Un-Australian Activities - Week 6 - Green and Gold Rugby
Rugby

Un-Australian Activities – Week 6

Un-Australian Activities – Week 6

CRUSADERS 33-14 BULLS

The Crusaders secured a potentially valuable bonus point victory on a wet Friday night in Christchurch.

The Bulls showed their hand in the opening 10 minutes, setting up four driving mauls inside the Crusaders 22 but coming away with no points to show for it. Conversely the Crusaders first two tries, to lock Scott Barrett after 16 minutes and hooker Codie Taylor after 28, both came from close-range driving mauls. Bulls wing Travis Ismaiel scored a solo stunner after 32 minutes but centre Jack Goodhue powered over in the 39th to restore the Crusaders lead to 14 at the break.

The second half followed much the same pattern, the Bulls falling further behind when Goodhue completed his double after 49 minutes and not scoring their second try until the 69th when replacement forward Marco van Staden re-enacted the parting of the Red Sea to go under the posts. Wing George Bridge regained the Crusaders the bonus point inside the last ten minutes.

Not a great spectacle and one wonders what might have happened had the Bulls kept the scoreboard ticking over in threes – neither side attempted a penalty during the match – and played a more traditional Bulls game than what coach John Mitchell has them playing this year.

Highlights:

SANZAAR match page: https://sanzarrugby.com/superrugby/match-centre/?season=2018&competition=205&match=518061

CHIEFS 61-10 SUNWOLVES

The Chiefs were utterly dominant in Tokyo, running in nine tries and at times scoring seemingly at will.

Four opening-quarter tries meant it was only ever a question of how much they would win by, a century looking a possibility until the home side’s forwards muscled up in defence. The Sunwolves have a handy pair of attacking wingers, but neither looked comfortable on defence and the midfield pairing wasn’t much more effective.

For the Chiefs, 5/8 Damian McKenzie and wing Solomon Alaimalo each bagged a double with locks Tyler Ardron and Brodie Retallick, hooker Nathan Harris, his replacement Liam Polwart, and replacement back Sean Wainui also dotting down.

The Sunwolves managed two tries, but there was more than a hint of a forward handoff in Masirewa’s effort.

Highlights:

SANZAAR match page: https://sanzarrugby.com/superrugby/match-centre/?season=2018&competition=205&match=518063

HURRICANES 29-12 HIGHLANDERS

It may go down as a 17-point victory, but the Hurricanes were made to work hard for it by a Highlanders side that, as we’ve come to expect, fought from whistle to whistle.

Six minutes in Highlanders centre Rob Thompson looked to have set his fullback Ben Smith up for a kick-and-chase try, only for the ball to sit up for Beauden Barrett who scooted 50 metres to score and add the extras.

Concerted Highlanders pressure on the goal line, including a Tyrel Lomax carry that went agonisingly close, eventually lead to wing Waisake Naholo exploiting an overlap to score in the corner.

Hurricanes wing Ben Lam scored next a superb effort in the left corner despite having three defenders trying to push or pull him into touch. The TMO almost made a howler, telling the ref to disallow the try for a foot in touch before realising (or more likely being told) that said foot belonged to a defender.

Halftime: Hurricanes 12-5 Highlanders

The second half had barely begun when Naholo bagged his second try, a brilliant kick-and-chase in which the ball again bounced wickedly but this time in the visitor’s favour. He had the presence of mind to feign dotting down before evading a defender in-goal and scoring closer to the posts. Sopoaga nailed the easy conversion to even the scores.

Having turned down kickable penalties earlier in the game, the Hurricanes decided that fullback Jordie Barrett would attempt one from a long way out. It always had the direction but the height was in some doubt until it finally made it over the bar for a 15-12 lead with half an hour remaining.

The teams went at each other hammer and tongs for the next 15 minutes without success before replacement wing Vince Aso scored one of the tries of the season. Knowing that Ben Smith stood an excellent chance of pushing him into touch he took the aerial route and touched down in the corner while almost vertical.

After that, the Hurricanes simply refused to relinquish the ball and made several multi-phase forays into the Highlanders 22. It was only a question of when the defence would break and with five minutes remaining Lam picked up his second try, landing short of the line but reaching out to touch the line before the ball squirted away.

