Super Rugby Aotearoa: Weekend Recap

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As the final whistle blew in Dunedin this past Sunday, not only did The Blues pull off a successful triumph against The Highlanders 32-21, but it wrapped up what was an entertaining weekend of Super Rugby Aotearoa.

The game in Dunedin may have gone in favour of the home side Highlanders, however, the Blues defense managed to dig deep in the last 25 minutes to hold off a continual Highlanders attack. From the 55th minute, The Highlanders camped deep inside The Blues half, as they only managed to get over the line once. Meanwhile, their opponents displayed a gritty defensive performance to hold on for their away win.

The Saturday fixture brought us all together for another exhilarating encounter, where Scott Robertson’s Crusaders handed Coach Warren Gatland his 7th successive defeat. The home side, Waikato Chiefs, kept the scoreline 20-19 for the majority of the game, though evidently, the Crusaders had way too much fuel in their ‘reserve tank’, ending as 32-19 winners. 

With less than 2 weeks left of the inaugural Super Rugby Aotearoa, there seems to be a clear statement as to which side has been the most dominant; the Crusaders are only a single victory away from being crowned the tournament champions. To date, the side from Christchurch is unanimously the far superior side, while their reign on top of the table with a game in hand, clearly states their intention to be crowned champions. For those who happen to be unfamiliar with the Super Rugby Aotearoa tournament format, all sides play each other twice (home and away), with no playoff games scheduled to produce the ultimate winner. At the end of the tournament, the team with the most points on the table will win Super Rugby Aotearoa 2020.

Weekend Highlights:

  1. Beauden Barrett proved that fly-half is his key position. During the early stages of Super Rugby Aotearoa, Barrett was being played at fullback. However, after a triumphant game over in Otago this past Sunday, it’s clear Beauden is far superior as a fly-half than at fullback. Can the two-time World Rugby Player of the Year beat rival Richie Mo’unga to don the All Blacks number 10 jersey?
  2. Sadly, yet another below-par performance from the Waikato Chiefs. What may have seemed like just another Chiefs defeat, keeps then side winless in this tournament so far, with only one game left to play. 
  3. Head Coach, Warren Gatland, receives further criticism not only locally, but internationally, too. He is destined to lead the British & Irish Lions to South Africa in 2021, however, are we starting to witness faults in Warren Gatland’s match day game plan?

This Upcoming Weekend:

With that being said, we await this weekend’s fixtures where the Wellington Hurricanes are due to host the Waikato Chiefs on Saturday. Will Warren Gatland’s Chiefs have any more surprises in store as they have yet to register a victory in this maiden tournament? This Sunday’s kickoff will have every rugby enthusiast on the edge of their seats, as one more victory will crown the Crusaders with the first Super Rugby Aotearoa title. 

Writer’s Super Rugby Aotearoa Weekend Picks:

Forwards:

1 Karl Tu’inukuafe (Blues)

2 Codie Taylor (Crusaders)

3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Blues)

4 Sam Whitelock (Crusaders)

5 Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues)

6 Lachlan Boshier (Chiefs)

7 Shannon Frizell (Highlanders)

8 Akira Ioane (Blues)

Backs:

9 Finlay Christie (Blues)

10 Richie Mo’unga (Crusaders)

11 Caleb Clarke (Blues)

12 TJ Faiane (Blues)

13 Rieko Ioane (Blues)

14 Sevu Reece (Crusaders)

15 Will Jordan (Crusaders)

What are your thoughts following this weekend’s Super Rugby Aotearoa results? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow us on @worldinsport for more rugby-related news!

Image credit: Newshub



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