JOHANNESBURG - Independent Media rugby writer Vata Ngobeni has looked at the biggest talking points from the fourth round of the Super Rugby this past weekend.
SA's best fall to Kiwi's worst
Nothing is a foregone conclusion in Super Rugby and the Blues proved so with their unlikely, but thrill-a-minute win against the high-flying Lions.
Having been the whipping boys of New Zealand rugby for the past few seasons, the Blues finally played to their full potential by stealing victory from the jaws of defeat against South Africa’s best team. As much as the Lions were victims of their own complacency, it was the barnstorming talents of the Ioane brothers, Akira and Rieko, who also stole the show.
Jaguares show their teeth
When the Argentines decide to play rugby and not try ignite a street brawl, they are a pleasure to watch. And that was the case in Buenos Aires when the Jaguares put the Waratahs to the sword, running in an impressive six tries to record their first win, 38-28, of the season.
With a star-studded outfit, there is no reason why the Jaguares should not be fighting toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the competition and hopefully this win will see them step up their performances and lose their bad-boy image.
Another week, another loss
That has become the sad tale of the Stormers so far this season. Try as they might, the Stormers just can’t seem to be able to buy a win after slumping to their third consecutive defeat when they went down 33-15 to the Highlanders in Dunedin.
This comes on the back of the proper rugby lesson they got from the Crusaders in Christchurch a fortnight ago.
But the wheels of motion to this losing run had been set at the beginning of their tour in Sydney where the Stormers' schoolboy errors saw them hand victory to the Waratahs and at the same time throw away their chances of being a competitive outfit in the competition.
Sharks making noise
There is a noise coming from the East Coast of the country about their rugby team and how good it can be. But those handful of die-hard supporters will conveniently forget that the Sharks were playing against the weakest team in the competition when they got their first win.
The Sharks may have looked the part in their 50-22 win over the Sunwolves, but the true test of their mettle will be on their three-match tour Down Under. After a loss to the Lions and an uninspiring draw against the Waratahs, the Sharks will have to prove on the field that they are just as good as they look on paper on tour.
Hurricanes versus Crusaders
Amid the decline in stadium attendance and Super Rugby's value being questioned, thank goodness for the Hurricanes and Crusaders, who continue to bring the meaning of super to rugby that is dished out by the best in the southern hemisphere.
Both teams, befitting champions of the past two years the Crusaders last year and Hurricanes in 2016, dished out an enthralling game of rugby at the Cake Tin in Wellington and it again gave affirmation to how big a gap there is between New Zealand and the rest of the world.
It was a game that the Hurricanes won 29-19 but the Crusaders played their part in making the game a spectacle, while at the same time sending out a timely reminder that either one of them are likely to be the last team standing again this year.