Friday, March 8
Hurricanes 25-22 Highlanders
All Black flyhalf Beauden Barrett kicked a last-gasp penalty to give the Hurricanes a 25-22 victory over the Highlanders on Friday.
The Highlanders had the edge over the Hurricanes after leading 22-14 early in the second half, but failed to close it out.
The match was locked at 22-22 at the final siren when Highlanders lock Jackson Hemopo conceded a penalty for hands in the ruck.
Barrett slotted the penalty in front of the posts to give the Hurricanes the win.
Try scoring machine Ngani Laumape scored twice as he made in five tries in two matches.
“It was a real ding-dong battle,” Hurricanes captain Dane Coles said. “We were getting bullied for the first 30 minutes and our discipline was terrible.
“But we showed good character and I’m proud of the boys’ ticker to stay with it for 80 minutes.”
Rebels 29-26 Brumbies
The Brumbies let a win slip out of their hands after leading 19-3 at one stage. Credit has to go the Melbourne Rebels for the way they fought back.
The Rebels looked down and out, but tries from Jack Maddocks, Will Genia and the solid boot of Quade Cooper handed them a 29-26 victory.
The Rebels remain unbeaten with three wins from three.
Folau Fainga’a became the first Brumbie forward to score tries in four consecutive matches.
A big test awaits the Rebels as they travel to face the Lions in Johannesburg this coming weekend. If they can overcome to play at altitude and win the Lions, they can seriously consider themselves as title contenders.
Saturday, March 9
Crusaders 57-28 Chiefs
Defending champions the Crusaders destroyed the Chiefs 57-28 on Saturday in Christchurch.
New Crusaders fullback Will Jordan scored two tries and Sevu Reece made the most of his lifeline that was handed to him.
All Blacks’ hooker Codie Taylor, in his first outing of the year, also scored twice in the nine-tries-to-four romp.
It kept the reigning champions unbeaten and extended their winning streak to 19 matches while the 2012 and 2013 champion Chiefs remain winless after four rounds.
Despite the lopsided scoreline, the Crusaders did go off the boil in the closing minutes which Taylor said was a concern.
“We slacked off last week against the Reds and so we played a good 65 minutes today which was awesome to see, but we’ve still got a lot to work on in that last 15. It seems to be a habit at the moment,” he said.
Chiefs centre Anton Lienert-Brown said his side made too many errors to be competitive.
“The Crusaders were just too good. Every error we made they punished us,” he said.
Blues 28-20 Sunwolves
The Blues secured their first victory of the 2019 season thanks to four tries from winger Rieko Ioane. The final score was 28-20.
The Blues was leading 15-13 at half-time after going down 0-6 early on.
“It’s been a tough few weeks,” a relieved Blues hooker James Parson said after the Blues dedicated the win to the memory of former squad member Michael Tamoaieta, who died last week.
“The way our scrum performed tonight it was all for Mikey, he was with us tonight.”
Next week the Sunwolves travel to Australia to take on the Reds while the Blues have a bye.
Waratahs 28-17 Reds
The Waratahs secured a tough 28-17 win over the Reds in Sydney on Saturday.
The Waratahs fresh after a bye last week, was leading early on after two Bernard Foley penalties.
The Reds JP Smith was sin-binned for an infringement and the Tahs’ used the opportunity to cross the line with a Ned Hanigan try.
The Sydney based side was leading 16-12 at the break.
Sefanaia Naivalu pulled one back to narrow the score to 21-17 with 14 minutes left before Tahs’ substitute Alex Newsome burst through soon after coming on to put the game beyond doubt.
“We haven’t really hit our straps yet in attack but we ran some really good plays tonight out of our own end,” said Waratahs captain Michael Hooper.
“I was pleased how we kept playing right to the end. That was testament to our work rate.”
Lions 47-39 Jaguares
The Lions got back to winning ways after beating the Jaguares 47-39 in a try-fest in Johannesburg.
The Lions who beat the same side in week one in Argentina, after back-to-back losses to the Stormers and Bulls was leading 26-13 at the break.
The Johannesburg based side fielded a lot of youngsters to give them their first taste of Super Rugby. The home side scored seven tries through Rhyno Herbst, Elton Jantjies, Kwagga Smith, Wandisile Simelane, Marnus Schoeman and Courtnall Skosan (2).
Jantjies scores 17 points to cross the 1000 mark in Super Rugby.
The Jaguares replied with six tries, but left Ellis Park empty handed.
Next week the Lions hosts the Melbourne Rebels and the Jaguares travel to Cape Town to face the Stormers.
Bulls 37-14 Sharks
The Bulls defeated the Sharks 37-14 after leading half-time 19-0.
With this win the Bulls completed a clean sweep of South African sides after beating the Lions and Stormers earlier in the competition.
The Bulls scored three tries through centre Jesse Kriel and wing Rosko Specman (2), while flyhalf Handre Pollard added two conversions, five penalties and a drop goal for a personal haul of 22 points.
The Sharks replied with two tries of their own by centre Jeremy Ward and No 8 Daniel du Preez. Flyhalf Robert du Preez was on target with both conversions.
The Pretoria based side is slowly starting to look like the Bulls side that dominated Super Rugby from 2007-2010.
With a massive pack and a halfback combination that can dominate the opposition with good tactical kicking, it reminds one of the side featuring Fourie Du Preez and Morne Steyn.
Both sides have byes next week.
Written by Carl Coertzen
Image Credit: Gallo Images