Sure the ‘braaivleis vure‘ burned long into the night in Pretoria on Saturday night after the Vodacom Bulls made it three wins out of three matches against South African franchises.
It was a weekend were we saw the home teams taking the wins and some teams laying down a marker early in the competition.
Super Rugby Round 4 Full Reports
Hurricanes 25-22 Highlanders MATCH REPORT
Rebels 29-26 Brumbies MATCH REPORT
Crusaders 57-28 Chiefs MATCH REPORT
Blues 28-20 Sunwolves MATCH REPORT
Waratahs 28-17 Reds MATCH REPORT
Lions 47-39 Jaguares MATCH REPORT
Bulls 37-14 Sharks MATCH REPORT
Round 4 Warp
The Hurricanes looks a total different team since the return of All Black Beauden Barrett at ten.
He is just controlling the game for the Hurricanes which creates space and tries. The Hurricanes had to wait till the last minute of the match to seal the game with a penalty over the Highlanders.
If anyone thought the Highlanders is a one week team, then they will have a huge surprise coming their way.
In some sense they were unlucky not to take the win and we were massively impressed with their pack in the set pieces.
They are such a dangerous team on the counter and will be there about come the playoffs if they can keep this up.
They did it in round one away against the Brumbies and they did it again this weekend when they faced the Brumbies at home again.
The Brumbies was in full control of the match in the first half just to see it slowly slip away when the Rebels came out in that second half to take the win 26-19.
It must have break the Brumbies to be in front at halftime 19-3 to see the final score of 26-19.
The Rebels under coach Wessels is a special team and they are starting to look like a team that can challenge the big guns in this competition.
We do not want to talk too soon, because last year they also had a great start just to start slipping in the middle of the competition.
The misery continued for the struggling Chiefs side when they faced the Crusaders early Saturday morning.
Although the scoreboard will show 28 points for the Chiefs, it will not show the serious problems they currently have. By the time they scored 3 quick tries at the end the Crusaders have already replaced their second team with their third team.
The worry for other teams in the competition is that the Crusaders have won 4 out 4 but have still not fielded their A-team this year.
As woful the Chiefs rugby is at the moment as brilliant the Crusaders are looking right now.
They are just a team in a class of their own and said it on Saturday, they most properly will beat a number of international teams at the moment.
How the Chiefs are going to turn it around I do not know, but it does not look good for them at the moment.
Next week the Chiefs play the Hurricanes with the Crusaders will travel to face the Highlanders.
The Blues had to work hard at home to get the better of the Sunwolves on Saturday.
They have been traveling the world and had to deal with the passing of one of their players but they looked sometimes during this game with no plan.
They have big runners and game breakers but they have not found that middle way between playing full throttle attacking rugby and building phases.
When they did worked their way down with their forwards not forcing every pass they actually looked good and scored some brilliant tries.
The Sunwolves went back to their old ways in playing negative rugby when they are on the back foot which spoiled the game really.
They will need to learn fast you can not play any game with players send off with cards.
The Waratahs got the better of the Reds on Saturday but neither team can be feeling good after this performance.
It was one of those games that you wished the referee will blow the final whistle at halftime already.
Although it was a local derby and we know that they are not always pretty this was one was just plain poor rugby from both sides.
Unable to do the basics stuff like catching the ball is just something you should be able to do at this level.
The set pieces was a mess, not because of the teams but the cricket pitch they played on. There must be a rule against playing rugby matches on cricket grounds.
It takes one of the most vital parts of the game out of it.
At this stage neither team shows any threats for the top position.
It was a bit of a fun day out with thirteen tries scored between the two teams on the day.
The Lions never really looked like loosing the match but will be worried about their defence in that final ten minutes of the match which cost them a bonus point.
Coach de Bruin picked a youthful team for this match and they came through with flying colours.
Defence is still a huge problem for the Lions and they will need to sort this out. Another worry was their lineouts but they will take this win and move forward.
The Jaguares made 11 changes so we expected them to struggle a bit but with all but one internationals in the side they wer just not good enough on the day.
Next week the Lions will host the Rebels and the Jaguares will move on to Cape Town to face the Stormers.
The big game for South Africans was the clash between the Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks.
There was again a few matchups between these two teams and unfortunately for the Sharks the Bulls just outsmart and outplayed them.
Bulls captain Pollard is playing some of the best rugby we have seen from the Springbok flyhalf.
He is just commanding this Bulls game with such precision. He has a +80% average for kicking to poles and that was again the one thing that sank the Sharks.
The Bulls game plan is simple, dominate upfront so that the backs can play in the right areas of the field and Pollard knocking anything over that comes his way.
For the Sharks it is not good at the moment. They have so must quality at the back but their forwards have been under par for two weeks in a row now.
They can be feeling a bit unlucky with some of the calls in the scrum but no one but themselves can be blamed for handling errors and making poor decisions on attack.
Robert Du Preez is playing some of the worst rugby we have seen from him in the last two weeks and it seems he is loosing his cool to easy in the heat of the moment as well.
You need your playmakers to stay cool under pressure and pull the team together when it matters and he is failing big time at the moment.
Hopefully his head is not already with Sale Sharks but still with the franchise paying his salary.
At nine I am struggling to see that Louis Schreuder is the best for them at the moment. He may be the captain but he is not playing good rugby at the moment and a reason for their struggles as well.
Next week the Bulls and Sharks have a bye this week.
Here is next weeks Schedule:
Here is the Log Standings:
|4||Cell C Sharks||5||2||2||1||124||84||40||2||14|