In this week’s Super Rugby Download incredible tries are scored, old scores are settled and we highlight the competition’s most entertaining player.
In this week’s Super Rugby Download incredible tries are scored, old scores are settled and we highlight the competition’s most entertaining player (it’s not someone you would guess).
Super Rugby AU made history, with the inaugural First Nations Round, promoting awareness, recognition and celebration of Australia’s indigenous culture, history and contribution to rugby.
Each team wore commemorative First Nations jerseys, which were a hit with fans and the match venues featured respectful cultural displays.
So, how did this very first edition of First Nations round play out?
Very, very well indeed.
Let’s swing it wide and see what went down.
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READ MORE: Rebels claim weird win after lights go out
Super Rugby AU
Rebels 10, Force 7
Last week the Force were singing Someone Like You by Adele, but this week was more like Five’s When The Lights Go Out.
As the Rebels desperately clung to a 10-7 lead late in the game, the lighting at HBF Stadium, in Boorloo (Perth) caused a 10 minute delay to the match.
After a few minutes, questions started circulating about how long the lights would take to come back on, what the result would be if play was unable to resume and the rulebook even came out.
Stan Sport’s own Justin Harrison used his IT know-how – suggesting that the light switch simply be turned off and then on again.
Basically it was all happening, while nothing was happening at all.
Play eventually resumed and the Rebels held on for a hard-fought win, thanks in large part to gritty defence, the sizzling form of Marika Koroibete and Super Rugby’s most entertaining player – Cabous Eloff.
Famed for his hilarious ripped shorts episode last season, Eloff has become a must-see attraction.
Against the Force he had more strong charges, big hits and even a quick tap kick near the try line, which was anything but textbook.
The 2021 Rebellion continues.
Reds 40, Brumbies 38
Chances are if you saw this game, you’re probably still recovering.
The rematch of Super Rugby AU’s 2020 final saw the Reds come flying home from the back fence to steal an exhilarating victory at GIO Stadium in Ngunnawal (Canberra).
The Brumbies jumped out to an early 17-0 lead thanks in part to No.8 Pete Samu, who is clearly a tight rope walker trapped in a professional rugby player’s body.
Samu danced down the sideline with ease to score twice, with the first effort quite breathtaking.
League convert Suliasi Vunivalu made his run-on debut for the Reds and showed some promise in bagging his first Super Rugby try in the first half.
The Brumbies led 31-16 with half an hour to play but their front row stocks started to take a hit with Scott Sio and Tom Ross leaving injured in quick succession, which paved the way for the Reds scrum, led by Taniela Tupou, to turn the match on its head.
Trailing by five points, a huge break by Reds replacement forward Seru Uru set his side up in great field position, from which Hunter Paisami pulled out a magic trick with a deft grubber for Jordan Petaia to swing around behind the goal post and dot down the match winner.
The best part is that there’s possibly another two editions of this matchup to come this season.
Super Rugby Aotearoa
Crusaders 39 – Chiefs 17
Air Fainga’anuku and the ‘Boot of God’?
Crusaders left wing Leicester Fanga’anuku scored a gravity-defying try against the Chiefs in Christchurch on Saturday night, which simultaneously brought up memories of NBA legend Michael Jordan and late great football genius Diego Maradona.
Still shots of Fanga’anuku’s 16th minute score in the left-hand corner show a form in the likeness of the iconic Air Jordan logo, but also suggest that his left boot had touched the grass before getting the ball down – reminiscent of Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal in the 1986 Football World Cup.
Crusaders fans were ecstatic and Chiefs fans less than happy, but we’ll let you be the judge on whether the effort deserved a try or not.
Outside of that and a couple more contentious TMO calls, the Crusaders ran all over the Chiefs, who again struggled with defence and discipline as the game wore on.
Blues 39 – Highlanders 17
Sunday afternoon rugby returned to Eden Park, as the Blues took care of business.
All across the park the Blues had far too much firepower for the southerners, as the Ioane brothers – Akira and Rieko – caused havoc for the hapless defence.
Openside flanker Dalton Papalii also impressed, while Otere Black steered the ship well.
The scoreline could well have been larger, had a looping Akira Ioane pass to his brother not floated about eight metres forward.
It was entertaining though.
The Highlanders tried hard, but lost boom winger Jona Nareki to injury and simply didn’t have enough to challenge the Blues who retained the Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy.
The Highlanders get the bye to lick their wounds next week, while the Blues get ready to roll out the welcome mat for the champion Crusaders, in what should be a mouth-watering clash.