rather than later.

WATCH: Barbarians vs All Blacks highlights

Cheetahs missed big-name players
The Cheetahs have made an encouraging start to this Pro14 season, with the Free State side producing consistently competitive performances and claiming some impressive results. However, the Cheetahs never really looked prepared for the fight against Connacht on Saturday, with the Irish team going on to claim just a third win of the season. Unfortunately, it was clear to see that the Cheetahs were missing the presence of influential players such as Francois Venter and Oupa Mohoje, who are now with the Boks, while star backs Sergeal Petersen and Raymond Rhule have concluded their contracts at the Cheetahs. To make matters worse, the Cheetahs have also lost another star in Makazole Mapimpi, who is now set to join the Sharks.

REPORT: Connacht too good for Cheetahs

Kings lacked composure when it mattered most
After an encouraging Super Rugby season earlier this year, the Kings have endured a nightmare start to their Pro14 campaign. Prior to this weekend, the Kings had suffered seven successive defeats and conceded as many as 266 points, but they very nearly caused a major upset when they hosted Ulster in a historic fixture at the Wolfson Stadium in Zwide. The Kings led by 12 points at the break, but they failed to drive that advantage home in the second stanza, with Ulster scoring a late try to snatch a 43-36 win. With the Pro14 heading into a break now, the Kings will look back at this clash as a true missed opportunity.

REPORT: Ulster survive Kings scare

Photo: Henry Browne/Getty Images

The Lions and Sharks scrum down

Scrum value can’t be underestimated

The set-piece battle between the Lions and Sharks on Saturday sent out another stark reminder about the match-defining perils of a malfunctioning scrum, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

The Hurricanes at pre-season training

Pre-season a tough grind

A lot of planning and hard work goes into the pre-season, writes Hurricanes assistant coach JOHN PLUMTREE.

Seabelo Senatla in SA Rugby magazine

Senatla shifts focus

Blitzboks superstar Seabelo Senatla wants to put himself in contention for Springbok selection, writes CRAIG LEWIS.

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