The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Friday, 24th, May, 2019 – Saturday, 25th, May, 2019)

The Stormers skipper Siya Kolisi celebrating his try against the Highlanders during the 2019 Super Rugby fixture in Cape Town, South Africa

This weekend was going to be very important for a few sides. First of all, in the Northern Hemisphere, in England, in particular, the Gallagher Premiership semi-finals were going to take place after the regular season. There were only two steps left from the silverware.

Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, it still was absolutely impossible to know the identity of the play-offs. Given the standings with the few Rounds remaining, it was going to be decided by a few points. All the fixtures were defining for all the franchises.

With the end of the season coming in the North, the coaches from the Northern Hemisphere started to unveil their World Cup training squad. They were already planning the warm-up games with the South still playing their respective competitions.

* Chiefs vs. Reds : Super Rugby (FMG Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand)

Both sides were denied a try in first-half. The Queensland Reds made double movement while the Chiefs dropped the ball but Pita Gus Sowakula had space and touched down. Bryce Hegarty got a kick for Queesland Reds. The Chiefs started a very big build-up.

Prop Atu Moli carried over the line. Bryce Hegarty kicked a second penalty as Alex Mafi was denied a try for another double movement. The Chiefs spread the ball wide and Etene Nanai-Seturo was not denied this time. In the second-half, it was a big battle.

Following some phases, Taniela Tupou scored for the Queensland Reds. The Chiefs could not keep the ball and defended all the second-half. They turned the ball over a few times and they managed to hold their lines for long periods to seal a massive win (FT : 19-13).

* Sunwolves vs. Rebels : Super Rugby (Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo, Japan)

The Melbourne Rebels unleashed good passes and flanker Angus Cottrell concluded the build-up. Finding some space in midfield, winger Marika Koroibete who touched down. Though, second-rower Matt Philip was yellow-carded for a maul infringement.

Quade Cooper missed a penalty but Marika Koroibete got a brace on the left wing. In the second-half, Jack Maddocks picked up a loose ball to score. Marika Koroibete later gave the inside ball for Dane Haylett-Petty. The Sunwolves scored a try with Josh Emery.

He charged Reece Hodge’s kick down. The Melbourne Rebels added another try from close range with Michael Ruru. Jack Maddocks got a brace from a great line and Jordan Uelese scored the try from a big maul to seal the win for the Melbourne Rebels (52-07).

* Crusaders vs. Blues : Super Rugby (AMI Park, Christchurch, New Zealand)

The Crusaders built some early pressure as Richie Mo’unga kicked two consecutive penalties. In tough weather conditions, the home side went for the kicking game. Richie Mo’unga made the chip-kick gathered by Ryan Crotty as Bryn Hall got a stunning try.

The Blues replied with a penalty from Harry Plummer as both franchises were making mistakes. In the second-half, Richie Mo’unga missed a penalty and George Bridge was denied a try for a previous knock-on. The Blues scored a penalty with Harry Plummer.

They managed the second-half well and winger Rieko Ioane even got a try. The Crusaders remained composed and Richie Mo’unga nailed a penalty. The home side was strong enough to hold their lines and claim another convincing home win (FT : 19-11).

* Stormers vs. Highlanders : Super Rugby (Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa)

In a physical game, the Stormers were denied an early try as Seabelo Senatla was off-side. Marty Banks landed a penalty for the Highlanders. However, Herschel Jantjies concluded a great build-up while Matt Faddes was yellow-carded for the Highlanders.

The Stormers kept the pressure and skipper Siya Kolisi ran a great line and touched down. In the second-half, centre Sio Tomkinson carried over the line for the Highlanders. Though, the Stormers found space in midfield and Cobus Wiese was on the scoreboard.

Jean-Luc du Plessis got a kick for the Stormers. Waisake Naholo scored for Highlanders but after a good build-up, Jean-Luc du Plessis got a stunning try for the Stormers. Siate Tokolahi had a late try for the Highlanders. The Stormers won the fixture (FT : 34-22).

* Exeter vs. Northampton : Premiership Semi-Final (Sandy Park, Exeter, England)

The Exeter Chiefs applied pressure early and prop Harry Williams scored from close range. Joe Simmonds followed him later with footsteps leading to a try. Nevertheless, winger Tom O’Flaherty was binned with Northampton Saints getting a penalty try.

On the re-start, Northampton Saints attacked and Ahsee Tuala scored. They were very close from a third try. In the second-half, the Exeter Chiefs kept their game plan and second-rower Dave Dennis scored after a big carry. Tom O’Flaherty got a stunning try.

Having control on the game again, the Exeter Chiefs unleashed their phases. Sam Simmonds was awarded a try after a TMO (Television Match Official) review. Centre Sam Hill sealed the win with a great try. The Exeter Chiefs qualified for the Final (FT : 42-12).

