Another Super Rugby round, another Australian side loses to a New Zealand team; the Highlanders' victory over the Brumbies puts the losing streak at 34, with no signs of a reverse on the horizon.

The reasons for the dominance on this side of the Tasman are manifold, but the main one appears to be the Kiwi teams' ability to attack with a clear-headed focus compared with the Australians. Players from New Zealand seem to have an ability to play at pace without rushing - an important distinction taught in these parts from a young age.

The Brumbies were fully in the match in Dunedin on Saturday night. The Highlanders led only 12-10 at halftime, and were struggling at scrum time, giving away penalties and conceding a set-piece try to big No 8 Isi Naisarani at the break.

The game was more open in the second half, but virtually every time the Brumbies put themselves in an attacking position, they lost their heads and the ball. This was most apparent during the 10-minute period in which first-five Lima Sopoaga was in the sinbin.


The Brumbies were desperate to make the Highlanders pay but such was the jittery nature of their attack, and the home team's scrambling defence, it appeared as if they, rather than the Highlanders, had a numerical disadvantage.

The Blues apart, once the New Zealand teams build momentum and put phases together, they invariably come away with points. After an uncertain start in Melbourne against the Rebels late last month in the first transtasman clash of the season, the Hurricanes finished well over the top of the home side for a 50-19 victory.

The same applied for the Highlanders in their 43-17 win over the Brumbies at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Next week the Chiefs play the Reds in Brisbane and another New Zealand victory is almost guaranteed.

The culling of the Western Force this season to cut the Australians from five to four teams may have upped the quality slightly across the Tasman, but that hasn't been apparent in the two transtasman matches.

The Waratahs are third on the table with five wins from seven (but have yet to play a New Zealand team), and the Rebels are sixth with four wins from seven (but have played only the Hurricanes).

The Reds, now back down in 12th place, had a harder edge at the start of the season thanks possibly to the coaching of notorious task master Brad Thorn, but will now almost certainly fade due to the collateral damage of injuries - a reality of the competition that New Zealand sides also cope with far better.

That's the other advantage on this side of the Tasman - greater depth and an ability for inexperienced players to enter a team and perform almost straight away due to the structures and coaching quality.

There is angst in Australia at the inability of their teams to break this extraordinary streak that began in 2016, and there could be pain ahead - three of the Crusaders' next four matches are against Australian teams (Brumbies, Rebels and Waratahs).