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DHL Super Rugby Pacific Wrap: Round 2

DHL Super Rugby Pacific Wrap: Round 2

All BlacksMarch 4, 2024

Defending champions, the Crusaders, might have expected to be celebrating their 300th Super Rugby win after two games of DHL Super Rugby Pacific, but their loss to the Waratahs in Melbourne on Saturday has left them winless to date.

The Blues made it 10 wins in their last 11 games against the Highlanders whose winless run against New Zealand teams has extended to 17, the longest streak in New Zealand derbies.

The Rebels win over the Force was only their second in their last six matches against Australian teams while the Force have lost their last nine games away from home.

Moana Pasifika beat the Drua 39-36, their first win over their rivals in their fourth game.

The Waratahs beat the Crusaders 37-24, their second win in three years over the champions who had won 35 of their last 39 matches against Australian teams.

The Chiefs showed their ability to win away from home when beating the Brumbies 46-12 to make it eight of their last nine games away, and four of their last five against the Brumbies.

Forced to golden point, the Hurricanes made it 13 wins in 14 games against the Reds who now have won only one of their last 15 games against New Zealand teams.

Statistics:

Most tries: Hoskins Sotutu (Blues) 5, Josh Toole (Brumbies) 4

Most carries: Mark Tele'a (Blues) 29, Sotutu 26, Andrew Kellaway (Rebels) 25

Most clean breaks: Viliame Fine (Moana Pasifika) 6, Epeli Momo 5

Most defenders beaten: Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens 12, Tele'a 11, Kellaway 11, Filipo Daugunu (Rebels) 11

Most lineouts won: Josh Canham (Rebels) 11, Sotutu 10, Frost (Brumbies) 8

Most metres gained: Kellaway 243, Fine 218, Max Burey (Force) 205

Most offloads: Tele'a 5, Harry Wilson (Reds) 4

Most tackles won: Tom Christie (Crusaders) 44, Charlie Gamble (Waratahs) 41 Billy Harmon (Highlanders) 36

Most points: Sotutu 25, Tane Edmed (Waratahs) 24, William Havili (Moana Pasifika) 22

Injury update: Sam Darry (Blues), R Coxon (Force)

Blues 37 Highlanders 29

Making a positive start and scoring 75 seconds after the start, the Highlanders looked set for a big night through flanker Sean Withy stepping back against the tide. But with No8 Hoskins Sotutu in a hungry mood, the Blues responded within five minutes when finding a way through defenders. Highlanders first five-eighths and former Welsh international Rhys Patchell showed how quickly his skills have adapted to Super Rugby with a delicious back-hand pass to wing Jona Nareki, who put fullback Jacob Ratumaitavuki Kneepkens over in the 10th minute. Patchell was rewarded in the 25th minute when following through on a grubber kick to the in-goal by his halfback Folau Fakatava. But five minutes before halftime, Blues halfback Taufa Funaki scored from a goalline ruck, and then first five-eighths Stephen Perofeta ran the ball from his in-goal, linked with wing Mark Tele'a and after the Highlanders were penalised, it was Tele'a who got amongst the ruck to secure the ball to score and give the Blues a 22-15 halftime lead.

Two minutes into the second half, loose ball near the Highlanders line proved easy pickings for Sotutu to score his second try. Into the final quarter, a clever pass from Patchell found wing Timoci Tavatavanawai, whose angled run saw him score. A Blues blindside play out from the line allowed Sotutu to power his way over to seal the win. But there was time for a consolation for the Highlanders with Patchell's grubber to the in-goal, seeing Ajay Faleafaga score on debut.

Blues 37 (Hoskins Sotutu 3, Taufa Funaki, Mark Tele'a tries; Stephen Perofeta 3 con, 2 pen) Highlanders 29 (Sean Withy, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Rhys Patchell, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Ajay Faleafaga tries; Sam Gilbert con, Faleafaga con). HT: 22-15

 

Rebels 48 Force 34

Home fullback Andrew Kellaway gave his teammates and fans the perfect boost with a speedy solo run from halfway, breaking the defence open to score a fine try. But, Force first five-eighths, Ben Donaldson, showed skills of his own in the 10th minute to take a gap and pass to wing Chase Tiatia, who scored. The Force lineout maul saw hooker Tom Horton score, with Rebels five-eighths Carter Gordon scoring on the blindside in response. However, the final say was with the Force as fullback tMax Burey stretched his way over. However, with play extending to 47 minutes, Kellaway was on the blindside wing to take a pass from Gordon to score to close the halftime game to 19-24.

However, running play from the Force was rewarded 10 minutes into the second half with blindside flanker Michael Wells positioned on the wing to complete a well-constructed play with the try. The Rebels were not spent, and three minutes later, flanker Josh Kemeny was fed into space. He had enough momentum to get to the line for the try. Two minutes later, Gordon intercepted the ball 78m out and ran in another. A kick into the box by replacement halfback Ryan Louwrens was uncontrolled by the Force, and home wing Filipo Daugunu secured it and scored in the corner. A grubber kick by second five-eighths David Feliuai seven minutes from the end was enough for Daugunu to score his second and open the Rebels' account for the season.

Rebels 48 (Andrew Kellaway 2, Carter Gordon 2, Josh Kemeny, Filipo Daugunu 2 tries; Gordon 2 con; Jack Strachan 3 con, pen) Force 34 (Chase Tiatia, Tom Horton, Max Burey, Michael Wells tries; Ben Donaldson 4 con, 2 pen). HT: 19-24


Moana Pasifika 39 Fijian Drua 36

Impressive build-up work by Moana Pasifika's pack provided the base for prop Sione Mafile'o to barrel over for the opening try. But the Drua were stirred, and when wing Selestino Ravutaumada burst into the line off a scrum 78m out, he provided the ball for fast-following flanker Elia Canakaivata to score the response. Just before halftime, fullback Danny Toala's long pass found No8 on the flank to run in the try for a 15-8 halftime lead.

Within a minute of the restart, and Ravutaumada in the sin-bin, wing Nigel Ah Wong put a grubber kick towards the line and centre Henry Taefu ran onto it to extend the lead. But no sooner was he back than Ravutaumada took a lovely scissors pass at speed from No8 Meli Derenalagi to scythe through the defence to score. Moana Pasifika lost Ah Wong for not wrapping in a tackle, but they stayed calm, and

replacement hooker Samieula Moli scored from a ruck. They followed that with a lineout maul try to prop Abraham Pole. Fiji stormed home, scoring two tries in the final seven minutes to wing Epeli Momo, and after another Canakaivata break, replacement back Junior Ratuva scored, but it was all too late as Moana Pasifika held on to win by three.

Moana Pasifika 39 (Sione Mafile'o, Lotu Inisi, Henry Taefu, Samiuela Moli, Abraham Pole tries; William Havili 4 con, pen; Christian Leali'ifano pen) Fijian Drua 36 (Elia Canakaivata 2, Selestino Ravutaumada, Epeli Momo, Junior Ratuva tries; Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula 4 con, pen). HT: 15-8


Waratahs 37 Crusaders 24

The ease of the Crusaders' 74th-second try scored by wing Macca Springer suggested a tough night at the office for the Waratahs, but appearances proved deceptive. Penalty goals kept the Waratahs in touch before prop Harry Johnson-Holmes was sin-binned, allowing first five-eighths Taha Kemara to set up a goal-line ruck that saw the ball moved for wing Sevu Reece to score. But on 20 minutes, second five-eighths David Havili had a kick charged down five metres out from the line and Waratahs' lock, the chargee, was able to score. Crusaders' indiscipline finally resulted in flanker Dominic Gardiner being sin-binned five minutes before halftime. First five-eighths, Tane Edmed took a gap off a line 22m out and fed centre Harry Wilson in for a try.

