Cape Town - Sport24's Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points after Week 12 of the 2019 Super Rugby competition:
1. Keep the Sharks away from Kings Park!
The Sharks produced another inspiring performance on the road when they drew 21-21 with the Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday.
It was an heroic defensive effort from the Durbanites, who made a whopping 182 tackles compared to the meagre 63 of the hosts.
Of course, it could have been so much better as it took a try after the hooter for the Crusaders to snatch a draw, but the Sharks would have taken this result beforehand.
It has also become clear that the Sharks class of 2019 is a different one on the road.
The Sharks have looked pathetic at their Kings Park home, with defeats to the Stormers (16-11), Bulls (19-16), Jaguares (51-17) and Reds (21-14) making it tough to fathom how they are able to produce such contrasting results away from home.
There was a stunning 42-5 annihilation of the Lions at Ellis Park a few weeks ago, while the Sharks also started their Australasian tour with a 23-15 win over the Waratahs in Sydney.
They will fancy getting another win on the road in their tour finale against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday.
2. Moaning Kiwis…
The Sharks' physicality was impressive in their outing against the Crusaders and their staunch defensive effort forced the Kiwis into conceding several penalties.
The Sharks' in-your-face type of performance is a template for the other South African teams to follow and also for the Springboks when they brace for the All Blacks later in the year.
This is the way you can rattle the New Zealanders and it came as no surprise to me when Crusaders No 8 Kieran Read was moaning about the Sharks' tactics afterwards.
Read, who was playing his 150th game for the Crusaders, took aim at the Sharks' scrummaging.
"From our point of view, we want to scrum, we want to get the ball and get out. When you've got a team which is potentially trying tricks and isn't doing the same thing every scrum, you're going to scrums which go down and don't complete," Read told the Stuff.co.nz website after his side conceded a few scrum penalties.
He added: "When one scrum is wanting to scrum and to keep it up, I don't think we got rewarded for that. It's important for refs to hopefully learn from that. It is frustrating. It's important we don't let that boil over into the rest of our game. We're doing work on it. But as I said, when a team just wants to pull back on a scrum and you're hitting like you have previously, and they've taken it, the scrum is going to go down."
From a South African perspective, this is exactly what we want the Kiwis to be doing after an intensely physical battle... to moan...
3. Bulls decimate Waratahs scrum
They may have scraped through on the scoreboard (28-21), but the Bulls will be chuffed by their demolition job at scrum time against the Waratahs.
Props Lizo Gqoboka and Trevor Nyakane produced performances that would surely have made Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus sit up and take note.
Replacement front-ranker Simphiwe Matanzima also caught the eye when he barged through for the winning try close to the Waratahs tryline.
Elsewhere, the Bulls will not be overly pleased by their game management as they let the Waratahs back into the contest after leading 21-7 at one stage.
Heading into the final 10 minutes on level pegging was not what the doctor ordered...
4. Stormers drop the ball in Buenos Aires
In the end, the 30-25 scoreline did not look too bad for the Stormers in their defeat to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, but it was rather the manner in which they subsided that raised concern.
It was another Stormers performance that exposed their lack of inventiveness with ball in hand.
The official statistics will tell you that the Stormers made 350m on attack, compared to the 265m of their hosts, but they seldom looked threatening.
As has become customary, there were countless knock-ons, aimless kicking and errors at critical junctures.
JJ Engelbrecht's deliberate knock-down close to the Jaguares tryline - which yielded a penalty try - summed up another below-par effort for a team that is going nowhere in this competition…
5. More lineout woes for Stormers
The Stormers have struggled for large parts with their lineout this season and against the Jaguares it cost them dearly.
The Capetonians lost four of their 13 lineouts in Buenos Aires and it played a part in their five-point defeat.
An example of how it cost them dearly was late in the game when they butchered a lineout deep in Jaguares territory, putting paid to any hopes of a snatching a late win.
A team laden with Springboks up front should do better at this set piece.