By Lucky Vince Pienaar
South African teams are known to struggle in the cold weather of the Northern Hemisphere winter, but they seem to have held their own in the Welsh autumn. The Stormers and the Sharks, playing in Italy, are a different kettle of fish altogether, though.
➤ Watching the Sharks making basic errors match after match is frustrating. Sharks Rugby, already a battling outfit under Neil Powell, have done no better after the addition of John Plumtree to the coaching setup.
Losing to Zebre must indicate a low point for the Sharks. No wonder the Zebre players went wild after the match. It is the first win for Zebre Parma in 28 matches.
The Sharks inflicted injury on themselves throughout the match, culminating in a red card for Sharks lock Hyron Andrews for an obvious spear tackle in the final minutes.
It can’t get any worse for the Sharks as they sit rock bottom of the URC log.
➤ Thank heavens for the Bulls. After four matches, they are top of the log with Glasgow Warriors. Veteran coach Jake White must be very happy to see his team slowly but surely dominate Cardiff in all facets of play. Watching Chris Smith making the no. 10 position his own, is a pleasure.
➤ Benetton Rugby are forging ahead with their match winning ways. The Stormers have only themselves to blame as their discipline let them down. As always, leading the ill-tempered charge was Evan Roos. Hey, Evan! That spot left open in the Springbok team with the retirement of Duane Vermeulen? Sorry, man, your chances of getting it are disappearing with every tantrum.
➤ Wouldn’t it be great if the Lions have turned the corner? They may only have beaten the lowly Scarlets by one single point, but the way they kept on fighting for the full 80 minutes was a joy to watch. Henco van Wyk scored the winning try in the last minute.
Zebre (0 tries) 12-10 (1 try) Sharks
Cardiff (2 tries) 12-18 (2 tries) Bulls
Benetton (2 tries) 20-17 (3 tries) Stormers
Scarlets (2 tries) 23-24 (3 tries) Lions
Pictured above: Embrose Papier scores for the Bulls
Image source: SA Rugby