Conclusion

This weekend was interesting. In Super Rugby, the Chiefs produced a masterclass performance in defence to win their home game. Besides, the Melbourne Rebels got the bonus point win to remain in the play-offs battle. The Crusaders also got a good win.

It was not easy given the weather conditions. Moreover, the Stormers also got back in the play-offs battle with a very convincing home win in Cape Town. In the Gallagher Premiership, the Exeter Chiefs showed a very strong display to qualify for the Final.

Next weekend, there will be huge games. Super Rugby will carry on while the Top14 qualifiers will take place as well. There will also be an England XV at Twickenham while more coaches are expected to name their World Cup training squads. It should be good.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Friday, 17th, May, 2019 – Sunday, 19th, May, 2019)

The Waratahs playmaker Bernard Foley trying to find a way in the Queensland Reds defence during the 2019 Super Rugby fixture win in Brisbane

This weekend was one of the most important weekends. There was so much at stake on all the fields and in all the competitions in the North and in the South. In the Northern Hemisphere, first of all, there were the Pro14 and the ProD2 semi-finals taking place.

Besides, it was the last Round of the regular season in the Premiership and one of the last Rounds in the Top14. About the Southern Hemisphere, the Super Rugby competition was on and there were not many games left. The play-offs battle was just as tough as ever.

These key games this weekend were just defining for all the sides involved. It was all about continuing the season. Rest would not be too long this season with the World Cup coming even closer. The global showpiece would take place in Japan, in September.

* Glasgow vs. Ulster : Pro14 Semi-Final (The Scotstoun, Glasgow, Scotland)

The Glasgow Warriors started brillantly with Tommy Seymour touching down on the right corner. Scrum-half Ali Price found space and got the second try with Adam Hastings adding the penalty. John Cooney also scored a penalty for Ulster, later on.

Before the Half-Time, flanker Rob Harley carried over the line. In the second-half, winger Tommy Seymour got a brace and Kyle Steyn finished an astonishing build-up. Marcell Coetzee scored a try for Ulster but Peter Horne had a stunning try for the home side.

The Ulster side scored another late try with Rob Herring. Glasgow Warriors kept attacking and replacement scrum-half George Horne scored another outstanding try. Michael Lowry had a last try for Ulster as Glasgow Warriors qualified (FT : 50-20).

* Reds vs. Waratahs : Super Rugby (Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia)

The Waratahs played expansively and Bernard Foley scored the try. The Queensland Reds replied with Angus Blyth and Jock Campbell from a scrum. The Waratahs got a second try with Michael Wells but winger Sefa Naivalu had one for the home side.

In second-half, Bryce Hegarty scored after an interception for Queensland Reds. The Waratahs unleashed a big build-up and Alex Newsome scored. On another interception, Bryce Hegarty had a brace for the home side but the Waratahs were still in the contest.

Michael Wells had a brace and Bernard Foley kicked a penalty. Alex Mafi had a try for the home side as Bernard Foley landed a second penalty for the Waratahs. He later kicked his third consecutive penalty to secure a massive away win (FT : 32-40).

* Perpignan vs. Racing 92 : Top14 (Aimé Giral, Perpignan, France)

The Perpignan fly-half Enzo Selponi missed an opening penalty. Meanwhile, the Racing 92 players were focused and winger Louis Dupichot got the opening try. He scored his brace after a great move. Second-rower Dominic Bird carried over the line for the try.

Simon Zebo had a counter-attacking try, as well. Jean-Baptiste Pujol got a try for the home side but Louis Dupichot and Simon Zebo respectively got a Hat-Trick and a brace. In the second-half, Thomas Labouteley had a pretty good try for the Perpignan side.

Though, Racing 92 kept attacking and Simon Zebo concluded a move for his Hat-Trick. Finn Russell also touched down from a set-piece play. Raphaël Carbou was sent off for Perpignan after foul play as Racing 92 comfortably won the away fixture (FT : 14-52).

* Lions vs. Highlanders : Super Rugby (Ellis Park, Johannesburg, South Africa)

The Highlanders moved the ball wide quickly and Sio Tomkinson finished on the corner. However, the Lions hit back with offloads leading to a try from Andries Coetzee. Tom Franklin got a try for the Highlanders before Kwagga Smith touched down for the Lions.

In the second-half, the Lions kept playing and Kwagga Smith got a stunning brace. The Highlanders were not out of it with Jordan Hyland scoring on the corner. Though, Elton Jantjies kicked a penalty and Shaun Reynolds scored a sensational try for the home side.

In a high intensity game, the Highlanders were not out of it with a try from Josh Ioane. However, the Lions remained composed and winger Courtnall Skosan found the space on the left wing to seal the win with a great try. The Lions got the great win (FT : 38-29).

