2013 Super Rugby Round 2 Review
February 25, 2013 in Uncategorized
The first full weekend of Super Rugby matches is over and there were a number of surprise wins and losses. As always, it was difficult to predict performances before teams played their first matches due to, especially, the change in personnel.
The biggest surprise probably was the Kings’ performance but it was also a surprise to see how poor the Force was.
Highlanders (27) v Chiefs (41)
An entertaining game but one which fellow blogger Kitchener will, quite rightly, call Rugby Lite – a lot of running, a lot of turnover ball and very little defence, especially from the Clan in the second half – at one stage I thought that the records of the Lions v Chiefs game of 2010 might be in danger. For those who think this is Kiwi rugby at its best, it wasn’t but it was entertaining all the same.
For the Chiefs the standouts were Tim Nanai-Williams and Gareth Anscombe, both playing out of position but doing it well. For the Clan Hosea Gear had a good game while Ma’a Nonu tried his best to run through everone with little success.
As the season progress the teams will tighten up their defences and both should be contenders for playoff spots.
Rebels (13) v Brumbies (30)
I didn’t watch the game but followed it on live scoring and the result is what was expected a good win for the Brumbies, firmly establishing them as the front runners for the Aussie conference title.
Bulls (25) v Stormers (17)
A solid if unspectacular performance by the Bulls and one of the worst performances by the Stormers in recent years. The Bulls put the Stormers forwards under pressure from the get go and the Stormers struggled in the scrums, were abysmal in the lineouts and were outplayed at the breakdowns, except for about 20 minutes in the second half.
The Stormers were not helped by an uncharacteristicly poor goal kicking display by an out of sorts Jantjies. For the first time in his senior career he missed all his kicks at goal. There are some who say that he shouldn’t have played after his personal loss and not having had any pre-season match practice but that doesn’t fly. This was the ideal game to get him started as the next two games will be no easier and are probably more important. This was the first match of the season and an away game to boot so a loss is not a train smash, especially if one consider how close the Stormers came in the end despite their poor display.
For the Bulls Morne Steyn had a good game at what he does best, goal kicking and tactical kicking, but I can’t help thinking that Lionel Mapoe will serve them better at #13, he looked eager to run and is wasted on the side of the field.
The Stormers remained solid in defence and there aren’t really any players who stood at as having played well, rather the opposite with Deon Fourie’s lineout work poor, Jantjies’s goal kicking abysmal, the forwards in general below standard and the team’s ball handling in need of attention.
The Stormers can only improve markedly on this performance and should still be contenders for the top spot while the Bulls will defintely be play-off contenders but sticking to their traditional game aren’t going to win them any trophies this year.
Hurricanes (20) v Blues (34)
I didn’t watch the game but the result surprised me from a young and fairly new Blues side. I really thought the Canes would have the better of the contest but it seems as if their defence haven’t improved missing 30 tackles.
Reds (25) v Waratahs (17)
Another game I missed but it seems the Tahs injury list will make it difficult for them to compete during the early par of the season.
Cheetahs (22) v Sharks (29)
The Sharks started well while Johan Goosen struggled with his general play and his goal kicking and by half time the game looked all over bar the shouting. However, in the second half Johan Goosen started kicking his kicks and the Sharks went into a slumber and in the end the Sharks had to fight to close out the game.
For the Sharks Lambie had a solid game and a good day with the boot. The Sharks were solid rather than dangerous but need to play for 80 minutes. In scoring his try Johan Sadie also showed a glimpse of why he was so highly regarded a year or so ago. For the rest nobody was really exceptional except Coenie Oosthuizen, who showed that he should return to club rugby to learn his new trade as tight head prop before being given another Cheetahs cap.
Kings (22) v Force (10)
The Kings surprised everyone with a solid defensive display that in the end earned them a deserved win. The win was set up by a solid performance from the forwards in scrums and lineouts while they took control in the second half through a good performance by Catrakilis. The Force, on the other hand, were abysmal and I cannot think of a game where a team has played as poorly. Their scrums were poor, their lineout atrocious and their goal kicking lamentable and the rest of their game wasn’t good either.
For the Kings Steven Sykes played a blinder, so too Jacques Engelbrecht when he came on later. As the game progressed the Greek started to take control and schoolboy Sergeal Petersen showed he is a talent to watch while SP Marais had a few dangerous runs from the back. For the Force no-one can be said to have performed even reasonably well.
In the end it is difficult to see either of these teams winning against any other team in the competition but at least for the Kings there is satisfaction in that they will not be white-washed, that the Lions and Bulls records are safe and that they probably will end above the Force on the log.