Rugby in the Southern Hemisphere is finally back in action, albeit with just the two Friday night matches from Australia this weekend. The Reds hosted the Waratahs with plenty of talking points and was followed by the Force who finally got to play at home and welcomed the Brumbies to town in Perth. Lets take a look at the games.


The Reds came into this game as firm favourites against the Waratahs but it was the visitors who broke the deadlock first and it took just a few minutes for new captain Jake Gordon to open the account in the left corner. It was smart play by the scrumhalf who followed the play across the field and found himself in space from Jack Maddocks half break and an on the ground offload. That was to be the last moment of joy for the Waratahs however as the Reds firmly took over the game after that.

While Jordan Petaia was caught short defensively in the opening try, he certainly made up for it soon after. The first Reds points came off the boot of James O’Connor and quickly after Petaia sparked a play from their own half, keeping the ball alive through hands and finding the pace of Jock Campbell to finish for the Reds and put them into the lead for the first time.

The Reds continued the dominate the gain line following the try and made easy meters up the field and into the Waratahs twenty-two in a flash. Less than five minutes after their first try, the Reds were in again, Alex Mafi tipping the cap to his 50th cap by charging over off a short pass to extend the lead.

We were less than twenty minutes into the game and the Reds struck for a third time and signalled troubling times for the Waratahs. That combination of Petaia and Daugunu at it again from deep. TMO had been busy during the first half, with both Campbell’s and Daugunu’s tries being looked at for possible forward passes but were decided OK from upstairs.

With half time calling, things went even worse for the Waratahs. Midfielder Izaia Perese picking up Hunter Paisami and dumping him on his head to give a clear call for the referee to dish out the first card of the season and it was red for Perese. Of course with the new laws in Super Rugby AU, after twenty minutes Perese would be allowed to be replaced.

The game dragged its way into the break with the Reds in control at 27-7.

The match changed in the second half as the Reds knew they had complete control of the fixture. A man advantage for almost half of the second forty and a strong twenty point lead, they slowed the game down and forced the Waratahs to bring the game to them and make something happen.

That remained the case until the final ten minutes when a set piece chance proved too tasty for the Reds to ignore. Off the back of the scrum Moses Sorovi scampered away to the right and dropped the ball on the superb inside line from Daugunu, completely missed from the Waratahs defence and let a clean run for the sparkling winger to grab his second try of the match and to put this far beyond doubt.

The cherry on top was added by debutant Ilaisa Droasese who flew over on the right edge after his side just let things fly at the end of the match. A first appearance and a try to go with it, things couldn’t have got much better for the Reds. The score line was never close once the Reds got things going.

An early fright from the Waratahs was the only highlight for the visitors and the Reds controlled the game as many expected. A bonus point win and a cracking first up display that O’Connor thought left plenty to improve on…. that’s a scary thought.

The Reds pack deserves most of my credit. Seru Uru, Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson were all fantastic for the Reds.

For the Waratahs it was Jake Gordon who led from the front and was sorely missed when he went off injured. New comer Carlo Tizzano was also impressive tonight.

The biggest win ever for the Reds over the Waratahs and the perfect start to the Reds season. Now how is their consistency?…. We find out next week, But a bonus point win is the ultimate way to kick off a season.


Its been such a long time between drinks at home for the Force but the day has finally come! The crowd were buzzing and the expectation was intriguing! The defending champion Brumbies will always be a tough side to match up with regardless of venue, but this is a great opportunity for the Force, both sides starting off with tidy committed play. A late change saw Richard Kahui into the starting line up in place of Kyle Godwin.

The Force are first onto the scoreboard after just five minutes, grabbing the penalty from the boot of Ian Prior. The more encouraging factor however was the clean carries from key new players in the Force lineup, Medrano, Lezana and Kearney all having time with ball in hand.

Both sides blew chances to add points soon after. The Brumbies set about their typical rolling maul five meters out but someone’s changed that channel as the Force manage to halt it and force the Brumbies to use the backs. The created chance finds Hansen clear out wide but the pass was called forward on the field by the ref, something we didn’t see in the opening match.

The Force ruck ball was lightning quick and caused the Brumbies defence all sorts of trouble, catching them offside and out of position. That gave the chance to double their score line but Prior’s attempt struck back off the upright and the Brumbies escaped, got a free ride of penalties up the field and Noah Lolesio was gifted his first shot at goal which he easily put home for 3-3.

The Brumbies finally struck over the line midway through the half, Nic White dancing on the twenty two, zig zagging in and out of defenders and slipping a short flat pass to an extraordinary line from Noah Lolesio who went in unopposed. The Force has perhaps been the better side but they have started losing their shape and pace in the game, which will cause much concern at half time.

The Force pick up a huge second wind just after the thirty minute mark and completely regain control of the game. The quick ball is back, the penalties are flowing and the Force are going only to the corners. They drive continually at the line and eventually crash over but the referee disallows the try for a double movement. The dream of half time oranges is driving the Force back into the attacking zone again, but sensibly this time take the three points to bring them within four.

After all the hard work from the Force, they let the Brumbies right back in with a penalty right on the stroke of half time.

A run of errors by the home team in the last few minutes will leave a sour taste for the half time break with the score at 13-6.

Its the start of dreams for the Brumbies in the second half. Len Ikitau carves the defensive line with precision and finds the cut inside from his midfield partner Irae Simone to slide in for the try. The Force defence has looked in control so far but was caught out with the acceleration of Ikitau to give the Brumbies a controlling lead for the first time.

Despite the score line, the Force have been right in this match up and may have finally got a chance to turn some more chances into points as James Slipper is sent to the bin after his side has received many “final warnings” from the referee. The crowd is full of energy but the Force struggle to make the finishing plays, even a man up.

Rugby is a game of fine margins and the Force’s lack of ability to finish off their chances and domination of possession and territory throughout the second half will be a massive disappointment to the side. The Brumbies on the other hand, lack none of those issues. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa showing some silky skills and the major difference between the two sides, finishing. From the scrum, Tom Banks line and speed scorches past a labouring Kahui and creates the overlap. 27-6 and game done in the final ten minutes.

But that is not excuse for the Force who never lack for determination and giving it a crack regardless of score or game situation. Tomas Cubelli gets the credit for the try, but it was all created by the forwards who won the ball off their own kick off and quickly set about working in the red zone. This time keeping it tight and working close to the line, it was Cubelli’s sharp work around the fringe that creates the first try for the Force.

The Force battled to the very end, controlling even more key passages of the game but just cant find the lollies at the end. Even after the final buzzer, the forwards battled close to the Brumbies line but failed to keep the ball in hand. A lot of promise, but the Brumbies just too clinical with the chances created.