TJ Perenara, therefore, got to celebrate his 100th Hurricanes cap with a win that may prove vital later in the season. As things stand the Hurricanes are now just a point behind the Crusaders at the top of the New Zealand Conference and have a game in hand. The Highlanders now sit equal third with the Chiefs, both of them also having played one game fewer than the Crusaders.

Highlights:

SANZAAR match page: https://sanzarrugby.com/superrugby/match-centre/?season=2018&competition=205&match=518064

JAGUARES 49-35 LIONS

The Lions confirmed many people’s suspicions that they’re not quite at their 2016-17 level in crashing to their second defeat of the year and leaking plenty of points in the process.

Down 0-10 early following a first-minute try and a penalty soon after, the Lions fought back to briefly lead 14-10 before the Jaguares scored twice late in the half to lead 25-14 at the break.

The third quarter would prove decisive, each side scoring twice but the Lions unable to peg back the lead, 21-28 being as close as they got. The Jaguares then added three more late tries to seal the victory.

The Lions remain on top of the South African Conference and second overall while the Jaguares are now fourth in the Conference and twelfth overall.

Highlights:

SANZAAR match page: https://sanzarrugby.com/superrugby/match-centre/?season=2018&competition=205&match=518066

Un-Australian activities next week (times are AEDT) are:

Chiefs v Highlanders 17:35 Friday

Blues v Sharks 17:35 Saturday

Bulls v Stormers 1:15 Sunday

Lions v Crusaders 22:30 Sunday

Happy Easter!

  • Brent Craig

    I’ve just discovered that Daylight Saving in NZ ends early Sunday so Lions v CruSadists could actually be at 21:30 “check local guides” as they say in the classics.

    • Will update when I get a chance.

      • Brent Craig

        Thanks, mate. I know the NZ kickoff time allows for the end of NZDT, just not sure when AEDT finishes in relation to that.

  • juswal

    Thanks for the round-up.

    49-35 is a mad scoreline. Has Nathan Grey been consulting with both teams?

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Ouch!

    • Brent Craig

      Didn’t notice the ball being played at in the Technical Area, but you never know……

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Sully, thanks for this. Always good to read. One minor point. The ball for Barret’s try against the Crusaders didn’t set up for him. He actually kicked the ball into his hands and then ran away to score. One of the more skilful things I have seen on a rugby field.

    • Brent Craig

      You’re right & my in-play notes refer to it as “mad diveball skills” so I’ve no idea how I failed to mention it. Must be the product of writing about one game while some of the later ones are still bouncing around inside the head (plenty of room etc etc :’))

    • Tomthusiasm

      I saw the replay live, and it looked like he nudged it with his left foot on to his right and kicked it up, good soccer skills on the fly!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah I know. You know a perceived flakiness when pressured is nothing compared to that. I’ll take him any day

        • I’m not sure he’s really flaky under pressure. I know that’s the common perception but he ran an ever-changing AB back line against a Lions side that was picked and coached to bully the ABs defensively and for 60 minutes a side that was down a man and it still took two poor refereeing decisions to end one match with a loss and one with a draw. And I’m not referring to the red card, I’m talking about two penalties, one given and one given then taken away.

          Barrett will still win far more games than he costs the All Blacks and even the Irish will not sustain that level of pressure against them as long as the All Blacks can get a settled second five and centre pairing that will play comfortably off him.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Eloise I agree which is why I used the word perception. I think he’s a dynamic player. He obviously operates better with space but even under pressure he’s better than 99% of all 10s. I think he tries to make something happen at times when it’s not needed and they don’t always come off and that has led to this perception. He’s my No 1 pick every time

        • Tomthusiasm

          Yeah, it’s hard to change some people’s opinion but, thankfully, he seems to have the backing of his coaches to express himself in such ways.

  • John Tynan

    I haven’t seen any chiefs games this year. How is Mackenzie going at 5/8?

    • Brent Craig

      Let’s be kind & say he’s a work in progress. Or slightly less kind & say they went OK with Tiaan Falcon at 10 & other than being under orders from FABCIF (Future All Black Coach Ian Foster) there was no real need to shift DMac back there.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I agree with Brent. He’s a work in progress. Needs to be better at decision making and to stop trying to do something fancy every time he touches the ball. Lots of potential but Barrett and Mounga are way better

      • John Tynan

        Thanks fellas.

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