Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points after Round 15 (South Africa) of the 2017 Super Rugby competition:
1. Gelant 'boogies' for resurgent Bulls
Fullback Warrick Gelant showed what a prodigious talent he is by bagging a hat-trick of tries in the men from Pretoria’s surprise 30-17 win over the Sharks in Durban.
It was a different Bulls outfit to what we’ve witnessed this year and perhaps a sign of players eager to impress soon-to-be new coach John Mitchell, who was watching from afar.
Gelant, known as 'Boogie' among his peers, proved what an attacking threat he can be and if it wasn’t for injury he could have been closer to the national fray by now.
His finishing was easy on the eye, apart from the one occasion when he thought it best to run towards the corner when dotting down...
2. Kings have exceeded expectations
They can't make the playoffs, but the Southern Kings should hold their heads high after yet another unlikely win.
After beating the Jaguares 31-30 in Argentina, the men from Port Elizabeth now boast five wins from 13 outings and have already done more than expected.
It’s likely to be their last season in Super Rugby for the foreseeable future as they - along with the Cheetahs - are set to be axed from the competition.
The Kings are expected to feature in the PRO12 European competition and given their Super Rugby form, they should prove fairly competitive over there.
3. Losing players to the sin-bin is criminal!
We saw how costly Sonny Bill Williams’ red card proved for the All Blacks against the British and Irish Lions and Saturday’s match between the Stormers and Cheetahs in Bloemfontein also illustrated how a team can struggle with only 14 men on the park.
The Stormers were seemingly coasting at 26-10 ahead shortly before half-time, only to lose flank Rynhardt Elstadt to a yellow card.
Later in the game, lock Pieter-Steph du Toit was also yellow-carded and I counted 24 unanswered Cheetahs points in those 20 minutes the Stormers were down a man.
The Cheetahs also lost flyhalf Niel Marais to a yellow card, with the Cape side similarly cashing in during that period.
Players need to be made aware how vital it is for their team to keep a full complement of players on the park.
4. Loosies see red
To add to the yellow card misery, the game in Bloemfontein ended on a low note when loose forwards Elstadt and Henco Venter were red carded for striking each other.
Replays showed Venter hit Elstadt in the face with his elbow before the Stormers bad-boy retaliated with a punch.
Upon replays it appeared as though Elstadt’s attempted punch did not land, with Venter surely deserving an 'Oscar' for animatedly falling to the ground, pretending he was hurt.
Nevertheless, Elstadt should not have retaliated and his ill-discipline is becoming a serious problem for the Stormers.
This is not the first time this year I’ve highlighted foul play from Elstadt and the Cape side’s top brass will surely get to a point where they decide enough is enough.
It’s was good to see that both Elstadt and Venter were suspended for a match after judicial hearings on Sunday.
5. Rampant Lions
The Lions showed they have no intentions of taking their foot off the pedal when they thrashed the hapless Sunwolves 94-7 at Ellis Park.
Yes, the opposition was not much to write home about, but the intensity the Lions displayed was nevertheless impressive.
The Lions are now only two points adrift of the log-leading Crusaders.
Both teams have one regular season game remaining, and with the Crusaders facing a tough task against the defending champions Hurricanes in Wellington, the Lions will fancy their chances of finishing on top.
If the 'Saders slip up against the 'Canes, the Lions would need to beat the Sharks in Durban to top the overall standings.
That could prove vital and the Lions would be favourites to win the competition if they host the final...