Super Rugby has returned in all its glory in 2015 and here we review the sixth round of games, focusing on the New Zealand franchises with the upcoming British & Irish Lions tour in mind.
Dan Carter, scourge of the Lions back in 2005, appears to be back to somewhere near his peerless best after a two-try showing in the Crusaders’ 57-14 win over the Cheetahs.
The Canterbury outfit made a sluggish start to the 2015 season but their return to form appears to have coincided with Carter’s gradual re-integration into the starting XV.
Lining up with the No.12 on his back, Carter grabbed two tries while also kicking well as part of a 27-point haul for the All Black.
Fellow All Black Israel Dagg was a try scorer as the Crusaders – who rested captain Richie McCaw – crossed the whitewash eight times in all to overturn a 14-10 deficit at the interval.
Elsewhere the Hurricanes maintained their perfect start to the season and moved to the top of standings with a hard-fought 20-13 win over New Zealand conference rivals the Highlanders.
A bone-shuddering hit from Ma’a Nonu on his All Blacks midfield rival Malakai Fekitoa was one of the stand-out highlights for the Canes who had TJ Perenara and Reg Goodes to thank for their tries.
Beauden Barrett contributed ten points from the kicking tee for the visitors as well, while Ben Smith led a late revival from the Dunedin-based Highlanders resulting in a Lima Sopoaga converted score late on to grab a losing bonus point.
Elsewhere the Chiefs were edged out 12-11 by the Sharks in Durban in a bad-tempered affair that saw three red cards issued in the first half.
The Chiefs currently sit in fourth place in those standings despite the defeat while the winless Blues had a bye week in round 6.
Elsewhere the Lions claimed a memorable away win in Melbourne against the Rebels, the Bulls came from behind to seal dramatic a win over the Western Force and defending champions the Waratahs beat the Brumbies in a feisty Australian derby.
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