Standout performer from the home Force side was Fergus Lee-Warner who carried hard all night long, constantly meeting the gain line and defended with power. The Force didn’t have too many standout and played better as a squad as it went on but also plenty to work on. Rob Kearney was a clear talent at this level and a big improvement for the Force at the back with some classy touches.

For the Brumbies Cayden Neville was a thorn in the Force side all night long. Disrupting ruck ball, defusing mauls and being a general nuisance throughout the game. One of those guys who isn’t flashy but the impact he had on the match was massive. So many Force errors were made because of his impact.

Not what the Force would have wanted as a result and exactly what we expected from the Brumbies in round one. The Force will get better and I feel will trouble the Waratahs and Rebels at this stage. Its a two horse race at the top already, Brumbies and Reds are the teams to beat!

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!



Its here and its back! This weekend kicks off the opening round of Super Rugby AU and we had a look at the two matches this weekend on a stream earlier in the week, Shane was again a champion to come on and have his say again this season and you can catch that stream below and be sure to turn into the channel on Youtube to catch the stream each and every week! If you want a quick overview, check out below the video!


Its the old fashion Queensland vs New South Wales derby clash to kick off the season, the same opener as in 2020 Super Rugby AU. It was a huge year for the Reds last season who really stepped up over the season to make it all the way to the final and really push the eventual winning Brumbies. Their pack should dominate the fixture and their backs are by far the superior in the match up but the Waratahs know how to keep in a match.

Missing a pile of experience this year, the Waratahs need to open up the depth on their talent. Its quite and unknown just how good that will be. Plenty of names who have starred off the bench recently will now be called on the lead from the start. The lack of experience need to be controlled by the future star at ten, in Will Harrison.

I’m expecting this to be a close match for the opening 40-50 minutes but the Reds should have the talent and power off the bench to put this one in their favour.


What have they been drinking in Perth!? The names they have picked up for this team is extraordinary! A number of Jaguares have been added to the mix which will definitely add some grunt in key areas. The cool head of Rob Kearney at fullback will be another key addition but the only issue is how well will they gel and will they last those eighty minutes once again….

The Brumbies, like much of the Australian teams, have lost a wealth of talent but more importantly have keep a huge core of their side. Expect that to be what they rely on once again and most of that will be in the pack with that patient set piece and forward based play. Expect to see Folau Fainga’a up the try scoring leader board again.

If the Force are to stand any hope, they need to score early, score quickly and then keep the Brumbies at bay as they will expectantly surge home late regardless of score line. Its a matchup of who gets along better and you would expect the Brumbies should tick that box.

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!

SUPER RUGBY AU – Qualifying Final Preview

Just one game to enjoy this weekend from Super Rugby AU, with the regular season complete, its all on the line for a place in the final to meet the Brumbies for the trophy.

REDS vs REBELS – Suncorp Stadium


We started off with five teams, its now shrunk down to three. The Brumbies are waiting in the final the meet the victor of this match up.

The Reds got here by virtual of finishing the regular season in second position behind the Brumbies and even beating them convincingly in the final match of the season.

This Reds team is exciting and aside from one terribly poor weekend against the Waratahs have been continuously up there as the team to watch this season.

The Reds attacking flair has taken itself to a whole new level this season, being the leading team in a number of key attacking statistics throughout the season. Clean breaks, meters carried, defenders beaten and offloads are all areas the Reds have topped which just goes to show what they can do.

They displayed that against the Brumbies last weekend and have been well switched on in recent weeks. James O’Connor and Tate McDermott are the best halves combination in Australia right now and are getting the best from their backline.

The Reds back row has dominated rucks and broken play, forming a key partnership with the link between forwards and backs. Liam Wright, Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson and names that will be huge part of Australian rugby for years to come.


The Rebels have been good in patches, but the way they scratched and scraped their way into the playoffs is a real nutshell of how this teams season really has been.

Lets take nothing away from the Rebels who have made a playoffs of the tournament for the first time in their history, even if only five teams were involved, but only ended up in third by a single point over the Waratahs and only a fifty percent winning record over the season. Although they did draw with the Reds and beat the Brumbies.

So if those last few words tell you anything, its that the Rebels can show up against the big team and you would almost give them a better chance at winning the final the making it past the Reds this weekend.

The Rebels don’t put themselves as league leaders in many categories, but the two that they do lead give exactly their game plan away. Kicks from hand and penalty goals, play the territory game and force the opponent into errors inside their own half.

They did they to good effect against the Force last weekend, but what they don’t have an answer for is the opponent actually making exits and being able to put away their attacking chances, the Force took those chances pretty well too and should show the way to play against the Rebels, if only the Force could exit from restarts…….

Matt To’omua is the guy for the Rebels, his goal kicking got them into the play offs and will go a long way to them going any further.

I mentioned it in the round ten review as well, but Matt Philip has really taken control of the pack and his leadership has lifted it over the season. Its a team overall that has lacked leaders and you can certainly tell where they have developed over the season.

Reece Hodge is the other big key to the Rebels season. He has that uncanny ability to score tries from unlikely situations. He displays such great strength and determination on attack. His boot is always a big asset, although we haven’t seen it much this season, I expect the Rebels will call on it if the opportunity arises this weekend.

Overall, I cant see this game going anywhere but to the Reds. They tick all the boxes to get this job done, but don’t throw the Rebels out the window quite yet. Discipline and pressure will be things to watch. The Reds do give away some tasty penalties and if they attack doesn’t spark the game could quickly slip away in groups of three.

The Rebels defence will need to be on fire, but they know the points will be there from the tee. Both sides have simple tasks to take the game away from the other, which results, surely, in what should be an intriguing match for a place in the final!

RESULT – Reds by 6

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!

SUPER RUGBY AU – Round Ten Review

The Rebels season lay in balance at the beginning of the weekend, needing a win by four points to make it to the finals for the first every time with the ultimate banana skin, the Force were waiting to strike. The final round of Super Rugby AU almost had it all. The top two sides clashed to end the regular season in a match the had nothing but bragging rights for sides already finals bound. It was an unexpected round of Super Rugby AU, lets take a look….


It was a typical scrappy start for the Rebels and the intent from the Force was clear from the outset. The kicking game of Jono Lance took center stage and penalties gifted territory. Eventually the opening point came from the boot of Lance inside the opening ten minutes.

There was a long period of pressure the Force had to withstand following the opening points, the Rebels camped themselves down in the Force twenty two. After a few missed chances and the Force only hanging on by a thread, the first try of the day came from a tricky scrum set play that allowed Tom Pincus to sweep under the posts untouched to put the Rebels in front.

