Vodafone Super Rugby wrap: Crusaders crush Bulls, Chiefs edge Sharks

Super Rugby
by RUGBY.com.au staff

It was generally a good weekend for the home sides in Super Rugby round 13.

Catch up with all the highlights and results right here.

BLUES vs HURRICANES


The Hurricanes showcased their mastery of the counter-attack to fend off the Blues at Eden Park and shore up second spot in New Zealand's Super Rugby conference with a 22-12 victory on Friday.

The Barrett brothers proved lethal, with fullback Jordie nosing the Hurricanes in front with a first half try and five-eighth Beauden making a brilliant intercept to cross in the second as the visitors claimed their fifth successive win.

The Blues battled hard and dominated possession and territory but were denied repeatedly by dogged goal-line defence and slumped to their fourth straight loss.

Halfback Sam Nock and blindside flanker Dalton Papali'i grabbed tries for the Blues, while jet-heeled winger Ben Lam capitalising on a turnover and evading a nest of defenders in a scorching run to notch the Hurricanes' first five-pointer.

RESULT

Blues 12

Tries: Nock, Papalii

Cons: Plummer

Hurricanes 22

Tries: Lam, J Barrett, B Barrett

Cons: B Barrett

Pens: B  Barrett

REBELS vs REDS


Rebels coach Dave Wessels says his team has taken a massive step forward on its journey towards a maiden Super Rugby finals campaign after remaining composed against a gritty Reds side that threatened to steal the Australian conference lead.

Instead, the Rebels' ability to control their emotions in the dying stages led to a pivotal scrum win against the feed that snuffed out the Reds' chances of an upset and cemented the Rebels place at the top of the Australian ladder with a 30-24 victory.

The Rebels had the best of possession and field position in the opening 60 minutes of the match and seemed set to cruise to victory after pushing to a 13-point lead early in the second half, after scoring two tries when the Reds were down to 14 men.

The Queenslanders refused to give up and scrapped their way back into the match. But when Taniela Tupou was ruled to be held up over the line and the Rebels won the resulting scrum against the feed, the home side sealed the win.

Read full match report here.

RESULT

Rebels 30

Tries: Koroibete, Rangi, Faulkner, D Haylett-Petty

Cons: Cooper 2

Pens: Hodge 2

Reds 24

Tries: Lucas, Hoopert

Cons: Hegarty

Pens: Hegarty 4

BULLS vs CRUSADERS


Wing Sevu Reece has scored a hat-trick of tries as the Canterbury Crusaders made light work of the Bulls with a comprehensive 45-13 Super Rugby victory at Loftus Versfeld.

The defending champions ran in seven tries on Friday, were incisive in attack and preyed on the numerous errors and soft tackling of the home side.

Flyhalf Richie Mo'unga bagged a brace of tries and was masterful in steering the Crusaders' attack, to go with scores from locks Mitchell Dunshea and Scott Barrett.

Centre Burger Odendaal crossed for the lone try for the Bulls, who went into the weekend on top of the South African Conference and now face a four-match tour of Australasia.

RESULT

Bulls 13

Tries: Odendaal

Cons: Pollard

Pens: Pollard 2

Crusaders 45

Tries: Reece 3, Mounga 2, Dunshea, Barrett

Cons: Mounga 5

HIGHLANDERS vs JAGUARES


The Highlanders scored three late first half tries and then withstood a spirited fightback from Argentina's Jaguares to clinch a 32-27 Super Rugby victory in Dunedin.

Fullback Matt Faddes, centre Sio Tomkinson and hooker Liam Coltman touched down in the final 10 minutes of a frenetic half to give the Highlanders a 26-13 lead at halftime.

They needed every point, managing only two penalties in the second half while the Jaguares rallied with two converted tries.

Ultimately a sequence of contentious calls went against the Jaguares in the last quarter of the match, stalling their comeback and allowing the Highlanders to hold on for a win which lifts them to fifth on the competition table.

Frustrations boiled over in a melee involving almost all 30 players just before the final whistle and Jaguares captain Agustin Creevy was involved in a long conversation with referee Ben O'Keeffe after he signalled full-time.

RESULT

Highlanders 32

Tries: Lentjes, Faddes, Tomkinson, Coltman

Cons: Ioane 3

Pens: Ioane 2

Jaguares 27

Tries: Moroni, Kremer, Moyano

Cons: Diaz Bonilla 3

Pens: Diaz Bonilla 2

CHIEFS vs SHARKS


Former All Black Brad Weber completed a stunning team try from a restart to fire the Chiefs to a tense 29-23 Super Rugby win over the Sharks in Hamilton.

Weber's second try at Waikato Stadium on Saturday came after a breath-taking build-up, with replacement Alex Nankivell bursting out of defence and Solomon Alaimalo punching a hole through midfield before handing off to the pint-sized halfback in the 70th minute.

The Chiefs, who also had tries from Mitch Karpik and Anton Lienert-Brown, held on for the nail-biting final 10 minutes to keep their slender playoff hopes alive.

RESULT

Chiefs 29

Tries: Weber 2, Karpik, Lienert-Brown

Cons: McKenze 3

Pens: Mckenzie

Sharks 23

Tries: Andrews, Botha

Cons: Bosch 2

Pens: Bosch 3

LIONS vs WARATAHS


The NSW Waratahs' Super Rugby finals hopes are hanging by a thread following a gut-wrenching one-point loss to the Lions in Johannesburg.

The Waratahs led late before a Shaun Reynolds penalty goal in the 68th minute secured the Lions a 29-28 victory on Sunday.

NSW's sixth bonus-point defeat in a 2019 campaign of near misses leaves the Waratahs languishing in 13th place on the ladder and seven points adrift of Australian conference leaders the Melbourne Rebels.

After a helter-skelter, try-for-try opening half that saw NSW up 21-19 at the break, the Waratahs led 28-26 heading into the last quarter.

But some wasteful attack and a 6-0 flurry of penalties against the Waratahs from referee Egon Seconds in the last 20 minutes saw the visitors pinned in their own half.

The Lions turned down several kickable shots but Reynolds eventually banged over a three-pointer to take the lead.

Bernard Foley had a drop-goal attempt soon after but it sailed just right of the posts.

It was the second time an Australian team had copped a hammering in the penalty count against the Lions with Seconds in charge; the Rebels lost a tight one earlier in the season in Johannesburg and were on the end of a 20-1 penalty count.

Read full match report here.

RESULT

Lions 29

Tries: Dyantyi, Lewies, Smith, Skosan

Cons: Jantjies 3

Pens: Reynolds

Waratahs 28

Tries: Phipps, Hooper, Simmons, Staniforth

Cons: Foley 4

BRUMBIES vs SUNWOLVES


The Brumbies have launched themselves to the top of the Australian Super Rugby conference with a 33-0 win over the Sunwolves.

A bonus-point win was all the Brumbies needed to leapfrog the Rebels with five rounds left to go and they delivered in a five-try-to-nil win, their first shutout since 2015.

That victory puts them on 29 competition points, one clear of the Melbourne side and in the box seat for a guaranteed home final.

With a bye next week, the Brumbies have four more matches left to try and hang onto their conference lead, with a return clash against the Sunwolves and clashes against the Bulls and Reds at home and the Waratahs in Sydney in the final month.

While all the discussion in the past week has surrounded the Brumbies maul, they provided a timely reminder that it is far from the only weapon in their arsenal.

Read full match report here.

RESULT

Brumbies 33

Tries: Speight 2, Powell, Banks, Samu

Cons: Lealiifano 4

Sunwolves 0