Shaun Goosen takes a look back at this weekend's rugby which featured red-hot Varsity Cup action, French domination in Europe and a long-overdue hat-trick of wins for the Waikato's finest.
CUT, Tuks and Ikeys continue to lead the way
There are just three teams left undefeated after three rounds of Varsity Cup action. On Sunday, CUT beat Shimlas 31-24, Ikeys saw off UJ 39-34 and Tuks trumped NWU 33-15 as the trio continue to lead the way on the log, tied on 14-points apiece. Maties, who beat Wits 19-13, and NWU are four points further back. The NMU Madibaz fell 40-47 to UWC in another high-scoring clash.
The sides will recuperate before readying themselves for the next round of action on Thursday.
Champions Cup semis dominated by French clubs
Following this weekend’s last eight, there will be just one non-French side in the Champions Cup semi-finals, set to kick-off on 1 May. A Raymond Rhule-inspired La Rochelle outfit powered past Sale Sharks 45-21 at the Stade Marcel-Deflandre on Saturday, while Leinster earned a mammoth 34-22 win at Sandy Park over defending champions Exeter Chiefs.
In what turned out to be two exceedingly dreary matches on Sunday, Bordeaux beat Racing 92 24-21 thanks to Matthieu Jalibert’s last-minute penalty at the Stade Chaban-Delmas, before Toulouse saw off Clermont 24-12 at the Stade Marcel Michelin.
Chiefs win three on the bounce, ‘Saders claim ET win
After losing all of their matches last season, the Chiefs have now won three in a row following their 26-23 over the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday. They now sit third, trailing the second-placed Blues by just two points on the standings thanks to Damian McKenzie’s late try that sealed the W.
In the other game of the weekend, the Crusaders broke Hurricanes’ hearts after David Havili slotted a drop-goal to seal a golden point victory. The game had ended 27-all. The win sees the ‘Saders get back to winning ways, still leading on the table while the Canes are bottom after collecting just one win from six.