The kickoffs have been a constant issue for most sides in Super Rugby AU and just like the Rebels first try, the Force hit back much in the same light. Getting the ball back from the restart and setting some good lines in motion. A half break from Lance set the Force forward, then fullback Jack McGregor stood up the defence and perfectly played a short ball to Henry Teafu to go through cleanly and put the Force back in front of the battle.

Some superb kick chase defence allowed Matt To’omua the chance to extend the lead, which was successful from the tee. The wind at the back of the Rebels proving vital in the kicking battle.

Ian Priors charged down kick inside his twenty two was the last thing the Force needed after half an hour of the game. Loosehead prop Cameron Orr picked up the unlikely regather and threw and even more unlikely floating wide pass the Reece Hodge way out on the left side. With plenty of work still to do and a number of defenders hanging on, Hodge still managed to reach out to put it on the line.

In the shadows of the half time break the Force took a leaf out of the Brumbies set piece play book. From the lineout just ten meters from the Rebels like, Andrew Ready sat at the back of his sides destructive maul that smashed its way to the line for a crucial late try in the half.

The Force doing enough to stay in the game and just wont let the Rebels get away. 20-13 at the break lead for the Rebels but the Force playing one of the best half so far this season.

The second half kicked off just as the first ended, the Force uninterested in kicking points now and kept forcing the game into the corner. Another maul just five out this time, the Force attempted the same job as before the break. It wasnt as pretty, but it was just as effective. Ready with his second try in five minutes off the maul and the Force were right back in the contest, levelling the scores at 20-20.

The TMO was kept busy throughout the game, the Rebels being denied a few tries from the man upstairs.

The nerves were starting to set in for the Rebels now as the Force took the lead back again through the boot of Prior.

Straight off the restart things took a turn for the worst for the Rebels Tom Pincus was sent to the bin for intentional knock on with the Force hot on attack.

The Force made the number pay soon after, Brynard Stander getting the reward for some hard pack work with a series of pick and goes from the Force close to the line. Stander has been in incredible form this season and has put him side in a commanding position with an ten point lead.

The game is kicking off at this point. Just one minute later, the Rebels hit right back. Three men set about a kick return with two touches each to score the try. Dane Haylett-Petty launched the counter attack, finding Marika Koroibete and Reece Hodge on the right edge. Hodge cut back inside, hitting the speedy Koroibete and with good reward to following the play, Haylett-Petty backed up for the overlap to grab a fantastic try out of nothing.

Momentum, swings and changes. That last try effected the change. The restart again, Matt Philip went up and Bryon Ralston went straight in to whip him out. There was no hesitation for Gardner who sent hims straight to the bin to give us some fourteen on fourteen rugby.

Time was against the Rebels who no matter how hard they tried, just couldnt breach that Force defence again as the clock ticked on. Both sides getting to nervous of the result to make any effect.

The Rebels spent nearly the whole last ten minutes inside the Force half and mostly inside the twenty two. The TMO denied them another couple of times as the clock continued to tick on. Fergus Lee-Warner was the third man sent to the bin tonight, costing the Force a man for the final five minutes.

The Force hung on until there was just seventy seconds remaining. Another good lesson was learnt the Rebels were denied another try but replacement prop Cabous Eloff continues on and places it simply as you like while everyone else stares at the referee for the first attempt. More TMO time and this time reward for the Rebels and the lead goes to two points and the kick to come. Remember, the Rebels needing to win by four to get into the finals.

To’omua does not disappoint from right in front and puts the Rebels into the finals for their first time in history. How they managed it is still largely a mystery, the Force were fantastic throughout but the Rebels just had the final one minute of play. It was everything we hoped this game would be, the fairy tale not quite coming true, but a great way to kick off a day of rugby!

One man is key for this Rebels team and that is Matt To’omua. Goal kicking was eventually the difference with Prior missing two conversions and To’omua not missing any. His command of the team was a highlight this week again. Matt Philip is becoming a critical player for the Rebels pack. A few weeks ago he was a top performer, now hes a team leader and that was clear to see once again.

The Force were so good, there best eighty minutes this season without a doubt. Even a fair Rebels fan would say they deserved to win this one. Take away the yellow card, Fergus Lee-Warner was fantastic yet again. Versatile as well for the second or back row in the team, strong carrier and defensive and break down presence. Two tries for a hooker that’s not in the Brumbies deserves a mention, Andrew Ready back in the Force team with a statement.


There was nothing on the line tonight between these two sides, with the Brumbies already confirmed top place finishers and the Reds in behind at second regardless of results, but the two sides still named full strength lineups for the final clash of the regular season.

Jock Campbell was an early difference between to two sides and a couple of good breaks set the Reds up on a good attack. It was the third consecutive Campbell break that finally resulted in the Reds getting over the line, captain Liam Wright in support this time to finish the job and the Reds strike first.

Tevita Kuridrani was finally entrusted back into the starting lineup this week but butchered a fantastic try by being so lacklustre on his put down and some desperate defence from Tate McDermott did enough for the ball to be lost in the chase. Really was an amazing break from the Brumbies with offloads all over the place and perfection support play, a real shame it went unrewarded.

James O’Connor and the Reds continued to add scoreboard pressure through the tee, with a couple more penalties as the half wore on.

The Brumbies were especially wasteful in the first forty, basic knock on’s, backline depth concerns and just a lack of basic skill sets.

The set piece and the Reds worked well again, exploiting the Brumbies defence angling in on the backline with some quick passing and Jock Campbell again broke the outside channel and freed away Chris Feauai-Sautia to score on his return and put the Reds in a commanding lead. 18-0 just before half time.

The half time buzzer had rung but the Brumbies finally stuck something together and it all resulted with Pete Samu rampaging on the left wing yet again. His change of direction and support keeping the defence honest allowed Samu to burn his way through to give the Brumbies something to work on from the first half.

Its not often the Brumbies get within five meters of the try line and don’t turn it into some kind of points. Its been a really off game tonight by this whole Brumbies team as they have messed up many close chances losing a number of possessions in the Reds twenty two. Their attack has been flat and easy to read by the Brumbies.

Ticking over the scoreboard is the objective for the Reds, O’Connor the man again to add three more and puts the lead in a position that would require the Brumbies to score three times to take the lead.

While we can talk about how poor the Brumbies have been with ball in hand, most of the credit needs to go to that Reds defence inside its own danger zone. To be able to shut down the Brumbies pack just a few meters out multiple times during the second half was been nothing short of sensational.

The Reds seal the deal following up some terrible high ball defence from the Brumbies. Bryce Hegarty went high and youngster Bayley Kuenzle made a complete hash of it, allowing it past and to bounce up perfectly for the chasing McDermott to grab yet another try for his season.