* Newcastle vs. Bristol : Premiership (Kingston Park, Newcastle, England)

The Bristol Bears kept most of the possession in the first-half. They built a few phases and fullback Charles Piutau got the try. The Newcastle Falcons could not keep the ball with too many handing mistakes. The Bristol Bears had the control of the first-half.

In the second-half, from a scrum, the Bristol Bears moved the ball wide and centre Piers O’Conor was on the scoreboard. They kept playing and set up another huge build-up. It was concluded by forward Jack Lam. The Newcastle Falcons needed a big reaction.

The home side scored a late try with Gary Graham who carried over the line. Johnny Williams also got a try a few moments later. However, the Bristol Bears managed to defend well and got a very good away win with some good tries scored (FT : 12-19).

* Exeter vs. Northampton : Premiership (Sandy Park, Exeter, England)

The Northampton Saints were attacking immediately and Piers Francis got the try. The Exeter Chiefs replied with a try from Henry Slade as they were denied a second for a forward pass. After that, centre Rory Hutchinson scored for the Northampton Saints.

The Exeter Chiefs were composed and Ben Moon carried over the line. He was followed by Don Armand later on. Courtney Lawes and Alex Waller were both binned for the Northampton Saints but Cobus Reinach got an interception to get the game square.

The Exeter Chiefs still applied pressure. Matt Kvesic was powerful enough to score. Dave Dennis got the gap in midfield and touched down as well. Also, Luke Cowan-Dickie got another try after another strong forwards build-up. The Exeter Chiefs won (FT : 40-21).

* Stormers vs. Crusaders : Super Rugby (Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa)

The Stormers started with much power and skipper Siya Kolisi ran a great line to get the opening score. Joshua Stander kicked a penalty as well. The Crusaders managed to get more control. They set up a maul and flanker Matt Todd was on the scoreboard.

The Crusaders were playing much better and Richie Mo’unga made a cross-field kick. It was gathered by David Havili. In the second-half, the Crusaders found spaces in the midfield and Braydon Ennor had the try. The Stormers were rewarded with penalties.

Joshua Stander kicked two penalties to close the gap. The Crusaders were denied a try following a forward pass. The Stormers got a penalty in the last play. They went for the posts and Joshua Stander kicked it. It was a good draw for the Crusaders (FT : 19-19).

* Montpellier vs. Stade Français : Top14 (GGL Stadium, Montpellier, France)

In the first-half, Sekou Macalou intercepted for the try. Montpellier replied with two tries from Bismarck du Plessis and Yvan Reilhac. Sekou Macalou got a brace but Waisea was yellow-carded. Both sides were denied tries : one for Montpellier, two for Stade Français.

Aaron Cruden scored on a counter-attack but Nicolas Sanchez kicked a penalty. Benoit Paillaugue was binned for foul play as Nicolas Sanchez kicked a second penalty. Though, Laurent Sempéré was binned too and Benoit Paillaugue got the try from the scrum.

On the re-start, Henry Immelman touched down from a kick and chase. Stade Français kept playing and Lester Etien scored. On the re-start, prop Mohammed Haouas found the gap on the midfield and sealed the massive bonus point win for Montpellier (FT : 42-25).

* Brive vs. Vannes : ProD2 Semi-Final (Amédée Domenech, Brive, France)

Fullback Thomas Laranjeira kicked a penalty. Vannes tied the game up with a penalty from Christopher Hilsenbeck. Thomas Laranjeira got a kick but Alexandre Mourot got a try from a lineout for Vannes. Thomas Laranjeira closed the gap with a third penalty

Axel Muller was yellow-carded. Christophe Hilsenbeck landed a kick but Brive scored before the Half-Time with Matthieu Voisin. In the second-half, Otari Giorgadze carried powerfully over the line for the try. Vannes lacked discipline as players were binned.

It was Alexandre Mourot and Anthony Bouthier. Brive kept playing and Rory Scholes scored and so did Sevanaia Galala from a scrum. Vannes scored a consolation try with Anthony Bouthier. Stuart Olding kicked a penalty to seal the win for Brive (FT : 40-20).

* Bordeaux vs. Toulouse : Top14 (Jacques Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux, France)

The home side got the first try with Gerard Tilsley from close range. Stade Toulousain replied with Joe Tekori concluding a good move. Bordeaux-Bègles had a penalty with Baptiste Serin as Alban Placines was binned allowing Adrien Pelissié to score the try.

Gerard Tilsley intercepted for his double. Peni Ravai carried over the line and Gerard Tilsley got a Hat-Trick. In the second-half, Stade Toulousain replied with Guillaume Marchand. Seta Tamanivalu was binned and Arthur Bonneval scored on the corner.

