Five lessons from the past weekend's Vodacom Super Rugby matches, according to SIMON BORCHARDT.
The Lions scrum deserves respect
The Lions made a big statement when they scrummed the Blues off their ball in the 22nd minute of the match at Ellis Park on Saturday. They dominated the visitors again with six minutes to go before the break, at a 5m scrum, from which Faf de Klerk scored. Then, early in the second half, the hosts won a scrum penalty that resulted in three points. The Lions had scrummed well in their first three games of the season and while this latest performance didn't come as a surprise, it would have made other teams in the competition sit up and really take notice. It also enhanced the reputations of loosehead prop Schalk van der Merwe, hooker Robbie Coetzee and tighthead prop Julian Redelinghuys, who surely can no longer be referred to as no-name players.
S'bura Sithole has the potential to succeed at outside centre
With Paul Jordaan injured, Jake White backed Sithole to start at 13 against the Reds at Kings Park on Saturday. The 23-year-old, who has played most of his rugby on the wing, showed some good touches in the midfield, and combined well with JP Pietersen in the attack that led to Willem Alberts' try. From a statistical point of view, he made 43m from five runs, but missed two of his 12 tackles. While it's too early to judge Sithole in his new position, he did show potential, which will encourage White.
The Brumbies are still Australia's team to beat
'How will the Brumbies do without Jake White?' was a question often asked in the build-up to this year's Super Rugby. On Saturday, we discovered that they won't easily give up their conference crown under new coaches Stephen Larkham and Laurie Fisher. The Waratahs arrived in Canberra having won their first two matches and a victory against the Brumbies would have signalled a power shift in Australian rugby. Yet it was the Brumbies who led 25-9 early in the second half before withstanding a late fightback to win 28-23. The Tahs may yet go on to top the Australian conference, but for now the Brumbies still have bragging rights Down Under.
The Stormers are a team with three fingers and four holes
Every time they plug one, another leaks. Their set piece, which was sub-standard against the Crusaders, was better against the Chiefs, but their defence, which almost resulted in a historic Christchurch win, was poor in Hamilton. The Stormers missed 27 tackles on Friday, including nine in the first quarter, and went on to concede five tries.
You cannot deliberately miss a goal kick
Aaron Cruden was about to attempt a penalty kick at goal in Hamilton when he spotted space on the left-hand side of the field and booted the ball into the path of a chasing Chiefs player. However, referee Craig Joubert, aware of the rule that states that a goal-kicker has to make a genuine attempt at posts, awarded a scrum to the Stormers, and the Chiefs missed out on an easy three points. Watch the video below to see what happened.