Photo: Kerry Marshall,
There was a big high, but also some terrible lows... here then are your five flashpoints of week nine of this year’s Super Rugby competition, according to Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Jinne, but these Aussie teams are swak

We’ve known for a while that the five Australian teams are pretty poor and wouldn’t get into the play-offs if that was determined by log points only, but the men from Down Under hit a new low this last weekend. 

Okay, so the Rebels held the Sharks in Durban, but they only scored nine points, and the Force didn’t concede more than 16 points against the Chiefs in Perth, but the Sharks were coming off a bye and were rusty, while the Chiefs are travelling back home after their trip to South Africa.

But what about two of Australia’s supposed strongest teams, the Waratahs and the Brumbies. The Tahs were terrible in losing to the Kings, while the Brumbies gave up a 21-14 lead at half-time to lose 56-21 to the Hurricanes.

Barrett is simply brilliant

Former Crusaders and All Black flyhalf Dan Carter was once considered the best No 10 in the world, and many have even said he is the best flyhalf to have played the game. 

Well, Beauden Barrett is better than Carter and will go down as one of the greatest players of all time. His influence on rugby matches i s unmatched and while Vince Aso scored a hat-trick of tries against the Brumbies this last weekend, it was Barrett who stole the show. Again. 

His linebreaks and attacking kicks are in a league of their own, but it’s his reading of the game that stands out above everything else ... he just knows what to do every time he touches the ball. Brilliant.

Crusaders in another league

There was Robbie Deans, there was Todd Blackadder and now there is Scott Robertson ... it makes little difference who is in charge of the Crusaders, they still play the same attack-minded rugby they did years ago when they dominated the competition. 

The men from Christchurch may not have won the Super Rugby title in a few years, but they look every bit a champion team as this year’s competition hits the halfway point.

Well done, wonderful Kings

Okay, let’s first state very clearly that the Waratahs were horribly poor in their home match against arguably South Africa’s weakest side, but let’s also take nothing away from the Kings, and that means their players and the coaching staff. 

No one gave them a chance to beat the former champions in Sydney, but they played with fire in their bellies and never stood back for anything and deservedly triumphed 26-24 for only their second win this season. 

They are a side without a sponsor, there are concerns about their future participation in the competition and they do not have great depth, but they’re a team that play for 80 minutes, they care for each other and they just want to play rugby ... and you can’t ask for more than that.

What a Sharks shocker

The Bulls’ 20-14 win against the Cheetahs was a rather poor advertisement for Super Rugby but it was still far better than the horror show produced in Durban in the late game on Saturday. The 9-9 draw reminded one of that other shocker involving the Sharks a good few years ago now when they faced the Reds in Durban, too, and won 6-3. 

The fact neither side scored a try tells the full story ... it was a snore-fest best forgotten very quickly; it’s no surprise many feel Super Rugby is no longer very super. Anyhow, the Sharks had their chances, but poor option-taking (read, quick-tap penalties) cost them dearly, as did the red-carding of Andre Esterhuizen, who can expect to spend several weeks sidelined.


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The Star

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