The final eight of Super Rugby have been confirmed after the insane, Topsy-Torvy weekend

A highly respected sports journalist – who will remain anonymous – described on Friday how he was routinely disappointed by the prospect of a final round that was as good as pre-arranged a few months ago.

“Now there are a lot of you who love rugby so much that you won’t need an excuse to watch a few matches this weekend, but I’ve slipped through the list and can’t find one to hang my hat on, so I’m having a goodbye weekend and playoffs. Will rejoin you, ”he wrote.

It is impossible to argue that qualifying for two-thirds final action of the competition does not extend credibility beyond the breaking point, or that recharging the battery repeatedly from the TV is not a good thing.

But as always, the sport finds a way to throw gifts in places where you expect to find them. This, it turns out, was not the weekend to switch off and go fishing.

In the end, the final eight months of Super Rugby worked out as most people thought; Five New Zealand teams and the top three Australian franchises.

But that doesn’t tell the story of a thrilling final round, with emotion, frustration and the omission of another goal after the siren from title favorite The Blues.

Maybe, knowing that whatever happens there will have to win a bigger battle next weekend, the edge was far from the Chiefs, Brumbis, Varatah and Hurricane. Easy to say, and who knows exactly how the subconscious mind prevents urgency and urgency?

But seeing the weekend matches unveiled, it didn’t really feel that way. They are all professional players who have a tendency to win and all the competitions were really tough fights.

Clearly, in any given week, the gap between the two parties is narrower than many believe. If you stay a little away from your game, you can and probably will be punished.

What’s great about advancing this competition is that things are likely to shrink further. The golden days of the late 90’s and early 2000’s may be gone forever, but the results of this weekend shut down life support for super rugby and find new direction and strength.

Tom Wright

(Photo Getty Images)

Much of this is due to the contributions of the two new franchises. Although there have been some flat moments – what you would expect from a flagging side playing against a well-established franchise – what they have brought to the table has exceeded all expectations.

The challenge for Sanjar now is to tap into the excitement surrounding the Fijian Drua and Moana Pacifica franchises, and bleed it into all the other franchises, where a significant portion of the fan base is dormant, disconnected or lapsed.

After a stunningly successful debut at Subha, it was Lautoka’s turn to host their first Drua match; The loss of the narrow 35-34 chiefs on their side as the house crowd vibrated with lightning.

The oppressive humidity and a slippery ball made for a match of the highest quality. But just as the chiffra hit the wall, at the same time Drua hit their stride, making three tries in the last ten minutes, the level of excitement went through the roof.

The waves of blue and green were so irresistible, and only two or three minutes would surely bring them victory. But defeat can also bring honor; A soul will not leave the stadium disappointed.

Soon after the flute is played, the players attach arms to the center, a hymn is sung, and a stream of cultural and physical honor flows through our television. In such moments, the hustle and bustle of life and daily travels are considered completely trivial. Traveling to Fiji for the Drua match is now an essential addition to any bucket list.

The hero and villain of that day was Binaya Habsi, the best player of the season. Habosi not only dropped the worst goal-line of the season, but in a 21-13 contest with Drew, he inevitably failed to let a kick-off completely out, instead batting it in the infield, scoring for the chiefs and scoring.

Fijian Drua

(Photo by Darian Trainer / Getty Images)

In true Haboosi style, he returns straight, recovering a deep kick and ducking down a tackle on his goal line, pushing the upfield to the bottom of the post. Ninety-nine meters of magic, and directly at the top of the ‘try the year’ table.

Chiefs captain Brad Weber later acknowledged how difficult it would be for teams to travel to Fiji and win the upcoming season. While his wide-ranging laughter spoke of his joy at escaping the point, it also told the story of Brady Ritalik, who was outstanding for someone playing his first match of the week.

Moana Pacifica finally saved their best, which can only be described as a stunning disaster for the Brumbis in Auckland.

Although there was no shortage of skills, they won the match 32-22, it was their physicality; Harder than Brumbis on both sides of the ball.

A healthy dose of mental fortitude was thrown along. After the inspirational captain Sekope Kepu lost a red card to Andy Moorehead’s high shot, instead of folding, Moana turned things around in such a way that the Brumbiras were under pressure at half-time, at double rates. Sin bin their players.

There was humor as well; One player on each side loses their head in the white-line fog, taking a quick tap penalty just to shake it off, while Saner Heads plays a set-piece percentage.

But much to the delight of the inspirational founders of Moana Pacific, it was almost unbelievable that here was their second big skull, which most people predicted would be a tough, win-win, first season.

Not much can be said for the Brumbies, except to win or draw, they will be more difficult to compete against the Hurricanes next week.

The first half at Leichhardt was an old-fashioned arm-wrestling, where Varatahra went 14-3 on how to send Mark Nawakanitawase into space after half time.

For a supposed second string side, the Blues find themselves back in the game impressively. As he did a week ago in Perth, the experienced Lock Luke Romano was the glue that held it together, infinite in communication and the way he drew his pack in and around him.

