Jarman’s Pick of the Week

This week my decision was made for me as only one SA side managed a victory. The Stormers took on the Sunwolves at Newlands with the Stormers needing a bonus point win to have any chance of making a wild card slot in this seasons playoffs.

The Sunwolves however came to play and were rewarded early on when they were awarded a penalty from a lineout where the Stormers were penalized for playing the lineout jumper in the air. The Sunwolves captain Hayden Parker stepped up and made no mistake from the kicking tee, 3-0 Sunwolves after 10min.

The Stormers were the next team on the scoreboard looking to strike after an early lapse in discipline. They set up a line out just 5m out from the tryline and from the lineout got a drive going. The maul coming to a stop the referee called for the scrum half to use it once but Bongi Mbonambi at the back of the maul had other ideas, using all his experience he waited until he saw the perfect gap and then took it with assassin-like precision. Jean-luc Du Plessis added the extra 2 points. 7-3 stormers after 17 minutes.

In the 29th minute the Stormers were in again this time after a superb tackle by Dan Kriel in which he managed to stop the ball from his opponent and was off in the opposite direction. He then found JJ Engelbrecht who had the presence of mind to get the ball quickly to the speedster on the wing Craig Barry who showed great pace to score in the corner. Du Plessis again added the extra points to make it 14-3 with half time approaching. The Sunwolves won a scrum penalty 5 minutes before half time and Parke stepped up once again to add 3 points to their total to make it 14-6 to the Stormers going into the halftime break.

After half time the early pressure was applied by the Stormers and they managed a breakthrough in the 53rd minute when Jaco Coetzee took the ball up to the advantage line and after not being held in the tackle regained his feet to charge into the 22 of the Sunwolves; with one man to beat and support to his left, Coetzee threw a dummy pass any back line player would be proud of and totally fooled the defender. Coetzee then had an easy run in for a spectacular solo effort, Du Plessis again adding the extras meant the Stormers took a commanding 21-6 lead with over 25 minutes to grab that elusive bonus point try.

The Sunwolves looked to throw a spanner in the works in the 61st minute as they strung together a couple of good phases Hayden Parker then put Akihito Yamada into a half gap but he was brought down by the Stormers defense. Yamada showed great presence of mind though to pop the ball up to the on rushing Semisi Masirewa who cantered in with no defense in sight to score under the posts; 21-13 and the Sunwolves not out of this one just yet with just over 15 minutes to play.

The Stormers needing to put the game to bed forced a penalty in the 64th minute and replacement fly half Josh Stander duly slotted home the kick to take the Srormers lead out to 11 points at 24-13. The home team now in search of a bonus point try managed to get it in the 72nd minute when they set up a line out 5m from the Sunwolves try line and from the lineout setup a rolling maul that worked so effectively in the first half. With momentum on their side they rumbled over the line with Jaco Coetzee coming up with the ball when the bodies cleared to grab his brace and the Stormers a bonus point with it. Stander made no mistake with the conversion and the Stormers now had an unassailable 31-13 lead with 7 minutes to play.

The Sunwolves would get a late consolation try through fullback Semisi Masirewa but it would be too little too late as the Stormers would run out comfortable victories in this one 31-18, keeping their hopes of a playoff place alive and setting up a do or die clash with the Sharks in their next fixture which will be at home again and is set up to be a mouthwatering encounter.

Highlanders VS Bulls

The Bulls traveled to the Highlanders in search of a win after a draw the previous week. The Bulls however did not start well and found themselves 12-0 down after 22 minutes when Josh McKay and Waisake Naholo both scored early tries, Josh Ioane only managing to convert one of them. The Bulls managed 2 tries of their own from Divan Rossouw and Jason Jenkins either side of Josh McKay’s brace meant the Highlanders went into the break with the score at 19-14; A close game with the Bulls still in the hunt after the break.

The second half and the Highlanders scored first again through Naholo who grabbed his brace but that would be the last score for the Highlanders as the Bulls would come back in this one scoring 10 unanswered points to level the scores. They added 5 points from the boot of Handre Pollard and a try from Jaco Visagie to set up a tense last 5 minutes. Unfortunately the Bulls couldn’t manage to get another score as the scores remained level until the end with the teams sharing the spoils in this one 24-24 the end score in a thrilling encounter.

Lions VS Hurricanes

The Lions looking to continue winning ways after thrashing the Stormers the week before took on the Hurricanes who were confident after a good win over the Sharks. The Canes were first on the scoreboard through Ngani Laumape in the 7th minute; Jordie Barrett converted to make it 7-0. The Lions hit back straight away with a try from Aphiwe Dyantyi and a conversion and penalty from Shaun Reynolds to take the lead in the 21st minute 10-7. Jordie Barrett stepped up late in the first half tom level matters at half time 10-10 going into the break.

The second half got off to the worst possible start as a fumble on the kick off saw Ben Lam scoop up the ball for an easy score in the corner, 15-10 to the Canes after 41minutes. Lam got his break just 7 minutes later after a Jordie Barrett penalty 2 minutes earlier meant the Hurricanes had quickly built up a 23-10 lead in the second half. The Lions would stem the flow in the 59th minute when Dyantyi went over for his second try but it did little to stop the rampant Hurricanes side that ran in 2 more tries through hooker Dane Coles. 37-17 to the Hurricanes and the Lions making hard work of getting a wild card playoff slot for themselves.

Jaguares VS Sharks

The last game of the weekend and the Sharks looking to bounce back from a loss took on a confident Jaguares outfit looking to make sure of their top spot in the conference standings. The Jaguares ran in 2 tries in the first 15 minutes from Sebastian Cancelliere and Emilliano Boffelli, the writing was on the wall from then on as the Sharks remained scoreless through the first half going in at half time 12-0 down in Buenos Aires.

The second half and the one way traffic continued the Jaguares ran in 3 from Boffelli and Cancelliere who bagged a brace a piece and Santiago Carreras who added the cherry on top right at the end of the game. The Sharks at least managed a try of their own in the second half with Andre Esterhuizen going over for the away team but the Sharks were over matched on the day and the Argentinian juggernaut picked up an impressive 34-7 win over the Sharks.