It was another fast and furious weekend of Super Rugby action, with the New Zealand teams once more showing off some dazzling displays of skill, but South African supporters can be heartened by some notable heroics from the Stormers and the Sharks this weekend. Australian teams, courtesy the of the Brumbies, started the long climb out of the basement in terms of points standings so far in the Championship but they would appear to be Australia’s only hope this year. Meanwhile Japan’s Sunwolves showed that rugby is alive and well in the land of the Rising Sun making it a fitting venue for the next World Cup as they too displayed some spectacular running rugby at times.
Take a look at the highlights of the Stormers clash with the Chiefs and be prepared to be amazed at some of the remarkable skill levels on display from both sides. In three instances spectacular tries were scored from turnover ball deep in the 22 with not a ruck to be seen as players ran the length of the field showing some extraordinary offloading skills. New Zealand teams continue to remain the dominant force in the competition but South African supporters can take enormous heart in the performances being put in by the Stormers, Sharks and Lions this season. South African rugby may be in crisis mode at the International level but at a provincial level they have managed to turn out three exceptional sides this season. Even the traditional laughing-stock of the competition, the Southern Kings, have put in some impressive displays of running rugby despite being dead last in the standings in their Africa 2 group, but are still managing to be ahead of the Sunwolves and Rebels in the overall standings.
For Australia though it is still lean times. Despite the Brumbies win this weekend they still are at best placed 9th overall. However, as the vagaries of the conference system dictate the Brumbies still will be guaranteed a playoff place no matter how far down they finish in the overall standings as the likely winners of the Australia conference. Japan’s Sunwolves may be languishing second from the bottom in the overall standings but they certainly put on a show against South Africa’s once mighty Bulls this past weekend. Lastly Argentina’s Jaguares’ strong start to the season came unstuck against South Africa’s Sharks and with a seemingly soft fixture against the out of form Bulls in Pretoria this weekend they will really need to up their game to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot.
It was such a memorable and entertaining tournament this year that you’ll have to excuse us for taking one last look at it, especially as this is our last dose of Test Rugby till the Lions tour in June – so enjoy!