Coming into this round of games it was like this (New Zealand Conference style).
The 4th placed team ended up 1st
3rd paced team ended up 2nd
Ruining the symmetry…
1st placed team ended up 3rd.
2nd placed team ended up 4th.
But it’s not over yet. We still await the Lions (B) game in Buenos Aires. Was the idea of saving the best team from some mid-range air travel a good idea, or will this prove to be ultimate bonehead arrogance?
It did not work. Sure, the Lions still get a home quarter-final, but it will be against a wounded Crusaders side who have already won in Johannesburg this season.
And, in the space of 16 hours, in the 18th round of the competition, the Hurricanes went from seventh on the table to top.
Speaking of arrogance, what about that Hurricanes approach tonight? For them it was all about finishing top of the conference. They did not travel to the Village of the Damned for what was previously a rare victory.
Not a single penalty shot all night.
They went to Christchurch to smash them, and they did that. And they did that with a feeble scrum. But they didn’t give up in that department; and the Tongan Bear was magnificent; right up there with Halaholo and Israel Dagg as the Hurricanes players of the night. And there was even some cheap, old fashioned handbag throwing for good measure.
The Hurricanes are pretty much playing with a Tight Three and five loose forwards. Actually six, when you consider Dane Coles. And, somehow, it’s working,
In Dunedin the Highlanders showed they are pretty handy at this stage of the season. Red wine etc.
Like the Hurricanes a bit outdone up front, but with ball in hand they were fantastic.
Only a fool would write them off. Although there are some similarities between the timing of their run in 2015 and the Hurricanes this year.