Its been some display by the Reds but quite some shocker by the Brumbies, 26-7 final score is a fairly fair scoreline too. The Reds defence was sensational and they made points from a good number of chances they were gifted. Was good to see Chris Feauai-Sautia return with a try, Filipo Daugunu was outstanding in open play as well but it was the pack they stood up to the show and put in the display to lead the side. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Liam Wright, Harry Wilson and the front row were all fantastic.

Rob Valetini and Pete Samu kept the Brumbies standard high but they were far too lonely in the task. They have massive issues in midfield with no one standing up in that thirteen jumper, Tevita Kuridrani was again poor tonight. The lack of depth at ten was also found out with Kuenzle having a poor game, unable to get the backline in motion.

We will see the Brumbies in the grand final in two weeks time and the Reds will face the Rebels next weekend for a place to meet them there. I can guarantee if these two sides meet again in the final, it will be a much much different game.

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!

SUPER RUGBY AU – Round Ten Preview

Its being pumped up as Super Saturday this weekend as the Final round of Super Rugby AU takes place all on the same night! It is the game of the round which kicks off the weekend when the third place decider takes place between the Rebels and the Force. The North vs South game is squeezed in the middle with a potential grand final match up takes place between the Reds and the Brumbies. Lets check out the action….

REBELS vs FORCE – McDonald Jones Stadium

The situation is simple here for the Rebels, win the game by at least four points and they in rocking their way into the playoffs against the Reds. If the unthinkable happens and the Force pick up their first win of the season, the Rebels are out and the Waratahs will take on the Reds next weekend.

The stats put this game into an interesting light on this clash with the Rebels being the biggest kicking side from hand in the competition, up against the Force who are the team who spends the most time defending. How these two sides play will be a big factor, if the Rebels allow lots of ball to the Force they could make something of the opportunities.

Building on that stat, its clear the Rebels play a good territory game with the tandem kicking options and building pressure down in attacking areas is sure to allow them to cash in on the errors the Force seem to consistently dish out. Their backline should be good enough to finish the chances but it all comes down to which Force will show up and can they start with the early season bang they were delivering?

There is a lot counting against the Force again this week, like every other. If rugby was a fifty or sixty minute game, the Force may have a win or two under their belt. They are good enough to win games but fail to play a full eighty minutes, commit too many errors and need more commitment from the big names they have to lead this team forward.

This should be down to who wants it more and it should be simple to say the Rebels. They held on enough to give themselves a much more obvious chance to make the top three and couldn’t have asked for an easier way to finish their season, but they still need to be clinical. Be desperate and make a statement.

RESULT – Rebels by 11

REDS vs BRUMBIES – Suncorp Stadium

This one doesn’t matter so much but I am still quite interested in how these two sides go about naming their teams. The Reds know they will have to play next weekend, but dont need anything from this game to get to that point. On the other hand, the Brumbies know they have the weekend off before the big final.

Injuries are a huge point on this game. Is it worth either side risking key players in this game, or can they afford to mess up the team continuity that they have built up over the season?!

I’m expecting the Brumbies to make a number of changes, mainly because they can with the depth in their squad. They do not need to though, with that extra weekends break they will be fresh and ready for a final. They cant afford to be without a guy like Bayley Kuenzle while they wait on Noah Lolosio to return, but they may have both for the final. That’s one of the rare spots that are shallow for the Brumbies.

What they do need to discover this weekend that may prove beneficial is finding someone to really nail does that thirteen jumper. Firstly Tevita Kuridrani held it unopposed for week on week before they mixed things up and put Solomone Kata in there, to much the same effect. When a player like Kuridrani, or anyone in that position, is on form it evolves that backline and they need to find that lacking power again. Do they Brumbies really need it to with Super Rugby AU? Not really, but in a competition they have been daylight ahead of for most of, there has been few holes to find.

The Reds have had a fantastic season this year. They don’t need to win this weekend, but with the mental side of the game being so important, a heavy loss with large rotation could be very detrimental to the side.

Against that point however, having the best side running out again this weekend before going into a finals series could see major injuries and players fitness being tested for the games that really matter. The Reds dont have the depth of sides like the Brumbies but I feel they need to make sure they have their strongest side fit and ready for the playoff next weekend. If it means learning a lesson against the Brumbies, maybe so be it.

This game all pivots of squad selections and who is rested and risked before the knockout stages begin. With nothing at stake, will the coaches take the risk?

RESULT – Brumbies by 2

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!

SUPER RUGBY AU – Round Nine Review

It was a huge weekend of Super Rugby in Australia, where with just a couple of rounds remaining, the teams were starting to fall in place. The Brumbies had a chance to secure top spot in the conference against the Force on Friday night. The big game was on Saturday however, when the Rebels faced the Waratahs with the two sides fighting over the third place. The Waratahs needing a win to keep their season alive while they spend the last round on the bye. Lets take a look at the fixtures…..


It was the Brumbies night to seal top spot in the competition with a round still remaining if they topple the winless Force in the opening game of the weekend and they started off with their usual control, even getting a penalty to the corner in the opening few minutes that sent ominous early signs…..

But the Force held very strong early on and after some early pressure managed to fight their way back with a run of penalties from the set piece and breakdown. Set with a chance inside the Brumbies twenty two, it was a simple game plan for the Force, keep it short, keep it in hand. Fergus Lee-Warner manages to stretch through the tackle and plant it down for the opening try and a 7-0 surprise lead.

The Brumbies battle their way back into the game and spend a good period on attack and even cross the line twice but were denied both times by the TMO for a knock on and an obstruction.

The Brumbies kept pounding away on attack and did eventually break through the Force defence, from range thing time, launching an attack from their own half. Some flashing offloading and a big bust from Will Miller created the overlap for Tom Wright to score on the left edge, but the conversion was away, quite some way away too.

With the half running to its end, the Brumbies completely dominate the match up. Constantly with ball in hand and on the attack putting pressure on the Force inside their own half. Half time could not come soon enough for the visitors, but not before the Brumbies put their second try on the board. The defence was starting to get broken and the speed on Tom Banks was too much after he spots half a gap. Hes rockets home to give the Brumbies a slender lead at the break, despite another missed conversion.

Breaking into the second half, the Brumbies continued to pile on the pressure using their pack. Much like the first half ended, it was the Brumbies who added another try to their total thanks for Will Miller on the left wing. The flanker having a clean five meter run on the outside edge untouched. The perfect times to score, just before and just after half time.

The Force struck back quickly, taking a quite tap from a lineout penalty they smashed their way into the Brumbies danger zone and within just a few phases, Jono Lance slipped through some lazy defence to bring the Force right back into the game. Again, kicking critical as Prior added the extras.

When it almost looked like the Force could fight their way back into the game, the Brumbies completely shut the gate in the final twenty minutes. Two more tries went the way of the home side with Len Ikitau and Andy Muirhead touching down in the final stanza to put it far beyond doubt with a scoreline that almost flattered the hosts.

