Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: What we learned from Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 1

What we learned from Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 1

What we learned from Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 1

Competitive rugby returned to our screens this past weekend as Super Rugby Aotearoa saw two all-New Zealand clashes go down. Make sure to check out Shaun Goosen's three talking points from the weekend's action.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Highlanders prove doubters wrong 
Despite losing four from their opening six matches in Super Rugby earlier this year, Ash Dixon’s men showed great fight to pip a gifted Chiefs lineup at the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Tries to Dixon himself, Patelesio Tomkinson and Marino Mikaele Tu’u kept the pressure on the men from Waikato, while replacement Bryn Gatland’s late drop goal, mere seconds after one from Damien McKenzie, ensured they came away with an invaluable win.

Not many backed the men from Dunedin heading into the weekend and while both sides did exhibit signs of rustiness, the 'Landers will be a helluva lot more confident taking their bye with a first victory under the belt.


Black earns starting spot
There were more than a few raised eyebrows when it was announced that Otere Black would be starting at No 10 for the Blues on Sunday, with Beauden Barrett at 15. With the latter making his debut in blue, many thought he would be the one to occupy first five for the Aucklanders. Leon MacDonald had other ideas, however, and his decision to instead pick the 25-year-old Black was totally vindicated.

Black was cool, calm and collected as he marshalled his troops well – with Barrett often coming into the first receiver channel as another option. This partnership looks set to continue well into the tournament and Dan Carter may well have to work harder than he initially thought.

Canes’ lineout needs a-fixin'
Dane Coles and the Hurricanes lost possession three times on their own throw against the Blues, with plenty more lineouts being totally disrupted. With the Crusaders up next, the Wellingtonians cannot afford to put up a similar showing at home this weekend. The Saders’ set piece excellence over the past four seasons has been at the cornerstone of their phenomenal success, and a certain Sam Whitelock will be chomping at the bit to get a hold of his old pal Coles’ ball at the throw-in come Sunday.

The Canes have a big week ahead to rectify this area.

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