Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points after Round 12 of the 2016 Super Rugby competition:
1. Shocking, pathetic Stormers
The headline sums up how I feel about the Stormers’ efforts in their 17-all draw to the Sunwolves in Singapore.
I had the unenviable task of doing live updates on this game on Saturday and what transpired was nothing short of an embarrassment for South African rugby.
Apart from a dominant scrum, the Stormers were inept in every other aspect of play. Lineouts went astray, they were way too lateral on attack, tackles were slipped, they were beaten at the breakdown and, probably most alarmingly, played like a team half asleep.
They did not deserve to snatch a last-gasp draw when Vincent Koch barged over and had the Sunwolves just kicked at goal three minutes from time, the contest could have been sealed.
The Stormers clearly underestimated their opponents and appeared to enter the game unprepared - for which their management team must be taken to task for.
2. Kolbe needs to consider playing scrumhalf
Nick Mallett highlighted the issue last year and again brought it up in the SuperSport studio this past weekend.
If he wants to have an international future, Cheslin Kolbe should consider playing scrumhalf.
“Cheslin Kolbe is incredibly brave, he has very good feet and a good kicking and passing game. I’m not sure he can compete internationally at fullback, being as slight as he is. A year or two ago against the Sharks, he beat them twice from the base of the scrum and created chaos when he stepped two forwards. I think Cheslin just needs experience playing at scrumhalf and he could be the best No 9 in South Africa,” said Mallett.
Mallett is right, Kolbe has a heart the size of a lion, but he does appear too small to make a lasting impact at international level at 15.
Kolbe is almost always man-handled when he takes the ball up in contact from the back and it’s only through clever positioning in the tackle that he manages to secure possession for his side.
But I can’t help but think that he’ll be proven out of his depth at international level, so why not opt for the No 9 position?
The 1.70m Kolbe is similar in size to the world’s best scrumhalf - Aaron Smith from New Zealand. Kolbe has proven kicking and passing skills and is lighting fast of the mark.
The Stormers can do with some injection at the base of the scrum so why not try Kolbe in the No 9 jumper?
3. Jaguares not covering themselves in glory
They are proving competitive in their matches, but they keep losing. That’s how I would describe the Jaguares’ debut season thus far in Super Rugby.
They suffered another narrow home loss this past weekend, going down 25-22 against the Sharks, but I expected more from the men from Argentina, especially given the fact that their squad is full of internationals, many of whom helped Argentina to reach last year’s Rugby World Cup semi-finals.
The Jaguares have won only two out of 10 games and are languishing in second last spot in the South African group.
Their defeat to the Sharks was also marred by two incidents of foul play, with skipper Agustin Creevy banned for one week for a dangerous tackle on Jean Deysel and No 8 Leonardo Senatore awaiting possibly more severe punishment for allegedly biting the arm of Keegan Daniel during a ruck.
The Jaguares have been disappointing, to say the least.
4. Back to business for Lions
Following a 50-17 mauling at the hands of the Hurricanes in their previous game, the Lions rebounded in the best possible way by thumping a hapless Blues outfit 43-5.
The win took the Lions back to the top of the South African Group but the manner in which they played in treacherous conditions was the most impressive.
They dominated the set pieces, their defence was aggressive, they won the breakdown battle and excelled in the tactical kicking department.
Jaco Kriel was immense at the breakdowns as well as carrying the ball, while at the back Elton Jantjies and hat-trick hero Lionel Mapoe were again the standouts.
5. Bulls tumble back to earth
After thumping the Force 42-20 in their first match on tour, the Bulls were brimming with confidence having gone unbeaten for seven matches.
But they have come crashing down to earth after losing the final two matches of their tour in comprehensive fashion, first 23-6 to the Brumbies in Canberra and then 31-8 to the Waratahs in Sydney this past weekend.
The past two matches proved that while they are on the up this season, the Bulls are still a work in progress.
They will console themselves with the fact that the Stormers slipped up against the Sunwolves and will head into this weekend’s clash against the Cape franchise feeling they should win.