Super Rugby Round 2: 5 talking points
Cape Town - Sport24 highlights 5 talking points after the second weekend's action of Super Rugby:
1.Spatial awareness is key in rugby
The Bulls had an opportunity to sneak a late win in their clash against the Hurricanes at Loftus Versfeld when lock Grant Hattingh went over in the corner. However, television replays showed Hattingh's hand had simultaneously touched the dead-ball line just as he was about to dot down. The TMO correctly awarded a 22m restart to the Hurricanes who held on for a 17-13 win. It was poor technique from Hattingh who should have displayed better spatial awareness when dotting down, making sure his arm was inside the field of play. Coaches should incorporate that into their weekly team TV sessions.
2. Impressive Sharks scrum
The Sharks' dominance at scrum time laid the platform in their 29-12 victory over the Lions at a wet Kings Park on Saturday night. After struggling in that department against the Cheetahs the previous week, the Durbanites were expected to come off second best against a team renowned for their scrummaging prowess. However, Jannie du Plessis and Dale Chadwick redeemed themselves and while the Lions did improve when they sent on a brand new front three in the second period, the men from Johannesburg were penalised way too often at scrum time. It was one of their worst scrummaging performances in recent memory and played a big part in their demise.
3. Pat Lambie's Bok credentials
Flyhalf Pat Lambie's performance in the wet against the Lions would have impressed Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. The Sharks pivot controlled the game well from a tactical point of view, with his clever kicks cross-field proving troublesome for the Lions on numerous occasions. Lambie overshadowed opposite number Marnitz Boshoff and considering the Rugby World Cup later this year could be played in similar adverse conditions, Lambie did himself a lot of favours after his efforts in the Kings Park quagmire.
4. Four-try bonus-points still haunt Stormers
When the Blues went down to 14 men early in their clash against the Stormers at Newlands, the men from the Cape were expected to bag an easy win. They surged into an 18-6 lead at half-time and were expected to run riot in the second half. However, despite their numerical advantage, the Stormers failed to add to their two first half tries and had to settle for a hard-fought 27-16 win. But this was an occasion where they should have bagged a bonus point for four tries. They displayed a lack of patience on attack and made countless errors inside the red zone while on attack. Yes, it does appear that sometimes going down to 14 men can galvanise a team, but better execution from the Stormers would have seen them bag a vital five log points.
5. Pressure mounting on the Bulls
The Bulls host the Sharks this weekend and a third loss in a row would make it extremely tough for the men from Pretoria to reach the playoffs. It's time for a few big name players to stand up and be counted. Players like captain Pierre Spies, Adriaan Strauss and Victor Matfield are yet to get going in 2015. The sooner they do so, the better. On the positive side, youngsters Handre Pollard, Jesse Kriel and Hanru Liebenberg showed their credentials for the big stage with adequate performances on Friday night.