UN-AUSTRALIAN ACTIVITIES: A round up of the NZ Super Rugby matches

UN-AUSTRALIAN ACTIVITIES: A round up of the NZ Super Rugby matches

It was Derby Weekend in New Zealand with the Battle of the Bombays and the Southern Classic producing some scintillating rugby.

Chiefs v Blues
Friday, 3 March 2017 7:30pm, FMG Stadium in Hamilton

The Chiefs were at their Championship-winning best in Hamilton on Friday night crushing the Blues 41-26 in a commanding performance. Despite the Blues dominating early possession and field position the Chiefs scored twice early to break out to a 15-9 lead through tries to Liam Messam (6) from a 5m lineout and Damian McKenzie (15) who finished off a slick midfield move after a great pass from Tim Nainai-Williams (14). Augustine Pulu was the best of the Blues in the first 40, full of running and probing the Chiefs defenses but his forwards were losing their set piece exchanges and could not generate any momentum. Just before the 40min mark Blues lock Steven Luatua was red-carded for an off-the ball high tackle which had an immediate impact on the game as the Chiefs decided to kick for the corner and scored by a maul over the try-line.

Halftime Score: Chiefs 22-9 Blues

The Blues needed something special to turn the game around but it was the Chiefs who came out firing in the second spell. A manhandled Blues scrum gave up the ball on their own line for Chiefs flanker Lachlan Boshier (7) to score from the ensuing ruck. Set piece woes continued for the Blues who lost lineouts off their own throw and multiple scrum penalties. Chiefs winger soon went over the Blues line to score again after gliding through three Blues midfield defenders and when Anton Lienert-Brown (13) dotted down in the 56th minute after a length of the field effort try the score had blown out to 41-9. With time running out Umanga finally released all his All Blacks onto the field. Tuipulotu, Faumauina and Rene Ranger all bashed their way over the line within minutes of eachother to add some respectability to the final scoreline at 41-26, aided by strong running and defence by Kaino and Moalo who almost scored in the corner. Begs the question how the game might have turned out if they had been on the whole game?

Fulltime score: Chiefs 41-26 Blues

Chiefs 41 (L. Messam, D. McKenzie, H. Elliot, L. Boshier, J. Lowe. A. Lienert-Brown tries; A. Cruden 4 cons, pens) Blues 26 (P.Tuipulotu, C. Faumuina, R. Ranger tries; I. West 3 pens, con)

Full match report can be found here.

Highlanders v Crusaders

Saturday, 4 March 2017 7:30pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium Dunedin

A thrilling NZ Derby was played in Dunedin on Saturday night with the Crusaders just pipping the Highlanders 30-27 in the final play of the match. In a game with plenty of niggle and hard hits both teams kept the ball in hand and played entertaining footy. It was the Highlanders who looked to be running away with it thanks to three tries: including two to All Black winger Waisake Naholo, and one to flanker Gareth Evans to push them out to 27-6 early in the second half.

But the Crusaders clung on and struck back after multiple scrums drove over to win a penalty try. Then All Black Seta Tamanivalu (14), who had a strong game, drew and passed well to put David Havili (15) in to score in the 65th min to give the Crusaders a sniff. The final 10min were frantic. The Highlanders were rocked when Fekitoa (13) was sent from the field with a yellow card for a dangerous challenge on David Havili (15) in the air. The Crusaders machine patiently rolled on, needing to score twice and threw their bodies into contact and building pressure at the right end of the park. In the final 5min the dam fionally broke and tries to Whetu Douglas (8) and Seta Tamanivalu rounded out a gutsy and memorable come from behind victory for the visiting team under new coach Scott Robinson.

Crusaders 30 (Penalty try, David Havili, Whetu Douglas, Seta Tamanivalu, Mitch Hunt 2 pen, Marty McKenzie 1 con) Highlanders 27 (Gareth Evans, Waisake Naholo 2 tries; Lima Sopoaga 3 con, 2 pen) HT: 6-17

Full match report can be found here.

Round 3 fixtures:
Fri 10 March Chiefs v Hurricanes, Hamilton
Sat 11 March Blues v Highlanders, Auckland
Sat 11 March Kings v Stormers, Port Elizabeth
Sat 11 March Cheetahs v Sunwolves, Blomfontein
Sat 11 March Jaguares v Lions, Buenos Aires


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