Vodafone Super Rugby wrap: Jaguares’ streak over

Schoolboys
by RUGBY.com.au

The finals picture is looking clearer after Super Rugby round 18.

Which teams locked in their playoff spot and which team faltered in their finals bid?

Crusaders vs Highlanders

The Crusaders have the inside running to defend their Super Rugby title after securing top spot for the finals with a 45-22 win over the Highlanders.

On a big night in Christchurch for Crusaders greats Kieran Read and Wyatt Crockett, their team clinched the coveted home advantage throughout the play-offs with a round to spare.

The home side notched an 11th straight win, scoring five tries to three.

The scores were blown out by Richie Mo'unga's kicking boot.

RESULT

Crusaders 45

Tries: Bridge 2, Kaetau Havili, Barrett, Mounga

Cons: Mounga 4

Pens: Mounga 4

Highlanders 22

Tries: Lomax, B Smith, Naholo

Cons: Sopoaga 2

Pens: Sopoaga

Reds vs Rebels

The Rebels' path to a maiden finals campaign just became a whole lot tougher, the Reds walking away from a weird and wacky match with a 37-23 win.

Weird and wacky doesn't even begin to describe this match, which took a whole 30 minutes to come alight and after that, was as patchy as Super Rugby matches come.

It was a choppy, comedy of errors type match which was entertaining because it was close and filled with some individual moments of brilliance, not because it was an enthralling encounter of any sort.

Read the full match report here.

RESULT

Reds 37 

Tries: Penalty Try, Rodda, Daugunu, Lance 

Cons: Lance 3 

Pens: Lance 3 

Rebels 23

Tries: Cottrell, Maddocks 

Cons: Hodge 2 

Pens: Hodge 3

Chiefs vs Brumbies

The Brumbies late-season surge towards the Super Rugby finals has been halted by a 24-19 loss to the Chiefs in Hamilton.

Needing a fourth straight win on Saturday to keep their unlikely play-off hopes alive, the 10th-placed Brumbies looked buried at 24-5 well into the second half.

However, they stormed home with two late tries and threatened to snatch victory when sweeping downfield in the final play before a contentious knock-on call from South African referee Rasta Rasivhenge.

RESULT

Chiefs 24

Tries: Harris, McKenzie, Faauli

Cons: McKenzie 3

Pens: McKenzie 

Brumbies 19 

Tries: Speight 2, Banks 

Cons: Hawera 2

Hurricanes vs Blues

 

The Hurricanes have returned to their winning ways in Super Rugby on the back of a four-try performance from Ngani Laumape against the Blues.

Powerhouse inside centre Laumape proved too hot to handle in a 42-24 win in Wellington on Saturday which leaves his team close to clinching a home quarter-final berth in the play-offs.

The result ends a three-match losing streak for the Hurricanes, who scored six tries to three, all converted by fullback Jordie Barrett.

Laumape became the seventh player in the competition's history to bag four tries in a match, using his trademark straight running close to the line to simply bowl defenders out of the way.

RESULT

Hurricanes 42

Tries: Laumape 4, J Savea, B Barrett

Cons: J Barrett 6

Blues 24

Tries:  R Ioane

Cons: Perofeta 3

Pens: Perofeta 

Waratahs vs Sunwolves

The Waratahs have locked up the Australian conference title and their first finals berth since 2015, with a 77-25 win over the Sunwolves.

A 39th-minute red card for Sunwolves winger Semisi Masirewa gave the Waratahs a game-changing advantage and they made the most of it with 53 second-half points to notch their highest Super Rugby score ever.

The Rebels' loss to the Reds on Friday night meant the Waratahs only had to win to secure a spot in the playoffs. They did it in style in front of a season-high crowd of 18059, with an 11-try thumping of the Sunwolves.

RESULT

Waratahs 77

Tries: Folau 2, Naiyaravoro 2, Newsome 2, Kepu, Beale, Hanigan, Rona, Wells

Cons: Foley 7 

Pens: Foley 

Sunwolves 25 

Tries: Yamada 2, Leitch 

Cons: Parker 2 

Pens: Parker 2

Yellow Cards: Tanaka (69') 

Red Cards: Masirewa (39')

Jaguares vs Bulls

The Jaguares' seven-match Super Rugby winning run ended Saturday in a 43-34 loss to Northern Bulls after an 11-try festival in Pretoria.

Defeat virtually ended Argentine dreams of winning the South African conference and a late conversion rebounded off the post, robbing them of even a bonus point.

The result left the Jaguares three points behind leaders the Golden Lions, who will win the conference for a third consecutive year if they beat the Bulls in Johannesburg next Saturday.

RESULT

Bulls 43

Tries: Ulengo 2, Kotze, Papier, Kriel, van Staden

Cons: Pollard 5

Pens: Pollard

Jaguares 34

Tries: Matera 2, Bertranou 2, Sanchez

Cons: Sanchez 3

Pens: Boffelli

Stormers vs Sharks

The Sharks' Super Rugby playoff hopes suffered a blow when they were surprisingly beaten 27-16 by off-form Stormers at Newlands.

The victory was a first in five games for the Cape Town-based side, who were missing skipper Siya Kolisi through illness and had rookie Josh Stander in the flyhalf position on Saturday.

The Stormers outscored their opponents three tries to one in a tough, physical battle as lock Cobus Wiese, centre EW Viljoen and flying winger Raymond Rhule crossed.

RESULT

Stormers 27

Tries: Wiese, Vilijoen, Rhule

Cons: Stander 3

Pens: Stander 2

Sharks 16

Tries: Van Wyk

Cons: du Preez

Pens: du Preez 3