With three rounds of Super Rugby behind us now, we are starting to see sides slide into their places in the competition with the good, the bad and the Blues, showing their hands.
BLUES 8 – 25 CRUSADERS
Many thought this would be the time for the Blues to finally grow up and turn a corner after watching the Chiefs show everyone how to beat the Crusaders last round. but sadly, the other side of a Crusaders loss is the backlash and with Richie Mo’unga back at the helm, it was business as usual for the defending champs. Not everything went their way however, the Blues gave a little hope for their fans, scoring the opening try through Patrick Tuipulotu, but it was to be their only first half joy. The Crusaders match long grind worked like a charm again as a George Bridge try and David Havili penalties had them up 11-5 at the break. The game was done from that point as Mo’unga and Jack Goodhue scored tries to put it beyond doubt in the second forty with the Blues unable to add more than a solotory penalty.
REBELS 24 – 10 WARATAHS
The scoreline makes this match seem much simpler than it was for the Rebels in the pouring rain. To say we were lucky to get any tries in this weather is an understatement but somehow we did. The two sides exchanged early penalties but it was the freakish ability of Marika Koroibete that separated these two sides in the first half as the Rebels led into the break. Harry Johnson-Holmes scored early in the second half to put the game back in the Waratahs favor, but poor discipline allowed Matt To’omua to keep the Rebels right by their side. Andrew Kellaway didn’t start the match but he had the biggest tale to tell with two fantastic late tries in the final six minutes of the match to blow the scoreline out and hand the Rebels their first win of 2020.
SUNWOLVES 17 – 43 CHIEFS
The unlucky timing of the bye hasn’t played in the Sunwolves favor again after the highs of a big opening round win has been met with the lows of meeting the rampant New Zealand side, the Chiefs. They had the start of dreams when Garth April scored and converted the opening Sunwolves try but they couldn’t build of that in the first forty. The Chiefs on the other hand, almost filled up the whole bingo card in the first half, picking up four tries of their own and a yellow card just before the break. The second half was much closer but the Sunwolves were always playing catch up. Jaba Bregvadze struck first for the Sunwolves but Lachlan Boshier hit back just one minute later for the Chiefs. As the match was winding down Shogo Nakano breathed a little more life into the game, only for rookies Quinn Tupaea and Kaleb Trask to shut the gate in the last two minutes to make sure of things for the Chiefs.
HURRICANES 38 – 22 SHARKS
South Africa is not a nice place to kick off a Super Rugby season and not having a home game till round three is right on par with it. Sadly for the Hurricanes, welcome to 2020. It was home season opening night for the ‘Canes and they left the tour blues on the plane, with the Sharks high on life after crushing the Highlanders a week ago. The two sides went blow to blow over the opening half, with two tries each mainly through their explosive backlines, to end on 17 points all at the break. It all changed in the second half as the Hurricanes showed little sign of jetlag, blitzing the Sharks with a 20 minute, three try parade, included a brace for wing Ben Lam. It was forty minutes too much for the Sharks whos late try to Mzamo Majola only added a little respect to the scoreboard.
BRUMBIES 22 – 23 HIGHLANDERS
What this game may have lacked in top shelf rugby, it made up with in a nail-biting finish. After half an hour of this game you may have been forgiven for thinking the Brumbies would run away with the game after the Highlanders woeful season opening last weekend. Two lineout maul tries for Folau Fainga’a had the Brumbies flying out of the blocks. Jona Nareki showed the enthusiasm only a player in his debut season would have, scorching a kickoff chase to put pressure on a Noah Lolesio clearance which resulted in a spectacular charge down, regather and try just seconds after conceding and dragging the Highlanders back in the game.
Josh Ioane’s kicking boots weren’t in the best of shape as he left a number of points behind from the tee and then Sio Tomkinson was sent to the bin early in the second half but the Brumbies failed the make it count. Folau Fainga’a grabbed his hattrick try the same as all the others and the boot of Ryan Lonergan put the Brumbies 22-16 ahead with five to play. Anything less than seven is dangerous, as the Highlanders were gifted penalties by a increasingly frustrated Brumbies side. Murray Douglas paid the price, going to the bin in the 82nd minute as the Highlanders hacked away relentlessly, finally getting through the defensive wall. Teariki Ben-Nicholas the hero, but it required Ioanes conversion to grab the win, which he nailed. Drama.
LIONS 30 – 33 STORMERS
You want more drama? Well lucky for you, this South African derby offered up more of the delightful rugby. The Stormers continued on their fine form with two early tries by Juarno Augustus and Godlen Masimla to rocket out to a 12-3 lead after 20 minutes. But the Lions showed some fight that’s been lacking this season, the old hands Andries Coetzee and Courtnall Skosan fired back to tie things up, before Damian Willemse squeaked the Stormers ahead with a late penalty to lead 18-15 at the break. Sergeal Petersen struck right after half time and along with some penalties, put the Stormers in a strong position. Elton Jantjies is flourishing with this new look Lions and his try just after the hour mark turned the tide again. Dan Kriel doubled his effort to put the Lions in front with just a couple of minutes remaining. Huge upset incoming? Not on the watch of Petersen and Ruhan Nel, the latter finishing off a move all started by the electric Seabelo Senatla to steal the win very late on.
JAGUARES 43 – 27 REDS
Sport can often be a game of two halves and that was extremely well displayed for our final match of the weekend in Argentina. The Reds had the first half of their lives and led into the break 24-14 after dominating throughout. Tries to Tate McDermott and Liam Wright set the Reds away with some outstanding open field play often led by James O’Connor. The Jaguares lineout maul hit back through hooker Julian Montoya to half the lead. A set piece cracker put Chris Feauai-Sautia in for his first and then minutes later, an open line out wide gifted him his second. With the clock in the red, the Jaguares got a bit lucky from a crossfield kick and Emiliano Boffelli dragged the score back at half time. The second half was all the home side, within minutes Montoya had crawled over for his second. Reds captain Wright was sent to the bin and the game just left his side behind. The Jaguares lineout maul was too hot to handle and kept rumbling to the line time after time. With the game in their control and the lead comfortably on their side, the backs were allowed some ball and Tomas Cubelli joined the scorers to complete the come from behind demolition.
An action packed round of Super Rugby this past weekend! With plenty more to come each and every week, but sure to get your catch up here at Behind The Posts.