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No fixtures available
The Crusaders were the only team to coast into the Super Rugby semifinals at the weekend with the other three encounters all closely-fought affairs. The Waratahs looked gone at halftime in Sydney, before the "big three" burst into life.
The opening weekend of the Super Rugby playoffs presents three matches that appear to be extremely even contests, particularly those in Sydney and Wellington. Can the Waratahs and Hurricanes respond after last week?
There was plenty on the line in the final regular season round yet two Australian teams were unable to perform when it mattered most. The Brumbies did, however, exposing the Waratahs for exactly what they are.
Sunwolves winger Semesi Masirewa was given a red card for a lifting tackle on Bernard Foley. It was the correct decision to the letter of the law, but could it have been better served by a report system? Your Round 18 Super Rugby talking points are here.
Super Rugby returned from a month-long hiatus only for the negative themes from the June Test series to immediately surface in the provincial competition. Thankfully 24 hours later, the Chiefs helped remind us just how good the game can be.
The Rebels may have ended Australia's 32-game winless streak in New Zealand, but it was the Waratahs, Reds derby that produced the highlights, meanwhile two All Blacks players have been left red-faced for off-field hijinks.
The Waratahs were hoping to add the Chiefs to their list of victims after ending the trans-Tasman streak in Sydney last week. And they would have, too, had it not been for the game's premier lock: Brodie Retallick.
After 40 games, Australia finally saw the end of their New Zealand hoodoo with the Waratahs putting on a slick display to thump the Highlanders, while the deliberate knockdown debate continues to rage.
NSW Waratahs had every right to feel aggrieved over some of the decisions that were, and were not, made in Christchurch. The cold hard fact is, however, that a 29-0 lead should, no matter the opposition, be enough to go on and claim victory.
Australia's losing streak to their New Zealand counterparts has hit a new low, with Australia's best falling to New Zealand's worse, while the Jaguares and the Sharks found a way to get the win over two New Zealand teams.
The red-hot Jaguares lodged one of the great moments in their short Super Rugby history by stunning the Chiefs 23-19 in Rotorua on Friday night.
The Reds gave Australian rugby something to smile about with a shock win over the Lions. But that warm glow lasted little more than three hours as the Brumbies' shortcomings exposed a problem which requires urgent attention Down Under.
Round 10 Super Rugby action saw the Australian sides cop awful wake-up calls, the Chiefs add more casualties to their injury list and the Lions and Bulls shine in South Africa.
The Brumbies have completed a clean sweep of Australian losses to overseas teams in the latest round of Super Rugby, with a 25-20 home defeat by the Jaguares.
Round 9 Super Rugby action saw Ben Lam continue his emergence as a new All Blacks candidate with a huge performance against the Chiefs, while the Waratahs are still surging, and Warrick Gelant is shining for the Bulls.
Melbourne's second-half woes have continued to plague their Super Rugby season with the Jaguares surging to a heartbreaking 25-22 win in their AAMI Park clash.
Round 8 Super Rugby action saw the Brumbies offer a glimmer of hope to their fans, a Beauden Barrett-less Hurricanes scrape to victory while the Lions found their attacking mojo.
Juan Martin Hernandez has announced his retirement from professional rugby in an interview with Midi Olympique.
Round 7 Super Rugby action saw the Rebels brought back to earth with a thud, the Rieko Ioane experiment falter and the Lions look lost against the Crusaders.
Brad Thorn may be working wonders at Ballymore, but Rebels coach Dave Wessels is also showing his value to Australian rugby. The South African provided a perfect blueprint last Friday night while Damian McKenzie delivered at No.10 for the Chiefs.
The Brad Thorn effect has taken hold at the Reds, a third straight win built on yet another gritty defensive performance. Meanwhile, the unbeaten Highlanders and a young Stormers fly-half also make the headlines in Round 5.
Queensland's Super Rugby renaissance has continued with a stirring 18-7 victory over the Jaguares in Buenos Aires - their third win in a row.
Friday's Australian derby produced a quality battle between two impressive No. 8s but the result is nothing more than short-term agony for Michael Cheika. The Blues and South African youngsters also wrote themselves into the Round 4 headlines.
NSW Waratahs are facing a huge Super Rugby test against the unbeaten, new-look, Melbourne Rebels after their unbeaten start to the season was shattered in a 38-28 loss to the Jaguares.
The Hurricanes bounced back from last week's loss in Pretoria with a bonus-point victory over the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, the hosts missing a whopping 27 tackles.
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