Stade Toulousain kept coming back. Thomas Ramos got a brace. Mathieu Jalibert was binned for Bordeaux-Bègles. Arthur Bonneval scored a stunning try and Thomas Ramos kicked a penalty. Stade Toulousain held their lines for an outstanding win (FT : 36-43).

Conclusion

This weekend was interesting. Glasgow Warriors outstandingly qualified for the Pro14 Final. In the Premiership, the Exeter Chiefs finished top of the table in the regular season. Besides, the Bristol Bears finished well with a very convincing away win.

In Super Rugby, the Waratahs clinched a massive away win while the Lions got the home win. The Crusaders got the draw in Cape Town. In the Top14, Racing 92 and Montpellier won with the bonus point. Stade Toulousain claimed a huge comeback win in Bordeaux.

Finally, in the ProD2, Brive won their home semi-final to qualify for the Final. Next weekend, there will be the Top14 last Round in the regular season, the Premiership semi-finals and the Pro14 Final. The ProD2 Final and Super Rugby will also take place.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Friday, 10th, May, 2019 – Sunday, 12th, May, 2019)

The All Blacks centre Ryan Crotty running with ball in hand for the Crusaders during the 2019 Super Rugby game against the Bulls in Pretoria

This weekend was going to be really great. There were defining fixtures in both Hemispheres with a lot at stake. In the Northern Hemisphere, it was the european Finals with the Challenge Cup taking place in Newcastle. It was going to be some great battles.

Also, in the Southern Hemisphere, it still was the regular season in the Super Rugby competition. However, there were not many games left so the franchises needed the big performances. The play-offs race was heavily contested with many franchises involved.

Back in the Northern Hemisphere, the regular season in the respective leagues would go on. In the ProD2, it already was the qualifiers. It would determine the two clubs which would reach the semi-finals to face the two other clubs already qualified for that stage.

* Blues vs. Hurricanes : Super Rugby (Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand)

The Blues applied the pressure early and second-rower Patrick Tuipulotu offloaded for Sam Nock for the opening try. The Hurricanes turned the ball over with Ngani Laumape. Winger Ben Lam got the ball and he beat four defenders to score some stunning try.

The Hurricanes had another opportunity and fullback Jordie Barrett touched down after a nice-build-up. The Hurricanes had to defend a lot. In the second-half, they lacked discipline and prop Jefferey To’omanga-Allen was binned after scrum infringements.

The Blues had the ball and Dalton Papali’i scored on the wing. The Hurricanes remained composed and Beauden Barrett intercepted from a Blues set-piece play to get the try. Jordie Barrett kicked a penalty. The Hurricanes sealed a massive away win (FT : 12-22).

* Rebels vs. Reds : Super Rugby (AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia)

The Queensland Reds started with a penalty from Bryce Hegarty. Samu Kerevi was binned. The Melbourne Rebels found space and Marika Koroibete scored. Bryce Hegarty kicked a second penalty. The home side attacked and Anaru Rangi scored from a maul.

The Melbourne Rebels had to defend. The Queensland Reds hit back with Isaac Lucas but Scott Higginbotham was binned. In second-half, Tetera Faulkner and Dane Haylett-Petty both scored tries for the Melbourne Rebels. Harry Hoppert scored for Queensland Reds.

Reece Hodge kicked a penalty for the Melbourne Rebels with Bryce Hegarty replying with one for Queensland Reds. Reece Hodge kicked another penalty. Bryce Hegarty also got a final penalty to get a losing bonus point as the Melbourne Rebels won (FT : 30-24).

* Bulls vs. Crusaders : Super Rugby (Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, South Africa)

The Crusaders were defending well from the beginning and they played the counter-attacks. Richie Mo’unga gathered a chip-kick to score the try. Handré Pollard kicked a penalty for the Bulls. Though, Richie Mo’unga found space in midfield to get a brace.

Handré Pollard landed another penalty for the Bulls but the Crusaders kept the intensity. Second-rower Mitchell Dunshea finished a stunning build-up on the left wing while Sevu Reece also touched down. In the second-half, he got a brace after some great footwork.

The Bulls hit back with a try from Burger Odendaal. However, the Crusaders were still threatening. Richie Mo’unga unleashed a cross-field kick for Sevu Reece who got a Hat-Trick. Scott Barrett also touched down from a lineout. The Crusaders won (FT : 13-45).

* Clermont vs. La Rochelle : Challenge Cup Final (St James’ Park, Newcastle, England)

In that Challenge Cup Final, Clermont started well with two penalties from Morgan Parra and Greg Laidlaw who replaced him. Ihaia West kicked a penalty for Stade Rochelais. Clermont went through the phases and winger Damian Penaud scored the good try.

