Almanac Rugby: Super Rugby: Trans Tasman Rd 1

After a few months of duking it out in their respective corners, the teams from both sides of the ditch will go head to head in the ring over 5 rounds before seeing which one has the knockout punch in a final. While the boxing metaphor may be perverse given the expected beatings the Aussie sides have coming, it’s best to confront reality as brutally as possible.


While there were three games that ended with knockout punches, it was pleasing to see two of them effectively end in split decisions that could have gone our way.


Highlanders 40 Reds 19


The Reds’ glow from their inspiring SRAU title was extinguished in emphatic fashion in that longstanding graveyard of Australian rugby, Dunedin. The home team were ruthless from the get-go. The Reds looked flat footed and lethargic throughout. By the time they caught their breath late in the game it was all over.

The run of ‘mini Bledisloes’ was off to a less than auspicious start.


Hurricanes 64 Waratahs 48


The number of tries scored per game varies a little from one competition to another and one hemisphere to another, with our northern cousins generally a little less expansive in their quest for the tryline. That said, you assume you’ll see around 6 or 7 tries per game.


On Friday night at the SCG, these two teams combined for 17 tries. While many may see this as entertaining, I have a less favourable view. The beauty of rugby is the military precision good teams apply to gaining territorial advantage and then turning that into scoreboard pressure either by crossing the tryline or getting valuable 3 pointers. When a game descends into a shootout of touch footy proportions it ceases to be true rugby.


This game will be in the record books for points scored but easily forgotten as a contest.


Crusaders 31 Brumbies 29


This was the contest most fans had been looking forward to the most. The standard bearers for their respective countries over the last decade met for a full house clash in Christchurch. Unlike the Reds, the Crusaders weren’t suffering from any post title fatigue. They looked sharp from the outset but perhaps a little more subdued than usual.


The Brumbies were outclassed in the first half but started finding rhythm after the break. Their efforts in the last 10 minutes to will themselves into the contest was inspiring. They crossed the line on full-time and had a chance to claim an historic draw. Lolesio’s conversion attempt faded late and the boys from the nation’s capital fell agonisingly short.


It looks like the Brumbies will resume their mantle of the best team in the country and take it up to our cousins in the remaining four rounds.


Blues 50 Rebels 3


At home on Saturday night, the Rebels were abysmal. Their pack was demolished by the Auckland lads. They failed to cross the line AGAIN. Their attacking plays were insipid.


It’s going to be a long season if the Rebels keep playing like this, but full credit to the visitors. It was a very professional display from the Blues.


Chiefs 20 Force 19


You’ve just got to love what the Force do for their fans. The endeavour and spirit they show when playing in front of their faithful has been the most endearing aspect of Super Rugby in Australia so far this year. They really took it up to the Chiefs on Saturday night. They matched them in most facets of play.


Just like the Brumbies, a try on full-time gave them the chance to get more than a bonus point. However, the final fade out that cursed Lolesio also brought Miotti undone.


They didn’t get the win but they won many rugby fans for that effort. The Force can hold their heads high as they approach the remaining rounds.


Hopefully next weekend fortune will favour one of the Aussie teams so we at least get one scalp. We have a three test series against France at the end of this competition but Bledsiloe will be on us before we know it. We need confidence boosters. The close shaves suggest we will get there. We are at least off the canvas.


More stories from Brian The Ruminator can be read Here.


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



To return to the  home page click HERE


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.


Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE





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.


  1. That is a spot on assessment of the Waratahs game.

Leave a Comment