Waratahs edge classic, Crusaders march on
May 3, 2014
The Chiefs' Tim Nanai-Williams scores a try during their easy win against the Lions © Getty Images
New South Wales Waratahs won a classic encounter against the Hurricanes 39-30 at Allianz Stadium on Saturday, scoring five tries to three as they forced their way back into the wildcard spots and their opponents slipped out of the top six.
The Crusaders recorded their fourth Super Rugby win in as many games as the beat the Brumbies 40-20 in Christchurch. It continues a real turnaround in form for the New Zealanders who had lost three of their first five matches this season.
A lot of the work was done by the work of Colin Slade, who kept the scoreboard ticking over throughout and ended with 23 points. A try on the stroke of the half-time hooter gave the Crusaders some real authrority and they went on to outscore their visitors by three tries to two to get the job done.
The Chiefs ended their five-game winless run in some style as they beat the Lions 38-8. Having lost three and drawn two beforehand, it was of some surprise to see the Chiefs hit their straps and outscore their opponents by six tries to one.
The Stormers held on to record their third win of the season as they claimed a 29-28 bonus-point victory from a hard-fought encounter against the Highlanders at Newlands Stadium. Frans Malherbe's first-half brace plus a try from Damian de Allende saw the Stormers take a commanding lead, with Oliver Kebble crossing over after the break. Kurt Coleman added the extras and Peter Grant won the match with a second-half penalty as the hosts moved off the bottom of the table. Aaron Smith, Trent Renata, Ben Smith and Malakai Fekitoa crossed over for the visitors with Lima Sopoaga and Renata kicking two conversions each.
The Bulls recovered from a nine-point half-time deficit to defeat South African rivals the Cheetahs 26-21 and end a five-match winless run. The three-time former Super Rugby champions had lost four away games since being held by the Chiefs in their last outing in Pretoria, and they looked set for more disappointment as the struggling Cheetahs opened up an 18-9 lead at the interval. However, the Bulls fought back in the second half and tries from forwards Paul Willemse and Callie Visagie helped them claim a much-welcomed 26-21 win that leaves them 10th in the standings.
The Blues ran in five tries against the Reds winning 44-14 at Eden Park on Friday.
The Reds had little answer to the Blues' attacking force with Jackson Willison, Lolagi Visinia, Bryn Hall, Tom Donnelly and Ihaia West all crossing. Simon Hickey finished the match with 17 points to his name with West also converting his own try late on.
The heavy defeat overshadowed Quade Cooper's 100th game for the Reds and he finished the match with two conversions following scores from Ben Daley and James Horwill. The Reds have now crashed to seven defeats in 10 matches under new coach Richard Graham.
The Sharks became the first South African team to win away from home in 2014 as they defeated the Rebels 22-16 in Melbourne.
The Sharks looked to be in control for most of the match, maintaining a solid lead over their Australian hosts. However a late Rebels burst ensured a close finish to the encounter, with both sides scoring a try apiece - substitute Pat Leafa going over for the Rebels and J. P. Pietersen touching down for the Sharks.
The result means the Sharks, who are sitting top of the Super Rugby table, maintain their 100% winning record over the Rebels.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament