The best of worst from round two of Super Rugby.
Back of the week
All eyes were on Aaron Cruden and his electric backline when the Chiefs met the Lions in perfect conditions for running rugby in Hamilton.But it was Jantjies and the Lions who made the most of the sun on their backs, beating the Chiefs at their own game to earn a stunning victory. Sparked by halfback Faf de Klerk and their first five,the Lions gained more metres and enjoyed more clean breaks than their fancied opponents, with the halves pair stretching the Chiefs defence with incisive running and slick passing.To top it off, Jantjies added 16 points with the boot, including slotting one penalty from inside his own half.
Forward of the week
When the Chiefs signed promising prop Nepo Laulala in the off-season,many thought the Crusaders had missed a trick in letting him leave. Well, it seems so far as if Todd Blackadder's men will cope just fine with the players still at their disposal. Joe Moody, in particular,has picked up where he left off after last season's breakout campaign, anchoring a Crusaders scrum that dominated the Blues in a similar fashion to last week's demolition of the Chiefs' pack. Keeping Wyatt Crockett on the bench, Moody forms with Codie Taylor and OwenFranks a front row to rival any in the competition.
Malakai Fekitoa appeared to have scored his second try of the night to put his team ahead of the Hurricanes in a thrilling finish at Forsyth Barr Stadium. After forcing the ball at the base of a post in front of the 'Zoo', Fekitoa and his teammates celebrated and ran back to halfway...only for TMO Chris Wratt to effectively call them back after saying he couldn't spot a grounding. No try. Fortunately for both Wratt and the Highlanders, Hayden Parker kicked a penalty
The Fab Four
The Waratahs showed in round one they would likely be among the teams to beat in the Australian conference but, this weekend, the Brumbies showed their opponents will be playing for second place. The presumptive competition favourites did no harm to that tag on a comprehensive victory on Friday night, scoring three tries in the final 25 minutes to snap a streak of four straight losses to the Waratahs.
There was little about the Lions' ugly win over the Sunwolves to suggest this performance was possible. But after finding their footing against the Chiefs courtesy of a strong scrum and ascendancy in the penalty count, the Lions unleashed in the second half to blow away the Chiefs in an outstanding attacking effort. The Currie Cup champs must be taken seriously if they can replicate that display.
The Stormers matched the Lions in making it two wins from two in the new season, heading to Bloemfontein and accounting for a Cheetahs side who edged the Jaguares in round one. It was never comfortable on the scoreboard but the Stormers always looked like turning a weight of possession into competition points.
The best of an underwhelming Kiwi bunch in the second round? The Crusaders, aside from Nemani Nadolo, may lack the attacking flair to consistently test opposition defences, but their All Black-laden forward pack will make them very tough to beat. They were certainly far too tough for a disjointed Blues, with their scrum one of the best weapons in the competition.