This week saw some cracking games in New Zealand and South Africa, with the best of the bunch coming from Argentina. There were some close calls this week, with the Sunwolves coming ever so close to their first win for the season and the Jaguares knocking off the Lions.
CHIEFS 26 – 18 HURRICANES
Many thanks to the Kiwis for providing a reasonable quality warm-up for the first Aussie derby of the weekend. Those Kiwis are useful on occasions.
If you somehow missed this one it might be worth your while to take a look-see. Keep an eye out for the replay. All Black on All Black niggle, silky smooth ball handling and a consistent down pour. What’s not to like?
The Hurricanes avoided a tactical kicking game and uncharacteristically seemed to opt for a possession strategy. Thereby handing opportunity to the Chiefs – who needed no such encouragement. Surely on the basis of this game Cruden and Kerr-Barlow go ahead of Barrett and Perenara in the battle for black halves jerseys.
By the way for now, no try has been scored against the Chiefs in the first 60 minutes of any Super Rugby game in 2017.
BLUES 12 – 16 HIGHLANDERS
Another Kiwi wet weather match. To be frank the Highlanders did not look convincing but the Blues simply did not gain at the advantage line. They preferred to wait deep for the defence. While the game did go through to the whistle the Blues rarely looked a chance to win.
As a spectacle it was a touch turgid – which just shows that not ALL Kiwis are invulnerable to the weather. The highlights package will be enough for most of us.
KINGS 10 – 41 STORMERS
As predicted by approximately everyone, this game set up the Stormers well with three wins from three rounds.
The Kings are none-the-less improving. (You would hope so.) They frustrated the Stormers with good turnover for chunks of the game in the first half and executed a nifty grubber kick-pass for a try to winger Makazole Mapimpi in the second.
Otherwise it was a storming one-sided affair. The highlights will do for all but the most dedicated rugby tragic. Or Stormers fan.
CHEETAHS 38 – 31 SUNWOLVES
A re-born Sunwolves surprised with a competitive performance in a high scoring and entertaining game of rugby.
Both teams scored four tries a piece. The “kicker” was in the penalties. The Cheetahs landed three to the Sunwolves one. Running home for the whistle, the Sunwolves had the momentum for an upset. A late game yellow card brought it all to a halt. What might have been!
This game was surprising enough to be worth watching in full. Look for the replay.
Un-Australian Game of the Round
JAGUARES 36 – 24 LIONS
What is it with Johan Ackermann and travelling to Argentina? For the second time, he has left his A team in Jo’burgh. Or on the bench. If this is a strategic call then it is a record currently sitting at 100% for strategic losers.
Johan, kidology in team selection just leaves you looking like a goose, unless, Crusader-like, you bring it on home. Not even a bonus point, Johan.
The Jaguares were up for this from the kick-off. It took only 4 minutes before a movement involving seven pairs of hands provided a try. It’s worth scrutinising.
Bertranou (9) feeds from a ruck on the right-hand side of the field from the 10-yard line. Fly half Sanchez goes deep to the second line of attack, Cordero (11) continues drifting to feed Orlando (13) then quickly to Lezana (7) in the (left hand) train tracks. He makes 20 until a determined defence puts him out, but support is everywhere. You make your own luck – a desperation pass before Lezana touches chalk bounces off the back of a falling Cordero (who was pushed over without the ball) – his second “touch” in this phase.
How do you say “nice hands” when you are talking about someone’s back? It’s not forward and goes nicely into the hands of full back Tuculet. Who busts through two more defenders to score. There are at least two more players trotting behind in support.
When you’re on fire, well you’re on fire. The Jaguares were clicking from 1 to 23.
No conversion but Sanchez made amends shortly after by kicking a penalty.
The Lions returned serve with a try under the posts. They were within one point. They would get no closer.
Either the captain Augustin Creevy was driving by example or Nicholas Sanchez was engineering opportunities. Try to Moyano (14).
Half time Jaguares 21 – 7 Lions
The Jaguares continued where they left off. 3 minutes after the kick-off is all they needed to score this time. Yes, the Lions hit back but the Jaguares never looked threatened.
The South Africans’ discipline let them down. Not only did they receive two yellow cards but Sanchez was kicking points from all over the park.
It was a superb performance by the Argentinians who were actually matched by the Lions in scoring tries – four each. This flatters the Lions. Only one team was ever likely to take this match.
MOTM was undoubtedly Sanchez who scored one try himself and with his boot took a personal point tally of 21, almost matching the Lions performance single-handed.
Tries: Tuculet, Moyano, De La Fuente, Sanchez
Conversions: Sanchez (2)
Penalties: Sanchez (4)
Tries: Whitely (2), Van Rooyen, Marx.
Conversions: Reynolds, van der Walt.
Yellow Cards: Coetzee, Ferreira
Enjoy the highlights: