DYLAN JACK picks out four major talking points from the seventh round of Vodacom Super Rugby this past weekend.
Referee howlers continue to blight the game
The Stormers were fortunate not to find themselves down to 14 men after Johan du Toit took a leaping Louis Schreuder out just 10 seconds into the match. Referee AJ Jacobs was advised by TMO Willie Vos that the incident merited a red card, but found the fact that Schreuder landed on his back to be a mitigating factor and gave the Stormers flank a yellow card instead. Schreuder spent the rest of the match on the sideline with a concussion, while Du Toit was able to come back on with the teams still deadlocked at 0-0. Du Toit has subsequently been cited as the citing commissioner also clearly disagreed with Jacobs’ decision. Stormers coach John Dobson also admitted afterwards that he could not argue if Du Toit had been sent off. It was yet another avoidable blunder which showed that certain referees are not up to the required standard for Super Rugby.
Trokkie rediscovering 2017 form
While much of the talk before the Sharks-Stormers clash was centred on Sikhumbuzo Notshe and his return to face his former side, it was his opposite number Juarno ‘Trokkie’ Augustus who stole the show at Kings Park. The No 8 put in an influential display, having a hand in both of the Stormers’ tries, while also clocking up 37 metres from five carries, with one clean break and four defenders beaten. He also did not shirk his defensive responsibilities, completing all 14 of his tackles and winning two turnovers. It was yet another demonstration that Augustus has found the form that made him the U20 Player of the Year in 2017.
Sharks underline status as SA’s best
The Sharks’ triumph in the coastal derby, when contrasted with the Vodacom Bulls and Lions’ struggles, only served to illustrate that the Durban team are South Africa’s best hopes for a Super Rugby title. It is also worth keeping in mind that while the Bulls and Lions will return from Australia and New Zealand without a win abroad, the Sharks managed three wins from four on their tour. Sean Everitt’s side seem to have a good balance, while their transitional play and kicking game have taken them to the next level.
Dobson makes a stand
The anticipated decision around the Covid-19 outbreak eventually came from Sanzaar on Saturday as the governing body decided to suspend the tournament for the next two weeks at least. Predictably, the South African Super Rugby coaches were asked for their thoughts on the decision. Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen and Sharks coach Everitt both chose a diplomatic route around the question. Van Rooyen highlighted that player safety has to come first, while Everitt said that his players needed the break after seven non-stop weeks of rugby. However, when giving his thoughts, Dobson was refreshingly honest about the impact the suspension could have financially on the franchises. ‘I hope it’s properly thought through because it’s going to have cataclysmic effects on some peoples lives,’ Dobson said. ‘People are going to lose their jobs and that really scares me. We are not the [football] English Premiership League. And I don’t know what the quantum is if Super Rugby doesn’t resume, but I suspect it’s between a R10 million to R20 million loss.’
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