Locked at 17-17 and staring at the gold dot in extra time on the face, the Blues held their nerves, taking the ball into the red zone, where Jarron Sullivan, facing an intense defensive crowd, did business with his left foot.

Winning with an after-the-siren drop-goal could seem like a lucky week. This is a sign of a party with an irresistible culture of doing it twice. A winning culture. With their big guns on board this week, it will be very difficult for the Blues to toss from here.

In the late game, many times things got too easy for the Hurricane, with Brayden Iose advancing like an Olympic 400m runner, a sign of the class differences between the two sides.

But everyone knows Force Script; Always keep fighting. They did exactly what they did, mistaken Hurricane, and added a few finishing touches to their own work that helped sign coach Tim Sampson’s term with a satisfying 27-22 win.

Force coach Tim Sampson watching

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images)

They would have preferred an extra week, of course, but the rebels made a small attempt on Sunday. It is not more or less what it should be; The forces came close painfully, but there could be no reason to accuse either side of coming down their path depending on the other outcome.

That ‘missing try’ came early, with rebel stand-in fullback Nick Just denied because officials strongly determined that halfback James Tuttle pushed the ball before the movement.

For a long time, the Highlanders dominated, yet once the Rebels hung more to the ball and found better field positions after half time, the effort came; Juste, Lucas Ripley and Young Tonumaipa are all finding the tri-line.

After breaking their hearts against the chiefs two weeks ago, the rebels had no way of surrendering this time; Their 31-30 win is sealed thanks to a solid defensive line and a Richard Hardwick steal.

One thing the rebels have done in recent weeks is score points; From the NZ crossover, the average is 26 points per match. Much of this was due to Rob Leota and Ponne Fouma’Sili returning to deliver the ball-carrying punch that was missing in the previous round. They are far from the finished package, but the improvement is obvious, and there is a sound base from which springboarding can be done next season.

After the match, Highlanders coach Tony Brown and captain Aaron Smith embraced the underdog tag for their quarter-finals, and when all was said and done, and they would come to Auckland and be willing to give them everything, I’m not even sure they could win.

The only match that did not make a significant impact or thriller in the quarter-finals was the first in Christchurch, where the Crusaders held the Reds comfortably 28-15, despite being nowhere near their best.

The match was significant for the Reds, who became the only Australian franchise to score a win against New Zealand – who would have thought six weeks ago? – And the Crusaders should normally wear George Bridge much higher than any quiet, self-respecting winger wearing his shorts.

One of the main topics of discussion was the yellow card shown to Pablo Matera for a tip-tackle at Jordan Petia, with many comparing it to last week’s tip from Sam Gilbert’s Michael Hooper, questioning the injustice and apparent inconsistencies in treatment.

Pablo Matera received a yellow card from referee Ben O'Keefe

(Photo by Peter Mitcham / Getty Images)

The response is understandable. Both jobs were stupid, reckless and dangerous. But whatever the vibe, whatever the irrationality, the law and the structure of the decision as it is written, both support the decision of the referee, Ben O’Keefe and Nick Berry, who got their yellow card and red card decisions fairly accurately. .

A foul play is the act of lifting a player horizontally and not ensuring their safe return to the ground. Approval is determined by how the raised player lands; Yellow card qualification for arm, shoulder, back or side, where landing directly on the head or neck is a red card warranty.

A side view clearly shows Petaya landing at the point of his shoulder. That is enough to make O’Keefe’s criticism unjust and in some cases irresistible.

Nevertheless, an uncomfortable argument exists around approval for such work relying on random results. Draw luck. Is there really a five-and-a-half match difference between Matera and Gilbert’s work?

Join Sanjar’s Judicial Review Committee, who have the power to cite Matera, and who may have done so by the time this column is digested. This is because, despite O’Keefe’s decision to adhere to the framework of the decision, the committee may still determine that the height at which Matera dropped Petia, and the danger to Petia, may override the factors mentioned in the structure relating to the starting point. Contact with soil

Whatever the outcome of the trial, it is clear that players and coaches must take responsibility. The tactic of holding the opponent in the foot to execute the cleanout is nothing more than a ticket to a potential catastrophe.

Then the whole credit goes to Coach Scott Robertson for preventing Matara from returning to the field after his sin bin was over. It was a coach’s job to understand how wrong his player’s actions were and to impose his own heavy restrictions, but he also hinted to his team that he always wanted 15 players on the field to reach the final.

As Super Rugby failed to serve enough drama over the weekend, it was heartbreaking for Leinster in the European Champions Cup final, losing 24-21 to La Rochelle courtesy of a last minute effort by Arthur Ritter.

All normal clichs apply; It was a clash of intensity, a battle of temper, a real final between these two high quality teams.

It was an Irish victory, with Ronan O’Gara’s winning coach, almost apologetic, expressing sympathy for his Leinster opponent.

Types of these values, such as those displayed in Luatoka on the other side of the world, and Hurricane Hurricane Retirement Force Lock sparked Jeremy Thrash with a post-match hack, making rugby such a great game.

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