Sunday, July 29, 2018

Super Rugby Semifinals plus

Crusaders on a mission, while Lions shout
By the Numbers:

15           for the best flyhalf to have never started an All Blacks test in the 10 shirt on one try, and braces of conversions and penalties, and Crusaders Richie Mo’unga fair outshone Hurricanes and All Blacks (and World, past two years) standoff, Beau Barrett, as Crusaders crushed ‘Canes; it was drawn scores at 7-all after twenty minutes in a rollicking good contest at the AMI in Christchurch, but 18 unanswered in a 20-minute interval either side of the half had home team fluidly on pace to defend their Super Rugby title; Canterbury trys from young flyers George Bridge and Braydon Ennor, in addition to groundings from Mo’unga – to open scoring in the 15th minute -  and center David Havili, in brilliant support of a sparkling Bryn Hall recycle, while visitors got one each from flyers, Julian Savea and Ben Lam; all four Crusaders try-scorers 24 years or younger with Mo’unga being the elder statesman of that promising quartet;

2              early trys had hosts reeling after groundings by Waratahs blindside, Ned Hanigan, and fullback Izzy Folau, in the first ten minutes of play, both converted by flyhalf Bernie Foley, had the faithful at Ellis Park stricken and tallies at 0 and 14 for the travelers then; before Lions number 2, Mal Marx, got two and home team’s own blindside, Albertus Kwagga Smith, got a couple and half dozen total touch downs for the Pride as Lions broke open a 19-point knot with 16 unanswered, for a scoreline of 35-19 by the last 10 minutes; both XVs counted converted goals before the final whistle for a record of 44-26; Aphiwe Dyantyi had one of the most excellent indy-efforts since Simon Zebo and reminiscent of a Chris Ashton best, hoisting a looker in traffic and collecting it at pace thence to burn Bernie Foley with a burst from NASA’s playbook and outpace the chase for a fast fifty and the touch down; Kwagga Smith, too, had an impressive, if bumpy, ride for his first try, rocking and rolling through a number of would-be stoppers en route the sacred paint:

Upcoming Championship

19           a prime, and the sum of 9 and 10; Bryn Hall and Richie Mo’unga are absolutely thrumming along at this stage of the Crusaders campaign, complementing one another superbly in the highest expression of halfback interactivity; Lions by comparison have a world class halfback in Elton Jantjies, but when the hooter sounded at the end of their semifinal on Saturday last, Dillon Smit was in the scrumhalf slot as Ross Cronje’s relief; this was more to allow Smit’s blood to flow rather than due a Cronje hurt; so though starter Nic Groom is definitely out of the number 9 shirt, visitors will still have their numbers two and three available for that crucial position; whether it will be sufficient to provide the likes of Dyantyi, Lionel Mapoe and Ruan, “the Punisher” Combrinck their opportunities to strut their collective stuffs will be revealed on the Saturday, August 4, in the South Island Crusaders citadel in Canterbury.

Our own Nose-tradamus is calling it 32-17 for a Kiwi repeat, but one never knows ‘til the last whistle blows, do one?

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