Maybe not a big weekend in terms of volumes of rugby but it was in stature as we had the Super Rugby final and the Women’s 7s kicked off in Rio. Also the Currie Cup started their season with some action in the courts as well as on the pitch. Here’s my round-up of it all.
Hurricanes 20 – 3 Lions
1 from 1, in a result that I think most people thought would happen.
It was a cold, wet and windy day down in Wellington, so a big change in conditions for the Lions. As the saying goes defences win championships and that was so true here. The Hurricanes managed to go through the whole finals series without conceding a try. Here in the final the only time the ball got over the try line due to attacking play it got called back for a knock-on. The Canes 2 tries came from Lions errors as they couldn’t cope with the line speed and tackling of the Canes. To be fair the Lions defence was also good and this came down to a poor kick and dropped ball. Barrett ran the game well whilst his opposite number didn’t have his best game. Jantjies will grow from this experience but this weekend he look flustered and passed the ball under pressure when he should have kicked at times. He needed to take a bit more responsibility but we shouldn’t judge him on this one game in conditions he’s not used to playing in. The Lions did make some early breaks but the Canes adapted and the Lions ended up getting their most joy from up and unders. I did feel in the middle of the match that they started to overdo it. In the end though this was won by Canes defence, playing in the right areas and not making key mistakes which the Lions did twice.
I have been competing with @RugbyNumbers all season and I lost it at the semi finals as we both predicted the same outcome for the final.
New Zealand and Great Britain came through the group stages with three wins, Australia’s only blip was a draw with the USA. Canada lost a game to Great Britain but through superior points difference claimed the 4th seeding. This meant the top 4 teams from the World Series rose to the top and the only big upset in the group stages was Fiji’s win over the USA.
Australia 24–0 Spain
Canada 15–5 France
Great Britain 26–7 Fiji
New Zealand 5–0 United States
The top 4 seeds all managed to win their quarter finals, not everything went their way though. Canada had to come back from 0-5 down against France and New Zealand fought a very tight encounter with the USA including losing a player to the bin for 2 minutes. In the end though we have the top 4 teams into the semi-finals and we should have a great third day in this competition.
Blue Bulls 45 – 26 Western Province
Pumas 10 – 33 Sharks
Boland Cavaliers 16 – 44 Cheetahs
3 from 3, a good picking start to the season.
Unsurprisingly the provinces that have a Super Rugby side located in them had the upper hand. Where two Super Rugby provinces clashed home advantage helped the Blue Bulls to a win over Western Province.
Off the pitch the Kings were saved from liquidation by a late cash injection and were allowed to continue in the competition. Their first round game was postponed though.
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 and NRC or you could just join the DrivingMaul.
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