5 talking points | Super Rugby Week 7
Sport24's Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points after Round 7 of the 2020 Super Rugby season:
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1. Rugby hiatus!
The sporting world has come to a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic and it was only a matter of time before Super Rugby was also affected.
Governing body Sanzaar said on Saturday they had "no option but to suspend the 2020 Super Rugby tournament at the conclusion of this weekend's matches for the foreseeable future".
The Bulls and Lions' Australasian tours have been cut short, with both teams on their way home.
The Sharks currently top the standings and it will be interesting to see whether the season continues in full at a later stage, gets reduced or scrapped altogether. Let's hope it's not the latter...
2. Lions in a world of hurt
The Lions' defence has been a major concern this season and on Saturday they leaked six tries in a 43-10 mauling at the hands of the Blues.
Compared to previous seasons - in which they made three consecutive finals - this Lions outfit is an inexperienced one and it has shown on a tour where they also suffered ugly defeats to the Waratahs (29-17) and Rebels (37-17).
This (one win from six matches) is officially now the Lions' worst start to a Super Rugby season since 2012, when an opening-round victory over the Cheetahs was followed by an 11-match losing streak and eventual last-place overall (15th) with three wins from 16 fixtures.
It saw the Lions dumped from the competition in favour of the Southern Kings.
3. Bumbling Bulls run out of puff
The Bulls blew a 17-0 lead to lose 41-17 to the Reds in Brisbane. A promising start turned into a nightmare.
Reds flyhalf James O'Connor said at half-time that the Bulls were out on their feet. The score was 19-17 in the Bulls' favour at that stage and the manner in which they capitulated was concerning to say the least.
It could be a fitness issue, or perhaps a combination of that and the travel burden...
4. Did Stormers flank deserve red?
A big talking point in Saturday's Sharks v Stormers game in Durban came when the Cape side's flank Johan du Toit received a yellow card in the first minute for taking out Sharks scrumhalf Louis Schreuder in the air.
Schreuder fell awkwardly on his back but referee AJ Jacobs overruled the television match official Willie Vos's advice to hand out a red card.
Jacobs said Schreuder fell on his back - and not head first - which the referee used as a mitigating factor.
Opinion was divided, some said Jacobs was right to give only a yellow card because Schreuder fell on his back, while others said there was hardly any difference with his back and head both making heavy contact with the ground.
I cannot help but wonder whether the fact that it happened in the first minute of the match played a part in the referee only dishing out a yellow card...
5. Sharks thoroughly deserved their win
The Stormers led 14-13 with just over 10 minutes to go in the duel at Kings Park, before the Sharks closed out the game in some style with two penalties and a try after the hooter.
A Stormers victory would have been a "burgle" as the Sharks dominated proceedings for most of the afternoon.
The Sharks dominated the metres made on attack (351m-197m), carries (105-60), defenders beaten (20-12), turnovers won (9-2), and rucks won (78-31) categories, while the hosts only conceded three penalties to the visitors' 10.
The Durbanites were full value for their win!