Super Rugby Team of the Week and Results: Round 9
Round 9 of Super Rugby was definitely a memorable one with a couple of upsets, great tries and Ben Smith playing his 150th Super Rugby game.
The Crusaders are still on top of the NZ conference, The Bulls leapfrogged the Sharks to lead the SA conference, while the Rebels remain on top for the Aussies despite a loss against the Stormers.
Crusaders 43 vs Higlanders 17
The Crusaders got off top a slow start in the first 40 min of the clash, but when they game out of the sheds at half time we saw the Crusaders of old.
Sevu Reece was exceptional is this clash; 108 meters gained, 5 clean breaks, 9 defenders beaten, 1 try and 1 try assist. The Crusaders remain on top of the NZ conference heading into their bye weekend in Round 10, the Highlanders head to Dunedin to play the Blues.
Melbourne Rebels 24 vs Stormers 41
The Rebels did not continue their good form and was put on immense pressure by a determined Stormers team.
Ruhan Nel was the best player for the men from Cape Town; 119m gained, 4 clean breaks, 2 defenders beaten, 6 tackles made and 2 tries on the night. This win moves the Stormers to 8th position on the overall log.
The Stormers head back home for a clash with The Brumbies in Round 10 while the Rebels take on Warathas in Sydney.
Chiefs 33 vs Blues 29
This was the game of the weekend in my opinion, ridiculous skills were on display from both sides with some scintillating line breaks and offloads . The home-ground advantage was probably a telling factor in the nail-biting win for the Chiefs.
The standout player in this match was Melani Nanai, the Blues fullback gained 153m for his side along with; 2 clean breaks and 7 defenders beaten. Nanai also scored a try for the men from Auckland.
The Blues' campaign will not get any easier with a clash against the Highlanders in Dunedin. The Chiefs will host the Lions in Round 10 of the competition.
Brumbies 31 vs Lions 20
The dismal season for the Lions continued against the Brumbies in Canberra, the Brumbies dominated every phase of the game and the scored could have been much worse for the men from Johannesburg if the Brumbies were more clinical.
Toni Pulu and Tom Banks were the pick of the players on the night. The Lions make their way to Hamilton for a mouthwatering clash with the Chiefs, while the Brumbies will have a difficult task against a determined Stormers side at Newlands.
Sharks 17 vs Jaguares 51
This was the shock result of the weekend after the Sharks had a very clinical performance against the Lions in Round 8, you would have thought this was a mere formality for them against a struggling Jaguares side.
The Jaguares had other ideas and came out firing from the first whistle, they dominated the breakdowns and every collision. The backline of the Argentinians were unstoppable on the night and ran the Sharks ragged for the full 80min.
Matias Orlando was exceptional for the Jaguares; scoring a hatrick, gaining 57m, 2 clean breaks, 3 defenders beaten and 12 tackles. The Sharks will play the Reds at home in Round 10, while the Jaguares also head into a bye weekend.
Bulls 32 vs Reds 17
The Bulls got back to winning ways with a very clinical performance against the Reds. They were dominant in all areas upfront; scrums, line-outs, breakdowns, collisions as well as the back-line with beating defenders,offloads and clean line breaks.
Handre Pollard and Burger Odendaal both had great games, but the difference for me was Odendaal dominating his opposite Kerevi, Odendaal's stats for the 80min; 98m gained, 3 clean breaks, 3 defenders beaten, 3 offloads and 10 tackles made. The Bulls has a bye weekend in Round 10, while the Reds will head to Durban to face the Sharks.
TEAM OF ROUND 9
15. Ben Smith (Highlanders)
14. Sevu Reece (Crusaders)
13. Matias Orlando (Jaguares)
12. Burger Odendaal (Bulls)
11. Johnny Kotze (Bulls)
10. Richie Mo'unga (Crusaders)
9. Brad Weber (Chiefs)
8. Paul Schoeman (Bulls)
7. Lachlan Boshier (Chiefs)
6. Pablo Matera (Jaguares)
5. RG Snyman (Bulls)
4. Brodie Retallick (Chiefs)
3. Allan Alaalatoa (Brumbies)
2. Folau Faingaa (Brumbies)
1. Karl Tuinukaufe (Blues)
Players that were unlucky not to be included:
Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs)
Melani Nanai (Blues)
Curwin Bosch (Sharks)
Dillon Leyds (Stormers)
Ruhan Nel (Stormers)
Lizo Gqoboka (Bulls)
Handre Pollard (Bulls)