Friday, February 22
Highlanders v Reds
The Highlanders managed to scrape past the Reds to win an entertaining nine try thriller in Dunedin 36-31.
The men from New Zealand scored five tries to the four of the Reds. Shannon Frizzell crossed the white line twice and a late Dillon Hunt try broke the Reds’s hearts.
“It was a hell of a tough battle. They were fast and direct and asked a lot of questions up front,” Highlanders skipper Luke Whitelock said
The Reds now have lost their last 11 matches in New Zealand dating back to 2013.
Saturday, February 23
Sunwolves v Waratahs
A brave Sunwolves side fell just short against the Waratahs losing 31-30.
Wallabies star Israel Folau scored twice in the first half to make history by becoming Australia’s highest try-scorer in the competition with a career total of 58 and counting.
After being smashed last week by the Sharks, the Sunwolves picked themselves up to almost stun the men from Down Under.
The Sunwolves now have only won six matches in their four seasons of Super Rugby. They are facing an uncertain future as Super Rugby bosses prepare to thrash out the competition’s format in March.
Crusaders v Hurricanes
The Crusaders stormed to a record 17th consecutive victory with a 38-22 demolition of the Hurricanes in Christchurch.
The defending champions scored six tries to the four of the Hurricanes and was leading 24-0 at the break. The game was mostly one sided as the Hurricanes scored two late tries to get some respectability on the score board.
Todd, the Crusaders skipper, said the dominant first half was the making of the game.
“We came out with the attitude to attack and we scored some good tries which was pleasing. The second half got a bit messy,” he said.
The Crusaders haven’t been beaten since back-to-back losses away to the Hurricanes and Highlanders a year ago and have overtaken the previous record of 16 wins set by the Crusaders of 2005-06.
They also extended their impressive home run to 21 matches without defeat in three years.
Brumbies v Chiefs
The Brumbies gave the Chiefs a rugby lesson in their Super Rugby clash in Canberra. The Brumbies won 54-17 after leading half-time 33-10.
The Brumbies scored eight tries through centre Tevita Kuridrani (2), fullback Tom Banks, No 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, wing Chance Peni (2), hooker Folau Fainga’a and replacement rake Josh Mann-Rea. Flyhalf Christian Lealiifano was on target with five conversions, while replacement pivot Wharenui Hawera added two conversions.
The Chiefs replied with tries by wing Ataata Moeakiola and replacement hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho. Flyhalf Damian McKenzie added both conversions and a penalty.
Hopefully this performance by the Brumbies showed that their is still life in Australian Rugby.
Sharks v Blues
The Sharks’s first-half blitz was enough to secure back-to-back victories for the men from Kwazulu-Natal to make it a perfect start to their campaign. They comfortably dispatched the Blues 26-17 in Durban after leading 19-0 at the break.
The Sharks scored four tries to one to secure a bonus point victory.
Stormers v Lions
The Stormers bounced back from a heavy defeat against the Bulls last week to stun the Lions in Cape Town.
Replacement scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies scored seven minutes into stoppage time to give the home side a 19-17 victory .
The two teams headed out in the first half dressed in their superhero kits, but as both were essentially red and blue it was hard to tell them apart, prompting the home side to change to their alternative black and yellow kit at half-time.
The Lions will look back at this match and wonder where it all went wrong.
Jaguares v Bulls
The Jaguaresadapted much better than the Bulls to the wet conditions in Buenos Aires on Saturday and finished 27-12 winners in their Super Rugby match.
Scoring three tries and conceding none earned the Jaguares a bonus point and lifted them from the bottom of the table to seventh place in the overall standings.
It was the first success under new coach Gonzalo Quesada after a nine-point home defeat in Round 1 by the Lions, last weekend.
Defeat was a severe reality check for the visitors from Pretoria, who had thrashed South African rivals the Stormers by 37 points last weekend.
On a positive note Cornal Hendricks played his first Super Rugby match in four years and put up a solid performance.
Written by Carl Coertzen
Credit Image: Gallo Images