Super Rugby Review: Week 16
Sunday, June 3, 2018 Lynn McConnell Getty Images
But on the results from the weekend if the quarterfinals were played next weekend they would see: Crusaders v Rebels, Hurricanes v Highlanders, Lions v Jaguares, Waratahs v Chiefs.
New Zealand Conference
The Highlanders punctured the Hurricanes by the manner of their 30-14 win and by not allowing the visitors any chance to launch their long-range game in Dunedin. Wing Ben Lam was largely shut out of the game while in the loose the Highlanders contested all the way to shut down this area of influence for the Hurricanes. It was a typical contest nearing the end of pool play but with consecutive losses the Hurricanes can't afford to slip up in the remaining three rounds.
By taking their chances with an expected degree of ruthlessness, a Crusaders team that might have expected to be troubled as a result of the loss of key personnel did something the Chiefs have become renowned for by stepping up and calling on their culture to provide the necessary inspiration to get the job done for a 34-20 win. In spite of their loss the Chiefs are hanging in there and are still a playoffs chance.
A harrowing 10-20 defeat to the Rebels has left the Blues with nowhere to turn but the drawing board for next season. What remains of their season would appear to be the chance to go with the players they most value as they build for another campaign. Failing to take chances, and there were several, demonstrated just how dispirited the side has become.
The Rebels impressed with their functionality in containing the Blues in Auckland and while hovering in second place they are looking more assured as playoffs prospects. That would complete something of a remarkable 12 months for the side as it fought to avoid demotion from the competition last year. Their success is reward for a remarkable campaign which, in its middle stages, could have fallen apart.
The Waratahs maintain their lead in the Conference as a result of their 52-41 win over the Reds, something they should retain with games against the Rebels, Sunwolves and Brumbies to complete their season after the June break. But a slip-up in any of those games could prove costly. However, the worst of their travails appears behind them.
The Brumbies and the Sunwolves finished the round with their Sunday game, a 41-31 win to the Brumbies which moved them to 25 points, six clear of the Reds but nine behind the Rebels.
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