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Weekend Round-Up: The Arrival Of Lienert-Brown

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Weekend Round-Up: The Arrival Of Lienert-Brown

Catch up on the best of the weekend’s games on Rugby Pass, including a sweat-inducing NRL Grand Final, a busy afternoon for the Sale Sharks car park attendant and the mighty Northland Taniwha attempt to break a two year drought.

NRL: Storm vs Sharks
Watch: Full Game | Condensed
If the enormous armpit sweat patches on the shirts of Craig Bellamy and Shane Flanagan in the coaching boxes were anything to go by then this was at no point a relaxing game to watch. The Sharks were the stronger side out of the blocks, putting pressure on the Storm goal line and drawing first blood through a James Maloney penalty kick. But for all the pressure the Storm’s miserly defence ensured they were never out of the game, the two teams giving the NRL season – and Ray Warren’s commentary career – a fitting send off with a breathless final 40 minutes.

Aviva Premiership: Sale vs Leicester
Watch: Full Game | Condensed
Whoever’s job it is to retrieve the ball from the AJ Bell Stadium parking lot after a kick at goal had a busy day on Saturday. Things got off to a frantic start between Sharks and the visiting Tigers with the home side striking first through Mike Phillips before a quick Peter Betham brace put Leicester on top – this all within the first 13 minutes. Sale showed in last week’s 34-34 draw with Worcester that they are capable of putting points on the board, so it was no surprise when they levelled scores ten minutes later. But could their defence withstand the inevitable Tigers onslaught in the second half?

Mitre 10 Cup: Northland vs Waikato
Watch: Full Game | Condensed
Northland are the worst team in the Mitre 10 Cup. If that sounds harsh, consider this: the last time they won a competitive game of rugby was October 3, 2014. Despite going 1 year 364 days without once tasting success loyal Taniwha fans still turn up to home games at Toll Stadium with a frankly irrational sense of optimism. With the home side up 32-8 at halftime against a Waikato side who had lost the Ranfurly Shield midweek, it was looking like this would be the day the drought was finally broken. Then Waikato scored, and scored again, and suddenly it wasn’t such a sure thing after all.

TRC: Argentina vs New Zealand
Watch: Full Game | Condensed
If you were to time travel back to last year’s Rugby World Cup final and tell jubilant All Blacks fans that in a year’s time the starting test centre pairing would be Ryan Crotty and Anton Lienert-Brown, few would have believed you. If you had told the same fans this pair would be tearing up the Rugby Championship they would probably have laughed in your face. That’s exactly what we saw in Buenos Aires on Sunday morning. The game wasn’t a classic by any measure – in fact pretty much the whole second half was a complete write-off barring one spectacular Argentina try – but it was an impressive statement from the new All Blacks centre combination, and 21-year-old Lienert-Brown in particular.

Top 14: Stade Français vs La Rochelle
Watch: Full Game | Condensed
Surprise Top 14 leaders La Rochelle would have travelled to Paris fairly confident they could retain their place at the top of the table against a Stade Français side coming off back-to-back losses. That confidence would have taken a bit of a knock when Stade’s balding flanker Antoine Burban crossed for two first half tries to give his side a 14-9 halftime lead. But the reliable boot of Brock James banging over penalties at regular intervals kept La Rochelle in touching distance, and set up an intriguing second half battle.

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Weekend Round-Up: The Arrival Of Lienert-Brown