Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Looking Back: Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 2

Looking Back: Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 2

Looking Back: Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 2

Shaun Goosen looks back on some of the talking points as well as the player of the week from round 2 of Super Rugby Aotearoa.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Resurgent Blues break Hamilton hoodoo
The Blues’ 24-12 win over the Chiefs at FMG Stadium was their first in Hamilton since 2011 and just their fourth victory overall in 21 previous head-to-heads. While the Chiefs did claim a 37-29 win in Auckland in January, there’s a sense the pendulum may be well and truly swinging in favour of Leon MacDonald’s men after the troubles the franchise has had to endure in recent times.

Next up is the Highlanders at home before they take their first bye. Another win at Eden Park will do wonders for a side who could finally be living up to their immense potential and look to be genuine contenders in the race for the Aotearoa title. They could well experience some growing pains in the weeks ahead, but they’re certainly on the right track.

Chiefs disappoint again
Before the tournament kicked-off, many a New Zealand pundit suggested it would be Warren Gatland’s Chiefs who would go on to win SR Aotearoa, but after two successive losses in the first two rounds, it will take some turnaround for them to catch the rest from here on out.

Despite conceding four fewer penalties (nine), beating just one less defender (18) and making 109 more running meters (401) than their opponents, the Chiefs failed to make their opportunities count. They were turned over 16 times and didn’t score a single try while shipping two. Plenty to improve upon indeed as they prepare to pay the Crusaders a visit in Christchurch on Sunday.

Class permanent for Crusaders
While Sunday’s Hurricanes/Saders matchup in Wellington may have been tight on the scoreboard at times, there always seemed to be an inevitability about the result. The Crusaders took less than a minute to score their first try of the tournament and, though rustiness was evident at times, they once again underlined just how much better they are than the rest of the Kiwi sides (sorry, Canes fans).

That 39-25 win will tee them up nicely for the remainder of the campaign, one they will feel mighty confident of winning. For Jason Holland’s Hurricanes, some amateurish moments (and conceding 12 turnovers) saw them fall for a second time in as many weeks ahead of their bye.

Player of the Round: Will Jordan (Crusaders)
With the most talented squad in the competition - and arguably in all of Super Rugby - at their disposal, selecting a standout player from the Canterbury franchise can always go a number of ways.

This week, however, it is 22-year-old fullback Will Jordan who gets the nod.

With a number of outside back options already available in George Bridge, Sevu Reece and David Havili, Jordan’s performance on the weekend may have given “propvol” coach Scotty Robertson even more food for thought.

Jordan made one try assist, 111 running meters, three clean breaks, two offloads and beat eight defenders on his way to making a real claim for the Saders’ No 15 shirt.

Another former NZ U20 player, Jordan only debuted for the Crusaders last year following some standout displays for the Tasman Makos in the Mitre 10 Cup. Some have already suggested he could be the versatile No 14/ 15 heir to the Ben Smith throne and with time very much on his side, you’d be a brave man to bet against him.

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