Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points after Round 7 of the 2016 Super Rugby competition:
1. A new Prince at Newlands?
Legendary Springbok Carel du Plessis was nicknamed the Prince of Wings during his playing days and on Friday night his son, Jean-Luc, showed glimpses of his famous dad when he ran out at flyhalf for the Stormers against the Sunwolves.
With Robert du Preez and Kurt Coleman sidelined with long-term knee injuries, Du Plessis has a golden opportunity to make the No 10 jersey his own.
The 21-year-old took his first chance well on Friday, displaying some slick distribution skills and showing he’s not afraid to get physical at the breakdown as well as tackle.
He also scored a brilliant individual try when he broke away down the grandstand touchline, kicked ahead before re-gathering to dot down in the corner. It was reminiscent of his father's heyday in the 1980s…
2. Stormers not the complete package
The Stormers ran in seven tries to beat the Sunwolves 46-17, but they are still far from the complete package.
The visitors enjoyed the lion’s share of territory and possession, with the Stormers forced to make 141 tackles.
The alarming part is that they missed 31 tackles, conceded 13 turnovers and made several handling errors.
Their lack of an out-and-out fetcher could cost also prove costly going forward and Nick Mallett was right to note in the SuperSport studio afterwards: “The Stormers had quite a few guys who went in for turnovers - Jean-Luc du Plessis, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Nizaam Carr and Siya Kolisi - but there’s no individual who is permanently making a nuisance of himself like an openside flank should.”
3. Jantjies stakes Bok claim
Elton Jantjies put up his hand for the Springbok No 10 jersey with a stellar performance in his side’s 24-9 win over the Sharks in Durban.
Jantjies played a sound tactical game and his goal-kicking is also on song at present.
And with Handre Pollard and Pat Lambie sidelined with injury, Jantjies has overwhelmingly put up his hand this season.
It’s no wonder that Sharks director of rugby Gary Gold noted the following after his side’s loss:
"Obviously at the moment Pat and Handre are out, which is not great from a Springbok point of view, but there’s no way that Elton Jantjies is going to let you down in a Springbok jersey.
"I think he’s cool, calm, composed, he kicks his goals, he runs the show well... I think he’s outstanding."
4. Bulls displayed attacking intent
Yes, they may have played against a weak team, but the attacking intent shown by the Bulls was pleasing to see in their 38-6 win over the Kings in Port Elizabeth.
When Nollis Marais was appointed Bulls coach before last year’s Currie Cup, he spoke of how he wanted them to play a more enterprising brand.
They did so with aplomb at times in the Currie Cup, but struggled in that regard in Super Rugby.
But Saturday night’s effort was pleasing and good on the eye.
Nick Mallett was right in his analysis afterwards: “This was the Bulls’ best performance of the past four weeks. They struggled in the wins over the Sunwolves and Cheetahs and they drew with the Sharks.
“In this game, they put together a performance that had a lot of good variety to it. The forwards played good rugby, particularly the locks RG Snyman and Jason Jenkins, who are very impressive.
“I liked the way their backline used the width of the field. There are a lot of good things for coach Nollis Marais to work with after this positive win. This was a very encouraging game for the Bulls.”
5. Super Rugby’s whipping boys
The three new entrants in this year’s competition - Sunwolves, Jaguares and Southern Kings - have not exactly covered themselves in glory thus far.
The Kings have notched one win - over the Sunwolves - but it’s hard to see them beat any other team in the competition this year.
The same can be said for the Sunwolves, who are struggling without being able to call on players from Japan’s top four clubs.
While the struggles of the Kings and Sunwolves were expected, more was expected of the Jaguares.
They are fielding a near Test-strength team but have only one win in six matches to show for their efforts.
Yes, some of their losses have been close, but a team with that amount of experience should have performed better.
As things currently stand, the new 18-team competition is not an improvement from last year...