Friday, March 22
Blues 33-26 Highlanders
The Blues finally managed to beat a fellow Kiwi side, claiming a 33-26 victory over the Highlanders in Auckland on Friday.
It was the first time in three years that the Auckland side won against a New Zealand side.
Both teams linked arms in a minute’s silence before kick-off to pay their respect for the 50 lives that was lost in the mosque attacks.
“It’s awesome, it’s good for our confidence,” said flanker Blake Gibson. “Obviously we haven’t beaten a New Zealand team in a while and it’s good to get that monkey off our back.”
Next week the Blues will play against the Stormers in Auckland and the Highlanders have a bye.
Saturday, March 23
Hurricanes 34-28 Stormers
The Stormers got their tour of to the worst possible way by losing to the Hurricanes 34-28 in Wellington on Saturday.
The Cape Town side had their chances to put the Hurricanes away and were leading 21-15 at the break.
But in the end, unforced errors cost the men from South Africa.
Poor kicking, handling errors and set pieces were the Stormers downfall.
The Hurricanes next weekend will host the Crusaders and the Stormers will play the Blues in Auckland.
Waratahs 20-12 Crusaders
The Waratahs out played a out of sort Crusaders side, beating them 20-12 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney on Saturday.
The Crusaders were without a number of first choice players and were trailing 15-7 at half-time.
The Waratahs scored three tries through lock Jed Holloway, wing Cam Clark and fullback Israel Folau. Flyhalf Bernard Foley added a conversion and penalty.
The defending champions scored two tries through wing George Bridge and replacement fullback Will Jordan.
The Waratahs will next face the Sunwolves in Sydney and the Crusaders will travel to Wellington to play the Hurricanes.
Sunwolves 24-37 Lions
It was the Malcolm Marx show as the captain inspired his side to a 37-24 victory over the Sunwolves in Singapore on Saturday.
The Springbok hooker scored two tries and was a nightmare for the opposition at ruck-time.
The Johannesburg side were leading 12-7 at the break.
With this victory the Lions moved to the top of the South African conference and second on the over all log.
Next week the Lions have a bye and the Sunwolves face the Waratahs.
Bulls 20-56 Chiefs
The Bulls came crashing back down to earth after being hammered by the Chiefs 56-20 in Pretoria on Saturday.
The Chiefs lost their first four matches and drew last week, but they were always going to stand up and show their worth at some point.
Unfortunately for the Bulls, the Chiefs were at their best at Loftus, going into the break with a 24-6 lead.
It was always going to be a uphill battle after half-time for the home side and the Chiefs kept piling pressure on the Bulls.
It is the first win for the Hamilton side and if they keep playing like this, it will definitely not be their last.
The Bulls will travel to Durban to face the Sharks next week and the Chiefs will fly out to Argentina to play against the Jaguares.
Sharks 28-14 Rebels
The Sharks outplayed the Rebels, beating them 28-14 in Durban on Saturday.
The home side lost their last two matches, but managed to put up a good performance thanks to tries from Dan du Preez, Robert du Preez and Makazole Mapimpi.
The Melbourne side were playing without Wallaby stars Will Genia and Dane Haylett-Petty. Their absence were clearly felt by Rebels.
Next week the Sharks will face the Bulls in Durban and the Rebels will play against the Reds in Brisbane.
Sunday, March 24
Reds 36-14 Brumbies
The Reds made it two wins in a row after beating the Brumbies 36-14 in Brisbane on Sunday.
Conditions were difficult for both sides with the temperature reaching 34 degree Celsius, but in the end the Reds’s fitness levels showed as they continued to pile pressure on the Canberra side.
“Really pleased with how we started, it’s something we’ve been working on for the past few weeks,” said Reds skipper Samu Kerevi.
“Really proud of the boys,” he added, saying their “intent” throughout the entire 80 minutes was what pleased him most.
Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano admitted his team deserved to lose.
“They came with a lot of energy and probably beat us in the physicality area. We’re disappointed but we’ll go away and look at that and look to improve,” he said.
Written by Carl Coertzen
Image Credit: Getty Images