Super Rugby: Round Four Winners and Losers

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 09:34
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SUPER RUGBY ROUND FOUR SPOTLIGHT: The Blues and Jaguares get their first wins of the season, Akira Ioane goes beastmode and two of Australia's best are struggling in this week's Winners and Losers.

Winner: Parity

Week four was full of upsets.

The Hurricanes beat the rolling Crusaders, the Blues stole a last-gasp victory against the Lions and the Jaguares outclassed the Waratahs.

Unpredictable results like this are great for Super Rugby (but terrible for anyone having a punt).

Parity should be a goal for any competitive/professional sports league, and though it realistically may never be achieved, this weekend provided a little bit of hope and reminded us that on any given day, no team is unbeatable.

Loser: The Lions

After racing out to a 14-0 lead against the Blues in just 16 minutes, it looked like the Lions were going to cruise to their fourth straight victory to open the season.

The Blues looked to be down and out, facing an 11-point deficit with just eight minutes remaining.

Spirited attacking play from the Blues saw the Lions crumble and leak two tries inside the last three minutes, letting the game slip out of their hands and blemishing their perfect record.

Winner: Fast Starts

Teams getting off to a fast start was a theme in week four.

It was the Hurricanes that started the trend in the weekend's opening fixture. Tries to Chris Eves, Thomas Perenara and Ben Lam saw Chris Boyd's side get out to what proved to be an insurmountable 21-0 lead over the table-topping Crusaders after just 23 minutes.

In Johannesburg, it took Lions wing Sylvian Mahuza just one minute to pick up his third try of the season after a quick tap.

But it was the Jaguares did it better than anyone else. The Argentinian franchise needed just 16 seconds to get a try on the board against the Waratahs. After ten minutes, wing Emiliano Boffelli had a double, and just another eight minutes later it was 26-0 after four unanswered tries.

Loser: Australia's top dogs

The Waratahs are in a serious funk. The Brumbies are even worse.

Australia's most recent conference champions have been close to unwatchable across their first three fixtures, and Daryl Gibson's Waratahs – who, thanks to the return of Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale, looked poised to reclaim their spot atop the Australian conference – have struggled mightily, already falling nine competition points behind the Rebels.

Luckily for these two, they'll only face two New Zealand sides each during the regular season, and it won't be for a while.

The Brumbies will face the Crusaders in Round 11 and the Hurricanes in Round 17, while the Waratahs will see the Blues in Round 12 and the Highlanders in Round 14.

Winner: Akira Ioane

The 22-year-old looked like a man among boys in his Man of the Match performance at Ellis Park.

Ioane shrugged off ten would-be tacklers on his way to 75 running metres, a try and the Blues' first win of the season.

Ioane is tied for the competition lead in tries scored with four and has been a standout for Tana Umaga’s Auckland side across their first three fixtures.

At this rate he will be hard to keep out of the black jersey when it comes time for the All Blacks to take on France in June.

By Sam Warlow, Rugbypass

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 March 2018
Connacht v Edinburgh 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Scarlets 22h00 Thomond Park
Dragons v Cheetahs 22h00 Rodney Parade
Ospreys v Leinster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 22h00 Scotstoun
Kings v Treviso 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Crusaders v Bulls 06h35 Christchurch
Rebels v Sharks 08h45 Melbourne
Bath v Exeter Chiefs 19h45 Recreation Ground
Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Jaguares v Lions 21h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Sun, 18 March 2018
Waratahs v Rebels 51 | 27
Sat, 17 March 2018
Jaguares v Reds 7 | 18
Wales v France 14 | 13
Lions v Sunwolves 40 | 38
England v Ireland 15 | 24
Stormers v Blues 37 | 20
Italy v Scotland 27 | 29
Brumbies v Sharks 24 | 17
Highlanders v Crusaders 25 | 17
Fri, 16 March 2018
Cardiff Blues v Treviso 31 | 25
Edinburgh v Munster 12 | 6
Chiefs v Bulls 41 | 28
Sun, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy 38 | 14
Sat, 10 March 2018
Jaguares v Waratahs 38 | 28
France v England 22 | 16
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 4 3 0 1 15
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Reds 3 2 0 1 8
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Crusaders 4 2 0 2 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 4 1 1 4 9
Bulls 4 1 0 3 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4