'Small' teams are stepping up

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 08:02

EXCLUSIVE: Recent results have alluded to the improved performances of the so-called small teams as opposed to many believing the big teams are under performing.

Watch the discussion from the 21st minute!

Prior to the Six Nations, England were the firm favourites but losses to Scotland, France and Ireland has many believing they have hit a stumbling block and are at risk of their recent performances snowballing.

The same can be said about the Lions' performance against the Sunwolves in Round Five of Super Rugby, where they edged the Japanese franchise by just two points. However, it may be inaccurate to suggest that the more established teams are getting weaker.

"There is a large part of me that believes teams that teams are not getting worse. Teams that are coming forth like the Sunwolves, like Ireland, they are coming to the party when it comes to playing a good brand of rugby. It is not like we are seeing a bad game of rugby. 

"It's not like the Lions are getting worse [based on the result against the Sunwolves], I think the other teams are learning from the top teams and seeing how they can compete with them. They are obviously going away and training to combat good sides.

"The same with the England side. Ireland has gone away, done their homework and has come back. They are performing well but everyone says that England is bad. Yes, England needs to continue improving in order to keep that gap but the reality is that England will still go out and beat a lot of sides. 

"Ireland is just a quality side at the moment. They've got a great balance between young and old, a forward pack that gives them great ball and a backline that are ready to express themselves. They are at a time in their lifespan as a squad where they are playing a good brand of rugby," Morgan Newman said.

Anton van Zyl believes the improved performances of the small teams bodes well for the game, especially Super Rugby after the competition was reduced from 18 teams.

"I'm relieved the Lions won but at the moment on the log, the Lions are number one and the Sunwolves are number 15 - they are last. We want to see games where number 15 is challenging number one.

"That is why it [Super Rugby] was reduced from 18. That is a good thing," van Zyl said.

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Fri, 27 April 2018
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Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
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Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
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Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 87 4 0 4 21
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 15
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Blues 8 2 0 6 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 8 4 0 4 19
Sharks 9 3 1 5 18
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 16
Stormers 9 3 0 6 14