The SA Rugby magazine team identify what they would love to see come out of this weekend’s Vodacom Super Rugby matches.
Jon Cardinelli (chief writer) wants to see the Bulls getting off the mark with regard to tries and wins.
The Bulls are under pressure to secure any sort of win this coming Saturday. They went down to the Sharks in round one and were physically outplayed by the Stormers in round two. After a bye in round three, they should be desperate to make a statement against the Blues at Loftus Versfeld.
What’s more, the team should be looking to make a point with regard to their style of play. While Morne Steyn will add value as a goal-kicker and game manager, the Bulls have to start asking more questions of the opposition defence. They’re yet to score a try in 2020, and one would hope that they end their drought in style this weekend.
Mariette Adams (staff writer) wants the Stormers to maintain their winning run.
The Stormers and Chiefs are the only unbeaten teams remaining in the competition, both with three wins in as many outings.
The Cape side, though, come up against the Jaguares at Newlands this week for what ought to be their toughest challenge so far this season.
The Test-laden Jaguares were crowned South African conference winners in 2018 and 2019 and before the start of this season they were hot favourites to make it three in a row. But John Dobson’s Stormers have come out firing to wrestle the conference favourites tag from them.
Last week at Ellis Park, the Stormers were run close by the Lions, but they managed to escape with their perfect start to the season intact courtesy of a last-ditch try. Having kept the Hurricanes and Bulls scoreless, the Stormers defence caved horribly against the Lions. They cannot afford to do the same against the Jaguares and expect to win.
The Jaguares are a much better side – in terms of quality and experience – than the Lions and will punish any defensive lapses more severely.
Dobson has come out and stated that his Stormers are overhyped. That theory will be tested in front of the Newlands faithful this weekend.
Dylan Jack (staff writer) hopes the Sharks pack comes to the party.
The Sharks were hardly helped with the injury-enforced disruptions to their team to play against the Hurricanes, with Thomas du Toit pulling out just before the game and Makazole Mapimpi and Boeta Chamberlain leaving the field in the first half due to concussions.
However, it was still alarming to see their set piece malfunction to the degree that it did in Wellington. Eventually, the Sharks resorted to quick throw-ins at the lineout in desperation to speed the game up and look for a try.
Apart from Ox Nche and Ruben van Heerden, the Sharks tend to miss forwards who can really get them over the gainline with a strong carry and ensure they keep their ball at the set piece. This weekend’s match against the Rebels is a chance to put that right.
If the Sharks are to release their potent backline, they will need their forwards to bring their own in Ballarat.
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Craig Lewis (editor) is hoping the Vodacom Bulls open their account.
Last year, the Pretoria-based side was the surprise package from South Africa, with the likes of Duane Vermeulen, RG Snyman, Schalk Brits, Handre Pollard and Jesse Kriel all making a considerable impact.
However, the Bulls have lost all this experience this season, and a largely new-look side is still searching for some form and confidence.
After a bye last weekend, it’s the perfect opportunity for the Bulls to ambush the inconsistent Blues and to start making up some lost ground.
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