Cheetahs fall to surprise defeat, Reds shock the Chiefs and the Premiership semi-finals set. Shaun Goosen looks back at this past weekend's rugby action.
Cheetahs fall to Toyota Invitational XV
A Toyota Invitational XV pulled off a memorable 35-43 upset win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday. Hawies Fourie’s men, starved of game time due to their exclusion from the Rainbow Cup, were looking to use this clash as a way to get some much-needed minutes under the belt but some reckless play ultimately proved their undoing. While rustiness was always going to be a factor, that shouldn’t be an excuse considering the side they came up against was together for just three days prior to kick-off.
To their credit, the Invitational team, coached by Ricardo Laubscher, played like men possessed and should be proud of achieving what was undoubtedly a very special win. Comprised of second-string players from across the local franchises, the team thoroughly deserved their victory.
Reds pick up first Aussie Trans-Tasman win
The Reds beat the Chiefs 40-34 in Townsville to become the first Australian franchise to win a game in the 14th match of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman. Despite the result, the Queenslanders nearly blew it after leading 33-3 at one stage following Damian McKenzie’s sending off for a dangerous hit. Still, the Super Rugby AU champions are finally off the mark while the rest of their local outfits continue to lose.
Elsewhere over the weekend, the Crusaders beat the Waratahs 54-28 in Wollongong, the Blues eased past the Brumbies 38-10 in Auckland, the Hurricanes thumped the Force 43-6 in Napier and the Highlanders beat the Rebels 42-27 in Lilyfield.
Sale beat Bears as Premiership knockout places confirmed
After a scoreless first-half, some mighty Sale Sharks defence ground down log-leaders Bristol as the hosts came away with a 22-12 win at the AJ Bell Stadium to confirm their participation in the semi-finals. They will be joined by the Bears, Exeter and Harlequins; the former two having already achieved home playoff berths. Quins were 44-33 winners over Bath at the Stoop while the Chiefs demolished Newcastle 74-3 at Sandy Park.
In other results, Leicester beat Worcester 18-17 at Sixways, Northampton saw off Wasps 30-25 at Franklin’s Gardens and Gloucester won 30-28 against London Irish at the Kingsholm.