It feels like an age since we have had live rugby to watch but it’s back this weekend. Super Rugby Aotearoa will be kicking off with 2 games this weekend and we’ll be getting that for the next 10 weeks!
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Chiefs v Blues – Blues by 3
The Chiefs didn’t cope well with the new interpretations of the Laws or should we say them being enforced. Sowakula in particular struggled and gave away 4 penalties which was twice anyone else over the weekend.
I was good to see Trask taking it to the line and also DMac back in action. The Blues will be asked to make a lot of tackles as we saw Hunt have to make 19 alone! That gain-line battle is going to be crucial and the Chiefs have a lot of injuries in their tight 5. Physically they are going to have to front up.
The Blues showed that they can break to score tries with Rieko in that 13 channel being particularly dangerous with Clarke and Telea outside him. There has also been a lot of talk about how well Black at 10 and Barrett at 15 controlled the game.
However it really was the physicality of the forwards that impressed the most. That’s what I think will give them the upper hand this weekend.
Hurricanes v Crusaders – Crusaders by 7
Things do not get any easier for the Canes this weekend. In the first half against the Blues they survived on penalties. When the Blues stopped giving those away in the second half the Canes couldn’t get any territory.
As always it’s the lightweight front 5 that’s concerning for the Canes along with players like Adrie Savea needing game-time to get back up to speed after injury. I’m not sure that there’s much they can do about that in a week
For the Crusaders they have had an opportunity to see how the referees will be blowing the game. That only question is how well will they be able to react to then having not felt it?
History tells us that they should adapt well and with the deepest resources in the engine room physicality shouldn’t be an issue. Slow starts to season have become a thing of the past under Razor and an away win is on the cards.
Bye – Highlanders
As Steve/Cornflake pointed out on the Round 1 Review show, the Highlanders will be going into Round 3 undefeated. They would have liked to keep the momentum going with another game. They don’t need the rest after 1 game. However it will give them an opportunity to sort out some of the play that was getting blown. Both teams in the first game struggled with the new interpretations of the laws.
Record So Far
1 from 2 or 50% so far, a very average start but got to say the Landers surprised a lot of us.
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