Ihaia West got another kick for Stade Rochelais. He kicked his third penalty in the second-half. Nevertheless, Clermont got penalties and Greg Laidlaw landed two kicks. They set up a driving maul and the back-rower Fritz Lee touched down for his team.

Uini Atonio scored for Stade Rochelais but Camille Lopez made the grubber kick. Wesley Fofana gathered it for the try. Alivereti Raka was binned for a deliberate knock-down. Greg Laidlaw kicked one more penalty as Clermont won the Challenge Cup (FT : 36-16).

* Chiefs vs. Sharks : Super Rugby (FMG Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand)

The Chiefs got the first points with a penalty from Damian McKenzie. They were settled in defence and from a counter-attacking play, scrum-half Brad Weber touched down. The Sharks hit back with a penalty from Curwin Bosch and a try from Hyron Andrews.

However, the Chiefs got a lineout and flanker Mitch Karpik scored. Curwin Bosch kicked a penalty. In second-half, Marty McKenzie missed a penalty and hooker Nathan Harris was yellow-carded for the Chiefs. Ruan Botha scored from a big maul for the Sharks.

Curwin Bosch later kicked another penalty. The Chiefs threw everything in attack. Anton Lienert-Brown got a try. From the re-start, the Chiefs went coast to coast with Brad Weber scoring an astonishing brace. The Chiefs held their lines to win it (FT : 29-23).

* Lions vs. Waratahs : Super Rugby (Ellis Park, Johannesburg, South Africa)

The Waratahs built phases and Nick Phipps dotted down. The Lions replied with Aphiwe Dyantyi scoring. The Waratahs got the lead again when Michael Hooper sold the dummy to get another try. The Lions hit back with Stephan Lewies carrying over the whitewash.

Second-rower Rob Simmons found the space in midfield and the Waratahs had another score. The Lions got on the attack and Kwagga Smith touched down after a grubber kick from Courtnall Skosan. In the second-half, the Lions kept the possession to use it wisely.

Winger Courtnall Skosan concluded a counter-attacking play for the try. The Waratahs were not out of it with Tom Staniforth on the scoreboard from close range. The Lions came back as Shaun Reynolds kicked a penalty. The Lions secured the win (FT : 29-28).

* Bayonne vs. Nevers : ProD2 Qualifier (Jean Dauger, Bayonne, France)

The home side started well with Pieter-Jan Van Lill scoring as Manuel Ordas kicked a penalty. Nevers had Fred Quercy sent off for foul play while Adam Jaulhac was yellow-carded for Bayonne. Nevers got their game going with centre Nasoni Naqiri scoring.

Bayonne went through the phases and Peyo Muscarditz got the try. Hugo Fabrègue was binned for Nevers after a high tackle while Pieter-Jan Van Lill got a brace for Bayonne. Josaia Raisuqe scored for Nevers and Peyo Muscarditz was denied his brace for Bayonne.

Romain Barthélémy was binned for Bayonne but Sean Robinson touched down on the right wing. Julien Berger got a try for Nevers but Tristan Tedder kicked a penalty for Bayonne. Nevers had another try with David Lolohea but Bayonne won (FT : 32-26).

* Vannes vs. Mont-de-Marsan : ProD2 (Stade de la Rabine, Vannes, France)

The home side shifted the ball wide and winger Ambrose Curtis touched down. Mont-de-Marsan replied with Dorian Laborde. However, Vannes kept attacking and Gwenaël Duplenne concluded a superb move. Jules Le Bail later kicked a penalty for Vannes.

Steve Shingler for Mont-de-Marsan kicked a penalty. Christopher Hilsenbeck landed two penalties for Vannes while missing one. Vannes got the try from a set-piece play with Brandon Holder. In the second-half, Maselino Paulino was sent off for Mont-de-Marsan.

It was a shoulder charge. Christopher Hilsenbeck kicked a penalty. Ambrose Curtis had space on the left wing to get a brace. He gathered a grubber kick for his Hat-Trick. Anthony Bouthier sealed the win for Vannes with one last stunning try (FT : 50-10).

Conclusion

This weekend was another brillant weekend. First of all, in Super Rugby, the Hurricanes snatched an away draw in Auckland. The Rebels performed well at home while the Crusaders got the away bonus point win in Pretoria with some stunning tries as well.

The Chiefs got a massive comeback win and the Lions got a key win in Johannesburg. In the Challenge Cup, Clermont delivered a composed and solid performance to win the Cup in Newcastle. About the ProD2 qualifiers, Bayonne qualified in the big semi-finals.

Besides, Vannes also won their ProD2 qualifier. Next weekend, the regular season in the Top14 and in the Premiership will go on. The Pro14 semi-finals will take place as well and the Super Rugby competition will be played in the South. It should be great.

Max.

