Chiefs jump to top of Super Rugby log

The Waikato Chiefs jumped to the top of the Super Rugby table, benefitting from a daring plan by the Canterbury Crusaders that brought down the previously unbeaten Western Stormers at the weekend.

The unfashionable Chiefs, largely written off in New Zealand at the start of the season, beat the Cheetahs 39-33 to move two points clear of the Stormers courtesy of bonus points with both sides recording six wins from seven matches.
The Bulls, who have dropped two matches but amassed five bonus points, drew level with the Stormers on 29 points with their 32-18 victory over the Golden Lions whose future in the competition looks tenuous.

Half-way through the season, seven-time champions Crusaders lie seventh, but after a mediocre start they showed ominous signs of returning to their best when disposing of the previously unbeaten Stormers 31-24.

The Crusaders (23 points) are only eight points behind the Chiefs in a packed top of the leaderboard which also includes the Otago Highlanders (26), Wellington Hurricanes (25) and top Australian side ACT Brumbies (24).

Three tries within seven minutes late in the second half enabled the Chiefs to secure a bonus point win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein after trailing 20-25 with 18 minutes to play.


The Chiefs only led 10-9 at half-time but seemed set to take control when prop Sona Taumalolo scored the first of his two tries to end a multi-phase attack early in the second half.

The Crusaders made the bold move of shifting All Blacks’ ace Dan Carter to inside centre to reinforce their midfield against the previously unbeaten Stormers and the gamble unearthed a new hero in rookie number 10 Tom Taylor.

Taylor scored all 31 of the Crusaders’ points from a converted try and eight penalties, forcing coach Todd Blackadder to rethink what was supposed to be a one-off positional switch and keep the novice at fly-half.

“Hopefully so. If there are no injuries, next week is likely to stay the same,” Blackadder said.

“Tom took his opportunity and while he is a little green he plays with much maturity.”

The Bulls joined the Stormers at the top of the South African conference when they stormed back to outscore the Lions five tries to two after trailing by 10 points early in the match at Ellis Park.

They succeeded despite a rare off-day for ace goal kicker and Springbok fly-half Morne Steyn, who slotted two conversions and a penalty to raise his season tally past the 100-point mark, but missed five other shots at the posts.

The Brumbies moved to the top of the Australian conference scoring five tries to none in their 37-6 demolition of the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday.

Under new coach Jake White, the young ACT players were far too strong for a disappointing Rebels outfit, who were a shadow of the team that overwhelmed the Auckland Blues the week before.

The Blues nightmare year continued when they suffered their sixth loss in seven games going down 29-23 to the Sharks who are in eighth place on 22 points, one behind the Crusaders.

The New South Wales Waratahs, a point behind the Sharks, posted their third win with a 23-18 victory over the Western Force.

The Highlanders, Hurricanes and defending champions Queensland Reds had byes. — AFP

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Lala kahle Kaunda Ntunja

South African rugby has lost a gentle giant in Kaunda Ntunja. His commentary in isiXhosa poetically ushered in the Springboks’ first black captain and ‘popped champagne’ after Mapimpi’s magic

How Schalk Brits built his fantasy

The Springbok hooker built his long career on his ability to adapt — and will likely do so again now that he’s finally retired from rugby

2019: The ones who left us

From Uyinene Mrwetyana, Oliver Mtukudzi to Xolani Gwala, Mail & Guardian remembers those who have passed on

Sport audit 2019: How SA’s national rugby team performed

The highlight of South Africa's year was the Springboks Rugby World Cup victory

Rennie: All Blacks left it too late to offer me coach job

New Zealand has said its new coaching team will be named before Christmas, but it has now missed out on at least three high-profile candidates

EDITORIAL: Sport is for the people

Administrators, from club to national level, would do well to take the example set this month as a reminder that the people is their primary mandate
Advertising

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Air pollution link in 15% of global Covid-19 deaths

Researchers have found that, because ambient fine particulate air pollution aggravates comorbidities, it could play a factor in coronavirus fatalities

Mboweni plans to freeze public sector wage increases for the...

The mid-term budget policy statement delivered by the finance minister proposes cutting all non-interest spending by R300-billion.

SAA to receive R10.5-billion government bailout after all

Several struggling state-owned entities received extra funds after the medium term budget policy speech

BMW X3 thrives in the M stable

The compact SUV is so at home with its new badge that’s it’s surprising it didn’t happen sooner
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday