Almanac Rugby: Round 2 – Super Rugby Trans-Tasman

While none of the Australian teams got as close as the Brumbies and Force did in Round 1, there were glimmers of hope in the whitewash on the weekend. There are certainly noticeable changes to game plans to counteract the Kiwi blitzkriegs. However, the gap in skill level remains the largest hurdle to overcome.


So despite the one-sided nature of many of the contests, we look for signs of recovery now that we know the full schedule of international rugby over the winter. The bulk of the Rugby Championship games will be played here and in NZ. The Pumas and Springboks will play 2 tests in South Africa before coming to play their respective tests against the Wallabies here and against the All Blacks across the ditch. That’s a lot of rugby with a lot of eyeballs looking to see whether our boys will rise to the challenge.


Before then, they have to show some heart in SRTT.



Hurricanes 35 Rebels 13

We had confirmation on Friday night that the Rebels are the poorest Australian team at the moment. Their lack of commitment at the breakdown and inability to make consistent territory was exploited by the Canes in Wellington.


It was good to see Andrew Kellaway back in a star spangled jersey but the list at the moment is just not up to the job.


Highlanders 25 Force 15

The Force once again gave their home fans something to cheer for, as they showed some real grit in this game. The Highlanders were their usual methodical selves without getting much out of third gear.


Blues 48 Waratahs 21

This was a tough assignment for the Tahs. The Blues tend to lift considerably at Eden Park and Saturday afternoon was no exception. The visitors gave it their best shot, though, with  Jake Gordon playing one of his best games to spark his teammates at critical junctures


Chiefs 40 Brumbies 19

After going so close with the Crusaders in Christchurch last round, there were high hopes the Brumbies would be a real chance at home against the men from Waikato. Early on, it was clear they were being outclassed. The Chiefs made the most of their territorial gains and got points when they needed to keep their opponents at bay. There was never really a time when the hosts looked threatening.


Crusaders 63 Reds 28

The winners of the two previous tournaments clashed in Brisbane on Saturday night to close out the round. As the scoreline suggests, the hosts were never really in it. The Crusaders crossed the try-line three times early and Mo’unga’s right boot added the extras. He then went on to score a hatrick of tries for a big night out.


Not that there was ever any doubt, but this fixture proved emphatically that we have yet another tournament of the Crusaders being the presumptive champions and the interest being mostly on the team making up the numbers when the final rolls around.


In the next round, I’m keen to see how the Force goes on their first visit to NZ when they take on the Hurricanes. I reckon they will give it a red hot go. I’m also hoping to see the Reds bounce back when they host the Chiefs.


The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE



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Grew up playing the rugby codes in suburban Sydney. Moved to Melbourne during the Carey era so becoming a Shinboner was the natural call. Still love the game they play in heaven. Took an interest in MLB a few years back and have become infatuated with America's pastime.

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