The second round of Super Rugby 2020 took place this past weekend and once more accounted for two massive surprises: Highlanders lost at home to Sharks and Crusaders lost away to Chiefs. Nobody with an actual clue about rugby would have predicted those two results. They were simply too improbable.
Then again, perhaps we shouldn’t be that surprised: those two matches were saddled with two of the worst referees ever to pick up a whistle. Angus Gardner was running around in mindless circles in Dunedin while Ben O’Keeffe had his head firmly up his own arse in Hamilton.
Other than that, the weekend went pretty much as expected – albeit with some results tighter or more convincing than the fans might have expected. Over in Canberra on Friday, match reports suggest that Brumbies took the game by the scruff of the neck in the first half by scoring four unanswered tries. After that, the visitors from Melbourne were chasing the game. Final score 39-26.
Saturday’s second match – after the Crusaders’ shock – saw Waratahs host Blues in Sydney. And the first half was quite even with the teams breaking for oranges with the score on 7-8. But Blues came out on a mission in the second stanza and took the game away with two quick tries. Final score 12-32.
Across in Johannesburg, Lions were welcoming Reds and looked rather shaky in defence and without imagination on attack. They won in the end by it was far closer than it should have been (27-20) and they failed to secure a bonus point.
Then it was the local derby as Bulls travelled to Cape Town and came away from the encounter without a single point – at all. The final score was 13-0 and that was more to do with Bulls’ utter cluelessness on attack than with the solidity of the defence. It was trademark Pote Human domkrag rugby, with all the emphasis on the first syllable.
Then it was time – at 1am on Sunday morning – for what was probably the most entertaining match of the weekend as Jaguares hosted Hurricanes in Buenos Aires. It was a tough match to call with both sides always in it and a 79th minute try that sealed it for the visitors (23-26).