CRAIG LEWIS identifies some of the good, the bad and the ugly to take away from the quarter-finals of Vodacom Super Rugby.
Kudos to the Vodacom Bulls. Yes, no one wants to celebrate a defeat, but you have to admire the guts and gumption that the Bulls displayed in Wellington on Saturday. Despite falling 24-7 behind in the first half against the Hurricanes, the Bulls simply refused to capitulate. In the end, and despite a heavy travel schedule, it was in fact the Pretoria-based side who finished as the stronger side, and gave the Canes quite a fright. Before this season kicked off, very few pundits gave a new-look Bulls side much hope for success, and yet there is no doubt that they have been the most impressive South African team this season. Unfortunately the Bulls’ campaign came to an end at the quarter-final stage, but coach Pote Human will still have plenty of positives to reflect on.
It’s been a strange old week for the Sharks. Last weekend’s last-gasp win over the Stormers enabled the Durban-based side to sneak into the playoffs, but that result was largely overshadowed by the comments from coach Robert du Preez immediately afterwards. Du Preez lashed out at certain critical sections of the media, who he labelled as ‘cockroaches’, and the backlash from the fourth estate has been understandably severe. Whatever the case may be, some critics may well feel justified after the Sharks produced an utterly listless display in their quarter-final against the Brumbies, ultimately falling to a 38-13 defeat to bring another mediocre season to an end. As SA Rugby magazine contributor John Goliath so cheekily suggested, perhaps the Sharks should have taken some Doom to Australia.
The Sharks should have taken some Doom to Australia…
— IG: johngoliath (@JohnGoliath82) June 22, 2019
There was quite a lot of ugly stuff from the Sharks in the first half of their quarter-final against the Brumbies. However, it was particularly unfortunate to see star No 8 Dan du Preez having to leave the field with an injury as early as the 15th minute, while industrious flanker Tyler Paul followed soon after with what looked to be a shoulder complaint. It was a big blow for the Sharks to have their loose trio so severely disrupted early on, while matters only went from bad to worse as they fell 24-6 down before the break.
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