Into the second half, a storming burst by centre Levi Aumua set up a quick ruck. Reece claimed the ball from the base to wend his way through defenders to score. But, in the 54th minute, an intercept off a Havili in-pass saw Waratahs' halfback Jack Gordon run 50m before the ball came back from a ruck for Edmed to kick to the corner, where replacement back Tristan Reilly took the ball to extend the lead. Several errors compounded for the Crusaders, who saw replacement halfback Mitch Drummond lose the ball in a tackle for Gordon to, this time, run 55m and score. The Crusaders got one back through replacement No8 Christian Lio-Willie, but they ended up well short as two more errors, a dropped ball on the line by lock Scott Barrett and a baulk at the last lineout by replacement hooker Quentin MacDonald, summed up the Crusaders' night.

Waratahs 37 (Hugh Sinclair, Harry Wilson, Tristan Reilly, Jake Gordon tries; Tane Edmed 4 con, 3 pen) Crusaders 24 (Macca Springer, Sevu Reece 2, Christian Lio-Willie tries; Taha Kemara con; David Havili con). HT: 23-10


Chiefs 46 Brumbies 12

Constantly moving the ball, the Chiefs ran rampant from the eighth minute when a bust by wing Etene Nanai-Seturo created space for supporting halfback Xavier Roe to run in the first try. But unstoppable Brumbies wing Corey Toole got the ball on the end of his line, chipped ahead, and fooled the Chiefs' defence to get the bounce and reply. It was a temporary stay. Minutes later, Nanai-Seturo crossed on the end of a display of miss-out passing. In the 27th minute, he combined with first five-eighths Damian McKenzie off a long throw to a lineout for McKenzie to score.

In the second half, Toole scored again, but under more challenging circumstances, squeezed for room on the sideline before ploughing through defenders to score. Into the final quarter, inter-passing between backs and forwards resulted in a goalmouth ruck where fullback Josh Ioane ran into a hole to score. Ioane moved up to stand off from a ruck in the 66th minute to take a gap and feed lock Naitoa Ah Kuoi to give replacement halfback Cortez Ratima the run-in for a try. A poor Brumbies clearance barely got off the ground and was taken by lock Manaaki Selby-Rickit, who ran into the clear and then fed Ratima for a second try.

Chiefs 46 (Xavier Roe, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Damian McKenzie, Josh Ioane, Cortez Ratima 2 tries; McKenzie 5 con, 2 pen) Brumbies 12 (Corey Toole 2 tries; Noah Lolesio con). HT: 25-7


Hurricanes 38 Reds 33

Scoring first, through fullback Ruben Love, five minutes into the first half, the Hurricanes and Reds went toe-to-toe into golden point time in a thriller to wrap up the weekend. It was tied at 19-19 at half time after wing Kini Naholo and halfback Cameron Roigard scored for the Hurricanes and prop Zane Nonggorr and halfback Tate McDermott responded for the Reds.

Hurricanes hooker Asafo Aumua had an early second-half try denied when held up over the line and centre Josh Flook picked up a try at the other end. Love entered the line to pick up a second try before Jordie Barrett was sin-binned under review for a head clash in a tackle that became a red card 56 minutes into the game. Hooker Matt Faessler hit the Hurricanes with a lineout drive try before Roigard scored his second to see the sides spend the last 14 minutes looking for the winning point. Into golden point they went with both sides getting into good positions before the Hurricanes sealed the win with replacement prop Pasilio Tosi going over for a try.

Hurricanes 38 (Ruben Love 2, Kini Naholo, Cameron Roigard 2, Pasilio Tosi tries; Brent Cameron 4 con) Reds 33 (Harry Wilson, Zane Nonggorr, Tate McDermott, Josh Flook, Matt Faessler tries; Tom Lynagh 4 con). HT: 19-19, FT: 33-33

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