DYLAN JACK looks at the major talking points from the fourth round of Vodacom Super Rugby action this past weekend.
Notshe thriving in defined Sharks role
Sikhumbuzo Notshe took a gamble when he decided to swap the comforts of Cape Town for a move to Durban last year. However, it is a decision which definitely seems to be paying off as he has starred for the Sharks in the start of their Super Rugby campaign.
The Springbok made 11 carries against the Rebels in Ballarat, with two clean breaks while beating three defenders and assisting a try.
It appears that Notshe is enjoying his rugby again, now that his role has been more clearly defined. While he was used across the loose trio at the Stormers and never really got to settle into the position, the Sharks have used him exclusively at No 8 so far.
Of course, it also helps that they are playing a quick-transition brand of rugby that suits Notshe’s strengths.
Coaches see red over yellows
It has taken just four rounds into the tournament for referees to once again find themselves stuck as the main talking points. This weekend two controversial yellow cards were handed to Vodacom Bulls captain Burger Odendaal and Stormers tighthead prop Frans Malherbe.
As has been argued, both were debatable at best and at worst merited a penalty each. In both situations, the referee needed to apply more of a ‘common-sense’ approach and look less at the outcomes and more at the contributing factors in each tackle.
There was very little that Odendaal and Malherbe could do as in both situations the attacking player put himself in danger by lowering his body height. It is alarming and speaks to the lack of clarity in this area that Odendaal admitted after the game that he was relieved not to have seen a red card, simply because contact was made with the head of the Blues ball-carrier.
Stormers kick it up a notch
On the whole, John Dobson was a far happier coach with what he saw from his side against the Jaguares – and so he should be. The Stormers dominated possession and territory for long periods of the match.
While they struggled to make every opportunity count – especially in an error-filled first half – they look be more settled than after their last home win against the Bulls, where they had to rely on their well-organised defence.
If the Stormers can make it five from five against the Blues this weekend before their bye in the following round, they would have given themselves a platform for a real title challenge and an opportunity to experiment more with their selections.
Photo: Steve Haag Sports/Hollywoodbets