Five lessons from the second round of Vodacom Super Rugby, according to SIMON BORCHARDT.
Jesse Kriel's selection at fullback for the Bulls was long overdue
Only Frans Ludeke knows why he decided to start the Super Rugby tournament with Jürgen Visser at 15 with Kriel on the bench. It was a conservative selection and one that backfired when Visser's failure to take a high ball gifted the Stormers a try and ended the Bulls' early period of dominance. Kriel would replace Visser in the 54th minute of the game, which the Bulls went on to lose, and then start against the Hurricanes in the only change to the backline. It took one passage of play on Friday night to show why the 21-year-old should retain the No 15 jersey. With 29 minutes gone, Kriel claimed a restart 10m out from his tryline. Instead of kicking, which the visitors and most of the 11,774 crowd would have expected him to do, the fullback stepped inside past Julian Savea, bounced off Ben Franks and took play to the opposition 10m line before being brought to ground. Ten phases later, and Kriel's housemate Handré Pollard scored the opening try. Kriel would finish the match with 111 running metres, nine carries, two clean breaks, three defenders beaten, and just one kick from hand.
Poor diving technique can cost you a try
While the Hurricanes deserved to win at Loftus, the Bulls could have come away with the four log points had Grant Hattingh showed better technique when going over in the left-hand corner in the 77th minute. The replacement lock had been put into space by JJ Engelbrecht, who did well to draw Julian Savea, but with the ball tucked under his right arm, inexplicably reached out with his left hand as he went over. The TMO ruled that the ball had been grounded at the same time as his hand touched the line and the Canes were awarded a 22m drop out. Game over.
The Hurricanes forwards pack a punch
The Canes' win against the Bulls was built on a dominant display up front, which would have delighted assistant coach John Plumtree and scrum coach Dan Cron. South African loosehead prop Reggie Goodes, who went to Affies in Pretoria before moving to Wellington College, No 5 lock James Broadhurst and blindside flank Brad Shields were the standouts but the whole pack can be proud of their efforts. The Hurricanes have always been regarded as a team with brilliant attacking backs and a vulnerable pack, but over the past two weeks their forwards have stolen the spotlight as the backs played more conservatively. The result: back-to-back overseas victories for the first time since 2006 and winning their opening two matches of the season for the first time since 2010.
Ruan Botha is the business
With Eben Etzebeth and Manuel Carizza both ruled out of the opening weeks of Super Rugby, the Stormers' depth at lock has been tested. Botha, though, has made the most of his opportunity to start, and was one of his side's best players against the Blues on Saturday. The 23-year-old was the Stormers' main man at the lineout, winning eight of their 14 throws, carried the ball seven times and forced a turnover.
Bismarck's the master, Marx the pupil
Lions hooker Malcolm Marx has been called the next Bismarck, but at Kings Park on Saturday the actual Bismarck showed the 20-year-old that he still has a lot to learn. Du Plessis schooled the youngster during the first half, with Robbie Coetzee replacing him in the 42nd minute. Marx would have learned a lot, though, and benefited from the experience of testing himself against the world's best hooker.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images