The Brumbies just know how to win and how to pace their game, something the Force are yet to understand. Irae Simone was a playmaking standout for the Brumbies and the way he partnered with Tom Wright was some class Brumbies back play we don’t see enough.

The Force lacked the commitment once again but showed that early season ability to score tries that had left them for the last few weeks. Key for them was the territorial kicking by Jono Lance that made a massive difference. The front row along with Ollie Atkins in the second is starting to become a strong unit, they just need to keep at the first forty minute level all game long.

Final thoughts on this match, it was great to see Amy Perrett become to first female to referee a Super Rugby match and she did a fine job in control on the game, put the players in their place and was solid in her calls. Promising signs from a ref who we should see more of and only get better. Well play Amy.


This is it for the Waratahs, everything is on the line. Fail to win this game and their Super Rugby AU season is over, but even if they do win, it still may not be enough. It was the cracker of a match we had hope this competition may deliver.

It was the Rebels who got off the mark quicker, a couple of penalties against the Waratahs once again gifted their opponent an easy start. Matt To’omua happy as every to slot over an early three point from the tee.

The Rebel obviously felt guilty for the early gift and swiftly gave one or two right back to the Waratahs, who with a set piece a few meters out from the Rebels line, set their forwards to work. A couple of smashes forward until Jake Gordon spotted the sloppy defence around the fringe and snipped over right beside the posts.

It took some time to get enough structure and phases for any chances for points, but the penalties soon mounted up against the Rebels, particularly offsides. Quick ruck recycling from the Waratahs forwards in very similar style to the first try, resulted in the second. That forward play too strong for the Rebels at this stage and Jack Dempsey planted down for the second Waratahs try.

The match took a massive swing in momentum towards the Rebels just minutes before half time when, after a number of phases and advantages five meters from the Waratahs line, Ned Hanigan was sent to the bin for a likely offside. The Rebels instantly obliged to the kind offer with Matt To’omua bashing his way over off a big run in from the boundary. He converted his own try to bring the Rebels within four.

It was surprising there was enough time for this, but the Waratahs managed to nab a quick penalty after the kick off which Will Harrison knocked over to put that lead back out to seven points for the Waratahs at the break, 17-10.

It took just five minutes of the second half for the Rebels to strike again and it was just as Hanigan returned to the field. A leaf taken from the Brumbies handbook on tries, a lineout maul worked enough to set up the tireless Isi Naisarani to spin off the back of the maul and over the line. The Rebel tie things up with the conversion.

Just as quickly as it took to kick a conversion, the Waratahs had struck straight back! Another penalty giving an easy ride into the twenty two and gave the Waratahs the chance to set about from the set piece again. Keeping it tight in the forwards again and Harry Johnson-Holmes burrowed over right under the crossbar, a clinical response!

A nail is slammed into the Rebels hopes of securing playoffs this weekend as the Waratahs strike again. Will Harrison is running the Waratahs backline sweetly and his switching passes slips Michael Hooper into a huge hole who strikes the overlap with Joey Walton to have a clean run to the line for his first every Super Rugby AU try!

Lady luck is shining down on the Rebels in their next try opportunity. Walton is taken out off the ball and allows To’omua to glide through a massive hole, teeing up on the outside with Marika Koroibete who races to the left hand corner, hits into the defenders, stays in the field of play and slides just to the line to get a blade of grass or two on the ball. Game alive again as To’omua converts.

All the hard work may come undone for the Rebels over the next ten minutes. Matt Philip was dished out a yellow card swiftly after the restart for tackling a player in the lineout. Harsh call for something that would normally be a penalty, but can only imagine its for the team warning for penalties in their own half, but not mentioned by the referee.

A man down has lifted the Rebels against all odds! How amazing is it to see these sides lift when the pressure comes against them. The Rebels get lucky after weathering a long storm in their own half and quickly turn it into attack and when the forwards start to rumble they become hard to stop, Naisarani again the man who is just too difficult to tackle that close to the line. The conversion is away to the right and the Waratahs keep the lead by two points.

If a man has every deserved to be a hero for the Waratahs, its Will Harrison! Hooper makes a fantastic charged down of Andrew Deegans clearing kick which sits up perfectly for Harrison who is miles away from any Rebels player and grabs his first and hugely important try.

Back to fifteen men again, the Rebels swiftly get back into the Waratahs half and opt for a shot at three to bring them within six points of the lead.

The Rebels cant get themselves another chance to snatch that lead away and the Waratahs try their best to shut it down. Reece Hodge plays the smart hand inside his own in goal and ends the game with his side behind by six, enough for a bonus point to keep both sides seasons alive. It all comes down to next weekend…..

The Rebels never got on top of this match, were always chasing and kept letting the Waratahs right back in as soon as they scored themselves. Poor focus and silly errors cost the Rebels. Their gameplan was focused around Isi Naisarani and Marika Koroibete on attack and as good a job as they did with all that ball, it was almost to predictable. Brad Wilkin was again fantastic in the breakdown.

The Waratahs play their best rugby with their backs against the wall and we saw that this round. With his first start in Super Rugby, Tepai Moeroa looked to bring things to the game other similar power running midfielders had struggled with all season. He was strong with ball in hand and recycled very quickly. On a night of firsts, it was also great to see the amazing Will Harrison and Joey Walton pick up with first Super Rugby tries. Crucial ones they were too.

So its all down to next weekend, the Western Force have a pile of new fans and the chance to dictate who will make that top three. As always, I will see you for the preview in a couple of days!

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!

SUPER RUGBY AU – Round Nine Preview

Its a huge weekend for the competition coming up with what could be seen as a quarter final match up on Saturday night between the Rebels and the Waratahs to ultimately decide who will take that third spot into the qualifying final weekend. Before that big game, we have our Friday night feature between the Brumbies and the Force to kick the weekend off. The in form Reds get the weekend to rest and recover. Lets check out the action coming out way…..


Here is the chalk and cheese match up of Super Rugby AU. Its first against last, the Brumbies who have hardly looked like losing many matches throughout the season and are up against the Force who, lets be honest, aside from their opening couple of shock treatment opening cracks, haven’t looked like they would be beating anyone this season.

The Brumbies have been the team to beat since day one and nothing has changed. They have suffered their wake up call loss to the Rebels a couple of weeks ago and have just stepped since that night. Whats more impressive, or scary for their opponents is how much better they have been scoring tries away from their forward pack and the lineout maul. Its now becoming a case of defences not knowing if they should commit fully to the lineout or keep the cover out wide. As a squad they have tested depth that is now forcing selection headaches and injury cover like Bayley Kuenzle making us forget who Noah Lolesio even is anymore.

