Rugby and more Rugby!

The Rugby Championship and Currie Cup are in full swing. Who are the early title favourites? Have your say on our Forum!


    Stormers clash: No 15s in focus

    2014-03-03 21:05
    Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

    Cape Town - For vastly different reasons, respective fullbacks Israel Dagg and Jaco Taute ought to be particularly pumped-up customers when the Crusaders entertain the Stormers in Christchurch on Saturday.

    The Super Rugby encounter has plenty at stake because both sides – more often than not among pace-setters in recent seasons – have started 2014 insecurely.

    Seven-time champions the Crusaders are under special pressure after successive derby defeats to the Chiefs and Blues and not a single log point to show yet for their troubles.

    The Stormers banked a bounce-back Newlands victory over the Hurricanes, following that undignified first-game battering at the hands of the Lions, but still flew abroad for their traditional four-match Australasian tour knowing it was grimly achieved and only in a late, concerted rally.

    One ray of light, though, was Taute coming through his first start of the season quite convincingly after his 11-month layoff through a gruesome knee injury.

    Signed from the Lions at the start of last season, the Stormers faithful saw him make a pretty tentative start for his new franchise in 2013, before he tore cruciate ligaments in a tackle to cruelly halt his acclimatisation to fresh pastures anyway.

    So the Springbok has presumably been anxious to belatedly underline his worth.

    Just getting through a full Super Rugby match unscathed was a triumph in itself for Taute, and he didn’t appear to be carrying any mental scars after his mishap.

    There were few opportunities for him to show his once-renowned counter-attacking panache from the back, but he was solid defensively and on top of his game from a positional point of view as well.

    His effort was good enough to inspire a popular former Stormers captain, Corne Krige (@CorneKrige6) to specifically tweet to Taute (in Afrikaans): “Great game, old mate. I am pleased your knee held.”

    If Taute has been in the personal wars and now showing pleasing signs of emerging into daylight, the ‘Saders are likely to field a No 15 who has had issues of his own: different ones, but unusual to him.

    The slippery Dagg, so often a heartbreaker for South African fans whether it be in a Crusaders or All Blacks jersey, suffered the indignity of being dropped from the starting XV following the 18-10 first-round loss to the Chiefs a couple of weeks back.

    But he was sharper when he appeared as a substitute in the second half of the most recent outing against the Blues at Eden Park – despite the Crusaders slipping up again – and it is being speculated in the New Zealand media that he will slot in again at No 15 against the Capetonians.

    With Dan Carter taking a sabbatical, the hosts have some instability at flyhalf at present, and with neither Tyler Bleyendaal nor Tom Taylor convincing in the slot thus far, current fullback Colin Slade will probably move closer to the action, facilitating Dagg’s reprieve.

    As with Taute, expect him to strive to claw back lost ground ...

    *Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

    Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

    Comment on this story
    Add your comment
    Comment 0 characters remaining
    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk
    Most Read


    02 August 2014
    26 July 2014
    19 July 2014
    12 July 2014
    11 July 2014
    06 July 2014
    05 July 2014
    04 July 2014
    28 June 2014
    27 June 2014
    31 May 2014
    30 May 2014
    24 May 2014
    23 May 2014
    18 May 2014
    17 May 2014
    16 May 2014
    11 May 2014
    10 May 2014
    09 May 2014
    03 May 2014
    02 May 2014
    26 April 2014
    25 April 2014
    19 April 2014
    18 April 2014
    12 April 2014
    11 April 2014
    05 April 2014
    04 April 2014
    29 March 2014
    28 March 2014
    22 March 2014
    21 March 2014
    15 March 2014
    14 March 2014
    08 March 2014
    07 March 2014
    01 March 2014
    28 February 2014
    23 February 2014
    22 February 2014
    21 February 2014
    15 February 2014


    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    Does the Waratahs' Super Rugby victory give the Wallabies an edge heading into the Rugby Championship?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.