Lions now SA’s best hope, Kwagga knocking on Bok door, Stormers injury woes continue, and Saracens are the world’s best are some of our talking points from this past weekend in rugby.
Lions now SA’s best hope
What a difference a few weeks make. After initially looking down and out in the competition, the Lions have made a resounding comeback in recent rounds and are set to lead South Africa’s title charge in the impending Super Rugby playoffs. The men from Johannesburg have won four of their last six following this weekend’s 41-22 win over the Stormers, and while they may face tricky end-of-season tests in the form of the Hurricanes and Bulls, should finish as runners-up to the Jaguares in the SA conference. That may present them with the unenviable task of having to travel to the Antipodes for their playoff game, but the Lions have proven in the last several fixtures that they are capable of springing an upset.
Kwagga knocking on Bok door
Look, it’s highly unlikely that Kwagga Smith will force his way into the Springbok World Cup squad. That said, his performances in recent weeks still deserve recognition, with the 25-year-old sure to get a national look-in during the Bok’s condensed Rugby Championship campaign or even in the one-off Test against Argentina. Smith, in his capacity as stand-in Lions’ skipper, made 71 meters against the Stormers on the weekend to go with three line breaks and 12-tackles. Rassie has surely taken notice, and there is every reason to believe that the opensider will add to his solitary Bok cap in the near future.
Stormers injury woes continue
After serious injuries had ruled out Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph du Toit for a prolonged period of time, the news that Eben Etzebeth had broken his hand during the Stormers’ defeat to the Lions has left the Cape side in serious trouble. Robbie Fleck’s men are 11th overall but would have targeted their upcoming home matches against the Sunwolves and Sharks as a way to force themselves into a wild card spot. Sadly, this latest setback may be too much for the 2010 finalists, who now seem destined to finish bottom of the SA conference.
Saracens are world’s best
Saracens were crowned English champions for the fourth time in five seasons following their narrow 37-34 win over Exeter at Twickenham on Saturday. The London-based side came back from 27-16 down midway through the second-half against the team that had pipped them at the summit of the overall standings by eight-points. The win means Mark McCall’s men become just the second club in England, after Leicester, to claim two doubles after they sealed the Champions Cup in May. Considering the wobbly form the Crusaders have shown in Super Rugby over the past several weeks, there should be no doubt as to Saracens’ status as the greatest club side on the planet.
Written by Shaun Goosen