The Brumbies have already secured their place in the playoffs and with the second placed Reds on the bye this weekend, will confirm their place as the top finisher with a victory this weekend. In the final game of the season, they meet those Reds which with both sides secure in the finals will leave some interesting selections for both sides who wont want to give anything away ahead of a possible grand final meeting. These two sides met back in round four with a pretty convincing 24-0 victory to the Brumbies, neither side will want to settle for that again.

Its a tough way to wrap up the season for the Western Force, away to the Brumbies and then away again to the Rebels. While I say the Force are away, they have been and will be away all season long which has been a tough deal for a side which has such a passionate home support that could have made a real difference to their performances. The Force are not ones to make excuses though and will be out to win this game regardless.

They need to go back to what was successful back in the early rounds. Sure, they don’t have that surprise factor one how they were going to play that really shock up the their opponents, but the quality of performance has fallen away since then also. Rest and rotation are two words we all dread to see and its something to Force cannot continue to work with. Their backrow is the biggest weapon and that early unit of Stowers, Ferris and Stander needs to be united back together again. Get that territory game running again and get the best out of the finishers like Byron Ralston who has been fantastic this season for the Force. Can they? Yes. Will they? No.

RESULT: Brumbies by 16.

REBELS vs WARATAHS – Leichhardt Oval

One of these two sides will finish in the finals, the other will miss out. That’s the simple situation heading into this big clash of the weekend. Most people will likely recall the last meeting between the two sides where it ended 29-10 to the Rebels with the only Waratahs points from a converted intercept try and and penalty, hardly a contest.

Now the Rebels are back at home as well and the confidence looking back at that match must be overwhelming for them. They have somehow slipped below the Waratahs on the table by one point but a win this weekend will be all they need to secure their place in the finals. The Waratahs sit out next weekends action and the Rebels face the Force, a free four point minimum.

The winning template is already there for the Rebels, especially against the Waratahs. Don’t feed them errors and force to pressure into their own half and the Waratahs have struggle to make anything happen from back there. Their selections will be interesting, they spent last weekend on the bye but recent matches before that they had been moving Matt To’omua out one with mixed results. The continued movement of Reece Hodge is always a worry for the Rebels who keep using one of the key men like putty to fill any gaps and holes in the lineup each week. Hes needs the ball and needs to be in the action. Selection will be key.

Regardless of the Rebels selection, I still think this one will be a tough one for the Waratahs to win. The old firm in their pack just lacks to modern game to compete and will again rely on that mental bully game they have employed all season long to get up over their opponent in the forwards. They are the most penalised team in the competition and if they continue to give away those each yards, they Rebels will turn that scoreboard. One man again is the massive key for the Waratahs in attack, Will Harrision is the only man in my view who has impressive in this Waratahs team and is a leading light for Australian Rugby. He can control a game and a scoreboard if allowed, to keep the Waratahs in a match. The pressure is all on the Waratahs to pick up this win and with the bonus point too and only that will secure their place in the finals in two weeks time.

RESULT: Rebels by 3

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!

SUPER RUGBY AU – Round Eight Review

We learnt a lot this weekend about how Super Rugby AU would wind up come the end of the regular season. Two big results for the winning sides that secured their place in the finals of the competition. The Force hosted the Reds and the Brumbies went up against the Waratahs who were fighting for one of those finals spots. Lets take a look at how the action went….

FORCE 5 vs 57 REDS

The Force were back at “home” this week while still searching for that opening win of the season. The Reds were in town after an incredible defensive win against the Rebels last weekend. Will the boys in blue get themselves a W on the board or will it be business as usual from the Reds cashing in on whats being deemed an automatic.

Both sides had good periods on attack during the opening fifteen minutes but neither side looked like getting over the line. The Reds were denied a try to Taniela Tupou who crashed over close to the line after penalties got the Reds close.

Once denied, the Reds took the penalty to the sideline and a nice lineout move put Filipo Daugunu clean through a hole and in under the sticks for the opening points.

It was a half of injuries for both sides in the open forty minutes with a number of players getting HIA’s, lengthy injury breaks or requiring replacements.

The Reds were by this stage fully in control of the game, as the Force were struggling to get forward progression on attack and were forced to make decisions that lost possession, often kicking the ball away aimlessly, hoping for a good outcome.

The Reds grabbed their second try and the second for Filipo Daugunu. It was all created by some slick, quick hands from the Reds backline offloading the ball in the tackle and drawing more than one defender. The score up to 12-0 now and ominous signs early for the Force.

With the half wearing down the Reds opted to tick the scoreboard over, James O’Connor chipping a penalty to send the lead up to fifteen and put even more pressure on the Force.

With time near up on the clock, Tupou split through a Thor sized hole in the defence and thundered near thirty meters before dropping the ball in the tackle just one meter short, a fitting highlight to end the half at 15-0.

The Force fired out of the blocked quick smart putting a penalty just a few meters from the Reds line just a minute into the game. The lineout maul was came quickly after and the Force charged their way from quite a few meters out and as we have learnt from a good maul, any hooker worth his weight will be waiting at the back. Andrew Ready was there to grab the five.

The Reds put the pressure straight back on. Fraser McReight was denied another Reds try for a double movement on the ground but the pressure was proving too much for the Force who suffered the first yellow card of the weekend when Kieran Longbottom was send to the bin for collapsing the maul. Reds hot on attack and placing scrum after scrum just five meters out.

The constant pressure finally broke the Force. The attacking swinging left and right before finally O’Connor took out two defenders and offloaded to McReight who got things done the second time of asking.

Things are starting to get out of control for the Force, Tate McDermott shows just what he brings to the Reds, quickly sniping down a very narrow blind side channel just inside the Force half, slaps down a cracker of a left foot step and leaves the fullback grasping a thin air for a brilliant solo try by the scrum half.

Oh now hes just showing off! McDermott takes a quick tap after the Reds pick up a ruck penalty and off he goes, sidestepping defenders for fun, breaking ankles and not caring to take names. Beating at least five defenders on his way to scoring his second try and again, solo brilliance from McDermott! The scoreline has ballooned out now, 36-5 to the Reds.

The Reds are just rubbing salt into the wounds of the Force now. James O’Connor grabbed the try this time but it really was a quality team effort from the Reds. Tupou playing like a midfielder running in open spaces and just that ability to keep the ball alive and find supporting players is far too much for the Force who are completely out of their depth now.

McDermott was denied his hattrick try soon after, but it was a sign that the floodgates were well and truly open. Another two tries were added from Bryce Hegarty and Tuaina Tualima in the final few minutes of the match to blow the score way out past the fifty point mark as the Force just had nothing left in the tank.

