The Super Rugby Semi Finalists have been found after two nail-biting wins for the Brumbies and Sharks over their New Zealand opponents. The Brumbies 32 – 30 win over the Chiefs and Sharks 31 -27 win over the Highlanders were as exciting as the scorelines suggest. The home teams were favourites going into these matches, but it didn’t stop the Chiefs and Highlanders putting up a brave fight, with both matches being closer than expected.
The Brumbies were surprisingly expansive and in many ways played the Chiefs out of the game in the opening half thanks to some great play from Henry Speight who ironically has Waikato connections, Nick White and Jesse Mogg were also elusive. Backs coach Stephen Larkham has really got this Brumbies team attacking nicely.
But the Chiefs managed to hang tough and almost overturn a huge deficit. Gareth Anscombe scored a try in the corner at the end of the game, but unfortunately Aaron Cruden couldn’t convert from the sideline. The Brumbies probably deserved to win, but the Chiefs were brave in defeat. The Australian teams have improved in the last season and the Chiefs have potentially lost that deadly ability to win their playoff games.
The Sharks vs Highlanders game was controlled by the Sharks with their set pieces dominant and getting plenty of change from referee Steve Walsh who hammered the Highlanders in the penalties. The Highlanders played the game like a game of touch rugby with plenty of offloads and despite living off scraps of possession they managed to stay in touch and were actually leading going into the late stages of the game. It was an interesting contrast in styles, but it made for an intriguing cat and mouse contest. The Sharks really dominated this contest thanks to their forward pack with Bismarck du Plessis on fire. For the Highlanders, backs like Patrick Osborne, Malakai Fekitoa and Ben Smith.
The Sharks now travel to Christchurch to play the Crusaders, while the Waratahs host the Brumbies in an all Australian Super Rugby semi-final.
What did you make of Super Rugby 2014 Qualifiers? Did the Brumbies and Sharks deserve to win or were the Chiefs and Highlanders unlucky?
Watch Super Rugby 2014 Qualifiers video highlights
Super Rugby Qualifiers Results 2014
Brumbies 32 – 30 Chiefs
Sharks 31 – 27 Highlanders