Rugby Scribe Mark keohane shares his Rants and Raves after the weekend's Super Rugby action.
1. Stormers fullback Dillyn Leyds again underlined his attacking class with the decisive moment in the home team’s win against the Sharks. Leyds has been a rock among the rubble in the Stormers set up and he has also been the one player who consistently produced big play moments, be it at wing or at fullback.
Leyds scored the individual try of the season against the SunWolves in Hong Kong, and against the Sharks he was again devastating on the counter to set up the third try in the 37th minute. Leyds has a wonderful vision when counter-attacking. He runs with the ball in two hands, picks the mismatch against tight forwards and then beats them with acceleration.
2. It was pleasing to see the impact of so many Springboks who played in the June series win against England. The Bulls duo of Warrick Gelant and Handre Pollard were exceptional on attack in the win against the Jaguares, and Gelant’s brilliance on attack to set up his team’s first try also stopped the Jaguares' momentum.
The visitors had led 19-0 after 19 minutes when Gelant conjured up a magical play to ignite the Bulls, who thereafter scored five more tries. Stormers centre Damian de Allende was equally imposing in his attack, as well as his decision-making and passing.
3. Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett made history in playing his 200th Super Rugby match on a night when the AMI Stadium in Christchurch was (for the night) renamed the Wyatt Crockett Stadium. Crockett was introduced in the sixth minute and played a blinder.
The big fellow also produced an offload straight from the Sonny Bill Williams playbook. The 35 year-old Crockett has played 350 First Class matches (71 All Blacks, 6 Junior All Blacks, 200 Crusaders, 73 Canterbury) and also holds the individual world record of 45 successive Test wins.
1. There is nothing positive to take from the Stormers season. Thankfully the torture is over. The Stormers won just six from 16 matches and if the Bulls get just one league point from their last match against the Lions then the Stormers will end fifth out of five in the South African conference. They will also end outside the tournament’s top 10. It’s a shocking return for a region that should always be in the play-offs.
The excuses are weak and the talk that the Stormers coaches have always targeted 2019 as their season is an insult to those who in the past two seasons have paid to watch a team lose!
2. John Mitchell’s Bulls also won for just the sixth time in 15 matches. How can Mitchell and his Bulls be judged any differently from Robbie Fleck and his Stormers? The Bulls attack has improved but their defence has been awful. Defence specialist Brendan Venter tweeted about the science in employing a rush defence and wrote it isn’t just charging up like headless chickens.
The Bulls conceded three tries in 19 minutes and this season have leaked the third most points. They have also scored 35 points less than the opposition. Stop applauding mediocrity.
3. And while on mediocrity, get the Sunwolves out of Super Rugby after 2019 and reduce the tournament to a single round league system where the top four then play in the semi-finals. The Sunwolves, made up largely of Kiwi, Aussie,
South African and Pacific Island players, have coughed up 664 points at an average of 41. The tournament structure has to change. There is no credibility in a competition when a team can lose nine from 16 and still make the play-offs.
Mark Keohane is an award-winning rugby journalist, former Springbok Communications Manager, founder of Keo.co.za and the author of five best selling rugby books.