5 talking points | Super Rugby Week 4
Cape Town - Sport24's Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points after Round 4 of the 2020 Super Rugby season:
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1. Bok star shines, but gives up hat-trick
The Sharks' Springbok wing Makazole Mapimpi should have bagged a hat-trick of tries in his side's 36-24 win over the Melbourne Rebels in Ballarat.
After a length-of-the-field counter-attack, Mapimpi went over the tryline before he opted to pass the ball back to Curwin Bosch who dotted down.
The score would have put Mapimpi level with Brumbies hooker Folau Fainga'a atop the season's try-scoring charts (5) and if I was his coach I would tell him to put sentiment aside and keep the tries flowing.
There appeared to be some confusion on Bosch's part, and if the latter had dropped the ball, Sean Everitt would not have been a happy camper.
Nevertheless, Mapimpi is having a stellar season and let's hope his star continues to shine.
2. Two debatable yellow cards
I felt there were two debatable yellow cards in the matches at Newlands and Loftus Versfeld.
Stormers prop Frans Malherbe was harshly yellow-carded for a what was deemed a dangerous tackle against the Jaguares. I'll agree that Malherbe should have made more of an attempt to use his arms, but the angle at which the Jaguares player went in made it very difficult for the Springbok to make contact in any other way. For me, it was a penalty and warning at best.
The Bulls lost skipper Burger Odendaal for 10 minutes when he was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Blues wing Emoni Narawa.
Replays showed Narawa, who fielded a high ball, duck into the tackle, and while the referee applied the letter of the law, I feel common sense should have prevailed in this scenario...
3. Dominant Stormers scrum
The Stormers scrum is the best in the competition and they annihilated the Jaguares in that department on Saturday, winning several scrum penalties and keeping the Argentines pegged back for most of the afternoon.
Even when Malherbe was sin-binned, the hosts had the luxury of bringing on another Springbok in Wilco Louw - and with Jamie Roberts stepping in at flank to make up the numbers, the Stormers continued to pummel the Jaguares in the scrums.
4. Agony at the death for Bulls
The Bulls' season is almost in ruins after a third consecutive defeat and the manner in which they surrendered on Saturday was gut-wrenching.
With time seemingly up, the Blues launched a counter-attack from deep inside their own half before winning a kickable penalty to break the Loftus faithful's hearts.
I felt there may have been a forward pass in the build-up to the Blues penalty, but the Bulls should never have allowed this game to slip away.
They had the Blues pegged back in their own half in atrocious conditions but somehow allowed the Kiwis some running momentum...
5. Shock result
No doubt the shock of the weekend came after the Brumbies stunned the previously unbeaten Chiefs 26-14 in Hamilton.
The surprise result also saw the men from Canberra snap an 8-0 losing streak for Australian teams against foreign opposition in this year's tournament.
The Brumbies were unlucky to lose at home to the Highlanders the previous weekend and are without doubt the best Australian outfit.
They have the pack to mix it with the best in the competition and will pose a threat going forward.
The result also aided the Stormers, who are now atop the overall standings.