Super Rugby Aotearoa - Round One

June 14 2020


Super Rugby Aotearoa
©

Super Rugby Week One Results and Video Highlights



Highlanders 28 - Chiefs 27

Our "experts" all got this one wrong although both Clay and AaronT were minutes away from claiming 2 points for the winning team plus correct differential as they had both called Chiefs +2. It was Chiefs +2, 27-25, when Bryn Gatland dropped a goal with just over a minute and half remaining. The fact that Bryn is the son of the opposing coach, Warren Gatland of the Chiefs, makes it even more amazing. He wasn't even listed to play in the match until the starting #10 Josh Ioane was pulled with a late injury. Mitch Hunt was moved from fullback to #10 and Bryn Gatland was brought onto the bench. As AaronF remarked, "Gatlands son wasn't in the lineup when I made the pick, re draw!"

What to learn from Round One, both home teams won so perhaps an extra weighting to the home sides early on. The Chiefs forward pack looked a little anaemic but how much of a difference will it make when NZ captain, Sam Cane, is back at #7 and Tyler Ardron is brought into the 2nd row. With Ardron already announcing his decision to move to Castre, the Chiefs may have been reluctant to use him but they need his physicality in the engine room. The Chiefs twice had the man advantage but weren't able to dominate in those periods.

Next week the Chiefs host the Blues. The Highlanders have a bye next week.



Blues 30 - Hurricanes 20

Three out of four of our pundits got this right but no one picked the +10, Clay being the closest at +6.

The Blues backline was sizzling and they dominated the 2nd half, scoring a try then keeping the scoreboard ticking over with penalties. Their #8 Hoskins Sotutu put in a dominant performance, he's only 21, played for NZ U20 in 2018, and will likely show up in an All Blacks jersey in the near future. Otere Black at #10 had a strong performance and may keep Dan Carter out of the starting XV for a while although Carter will likely show up on the bench sooner rather than later.

The Hurricanes host the Crusaders next week, if there's a chance to break the home team streak, this may be the one. It will be the Crusaders first match and everyone is keen to see their form early on.



Standings


The Pundits

MarkB 1-1
ClayP 1-1
AaronT 1-1
AaronF 0-2



Super Rugby Aotearoa Kicks Off This Weekend: Our Panel of Experts Make Their Predictions



This weekend will see the kickoff of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season, a home and away 10 week season between 5 Super Rugby franchises in NZ. The season ends August 16th with no playoffs planned. This week sees the following two matches (see below) with the Crusaders having a bye. In BC both games are on the 13th, one just past midnight and the other at 8:30pm.

The games will be shown live on TSN2 in Canada and ESPN+ in the USA, we hope to have them archived in our members area by Sunday.

13 June Highlanders v Chiefs Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin 19:05 (00:05am PT June 13)
14 June Blues v Hurricanes Eden Park, Auckland 3:35 (8:35pm PT June 13)

We've assembled a team of experts to write up their predictions and we'll keep a cumulative score according to the following table.

Weekly points

Predict winner = 1 point
Predict winner + differential = 2 points
Predict winner + exact score = 3 points

End of season points

Predict top of table team = 2 points
Predict correct placing for other teams = 1 point

We should also mention two new laws being trialled in Super Rugby Aotearoa, a 10 minute overtime if there is a draw at the end of regular time - the first score wins, also a red card removes the player from the game but a sub can be brought in after 20 minutes. The point system is 4 for a win, 1 for a loss, 2 for a draw (after overtime) and a BP for scoring 3 tries or more than the opponent.

The expert panel is made up of:

Clay Panga, former Canadian national team player who grew up in the Auckland area and is likely to favour the Blues. He knows both the Canadian and NZ landscapes well. He's coached at the club and representative level.

Aaron Frisby, has coached and played in BC and Canada at the club and representative level. Growing up in the Queenstown area he may have a soft spot for the Highlanders.

Aaron Takel is the current BC Rugby manager of men's rugby both at the senior and youth level. Originally from Wales he'll be bringing a critical European eye to the southern hemisphere competition. He's a statistics guy so will be pouring over weekly stats to fine tune his predictions.

Mark Bryant, editor of BC Rugby News, long time rugby pundit, former old boys player will be using a complex formula of hunches, stats and previous results to come up with a prediction along with some background info on the matchups.

Here are this week's lineups, followed by the predictions (click on image to expand).

