Vodafone Super Rugby Wrap: All the highlights and recaps of round seven

Super Rugby
by RUGBY.com.au staff

It was a strange weekend of Super Rugby as fans and teams waited to learn the immediate fate of the competition.

Take a look back at all the action from round seven right here.

CHIEFS vs HURRICANES

Fullback Jordie Barrett kicked a penalty four minutes after the fulltime siren to give the Hurricanes a 27-24 Super Rugby win over New Zealand conference leaders the Chiefs on Friday.

The Hurricanes carried the ball through 37 phases before winning a penalty for a late tackle.

Barrett slotted the ball between the posts from 40 metres to allow the Hurricanes to overcome a 24-14 deficit in the second half, which coincided with the loss of their halfback T.J. Perenara to a yellow card for a dangerous tackle.

The Hurricanes also bounced back from a contentious home loss last weekend to the Blues in a match in which they were reduced to 12 men in the second half by one red and two yellow cards.

The loss of Perenara to the sin bin in the 56th minute brought back chilling memories of the Blues loss, especially when the Chiefs scored through winger Shaun Stevenson to extend their lead to double digits while the Hurricanes were a man short.

But the Hurricanes camped in Chiefs territory through most of the last 10 minutes and fought their way back into the match.

Barrett cut the lead to seven points with a 61st minute penalty, then replacement hooker Asafo Aumuo drove through a lineout to score a try, converted by Barrett, which levelled the score after 71 minutes.

The Hurricanes finally snapped the deadlock when Chiefs No.8 Pita Gus Sowakula was penalised for a late tackle.

RESULT

Chiefs 24

Tries: Boshier, Manu, Stevenson

Cons: McKenzie 3

Pens: McKenzie

Hurricanes 27

Tries: Lam, Smith, Aumua

Cons: Barrett 3

Pens: Barrett 2

BLUES vs LIONS

Winger Rieko Ioane scored two tries as the Blues overran South Africa's Lions 43-10 to post their first home win of the Super Rugby season.

The match continued a major revival for Ioane, who lost his All Blacks starting spot at last year's World Cup in Japan, and for the Blues who move temporarily atop the New Zealand conference on Saturday with a 4-2 record.

The Blues last won the Super Rugby title in 2003 but, with recent wins over New Zealand rivals and in matches home and away, they are beginning to shape as title contenders.

The match was tight at first and the Blues led by only 15-10 after 35 minutes.

But a penalty try just before the break, for a professional foul by Lions flanker Ruan Vermaak, gave the Blues a comfortable lead and confidence going into the second half.

The Blues were able to find huge amounts of space in the second half against a narrow and often disorganised Lions defence, which struggled to quickly address multiple attacking threats.

The Blues backs and forwards combined in a series of superb attacking rushes that left the Lions flat-footed.

The Lions recently were South Africa's most exciting attacking team and their best performers on the road.

But they have become one-dimensional this season, relying on lineout drives or building painstakingly through one-off runners.

That made them easy targets for the Blues, who were able to isolate players and force turnovers.

Ioane scored the first try of the match in the eighth minute, using his power rather than speed to break the Lions' defence.

The Lions replied with their only try in the 16th minute, breaking down the Blues resistance after multiple phases.

A superb try to fullback Stephen Perofeta after a Lions turnover gave the Blues a 15-10 lead and the penalty try put them comfortably ahead at halftime.

Ioane scored his second soon after the break as the Blues became increasingly dominant. Tries to Gerard Cowley-Tuioti and Hoskins Sotutu earned the Blues a valuable bonus point.

RESULT

Blues 43

Tries: R Ioane 2, Perofeta, Pen, Cowley-Tuoti, Sotutu

Cons: Black 3, Plummer

Pens: Black

Lions 10

Tries: Kriel

Cons: Jantjies

Pens: Jantjies

SUNWOLVES vs CRUSADERS

The Crusaders have overcome a resolute Sunwolves in Saturday's relocated Super Rugby match in Brisbane.

In what may well be the Japanese franchise's final Super Rugby match due to doubts over this year's competition amid the coronavirus pandemic, a much-changed Crusaders secured a 49-14 win at Suncorp Stadium.

Fleet-footed winger Sevu Reece scored a double for the New Zealand powerhouse, who were captained for the first time by halfback Bryn Hall.

