Super Rugby heats up as the 6 Nations draws to a close

Eddie Jones comments on Super Rugby
England coach Eddie Jones. Photo: Belinda Lester, Wikimedia Commons

In Super Rugby over the weekend the competition took a turn, while the 6 Nations saw Ireland stamp their dominance. There were a huge range of fascinating games from all over the rugby world, stretching from Cardiff to Dunedin.

The weekend saw the final round of the 6 Nations tournament. Even though Ireland had already won the competition, there was still plenty to play for. Italy and Scotland played out a surprisingly close game in Rome to start the round, with Scotland just winning 29-27. The bonus point loss was Italy’s first competition point since 2015, and captain Sergio Parisse became the first man to play in 100 international losses.

There was a similarly close result in Cardiff, where Wales beat France by a single point (14-13).

The game in the middle, however, was the big one. England and Ireland met at Twickenham on St Patrick’s Day with everything to play for. England badly needed to get back on track after successive away losses, while Ireland were looking to mark themselves as the new Northern Hemisphere superpower ahead of their trip to Australia in June.

In the end the boot of Ireland’s Johnny Sexton proved the difference. Both sides scored 3 tries, however Sexton’s kicking led Ireland to a 24-15 victory.

In Super Rugby week 5 saw the races to top the Australian and New Zealand conferences take a few twists.  The South Africans again underperformed. In the only game on Friday night the Chiefs ran down a half time deficit to comfortably beat the Bulls 41-28.

On Saturday the Highlanders maintained their undefeated season against an injury ravaged Crusaders, taking out a 25-17 win. In Canberra the Brumbies continued the dominance of Australian sides over South African, defeating the Sharks 24-17.

In South Africa the Stormers looked happy to be back home, beating the Blues 37-20. The Lions only just scraped home over the improved Sunwolves, winning 40-38 in an entertaining match. Over in Argentina the Jaguars were unable to carry on with last week’s form, losing to the Reds 18-7.

Possibly the most entertaining game of Super Rugby so far was held on Sunday afternoon in Sydney. With temperatures reaching close to 40 degrees, the Waratahs found their mojo against the unfortunate Rebels. Down 10-20 just before half time, the home side put on an attacking masterclass in the second half.

In the 20 minute period after the break moving Israel Folau to the wing paid off handsomely. Attacking kicks to his wing sparked a blitzkrieg, with the Waratahs scoring 31 unanswered points. The previously undefeated Rebels had no answer to a NSW backline in full flight, and the Waratahs recorded a dominant 51-27 victory.