Super Rugby is the pre-eminent professional club rugby competition in the southern hemisphere and involves five teams each from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It is also colloquially known as Super 15.
Christian Lealiifano kicks ACT to victory over Blues
Christian Lealiifano kicked the ACT Brumbies to a crucial 20-13 win over the Auckland Blues in their Super 15 clash at Eden Park yesterday.
On a wet and windy evening, where there was only one try to each side, Lealiifano punished the Blues with five penalties to keep the Brumbies at the head of the Australian conference.
The Brumbies adapted best to the conditions where the wind and constant rain dictated kick-and-chase tactics and their halves Nic White and Matt Toomua turned the Blues at every opportunity in the first half.
They led 14-0 at half-time and although the Blues fought back in the second spell, Brumbies captain Ben Mowen said conditions were always in their favour to snap a two-match losing streak.
"We definitely stuck to our game plan which was good. When we woke up this morning and saw the rain coming down we felt comfortable because that was the way we had planned all week," he said. "This was a turning-point game for us and I'm really glad the guys got the result for themselves tonight."
"We can give ourselves an uppercut for that first half," said Blues captain Ali Williams who this week announced his retirement from international rugby after 77 tests in an 11-year All Blacks career. "The second half was better, a lot more pleasing, a lot more attitude and desire to play the game."
In Perth, the Western Force continued their recent dominance of the Otago Highlanders with a thrilling 19-18 win. In the battle of the competition's bottom teams, with just three victories before them for the season, the Force made it their fifth straight win against the embattled Highlanders and notched their third victory for the season.
For the New Zealand side, the result means they are almost certain to claim the wooden spoon this year.
Although the Force ran in the only try in a match dominated by the kicking games of both sides, the boot of Jayden Hayward held the Highlanders at bay.
Hayward scored 14 points and also set up the game's only try.
Force captain Matt Hodgson said his team showed great resilience to hang on for the win.
"I'm proud of the boys," he said. "It was not the prettiest of games in the second half, but we didn't let a try in. If we get our attack to match our defence, we will be a great side."
Highlanders skipper Brad Thorn lamented errors from his side. "It was another disappointing one," he said.