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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 23 March, 2019
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Brumbies edge out the Sharks in Canberra as Crusaders rip apart Reds

Jake White’s Sharks have just a one-point lead at the top of the table, as the Crusaders and Chiefs continue to grow.

Quade Cooper was guilty of some loose kicking as the Reds lost heavily to the Crusaders.
Quade Cooper was guilty of some loose kicking as the Reds lost heavily to the Crusaders.
Image: STEVE BELL

JAKE WHITE’S SHARKS cling to a one-point lead in Super Rugby after going down to title rivals ACT Brumbies last weekend, with the ever-improving defending champions Waikato Chiefs closing in.

Former Brumbies coach White had a losing return to Canberra as Laurie Fisher’s side ground out a 16-9 win in damp conditions to move themselves up to third on the overall log, just two points behind the Sharks.

The home team scored the only try of a physical affair, as lock Sam Carter took a short pass from scrum-half Nic White to surge to a 63rd-minute score. A conversion and three penalties from Christian Lealiifano were enough to secure the win, as the Sharks could only muster nine points from the boot of out-half Frans Steyn.

Dave Rennie’s Chiefs are now just a single point behind the Sharks after the Waikato side registered a battling bonus-point 32-20 win over the Auckland Blues in New Plymouth.

Prop Ben Tameifuna dotted down twice, with Tom Marshall and Tim Nanai-Williams – after a superb passage of Chiefs play – adding the other tries, as Gareth Anscombe kicked 12 points.

Source: The Blues/YouTube

The Blues will have been disappointed with their disjointed performance, even if there were impressive tries for the in-form Lolagi Visinia and George Moala.

Elsewhere, seven-time champions Crusaders moved ominously into fourth place with a record-breaking 57-29 win over the Queensland Reds in Brisbane on Sunday.

An intelligent first-half performance from the Reds had the Quade Cooper-prompted side in a 17-16 lead at the break, following tries from wing duo Jamie-Jerry Taulagi and Dom Shipperley.

However, the second period saw the Crusaders ruthlessly punish some loose kicking and ragged chasing by the the home team to finish the game with no less than six tries. Hard-working wide man Johnny McNicholl crossed the whitewash twice, with powerhouse Fijian Nemani Nadolo also on the score sheet again.

Source: რაგბის ფანები/YouTube

The Force made it seven wins from their last eight games in downing the Cheetahs 23-16 in Bloemfontein for their first win in South Africa since 2011, thereby moving into fifth position on the overall Super Rugby table.

The Honey Badger™ bagged a meat pie for the Aussie side, while South African native Sias Ebersohn kicked 13 points as the Force’s remarkable season continued.

The Hurricanes and Highlanders are sixth and seventh respectively overall after weekend wins.

The Hurricanes had a hard-fought 25-15 win over the Rebels in Melbourne, while the Highlanders escaped with the narrowest of victories to put their season back on track with a 23-22 victory over the Lions in Dunedin.

Source: რაგბის ფანები/YouTube

In the weekend’s other match, the Blue Bulls had a come-from-behind 28-12 win over fellow South African side the Stormers – who are now bottom of the overall table – in Pretoria.

Michel Chieka’s Waratahs had a bye this weekend.

Super Rugby results (Week 13)

  • Chiefs 32-20 Blues
  • Rebels 15-25 Hurricanes
  • Highlanders 23-22 Lions
  • Brumbies 16-9 Sharks
  • Cheetahs 16-23 Force
  • Bulls 28-12 Stormers
  • Reds 29-57 Crusaders

- Additional reporting by AFP.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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