CAPE TOWN – IOL Sport’s Mark Keohane shares his Rants and Raves following the weekend’s Super Rugby and Sevens action.
1. Schalk Brits may be 37-years-old, but he is playing with the enthusiasm of a teenager and with the impact of a player at his prime. Brits was outstanding for the Bulls against the Lions in the 30-12 win.
His basics were world class and his work rate defied his age. Class is permanent and Brits made a statement as to why Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus asked him to postpone his retirement by a year.
2. The Crusaders beat the Reds in Brisbane 22-12 on Saturday.
It was the franchise’s eighth successive away win and 18th in total, which has included two Super Rugby titles. The first one was away to the Lions in Johannesburg in 2018. The win meant the Crusaders were the first team in the history of Super Rugby to win away finals in Australia and South Africa, to go with their home and away final wins in New Zealand. This is the greatest Crusaders team ever.
Statistically, they own every record and what makes it even more remarkable is that the team that extended the winning run in Brisbane did so without their most influential All Blacks Kieran Read and Sam Whitelock.
3. Pieter-Steph du Toit is a freak. He is such a good rugby player. Enjoy watching him because the likes of Du Toit come around every second decade.
Eben Etzebeth was huge in the Stormers’ 16-11 win against the Sharks at Jonsson Kings Park. Du Toit was even bigger. South Africans should appreciate this guy. Jake White, when coaching the Sharks, said Du Toit was the most talented player he had ever coached. Now we see why White was so awed.
Du Toit was SA’s Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019 he has been as potent in everything he does. He’s currently the best forward in world rugby.
1. The Sunwolves made history in beating the Chiefs 30-15 in Hamilton on Saturday. It was the Japanese franchise’s first ever win outside of Asia after 23 successive defeats. It was also their first win in New Zealand and any away win in New Zealand is to be savoured.
But let’s get real: The Sunwolves are only in Super Rugby because SA gave up the right to have the Cheetahs and Kings playing in the tournament. The Sunwolves’ starting XV included 10 foreign players, while 17 foreign players were in the match 23.
It is a disgrace that SA forfeited two teams to accommodate an international Japanese team made up of ex patriots, including several South Africans.
2. The Blitzboks were awful in Las Vegas. They drew with Chile 5-all, which ranks as an all-time low and they were demolished by the United States in the quarter-finals. They were 29-0 down before they scored two consolation tries, but this was the most disgusting of SA performances in the last two years.
The world’s best are nowhere near being considered among the best. It’s been painful to watch the Blitzboks this season and clearly the next generation lacks the class of those who so spoilt us with their success in 2017 and 2018. It is one thing to chase the crown and another to wear it.
3. World Rugby’s proposed World League is to be rejected with contempt, purely because it excludes Samoa, Fiji and Tonga.
For goodness sake, when will there be investment from the global custodians in the pacific islands? The players from these countries populate the Top 14 in France and have a healthy representation in the English Premiership and of course Super Rugby, by way of Australian and New Zealand franchises.
But the disregard World Rugby shows the international credibility of these islands just can’t be tolerated. It is insulting.
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