Sunday, July 31, 2016

Super Rugby semi finals - rugby on another level!

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Two semi finals on Saturday, and I can't say enough about the quality of the matches. It's not like rugby you're going to see anywhere else, except maybe from the All Blacks.

There's three things which set it apart. The first the speed at which everything happens - it's absolutely blistering, the speed of the attacks, the pace at which the defense comes up, and the transition from attack to defense. The fitness of the players is just amazing. Then there's the ferocity of the defense, the hits going in are just absolutely bone crunching. Finally, it's the mixed skill set - you're watching a South African team attacking with a prop and a lock in the line, and they're passing smoothly and off loading in the tackle - do not adjust your sets, this is not a test!

The Chiefs gave it their all in Wellington, but they were just 5-10% off, kept on fluffing their lines right at the last minute. The Hurricanes just bided their time, and picked them off on the break. Beauden Barrett is the epitome of bodacious, he has an uncanny knack of making the right decision, and serious speed when he needs it.The only worry for the Canes might be their scrum, which looked really creaky, and their discipline - two yellow cards is not good enough.

Meanwhile in Joburg, the Lions played the Highlanders at their own game, attacking with skill, intensity and pace. Elton Jantjies was pretty ordinary in my opinion against Ireland - he was in jaw dropping form on Saturday - he might be the best attacking fly half the Springboks have ever had. And the Lions were nothing short of sensational, best game by a South African team I've ever seen in 13-14 years of watching Super Rugby. Janties is well backed up by Faff de Klerk. The Highlanders tried until the end, but like the Chiefs were 5% off the pace

Saturday, July 30   
Hurricanes 25 - 9 Chiefs
Lions 42 - 30 Highlanders

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