It was a bitter-sweet weekend for the Australian contingent of Super Rugby Trans Tasman as although the rest of the teams again suffered unflattering losses, the Reds managed victory over the Chiefs in Brisbane.
The round kicked off in Wellington where the Hurricanes were industrious once again, laying waste to the Western Force 43-6. The Force opened up a 6-point lead in the early stages of the game but it would be as far as their points would go as the Canes rumbled into gear after a slow start and ultimately proved unstoppable.
Attention then turned to Sydney where the hopeful Waratahs looked to tackle the Crusaders. The home side squandered some opportunities in the first half while the Crusaders continued their dominance, running in four tries before the half-time whistle sounded. However, the Tahs showed some genuine fight in the second stanza, managing to run in three tries before the end. Final score: 54-28.
The Blues had an easier time of it than many expected as they put the Brumbies away 38-10 at Eden Park. The game was competitive in the first half before Leon MacDonald’s men ran away in the second.
On to Brisbane where the Reds flew the Australian flag high with a win over the Chiefs. The New Zealand outfit’s discipline cost them as Chase Tiatia was issued a yellow card early on but, before the winger could re-take the pitch, the Chiefs lost Damian McKenzie to a red card for a dangerous tackle. The Reds ran in two tries in as many minutes with a two-man numerical advantage, setting a platform for the first Australian victory of the tournament.
Finally, the Highlanders stuck one on the Rebels with a 42-27 victory at the Leichhardt Oval in Sydney. The score flatters the Highlanders somewhat as the game was a competitive one. The Rebels kicked into gear in the latter stages of the first stanza and put together a strong second but the wily Highlanders were ultimately too strong.