 

The Barrett Review : Super Rugby 2019 (Round 13 – Blues)

The Hurricanes pivot Beauden Barrett scored a sensational try against the Blues in Auckland

In a somewhat curious season of Super Rugby, the Hurricanes were still cumulating the good results. However, it seemed that they could not play well during one entire game despite their talent.

I- Background

The Hurricanes were going to Eden Park to face the Blues of Auckland. It was the first outing of the season between these two sides. The Hurricanes knew how improved were the Blues, definitely.

II- Game Summary

The fixture was played on high intensity. TJ Perenara saved the Hurricanes scrum a few times thanks to some tricky plays. Beauden Barrett scored a stunning try and it will seal the big win.

III- The Barrett Review

That game reallt showed the threat posed by Beauden Barrett on a rugby field. The try that he scored, reading the Blues scrum play to perfection, was the evidence. He won the game on that play.

Max.

The Rugby Wrap : Weekend Review (Friday, 03rd, May, 2019 – Sunday, 05th, May, 2019)

The All Blacks playmaker Beauden Barrett scored a try for the Hurricanes during the 2019 Super Rugby game against the Rebels in Wellington

This weekend was going to be key for many sides in both Hemispheres. In the North, the regular season in the Top14 and in the Premiership were going to finish quickly. Meanwhile, in the Pro14, it already was the qualifiers to determine the semi-finals.

In the South, the Super Rugby competition was going on with the second half of the season already underway. The standings were showing that there was not much between the franchises. Almost all the franchises could still pretend to the play-offs.

Obviously, it was the last opportunities for the players to put their hands up for the upcoming World Cup. The coaches were already knowing most of their respective squads. There could still be a few surprises so the fringe players were in that big battle.

* Crusaders vs. Sharks : Super Rugby (AMI Park, Christchurch, New Zealand)

The Sharks got an early penalty with Curwin Bosch kicking it. The Crusaders relied on their forwards pack with Codie Taylor scoring the try from close range. However, Curwin Bosch kicked two more penalties for the Sharks in a very physical first-half.

In the second-half, the Crusaders were still lacking discipline and Curwin Bosch landed his fourth and fifth penalty. The Crusaders finally found some space in midfield and centre Jack Goodhue touched down. Nevertheless, the Sharks were still in the contest.

Curwin Bosch kicked a penalty, missed one and kicked another one. Braydon Ennor was denied a try for the Crusaders for a foot in touch. Though, the Crusaders kept playing and Mitch Hunt scored the try. His conversion snatched the home draw (FT : 21-21).

* Bristol vs. Sale : Premiership (Ashton Gate, Bristol, England)

The Sale Sharks began the game well as Denny Solomona intercepted to get a try. AJ McGinty kicked a penalty after that. The Bristol Bears came back with Charles Piutau concluding a nice move. The two sides later traded one penalty before Half-Time.

It was Faf de Klerk for Sale Sharks and Callum Sheedy for Bristol Bears. In the second-half, Sale Sharks were attacking and Faf de Klerk was the try scorer. The Bristol Bears shifted the ball wide and Alapati Leiua scored before the Bristol Bears were denied a try.

Though, Callum Sheedy tied the game up with a penalty. Jono Ross was binned for Sale Sharks for a shoulder charge. In a big finish, Ian Madigan and Faf de Klerk respectively missed the winning kick for Bristol Bears and Sale Sharks. It was a draw (FT : 20-20).

* Harlequins vs. Leicester : Premiership (The Twickenham Stoop, London, England)

The Leicester Tigers had the possession first and got a penalty kicked by George Ford. The Harlequins unleashed a build-up and Danny Care scored from close range. George Ford kicked a penalty for Leicester Tigers and so did Marcus Smith for the Harlequins.

George Ford kicked his third penalty as Jack Clifford was yellow-carded for an aerial challenge on Telusa Veainu. George Ford nailed another penalty. In the second-half, the Harlequins were physical and earned a few penalties as Marcus Smith scored two kicks.

In the last quarter, back-rower Semi Kunatani found space in midfield and touched down for the home side. The Leicester Tigers scored a consolation try from a set-piece play with Mike Fitzgerald. The Harlequins convincingly won the fixture (FT : 21-17).

* Hurricanes vs. Rebels : Super Rugby (Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand)

In Wellington, the Hurricanes started brillantly. Centre Ngani Laumape beat three defenders to score the opening try. Later on, on a well-worked lineout combination, playmaker Beauden Barrett found the space and scored a stunning individual try.

The Hurricanes kept the momentum with Wes Goosen touching down on the corner. Forward Vaea Fifita beat a few defenders as well and got his try. In the second-half, the Rebels had all the possession and Matt Philip along with Bill Meakes scored tries.

