Wynona Louw lists four flashpoints from the weekends Super Rugby action.
1. The Lions are South Africa’s best (attacking) bet
The Lions’ 44-14 thrashing of the Reds at Ellis Park at the weekend silenced whatever concerns there might have been about their relatively erratic start to the Super Rugby season. Johan Ackermann’s men secured their eighth victory at home over the past two seasons, and that tally included some big teams like the Highlanders, Crusaders, Blues and on Saturday the Reds.
After their second defeat to the Jaguares away last week, Ackermann restored his team sheet to full strength for the round four fixture. And it was a great one. The hosts ran in seven tries to the Reds’ two and wing Courtnall Skosan had a lovely day on the green turf to bag four. Yes, the Reds conceded a yellow and a red card in the second half, but regardless of that, the Lions dominated in almost all facets of play and their interplay was superb. Hopefully they’ve built a strong enough case to convince all the other SA teams to continue on the attacking route?
2. The Sharks are creating their own flyhalf problems
It was obviously a big blow for the Sharks when Pat Lambie got injured, but I think his presence was missed even more than expected in their narrow 19-17 win over the Kings in Durban. And Sharks coach Robert du Preez didn’t help the situation either by bringing in unknown Benhard Janse van Rensburg. I’m all for giving youngsters a shot, but why go and pluck a 20-year-old out of the Leopards camp when you have two very capable (and young) flyhalves like Garth April and Inny Radebe in your midst?
I don’t understand the little logic, if any, that went into that decision. To be fair, Janse van Rensburg can’t take all the blame for the Sharks’ struggle at the weekend, but he very clearly struggled to control the game like a flyhalf should. I can’t feel bad for the Sharks. I mean, April impressed with his fine Super Rugby form last year and the silky running Radebe did enough in last season’s Currie Cup to show his worth. So again, why Benhard Janse van Rensburg? Go figure.
3. Card confusion continues
Reds playmaker Quade Cooper fully deserved that little red present he was shown during their demolition by the Lions on Saturday, but what left me a bit puzzled was how absolutely nothing was done about Izaia Perese’s tip tackle on Lions No 10 Elton Jantjies seconds before Cooper decided to swing his arm around powerful Lions inside centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg’s neck and latch onto him.
Not only was Perese’s tackle on Jantjies dangerous, but it was also late. Yet Mike Fraser, who was close enough to both dangerous take-downs to see it, didn’t do anything about Perese’s action. Even though the Reds’ right wing’s tackle wasn’t reviewed, it doesn’t help the inconsistency surrounding yellow and red cards. Something like that just shouldn’t be missed.
4. Madosh Tambwe could make a big impact
The 19-year-old Kinshasa-born wing, who made his Super Rugby debut this past weekend, impressed during last year’s Under-19 Currie Cup competition and was unexpectedly included in the Lions’ starting team for their pre-season games.
But this past weekend he made the big step up to Super Rugby, and although he looked a little clumsy in the early stages of game, he warmed up as the game progressed and showed just why Ackermann has backed him. He was unlucky not to have scored on debut, but there’s no telling what the big youngster can do this season.