Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Looking back: Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 9

Looking back: Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 9

The Crusaders celebrate winning Super Rugby Aotearoa

Crusaders crowned champions, Chiefs suffer yet another defeat and George Bridge dazzles in Christchurch. Shaun Goosen looks back at round 9 of Super Rugby Aotearoa.

All Images Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Crusaders clinch title
As expected, the Crusaders sealed the Aotearoa championship with their 32-22 win over the Highlanders at the Orangetheory Stadium on Sunday. The victory didn’t come easy, with the lively Landers leading 13-22 after Michael Collins’ try with 25-minutes to go. That gap didn’t last long though with George Bridge hitting back with two scores in the space of two minutes to put the hosts in the ascendency.

The final nail came in the form of a Sio Tomkinson-yellow card. The burly centre’s cynical late hit on Oliver Jager in the build-up to Bridge’s second all but ended the visitors’ hopes, with Braydon Ennor’s late try wrapping up the title with a round to spare.

Devastating Hurricanes dismantle Chiefs
Since their reasonably slow start, the Hurricanes have hit a proper purple patch. Their 31-18 win over the Chiefs at Sky Stadium extended that run to five games and the flair and expansion on display made for a great highlights reel.

The Canes will look to condemn the Highlanders to a sixth loss of the campaign in Dunedin this weekend, while the winless Chiefs’ season ended how it began. There will be plenty for Warren Gatland’s coaching staff to ponder following a dreadful past few months and this break will do their organisation a world of good.

Forsyth Barr, Eden Park set for interesting weekend finale
The champions may have already been crowned, but there will still be plenty to play for in the final round of Aotearoa this weekend with second place still up for grabs. The Hurricanes can leapfrog the Blues into second with a win over the Highlanders on Saturday, but the Blues can reclaim that spot – and keep it – if they manage to overturn the Crusaders in Auckland.

Both the Canes and Blues have had tremendous seasons in their own right and will be eager to cap it off with silver. There won’t be any lack of motivation as the competition draws to a close.

Player of the round: George Bridge

George Bridge celebrates scoring with Sevu Reece and Mitchell Drummond

The All Black left winger’s two tries in as many minutes broke the Landers’ back in Christchurch and ensured his Saders side totally dominated the final quarter – as they oh so often do. To go along with that try, Bridge completed five tackles, missing none, and made 43 meters from nine carries.

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets.

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