Another week with mixed results not just for the South African sides but all through the competition.
One can understand with National interest towards the World Cup gets preference this year that teams do not really settle as a team but besides the Crusaders and Hurricanes in some way, all the other teams are struggling to get consistency in their game.
We do not find many teams this year that can produce two or three weeks of great performances and that is making the fight for the wild cards spots just so much more interesting this year.
I believe this fight will go on till the last weekend of matches before the final eight will be decided for the playoffs.
Current Log Standings:
The Weekend Results:
FRIDAY 3 MAY 2019
SATURDAY 4 MAY 2019
Round 12 Wrap
The Sharks took a page out of the book of Rassie Erasmus 2017 win over the All Blacks when they played to a 21-all draw against the Champions on Friday.
They produce a massive effort in defence in a game which they should have really won.
The Crusaders did outscored them with three tries to none but it was the pressure that they put on the Crusaders that was so impressive through their defence.
This forced the Crusaders onto the backfoot and giving away more penalties than what we used to.
We do not use the word “if” when it comes to results in the game of rugby but 😂if Bosch knocked over all his kicks maybe just maybe they could have produced another upset.
It was a last minute try that saved the Champions from their second defeat of the year which is something the Sharks can be proud of.
But, they will kick themselves for not taking the win which was offered to them. You do not come to Christchurch and get wins and when it is presented you take it.
There is still the worry why the Sharks are not scoring more tries or even why they are not creating more opportunities.
Looking at the playoffs you need to have your game 100% on attack and defence, not one of the other.
With all the cretics on Bosch, I really thought he has been good at ten in both matches he started. He controls the game better and his defence is much better than what we saw a year ago.
He is not close to be 100% but he is showing much more in two games than what Robert Du Preez showed the whole year.
With Du Preez also moving to Sale at the end of the season, it may be a good idea for the Sharks to invest a bit more in Bosch and give him more game time.
This week the Sharks will face the Chiefs which will bring a brand new challenge to the team and one can only hope that they can show some consistency.
I really struggle to understand why referee Gardner has been getting some backlash on social media for dishing out so many cards on Friday.
Every week we complain that referees allow players to get away with murder and the day one referee does just that we complain that he is killing the game.
Gardner gave six cards during the match and personally I am applauding Gardner.
For weeks now we are complaining about players not being penalised at ruck times and that referee keeps on warning players with no further sanctions.
Gardner gave them the opportunity to play within the laws and when they did not do that he showed them the cards.
For me the Sunwolves lost this game due to their poor discipline and needs to take a hard look at the negative play when they under pressure.
We need more referees taking Gardner approach in matches specially in a World Cup year.
The Reds outscore the Sunwolves with 4 tries to 2 and punish the visitors on their poor discipline.
With the win the Reds also moved above the Waratahs in the Aussie conference.
It was one of those weird matches where the Hurricanes came out the blocks dominating play and blew the Rebels away in that first half, just to see the Rebels coming back at them in the second half.
The Hurricanes had to fight to keep the Rebels out in that second half who starved the Hurricanes from ball and field position.
It was almost a case of the Rebels having to take 40 minutes after their bye week to get back into it.
Beauden Barrett was on song again and control the game in that first half leaving the Rebels to defend for most of the time.
The Hurricanes were finding space and it looked at one stage that they will run away with the game.
The second half saw the visitors playing the game we expected from them and they scored all their 19 points in the second half.
Even with the loss the Rebels still tops the Aussie conference.
It was a weekend of draws when the Highlanders and chiefs played to a 31-all draw as well on Saturday.
There was a few more games that looked at going the same route which shows just how close most of the teams are this year in the competition.
It was again a game of two halves with the Highlanders first dominating proceedings in the first half running away in a bit with the game just for the Chiefs to come back in the second half to salvage a draw.
It was an exciting match of rugby but both teams made then guilty of some poor handling which at some stages made this a stop-start match.
The result is a fare reflection of the game with both teams that had an opportunity to steal it at the end.
It was not the result the Chiefs was looking for and this week they will welcome the Sharks which will be another tough game for them.
The Blues will kick themselves for not taking this game which would have been a great away win.
The Brumbies at home has been a difficult prospect the whole season and they kept there record in place.
The Blues led 12-0 at some stage but discipline was also their biggest enemy.
Two yellow cards cost the visitors dearly and they will be so disappointed as the game was there to be won.
The Brumbies took there chances when it came and punish the Blues everytime they got a yellow card.
At the end they did what was needed to be done and got the points for the win.
It was again not the best game for the Bulls but they manage the game well enough to take the win over the Waratahs on Saturday.
The Bulls killed the Waratahs at the set pieces which force the visitors to play off scraps.
Trevor Nyakane and Lizo Gqoboka where brilliant in the scrums which laid a great foundation for the team to play off the front foot for most of the match.
The normal players came to the front with RG Snyman, Marco van Staden and Vermeuen having great games.
The Bulls took their points when on offered and kept the scoreboard pressure on the Waratahs as they have done all year.
Both teams scored three tries with the only difference the boot of Pollard.
The Bulls did have the chance to put the game away but they had a poor period in the middle of the match with some poor defending to let the Waratahs back in the game.
The game was always in the balance but the game management of the Bulls was yet again good enough to stay in front till the final whistle.
With the win the Bulls re-took the top spot of the South African conference but they still have some difficult game to come, starting with the Crusaders this Friday.
Having a lineout on the Jaguares tryline after the hooter just for the Stormers to throw the ball straight to the Jaguares lock to kick out sums up the Stormers game at the moment.
They create all the opportunities but fail week after week to convert that into points.
The Jaguares started well blowing the Stormers off the park and got into a 10-0 lead before the visitors knew what was happening.
Credit to the pack they slowly started to wear the home side down and got more ball in the right areas of the field to force a few penalties.
Jean-Luc Du Plessis happily kicked them over and before long they were just one points behind.
In the second half it looked like the Stormers had the better of the game but they made some poor decisions and adding the poor handling, just could not get points on the board.
The Jaguares have always been a dangerous side on the counter which surprised me that the Stormers where kicking so much possession away.
The Stormers did get a late try to made the game interesting for the final few minutes but again failed to covert with a Jaguares players in the bin.
We have spoken about the Stormers back play and it showed again that the players have no real plan when it comes to attack and they seemed lost with ball in hand.
The Stormers did pick up a losing bonus points which kept them in the top eight but just.
The Stormers are having a bye this week which will maybe help them getting some rest before the last few rounds to make a good run for the playoffs.
At this stage South Africa has three teams in the playoff spots and with some luck and hopefully more consistant play we can even get all four in the playoffs.
If they will be able to go further from there is up for discussion but surely all the teams are now just looking to get to those playoff spots.
This Weeks Matches: