No shocks in Anzac Round
The zany results and the remarkable struggles of home sides that have characterised the 2015 Super XV season went on the backburner in Round 11, with all seven favourites saluting. The Reds, the only home underdog heading into the weekend’s action, were the only hosts to suffer defeat.
Shorthanded Force show heart
When Force halfback Ian Prior was red-carded for a dangerous tackle in the 28th minute in Hamilton, the heavyweight Chiefs appeared certain to rack up a cricket score on the visitors. The Force rallied magnificently after trailing 30-8, with the match finishing four tries apiece as the Chiefs eventually ran out 35-27 victors. Although they never truly threatened to pull off a boilover result, the last-placed Force’s effort in adversity was promising, while skipper Matt Hodgson’s fine return was also a boost for the franchise’s flagging campaign.
Pocock hat-trick spearheads Brumbies’ win
The Brumbies retained their place atop the Australian conference with a 31-18 victory over the in-form Highlanders, who rested All Blacks trio Ben Smith, Aaron Smith and Malakai Fekitoa. Veteran flanker David Pocock scored a remarkable first half treble – rolling off the back of a maul to score on each occasion – as the home side built an imposing 31-6 halftime lead. The Highlanders belatedly showed some fight in the second half to hold the Brumbies scoreless and post a couple of tries.
Resurgent Rebels fall just short against ’Tahs
After wins in Perth, Brisbane and Canberra this season, the vastly improved Rebels were looking to make it an away cleansweep against their conference rivals, but were edged 18-16 by the defending champion Waratahs in Sydney. The Waratahs led 13-3 at halftime, but the Rebels clawed back superbly as Bryce Hegarty’s try ensured a grandstand finish.
Nadolo unstoppable as Crusaders return to form
Consecutive home losses to the Highlanders and Chiefs had the Crusaders under fire from all angles, but the perennial powerhouses scored a pressure-relieving 29-15 victory over the under-strength Blues at AMI Stadium on Saturday. While there were several outstanding performers – including Tom Taylor, Jordan Taufua and Kieran Read – it was giant winger Nameni Nadolo who stole the show. Nadolo’s combination of a giant frame, brute strength, remarkable pace and unbelievably silky skills is absolutely mind-blowing.
Reds blown away by Hurricanes
A week after their drought-breaking win over the Cheetahs, the Reds put up a valiant effort at home before going down 35-19 to the competition-leading Hurricanes. The Reds snatched an early 12-3 lead via a Samu Kerevi double, while they trailed just 23-19 when Liam Gill scored in the 46th minute. But a yellow card incurred by Gill proved crucial, with Julian Savea’s barnstorming try and TJ Perenara’s second sealing the result.
SUPER XV ROUND 11 RESULTS
Chiefs 35 d. Force 27 @ Waikato Stadium
Brumbies 31 d. Highlanders 18 @ GIO Stadium
Crusaders 29 d. Blues 15 @ AMI Stadium
Waratahs 18 d. Rebels 16 @ Allianz Stadium
Lions 34 d. Cheetahs 29 @ Ellis Park
Stormers 15 d. Bulls 13 @ Newlands
Hurricanes 35 d. Reds 19 @ Suncorp Stadium