It was the European semi-finals in both competitions and all 4 games dished out the very best of the Northern Hemisphere, down in the Southern Hemisphere, the culture round of Super Rugby played with a clash of the best being the leading headline. Bet Central tells you how it unfolded.
Leinster Unstoppable On Way To Final
In the first of the 2 Champions Cup semi-finals, Leinster put Toulouse to the sword in what turned out to be a 1-sided affair due to Toulouse’s ill-discipline and an injury that forced them to reshuffle their backline with the best scrumhalf in the world ending up at flyhalf and his equally efficient partner shifting one out.
Leinster punished the transgressions of Toulouse scoring 4 tries during the 20 minutes the French side was down to 14 due to a yellow card, but apart from what Toulouse did to play into their hands, the Irish side was so efficient in their breakdown work, kicking and set-piece. They will be a handful for La Rochelle in the final.
Sergio Parisse Rolls Back The Years
The man will be 40 years old this year, but one would never say when watching the level of performance Sergio Parisse is still able to produce for Toulon. He was particularly impressive in their win over a rudderless Benetton in the Challenge Cup semi-final.
It was the typical audacious and skilful moves that typified his performance, but more so the technical efficiency at the back of the scrum, the timing when executing a move and his undoubted leadership when Toulon lost regular captain Charles Ollivon to a red card inside the 1st 10 minutes of the game. Parisse amplified his greatness in the semi-final.
Chiefs Reign Supreme In The South
In the Southern Hemisphere’s premier competition’s clash of the titans, it was the Chiefs who emerged as the big dog in an epic battle in Hamilton, Crusaders looked good early on and had the Chiefs rattled in the early exchanges, but as soon as Damian McKenzie found his bearings, it was all Chiefs.
The defending champions simply had no answer for the brilliance of McKenzie who is making a case for the All Blacks flyhalf berth whether as a starter or in the wider squad. The Chiefs now stand alone as the best the Southern Hemisphere has to offer as far as domestic rugby is concerned.
Super Rugby Continues To Embrace Pacific Nations
With the Culture Round and the cultures of all different players in Super Rugby Pacific celebrated this past weekend, it was a sign of embracing the Pacific nations in particular who are deeply rooted in their cultural practices as can be seen in their performance of war-cries this weekend.
It is an important step as New Zealand and Australia aid the growth of the game in their continental region through Super Rugby and it is already evident in the growth and improvement of both Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika.
Levi Aumua Putting His Name up
In Moana Pasifika’s hard-fought encounter with the Naarm Rebels on Saturday, there were positives to take for Moana and one of the biggest is the form of Levi Aumua who is eligible for selection for the All Blacks and he is exactly the kind of midfielder they need right now – big, strong, fast and highly skilled with his hands.
If the All Blacks are uninterested in the 28-year-old outside centre, then Fiji or Samoa could snatch him up as he is qualified for both nations and his exposure to Fijian and Samoan internationals in the Pasifika setup could convince him which way to go especially with a World Cu