What we learned from the fifth round of Vodacom Super Rugby and the Six Nations, according to CRAIG LEWIS.
Kolisi makes real impression
As the Stormers cruised to an important 35-8 bonus-point win over the Jaguares on Friday, Siya Kolisi sent out a stark reminder of just influential he can be. The Stormers skipper looked to be back to his best form, scoring a try, racking up 52m from 10 carries and completing nine tackles, while also winning a turnover. As the Stormers now head on tour, it will be crucial for Kolisi to continue making such an impression, and he will take plenty of confidence from Friday’s classy all-round performance.
Lions replacements made key impact
When the Lions fell 28 points behind early on in the second half against the Rebels on Saturday, many fans may have been ready to turn off the TV or head for the stadium exits. Up until that point, the Lions had produced an utterly woeful performance, but coach Swys de Bruin turned to his bench, and it signified a momentum shift as the Rebels began to tire. In particular, Lionel Mapoe and Andries Coetzee made a game-changing impact, with the duo adding real momentum and accuracy to the team’s attack. Both scored important tries, but it was the latter who completed 98m and beat seven defenders in an absolute cameo off the bench.
Green is a player to watch
In the lead-up to Saturday’s clash at Ellis Park, Lions coach Swys de Bruin said he was very excited about the potential of former Junior Springbok star, Tyrone Green, who he backed to start at fullback. That faith was repaid, with the 21-year-old producing an eye-catching performance that indicated just why he is so highly regarded. Green looked extremely comfortable making the step up to Super Rugby, with his speed and quick feet particularly setting him apart. Overall, he completed 85m, 13 carries and beat nine defenders.
Stunning end to Six Nations title race
The 2019 season has witnessed one of the most compelling and competitive Six Nations tournaments. Before Saturday’s final round of action, just a solitary point separated each of Wales, England and Ireland. Although Wales held pole position, there were many who felt that they might trip up against Ireland on Saturday, and leave the door open for England to leapfrog into first place. Instead, Warren Gatland’s side produced a performance of maturity and precision to cruise to an emphatic 25-7 win to snatch the title away from Ireland, and complete a quite remarkable Grand Slam.
World Cup looks set to be wide open
Straight after Wales had played to a stunning victory against Ireland, England and Scotland stepped up to feature in a quite mind-boggling encounter. Although Scotland trailed by 31 points after as many minutes, they then mounted a stunning fightback to score 38 unanswered points, before a late try to England eventually saw the teams have to settle for a share of the spoils. It was some end to the tournament, while sending out another reminder of just how competitive the northern hemisphere sides look sure to be at this year’s World Cup. Wales and England have both made massive statements this season, and while Ireland have regressed a bit from last year, they cannot be written off. Even Scotland and France have displayed glimpses of their capabilities. By the looks of things, it could well prove to be the most ‘open race’ for the World Cup title later this year.
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