Super Rugby Review: Week Two

Getty Images

Saturday, February 24, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

That was emphatically demonstrated by a Bulls team who looked to run the ball around a lot more, and a Rebels team who immediately marked the firming up in Australian standards by claiming a 45-19 win over the Reds.

As a result of the early start by South African sides in the competition it is the Lions who sit atop the table on nine points.

New Zealand Conference

Making an early statement for their new coach Aaron Mauger the Highlanders beat the Blues 41-34 in Dunedin. It was an impressive effort by the home side who looked under the pump when the Blues were able to break out their fire power. But shutting that threat down with sound defence proved too much and assured the Highlanders of a first-up win.

The Crusaders were not as dominant as their 45-23 win over the Chiefs suggests, two of the tries coming in the last six minutes as the Chiefs attempted to fight their way back from the gut-busting penalty try awarded against them at a crucial stage of the game. It wasn't a 14-point turnaround, more like a 21-point blow. It wasn't a fluid performance from either side so their next clash should be a beauty.

In Pretoria, the Bulls took their chances to deserve their 21-19 win over the Hurricanes. Not able to achieve the finesse that would have sewed a win up, the Hurricanes had to endure the sight of the Bulls big men Lood de Jager and RP Snyman running around Loftus Versfeld like runaway giraffes and enjoying the chance to move the ball. 

Australian Conference

The Reds did nothing to help their cause when having Scott Higginbotham sent off for a high tackle only 10 minutes into the game. With the Rebels looking to utilise their new signings, it was always going to be uphill and the home team revelled in their opportunity to score a club record seven tries in their 45-19 win.

In Tokyo, the Brumbies found out about the steel that coach Jamie Joseph has been able to blend into the Sunwolves' game. The home side led 19-15 at the break but were unable to hold on as the Brumbies came home strong to win 32-25.

New South Wales fans will be asking if things are on the up after their Waratahs showed determination aplenty in breaking a 27-27 deadlock to score a fulltime try to claim a 34-27 in Sydney. Ned Harigan was the hero for the home team with the late try but the home town heroes Israel Folau and Michael Hooper got themselves on the board with tries. Will it be a case of opportunity lost for the Stormers? They now face the Crusaders and Highlanders before returning home. 

South African Conference

Discipline proved the issue for a Jaguares side which got out to a 10-0 lead over the Lions at Ellis Park. Falling apart late in the first half the Jaguares saw the Lions run in 19 uncontested points. And so it continued in the second half as the home team completed seven tries and the visitors having two players sin-binned. There was the usual late recovery by the Jaguares but it was all too late.

The Sharks sat out the round but would have taken note of the way the Bulls contained the Hurricanes and learned that playing for 80 minutes is not always enough as the Stormers found out in Sydney.

Next week's draw sees the Blues play the Chiefs in Auckland, the Reds host the Brumbies in Brisbane, the Rebels head to Tokyo to play the Sunwolves, the Crusaders host the Stormers in Christchurch, the Sharks host the Waratahs in Durban, the Bulls host the Lions in Pretoria and the Jaguares meet the Hurricanes in Buenos Aires.