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Everything you need to know about Super Rugby Pacific round four

By Ben Smith
Caleb Clarke of the Blues reacts after losing the round four Super Rugby Pacific match between Blues and Crusaders at Eden Park, on March 18, 2023, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Heading into the final two games of Super Rugby Pacific round four here is everything you need to know so far after the weekend’s games.

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Results

Hurricanes 34-17 NSW Waratahs
Chiefs 44-25 Melbourne Rebels
Blues 25-34 Crusaders
ACT Brumbies 62-36 Moana Pasifika
Highlanders 43-35 Western Force
Reds 27-24 Fijian Drua

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Round Recap

Hurricanes leave Tahs 1-3 after another loss

  • Kini Naholo bagged a double on debut for the Hurricanes in the win over the Waratahs
  • Cam Roigard is earning plaudits for his performance and as a potential ABs halfback option
  • Wallabies hopeful and Waratahs No 6 Charlie Gamble was forced from the field with an arm injury

The Waratahs visit to the Cake Tin ended with their third loss of the season after a poor showing in the third quarter of the match. A couple of errors by Wallaby winger Mark Nawaqanitawase compounded problems for the Tahs and the Canes made them pay.

Two tries in five minutes from winger Kini Naholo and halfback Cam Roigard and another from veteran All Black hooker Dane Coles left the Waratahs playing catch-up from 22 points down.

Waratahs monstrous Kiwi-born lock Taleni Seu had an eye-catching performance while young No 8 Langi Gleeson had another strong showing with impressive ball carrying.

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Chiefs remain undefeated as Stevenson show continued

  • Chiefs winger Emoni Narawa starred for the Chiefs while Shaun Stevenson scored a double to extend his season try record to 7
  • Rebels flyhalf Carter Gordon impressed in attack with his playmaking
  • Wallabies utility back Reece Hodge came off with an injury early in the game.

The Chiefs continued their winning season with a big win over the Melbourne Rebels to move to 4-0 and retain first on the ladder.

Former Hamilton Boys product Emoni Narawa produced two brilliant pieces of play on counter-attack to ignite the home side. He regathered a chip kick and tight-roped down the sideline for a try and on another occasion sliced through on a kick return before throwing a last-gasp offload back inside to Rameka Poihipi.

Rebels flyhalf Carter Gordon set up multiple breaks and one try with his passing game, and nearly scored on his own from his line break, but the Chiefs attack was too much for the visitors to handle.

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Crusaders bounce back with statement win over Blues

  • The Blues-Crusaders clash was dubbed an ‘instant classic’ and was potentially the game of the season
  • All Black wingers Mark Telea, Caleb Clarke and Leicester Fainga’anuku all starred with the Crusaders left wing scoring a hat-trick
  • Scott Robertson hailed the performance of No 12 Dallas McLeod who beat 9 defenders and had a hand in multiple tries
  • Blues No 8 Hoskins Sotutu ended with 29 carries and 120 run metres
  • Wing Sevu Reece came off early in the second half with an injury potentially adding to Crusaders’ injury woes

A hat-trick in the space of fifteen minutes on either side of half-time by Leicester Fainga’anuku changed the game for the Crusaders after the Blues had built a 21-12 lead after half an hour after tries to Mark Telea, Caleb Clarke, and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

Fainga’anuku’s length-of-the-field third was a killer for the Blues who were in position to score following a long movement after a Mark Telea line break up the middle. A counter-ruck by the Crusaders stole the ball before a Richie Mo’unga crossfield kick bounced into the No 11’s path.

Two potential Blues tries were overturned after last-ditch defence knocked the ball away from James Tucker and Hoskins Sotutu.

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Brumbies blitz Moana in the final quarter in 98-point scorefest

  • Brumbies moved to 4-0 with a massive 62-36 win over Moana Pasifika powered by three maul tries
  • Moana led 36-34 with a quarter of the game to go
  • Winger Andrew Muirhead bagged two tries and added an assist while flanker Luke Reimer also scored two
  • Brumbies and Wallabies centre Len Ikitau missed the contest with a calf niggle

Reserve halfback Ryan Lonergan is being hailed as a game-changer and potential Wallabies bolter after coming off the bench to ignite the Brumbies from set-piece as they saw off Moana Pasifika in the final 20 minutes.

After falling into a 14-3 deficit, the Brumbies lineout maul powered them to a 29-22 half-time lead. Moana stuck around, holding the lead before the Brumbies backs ripped them apart with a few set-piece plays. Speedster wing and former Sevens player Corey Toole scored one and set up another.

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Highlanders get their season back on track with win over Force

  • All Black Shannon Frizell was ruled out during the warm up with a groin injury
  • Highlanders winger crossed for a double, including a crucial score inside the final 10 minutes
  • Five lead changes throughout a back-and-forth contest
  • Fullback Sam Gilbert scored 18 points for the Highlanders, including a try in the 48th minute

The Highlanders have won their first match of the season with an entertaining attacking display against the Western Force in Invercargill.

There were five lead changes throughout the enthralling contest, but the hosts ran away with it inside the final 10 minutes.

Tries to Jonah Lowe and Hugh Renton saw the Highlanders run away with the win, although the Western Force refused to throw in the towel.

The travelling Force scored two tries in the final three minutes, which gave Bayley Kuenzle the chance to secure a losing bonus point with the conversion, but he hooked his attempt wide left.

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Reds sneak past valiant Fijian Drua in a thriller

  • Former Australian Schoolboys captain Josh Flook crossed for a first half double
  • Drua outscored the Reds 21-3 in the last 30 minutes
  • Rising star Iosefo Masi scored a brilliant try inside the final 10 minutes

The Reds shot out to a commanding 24-3 lead early in the second half following a try to winger Suliasi Vunivalu, and appeared to be heading towards a comfortable victory.

But you can’t count the Drua out. The visitors scored three second half tries, and outscore the Reds 21-3 in the final 30 minutes of play

The match came down to the wire, but the Reds hung on for a tough win.

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