SA franchises have set the bar

The Roar’s SPIRO ZAVOS believes that the two South African derbies that marked the start of Super Rugby have raised the expectation of what's to come.

Zavos says that the Sharks’ 31-16 win over the Bulls, and the Lions' 21-20 cliffhanger against the Cheetahs were fitting starts and the performances will send a message to rest of the competition.

‘The challenge has now been set for the other conferences to match the standard of intensity, excitement, aggressive running and tackling,’ said Zavos. 'The Sharks and Lions reached the sort of level of performance that is usually shown about a month or so into the tournament.

‘The Sharks, coached by Jake White, scored four tries, a couple of them from stunning set move pieces. The emphatic nature of their win and the all-round quality and effectiveness of their play must establish them as the favourites to win the South African conference.

Zavos added that 'the White effect was revealed immediately' by the fact that he played Pat Lambie exclusively as a flyhalf, where in the past the Sharks have tended to play Lambie at fullback, where his 'playmaking skills and acute rugby brain and darting running were given limited scope to flourish.'

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