Despite dominating territory and possession in the opening half, the Crusaders could only go in leading 14-7 against the Sunwolves - who have been unable to play in Japan since mid-February due to the coronavirus situation.

Tom Christie opened the scoring in the 19th minute but the defending Super Rugby champions were stunned in the 31st minute when former Brisbane City player Ben Hyne crashed over for the Sunwolves to level the scores.

Reece's first try just before the break restored the Crusaders' lead, and they powered away in the second half despite Garth April's solo effort for the Sunwolves.

Former NSW Waratah Hugh Roach's Crusaders' debut lasted just six minutes after he came on for Christie, with the 27-year-old red-carded for elbowing Hencus Van Wyk after being strongly tackled by the South African.

Reece was then yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on as the Sunwolves threatened the Crusaders line, leaving the New Zealanders down to 13 players for the game's closing stages.

Despite the two-man disadvantage, the Crusaders scored through Braydon Ennor before another debutant Fergus Burke iced the bonus-point victory with a try after the final siren.

RESULT

Sunwolves 14

Tries: Hyne, April

Cons: April 2

Crusaders 49

Tries: Reece 2, Christie, Romano, Havili, Ennor, Burke

Cons: Cameron 5, Burke 2

REDS vs BULLS

It was a fightback that marked Liam Wright's coming of age as a leader but the Reds' 41-17 bonus point win over the Bulls signalled a grinding halt to a promising season.

With the Super Rugby season cancelled for the "foreseeable future" due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the match was the Reds' last for the year, a body blow to a team that had set itself up to go on a run through scheduled conference games.

Regardless, the match was a highlight for Wright, who turned the game in the first half with a key defensive effort and helped his side adapt on the run to claw their way back from a 17-0 deficit to get within striking distance of, and then over-run, the rampaging Bulls in a victory he said was the best of his fledgling captaincy.

Read the full match report here.

RESULT

Reds 41

Tries: Wright, Lucas, Salakaia-Loto, Mafi, Hoopert, Tupou

Cons: Hegarty 4

Pens: Hegarty

Bulls 17

Tries: Papier, Speckman, Gelant

Cons: Libbok 

SHARKS vs STORMERS

The Durban-based Sharks have held their nerve to beat the Stormers 24-14 and reclaim their place at the top of Super Rugby standings.

Replacement Paul de Wet's try after a midfield burst by No.8 Juarno Augustus lifted the Stormers from 13-7 down to 14-13 up.

Sharks flyhalf Curwin Bosch kicked the home team ahead again - with a penalty landed from well over 50 metres - and winger Makazole Mapimpi sealed it a minute from the end by racing clear and into the left corner.

The Sharks lead the defending champion Crusaders by a point on the overall ladder.

Saturday's game proceeded just hours before Super Rugby organisers decided to suspend the competition indefinitely after the weekend's games because New Zealand players returning home from matches overseas faced being forced into self-isolation for two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

RESULT

Sharks 24

Tries: Fassi, Mapimpi

Cons: Bosch

Pens: Bosch 3

Drops: Bosch

Stormers 14

Tries: Jantjies, De Wet

Cons: Willemse 2

JAGUARES vs HIGHLANDERS

The Jaguares-Highlanders match was cancelled on Sunday morning (AEDT) after new self-isolation requirements were introduced for international arrivals in New Zealand.

BRUMBIES vs WARATAHS

The Brumbies have cruised to a 47-14 victory over the Waratahs in the last Super Rugby match for the foreseeable future on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon’s matchup proved to be somewhat of a tonic for an unpredictable and at sometimes grim weekend of events, as fears about the spread of coronavirus forced unprecedented postponements around the world.

The home side relished the chance to put on a show for the 8,167 fans that could make it out there, piling on seven tries to two, including a second-half shutout.

Not everything was perfect for the home side, who lost skipper Allan Alaalatoa to a suspected broken arm in the opening half hour.

Winger Solomone Kata had a double and Tom Banks was effective in his 50th game, setting up the Brumbies attack with his boot and out of the hand.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said the win was a good note on which to head into an uncertain time for Super Rugby after the competition's indefinite suspension.

Read the full match report here.

RESULT

Brumbies 47

Tries: Kata 2, Wright 2, Neville, Powell, Banks

Cons: Lolesio 4, Lonergan, Banks

Yellow Cards: Swain

Waratahs 14

Tries: Simmons, Nawaqanitawse

Cons: Harrison 2

Yellow cards: Dempsey