Brumbies canter to win over Force
The Brumbies consolidated their place at the top of the Australian Conference with a four-tries-to-two, 31-14 defeat of the Force in Perth. Typically clinical while maintaining their newfound attacking flair, the Brumbies are now the bookies’ favourites to take out the 2016 title.
— EatSleepRugby (@eatsleeprugby) March 13, 2016
Reds show improvement as new era begins
Reds fans rejoiced as the torturous Richard Graham reign ended early last week, and while the Nick Stiles-Matt O’Connor double act didn’t deliver immediate results, there was significant improvement in a nail-biting 25-23 loss to the Rebels at AAMI Park. Trailing 16-0 during the first half, the Reds hit back via a stunning long-range try to Nick Frisby and pushed the hosts all the way. The visitors claimed the lead for the first time during the second half but were eventually sunk by the boot of Rebels No.10 Jack Debreczeni.
2015 finalists back on track
The Hurricanes broke through for a belated maiden win, edging out the Blues 23-19 in a controversial Friday-night showdown at Eden Park. The Blues had a couple of highly contentious TMO decision go against them in the gripping North Island derby.
Defending champs the Highlanders, meanwhile, are building nicely, chalking up a 34-15 win over the dangerous Lions, who were fresh from an upset over the Chiefs. Leading just 10-3 at the break, the Highlanders’ backline – which featured two new faces in winger Matt Faddes, who was named man-of-the-match, and No.12 Rob Thompson – clicked into gear with three long-range tries in the second stanza.
Sunwolves go oh so close
The Sunwolves came desperately close to a maiden win as Super Rugby debuted in Singapore, with the newcomers building a 31-13 lead only to get run down by the resurgent Cheetahs, 32-31. Sunwolves flyhalf Tusi Pisi was instrumental to the home side’s first-half onslaught, pulling the strings for winger Akhihito Yamada to bag a hat-trick of tries. But beefy Cheetahs No.10 Neil Marais turned the tables on Pisi and the Sunwolves, bustling over for two tries as part of a 22-point haul in the back-from-the-dead win.
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugby) March 12, 2016
Worrying signs in Kings points-fest
The Kings have now conceded over 100 points in just two Super 18 outings, swamped 58-24 by the firepower-laden Chiefs. The Port Elizabeth side just can’t compete physically with anyone who resembles a quality rugby side, despite showing plenty of spirit. Captain Sam Cane scored two of the Chiefs’ seven tries, while league convert Glen Fisiiahi found his way onto the score-sheet and fullback Damian McKenzie tallied 28 points from a try, three penalties and seven conversions. Hooker Edgar Marutlulle scored both of the Kings’ five-pointers.
Sharks strike important blow
The Sharks joined the Brumbies as the only unbeaten teams after three rounds, outlasting fellow South African heavyweights the Stormers in a hard-fought encounter. Trailing 10-3 at halftime, a controversial penalty try saw the Sharks draw level, while it took a 77th-minute touchdown finished off by JP Pietersen to clinch an 18-13 victory for the visitors.
SUPER 18 – ROUND 3 RESULTS
Hurricanes 23 d. Blues 19 @ Eden Park
Brumbies 31 d. Force 14 @ nib Stadium
Highlanders 34 d. Lions 15 @ Forsyth Barr Stadium
Rebels 25 d. Reds 23 @ AAMI Park
Cheetahs 32 d. Sunwolves @ Singapore National Stadium
Chiefs 58 d. Kings 24 @ Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Sharks 18 d. Stormers 13 @ Newlands.