It’s funny how quickly it’s become normal to have rugby on at the weekend with big crowds. Super Rugby Aotearoa is back again this weekend with Round 3 and the last weekend before Super Rugby AU will be starting.
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Blues v Highlanders – Blues by 5
The Blues have made a cracking start to Super Rugby Aotearoa with two comfortable wins. First up at home to the Hurricanes and then away to the Chiefs. Two sides that we thought would be pushing the Crusaders in this tournament. Things have changed considerably and Blues are now the primary contender.
The loss of Tom Robinson for the season will be felt but in wet conditions last weekend the carrying loose forwards did the job. The Blues ability to control the second half of games has been their real strength. However their weakness could be their lack of TBPs.
The Highlanders impressed us all in the opening weekend of the competition. It was only a 1 point victory over the Chiefs but they showed real bottle to come back and score the winning drop-goal. Many teams would have been floored by DMacs late drop-goal to snatch the lead late on.
That was a 1 point win at home, the Blues beat the Chiefs by 12 points away. It’s going to take a real step up by the Highlanders if they are going to get anything out of the trip up north. I think they could get a LBP but I can’t see the Blues losing this one. Also I want the Blues to win so we setup a real cracking game in round 5….
Crusaders v Chiefs – Crusaders by 15
The Crusaders came back and looked clinical early on. Razor though won’t be happy how the Canes stayed in the game and everything was tied up with 18 minutes left on the clock. Extra time and the golden point were averted as the Saders closed things out with two tries. A strong bench helping them yet again.
Even with their captain missing the Crusaders still have plenty of depth at lock.
The Chiefs on the other hand are don’t have that depth. Not only are they missing their first 4 choice locks but also a number of props. With that lack of power and experience in the tight 5 and missing 2 All Blacks from their loose trio it’s hard for this team to function. They have a backline that’s the equal to any in the competition they just don’t have a platform to playoff.
It’s looking like a long season for the Chiefs even if it’s only 10 weeks.
Bye – Hurricanes
The Hurricanes really need to find their mojo. Questionable selections and players out of form or not yet fit really is hurting them. Fafita is a wonderful blindside but he’s not a lock. Ardie isn’t match fit after his injurly layoff. The pressure is really telling on TJ who’s losing his cool.
The Canes need these international players at their best if they are going to challenge the other sides. The loss of Beauden Barrett and injury to brother Jordie really has shown their reliance on key players.
Record So Far
3 from 4 or 75% so far, doing ok so far but with so few games it’s always on a knife edge.