The Reds far too good in the end, withstood the Force pressure and then fired back with plenty of their own. Taniela Tupou in devastating form, Tate McDermott was electric throughout and the backrow was a major threat for the Reds at the breakdown. The best part of this performance from the Reds is that they played their own game regardless of how their opponents were playing. We often see teams get dragged down into a poor game from a weaker side but the Reds were ruthless this weekend.

Again, not much to celebrate for the Force, just the one try and plenty of errors in defence. The Force suffered nearly twice the amount of penalties and missed over forty tackles. The usual suspects stood out, Stander, Kahui, Ralston, and were clearly trying to drag their team up but with no success. The attack was blunt and kicking aimless. One of the few times they have really let the heads drop in the season.


An age old Australian derby between these two sides has this round of Super Rugby AU set up for a grandstand finish to wrap up the round.

It was a messy start to the round that saw both side struggle to get into the rhythm and shape but the Brumbies found it and instantly changed that game. The short kicking plan found the Waratahs short.

That’s how the Brumbies found their way on the scoreboard too.

Ryan Lonergan and Andy Muirhead both getting on the end of kicks, a little grubber for Lonergan and a cross field cracker for Muirhead. The game plan was working a treat and the Brumbies were cashing in with two tries inside a ten minute period.

The Waratahs get on the board in between the tries, Will Harrison grabbing a couple of penalties before and after Muirhead’s try.

The Waratahs often never look like scoring tries but with the half running to an end, they grabbed what should go down as one of their best of the season. Jack Dempsey grabs the points for dotting it down in the left corner, but it was some incredible work from hooker Connal McInerney, normally used to sitting at the back of mauls close to the sideline, this week he was brushing defenders aside and offloading like a champion in his combination with Dempsey.

That late try for the Waratahs brought things close at the break with the Brumbies only just leading by a point, 12-11.

The Brumbies fired out of the blocks in the second half, grabbing their third try of the game just a few minutes into the half. Irae Simone delivering a huge floated pass out to the left wing where big number eight Pete Samu was sitting and waiting. A quick in and out followed by a powerful drive over the tackle of Alex Newsome, saw him rumble into the corner.

The turning point of this match into the Brumbies favour was the ten minute period between the 50th to 60th minutes. Tom Wright joined the party but it was Nic White with the vital hand in both tries off the bench, despite the class fifty minutes from Lonergan.

The first try was simple a good scrum half flat fast pass close to the line, cutting out the defenders and allowed the fast feet of Wright to skip of in the productive left corner.

An overthrown lineout allowed White to once again run the show. With a bit of space and time on his hands, another fire pass to Irae Simone put him behind the defence and put his speedy winger away in the corner once again. White and Wright, it was game over for the Waratahs.

The scoreline had blown out the Waratahs but Pete Samu wasn’t done just yet. Featuring on the wing more this weekend than his whole career in Brumbies colours and it made a massive difference to him impact. When he received the ball, he had a good four to five defenders between him and the line and just five meters to work with. Well, Samu, he took them all for a ride with him down the chalk. Stop him if you can, they just couldn’t and it was a fitting finish for the big number eight.

It was a clinical display from the Brumbies in the second half, controlled the tempo of the game, shut the Waratahs out of any good attacking areas and just forced them out of the match. Pete Samu was the obvious choice as the standout player, two fantastic tries in the match and was near impossible to stop at times. Spending time on the wing against much smaller men had him looking like a monster!

A solid first forty by the Waratahs was blown away by the clinical Brumbies. Jack Dempsey had a strong game for the ‘Tahs, leading in meters run for the side and attacking weapon. Joey Walton keep developing with his game time at this level as well, looking much better compared to his first few matches. Plenty to work on for the Waratahs if they want that finals spot and next weekend is going to be critical for that to happen.

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!

SUPER RUGBY AU – Round Eight Preview

Super Rugby AU has the full spotlight of Southern Hemisphere rugby fans from this weekend forward. The round kicks underway when the travelling Western Force are at “home” against the resurgent Queensland Reds on Friday night. On Saturday evening, the Brumbies, who are actually one of the few sides who can play at home, will host the NSW Waratahs. Lets check out the two matches…..


Its been a tough old season in the Force’s return to Super Rugby AU. They are still yet to pick up a victory but with the rounds quickly running out its tough to see them grabbing the win this weekend. As the season has worn on, the Force run on side has been lifting in strength as injuries return to fitness. The concern for the force this weekend is the absence of the key back rowers, Henry Stowers and Tevin Ferris. Brynard Stander remains at number eight but his combination that developed over the season has been the key to their success.

The front row looks much stronger again with the additions of Pek Cowan and former Red Andrew Ready starting together. The Force have developed as a side who fire out of the blocks the entertain and ultimately fall away to a team who has some idea how to construct a full eighty minute game with most of these changes.

Of course we cant wrap up with the Force without talking about the impact the midfield combination has had on this team. Kyle Godwin has been dragged up from his mediocre performances by Richard Kahui. Those two together work in tandem very well and not only added those stacks of experience but also a belief within the squad with how they play.

The biggest missing name in the Reds lineup is the injured Hunter Paisami, which makes a little bit of a mess with their midfield. What I thought would be the obvious answer is to put Jordan Petaia into thirteen and plug the right wing from the bench of Flook or Hardy. Instead, Josh Flook has come straight into midfield with a direct swap, leaving Petaia out on the wing.

With the Force mixing up their back row options and leaving out the big names that have served so well, it gives a huge advantage to the Reds who have named their three standouts in those same positions. Captain Liam Wright, Fraser McReight and impressive number eight Harry Wilson will again stack the back of the very impressive looking Reds pack.

Two weeks ago the Reds had a nightmare weekend against the Waratahs, easily the lowest point of their season so far. The lessons must be learnt from that and the response that we saw, particularly on defence against the Rebel was a welcome return. Brad Thorn wont let this side sit around on performances like two weeks ago, now it goes back to that main word we keep talking about, consistency.

RESULT – Reds by 13


Is facing the Waratahs an easy win like the Force has been? Or is it a real top of the table clash. We really don’t know. The Waratahs are a side that can step it up or completely fall to pieces. Against the Brumbies however, I expect we will see their better rugby rise again.

The Brumbies have been some exciting looking selections to their side too for this match.

For week after week, Tevita Kuridrani has just ambled his way through the season as part of a good performing side without really making an impact. That ends this weekend as his place in the side is gone and he makes way for another similar player from the wing in Solomone Kata. Now we see if Kuridrani has been sub par this season. Kata is fast, powerful and difficult to tackle. Moving him in off the wing will give him more ball in more traffic and look out if the Waratahs don’t make their defensive plays on him.

The Brumbies have mixed up their halves combination again too, reuniting a Junior Wallabies partnership with Ryan Lonergan and Bayley Kuenzle in the halves together. A new one for the Brumbies but I expect the two youngsters will know each others game well from previous encounters.

