Round 7 of Super Rugby Aotearoa threw a major surprise to the fans when the Crusaders suffered their first defeat of the competition to a determined Hurricanes outfit while the Blues kept their hopes alive, securing a good victory over the Chiefs.
Crusaders v Hurricanes:
Not many would have predicted that the Hurricanes would travel to Christchurch and come away with a win against the table-topping Crusaders in Round 7. That is, however, exactly what took place as the men from Wellington took advantage of some weak elements in the Crusaders’ arsenal to come out on top 34-32.
Winger Wes Goosen scored twice while impressive outside centre Peter Umaga-Jensen dotted down as well which, added with the points off Jordie Barrett’s boot, game the visitors their final score.
Crusaders got on the board through tries by Richie Mo’unga, George Bridge, Quinten Strange, Sevu Reece and conversions, once again, by Mo’unga.
The Crusaders’ discipline was uncharacteristically poor, allowing Jordie Barrett to capitalise with opportunities for shots at goal, while their lineout and defence also didn’t fire.
"They exposed our D (defence) a few times. They wanted it more," said Crusaders captain Codie Taylor.
"They attacked really well, they went to the middle of the field and got some of our bigger boys caught in the middle and attacked with their backs."
Hurricanes captain TJ Perenara was in good spirits after his side’s breakthrough victory:
"For us to come down here and get the win is special," he said.
"It's been a long time since anyone's won down here. We spoke about it early in the week then we made the week about us."
Tries: Richie Mo'unga, George Bridge, Quinten Strange, Sevu Reece
Conversions: Mo'unga (3)Penalties: Mo'unga (2)
Tries: Wes Goosen (2), Peter Umaga-Jensen
Conversions: Jordie Barrett (2)
Penalties: Barrett (5)
Blues v Chiefs:
The Blues survived a tense closing passage to emerge 21-17 winners against the struggling Chiefs. The latter have yet to post a win in Super Rugby Aotearoa, yet the standard of rugby being produced by the men from Hamilton is on the up.
The Blues hit the ground running, building a swift 14-0 lead before the 15 minute mark. However, the Chiefs clawed back impressively through dogged forward work and clean backline play to lead 17-14 in the second half before wily scrumhalf Findlay Christie seized an opportunity around a ruck and dived over to ultimately seal the result for the Blues.
The Chiefs hammered their opponents’ line in the last five minutes but the determined Blues defenders were able to hold out.
"We didn't want it to get that close. We had plenty of opportunity in their half to capitalise on and we made a few errors and gave away to many penalties," said Blues captain Paddy Tuipulotu.
"In the last five minutes we trusted ourselves to back our D obviously and got the job done."
Tries: Matt Duffie, Patrick Tuipulotu, Finlay Christie
Conversions: Beauden Barrett (3)
Tries: Lachlan Boshier, Solomon Alaimalo
Conversions: Damian McKenzie (2)