Sunday, February 26, 2017

Super Rugby - Round 1

2017 Super Rugby – Opening Weekend – By the Numbers

18           for Blues number 10, Ihaia West, on the conversion of all of the travelers half dozen trys as Tana Umaga’s  XV claimed the grand opening day prize: bag  a with handful of table points on the trot in Melbourne; hat-trick for #13, Rieko Ioane (aged 19 years), as the Auckland club trampled Rebels, 56-18, at the AAMI Park to open the 2017 Super 18 Rugby season; noto bene: this potent offensive side will soon add an additional weapon to its midfield arsenal in the form of all-world 5/8ths, S-BW;

9              for Chiefs 10 Aaron Cruden on three deuces and a trey off his sticksplitting boot, and nine the measure of separation at the end of the day at Forsyth Barr; visiting #11, James Lowe, grounded a brace by the 17th minute and El Jefes nailed the precious conference road victory; 15 for home 10, Lima Sopoaga, as the flyhalf knocked through a handful of penalties for Highlanders tally; 24-15 the joy for visitors;  

2              the margin of victory for Reds who left it for late in thrilling fashion at Suncorp Stadium; visiting Sharks seemed the big business with the sacred 8-point advantage, 26-18, on the hour mark due a try by 8man, Lubabalo Mtembu, and its conversion by 10 Patrick Lambie; but the completion of home 13 Samu Kerevi’s brace and the go-ahead try by replacement James Tuttle at 70’ (neither converted), made for electric finish in Brisbane and 28-26 hometown happiness; Big Fishies did score the losing bonus point, which may yet prove definitive at campaign’s close;

13          dots for the traveling tai-fun which struck Prince Chichibu Stadium on Friday; a brace of groundings for openside Ardie Savea by the time ten ticks had gone set the tone for a tryfest of epic proportions as Hurricanes squeaked out the 83-17 win over a seemingly bemused Sunwolves squad that appeared to be spectating somewhat in Tokyo;

4             the distance between the XVs at the AMI Stadium and Crusaders opened their 2017 S18R account in fine fettle, 17-13, past an ambitious Brumbies bunch; homeboys never trailed though tallies were tight throughout the well-contested derby; home 10, Richie Mo’unga, uncharacteristically errant on four shots on goal (2-Cs, 1-P, and a DG beggared), but Canterbury’s finest fifteen still prevailed;

6             the margin of victory for the homeside at Allianz Stadium and Waratahs bested Western Force, 19-13, in Sydney; guests could not hold their 13-9 midpoint lead; all points on account of traveling 10, Jonno Lance, on 2-Ps, a C and a try, but no second stanza numbers for Force enabling the ‘Tahs 10-point comeback and the four table-point win; 14 for hosts #14, Reece Robinson, on 4-Ps and a C;

8              from the toe of flyhalf Freddie Zeilinga on a pair of sticksplitters and the conversion of flyer Ray Rhule’s try in the 40th minute as Cheetahs took a 13-6 lead over Lions to the sheds; but Big Cats pounced late in the second  stanza with #12, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, grounding the go-ahead try at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein at minute 76 (with hosts down a man), handing the travelers 28-25 victory;

13           the measure of separation at the end of the day in Mytjalies-Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth and visiting Jaguares outscored Kings, 39-26, to earn the four-point win to open their 2017 Super Rugby ledger;

22           and nil the tallies with time running out towards half in Newlands as Stormers built an insurmountable advantage Bulls, though they managed to get the better of their hosts in the final forty with scores of 24 and 15 to their good, those numbers insufficient to catch homeboys at match’s conclusion and 39-24 that result in Capetown.

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