The Brumbies have the glorious ability to make changes like these while still keeping a strong lineup, which just goes to shop the depth this team possesses.

The work has been set for the sporadic Waratahs. This is not a game they can rest on and beating the front runners like the Brumbies are is the sort of thing the Waratahs thrive on.

Their side in largely unchanged for this weekend which will come as some comfort for the side.

The Waratahs have struggled for points in a lot of games this season, aside from the Reds match, often struggling to convert those try scoring chances and having a lack of flair to score tries.

How do they solve the issues? Well, I’d be on the Waratahs staff if I could answer that, but when the pack often holds its own against opposition then it must be looked at where it goes wrong outside there.

With the young fly half like Will Harrison often leading the charge, his fellow backs are not following his lead. Karmichael Hunt made a small impact on his return but the man who has struck a difference in this team is Jake Gordon.

Gordon is a fully committed player who, as all good scrum halves should, will be following up any half breaks, any chances and be one of the first in support to the ball carrier and that’s why hes often the man celebrating the five pointers.

While I think they Waratahs will be at the party for this match, the Brumbies have been burnt already this season and are a far to professional side to let slip again. The Waratahs have always struggled to put eighty minutes together without have some kid of breakdown during the match, that’s all the Brumbies will need.

RESULT – Brumbies by 6

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!


Super Rugby Aotearoa came to a close this weekend with sadly only one match for the final round with the Blues vs Crusaders match cancelled due to the Auckland lockdown. We did however, get to see the Highlanders host the Hurricanes behind the closed doors of Forsyth Barr Stadium which was a entertaining fixture. Lets take a look at the weekends action……


It wasn’t to be the spectacle we were expecting the close out this fantastic tournament but hopefully it could do some justice to the final weekend, albeit sadly without fans in the stands.

The Highlanders had the better start to the match with a decent period of possession, but it was the Hurricanes who were the first to strike the scoreboard with one of their first touches of the ball. Jordie Barrett again to spark it out on the left wing, he is an expert in finding support and picking great passes. Jamie Booth was delivered the ball back toward to middle of the park and delayed the play enough for his support to catch up and eventually use the numbers out wide for Vince Aso to score on the right.

The Highlanders struck back very quickly after a run of penalties getting them deep in Hurricanes territory. Quickly recycled phases caught the Hurricanes defence short out wide and Mitch Hunt fooled the rushing defence to get in behind and gift and easy run in for replacement winger Ngane Punivai to tie it back up.

The Hurricanes have two tried disallowed for being in touch and a forward pass when the forward get a bit fancy. Third times a charm though as the Hurricanes attack from inside their own twenty two, Jackson Garden-Bachop draws and offloads to Peter Umaga-Jensen who once again has Booth on hand who uses his pace and step to beat the cover defence to score under the sticks.

As they have done all night, the Highlanders trike right back! Of course its how they have done it all season long. From the lineout just ten meters out its that usual play that has Ash Dixon smashing it off the back and planting down the instant reply! This really is a cracking contest of attack at all costs and disregard all else.

An entertaining first half that could have seen the Hurricanes up by a lot more. Its been a fun game, the players are out to have a blast where it all about entertainment. Tries only allowed, 14-14 at half time.

Josh Ioane is not interested in tries in the second half though, an early chance to take three off the tee and the lead is taken and just like that, things start to get serious….

The Highlanders are really stepping up the pace as they dominate the opening period of the second half. Michael Collins support lines finally paid off as a great offload from Jona Nareki set his free through the middle of the park. Add in a little bit of power to keep away the covering defence and the Highlanders extend their lead!

The Hurricanes get their third try of the afternoon disallowed from a lineout set piece for obstructing a defender as Chase Tiatia sliced straight through the defence all a little too easily. TMO being kept busy today.

The Highlanders are dominating the second half so far and go back to the lineout maul when gifted with another oppitunity. The Hurricanes mess up defending it terrible and not only watch Ash Dixon crash over but also lose Ardie Savea to the bin for coming in from the side and stopping the ball being placed down, a free seven pointer for the Highlanders who see their lead rocket up to 31-14 and a man advantage just before the hour mark.

Despite being a man down, the Hurricanes manage some possision down into the Highlanders territory and start to look dangerous. A loose carry puts an end to that which Aaron Smith picks up and releases Mitch Hunt from eighty meters out and he shows some burners like we have not seen from him before, to outpace the defence for the full length of the field to give a huge counter punch to extend the lead even more!

With fifteen men back on the field, the Hurricanes start to get back into the game. Working into good position on attack, they mix things up with a little grubber in behind the Highlanders defence. Mitch Hunt makes a hash of covering it in his in goal, it bobbles free for Peter Umaga-Jensen to clean up just before the line. Another Hurricanes seven, does that breath life back in the match at 38-21 with eight to play?

Its not to be for the Hurricanes! The Highlanders hold things much tighter for the final stanza of the match and claim themselves a quality 38-21 victory. Full of entertainment, tries, line breaks and excitement. A packed Forsyth Barr would have sounded spectacular, but sadly that wasn’t to be.

The home side were extremely impressive during the second half after a tight opening forty minutes. It was a great occasion for Ash Dixon in his 100th match and Aaron Smith who cracked up an extraordinary 150th Super Rugby cap with the Highlanders. They produced a strong squad game but their real strength for the first time this season came from the bench. Manaaki Selby-Rickit had his best game in a Highlanders shirt. Michael Collins looked solid in midfield and the team continuity was the best its been all season.

It was a festival type atmosphere from the Hurricanes who seemed to be out for a bit of fun to finish their season, score some tries and have a blast. Jordie Barrett was again a standout and Scott Scrafton is a glue to the Hurricanes pack but the real star was Jamie Booth. Booth and Finlay Christie at the Blues have been the best performing scrum halves in this competition and Booth for me has done enough to be a starting nine somewhere, I doubt at the Hurricanes but he needs to be playing first team rugby.


What could have been the greatest game of our Super Rugby Aotearoa season, has been torn away at the last minute thanks for COVID yet again. With Auckland back in lock down, this game was never going to go ahead.

Lets hope if anything, this fires the Blues on to better things next season, whatever format that may be, and to get themselves up to that Crusaders level. Lets hope so.

A no result draw was the ending of the season, but just imagine if the Highlanders had won last weekend and this was the decider and it couldn’t be played…. imagine that…. We wouldn’t hear the end of it…. The Crusaders the rightful champions of whats been the best season of Super Rugby in quite some time.

We can all agree though, this game would have been a ripper! Maybe in 2021, boy it better be an improvement of a year…

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby Aotearoa! Rugby is back! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and Thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!