Super Rugby round 12 threw up some surprising results.
How did your team fare?
CRUSADERS vs SHARKS
The Crusaders’ second-string playmaker Mitchell Hunt scored a converted try after the final hooter to snatch a 21-21 draw in their Super Rugby clash with South Africa’s Sharks in Christchurch on Friday.
The two-time defending champions had trailed for much of the match as five-eighth Curwin Bosch slotted seven penalties for the visitors, but they managed to pinch the draw as they hammered away at the tryline for the final few minutes.
Codie Taylor and Jack Goodhue also scored tries for the home side, who moved to 42 points and extended their lead at the top of the New Zealand conference.
Much of the game was stop-start with the Sharks content to kick for territory, put pressure on the home side at the break down and set piece and milk penalties from referee Brendon Pickerill.
Tries: Taylor, Goodhue, Hunt
Cons: Hunt 3
Pens: Bosch 7
REDS vs SUNWOLVES
The Reds have kept their Super Rugby finals chances alive, holding on for a 32-26 win against a Sunwolves team down to 12 men at stages in one of the most penalised games in Super Rugby history.
Referee Angus Gardner handed out six cards in the clash, with the Sunwolves down to just 12 men late in the second half, while Reds forward Harry Hockings was sent off for a boot to the head of visiting no.8 Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco.
The visitors were cynically offside for most of the match in a bid to stifle the Reds in a tactic that almost worked against a Reds side determined to make life hard for themselves in front of just 8600 diehard fans at Suncorp Stadium.
Queensland did their best to throw the match away, cruelling their chances with simple handling errors, intercepted passes and set-piece fails that kept the visitors in the match despite their numerical disadvantage.
Read the full match report here.
Tries: Hegarty, Tupou, Naivalu, Paenga-Amosa
Cons: Hegarty 3
Pens: Hegarty 2
Tries: van den Heever 2
Cons: Parker 2
Pens: Parker 4
HURRICANES vs REBELS
A second-half fightback from the Rebels has fallen just short in a 29-19 loss to the Hurricanes but coach Dave Wessels says he was proud of his side’s resilience in the clash.
Trailing 26-0 at the break, after conceding four tries in 22 minutes, the Rebels tightened things up in the second half, underpinned by a dominant pack and a lopsided penalty count that finished 12-3 in the Rebels’ favour.
Tries to Matt Philip, Billy Meakes and Reece Hodge narrowed the gap to just seven points but a Jordie Barrett penalty in the 75th minute sealed the win for the home side.
Read the full match report here.
Tries: Laumape, B Barrett, Goosen, Fifita
Cons: B Barrett 3
Pens: J Barrett
Tries: Philip, Meakes, Hodge
Cons: Cooper 2
HIGHLANDERS vs CHIEFS
The sight of Ben Smith limping to the sideline has taken some gloss from a thrilling Super Rugby stalemate between the Highlanders and Chiefs in Dunedin.
Smith, a key member of the All Blacks’ triumphant 2015 World Cup-winning squad, exited in the latter stages of a 31-31 draw at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.
The fullback/winger was injured when tackled by impressive Chiefs flanker Luke Jacobson before the Hamilton-based side scored with a minute remaining to salvage two competition points.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was in the stands and quickly made his way to the Highlanders’ bench to check on Smith’s welfare.
The extent of the injury was not immediately apparent.
Smith watched on as prop Angus Ta’avao scored the second of his two tries to snatch a draw for the Chiefs who had trailed throughout the match.
Tries: Ioane, Smith Faddes, Lentjes
Cons: Ioane 4
Tries: Taavao 2, Weber, Jacobson, Ardrona
Cons: McKenzie 3
BRUMBIES vs BLUES
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has praised his “unbelievable” forwards after a Folau Faingaa hat-trick helped the Brumbies to a pivotal 26-21 win over the Blues.
Trailing 12-0 after just 10 minutes, the Brumbies used their forwards to mount both set piece pressure and score points, with all four tries notched by their front row.
Hooker Folau Faingaa nabbed a hat-trick off the Brumbies’ near unstoppable rolling maul, becoming Super Rugby’s outright try-scoring leader with 10 tries this season, while James Slipper crashed over for the opener as well.
It wasn’t just at the line where their forwards stood up – they forced the Blues into penalties at scrum time and ground their opponents down in defence.
Read the full match report here
Tries: Faingaa 2, Slipper
Tries: Faiane, Clarke
Yellow cards: Hodgman, Tuungafasi
BULLS vs WARATAHS
The Waratahs’ hopes of a perfect South Africa tour have ended at their first stop with a 28-21 loss to the Bulls.
NSW has not won in Pretoria since 2002 and though they put in a fighting performance, it wasn’t enough for them to clinch a victory.
A victory would have drawn them level with the Rebels and Brumbies at the top of the Australian Super Rugby conference but instead, they will leave Pretoria with their season truly hanging in the balance.
Read full match report here.
Tries: Gelant, Vermuelen, Matanzima
Pens: Pollard 3
Tries: Phipps, Beale, Rona
Cons: Foley 3
JAGUARES vs STORMERS
The Jaguares survived a tense finish to defeat the Western Stormers 30-25 in Buenos Aires Saturday and chalk up a fourth consecutive Super Rugby victory.
Success lifted the Argentine outfit two places to sixth in the combined standings, keeping them in contention for a top-eight finish and a play-offs slot.
Despite losing, the South Africans also moved up the table, replacing the ACT Brumbies from Australia in eighth position on points difference.
It was a close call in the end for the home side after they looked set for a comfortable victory when a penalty try seven minutes from time gave them a 30-18 advantage.
The Stormers, who had not looked like scoring a try at Estadio Jose Amalfitani, suddenly clicked and a Justin Phillips break led to a try by fellow substitute Seabelo Senatla.
Damian Willemse, who inherited the goal-kicking duties when Jean-Luc du Plessis was substituted, converted to leave only five points between the teams.
A couple of penalties after the full-time hooter sounded brought the Stormers within a few metres of the Jaguares tryline and a converted try would have given them victory.
Tries: Penalty, Moyano, Matera
Cons: Miotti 2
Pens: Miotti 3
Pens: du Plessis 4, Willemse