Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Looking Back at Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 5

Looking Back at Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 5

Looking Back at Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 5

Shaun Goosen looks back at all of the talking points from round five of Super Rugby Aotearoa and names his player of the round.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Crusaders clinch Christchurch epic

For all the Blues’ improvement this year, and for all their best efforts on Saturday, they still could not prevent the Crusaders from winning at home for the 36th time in succession. As always seems to be the case with Scott Robertson’s Cantabrians, the 26-15 scoreline overtly flattered the hosts, who came alive in the final quarter to claim a comfortable win in the end.

At no stage could you say they totally dominated the contest, with the Blues often the ones making the big plays in the game – particularly in the first half. Still, Saturday’s result should be the defining one this Super Rugby Aotearoa season, with the 'Saders now sitting comfortably six points ahead of the second-placed Aucklanders.

Beauden blunted at the back?

One of the most interesting developments that came out of the Christchurch classic was the recurring question surrounding Beauden Barrett’s continued selection at No 15. Otere Black has been in excellent form for the Blues in the tournament so far, but there is no question that Barrett’s ability to shape a contest is lightyears ahead – with all due respect to the exciting 25-year-old.

I’m all for blooding young up-and-comers but, in hindsight (yes, we’re going to use that awful word), should Leon MacDonald have risked limiting Beaudy’s role in the biggest clash of the season? It just seemed as though he wasn’t as involved as he could have been operating at pivot.

Perhaps the experiment has run its course.

Canes continue to pick up steam, Landers lucky to claim BP

The Hurricanes have been rather indifferent this year but their 17-11 win over the Highlanders would have done them a world of good. They pushed out to a 17-0 lead inside the opening 48-minutes and never looked back from there. Despite their title hopes being up in the air, the victory at home gives them a shot at potentially hunting down the second-placed Blues who are now just four log points ahead.

For the Landers, they could never recover after going three scores down but did well to grab a late bonus-point. They will regroup ahead of this weekend’ encounter against a hurting Chiefs outfit in Hamilton and, only two-points behind the 'Canes could usurp them still.

Player of the week: Richie Mo’unga

Richie Mo'unga of the Crusaders

There were many standouts in the Crusaders’ win over the Blues. Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papali’i and Rieko Ioane stood out in a losing cause, while All Blacks Joe Moody and Jack Goodhue were also influential for the hosts. That said, it’s Richie who gets the nod this week.

Mo’unga defined the contest, with 16-points, a try-saver, a quasi-grubber kick-off and so much more. The 'Saders flyhalf ran 62 meters, made one offload and beat a whopping eight defenders – four more than next-best Akira Ioane. With Beauden’s time in all black over for two years as he takes his sabbatical in Japan, Mo’unga’s claims to the New Zealand No 10 jersey are unmatched.

Stats from ESPNscrum.au.

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets. 

Register Now with Hollywoodbets Mobile