5 talking points: Super Rugby Week 13
Cape Town - Sport24 highlights 5 talking points after Round 13's action of Super Rugby:
1. Sharks disallowed try
The Sharks were unlucky not to have been awarded a try from a driving maul in their Super Rugby clash against the Hurricanes in Wellington at the weekend.
With the Sharks trailing 21-17 in the 61st minute, they appeared to score after Marcell Coetzee dotted down following a powerful driving maul close to the Hurricanes tryline.
Referee Chris Pollock referred the decision upstairs and eventually disallowed the try for what he called “changing lanes”.
While the Sharks did score a few minutes later to take a 24-21 lead, they eventually lost the game 32-24.
A few 50/50 calls went against the Sharks and they at least deserved a losing bonus point on the day after a much improved effort.
2. Right call by Allister Coetzee
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee made the right decision keeping Demetri Catrakilis on the field in their crucial clash against the Brumbies at Newlands.
Coetzee replaced his flyhalf with Kurt Coleman against the Cheetahs the previous week - a move which backfired as Coleman missed four relatively easy kicks at goal to deny his side victory.
I wrote last week that Coetzee could not afford to bring Coleman on against the Brumbies if the game was tight.
It turned out to be a closely fought encounter game as the Stormers managed to overturn a 16-3 deficit - largely via the reliable boot of Catrakilis - to eke out a 25-24 win.
3. Comeback kings
The Lions yet again impressed with their never-say-die attitude when they overturned a 20-3 half-time deficit to beat the Highlanders 28-23 in Johannesburg.
Their enterprising, attacking approach is welcome to see, especially given the manner in which fellow local teams go about their business.
The second half introduction of halfbacks Faf de Klerk and Elton Jantjies appeared to spark the Lions into action. These two seem to compliment the Lions’ style more than Ross Cronje and Marnitz Boshoff and they should be the starting halfback pair for the remainder of the season.
The Stormers also showed that they can “chase” games after overturning a 16-3 deficit to beat the Brumbies. Had it not been for Kurt Coleman’s kicking horror show the previous week in Bloemfontein, the Capetonians would there also have overturned an 18-3 deficit to win.
4. Pros and cons for Sharks
The Sharks deserve plaudits for an improved effort in their loss to the Hurricanes. A few debatable decisions went against them and they did not deserve to leave empty handed from a game in which they led going into the final 10 minutes.
They showed marked improvement in their handling skills and it was welcome to see them score some tries without the aid of the driving maul.
However, their weak defence is still a massive problem and the attitude of some of the players still needs to be questioned.
Missing 28 tackles is not on and explains why the ‘Canes were able to bag a four-try bonus-point as well as take the game away from the Sharks in the crucial final 10 minutes.
5. Stormers unlikely champions
Despite showing tremendous fight in overturning a 16-3 deficit to beat the Brumbies, the Stormers certainly don’t look like championship material.
Were it not for their powerful scrum (clearly the most impressive in the competition), the Stormers would in all likelihood have lost.
Their lineout remains a struggle, while tactical kicking and lack of impetus with ball in hand should remain a worry for their fans.
They can also count their lucky stars after Brumbies flyhalf Christian Lealiifano missed a sitter of a conversion to put his team in front late in the game.