CRAIG LEWIS identifies some of the good, the bad and the ugly to take away from round 12 of Vodacom Super Rugby.
The Lions were the only South African side to claim a win in round 13, and although it was far from the most convincing performance against the Waratahs, it was good to see Bok hooker Malcolm Marx producing a Man of the Match performance. According to Sanzaar’s stats, Marx made a whopping 17 carries, 84m and even executed three clean breaks. Beyond that, it was some relief to see influential No 8 Warren Whiteley get through an industrious 80-minute performance after a season that has been disrupted by injuries. Meanwhile, the Sharks’ Curwin Bosch again showed his strengths with the boot and as an attacking player against the Chiefs on Saturday. The young flyhalf contributed 13 points via the boot, beat five defenders, made 13 carries and completed 117m.
Last weekend, the Crusaders stuttered to a draw against the Sharks in Christchurch, but on Friday, the defending champs turned on the style once again to annihilate the Vodacom Bulls 45-13. It was the sort of result that again highlighted the gulf in class between the leading New Zealand side and the rest, while the Bulls could now be set for a long and challenging tour overseas. It’s almost impossible to see the Saders being eclipsed at the top of the overall standings, and another home final surely awaits.
Earlier this year, Sanzaar confirmed that Super Rugby will return to a 14-team, round-robin format in 2021. It can’t come soon enough. Ever year, with the format of the competition in its current structure, it’s become almost laughable to see each conference leader assured of a position in the top three. As a result, the Sharks are second on the overall standings on 29 log points, while the Rebels are third on 28. It’s quite ridiculous to see the Hurricanes lying fourth on the log with a whopping 40 log points, and facing the very real prospect of an away semi-final. It’s never made any sense.
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