Super Rugby starts with a bang!
Cape Town - Super Rugby's newest
chapter is off to a flying start after an action-packed opening round that saw
an average of more than 50 points scored per game and the debut of three brand
The expanded 18-team competition kicked off on Friday night in Auckland with
the Blues and Highlanders playing a pulsating brand of end-to-end rugby that
culminated in a win to the home side. The Brumbies then fired a warning shot of
their own with a devastating 52-10 triumph over last year's finalists, the
Hurricanes in Canberra.
Then in Bloemfontein, the Jaguares asserted themselves as a "must
watch" side this season with a resurgent triumph over the Cheetahs. After
going behind 24-3 early, the new-comers from Argentina played with the flair,
passion and never-say-die attitude that we have seen at international level to
pip the South African side 34-33.
'Super Saturday' contained six back-to-back matches starting in Tokyo as the
Sunwolves made their Super Rugby debut in front of a sold out crowd at Prince
Chichibu Memorial Stadium. The Japanese-side kept it close all day in a brave
and gallant effort before succumbing to the Lions 26-13.
A trio of derbies followed with the Chiefs once again getting the better of the
Crusaders 27-12, the Waratahs were too good for the Reds, earning a 30-10 bonus
point victory while the Rebels overcame injury and stifling West Australian
heat to defeat the Force 25-19.
In Port Elizabeth, the Kings held their own for the opening 40, going to the
sheds just seven points in arrears, but the Sharks' experience came to the fore
in the second period as they ran out 43-8 victors.
Finally, the Stormers showed they will again be a force to be reckoned with
this year as a second-half blitz saw them account for the Bulls 33-9 in front
of more than 40,000 passionate fans at DHL Newlands.
SANZAAR Chief Executive, Andy Marinos, said: "Super Rugby has only been
back for one week and it's already showing why it's one of the most exciting
and competitive competitions in the world. With the up-tempo, free-flowing and
high-octane style of play that has become a hallmark of this competition, you
really can't take your eyes off the action for a moment.
"We saw tremendous support for our new teams, highlighted by a sold-out
Prince Chichibu Stadium, and we expect the Jaguares will receive a similar
reception at their first home game in Round 4 against the Chiefs.
"What was also pleasing was the positive, and at times free-flowing,
direction that we saw from our referees who further embraced the attributes of what
this competition is about. Whilst I appreciate we are only one week old in this
new competition structure, at the conclusion of the Stormers v Bulls, game I am
encouraged with our start and thank the fans for their support and the teams
and match officials for their positive approach to the start of the
"I look forward to next week as I am sure we will receive yet another dose
of pulsating, all-action encounters as the teams start to get into
stride," Marinos concluded.