Derby thriller overshadowed by slur allegations
The Waratahs made an emphatic statement to kick-start their spluttering title defence, downing the in-form, ladder-leading Brumbies 28-13 at Allianz Stadium on Sunday. Israel Folau set up the champs’ first try for Bernard Foley and scored the second himself before the break, and threw the last pass for Tolu Latu’s match-sealer in the second half. But Brumbies stalwart David Pocock’s complaints that Waratahs players directed homophobic slurs at Brumbies players during the match grabbed the headlines. A renowned social activist, Pocock should be commended for standing up to this type of archaic and offensive sledging that should have been rubbed out of sport – especially at this high level – long ago.
Red card madness as Sharks pip Chiefs
The hotly anticipated clash between South African heavyweights the Sharks and title favourites the Chiefs was marred by ugly incidents and red cards. Chiefs hooker Hika Elliott (dangerous tackle – no arms) and Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis (kicking an opponent in the head) were both marched in quick succession, while a dreadful spear tackle on Aaron Cruden by Francois Steyn saw the Sharks reduced to 13 before halftime. But the try-less home side hung on to win 12-11 in what will surely rank as the season’s most bizarre encounter.
Rebels and Force skittled by South Africans
If up-and-coming Australian franchises the Rebels and the Force fail to reach the finals in 2015, they will both look back on Round 6 as an opportunity lost. The Rebels crashed to a 20-16 home loss to the plucky Lions (who have now won two from three on their Down Under sojourn) after leading by 10 at halftime, while the Force were pipped 25-24 by a 45-metre penalty by Bulls No.10 Handre Pollard in the final minute. The Force’s South African flyhalf Sias Ebersohn had put the visitors in front only two minutes earlier with an incredible 60-metre penalty.
’Canes slug it out in the south to stay unbeaten
The Hurricanes took top spot on the ladder with a gripping, hard-fought 20-13 defeat of the in-form Highlanders in Dundedin. As they do every week, the Highlanders clawed back admirably, but the unbeaten Hurricanes’ defence thwarted the likes of Malakai Fekitoa and Ben Smith, with the latter having an absolute blinder from fullback.
Crusaders overrun Cheetahs
Trailing the visiting Cheetahs 14-10 early the second half and playing poorly, the Crusaders appeared to be up against it at AMI Stadium. But an incredibly harsh yellow card on Cheetahs fullback Willie le Roux for a high tackle on Crusaders wing behemoth Nameni Nadolo opened the floodgates. The home side ran in seven unanswered tries – aided by another yellow card for prop Coenie Oosthuizen for repeated scrum infringements – to win in a 57-14 landslide, with Nadolo’s deft kick-and-chase try a notable highlight.
SUPER XV ROUND 6 RESULTS
Hurricanes 20 d. Highlanders 13 @ Forsyth Barr Stadium
Lions 20 d. Rebels 16 @ AAMI Park
Crusaders 57 d. Cheetahs 14 @ AMI Stadium
Bulls 25 d. Force 24 @ Loftus Versfeld
Sharks 12 d. Chiefs 11 @ Kings Park
Waratahs 28 d. Brumbies 13 @ Allianz Stadium