Chiefs


Highlanders


Hurricanes


Blues


Mark's Picks

The Crusaders no doubt will be season favourites, they've won the last 3 full Super Rugby titles and 10 titles overall. They're my pick to win the league, I'm picking the Blues with the addition of Barrett and Carter for 2nd, Chiefs with Tyler Ardron 3rd, followed by Hurricanes and Highlanders.

Final Finish Prediction

1 Crusaders
2 Blues
3 Chiefs
4 Hurricanes
5 Highlanders

Chiefs @ Highlanders - Chiefs to win 32-21 (+11)

The home side are early picks to earn the wooden spoon, before the full Super Rugby season was suspended the Highlanders were 1-4-1 and near the bottom of the table. The Chiefs were 4-2 and behind the Crusaders and Chiefs. The Highlanders were only averaging 15 points a game during those 6 matches while giving up 27 per match. Chiefs were scoring 32 per match and giving up 21 per match.

Hurricanes @ Blues - Blues to win 27-24 (+3)

Should be a good match between north island rivals. The Blues making the headlines with the signing of Barrett and Carter, although we may not see Carter for a few weeks. The Blues also have the Ioane brothers in the loose forwards and backline. The question may be the tight five. The Hurricanes have some prominent names with Dane Coles at hooker, Ardie Savea at loose forward, TJ Perenara at scrum half and Jordie Barrett in the backline. The Blues were 5-2 before the break, scoring 27 points per match but only giving up 19 points per match. The Hurricanes were 4-2 scoring 28 points per match and giving up 22 per match. This should be close.

Clay's Picks

Final Finish Prediction

1 Blues
2 Crusaders
3 Chiefs
4 Hurricanes
5 Highlanders

Chiefs @ Highlanders - Chiefs to win 21 - 19 (+2)

In front of 50,000 fans the Highlanders will be tough to beat at home. I am looking forward to seeing the scrum halves Weber and Smith go head to head. Expect them both to push the pace of the game. The Chiefs back line has some serious firepower with Leinart-Brown, Wainui, McKenzie in the starting line up and the veteran Cruden to add his 2 cents off the bench. Both forward packs look evenly matched and considering this stadium has a roof, I have to give the edge to the Chiefs. It will be a nail biter.

Hurricanes @ Blues - Blues to win 27-21 (+6)

Another big crowd expected for this fixture. No Carter in the line up. A little bit disappointing but he did mention in an interview this week that being game ready and being fit are quite different. The Hurricanes and Blues met already this year with the Aucklanders picking up the W on the road. It is noteworthy to mention that the Hurricanes played a man down for most of the Second half as Tyler Lomax was red carded. The match up between Laumape and Faiani is exciting, Faiani has established himself as an up and comer and Laumape has a point to prove to All Black selectors after missing out on RWC 2019. The bench for the Canes is very strong with Proctor, Aumua, Fifita and Ardie Savea making his return from injury. Ioane could be the difference maker in this one, he’s a try scoring machine and with Beauden Barrett pulling the strings from full back the Canes backline will have to be on their toes.

Aaron's Picks (Frisby)

Final Finish Prediction

1 Crusaders
2 Chiefs
3 Hurricanes
4 Blues
5 Highlanders

Chiefs @ Highlanders - Chiefs to win 27-24 (+3)

Hometown advantage will play a big part in this game and the emotion of the first big event out of lockdown will give the landers a bit of boost. Landers will keep it close but they are grossly understrength compared to other rosters in the competition and a quality Chiefs side will get the job done late.

Hurricanes @ Blues - Canes to win 31-29 (+2)

We hear it every year, "it's the year of the Blues" but it never is. I'm not buying into the hype of the part time fly halves joining the squad making a difference. Dirty Dane and the boys will have last laugh in this one.

Aaron's Picks (Takel)

Final Finish Prediction

1 Crusaders
2 Hurricanes
3 Chiefs
4 Blues
5 Highlanders

Chiefs @ Highlanders – Chiefs to win 29-27 (+2)

Over the last 10 games the Chiefs have averaged a 50% win percentage and 30.9 points per game. They have 6 wins from their last 10 away games in comparison to 5 home wins from the last 10 for the Highlanders. Overall the sides have met 33 times, with Chiefs leading 18 games to 14. Dunedin they've met 12 times, with Highlanders leading 6 games to 5. Recently Highlanders lead the head to head, winning 6 matches from the last 10.

Hurricanes @ Blues – Blues to win 22-20 (+2)

In their last 10 home games the Blues have won 60% of their games, but it’s a close call with the Hurricanes winning 70% of their last 10 away games. Overall the sides have met 33 times, with Hurricanes leading 17 games to 15. At Eden Park, they've met 16 times, with both sides winning 8 matches. Recently Hurricanes lead the head to head, winning 9 matches from the last 10. This one is going to be close, both teams averaging around 25 points per game!

TEAMS

Crusaders

Props

Samoa Michael Alaalatoa
New Zealand Harry Allan
New Zealand George Bower
Ireland Oliver Jager
New Zealand Joe Moody
New Zealand Isi Tu'ungafasi

Hookers

New Zealand Andrew Makalio
New Zealand Brodie McAlister
New Zealand Codie Taylor
Australia Hugh Roach

Locks

New Zealand Scott Barrett
New Zealand Mitchell Dunshea
New Zealand Luke Romano
New Zealand Quinten Strange
New Zealand Sam Whitelock

Loose forwards

New Zealand Ethan Blackadder
New Zealand Tom Christie
New Zealand Whetu Douglas
New Zealand Cullen Grace
New Zealand Billy Harmon
New Zealand Sione Havili
New Zealand Ethan Roots
New Zealand Tom Sanders

Halfbacks (Scrum-halves)

New Zealand Mitchell Drummond
New Zealand Ere Enari
New Zealand Bryn Hall

First Five-Eighths (Fly-halves)

New Zealand Fergus Burke
New Zealand Brett Cameron
New Zealand Richie Mo'unga

Midfielders (Centres)

New Zealand Braydon Ennor
New Zealand Inga Finau
New Zealand Jack Goodhue
New Zealand Dallas McLeod

Outside Backs

New Zealand George Bridge
New Zealand Leicester Fainga'anuku
New Zealand David Havili
New Zealand Will Jordan
Fiji Manasa Mataele
Tonga Fetuli Paea
New Zealand Sevu Reece

Blues

Props

New Zealand Alex Hodgman
New Zealand Ezekiel Lindenmuth
New Zealand Sione Mafileo
New Zealand Marcel Renata
New Zealand Karl Tu'inukuafe
New Zealand Ofa Tu'ungafasi
New Zealand Joe Walsh

Hookers

New Zealand Kurt Eklund
Samoa Ray Niuia
New Zealand James Parsons
New Zealand Luteru Tolai

Locks

New Zealand Aaron Carroll
New Zealand Gerard Cowley-Tuioti
New Zealand Josh Goodhue
New Zealand Jacob Pierce
New Zealand Patrick Tuipulotu (c)
New Zealand Sam Caird

Loose forwards

New Zealand Blake Gibson
New Zealand Akira Ioane
United States Tony Lamborn
New Zealand Dalton Papalii
New Zealand Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa
New Zealand Tom Robinson
New Zealand Hoskins Sotutu
New Zealand James Tucker

Halfbacks (Scrum-halves)

Scotland Finlay Christie
New Zealand Sam Nock
New Zealand Jonathan Ruru

First Five-Eighths (Fly-halves)

New Zealand Beauden Barrett
New Zealand Otere Black
New Zealand Jack Heighton
New Zealand Stephen Perofeta
New Zealand Harry Plummer
New Zealand Dan Carter

Midfielders (Centres)

New Zealand TJ Faiane
New Zealand Rieko Ioane
England Joe Marchant
New Zealand Tanielu Tele’a
New Zealand Tamati Tua

Outside backs

New Zealand Caleb Clarke
New Zealand Matt Duffie
New Zealand Jordan Hyland
Fiji Emoni Narawa
New Zealand Jared Page
New Zealand Mark Telea

Chiefs

Props

New Zealand Ryan Coxon
New Zealand Nepo Laulala
New Zealand Atu Moli
New Zealand Reuben O'Neill
New Zealand Aidan Ross
New Zealand Angus Ta'avao
New Zealand Robb Cobb
South Africa Ross Geldenhuys
New Zealand Ollie Norris

Hookers

New Zealand Nathan Harris
New Zealand Donald Maka
New Zealand Bradley Slater
Tonga Samisoni Taukei'aho

Locks

New Zealand Naitoa Ah Kuoi
New Zealand Michael Allardice
Canada Tyler Ardron
New Zealand Laghlan McWhannell
New Zealand Tupou Vaa'i

Loose forwards

New Zealand Lachlan Boshier
New Zealand Mitchell Brown
New Zealand Sam Cane (c)
New Zealand Luke Jacobson
New Zealand Mitchell Karpik
South Africa Dylan Nel
Fiji Pita Gus Sowakula
New Zealand James Thompson
New Zealand Adam Thomson
New Zealand Simon Parker

Halfbacks (Scrum-halves)

New Zealand Lisati Milo-Harris
New Zealand Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi
New Zealand Brad Weber
New Zealand Leroy Carter

First Five-Eighths (Fly-halves)

New Zealand Aaron Cruden
New Zealand Tiaan Falcon
New Zealand Damian McKenzie
New Zealand Kaleb Trask

Midfielders (Centres)

New Zealand Orbyn Leger
New Zealand Anton Lienert-Brown
Samoa Tumua Manu
New Zealand Alex Nankivell
New Zealand Bailyn Sullivan

Outside Backs

New Zealand Solomon Alaimalo
New Zealand Sam McNicol
New Zealand Kini Naholo
New Zealand Etene Nanai-Seturo
New Zealand Shaun Stevenson
New Zealand Quinn Tupaea
New Zealand Sean Wainui

Hurricanes

Props

New Zealand Fraser Armstrong
New Zealand Alex Fidow
New Zealand Tyrel Lomax
New Zealand Ben May
New Zealand Xavier Numia
New Zealand Pouri Rakete-Stones
New Zealand Tevita Mafileo

Hookers

New Zealand Asafo Aumua
New Zealand Dane Coles (cc)
New Zealand Ricky Riccitelli

Locks

New Zealand James Blackwell
Samoa Kane Le'aupepe
New Zealand Liam Mitchell
New Zealand Scott Scrafton
New Zealand Isaia Walker-Leawere

Loose forwards

New Zealand Gareth Evans
New Zealand Vaea Fifita
New Zealand Devan Flanders
New Zealand Du'Plessis Kirifi
New Zealand Reed Prinsep
New Zealand Ardie Savea
New Zealand Murphy Taramai

Halfbacks (Scrum-halves)

New Zealand Jamie Booth
New Zealand TJ Perenara (cc)
New Zealand Jonathan Taumateine

First Five-Eighths (Fly-halves)

New Zealand Jackson Garden-Bachop
New Zealand James Marshall
New Zealand Fletcher Smith

Midfielders (Centres)

New Zealand Ngani Laumape
New Zealand Billy Proctor
New Zealand Danny Toala
New Zealand Peter Umaga-Jensen

Outside backs

New Zealand Vince Aso
New Zealand Jordie Barrett
New Zealand Wes Goosen
New Zealand Ben Lam
New Zealand Jonah Lowe
Samoa Chase Tiatia
South Africa Kobus van Wyk
New Zealand Salesi Rayasi

Highlanders

Props

New Zealand Ethan de Groot
New Zealand Josh Iosefa-Scott
New Zealand Ayden Johnstone
New Zealand Daniel Lienert-Brown
New Zealand Jeff Thwaites
Tonga Siate Tokolahi
Ireland Conán O'Donnell

Hookers

New Zealand Liam Coltman
New Zealand Ash Dixon
New Zealand Ricky Jackson
New Zealand Nathan Vella

Locks

New Zealand Josh Dickson
New Zealand Pari Pari Parkinson
New Zealand Manaaki Selby-Rickit
New Zealand Jack Whetton
New Zealand Will Tucker

Loose forwards

New Zealand Teariki Ben-Nicholas
New Zealand Shannon Frizell
New Zealand Dillon Hunt
Tonga Zane Kapeli
New Zealand James Lentjes (c)
New Zealand Marino Mikaele-Tu’u
New Zealand Sione Misiloi
New Zealand Jesse Parete
New Zealand Slade McDowall

Halfbacks (Scrum-halves)

Tonga Folau Fakatava
New Zealand Kayne Hammington
New Zealand Aaron Smith

First Five-Eighths (Fly-halves)

New Zealand Bryn Gatland
New Zealand Mitchell Hunt
New Zealand Josh Ioane

Midfielders (Centres)

New Zealand Scott Gregory
New Zealand Rob Thompson
New Zealand Sio Tomkinson
New Zealand Thomas Umaga-Jensen
New Zealand Teihorangi Walden

Outside Backs

New Zealand Michael Collins
New Zealand Tima Fainga'anuku [c]
New Zealand Connor Garden-Bachop
Australia Chris Kuridrani
New Zealand Josh McKay
Fiji Tevita Nabura
New Zealand Jona Nareki
New Zealand Ngane Punivai
New Zealand Sam Gilbert
New Zealand Vilimoni Koroi
New Zealand Nehe Milner-Skudder

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