The table after six rounds
By Roger Childs
After six rounds of the 2020 competition the Chiefs and Crusaders are second equal on points with the Brumbies, and the Blues are fifth equal. The Wellington-based Hurricanes are mid table while the Highlanders languish near the bottom.
Last weekend saw the Crusaders beat the Reds at home, just; the Hurricanes self-destruct at the Caketin; The Chiefs slaughter the Waratahs in Wollongong and the Highlanders get a hiding in the Transvaal.
Down in Christchurch the Crusaders were expected to easily beat the Queensland Reds. However, the visitors played an energetic and bustling game which unsettled the home side and only the inability to convert any of their four tries denied them a win. The Canterbury franchise could only manage three tries and were often guilty of sloppy passing and poor ball retention. If they are to retain their Super Rugby title this year a big improvement is needed.
The Hurricanes v Blues encounter in Wellington was expected to be close. And so it was in the first half with the visitors down just 7-8 at the break. But in the second forty minutes it all fell apart for the home side. Ill discipline saw three players sent off reducing the Hurricanes to 12 players at one stage.
- Prop Tyrol Lomax was red carded for a shoulder hitting Stephen Perofeta’s head.
- Vaea Fafita’s no-arm charge on Blues hooker James Parsons saw him off for ten minutes.
- Then Jodie Barrett’s slap at a high pass resulted in a yellow card and a penalty try.
So the Blues got home 24-15 in what should have been tight encounter. The Hurricanes had looked impressive in their three previous outings but must improve their self-control in what will be a tough match against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday night.
Good and bad overseas
The Chiefs have started slowly in most games this year and against the Brumbies at home last week they were down 27-0 at one point before making a comeback which was too late. In Wollongong last Saturday they were 14-13 down at half time, but bolted away in the second half.
Led by the current form New Zealand half back, Brad Weber, they raced away to a 51-14 win. Weber scored two tries including one in a brilliant interchange with Stevenson that left the commentators gasping. Five other tries and excellent goal kicking gave the Chiefs their biggest ever win across the Tasman.
Meanwhile in Pretoria a five try bonanza in the second half saw the home team thrash the Highlanders 38-13. It was the Bulls first win of the season in a clash that had both teams playing in blue much to the consternation of the referee!
The Otago franchise have not had a good season so far and were poor against the Rebels in Dunedin last week. It doesn’t get any easier for them as their next match is against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Sunday.