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Valuable lessons learned in second week of warm-up action

Valuable lessons learned in second week of warm-up action

All BlacksFebruary 12, 2024

Valuable lessons for all teams emerged from the second weekend of DHL Super Rugby Pacific warm-up games.

Pat Lam's Bristol Bears got a taste of Crusaders final quarter pressure when going down 14-31 in Bristol on Saturday morning (NZT).

Bristol dominated much of the first half played in wet weather, with the Crusaders drawing level just before halftime, thanks to wing Macca Springer securing a try.

Looking for consistent field position during the first half through first five-eighths AJ MacGinty's boot, the home team scored first from a rolling maul when hooker Fred Davies scored.

But in the final 20 minutes, the Crusaders dominated after Springer's second try, the result of an on-point kick from fullback Chay Fihaki.

Two tries to midfielder Levi Aumua lifted the Crusaders clear, while replacement halfback Noah Hotham put the gloss on the win with a late try.

First five-eighths Rivez Reihana took his chance to impress, including a fine sideline conversion of Springer's first try.

The Crusaders return home to play the Highlanders on Friday at Methven.

Bristol 14 (Fred Davies, Kieran Marmion tries; AJ MacGinty 2 con) Crusaders 31 (Macca Springer 2, Levi Aumua 2, Noah Hotham tries; Rivez Reihana 2 con; Taha Kemara con). HT: 7-7

A second warm-up win and a consistent performance for the Highlanders against the Hurricanes for a 52-19 win at Forsyth Barr Stadium will have them in a good place going into their final preparation with the Crusaders.

Knowing the Hurricanes were having their first game, the home side applied the early pressure and maintained it throughout, although the scrum took time and a change of personnel to break the visitors.

New wing Timoci Tavatavanawai showed his strong running and competitiveness at the breakdown. The inside-back combination of halfback Folau Fakatava, first five-eighths Rhys Patchell, and second five-eighths Sam Gilbert offered hopes for solidity during the season.

Stand-in skipper and flanker Du'Plessis Kirifi worked hard for the Hurricanes, who have their second and final warm-up game against Moana Pasifika in Upper Hutt at the weekend.

Highlanders 52 (Daniel Lienert-Brown, Folau Fakatava, Billy Harmon, Tanielu Tele'a, Jonah Lowe, Matt Whaanga 2 tries; Sam Gilbert 4 con, pen; Rhys Patchell con; Ajay Faleafaga 2 con) Hurricanes 19 (James O'Reilly, Brayden Iose, Kyle Preston tries; Brett Cameron con; Harry Godfrey con). Breaks: first 17-5, second: 38-12


More free-running play from the Blues saw them wrap up a two-win visit to Japan when beating Yokohama Canon Eagles 57-22.

Wing Caleb Clarke made his bid for a permanent starting place on the wing by picking up a hat-trick of tries, while rookie lock Josh Beehre showed his nose for the goal line by picking up two tries in the Blues' nine-try effort.

First five-eighths Stephen Perofeta showed growing confidence in his bid to secure the side's starting role, picking up a try and adding three conversions.

Former Chiefs player midfield back Luturu Laulala managed two tries for a home team that was knocked out of the game early, only to show some strength in coming back towards the end.

The Blues will play the Chiefs at Onewa Domain in the final warm-up game for both sides. The match will be shown live and free on NZR+.

Yokohama Canon Eagles 22 (Viliame Takayawa, Luturu Laulala 2, Masayoshi Takezawa tries; Yu Tamura con) Blues 57 (Caleb Clarke 3, Stephen Perofeta, Corey Evans, Josh Beehre 2, Sam Nock, Cole Forbes tries; Perofeta 3 con; Lucas Cashmore 3 con). HT: 5-31

Coming back after losing their first game in Japan, the Chiefs found themselves under late pressure before achieving a 35-30 win over Kubota Spears.

In a game where the Chiefs didn't have it all their way, committing self-inflicted errors and finding stern resistance in the midfield, they hung in and produced points to keep themselves far enough in front and have enough of a buffer to deny the fast-finishing home team.

Lock Manaaki Selby-Rickit's penchant for lineout contestability and ball-in-hand running provided momentum, while substitute first five-eighths Josh Jacomb proved a calming hand after Josh Ioane was forced from the field following a head knock a third of the way through the game.

Apart from landing four key conversions, Jacomb denied the home team a win when getting back from his own mistake on attack to force a dropout as Kubota looked to snare at least a draw.

Kubota Spears 30 (Koga Nezuka, Yamazaki Hiroyuki 2, Satoshi Saita tries; Halatoa Vailea con, 2 pen; Y Shimada con) Chiefs 35 (Tana Tuhakaraina, Jared Proffit, Cortez Ratima, Brad Slater, Hamilton Burr tries; Josh Ioane con; Josh Jacomb 4 con). HT: 8-21

LIVE ON NZR+

Tune into NZR+ for LIVE pre-season action on Friday 16 February 

2.30pm: Hurricanes v Highlanders, NZCIS, Upper Hutt. WATCH.

4pm: Blues v Chiefs, Onewa Domain. WATCH.

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