2017 Super Rugby - Preseason games
Apparently, it's now half time between the Blues and Chiefs; Blues lead 26 to 7.
@Milk Another possibility is that he just takes a bit longer to get back to the required fitness after his break than the more experienced ABs. He may not have played very much, but still had to do all the training with the ABs.
Blake Gibson off injured.
According to twitter he jogged off.. so hopefully it's not too bad
@Duluth Fingers crossed. Especially after missing most of last season.
Try Ngani Laumape. The Canes lead 33-27.
Try Latu Vaeno; conversion Luteru Laulala. 26-14 Blues
The Blues updates on twitter don't give the scores, so hopefully this is correct.
Apparently, it's full time between the Canes and Saders, but they have not tweeted the final score.
I assume it's Hurricanes 33 to 27 Crusaders.
It's now also full time in the other game:
Blues 26 to 14 Chiefs.
@Stargazer yep Blake Gibson is injury prone so far in his career - needs to string games together - of course he's still young.
@KiwiMurph although being so young and picking up multiple injuries is a worry for his longevity in such a demanding position.
17 Feb 2017
A thoroughly impressive Blues side capped off its pre-season in the best possible way tonight, beating the Chiefs 26-14 at our training ground in Alexandra Park.
The soggy pitch couldn’t dampen the fiery encounter, which was played at home base after the earlier closure of Shadbolt Park at Suburbs Rugby Club forced the sudden relocation of the match, and health and safety reasons prevented us from opening it up to the general public.
Starting with a moment of silence for much-loved former All Black and Chiefs loose forward Sione Lauaki before kick off, the Blues dominated the opening exchanges, utterly destroying a Chiefs scrum before winger Matt Duffie scored a try between the posts after just five minutes.
Then it was like Groundhog Day a few minutes later when the Blues destroyed another Chiefs scrum, and Duffie scored his second try in the corner, deftly placing the ball in-goal as he went flying into touch.
But the Chiefs scrum improved as the match went on, and soon it was the Blues under pressure, holding out countless waves of attack as the visitors tried to bust down the immovable blue wall. Finally, Brodie Retallick found a way through and Aaron Cruden converted it.
That would be the last time the Chiefs would score until late in the second half. Soon after, Ihaia West scored a stunning breakaway try from halfway, which he converted himself, before a Gerard Cowley-Tuioti try and another conversion from West made it 26-7 at halftime.
The Blues carried on as they left off in the second half, but a much-improved defensive effort by the Chiefs turned the match into an arm wrestle. Both teams were held scoreless until Latu Vaeno scored for the Chiefs with five minutes to go.
But it was the Blues’ all-round performance – not the result – that impressed head coach Tana Umaga the most. His team was hot on attack, strong on defence, and the match marked the welcome return to action for All Blacks Charlie Faumuina and Ofa Tu’ungafasi, as well as the injury-plagued TJ Faiane.
“There’s a lot of positives we can take out of the game,” he said. “I’m also happy with the way Ihaia West was running the game, as well as Piers Francis out the back.”
It bodes well for an exciting Investec Super Rugby campaign ahead, which kicks off when the Blues face the Rebels in Melbourne on Thursday 23 February.
Blues 26 (Matt Duffie 2, Ihaia West, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti; Ihaia West 3 conversions)
Chiefs 14 (Brodie Retallick, Latu Vaeno; Aaron Cruden, Luteru Laulala conversions)
Hurricanes and Crusaders leave Waverley without any big injury concerns
They came, they played, they left in one piece.
Winning wasn't important at Waverley's Dallison Park on Friday. The record will show that the Hurricanes defeated the Crusaders 33-27 in the Super Rugby preseason clash, but what counted was that neither side picked up any serious injuries.
The Crusaders probably looked the better of the two, particularly when fullback Israel Dagg had the ball in his hands. For the Hurricanes, there was enough to suggest they're in decent shape ahead of the defence of their Super Rugby title.
The only potential injury alarm was sounded by Hurricanes fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder. On at halftime, he lasted less than 20 minutes, wandering off after scoring a try.
"He just got a little tweak in a lower hamstring when he scored that try, so I think it was precautionary more than anything else and I wanted to give Jonah Lowe a bit of a go anyway. I think he'll be fine," Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd said.
The Hurricanes lost halfback Chris Smylie (hamstring) and prop Loni Uhila (calf) to muscle twinges prior to the match, but that was the extent of their injuries. The Crusaders emerged similarly intact.
"Two halfs, two different teams. No injuries of note, saw some great stuff and then lost our rhythm," Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson said.
The Hurricanes fielded two entirely different XVs in each half and that made a fairly big bearing on the result. The Crusaders' best combination of the day met the Hurricanes' weakest and that led to a 27-19 lead for the visitors at halftime.
It ought to be more but - as he's proving very adept at - Hurricanes first five-eighth Beauden Barrett hauled in an intercept and went the length of the field.
His conversion marked the final act of the first half and gave the score a less emphatic look than the Crusaders' dominance had deserved. It was also Barrett's cue for a spell.
Barrett and brother Jordie had done some decent things during their stint. As had left wing Wes Goosen, who was busy and scored two tries off the back of good work from Jordie Barrett.
Right wing Ben Lam was another Hurricane to make a good impression.
But the Crusaders dominated the scrums and lineouts and that allowed outside backs such as Dagg and Seta Tamanivalu to shine. Tamanivalu, having a gallop on the right wing at the All Blacks selectors' request, looks to have a bit to offer in that position, having previously made his name at centre.
Crusaders props Owen Franks and Joe Moody looked in great nick and their scrummaging was first-rate.
The second half was a less open affair. An Otere Black bust set up Milner-Skudder's try, before a bullocking Ngani Laumape run clinched victory for the home side near fulltime.
Robertson liked what he saw from Tamanivalu on the wing and said it could be a longterm option, particularly given how happy he'd been with Ryan Crotty and Jack Goodhue in midfield.
"In the backline we've got some depth and I just can't wait for next week," said Robertson.
Hurricanes 33 (Wes Goosen 2, Beauden Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Ngani Laumape tries; Beauden Barrett con, Otere Black 2 con) Crusaders 27 (Seta Tamanivalu 3, Ben Funnell, Israel Dagg tries; Richie Mo'unga con). HT: 19-27.
Hopefully, there's more footage to come from today's games:
@Tim It's our year!
Someone has been uploading full pre-season matches to youtube.
Chiefs v Bulls
Blues v Hurricanes
Crusaders v Highlanders
From Stuff - "Blues openside flanker Blake Gibson was the only injury concern from the match but Umaga downplayed a shoulder knock that saw him leave the field."
Interesting that article above says Tamanivalu played right wing due to request of the ABs.
@KiwiMurph Good to hear that it wasn't his thumb(?) again.
Our scrum looks real promising in pre-season. Against the Canes, our scrum was downright dominate, and the only time our scrum got beat was when we brought on our 4th string tighthead(Renata) later in the game. It seems it was the same in the Chiefs game.
That scrum by Mafileo and Manu that drove the Canes' scrum back several metres and then into the sideline made me cry.
If Mafileo and Prattley are considered our third string tighthead and loosehead, then our prop depth isn't looking too shabby.