Almanac Rugby – Super Rugby AU Rd 2/Aotearoa Rd 1: Reigns of the champs continue

We now have both regional Super Rugby competitions up and running. Our friends across the ditch had their two games in front of good crowds, once again providing plenty of viral videos to sports fans worldwide of that lost innocence. The crowds have yet to flock back to our games here. Hopefully, the Brumbies v Reds blockbuster on Saturday week will get the punters motivated.

 

The main stories coming out of both comps is the domination by teams picking up from last year – the Brumbies and Reds here and the Crusaders in NZ.

 

 

Crusaders 26 Highlanders 13

In an entertaining opener, the Dunedin crowd willed their boys to some outstanding heroics in the first half against the Crusaders. It was two tries apiece at halftime and the Highlanders looked a genuine chance. However, the relentless black and red machine kicked into gear in the second half and scored two five-pointers to secure the win. The hosts could only muster a single penalty conversion.

 

The Crusaders used the maul far more effectively than their opponents and controlled territory brilliantly at critical junctures. This sort of discipline sets them up once again as the pacesetters in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

 

 

 

Reds 23 Rebels 21

Next cab off the rank on Friday night was the opening game for the Rebels. In the lion’s den that had been so brutal to the Waratahs a week earlier how would the boys from Melbourne, once again living the life of Covid-19 nomads, fare against the Reds?

 

In an uninspiring grind, the Rebels capitalised on indiscretions with encouraging efficiency. All of their points came from penalties. Two second half tries to the Reds, though, got them over the line. The hosts were deserving winners. Their attacking flair was brought undone by too many handling errors but their esprit de corps with ball in hand was admirable.

 

Reece Hodge racked up some good numbers and was the stand out player for the visitors. Alex Mafi was an imposing figure all night and deservedly crossed the line for both tries. The Reds now get a week off and the Rebels head to Canberra to face the Brumbies. On the bright side, they showed a lot more gumption than the ‘Tahs in Brisbane and they’ll need to replicate that on Saturday as the Brumbies are looking ominous (see below).

 

 

 

Blues 31 Hurricanes 16

There was a lot of love in the air at Wellington on Saturday for Ardie Savea as he ran out for his 100th Super Rugby game in yellow. The lads from Auckland spoiled the party.

 

The Blues have been threatening to become a force in the last few seasons but their form has been patchy. This was an impressive performance built on grit and character. They ran the ball, coughing it up more often than they would have liked but just kept going. Something to be said for blind optimism when you have belief.

 

It’s difficult to gauge where these teams are based on that performance, but they can both have a crack at the title if they so choose. It just remains to be seen whether the Chiefs are up to the challenge when they run out next weekend as they were awful last season.

 

 

 

Brumbies 61 Waratahs 10

Last week, the ‘Tahs suffered their worst ever defeat to the Reds. Not to be outdone, this disgraceful performance saw them set a new low with their biggest ever defeat by the Brumbies.

 

Yes they had a new look ‘youthful’ outfit on Saturday but what they served up…no words. Just contempt, disdain, abhorrence.

 

 

 

 

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About

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.

Comments

  1. What about those Reds breaking Melbourne hearts. This Sat will be great. Don’t even mention the Tahs. You’ve put the mock on our Kiwi cousins Ruminator!- no crowds this weekend. Innocence defiled again.

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