Super Rugby starting to take shape17:03:00, Mon 23 Mar 2015 Kirstie Nisbett
Super Rugby has been at the forefront of the rugby news across the country this week as teams are shaping up a third of the way through to the regular season.
Here’s a quick overview of New Zealand franchises:
The Hurricanes are continuing to flourish, and still remain unbeaten in this season’s competition. The team had a tough contest against the Highlanders on Friday night with Ma’a Nonu proving his worth, particularly on defence, playing back with his favourite side. Chris Boyd will be delighted with their performances to date with their next three games at home, starting on Friday night with the Rebels.
The Chiefs sit second on the table in the New Zealand conference and narrowly missed out on the win against the Sharks in Durban. Referee Angus Gardner dished out three red cards during the clash, two against the Sharks and one against Hika Elliot which certainly made the game more interesting with thirteen against fourteen. The Chiefs however didn’t manage to adjust to the wet conditions and went down 11-12, leaving them in 4th place on the overall table.
The Highlanders had a close encounter with an in-form Hurricanes side at home on Friday Night, going down 13-20 at Forsyth Barr. This was always going to be a tight battle with the last thirteen games between these two decided by 7 points or less. The Highlanders fought hard throughout and were able to take a bonus point out of the match.
With a resting Richie McCaw watching from the grandstand, the Crusaders came away with a convincing 57-14 win on Saturday at home against the Cheetahs. Although the Cheetahs led 14-10 at half time, the turning point came when Willie Le Roux was yellow-carded, in which time the Crusaders scored four tries to lead 38-14. Having played 5 matches, the Crusaders currently sit 7th on the table with 14 points.
A bye could be just what the Blues were looking for to rejuvenate, having lost all 5 of their matches to date. They had a close encounter against the Hurricanes in Palmerston North last weekend, however couldn’t manage to convert to a victory, going down 23-30. They face the Waratahs side in Sydney on Saturday after the defending champions returned to form in the latest round by beating the Brumbies.