The qualifying round of Super Rugby is now history and we were entertained with some good rugby by the Sharks and the Crusaders, who both earned their spots in the semi-finals to be played this weekend…
The qualifying round’s results have set up yet another round of derby matches for New Zealand and South African fans with the Chiefs to battle it out against the Crusaders and the Stormers to host the Sharks.
The Bulls were pathetic to say the least and did not deserve to win nor stood a chance against this very determined and focussed Crusaders’ team.
Morne Steyn was probably the main contributor to the Bull’s woeful performance, his tactical kicking was aimless and just gifted the Crusaders the ball, when put under pressure the Bulls gave away penalties and were punished by Dan Carter. It looked as if the Bulls were just trying to get through the game to get on the plane and fly back home, very disappointing if you are a Bulls fan, but just shows that the golden era of the Bulls is now over and they have to work hard to get up again. Moment of the match was when Robbie Freuen side-stepped Showpony Spies but then decided to cut back again to run through him, knocking Spies back on his ass.
In the other game, the Sharks dominated right from the kick-off, it was a brilliant game to watch. The Sharks came out guns blazing and the Reds simply had no answer.
Even without the services of Frans Steyn and Patrick Lambie, the Sharks were unstoppable.
The loosies were unbelievably good and with Willem Alberts packing down at lock, just gave them more fire power and the off-loading in the tackles were exceptional.
Fine, the Reds were without their Super Cooper, but even if he had played in this match it wouldn’t have made much difference. The Sharks didn’t go to Brisbane to negotiate, but to just simply take the semi-final berth for themselves. This win also possibly showing up how flawed the conference system is, as the Reds didn’t really deserve a play-off place, and the Sharks proved it to be true.
Personally, as a Stormers’ supporter, I am a little worried about facing the Sharks in the semi-final, it will be yet another bruising encounter, but the Sharks have the attacking edge and the Stormers never really had to play catch-up rugby, so if the Sharks start well and we’re on the back foot it might turn out to be a long day at the office, as the Sharks also showed that their defence is now better organised for the play-off phases. The Stormers need to be in charge from the start… but I’m somewhat concerned…
If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best, right?