Cape Town - Sport24’s Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points after Round 2 of the 2018 Super Rugby competition:
1. Stormers butcher golden opportunity
A comedy of errors at crucial junctures cost the Stormers badly in their 34-27 defeat to the Waratahs in Sydney.
The Capetonians had every chance to put what looked like an average Waratahs line-up to the sword.
They annihilated the ‘Tahs scrum - largely due to destroyer-in-chief prop forwards Steven Kitshoff and Wilco Louw - but will rue not capitalising on this handy platform.
The home side was also down to 14 men at a vital stage in the second period - instead it was the visitors who played like they were down a man.
The late introduction of reserve hooker Dean Muir proved costly as the Stormers coughed up two lineouts.
It appeared as though Muir did not understand the lineout calls and that is worrisome from a player and coaching perspective.
Aside from dominating throughout at scrum time, the Stormers critically lost one of their own feeds shortly before full-time.
The Stormers’ inability to remain composed when it matters most is nothing new to their long-suffering fans...
2. Penalty try debate at Ellis Park
It has now become customary for a Super Rugby match involving the Jaguares to yield a yellow card or two.
The Jaguares suffered a double setback in the 33rd minute of their clash against the Lions in Johannesburg when winger Bautista Delguy was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-down which resulted in a penalty try.
Referee Jaco Peyper, along with television match official (TMO) Willie Vos, ruled that there were no cover defenders and that a try would in all likelihood have been scored had Warren Whiteley’s pass reached Aphiwe Dyantyi.
Referees have been told to be strict on any deliberate knock-downs but some pundits have questioned whether the knock-down was in fact deliberate and that the Jaguares did have a man in position to prevent a possible try.
It was nevertheless another ill-disciplined performance from the Argentines. They ended with two yellow cards and conceded 12 penalties as questions continue to be asked about the value they add to the competition.
3. No Ackers hangover for Lions
A sign of a good side is one that wins comfortably even when not at its best.
I noticed a few scribes criticise the Lions’ performance in their 47-27 win over the Jaguares.
Yes, the execution of their plans was not always spot on and it wasn’t all plain-sailing in the scrums and lineouts - but I do feel the positives outweigh the negatives for Swys de Bruin’s charges.
Many felt De Bruin would struggle to step into Johan Ackermann’s shoes but he’s started on a high note by beating the Sharks and Jaguares.
The Lions may have made mistakes but dominated the Jaguares in the metres made (666m compared to 294m), carries (148-75), clean breaks (18-8), passes completed (207-89) and offloads (18-7) categories.
This indicates a willingness to attack - and that attack was spearheaded by winger Aphiwe Dyanti, who scored a brace of tries.
Dyanti has now won back-to-back man-of-the-match accolades and has been a standout with his acceleration and finishing.
His second try was a classic in which he bamboozled several Jaguares defenders, so much so that two of them ran into each other.
4. Mitchell-factor rubs off on Bulls
John Mitchell’s hand was clearly visible in the Bulls’ play as they upset the Hurricanes 21-19 in Pretoria.
There was marked improvement in the skills level of the Bulls players.
Wing Johnny Kotze’s opening try was set up by a brilliant one-handed off-load in the tackle from centre Jesse Kriel.
Kriel’s silky skills drew two Hurricanes defenders to free up the space for Kotze to score in the corner.
Lock Lood de Jager’s first half try was equally spectacular - set up by a break in midfield from second-row partner RG Snyman, before the giant Springbok out-sprinted the two Hurricanes halfbacks TJ Perenara and Ihaia West.
The two above-mentioned scores were unthinkable from Bulls teams in recent years.
5. TMO decisions at Loftus
There were also two debatable TMO decisions in the game at Loftus.
Snyman thought he had scored close to the uprights in the first half but TMO Marius Jonker instructed referee Rasta Rasivhenge that a Bulls player had knocked on just before the Bulls lock scooped and barged over.
The Bulls will argue that the ball may have been dislodged by a Hurricanes player instead or that is was dropped straight down.
In the second half, Perenara was perhaps also a tad unlucky not to be awarded a try.
On replays it looked as though the All Black scrumhalf had some sort of downward pressure as he attempted to score. It’s clear he wasn’t in full control, but the slow-motion replay does reveal some sort of downward pressure... in my opinion...