Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Looking Back: Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 6

Looking Back: Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 6

Dan Coles scores for the Hurricanes against the Blues

Shaun Goosen looks back at the talking points from round 6 of Super Rugby Aotearoa and selects his player of the round. 

All Images Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Blues stumble at the Cake Tin
Oh how quickly fortunes can change in the world of sport. Just a fortnight ago, the second-placed Blues were eight points better off than the Hurricanes, seven superior to the Highlanders and two points behind the log-leading Crusaders. Now, after a 27-29 loss in Wellington which followed their round 5 loss in Christchurch, things look mighty different for Leon McDonald’s charges.

While they may have retained their standing in second, the Canes are now just a single point behind the Aucklanders, the Landers two more back, with the Saders sitting five points ahead with a game in hand. It’s not that the Blues’ standards have suddenly dropped, just that the quality and competitiveness of these Kiwi sides makes things so tight – unless you’re coached by Scott Robertson, of course.

The Blues will look to their upcoming home clash against the struggling Chiefs as a way to get back on track.

Chiefs implode in Hamilton
The Chiefs enjoyed a barnstorming start to their home encounter against the Highlanders following their bye in round 5. They finally looked set to break their bagel in the competition after leading the Highlanders 24-0 after 21 minutes and then 31-7 in the third quarter. Inexplicably, though, they conceded 14 points in the final six minutes to eventually lose out in a heart-wrenching (albeit highly thrilling) 31-33 defeat.

Warren Gatland’s men looked a truly exciting prospect in Super Rugby earlier this year and it’s a shame they’ve struggled so much since Aotearoa began. Guess they’ll be paying their drawing board another visit this week.

Canes, Landers continue upward trajectory
After slow starts in Aotearoa, both the Hurricanes and Highlanders have built up some mid-season steam and will look to finish strongly in the upcoming few rounds. The two franchises are now within a win of the second-placed Blues and can continue to pile on the pressure by maintaining their good form as the tournament draws to a close.

The Canes travel to Christchurch for a daunting test against the Crusaders this weekend while the Landers take their second bye. Considering the speed wobble the Blues have experienced of late, the race for final positions will continue to make for fascinating viewing. Expect the intensity to go up a notch in the weeks and rounds ahead. 

Player of the round: Ngani Laumape

Ngani Laumape of the Hurricanes runs in the score against the Blues

Aaron Smith continued his fantastic form with a typically classy display in the Highlanders’ last-gasp win over the Chiefs, but it is the Hurricanes’ midfield behemoth Ngani Laumape who is deserving of this week’s title.

The 13-cap All Black was influential in his side’s big win over the Blues, making far and away the most metres in the contest (160), four clean breaks and beating five defenders. His most memorable moment, though, was undoubtedly his sidestep on ex-teammate Beauden Barrett, whom he then outpaced to score in the left corner – but not before steamrolling Otere Black, of course.

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