Super Rugby Week 12: Close games for the South African Teams

Super Rugby Week 12
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 03: Curwin Bosch of the Sharks kicks during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and Sharks at Christchurch Stadium on May 03, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Super Rugby Week 12 produced close games for all of the South African teams, with one draw, one victory and one loss.

Super Rugby Week 12

Crusaders 21 Cell C Sharks 21

Crusaders – Tries: Cody Taylor, Jack Goodhue and Mitch Hunt Conversions: Mitch Hunt 3

Cell C Sharks – Penalties: Curwin Bosch 7

The Sharks were a touch unlucky to have drawn this game. It took a try after the final hooter by Mitch Hunt to bring the Crusaders back into the game, with Hunt’s conversion drawing the teams level.

The Crusaders did rest four All Blacks for this game and it showed up with a lack of composure and general quality of play.

The Sharks built their game around superior tactical kicking and length of kick, forcing the Crusaders to play from deep. They bullied the Crusaders in the tackle, carrying them back and stopping their momentum.

The Sharks were also dominant at scrum time, forcing a few penalties. Keiran Reid was particularly negative towards the Sharks. The fact remains that the Crusaders have been leaking a few penalties at scrum time. If opposing teams are able to force them into scrum penalties it is something for them to work on and not complain about.

The Crusaders scrum might have an interesting Friday night to contend with next week. They are off to Loftus to meet the Bulls. Although the Bulls were generally scrappy against the Waratahs, their scrum was a thing of beauty.

The Sharks are off to meet the Chiefs in Waikato on Saturday.

Vodacom Bulls 28 Waratahs 21

VODACOM BULLS – Tries: Warrick Gelant, Duane Vermeulen, Simphiwe Matanzima Conversions: Handre Pollard (2) Penalties: Pollard (3)

WARATAHS – Tries: Nick Phipps, Kurtley Beale, Curtis Rona Conversions: Bernard Foley (3)

The Bulls won this game based on their scrum dominance. Other than that, they were pretty poor. They wasted many opportunities and should really have won by a lot more. Reality is that they were lucky to escape what would have been the third draw of the weekend. The Bulls scrum dominance is the result of the hard work their forwards have put in with scrum coach Daan Human.

They were further hampered by a slightly erratic kicking performance off the tee by Handre Pollard. However, we cannot forget “that” try by Duane Vermeulen.

The Bulls host the Crusaders on Friday and the Waratahs visit the Lions who had the bye this weekend.

Jaguares 30 DHL Stormers 25

JAGUARES – Tries: Pablo Matera, Ramiro Moyana, Penalty try;Conversions: Domingo Miotti 2 Penalties: Domingo Miotti 3

DHL STORMERS – Try: Seabelo Senatla Conversion: Damian Willemse Penalties: Jean-Luc du Plessis 4 and Willemse 2

Gone are the days that teams can travel to Argentina expecting to win easily. The South African teams that have played away to the Jaguares have been generally poor. The Stormers were no different. To be fair, the Jaguares were not much better and this was not a quality game at all. There were far too many errors to allow either side to put together quality phase play.

There were two things that killed off any chance that the Stormers had of winning the game. They continue to be erratic at lineout time. None more so than the final lineout of the game within striking distance of the Jaguares tryline, with the Jaguares poached. The second was the penalty try and yellow card as a result of JJ Engelbrecht’s deliberate knock down which prevented a try from being scored.

The Jaguares move on to face the Highlanders in Dunedin. The Stormers will take a rest and have a bye next weekend.

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