After the weekend’s fifth round of Super Rugby Pacific, it’s time to award the round five super rugby team of he week. The ACT Brumbies and Hamilton-based Chiefs have emerged clearly as the best teams in Australia and New Zealand after the weekend’s fifth round of Super Rugby Pacific.
The Brumbies are the only unbeaten team in the tournament after a showdown Friday with the previously unbeaten Reds in which they avenged their loss to the Brisbane-based team in last year’s final of Super Rugby Australia. The match didn’t start well for the Brumbies when Reds player Rob Simmons scored a try within two minutes of the start of the game. It was quickly followed by another try for Samu Kerevi eleven minutes later.
For the Chiefs, the win was more than just a result in a competition shrouded in confusion. It was a morale boost after they lost 17 players including six All Blacks to illness or injury and were still able to beat Moana Pasifika 59-12 in the only match played in New Zealand in round five.
Super Rugby Aotearoa was the gift that kept on giving this weekend, and the Chiefs were the team to give us a win.
The Blues, Highlanders, Crusaders, and Moana Pasifika all couldn’t take the field because of COVID-19 — so we got to see some new faces get their chance to shine.
Even though they had to dig deep into their resources to find barely 23 players, the Chiefs managed to pull out a win.
Their win over the Crusaders last weekend marks them as a strong contender in the overall Super Rugby Aotearoa table, but this display of youthful talent is really what brings them above the rest.
The Chiefs now face the Crusders for a second time next weekend, still with uncertainty over the availability of players but with strengthened confidence that it will cope without those who are missing.
The Brumbies held on to avenge their injury-time loss to the Reds in last year’s domestic final. The Reds outscored the Brumbies two tries to one, but a penalty to replacement scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan in the 66th minute sealed the winning margin for the Brumbies.
The Reds had several opportunities to snatch away the win, most notably when captain Fraser McReight chased his own kick towards the Brumbies goalline and was thwarted when it bounced off the post. McReight might have even been held back early in the kick-chase, but the referee signaled play on.