Dylan Sage Bulls 2018- Blitzbok to move to Blue Bulls

Blitzbokke forward Dylan Sage will leave the sevens setup to join the Pretoria based Blue Bulls ahead of the Currie Cup season. Sage’s last engagement with the Blitzboks was their Rugby World Cup Sevens campaign in San Francisco, where they finished third by beating Fiji.

A back in the 15’s game, Sage has been used as a forward by coach Neil Powell and has become one of the mainstays of South Africa’s 7’s side. He was part of the Dream Team named for the 2017 HSBC World Sevens series- the only South African in it (the Blitzbokke won the series by pipping Fiji to the title)

Sage, the grandson of former Springbok Doug Hopwood, is not the only Blitzbok leaving the sevens after the 2018 7’s RWC. Ruhan Nel is also moving on, but to the Cape Town based Stormers. Neither the Stormers nor the Bulls were able to make the Super Rugby playoffs this year. Continue reading “Dylan Sage Bulls 2018- Blitzbok to move to Blue Bulls”

Most Offloads in Super Rugby 2018 vs Tries scored- Team Stats comparison

The offload has become an important attacking weapon in rugby these days. Offloads generally lead to unstructured defences which increases the probability of scoring a try.

All stats as of July 19, 2018 (at the end of the regular season, BEFORE the playoffs)

Which team has the most offloads in Super Rugby 2018?

At the end of the regular season, it’s surprisingly the Sharks from Durban who top this metric. The number of tries they’ve scored, however doesn’t make for great reading. The Sharks, interestingly also have the FEWEST team carries of any Super Rugby team (1689 in comparison to the highest 2045 from the Jaguares in the regular season)

Which team has scored the most tries in SR 2018?

At the end of the regular season, the Crusaders and Lions were joint top with 77 tries. The two were also No.1 and 2 on the Super Rugby table.

The Lions are the team with the fewest offloads in the regular season. Continue reading “Most Offloads in Super Rugby 2018 vs Tries scored- Team Stats comparison”

Super Rugby Quarterfinals 2018- Which teams have qualified for playoffs?

After a enthralling final day of Super Rugby that saw the Rebels narrowly lose to the Highlanders in Dunedin and the Sharks beating the Jaguares in Durban, here are our Super Rugby quarterfinalists for 2018.

Crusaders (1) v Sharks (8)
Hurricanes (4) v Chiefs (5)

Winners meet at the home of the higher seed

Lions (2) v Jaguares (7)
Waratahs (3) v Highlanders (6)

Winners meet at the home of the higher seed

Super Rugby Table After Round 18- Who can qualify for playoffs & which teams have qualified?

An eventful penultimate round of Super Rugby saw some surprise results, with the Rebels, Jaguares and Sharks all losing their respective away clashes to the Reds, Bulls and Stormers respectively.

Which teams have already qualified for the Super Rugby 2018 playoffs?

Seven teams are definitely there- Crusaders, Waratahs, Lions, Hurricanes, Chiefs, Highlanders and Jaguares. The Jaguares will be making their first ever playoff appearance this season.

Who can still qualify for the playoffs?

Rebels and Sharks.

Mathematically yes, but unlikely- Brumbies

The Sharks are on 32 points, the Rebels on 35. Victory for the Rebels over the Highlanders in Dunedin will see Dave Wessels’ side qualify for the playoffs. The Sharks need to beat the Jaguares at home and hope that the Rebels lose to the Highlanders. Continue reading “Super Rugby Table After Round 18- Who can qualify for playoffs & which teams have qualified?”

Talking points & fan analysis- Sharks 31-24 Lions 30 June 2018

The Lions’ seven game winning streak over the Sharks was broken as the latter kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 31-24 win at Kings Park. The result also means that the Jaguares, who beat the Stormers 25-14 later in the evening in Argentina, could leapfrog the Lions at the top of the South African conference (Lions 41 with 1 to play, Jaguares 38 with two to play).

Poor Lions substitutions:- Perhaps the turning point of the game for the Lions. The Joburg side had set piece dominance over the Sharks, especially at scrum time, and were absolutely bossing the home side for around 55 minutes.

Then, with the Lions camped near the Sharks line, Swys decided for a front row change, and the tide changed in the Sharks’ favour. The home side were able to win a scrum penalty, and the Lions’ set piece advantage was negated for the next twenty minutes.

Poor game management:- As mentioned before, the Lions dominated this game for 55 minutes, with the Sharks left to feed on scraps going forward and having to defend for their lives. However, the visitors opted not to take several kickable shots at goal, perhaps feeling that a bonus point was on at 21-11 (3 Lions tries to one of the Sharks), and that proved to be costly at the end.

Marx v Akker:- This game was effectively one between Malcolm Marx and Akker van der Merwe. Former Lions hooker Akker was one of the best Sharks players on show, and did everything he could to keep his side in the game before being replaced by Chiliboy Ralepelle.

Sharks dig deep for win:- The Sharks lost key loosie Jean-Luc du Preez to injury early in the game. Their early defence wasn’t great either- Lions flanker Cyle Brink should’ve never been allowed to brush aside Makazole Mapimpi and Cameron Wright the way he did for the Lions’ second try. However, the defence was on their own line was far much better, and coupled with the Lions’ poor decision making, kept them in the game.

On attack, the Sharks’ offload game didn’t work in the first half, with handling errors and turnovers robbing them of momentum. It improved after the hour mark, and they were also aided by a gift intercept from Harold Vorster.

Another impressive Sharks player was centre Andre Esterhuizen, the newly capped Springbok who scored a crucial try- his defence was key.

Sharks need another eighth man:- Daniel du Preez hasn’t had the same impact as his twin and the Sharks, who could once boast of unparalleled loose forward depth (remember the days of Coetzee, Alberts, Deysel, Kankowski, Daniel and Botes?), are now scraping the barrel here.

if Duane Vermeulen wants to be in South Africa for the 2019 season, the Sharks should probably attempt to sign him. He would solve their eighth man woes, and with his pilfering abilities, would help the unbalanced Sharks loose trio, who currently have no one really good at effecting turnovers.