Everything you need to know about Super Rugby Pacific round five
Round five of Super Rugby Pacific is in the books, with New Zealand heavyweights the Crusaders and Hurricanes recording big wins.
The Melbourne Rebels also impressed during their hard-fought 40-34 win over Australian rivals the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park.
Here is everything you need to know about the weekend’s games.
Crusaders 35-17 Brumbies
Waratahs 14-24 Chiefs
Highlanders 57-24 Fijian Drua
Moana Pasifika 0-59 Hurricanes
Rebels 40-34 Reds
Blues 30-17 Force
Crusaders make a statement with big win over Brumbies
- Crusaders record back-to-back wins for the first time this season
- The Brumbies’ unbeaten run has come to an end
- Winger Leicester Fainga’anuku continues to score tries to fun, having crossed for a brace against the Brumbies
- Brumbies halfback Ryan Lonergan continues to impress ahead of this year’s World Cup
- In form loose forward Ethan Blackadder came off injured in the first half with a calf injury
The Crusaders looked like a team deserving of the ‘defending champions’ tag on Friday night, as they recorded a big win over the previously undefeated Brumbies in Christchurch.
Captain Ryan Lonergan kicked his side into an early 3-nil lead with a penalty goal, but that’s as good as it got for the visitors as the Crusaders went on a point-scoring spree.
All Blacks Leicester Fainga’anuku, Braydon Ennor and Codie Taylor all crossed for first half tries as the Crusaders took a 21-3 lead into the break.
Fainga’anuku added another try to his season tally midway through the second half – the winger had scored five tries in two games for the defending champions.
After starting their season with just one win from three starts, the Crusaders’ season is back on track after winning their last two on the bounce.
Chiefs survive Tahs scare to kept unbeaten streak alive
- The Chiefs are the only undefeated team left in Super Rugby Pacific
- Damian McKenzie became the ninth player to make 100 appearances for the Chiefs
- Winger Emoni Narawa crossed for a brace, including a crucial score inside the final 10 minutes
- News of Tahs’ signing Roosters star Joseph Suaalii broke on Saturday night
The ladder-leading Chiefs overcame a valiant Waratahs side at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium to win 24-14 on Friday night.
After the Brumbies’ loss to the Crusaders, the Chiefs had an opportunity to create some daylight between them and the rest of the competition.
As the only undefeated team left in Super Rugby Pacific, the Chiefs were the heavy favourites going into this Round Five clash – but it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the visitors.
The Waratahs refused to throw in the towel through a tough clash, and were well and truly in the mix with 10 minutes to play. But a try to Chiefs winger Emoni Narawa secured a fifth straight win for the New Zealanders.
Highlanders win big in Dunedin vs Fijian Drua
- After losing their first three matches this season, the Highlanders have got their season back on track with two wins on the bounce
- The halfback battle was incredibly competitive. Fijian Drua scrum-half Frank Lomani crossed for a double, while All Black Aaron Smith was of the players of the match
- Highlanders score five first half tries en route to their first bonus point win of 2023
The Highlanders’ season is well and truly back on track. After staring their campaign with three losses, the Dunedin-based outfit have won their last two.
All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith was back to his best on Saturday afternoon, as he led the Highlanders around the park with skill, genius and poise.
But his opposite, Fijian Drua halfback Frank Lomani, was also very impressive. Lomani crossed for a double, including the opening try early in the contest.
After conceding Lomani’s first try, the Highlanders hit back with five first half tries, as they took a convincing lead into the half time break.
While the Drua refused to give up in the second term, the Highlanders continued to run riot in front of their passionate supporters at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Hurricanes make a statement with big win over Moana Pasifika
- Speedster Salesi Rayasi stole the show with a double, while rising star Kini Naholo also impressed on the right wing
- Halfback Cam Roigard continues to state his case as a potential All Blacks bolter ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup
- Captain Ardie Savea redefined the term ‘work horse’ on Saturday night
- Former All Blacks prop Owen Franks won two scrum penalties for the Canes during the first half – it was one of his best performances in recent memory
The Hurricanes have leapfrogged the high-flying Brumbies into second place on the Super Rugby Pacific standings after an emphatic 59-nil win over Moana Pasifika in Auckland.
Halves duo Cam Roigard and Brett Cameron continues to impress in the coveted yellow jersey, with both players crossing for one of the Hurricanes’ nine tries on Saturday.
After a strong start to the season, Salesi Rayasi’s purple patch continued in Round Five, with the winger adding a brace to his impressive try-scoring tally for the year.
On the other wing, Kini Naholo had another standout display in just his second game of Super Rugby. The Hurricanes have unearthed a genuine star in Naholo.
Josh Moorby, Ardie Savea, Hame Faiva and Peter Lakai also got their names on the scoresheet during the 59-point demolition. It was champagne rugby from the Hurricanes.
Rebels beat Aussie rivals the Reds in a thriller
- Reds centre Josh Flook continues to score tries for fun as he crossed for a double in Round Five
- Rebels flanker Brad Wilkin was sensational on the defensive of the ball, making a staggering 24 tackles
- The Reds raced out to an early lead, but the hosts struck back with 26 unanswered points
- There were six lead changes throughout the match
The Melbourne Rebels have made a statement to the rest of the competition with a hard-fought 40-34 win over Australian rivals the Reds.
Queensland raced out to an early 14-nil lead after tries to rising stars Josh Flook and Jordan Petaia, but the Rebels hit back with a barrage of tries.
Halfback Ryan Louwrens started the Rebels’ resurgence with a try in the 18th minute, as the hosts went on to score 26 unanswered points to round out the half.
The Reds scored three tries in 14 minutes to start the second half, though, which saw them claw their way back into the lead after Flook crossed for his second.
But the Rebels refused to throw in the towel. It didn’t come easy, but after a try to Angelo Smith with 12 minutes to play, the home side hung on for a tough win.
Blues too good for Western Force in Auckland
- Winger Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepknes scored one of the most incredible tries you will ever see
- Force didn’t concede a try until around the 30 minute mark
- Blues scored had scored 18 unanswered points during the first half before Force captain Michael Wells crossed for a try just before the break
- It’s the Force’s second straight loss, while the Blues’ record improves to three wins from five matches
It didn’t come easy, but the Blues have returned to winning ways with a hard-fought win over the Western Force at Eden Park.
The Blues made 12 changes to their starting XV ahead of the Round Five clash. Playmaker Harry Plummer was named for his first start of the season, and was also given the captaincy.
Winger Jacob Ratumaitavuku-Kneepknes scored the first try of the match in the 29th with a spectacular grab in the air. The speedster reeled in the cross field kick before somehow grounding the ball in play.
The Force hit back through captain Michael Wells later in the half, but that’s about as good as it got for the visitors.
Second half tries to Mark Telea and Ricky Riccitelli spurred the Blues on to a convincing 30-17 win in Auckland.
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Time to let Moana go. We all know nothing will change. It will be a slow and depressing outcome that will only serve to discredit an already pathetic competition.Go to comments
I would've accompanied these two onto the fieldGo to comments