The Super Rugby finals kicked off with the quarter finals and the penultimate round of ProRugby games took place. Here’s my roundup of all the action.
Brumbies 9 – 15 Highlanders
Hurricanes 41 – 0 Sharks
Lions 42 – 25 Crusaders
Stormers 21 – 60 Chiefs
4 from 4, a perfect round to start the finals.
The weather in Canberra was a great leveler. As we saw a couple of weeks ago the Brumbies didn’t have much beyond the set piece. The Landers did a great job a lineout time stealing 5 of 17 that Brumbies threw in. This removed the lineout as an option but the Brumbies still dominated the scrum and got plenty of joy there. They were upset after the game that a try was disallowed as the TMO couldn’t see a grounding and also that a penalty try or yellow card wasn’t given late on where the scrum had to be reset several times. The Landers though were deserved winners for playing the more enterprising rugby running the ball for 424 meters compared to the Brumbies 194 off similar territory and possession.
The weather was awful in Wellington also and a couple of missed penalties early on for the Sharks stopped them kicking goals. Whilst the score is a blowout the Canes defence was immense missing only 7 of 106 tackles! The Sharks in contrast missed 26 of 98 and that means lots of points against when you’re playing a Kiwi side. It wasn’t until the beginning of the second half that the Canes put this one to bed when 3 tries in 12 minutes allowed players to be pulled off with this weekend in mind.
The score suggests that the Lions were clear of the Saders but this was a real contest until the last 15 minutes. The Lions started with 2 early tries but the Saders worked their way back into the game. A try just before halftime gave the Lions some control. The Second half was tight until that last quarter of an hour and maybe the altitude and travel proved too much for the Saders.
The Stormers did bash over for the first try after 11 minutes, but that’s as good as it got as the Chiefs went about blitzing them. Koch did manage a second try just before halftime but by then the Chiefs had 4 tries and 34 points. Amazingly the Stormers ran for a similar number of meters and had the upper hand on territory and possession. But the Chiefs managed 18 line breaks to 10 by the Stormers. Also this was a great example of New Zealand sides avoiding rucks to create fastball only having 60 rucks compared to 100 for the Stormers. That quick ball was too much for the Stormers and the Chiefs cruised home.
So the quarterfinals are Canes v Chiefs and Lions v Landers.
I have been competing with @RugbyNumbers all season and we are tied at 9 rounds each with only 2 to go. Will I be able to beat the algorithm?
Sacramento Express 35 – 27 San Diego Breakers
San Francisco Rush 24 – 31 Denver Stampede
1 from 2, I didn’t pick the upset.
The Express upset the Breakers and it means that they are only 3 points behind the Rush who the play next weekend. The Stampede went back to the top of the table with that win over the Rush. This sets up a title decider against the Aviators for Denver and a bottom of the table decide between the Express and Rush.
There is a lot of rugby that’s going to kickoff soon, please do join in my SuperBru leagues for The Rugby Championship, Aviva Premiership, Pro12, Top 14, Mitre 10 Cup, Currie Cup and NRC or you could just join the DrivingMaul.
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