That’s right. It’s the return of Spoiler Alert. The proud comeback that absolutely no one asked for.
Last week, I urged you guys to give Super Rugby Aotearoa a try. If you did, I doubt that you were disappointed. If you were disappointed, feel free to tweet at me so I never end up seeing it.
Crusaders @ Highlanders
Give the Highlanders their due. Aaron Smith might be the most underrated halfback in SRA. This is a good team. Not amazing. Not bad. Just, good. The real story in this one is the Crusaders. They’re second on the table behind the Blues, but they are averaging more table points per game than Auckland (4.5 to 4). This team is real. Fly half Richie Mo’unga’s game management has jumped out to me. Codie Taylor at hooker and Sam Whitelock in the second row are both playing extremely solid. After three weeks of competition, it’s starting to feel like there are three tiers. The Highlanders are in the middle all alone. They should be taken seriously, especially at home. The problem? The Crusaders belong in the top tier with the Blues. They’re simply better.
Hurricanes @ Chiefs
Before I dive in here, let me give this acknowledgment: either of these teams would immediately be the favorite in MLR. In SRA, they’re holding tight to the bottom two spots on the table.
Coming into this, anyone that knows a little about Super Rugby could probably guess that the Hurricanes would struggle, but can someone explain to me how the Chiefs are winless through three? The one point Round 1 loss in Dunedin felt like an aberration, especially with the phenomenal start they had to the per-COVID Super Rugby competition. Losing to the Blues hurt, although they are significantly improved talent-wise. I already talked about how good the Crusaders are, but this team feels like it should have found a win somewhere. Aaron Cruden and Damien McKenzie at 10 and 15, respectively, have been superb. While I’ll give Jordie Barrett his due, the Hurricanes are still the lowest team in SRA. The Chiefs will have to make an effort to drop this one.
I hope they’re feeling lazy.