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SA Super Rugby teams must score more tries

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The power route on its own is not enough to win you a Super Rugby title. Speed and skill are just as essential.

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WITH Super Rugby fast approaching the halfway mark, it’s perhaps a good time to remind the South African teams, especially the Stormers and the Sharks, that tries do actually win you matches.

The Stormers only managed to score two tries in their first three matches (one of which was an intercept). There was an improvement against the Jaguares at Newlands, but so far on tour they have managed only three tries in two games – and all three of those have been from driving mauls from their forwards. Fair enough, they tried to give the ball more air against the Blues, but were then undone by a series of handling errors.

The Sharks have some terrific players in their backline, including the likes of Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwin Bosch and Aphelele Fassi, but too often this season the Durbanites have relied far too much on a crash-and-bash strategy, and that has cost them.

The Bulls took an almighty pasting against the Chiefs at Loftus, but at least they have shown some good attacking intent this year, and Rosko Specman, for example, featured strongly in quite a few Bulls games.

The Lions, of course, have over the past few years been the standard bearer of South African teams when it comes to innovative, ball-in-hand play, and despite a few losses this year they have largely tried to stick to that template.

Contrast all of this with the New Zealand and Australian teams, who have been placing a premium on using all 15 players on the park. The Crusaders have predictably led the way, but all the Aussie and Kiwi teams have steered away from a sterile approach.

It’s all a bit disconcerting. Saturday’s Bulls-Sharks derby in Durban was a particularly dour affair, with a lot of mistakes and very little attacking spark from either side over the 80 minutes.

The power route on its own is not enough to win you a Super Rugby title. Speed and skill are just as essential.

Let’s hope our South African teams keep that in mind.