Super Rugby 2016 Round One: Australia
The first weekend of Super Rugby 2016 did not fail to deliver in anyway with a glut of fantastic tries, big hits and running rugby that has set the competition alight. With the introduction of a new competition structure bringing the total number of teams up to 18, this season promises to be an interesting one. The Australian franchises have even more derbies to look forward and the level of rugby they showed suggests they may be competing at the business end of the season.
Super Rugby 2016 Round One: Australia
Brumbies 52 Hurricanes 10
The Brumbies seven try demolition job on the Hurricanes came largely inspired by fly half, Christian Leali’ifano who with an 89% kicking rate was the star of the show. Last season’s beaten finalists the Hurricanes will have been left to rue this match as they were completely played off the park by the Brumbies. In the days following the match much has been made of the Brumbies work at the breakdown and the legality of it. David Pocock and Matt Toomua both spent time in the bin due to ruck infringements and despite this the Brumbies were still able to run in tries. The breakdown will always be a hotly contested issue and rightly so the Brumbies have not backed down as they look to continue to push the Laws in the coming weeks. On this performance the Brumbies look like they may well mean business this season.
Waratahs 30 Reds 10
Aussie derby number one of the season took place in Sydney with the Waratahs heaping more misery and pressure upon their northern neighbours, the Reds. After a disappointing 2015 campaign Reds fans would have hoped for at least a spark of life from their faithful Reds but ultimately the ‘Tahs had just too much for them. Clinical and at times exceptional, Kurtley Beale excelled at 10 whilst number 8 Jed Holloway took the man of the match. The ‘Tahs certainly appear to be looking to improve upon last season’s semi-finals berth with their credentials being tested immediately in Round Two as they face the Brumbies. The Reds, however, will head back to Queensland knowing that there is a great deal of work to still be done before they face the Western Force. There is without doubt talent within the ranks but those players need to step up to fill the void left by big name departures Will Genia and Quade Cooper. Japanese World Cup star, Ayumu Goromaru was one shining light in a fairly dismal performance as he came on as a substitute.
Force 19 Rebels 25
Rounding off the Australian franchises the Force and Rebels fought out a closely contested match in Perth. Jono Lance kept the Force within touching distance throughout the match scoring all of his sides points including a well taken try to add to the points from the tee. This was not enough though to see of a spirited Rebels side or their man of the moment, Reece Hodge. The man on debut assumed the mantle of goal kicking and took it upon himself to chip in two tries to his name either side of Adam Thomson’s try. Playoffs footy has for so long evaded both these sides and it is a tough call on this showing to say whether either will compete for it this season. The Force lack strength in depth and may well struggle again this season whilst the Rebels have all the potential to succeed but need to harness that into more wins on the ladder.
At this early stage of the season nothing is a foregone conclusion, the Reds may rise like the mythical Pheonix from the ashes, the Brumbies may wilt under pressure against the ‘Tahs who in turn may find it difficult to replicate Round One successes. The Force travel to Brisbane knowing a win is needed to kick start their season whilst the Rebels face the unenviable trip to face the Bulls in South Africa. Round Two is sure to bring more of the rugby that keeps fans on the edges of their seats the world over.
Round Two Fixtures
Brumbies vs Waratahs
Reds vs Force
Bulls vs Rebels