5 talking points: Super Rugby Week 4
Cape Town - Sport24's Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points after Week 4 of the 2019 Super Rugby competition:
1. What if Pollard gets injured?
After Saturday's Bulls v Sharks derby in Pretoria, Nick Mallett made a valid point in the SuperSport studio when he said the Springboks could be in trouble at flyhalf if Handre Pollard gets injured.
Pollard produced another inspiring performance in his side's 37-14 annihilation of the Sharks and it's clear that he is head and shoulders above the rest of the field in the flyhalf pecking order.
He currently comfortably tops the competition's point-scorer's list with 74 points.
Elton Jantjies and Robert du Preez have work to do and it should be a worry for Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus that other flyhalf candidates like Damian Willemse and Curwin Bosch have been utilised more at fullback in recent times.
2. Skilful Bulls backs
The Bulls pack is no doubt markedly improved, with the likes of Duane Vermeulen and Schalk Brits proving invaluable.
But the skills level of their outside backs that also deserves a mention.
Against the Sharks they scored three spectacular tries via a brace from speedster Rosko Specman and centre Jesse Kriel.
The simple ability of drawing a defender before offloading was evident and it's clear the distribution skills of the Bulls backs improved under new backline and attack coach Chris Rossouw.
3. Back to the drawing board for 'beaten up' Sharks
"We have been beaten up for two weeks in a row now."
These words were uttered by Sharks coach Robert du Preez after their defeat on Saturday.
Du Preez is right, the Sharks lost the physical battle in their past two encounters - against the Stormers at Kings Park and the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.
Handling errors continue to plague the Durbanites and they also looked to run out of ideas against a sound Bulls defensive line.
After a promising start to the season, the Sharks have realised that Currie Cup success does not automatically translate to Super Rugby...
4. Lions 'out' in the 90s...
Lions coach Swys de Bruin was disappointed that his side let slip the bonus point in their 47-39 win over the Jaguares at Ellis Park.
De Bruin picked several youngsters for the clash and they held a 47-13 advantage midway through the second half, before conceding four tries in the final quarter to give up a try-scoring bonus-point.
De Bruin afterwards made a comparison to cricket when he stated: "It's very disappointing. We'd built the innings and then we went out like a batsman in the 90s."
Substituting some of their senior players towards the end no doubt halted the Lions' momentum.
However, taking things into perspective, the Lions can certainly be happy with the performance of several of their young players, most notably centre Wandisile Simelane, who scored a try in a man-of-the-match performance.
5. No stopping the Crusaders
It would take a brave man to bet against the Crusaders winning the competition for the third year in a row in 2019 - and 10th title overall.
The Crusades thumped the hapless Chiefs 57-28 in Christchurch over the weekend to notch their fourth win on the trot.
They have class all over the park and I'm going to make an early prediction and back them for the title...
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