Brumbies top of the table
The Brumbies took over top spot on the Super Rugby ladder with an emphatic 29-0 away victory over the embattled Reds, scoring five tries to grab a vital bonus point. The Brumbies are two points clear of the second-placed Hurricanes, while the Waratahs are 10 points adrift – although both those sides have a game in hand. Nonetheless, the Brumbies have asserted themselves as arguably the team to beat in the Australian conference, a status that will be confirmed if they can beat the reigning champs in Sydney this Sunday.
Waratahs stunned by Highlanders
The Waratahs’ scratchy start to their Super XV title defence continued when they were overrun 26-19 by the Highlanders in Dunedin. The visitors led 12-0 after 20 minutes, but the brilliance of All Blacks centre Malakai Fekitioa – who burgled the ball from Israel Folau before sending wing sensation Waisake Naholo on a 60-metre run to the line – swung the match. The Highlanders had crafted a 26-12 lead just seven minutes into the second half and closed out the match expertly.
Kiwi sides off to a flyer
Three New Zealand sides – Hurricanes, Highlanders and Chiefs – are in the top five on the Super Rugby table, while the Crusaders bounced back to form with a 34-6 victory over the Lions and are just two points outside sixth spot with a game in hand. The hapless Blues are the exception to the rule, mired in last place and winless after five games despite a gallant effort against the in-form Hurricanes. The only disadvantage for the Kiwi sides is they have to play each other twice, which makes it difficult for more than three teams from the same conference to qualify for the playoffs.
Stormers and Cheetahs get a dose of reality
Cock-a-hoop after overachieving starts to the season, the Stormers and Cheetahs were reminded of the rigours of a long Super Rugby campaign with Round 5 losses. The Stormers incurred their first loss of the season – outclassed 28-19 by the Chiefs – while the Cheetahs sunk to their second straight defeat, a 27-10 caning from the improving Sharks.
SUPER XV ROUND 5 RESULTS
Hurricanes 30 d. Blues 23 @ FMG Stadium
Rebels 21 d. Force 17 @ nib Stadium
Crusaders 34 d. Lions 6 @ AMI Stadium
Highlanders 26 d. Waratahs 19 @ Forsyth Barr Stadium
Brumbies 29 d. Reds 0 @ Suncorp Stadium
Chiefs 28 d. Stormers 19 @ Newlands
Sharks 27 d. Cheetahs 10 @ Free State Stadium