The Hurricanes were defending and conceding many penalties. The Rebels kept the intensity and Reece Hodge got a try on the left corner. The Hurricanes got a penalty scored by Jordie Barrett. The Hurricanes got a tough win in Wellington (FT : 29-19).

* Highlanders vs. Chiefs : Super Rugby (Forsyth Barr, Dunedin, New Zealand)

The Highlanders got on the attacking front and Josh Ioane scored a try. The Chiefs hit back with Brad Weber concluding a counter-attacking try. Though, the Highlanders scored under the posts with Ben Smith but the Chiefs did come back again in the game.

Luke Jacobson touched down in the left corner. The Highlanders moved the ball wide. Matt Faddes had a try and James Lentjies scored. The Chiefs replied with a set-piece play try from Angus Ta’avao-Matau. Throwing the offloads, the Chiefs got a stunning try.

Tyler Ardron was the try scorer. The Highlanders kicked a penalty with Josh Ioane. Nevertheless, the Chiefs got the ball back on the re-start and Angus Ta’avao-Matau got his brace. The Chiefs went for the win but still managed to get the away draw (FT : 31-31).

* Stade Toulousain vs. Pau : Top14 (Ernest Wallon, Toulouse, France)

Section Paloise got a penalty with Tom Taylor. Maxime Médard was denied a try for the home side for foul play but got it after a counter-attack. Cheslin Kolbe got the try with Tom Taylor kicking a second penalty. Sofiane Guitoune got a try for Stade Toulousain.

Yoann Huget had one too after a quick lineout throw as Selevasio Tolofua also touched down. Pita Ahki ran a great line for his try as well. Thomas Ramos was on the board with Antoine Dupont getting a try from a set-piece play and Chesline Kolbe scoring a brace.

Guillaume Marchand and Sébastien Bézy touched down. Thomas Ramos got his double out wide. Section Paloise had Martin Puech and Marvin Lestremeau binned for foul play. Gillian Galan got one last try for Stade Toulousain in an astonishing win (FT : 83-06).

* Bulls vs. Waratahs : Super Rugby (Loftus Versfled, Pretoria, South Africa)

The Bulls were on the attack early as Handré Pollard kicked a penalty. Remaining on the front foot, fullback Warrick Gelant got a great try. The Waratahs hit back with a great try from Nick Phipps. However, Duane Vermeulen scored from an interception for the Bulls.

Before the Half-Time, Handré Pollard kicked a penalty. In the second-half, the Springbok fly-half kicked another penalty but missed an attempt. The Waratahs came back again with a try from Kurtley Beale. Handré Pollard missed his second penalty for the Bulls.

Curtis Rona was denied a try for a knock-on but did score from a scrum play, after that. Though, the Bulls got the ball again and forward Simphiwe Matanzima carried over the line. The Bulls remained strong in defence to clinch a tough home win (FT : 28-21).

* Northampton vs. Worcester : Premiership (Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton, England)

The Northampton Saints did not waste time as Luther Burrell was on the board after a few minutes. Winger Taqele Naiyaravoro made a powerful carry to get a try as well. Worcester Warriors were back in the game with a penalty from fly-half Duncan Weir.

Nevertheless, they had Francois Hougaard sent to the bin for foul play. It allowed Taqele Naiyaravoro to get a brace while Tom Wood also got his try. Worcester Warriors replied with Ben Te’o. In the second-half, Dan Biggar kicked a penalty for Northampton Saints.

Relying on their big forwards pack, Reece Marshall touched down. Northampton Saints held their lines well in the last quarter and made a few turnovers. They convincingly won that home game with a strong forwards pack and an entertaining game (FT : 38-10).

* Munster vs. Benetton Treviso : Pro14 Qualifier (Thomond Park, Limerick, Ireland)

In this first Pro14 qualifier, Munster and Benetton Treviso were working a lot to secure possession. Munster opened the scoreboard with a penalty from Tyler Bleyendaal. However, Benetton Treviso replied straight away with a penalty from Tommaso Allan.

Before the Half-Time, they moved the ball wide and winger Iliesa Ratuva scored in the corner. In the second-half, Benetton Treviso made two handling mistakes near the Munster try line. Tyler Bleyendaal kicked a penalty for Munster to close the gap.

Tommaso Allan got a kick for Benetton Treviso. Munster made turnovers. JJ Hanrahan landed three penalties, the third kick coming from the halfway line. Benetton Treviso attempted two drop-goals but both were wide. Munster won and qualified (FT : 15-13).

* Clermont vs. Perpignan : Top14 (Marcel Michelin, Clermont, France)

The fixture was highlighted by many mistakes from both sides. Perpignan had a player binned from the start with Andrea Cocagi leaving the field. The Clermont back-rower Peceli Yato showed his power and got a first try and his brace in a few moments.

