Round fourteen of the Super Rugby competition was most certainly a successful one for the South African sides.
The past weekend’s fixtures yielded wins for the likes of all of the South African rugby teams, with the exception of the underperforming Lions, who were convincingly beaten by the Waratahs.
The Lions, who started the season with surprisingly good form, have slowly edged their way further and further down the log, and are now sitting in fourteenth place, just above the Reds.
The rest of the South African sides, however, showed just why they are never to be discounted, no matter what point in the competition you are playing them at. Impressive wins by the Cheetahs over the top of the Australian conference Brumbies, the Sharks taking down the on-form Crusaders, and the Stormers making an easy game out of the Force, showed exactly why SA rugby is a force to be reckoned with.
The Bulls sat out over the past weekend, with a bye, but no doubt used the time to prepare for their highly anticipated match against the Brumbies this weekend. The Brumbies will most likely be looking to make up for their loss over the past weekend and will come on to the pitch looking to prove a point. On the other hand, the Bulls have it all to play for this weekend, as they are hoping for a spot in the playoffs, and will have to win this weekend’s fixture if they wish to keep their playoff hopes viable.
In other results, the Highlanders have placed some stress on the Hurricanes, after defeating them 18-16 on Friday. This comes just as the Hurricane’s coach, Mark Hammett, has been appointed the new Director of Rugby at Welsh club, Cardiff Blues. The Red’s went down 27-30 in an all-Australian derby, to add to the worries of a floundering 2014 Reds team.
Injuries were rife in this weekend’s Super Rugby match-ups, with star flyhalf, Quade Cooper, out with a shoulder injury, to leave the Reds with a real dilemma, as he was arguably their best-performing player. The Rebels lose scrumhalf, Luke Burgess, to a knee injury. And the Lions are unlucky to lose Courtnall Skosan, Derick Minnie and Lionel Mapoe, all who have been ruled out for the remainder of their Australasian tour.
The Chiefs will be smiling this weekend, as their All Black flyhalf, Aaron Cruden returns from injury to boost their squad before their match-up with the Hurricanes, who will be desperate to win this one and stand a chance at moving into the playoff spots.
Round 14 results wrap-up:
Highlanders 18-16 Hurricanes
Sharks 30-25 Crusaders
Stormers 24-8 Force
Rebels 30-27 Reds
Cheetahs 27-21 Brumbies
Waratahs 41-13 Lions