What must Meyer be thinking?

2014-04-22 00:00

Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira proved why he is loved

If you were at King’s Park on Saturday, then your voice must be recovering from all the countless shouts of “BEEEEAAAAASSSST!!” The big man was at his best, making a number of runs, breaking tackles and gaining a few metres every time he got the ball. Beast walked away with the man-of-the-match award. Along with the brothers Du Plessis, the Sharks have the best front row in the competition. Saturday also showed how important Frans Steyn is to the franchise. The experienced Steyn was constantly talking to and guiding the young Tim Swiel during the game, and he stepped up to take a few kicks in the second half.

The South African

Conference is the pits

Heyneke Meyer must be looking at the South African Conference and thinking “nooit”. The Sharks are sitting pretty at the top of the overall log with a decent six-point lead over the second-placed Brumbies. But the rest of the picture looks pretty grim. In their conference, they are ahead of the Bulls by a massive 12 points, and all four of their local rivals occupy positions in the lower half of the table, with the Stormers and Cheetahs in the bottom two. South African sides have also lost 11 out of 11 games overseas. The Sharks go down under after this week’s game, but with the confidence they’ve gained on their run of home games, they’ll hope to do better than that.

The Waratahs are not a one-man show, but they’re pretty close to one

The Waratahs didn’t need Israel Folau in Cape Town. The Stormers were terrible. In the three games that they played without this season’s top try scorer, Michael Cheika’s men lost twice as their backline couldn’t capitalise on the brilliance of Kurtley Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper. Folau added to his try tally against the Bulls last weekend, and with the season entering the second half, his value to the team will come through as they chase the Brumbies at the top of the Australian Conference.

The Crusaders are back

After a slow start to the competition, the Crusaders confirmed that this season is just beginning for them with a win over the reigning champions Chiefs on the weekend. What made Saturday’s victory that more meaningful was that the seven-time champions defeated the two-time reigning champions in their own back yard at the Waikato Stadium in Hamilton. The men from Christchurch are peaking at just the right time, and the rest of the competition will have to be careful not to write them off. It’s been six years since the Crusaders won Super Rugby, and they will want to change that.

Benji Marshall is no Sonny Bill

Before the season began, there was a big hoo ha made in New Zealand — and here — about Benji Marshall’s decision to switch codes from rugby league to union. Like the other famous convert, Sonny Bill Williams, Benji wanted to play for the All Blacks. Like Sonny Bill, Benji wanted to win the Rugby World Cup. But alas, Benji has shown that he’s no Sonny Bill, and after starting just one game for the Blues, he was dropped to the bench. And it’s not as though they’ve missed him; they’ve still managed to lose a couple of games without him. Marshall has since asked to be released early from his two-year-contract and return to the 13-man code.

This coming Saturday is a good day to get things done around the house

The Hurricanes play the Reds, and the Force entertain the Bulls on Saturday morning. The only game that will be played in South Africa on the day will be bottom of the log Cheetahs hosting the second from bottom Stormers in Bloemfontein. The two teams have been pretty boring this season, so perhaps one could use the time to get some work done around the house, perhaps even paint the garage. Waiting for the paint to dry should prove a more exciting task than watching the potential snorefest that will be served up at the Free State Stadium.

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