RugbyU: Defending Super 15 champs fight to save season

While the Hurricanes relish being in the unaccustomed seat at the head of the table, the 10th-placed Waratahs have slipped to must-win territory with a four-win, three-loss record.

Although the Waratahs have consoled themselves by saying it is similar to last year when they bounced back to win the championship, a fourth loss now will make it extremely difficult to repeat the 2014 fightback.

The Hurricanes are also under pressure to maintain their winning streak with the  Waikato Chiefs, away to the Canterbury Crusaders this weekend, a slender three points behind.

In the tightly-packed South Africa conference, leaders Northern Bulls are away to the fourth-placed Coastal Sharks who are only four points behind and smarting after back-to-back losses to the Crusaders and Golden Lions.

The importance of the marquee Hurricanes-Waratahs match-up in Wellington is not lost on ‘Tahs and Wallabies scrum-half Nick Phipps.

“It would be important for the mental state of the ‘Tahs. It would be a turning point if we could get over there and put in a good performance, and I am not even talking about getting a win,” he said.

Phipps was adamant the Waratahs expansive game was right for the side despite their indifferent results so far.

“We’re committed to this style of play,” he said.

“I think it would be disappointing that after three hard years, that if we have a couple of disappointing results that we shy and turn away from it.”

The Hurricanes, with six All Blacks in their backline, have named a similar side to that which beat the second-placed South African unit Western Stormers 25-20 two weeks ago with the inclusion of flanker Ardie Savea who returns from injury.

It will be the 100th Super match for ‘Canes lock Jeremy Thrush who also made his debut against the Waratahs.

Williams v Carter
Leading Australian side ACT Brumbies, seven points clear of the Waratahs and bidding for their first Super crown since 2004, will have their depth tested in the run to the play-offs.

Matt Toomua, Scott Sio and James Dargaville all suffered serious knocks in last week’s narrow two-point loss to the Auckland Blues to join a long list of injured including Tevita Kuridrani and Jesse Mogg.

But they should still bank winning points despite their opponents, the 11th-placed Melbourne Rebels, having had a bye and a chance to refresh since beating the Queensland Reds two weeks ago.

The Bulls are bringing back Springboks Adriaan Strauss, Jan Serfontein and Handre Pollard for their trip to Durban knowing a slip up could see them drop from first to third in the South African conference.

The Bulls won the derby fixture 43-35 when they were hosts in February

The Western Stormers, just two points behind the Bulls, should have an easier assignment in Perth against the Western Force, on a seven-match losing streak since opening the year with a win over the Waratahs.

The Chiefs, who demolished the Crusaders in their early season clash, have brought back the potent centres pairing of Sonny Bill Williams and Bundee Aki for the return encounter.

Williams will be marking Dan Carter who starts at inside centre in one of five changes to the Crusaders following their surprise loss last week to the Otago Highlanders.

The fifth-placed Highlanders host the Auckland Blues who notched their first win of the season last week, while the Central Cheetahs are at home to the bottom-placed Queensland Reds. – AFP

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. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Safety at schools: ‘Keep your distance and your pen’

The department of basic education has developed guidelines to assist schools with minimising the spread of the coronavirus

‘Soon he’ll be seen as threatening, not cute’: What it’s...

There is no separating George Floyd’s killing from the struggles black people have faced ever since the first slave ships landed on these shores

How schools could work during Covid

Ahead of their opening, the basic education department has given schools three models to consider to ensure physical distancing

Press Releases

Mining company uses rich seam of technology to gear up for Covid-19

Itec Direct technology provides instant temperature screening of staff returniing to the workplace with no human contact

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday