Hurricanes VS Bulls

The Bulls clashed with the Hurricanes in a quarter final on the 22nd of June 2019 the Bulls coming off a clinical display against the Lions the previous week would be confident but the Canes having put away 2 SA teams in the last 3 weeks would feel comfortable heading into the clash. The Canes were on the board first with a penalty which Beauden Barrett kicking his first goal of the game 3-0 after 11 minutes

The Bulls hit back with a try in the 14th minute through Warrick Gelant which Handre Pollard converted. Unfortunately for the Bulls the Canes then took the game by the scruff of the neck scoring 3 tries as they dominated the next 15 minutes of the game with TJ Perenara, Ben Lam, and Salesi Rayasi all going over for converted tries in that 15minute period. The Bulls replied with a converted try of their own from Cornal Hendricks before the break to leave the score at 24-14 at half time. A huge task to overcome in the next 40 minutes for the Bulls.

Second half and it did not start well for the Bulls as Rayasi sealed his brace for the Hurricanes as they took control of the game with the Bulls now having to score 3 times to win and after they were awarded a penalty try in the 52nd minute it seemed as if there was life at the end of the tunnel for the Pretoria outfit with the score now at 29-21 to the Canes. Barrett was instrumental in the last half an hour of the game as he kicked 2 more penalties to seal the win for the Hurricanes although the Bulls did score another converted try from Cornal Hendricks it wasn’t enough as the Hurricanes won this one 35-28 in the end.

Brumbies VS Sharks

The Sharks travelled to Canberra to take on the Brumbies in their quarterfinal match after narrowly beating the Stormers the week before. The Sharks had the worst possible start to the game as the Brumbies scored 2 tries in the opening 10 minutes of the game from Pete Samu and Henry Speight, the tries were split by a Curwin Bosch penalty, 14-3 after 12 minutes. Bosch added another penalty in the 15th minute before Christian Lealifano added his first penalty in the 20th minute; Samu got his brace just 4 minutes later as the Brumbies took complete control of the game at 24-6 in a dominant display from the home team.

The Sharks with a mountain to climb in the second half were first on the scoreboard in the 56th minute with a converted try from Andre Esterhuizen. Unfortunately for them it was the start and end of their come back as the Brumbies ran in 2 more tries with Joe Powell and Matt Lucas getting on the score sheet, that coupled with another Lealifano penalty meant the Brumbies ran out comfortable victors in this one 38-13.

Super Rugby Wrap-Up

For the most part this season’s super rugby competition has been disappointing for the SA teams. While the Bulls and Sharks showed progress by getting to the quarter final stage, the Lions and Stormers looked to have taken a step back by missing out on the playoff part of the competition. All of the SA teams have struggled with consistency this season, not managing to string together enough games to have a meaningful chance at winning the competition. While the teams largely under performed in the beginning stages of the competition they all started to show promise towards the end of the season which bodes well for next season and the World Cup later this year. The Achilles heal of the SA teams in the past has been travelling to Australia and New Zealand and it was no different this season with SA teams struggling to overcome that mental hurdle. They were however more competitive this season and in my opinion unlucky not come away with more wins on tour.

All in all the season hasn’t ended as badly as it started for SA with 2 teams making into the quarterfinal and the form of the other 2 teams on an upward trend towards the end of the season. The South African teams need to use this season as a stepping stone and use the momentum gained to excel in the future. The only team that will be extremely disappointed will be the Lions as they have been to back to back finals before; much was expected of them in this season’s campaign. The Lions have a lot of work to do on their defense for next season but as much as they need to do defensively the Stormers have that to do and perhaps more in attack. They struggled to put teams away this season missing a number of opportunities to score tries with handling and poor finishing costing them dearly this season. The Bulls were the most consistent team this season and took a big step towards being a better team in the future, with a number of young players doing well for them; it will make them a very competitive outfit next season and in seasons to come. The Sharks are perhaps the most improved team this season. Much like the Bulls their young talent shone through this season showing that the future of SA rugby is in good hands. The Durban based team managed a quarterfinal birth for the first time in 4 years. While SA rugby isn’t in a great place at the moment the signs are positive for the future of this great rugby nation and a Super Rugby triumph may be written in the stars for one of these historic SA franchises.