Five-pointer from Super Rugby R2

Monday March 06, 2017 Written by Published in Rugby Union
Seta Tamanivalu, who played for Tabusoro in the 2015 Sevens in Heaven, scored the winning try for the Crusaders. 17030509 Seta Tamanivalu, who played for Tabusoro in the 2015 Sevens in Heaven, scored the winning try for the Crusaders. 17030509

After some surprising and some not-so surprising results from the second weekend of Super Rugby, we're a little bit closer to seeing how the competition will take shape down the stretch.

 

Or are we?

Here are five things we learned from the weekend;

1. Aaron Cruden is still the second best five-eighth in New Zealand

With less than 100 days until the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand kicks off, Aaron Cruden could not have started the Super Rugby season better.

The way he defended against the Highlanders in the first round as well as the way he directed traffic against the Blues this weekend showed he's still very much a force to be reckoned with in New Zealand rugby.

2. Canes still yet to be tested

After a points differential of 131 with two big wins over the Sunwolves and the Rebels respectively, we still don't know a lot about the Hurricanes. Having two opponents that more resembled training runs than Super Rugby matches, they will be aware that they haven't been properly tested.

They head to Hamilton this week for what will undoubtedly be their first big match of the season against the Chiefs and we'll likely find out a lot more about them.

3. The Lions are a lock for the finals. If it wasn't clear last year, the start of the 2017 Super Rugby season has clearly demonstrated the Lions potency. Comfortably beating the Waratahs after a last gasp win over the Cheetahs in the opening weekend, the Lions will greatly benefit from having a favourable draw, being once again drawn in the Africa 2 conference alongside the Jaguares, the Kings and the Sharks.

They play a very exciting game style focused around ball movement and you can these guys to be at the business end of the season again.

4. Highlanders lost at sea

They've got the talent but do they have the game to make the finals again? Their strength over recent seasons has been to absorb and then counter, however, under Tony Brown, their game has focused on a more continuity-based style and they're being undone because of it.

Brown is only contracted to the Highlanders until 2018 but it's a worrying sign for what was a very exciting (and very effective) game style. 

5. Refereeing consistency still an issue

In the eyes of the law, Steven Luatua's red card against the Chiefs on Friday night and his subsequent four-week ban was justified. But the interpretation and the application of the laws are still far from where they should be and other incidents similar to Luatua's are being overlooked or inconsistently ruled upon.

            - Newshub

Results -  Cheetahs 34-28 Bulls, Stormers 32-25 Jaguares, Lions 55-36 Waratahs, Sunwolves 23-37 Kings, Brumbies 22-27 Sharks, Highlanders 27-30 Crusaders, Hurricanes 71-6 Rebels, Chiefs 41-26 Blues, Force 26-19 Reds

 

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