Friday, February 15
Highlanders v Chiefs
The Highlanders had to come from behind with 14 men to start their season with a victory with a thrilling 30-27 win over the Chiefs in Hamilton.
All Black scrumhalf Aaron Smith scored a late try to seal the win for the Highlanders after Sio Tomkinson was sent off for a high tackle on Brodie Retallick.
The Highlanders trailed 19-10 at half-time.
Brumbies v Rebels
The Melbourne Rebels stormed past the Brumbies in their opening Super Rugby encounter played in Canberra.
The Rebels welcomed Wallaby oucast Quade Cooper to the team to partner Will Genia at halfback, scoring five tries in their 34-27 victory.
Star loose forward David Pocock failed a head injury assessment in the first five minutes which make the loss even more painful for the Brumbies. He took a heavy knock to the head and his terrible run of injuries continue after his off-season was hampered by neck and calf issues.
The Brumbies was leading 22-19 at half-time after an entertaining opening 40 minutes.
Blues v Crusaders
Those of you(including myself) who thought that the Blues won’t be a force to reckon with, must think again.
The Crusaders needed two penalty tries to launch their Super Rugby title defence with a 24-22 victory over the Blues at Eden Park on Saturday.
The Blues, on home ground in Auckland, were twice forced into crucial errors during the tense encounter when their forwards were under pressure on their own line.
The Crusaders were leading 12-3 at the break before an explosive second-half from the hosts. They scored twice to take the lead at 17-12. If the Blues could only maintain the momentum the outcome would have been in their favor.
Waratahs v Hurricanes
The Waratahs missed a golden opportunity to clinch a victory over a New Zealand side. They were dominating most of the match, but the Hurricanes rallied to a 20-19 victory thanks to a late try by debutante Du Plessis Kirifi which was successfully converted by fullback Jordie Barret.
The home team was leading 19-10 at half-time at the Brookvale Oval in New South Wales.
Warathas fly-half Bernard Foley had a chance to win the game for the Tahs. A straigh forward penalty for someone of Foley’s stature was narrowly missed.
In was indeed a lucky escape for the Hurricanes.
Sunwolves v Sharks
The Sharks produced a solid performance against the Sunwolves in Singapore to run out 45-10 winners.
The South Africans was leading 24-10 at the break, ran in six tries to the solitary score of the Japanese side.
The Durbanites have a massive pack with a Springbok front row and exciting backs. If they can stay injury free they will be a very tough side to beat, especially in Durban.
Bulls v Stormers
The Bulls produced a dominant display of rugby thrashing the Stormers 40-3 in Pretoria. They build up a healthy lead, leading 21-3 at the break.
The start of the match was pushed back by 20 minutes after a massive accident on the freeway close to the stadium.
Springbok Seven playmaker Rosco Specman showed exactly why he made it a nightmare for teams to play against him when he scored two tries after showing brilliant footwork.
Flyhalf Handre Pollard added four panalties with the boot.
Credit have to go to the Bulls for the way they played, but the Stormers looked like a side that didn’t want to play.
Jaguares v Lions
Marnus Schoeman was the unlikely hero as South African visitors the Lions buried a Super Rugby jinx on Saturday by defeating the Jaguares in Argentina for the first time.
The Johannesburg outfit triumphed 25-16 at Estadio Jose Amalfitani with Schoeman, not part of the original starting XV, scoring three tries.
Schoeman owed his place as a loose forward to a midweek injury sustained by first choice Kwagga Smith, which forced the Springbok to withdraw from the trip to South America.
The blond 30-year-old made the most of his unexpected opportunity by scoring after three, 32 and 50 minutes and becoming the only try-scorer to complete a hat-trick on the opening weekend of Super Rugby.
Written by Carl Coertzen
Credit Image: Gallo Images