DYLAN JACK looks back at decisive moments in the second round of Vodacom Super Rugby.
Tambwe makes memorable debut
Makazole Mapimpi and Aphelele Fassi may have come away with most of the plaudits after scoring two tries each against the Highlanders, but Madosh Tambwe, who made his first competitive start for the Sharks, marked it with a solid display, which included a hand in two of their tries.
The first – and possibly most decisive – came when he chased a Louis Schreuder box kick, winning his aerial duel and slapping the ball back to Kerron van Vuuren, who in turn put James Venter away for the visitors’ opening try. Tambwe then executed brilliantly as he stepped inside and fixed the last defender before passing on his inside to put Mapimpi away for his brace.
With Nkosi out for the rest of the Australasian tour, the Sharks at the very least know that they have a capable deputy in Tambwe.
Bulls’ chance goes abegging
The north-south derby between the Stormers and the Vodacom Bulls may live in the memories of fans for very long – given that the on-field action hardly lived up to the buildup.
Both teams struggled to break each other down and so it became that any chances on offer had be taken. The Stormers capitalised on theirs, with hooker Scarra Ntubeni scoring from a maul and Seabelo Sentala dotting down after being freed on the wing.
However, despite getting numerous opportunities in the final 20 minutes, the Bulls seemed to find ways not to score. It hardly helped that Cornal Hendricks once again wasted a golden chance as he was put through after Manie Libbok produced a linebreak, but inexplicably chose to step and pass inside when he had two teammates waiting for the pass on the outside. With the game still in the balance at that stage it was an opportunity that, if executed properly, could have given the Bulls at least a losing bonus point.
It was the second time in two weeks that Hendricks had left a potential try on the board. While the burly winger is not soley to blame for the Bulls’ issues, his form is certainly a symptom of a team that seems different to the one which tore apart the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld last year.
Chiefs’ defence denies Crusaders
The Chiefs caused a major upset, when for the second time in two weeks, they came from behind to beat a New Zealand rival. Only this time, they handed the defending champions just their second defeat in a local derby.
As crucial as Brad Weber’s play to put wing Sean Wainui away for a try was, the actions that took place before half time were perhaps even more critical in deciding the outcome of the contest.
The Crusaders dominated possession and territory during that stage and looked on course for a big win – if they scored. Despite their line taking a hammering, the Chiefs managed to repel the Crusaders and keep the score to 12-8 at the break, giving them hope of coming away with something.
It was another demonstration of how quickly coach Warren Gatland and his coaching staff have managed to add a winning mentality to this Chiefs team, who could be considered realistic title challengers this season.
Photo: Steve Haag Sports/Hollywoodbets