In round 2 of Super Rugby 2019 the Brumbies were the clear pick of the Australian sides, cleaning up the Chiefs 54-17 in Canberra and sending shockwaves through the competition. The Reds fell to the Highlanders in their first match of the season, but the 36-31 loss will give their fans plenty of hope for the season. The Waratahs, meanwhile, caused television screens across NSW to be smashed in frustration as they limped to a single point victory over wooden spoon favourites the Sunwolves.
The Reds kicked off the weekend of Super Rugby in Dunedin, where they showed a refreshing new style of ball in hand play that immediately paid dividends. Despite being behind by more than a try on 3 separate occasions, the Reds used their monster forward pack and centres to smash their way through the Highlander’s defence and fight back.
The Waratahs, playing in Tokyo against the Sunwolves, were horrendous. They were guilty of “trying to play like the Harlem Globetrotters” as captain Michael Hooper said after the match, and fell into the Japanese side’s ambush of trying to match their loose play. Fortunately for the Waratahs, and unluckily for the Sunwolves, they are just about the only team in the competition who can match them in loose, open play.
The locals almost recorded their first ever win over the men from Sydney, with five-eighth Hayden Parker having a golden opportunity to steal a win with a drop goal at the death. Karmichael Hunt read the play, however, and put enough pressure on Parker to cause the kick to go astray.
The Brumbies were by far the pick of the Australian teams, putting on an absolute clinic in running rugby to tear the Chiefs apart. Five-eighth Christian Lealiifano recovered to play his best rugby since his leukemia diagnosis in 2016, and led the way to build on a strong performance from the forwards and unleash the outside backs.