The seventh round of the Super Rugby had everything from tries to red cards as the Crusaders took an outright lead on the combined conference whilst the Sunwolves produced another shock result.
Crusaders vs Hurricanes
The Crusaders set the tone for the weekend as they produced a clinical performance to overcome a poor Hurricanes side who couldn’t get into gear the entire evening.
David Havili was electric all night as the fullback grabbed a brace while Richie M’unga continued to show his composure as he kicked his way past the 500 points mark in Super Rugby.
Kieran Read made his first appearance of the season but went off at half time. The New Zealand eighthman looked visibly tired and will understandably need some time before he is back to full fitness.
The Hurricanes forwards had plenty of chances from set pieces but could not convert them and the side will be eager to put the match behind them and move onto next week.
Waratahs vs Sunwolves
On the back of the decision by Sanzar to remove the Sunwolves from the competition, the Japanese franchise produced a brilliant performance to shock the Tahs at home who, just a week earlier, beat the Crusaders.
The two sides traded blows throughout the match which was close all evening but in the end the Sunwolves managed to cement their first ever win in Australasia thanks to one more conversion from flyhalf Hayden Parker.
The Waratahs were found guilty of underestimating their opponents and it is a big warning to all the teams that the Sunwolves are not a team to write off.
Blues vs Stormers
The Blues recorded their third victory of the season as they comfortably beat the Stormers 24-9 with the visitors unable to dot down for a single try during the match.
Taniela Tele’a was sent off in the 70th minute for a bad tackle on Dillyn Leyds with the game still in the balance at 17-9.
The Blues however remained calm and collected and even managed to bag a try five minutes later thanks to Rieko Ioane while the Stormers were left to rue their chances.
The only good takeaway for South African fans would be the performance of Bongi Mbonambi who continued his good form with another industrious night in a weekend where his competition to deputise Malcolm Marx did not make very good cases.
Reds vs Rebels
In what was deemed a grudge match between Quade Cooper and Reds coach Brad Thorn, the former had the last laugh as he played a pivotal role in giving his side a bonus point victory.
Cooper kicked 12 of his sides 32 points while Jack Maddocks added two tries to his seasons tally as the Rebels went to the top of the Australian conference.
Speaking to Fox at the post match conference, Cooper, who cupped his hand to the booing Reds fans before slotting the final conversion, made another dig at Thorn for the role he played in Coopers downfall.
“There was a few people that sort of feel that I must have left them,” Cooper said. “But it wasn’t the boys that didn’t want me. The boys were the ones that we were playing against and I love those boys.”
— FOX SPORTS Rugby (@FOXRUGBY) March 30, 2019
Sharks vs Bulls
As if there wasn’t enough drama in the first two matches of the day, the Sharks and Bulls encounter was a relatively dull affair before Akker van der Merwe and Schalk Brits brought the game to life.
The first half was separated by the boot off Handre Polalrd after a controversial try was disallowed as well as a strange penalty decision against Pollard.
Dan du Preez become the first try-scorer of the match after he went over in the 42nd minute but Jesse Kriel went over 10 minutes later to restore the lead for the away side.
The match then came alive after a punch up between the two hookers Brits and van der Merwe saw both shown a red card in the 58th minute.
Van der Merwe quickly disappeared down the tunnel following the incident whilst Brits took the opportunity to join the Sharks crowd in the stands to watch the remainder of the match.
There was visibly no hard-feelings at the end between the two players with Brits sharing a photograph of the pair enjoying a beverage together.
In the end it was a penalty by Pollard that eventually gave the Bulls a victory.
Jaguares vs Chiefs
The Chiefs managed a second successive victory after their nightmare start to the tournament as they beat the Jaguares 30-27 in Argentina in the last match of the weekend.
The Chiefs left it late as Tahuriorangi went over in the 78th minute to give them the lead and Damian McKenzie added the extras as the New Zealanders showed a glimpse of what they can do.
The Jaguares on the other end sit at the bottom of the South African conference tied for last overall with Sunwolves and Reds but ahead of Sunwolves thanks to points difference.