Another Super Rugby weekend to forget for SA teams

Friday saw the Bulls losing 33-14 to the Crusaders in Christchurch followed by the Rebels hammering the Sharks 46-14 down under to get the weekend off to a poor start.

The Crusaders beat the Bulls 33-14 in Christchurch in their Super Rugby match on 23 March 2018. Picture: Twitter/@crusadersrugby

JOHANNESBURG - The conclusion of the latest round of Super Rugby action saw South African teams subjected to another set of disappointing results.

Friday saw the Bulls lose 33-14 to the Crusaders in Christchurch followed by the Rebels hammering the Sharks 46-14 Down Under to get the weekend off to a poor start.

The Stormers restored some hope for the South African sides, beating the Reds 25-19 before the Lions suffered a shock 49-35 defeat to the Jaguares.

Defeat at the hands of the Crusaders means that the Bulls have now lost four of their five opening games of the season.

John Mitchell has turned the Pretoria side into an attractive looking team going forward but needs to ensure that the defence remains solid. The Bulls conceded five tries to their New Zealand opponents and will return from their tour having lost all of their games.

They share that statistic with the Sharks, who were dismal in their defeat to the Rebels. The Durban outfit shipped six tries in a poor defensive display that leaves them with just one win in their first five games.

Apart from the frailties at the back, the Sharks are struggling going forward as well, scoring the second lowest number of points in the South African conference with only the Bulls scoring less and looking like a team that will struggle this season.

The Stormers, in contrast, look to be the only side that can pose a serious challenge to Lions and were the only victorious South African side over the weekend, granted they were the only team playing at home.

The Cape side dominated the first half and went into the break 18-7 ahead. The Reds resorted to some cynical play in the second half, which they were allowed to get away with and made the most of.

A try in the 80th minute from Filipo Daugunu then set up a nervy finish at Newlands, but the home side managed to hold on for a second successive win on their home patch.

The surprise result from the weekend was definitely the Lions losing out to the Jaguares in Argentina in a try-fest that saw the hosts outscore the visitors six tries to five.

The loss means that the Lions are now second on the overall log, one point behind the Rebels with the Crusaders and Hurricanes rounding out the top four.

Last year’s finalists, the Lions and Crusaders, have now lost two games each in the opening stages of the 2018 season, which is more than they lost throughout the entirety of the 2017 regular season.

That statistic suggests that there will be far more competition this season and that the move back to 15 teams will make for a much more exciting and unpredictable campaign.