With slightly less controversy than Round 8, but no less excitement, Round 9 of Super Rugby was awash with great tries, more surprise results and as always some brutal hits to cap it all off. The guys at Rugby HQ, led by Sean Maloney, have put together another recap.
In this week’s Shortball compilation, keep an eye out for Cheslin Kolbe’s outstanding solo effort, some impressive strength from Will Genia, another look at Willem Alberts’ huge shoulder on Mark Richards, and an Aaron Smith penalty attempt he’d rather not remember.
It was a weekend where the underdogs got the bone, as the Blues and the Highlanders defeated the Brumbies and the Crusaders respectively, and the Stormers overturned the Waratahs for their first win on tour.
The Waratahs defeat means that along with the Brumbies, the Reds and Western Force, all four Australian sides who were playing lost, as the Rebels had a bye this week.
The spacing of each nations’ top four conference sides within the overall table is interesting to note. Only 4 points separate the South African sides (the Bulls to the Sharks), whilst 11 points come between the New Zealand teams (the Hurricanes to the Crusaders), and a vast 17 points divide the Australian complement (the Brumbies to Western Force).
The completion of Round 9 means the Super Rugby season finds itself at the halfway point with the Hurricanes still out on top unbeaten – but there’s a long way to go.
For more Shortball highlights head to our Plays of the Week section.