After 6 rounds of hard-hitting, fast-paced, thrilling Rugby, we’re here for all things RD7 of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
First up on Saturday, it’s the Crusaders playing the Hurricanes at Orangetheory Stadium. Then on Sunday it’s the Blues playing the Chiefs at Eden Park. Suffice to say, we’ve got two absolutely massive games of Rugby ahead of us!
The Crusaders are currently at the very top and are 4/4, with a 18 points and a massive PD of +50. They had the bye last round, but before that they beat the Blues with ease, 26 points to 15 at Orangetheory Stadium. The tries were at 2-all, but they dominated the possession with 60% of the ball. And they won it where it counted! Kicking 2/2 conversions and 4/4 PG’s as well. For the Hurricanes, they are currently in 3rd position, having won 3 of their opening 5 matches and they’re just a single point of 2nd at the moment. Their last match was a tightly-fought two-point win over the Blues. At Sky Stadium, Aumua scored the 75th minute match-winning try to deliver his side the clutch win. The thrilling affair ended with each side scoring 4 tries each.
As for the other teams who have a match this round. The Blues are currently 2nd, with 13 points and 3 wins from 5 games so far. The Chiefs in comparison are doing poorly, they are 0/5 so far and have just 4 competition points to their name. They also have the worst PD in the comp at -27. The Blues last round went down 29-27 to the Hurricanes at Sky Stadium, in what was a wire-to-wire clash. Ultimately their hearts were broken however, when the Hurricanes scored the 75th minute match-winner. And them having just 35% of the ball, did not help their cause at all! For the Chiefs, at FMG Stadium Waikato, they came oh so close, as the Highlanders beat them 33-31. A Tomkinson try right on the siren and the ensuing conversion, cost them their best chance at a maiden victory all season long. They’ll be regretting letting that one slip from the palms of their hands for a long, long time to come!
Two more awesome games of NZ Rugby! Here we come!
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Super Rugby Aotearoa – Saturday July 25
Crusaders v Hurricanes
Venue: Orangetheory Stadium | Start: 5:05 PM AEST
Crusaders – The Crusaders are doing it all rather easily at the moment. They are 1st, they’ve won 4/4 matches so far this new campaign, they have 18 points to their name and a MASSIVE PD of +50! What can’t they do right? And just two rounds ago at Orangetheory Stadium, they piled it on the Blues, winning 26 points to 15. They scored their tries via Drummond in the 61st minute and via Jordan 14 minutes later. The tries were locked at 2-all. But they won it with their kicks. The Blues kicked just 1/2 conversions and 1/2 PG’s. In comparison, the Hurricanes made 2/2 conversions and 4/4 PG’s. They made the Blues pay dearly for their mistakes. The Crusaders also owned 60% of the ball and kept the Blues to just 40% of it in the process. They also beat 25 defenders and had 4 clean breaks as well. They turned the ball over just 14 times and won 5 turnovers themselves. They also won 103 rucks, 4 mauls, 14 lineouts and 4 scrums. And they gave away just 6 penalties. They’ll head into this match as the strong favourites.
Hurricanes – The Hurricanes are in 3rd position at the moment. They’ve won 3/5 matches so far this campaign. They also have 12 competition points. But with a PD of -9, they’ve still got a bit of work to do in that regard. At the Sky Stadium last round, they came away with a thrilling 29-27 victory over the Blues. It was one for the ages as Asafo Aumua scored the match-winner 5 minutes from time to deliver his side the crazy win. The Hurricanes had also previously opened the scoring in just the 3rd minute of the game from a Laumape try. They owned 65% of the ball, as each side crossed for 4 tries apiece. They beat 31 defenders and also had 14 clean breaks. They made 211 passes + 5 offloads. Outside of that, they made 78 tackles and missed just 13. The Hurricanes are playing solid Rugby at the moment, meaning this should be a great encounter to watch.
What Should Happen – A Crusaders victory. They’ll be bound to lose at some point, but I just can’t see it being this match. The Hurricanes are good, perhaps even great, no doubt! But the Crusaders are in a completely different class of their own! The Crusaders have won 6 of the past 6 clashes contested between these two sides. The scores from newest to oldest have been 39-25, 30-26, 32-8, 38-22, 30-12 and 24-13. They know how to beat the Hurricanes and how to beat them well. When they last faced-off, it was a 14-point victory at the Sky Stadium. They scored 5 tries to 1, despite only having 46% possession of the ball. They beat 20 defenders and also had 15 clean breaks next to their name. Expect a similar score-line in this clash.
Head to Head: Crusaders
Win Margin: Crusaders by 12-16
Line: Crusaders -4
Total Points: 52-26
Super Rugby Aotearoa – Sunday July 26
Blues v Chiefs
Venue: Eden Park | Start: 1:35 PM AEST
Blues – The Blues are currently 2nd in Super Rugby Aotearoa. They’ve won 3/5 games and are on 13 competition points. However, the Hurricanes are quickly catching up to them, being only a point behind them. And the Hurricanes additionally are only 3 points of them. They also have a not so good PD of -9. Their last game was a mentally crushing 29-27 loss to the Hurricanes. They would’ve thought that they’d have had good reason to win it, but in the end it wasn’t meant to be. They conceded a try 5 minutes from time, as the Hurricanes ran out winners. They had just 35% possession of the ball! And spent just 31% of their time in the Hurricanes half! Two damming stats that massively affected their chances of winning this game. They did however run for 202m’s from 81 carries. They also completed 89% passes + 5 offloads. They turned the ball over just 9 times and also conceded only 9 penalties. Coming up against a struggling side, this is the perfect chance for them to boost their for and against and claim another important victory.
Chiefs – The Chiefs ain’t no Chiefs this season (no pun intended), as they’re 0/5 in what is a simply horrible start to the new NZ Rugby season for them. They have just 4 competition points and also a VERY BAD PD of -27. And they suffered some serious heartbreak last time out at FMG Stadium Waikato, as they went down by 2 points to the valiant Highlanders. The Highlanders scored the match winning try through Tomkinson in the 80th minute and the ensuing conversion via Hunt. That was a simply awful way for them to lose the match in. They were just outscored, 5 tries to 4 and they only owned a very low 38% of the ball as well. They beat 17 defenders and also had 4 clean breaks to their name. They turned the ball over just 10 times and won 5 themselves. They had 26 kicks in play and won 53 rucks, 7 mauls, 14 lineouts and 4 scrums. Winning here would be a massive statement from them! Let’s see what they got!
What Should Happen – The Blues have won only 2 of their past 17 matches against the Chiefs. Does that give the Chiefs some sort of magical hope for this encounter? + There was also a 16-16 draw at Eden Park sandwiched in-between there as well. However, when these two sides last met, the Blues claimed a rare 24-12 win, at FMG Stadium Waikato in RD3 of this year. They scored the games opening try via Sotutu in the 14th minute. And overall 2 tries to 0, despite only having 45% possession of the ball. That should be their type of grind-it-out victory in this game. The Chiefs might dominate a lot of stats, but ultimately expect to see the Blues win where it matters the most, on the score-board.
Head to Head: Blues
Win Margin: Blues by 13-17
Line: Blues -2
Total Points: 40-44