Former ’Canes spice up Super Rugby action
Another enthralling weekend of Super Rugby action with every New Zealand team playing, starting on Friday night with the Highlanders against the Hurricanes.
This game had a spicy element with players Hosea Gear, Andrew Hore and Ma’a Nonu all having been previous long-time Hurricanes players.
Andrew Hore and Hosea Gear both started and played well, however Andrew Hore’s time was short lived as he limped off with an ankle injury early in the match. Nonu did not play.
The game was very tight to start with but eventually Conrad Smith scored the first try for the Hurricanes. The second try for the Hurricanes was even better, when after good lead-up play by the forwards, Ben Franks found himself one-on-one with Ben Smith.
Franks proceeded to trample over him and dived in for a great try scored by one of the big boys.
The Highlanders managed to score a try, before the Hurricanes responded with another of their own to seal the match.
It was a great match to watch with all the running rugby.
The Chiefs managed to pick up their winning form again against the newly promoted Southern Kings. The Chiefs were in a dangerous running attacking mood, evidenced by the manner by which they threw the ball around and displayed a carefree attitude, meaning they were always threatening to score.
It took them longer than expected to cross the line, but finally they scored out wide through Lelia Masaga. Masaga was able to add two further tries for a hat trick.
Gareth Anscombe’s goal-kicking form maintained the best percentage in the competition.
Although the Chiefs won, there are still areas for improvement, especially in the breakdown area, where lots of penalties and turnovers have been conceded.
Good news on the injury front for the Chiefs with some players due to return to the squad such as local boys Brendon Leonard and Richard Kahui.
The Kings have been competitive in their first three games so far, having beaten the Western Force, and fully justify their place in the competition.
The game that made my weekend was the Six Nations decider between England and Wales at Millenium Stadium.
The Welsh crowd came to life when the National Anthems were played and Land Of Our Fathers resonated around the stadium.
The English have a long, sad history of coming up short in Grand Slam-clinching games. Losses in recent memory include 2011 when Ireland won 24 – 8 in Dublin, 1999 when the Welsh defeated England 32 -31 in Cardiff, and 1990 when Gavin Hastings inspired Scotland to prevail at Murrayfield.
The first half was mainly a tight kicking battle with Welsh fullback Leigh Halfpenny scoring three penalties in the first half, with English first five Owen Farrell scoring one penalty. The game was still very close until winger Alex Cuthbert scored two quick tries to secure the title.
Wales had to win by at least seven points to secure the Grand Slam, and this they achieved handsomely with a 30 – 3 victory, sending the fans into delirium.