Cape Town - Sport24's Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points after Round 3 of the 2020 Super Rugby season:
1. Disruptions hamper Sharks
It's fair to say that some of the blame for the Sharks' 38-22 demise to the Hurricanes can be laid at the door of injuries.
The Durbanites were disrupted by the late withdrawal of tighthead prop Thomas du Toit due to illness and then lost winger Makazole Mapimpi and flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain to injuries in the first quarter of the match.
The Sharks did well to go into half-time at level pegging (17-all) but fell apart somewhat in the second stanza.
2. Did 'Canes hooker deserve punishment?
A big talking point from the game in Wellington came late on when the home side's hooker Dane Coles recklessly dived on to Sharks replacement Sanele Nohamba who was lying on the ground in his own 22m area.
Replays showed Coles make contact with the neck area of Nohamba, but the incident went unpunished.
The Hurricanes were heavily criticised for their off-the-ball antics in a 27-0 loss to the Stormers earlier in the season and if they continue in this trend they will not be winning many neutral fans...
Should Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles have been carded for this? If so, what colour? ?????? pic.twitter.com/WYJfqm3SU8— RugbyRocks.com (@rugby_rocks) February 15, 2020
3. Stormers beat the altitude
On the balance of play, I felt the Stormers deserved to beat the Lions at Ellis Park but found themselves in trouble when they seemingly ran out of puff in the last quarter while leading 26-15.
As is often the case for visiting teams, the altitude looked like it caught up with the Stormers as the Lions mounted a comeback to lead 30-26 right up to the final moment of play.
However, the Stormers got a late second wind and attacked from inside their own half to take play through six phases before Ruan Nel rounded off a great team try.
4. Stormers scrum dominates at Ellis Park
One area of the humdinger at Ellis Park where the Stormers dominated was at scrum time.
Stormers captain and loosehead Steven Kitshoff deserves a special mention - the burly Springbok front-ranker completely outclassed Jannie du Plessis and later Carlu Sadie.
In the build-up, the Stormers said they would be targeting the Lions scrum and they kept their promise by keeping the Lions on the back foot in this department all afternoon.
5. Jantjies leads by example
I'm often a big critic of Elton Jantjies, who has struggled to step up in Springbok colours, but he was vital for the Lions on Saturday and deserved his man-of-the-match accolade.
In the first half, the flyhalf set up a try for Courtnall Skosan with a neat chip over the top and his overall game management was impressive.
Jantjies seems to relish the leadership responsibilities and was instrumental in the Lions twice mounting comebacks, before letting it slip after the hooter.