The Test season is done and dusted, so it was back to domestic rugby this weekend and some international sevens rugby. Bet Central brings you 5 takeaways from the weekend’s action.
Business As Usual For Blitzboks In Dubai
Having undergone some coaching changes and integrated some new players, the Blitzboks went to Dubai having worked on a few things and after an underwhelming and lethargic performance in their opening fixture against Great Britain which they lost, there would have been a cause for concern.
Sandile Ngcobo’s side however shook off the rust and looked far more efficient as they progressed deeper into the tournament. They beat Ireland 21-5 to claim the Dubai title for the 4th consecutive time.
A Weekend For The Flyhalves
It was a weekend for the flyhalves in the United Rugby Championship games played in South Africa. Curwin Bosch was excellent as he returned from injury for the Sharks on Friday, similarly, Johan Goosen and Manie Libbok had good outings for the Bulls and the Stormers respectively.
Elsewhere Argentine flyhalf Santiago Carreras, who started his 1st domestic game at 10, had a blinder against Northampton Saints for Gloucester. He has done well at 10 for someone who for the most part has been considered a stopgap at pivot.
Gqeberha Crowd Shows Up For Stormers
It has been said plenty of times before, Gqeberha, formerly known as Port Elizabeth, is hungry for top-class rugby action. It was evident on Saturday when just over 14500 spectators packed into the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium to watch an absorbing contest between the Stormers and the Dragons.
While the revival of the Southern Kings is still in murky waters, SA Rugby would do well to allocate a few URC games to the friendly city just to give fans something different. John Dobson said they would welcome the idea of returning to Gqeberha as they had enjoyed their stay and the atmosphere.
Leinster Refuse To Be Beaten
The core of Ireland’s team play their domestic rugby with Leinster and it is evident. After copping an early red card when Cian Healy was sent off. Leinster looked dead and buried as Ulster came at them and led 22-3 at half-time
It was a 2nd half effort led by the brilliance of Garry Ringrose that saw them come back to beat Ulster 38-29. It was an incredible comeback in the 2nd half – the kind of performance that shows just why Leinster are one of the favourites for the URC title.
Bristol Bears Snap Losing Streak
The Saturday night fixture between the Bristol Bears and Leicester Tigers looked on course to be Pat Lam’s side 7th consecutive loss until a 64th-minute red card for replacement prop Francois van Wyk gave Bristol a way back into the game.
The Bears fought back to tie the game at 26 all and Callum Sheedy missed a late penalty that could have gotten them over the line. The most important aspect for Pat Lam will be that they were able to stop the rot.