It’s time for Planet Rugby’s weekly round-up of who has their name in lights at the moment… and who is making the headlines for the wrong reasons.
They’re on fire!
Hurricanes: New Zealand Conference winners back to back – now that’s some achievement! A trip to Christchurch looks a little daunting for the ‘Canes but last year’s beaten finalists pulled off a fantastic result, that 35-10 win putting them top of the Conference where they stayed after the Chiefs fell in Dunedin. Sloppy stuff on defence for Ryan Crotty’s try, but how sharp was TJ Perenara for that score before the break. Willis Halaholo turning Matt Todd inside out was remarkable too. They will be at home now against the Sharks.
Highlanders: Sit back and enjoy. What a try this is.
The Highlanders have beaten the Chiefs, meaning the Hurricanes have won the New Zealand Conference. https://t.co/Lb40mhqciB
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) 16 July 2016
Huw Jones: Four tries for the Scotland speedster as the Stormers routed the Kings. Considering this was his first start of the season, he repaid Robbie Fleck’s faith and then some.
Facundo Isa: The Jaguares first year has been tougher than expected – we thought they’d be right in contention for the wildcard slot in the South African group, yet they missed it by 21 points – but a major silver lining has been Facundo Isa, man of the match against the Lions after another impressive outing, in which he also scored.
Sharks: Into the play-offs – that’s what the record books will show. But that doesn’t fully cover how sloppy the Sharks were as they stumbled their way to beating the Sunwolves on Friday. They travel to Wellington with barely a hope bar sucking the Hurricanes into a forwards battle. Consider us unconvinced.
Someone get these guys a warmmm cup of soup!
Johan Ackermann’s selection: The Lions had the opportunity to finish on top of the combined table, all they needed was one point from their game against the Jaguares. But Lions coach Johan Ackermann chose to go with a B side and rest his stars which led to his team losing 34-22 in Beunos Aires. We said it would look foolish if they lost, and here we are. They could have to travel to New Zealand for the finals and not have the home comforts of Johannesburg. Madness.
Chiefs: The Hamilton side lost to the Highlanders 25-15 in Dunedin meaning they have to take the long trip to Cape Town rather than a quick nip across the pond to Canberra. The Chiefs have been touted as one of the best sides in the competition but didn’t look so great against the Highlanders when it mattered most, going into the final round as New Zealand Conference leaders.
Cheetahs: Hammered 43-17 at home by the Bulls to cap off another horrid season. The Cheetahs have been known to be a banana peel for the Pretoria side, but not this weekend. It all feels very stale in Bloemfontein.