Super Rugby Aotearoa

5 talking points: Super Rugby Aotearoa Week 7

  • Sport24's Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points after Week 7 of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
  • The Hurricanes edged the Crusaders 34-32 in Christchurch on Saturday, while the Blues inflicted another defeat on the Chiefs, winning 21-17 in Auckland on Sunday.
  • The Crusaders remain top of the standings with four wins from five, while the Chiefs are rock bottom with six straight defeats.

Crusaders' incredible run ended

The Crusaders' home loss ended a run of 36 straight wins at their home fortress in Christchurch.

Coincidentally, it was also the Hurricanes who last inflicted a home loss on the Crusaders - a 35-10 victory dating all the way back to July 2016, the year the 'Canes won their lone Super Rugby title.

The Crusaders, however, remain atop the standings and should still be considered favourites for the Super Rugby Aotearoa title.

Try of the weekend!

They may have lost, but Crusaders left wing George Bridge's try deserves a special mention.

It was started by a great break from right wing Sevu Reece, who flung a wide pass to Bridge.

The pass fell short of the target but that proved no problem for Bridge, who displayed silky skills in kicking it forward, before outpacing a slow-turning Jordie Barrett to touch down.

WATCH the incredible try in the video clip below:

Another SA-born flyer stars for Hurricanes

South African winger Kobus van Wyk made headlines last week when he announced he would leave the Hurricanes for English club Leicester.

Van Wyk was then omitted from the Hurricanes' match-day squad for the Crusaders game, with his spot taken by another South African-born player, Wes Goosen.

Goosen matched Van Wyk's recent try-scoring exploits by bagging a brace in his side's win.

Another standout for the Hurricanes was powerful outside centre Peter Umaga-Jensen.

Umaga-Jensen, a nephew of former All Blacks centre Tana Umaga, set up a try for Goosen and also scored a crucial try himself in the 61st minute to take the men from Wellington out to a 31-20 lead.

Unwanted record for Chiefs

The Chiefs' narrow loss at Eden Park was their sixth on the trot in the competition - and seventh overall which is the worst losing run in the franchise's history.

Pressure is mounting on head coach Warren Gatland, with some already questioning whether he is the right man to lead the British & Irish Lions on their tour to South Africa next year.

I'd say the criticism is a tad harsh - Gatland is an esteemed coach and his charges have been somewhat unlucky in a few Super Rugby Aotearoa games.

Chiefs denied in another TMO controversy

The Chiefs and the television match official (TMO) do not appear to be friends in recent weeks.

In Week 6, a TMO technicality cost the men from Hamilton in their narrow 33-31 loss to the Highlanders and on Sunday it was a lack of intervention that hampered them.

The Chiefs were pressing for a try in the dying moments and No 8 Pita Gus Sowakula looked to have scored when he lunged for the tryline, only for referee Brendon Pickerill to rule it short.

Chiefs centre Anton Lienert-Brown was not a happy camper and hit out at Pickerill for not at least taking the call upstairs.

"In my opinion in a big moment we've got the TMO for a reason," the experienced All Blacks midfielder told Newstalk ZB after the game. "We've been on the wrong side of a lot of calls this whole year and when it counted, when we needed it, why not go upstairs?

"That was my frustration, and in all honesty I could have been better ... it was a little bit frustrating. But that's where I saw things - in a massive moment I think we've got to use the TMO."

The Chiefs just can't buy a trick at the moment but credit to coach Gatland who said he had no intention of again being labelled "a whinger".

"The referee was very confident he made the right call. There's no point in us dwelling on that. We've just got to accept those decisions at the moment.

"I've made some comments in the past about us being a bit unlucky, then I've been accused of being a whinger. I promise you I'm not going to whinge about that," Gatland said during the post-match press conference.

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