Round eight of the 2019 Super Rugby offered another weekend of spectacular tries and upsets. See how each team fared in their games across the weekend.
Highlanders vs Hurricanes
Round 8 of Super Rugby was off to a promising start with a classical New Zealand derby. The Hurricanes emerged as the ultimate winners of a nail biter with the final whistle blow with scores at 31-28.
Although the Highlanders were first of the mark in what was a very neat first quarter, the Wellington- based Hurricanes forced a comeback inspired by an Ardie Savea brace. This included a 60m try started by Ben Lam who linked up with the flanker in what is certainly an early contender for try of the season.
With scores locked up at 31-28 in favour of the Hurricanes going into the last 10 minutes, the ambitious Highlanders passed up four kickable penalties as they pushed for the win. In the end their ambition served as more of a curse than a blessing.
Reds vs Stormers
Any momentum from the strong start to round eight diffused quickly with the clash in Brisbane on Friday. The first half was littered with errors and lack of discipline from both teams. The only excitement from an otherwise scoreless first half were two disallowed tries from Damian Willemse and Sergeal Petersen respectively.
Whatever Brad Thorne said during the break worked as the Reds came flying out of the blocks, scoring a converted try immediately after half time. The men from the Gold Coast began to string better phases together as the Stormers still succumbed to poor handling and discipline.
The turning point was a yellow card to Stormers captain Siya Kolisi as the Reds banked in 14 points during his time off the field. A late Damian de Allende try for the Stormers was not enough to prevent the inevitable as the Reds won 24-12.
Lions vs Sharks
The Sharks rewarded Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira’s record breaking 157th cap with a resounding 42-5 victory over the Lions in Johannesburg.
The Durbanites were off to a flying start with far greater possession and territory from the outset. The game plan was clearly to never let the Lions settle as the Sharks strung together phase after phase of attack forcing the Johannesburg-based side to make over 100 tackles in the first half.
The free flowing Sharks scored six tries which included a Makazole Mapimpi brace. Curwin Bosch’s return to the starting line paid dividends as the fullback provided impetus on attack earning him the man of the match award.
It was a fitting way to reward the Beast on a huge milestone as the 157th cap meant the prop is now the most capped South African in Super Rugby History.
Crusaders vs Brumbies
The game was off to a cagey start with the first points scored in the 32nd minute from Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano. The scored remained 7-0 until half time.
As expected, the Crusaders game out of the gates very fast after half time, scoring two tries in 14 minutes. From then on out it was back to the classy Crusaders attack led by in-form fly half Richie Mo’unga as he continues to push for that elusive All Blacks starting berth.
The Brumbies managed another try but the relentless attack and display of skill from New Zealanders once again proved too great winning the clash 36-14
Blues vs Waratahs
Another thriller was served up in round eight as the Blues ran out as eventual 32-29 winners at Eden Park in Auckland.
Coming off three wins in the last three games the Blues form showed early on as they scored their first try in the ninth minute. The teams traded two tries a piece heading into the break at 17-14 in favour of the home side.
Following the break the sides traded blow for blow as the clock wound down with veteran All Black Ma’a Nonu scoring what turned out to be the winning try in the 60th minute. The powerful centre has embraced his return to his homeland and could be asking questions from Steve Hansen, the All Black coach, ahead of this year’s World Cup.
Rebels vs Sunwolves
The Rebels hosted a feisty Sunwolves side, who have caused a number of upsets this season, in Melbourne.
The hosts were off to a lightning start scoring in the 6th minute through Reece Hodge who dotted down for a second only 10 minutes later. The Rebels continued to capitalise on their dominance but could not stop the try scoring machine Semisi Masirewa leaving the score 28-8 at half time.
Another Masirewa try was not enough to half a Quade Cooper inspired attack which kept plugging it’s way through the Sunwolves defence. Hodge completed his hat trick in a performance which would have Wallabies coach Michael Cheika smiling.
Bulls vs Jaguares
The last clash of round eight saw fans treated to a thriller at Loftus Versfeld as the Blue Bulls welcomed the Jaguares from Argentina.
The bulls, who were missing key Springboks, gained early dominance and it reflected on the scoreboard. However, a try from the passionate Pablo Matera kept the tourists in the game with the score 9-7 in favour of the Bulls at half time.
The Bulls scored within three minutes of the break and added further penalties to take an imposing 10 point lead. The never say die attitude which fans have been accustomed to seeing from the Jaguares was truly tested. The Argentinians scored two tries in the last 8 minutes, including the winner, a free flowing masterpiece which is definitely to be considered for try of the season. Snatching the win from right under the host’s noses, final score 22-20.