We had two very good games for the Super Rugby semifinals and another warmup match for the RWC. Here is my review of the weekends action.
Hurricanes 29 – 9 Brumbies
Waratahs 17 – 35 Highlanders
1 from 2, I went for two home wins and was again made to look a fool.
The Canes won this game as much with their defence as their attack. The warning signs were there from early on, the Canes absorbed all the Brumbies could throw at them until there was a turnover or penalty. The Canes dropped the ball twice in great scoring opportunities before they managed a try. It was wonderful hands and good offloading that was doing the damage and they managed two tries before the break. The Canes were also first to score in the second half with a rolling maul. The Brumbies were kicking the ball away too much where as the Canes kept it in hand and only kicked when they could contest it. A couple of penalties gave the Brumbies hope but the Canes kept the Brumbies from crossing the whitewash and sealed the game with another try. The Canes totally dominated this game with nearly twice as many meters ran and 100% with their set piece.
The Landers applied all the early pressure and got rewarded with a penalty. But the Tahs scored a try the first time they got into the Landers 22 with a cross field kick. Then came one of the moments of the season. On a Tahs scrum Smith managed to intercept the pass and run it in for a try. The Tahs pulled themselves back as the Landers got blown of offside several times. But Buckman busted through and when he wasn’t held in the tackle got up and ran in another try. The Tahs got another penalty to trail by just one at the break. The Tahs did take the lead back through another penalty but then the game ran away. Naholo scored a beautiful kick through and try. Then soon afterwards a swinging arm saw a yellow card and penalty try. The Tahs couldn’t come back form that and a drop goal sealed the game with the fifth try icing on the cake. The Landers won this with their excellent kicking game keeping the Tahs in their own half and 100% set piece. The Tahs just couldn’t dominate upfront and their execution was lacking losing 4 of their own lineouts for example.
This means we have an all New Zealand final and will have a first time champion next weekend.
You might also like to check out my interview with the Rebels about their break through season.
Argentina 21 – 9 France Barbarians
Argentina gained revenge for the loss last weekend, they upped the defence and shut out the Barbarians. A try in each half with some good kicking Socino was enough to take the game. It’s always hard to judge teams when they play the Barbarians but the improvement in defence is a good sign even if the discipline still needs work having given up 17 penalties.
We are going into a little lull in the amount of rugby being played but the Rugby Championship and Pacific Nations Cup kick off in July. Then in August the Currie Cup, ITM Cup and NRC will start. Click on any of the names to join in my prediction leagues and test your wits against me.