Perpignan had to come back quickly. Paddy Jackson kicked a penalty for them. In the second-half, David Mélé added a penalty as well. Clermont gathered a loose ball from a Perpignan attacking set and winger Alivereti Raka won the chase to touch down.

Seilala Lam scored a try from a maul for Perpignan but Tom Écochard was binned for foul play. Peceli Yato carried over the line for his Hat-Trick. Clermont sealed the win with Alivereti Raka getting his brace following Isaia Toeava’s superb offload (FT : 35-13).

* La Rochelle vs. Toulon : Top14 (Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle, France)

Stade Rochelais began with scrappy plays as Toulon got the first try thanks to Raphaël Lakafia. Ihaia West closed the gap for La Rochelle with the penalty. Antony Belleau missed a penalty for Toulon as he hit the posts before the referee indicated Half-Time.

In second-half, Kirikiri Murimurivalu touched down from a grubber kick. Florian Fresia was binned at scrum time for Toulon. Ihaia West missed two penalties. Tawera Kerr-Barlow got his try after that. Toulon replied with a stunning try from Charles Ollivon.

Ihaia West got a penalty with Liam Messam binned for Toulon for foul play. Ihaia West got a penalty but Facundo Isa had a try from a set-piece play. Ihaia West launched a cross-field kick and Elliott Roudil scored to seal the win for Stade Rochelais (FT : 31-21).

* Brive vs. Bayonne : ProD2 (Amédée Domenech, Brive, France)

The home side could not handle the pressure well in the first-half. Bayonne were on the attacking front and Aymeric Luc scored the try. Scrum-half Emmanuel Saubusse also kicked a penalty. Brive scored their first points thanks to a penalty from Stuart Olding.

Brive had a player yellow-carded with Axel Muller dangerously tackling an opponent. However, Brive scored the try from a maul with Rory Scholes. In the second-half, Bayonne kicked another penalty with Manuel Ordas. Brive still made the turnovers.

Forward Retief Marais touched down for a stunning counter-attacking try. Later, winger Franck Romanet finished on the left corner. Bayonne replied with Arthur Duhau for the try. Brive managed to control the last quarter of the game and sealed the win (FT : 20-18).

* Bath vs. Wasps : Premiership (The Recreation Ground, Bath, England)

Bath Rugby began the game very well with centre Jonathan Joseph scoring an early try. The Wasps got the possession back and Nizaam Carr scored after Gabiriele Lovobalavu’s offload. The Fijian centre gave another offload assist for Nathan Hughes for another try.

The home side needed a reaction and Freddie Burns kicked a penalty. Josh Bassett was denied a try for the Wasps for a forward pass as Rob Miller landed a penalty. In the second-half, Bath Rugby had all the possession and Zach Mercer carried over the line.

Bath Rugby relied on their scrum platform and Joe Cokanasiga touched down on the left wing. On the last play, Bath Rugby went for the lineout. Zach Mercer had a powerful carry and he scored the bonus point try for his brace. Bath Rugby won (FT : 29-17).

Conclusion

This weekend has been entertaining. In Super Rugby, the Crusaders and the Chiefs had outstanding performances to snatch draws. Also, the Hurricanes kept the momentum while the Bulls got the home win. In the Pro14, Munster won their home qualifier.

Besides, in the Gallagher Premiership, Bristol Bears rescued a draw at Ashton Gate while the Harlequins delivered. Northampton Saints impressed again and Bath Rugby got a stunning win. In the ProD2, Brive won their home game and will play the semi-finals.

Finally, in the Top14, it was an immense performance from Stade Toulousain. Clermont got the bonus point win while Stade Rochelais clinched the home win. Next weekend, it will be the european Finals with Super Rugby taking place again so it should be great.

Max.

The Barrett Review : Super Rugby 2019 (Round 12 – Rebels)

Beauden Barrett scored a try for the Hurricanes as Quade Cooper cannot prevent it

For the first time of the season, the Hurricanes delivered a perfect game against the Chiefs. They wanted to back it up with another Super Rugby fixture at home against the Melbourne Rebels.

I- Background

With the two mandatory weeks still on, John Plumtree had to find some rests for all his Hurricanes players representing the All Blacks. He still managed to put a strong XV for this clash.

II- Game Summary

The Hurricanes made it difficult for themselves. Their expansive brand of rugby brought them rewards in the first-half. Beauden Barrett and Wes Goosen both concluded spectacular moves.

However, the second-half was terrible. They allowed the Rebels to come back into this one and escaped a yellow-card. Jordie Barrett kicked a penalty to ensure the Hurricanes won that game.

III- Game Summary

Beauden Barrett had a very good first-half as he scored a try. He had to manage the second-half. As the skipper, he talked a lot to referee Nic Berry to try and find a solution to their indiscipline.

Max.