Super Rugby: Reds hold on to record first Australian win as Chiefs come up just short

By Sports Desk May 29, 2021

The Reds finally ended the wait for an Australian win in the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman season, but there were heavy defeats for the Waratahs and the Brumbies on Saturday.

With Damian McKenzie sent off in the 22nd minute for making contact with the head area, the impressive Reds appeared to be coasting to victory when they opened up a 40-8 lead midway through the second half.

Isaac Henry scored two of their six tries, the first of which came with Chase Tiatia in the sin bin. McKenzie's red card then swung the game even further in the Reds' favour, as they capitalised on having an extra man to run up the score.

However, they were then forced to repel a frenetic comeback bid, four tries from the Chiefs closing the gap down to six points in the closing minutes.

The hosts managed to hold on to win 40-34 and register a first Australian success in the tournament at the 15th attempt, in the process denting their opponents' hopes of making the grand final as they collected only a losing bonus point.

New Zealand sides had dominated the two earlier fixtures, though, including the rampant Crusaders cutting loose against the Waratahs.

There were eight different try-scorers for Scott Robinson's team in an emphatic 54-28 triumph, with Richie Mo'unga converting all bar one of the scores in the rout.

The Waratahs did get within 10 points after Izaia Perese touched down with Oli Jager in the sin bin, while they also capitalised on yellow cards for David Havili and Nathan Vella to score a late try through Alex Newsome, albeit it was no more than a consolation effort.

The Blues made it three straight Trans-Tasman wins despite a determined Brumbies side matching them in the first half at Eden Park, the away team even holding a 10-7 lead when hooker Connal McInerney went over.

They were unable to hold onto the lead for long and trailed 17-10 at the break, Finlay Christie touching down for a try converted by Otere Black, who also slotted over a penalty.

The hosts added 21 points without reply in the second half, Bryce Heem, AJ Lam and TJ Faiane all grabbing tries in a 38-10 triumph that sees them take over at the top of the table.

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    Kyle Sinckler is free to play in the British and Irish Lions' deciding third Test against South Africa on Saturday after a citing for alleged biting against the prop was dismissed.

    Lions head coach Warren Gatland has made six changes to the side that lost 27-9 in last weekend's encounter in Cape Town.

    Hooker Ken Owens, prop Wyn Jones, scrum-half Ali Price, centre Bundee Aki, wing Josh Adams and full-back Liam Williams all come into the XV.

    Wales duo Adams and Williams are likely to have an important role in the back three under the Springboks' kicking game that dismantled the Lions after half-time last time out.

    Tight-head prop Sinckler will take his place on the bench alongside fly-half Finn Russell, lock Adam Beard and number eight Sam Simmonds – the three of whom are in Test squad for the first time in the series.

    Gatland has axed Owen Farrell Taulupe Faletau, Anthony Watson, Stuart Hogg, Rory Sutherland, Tadhg Beirne and Chris Harris from his 23.

    "The matchday 23 have an incredibly special opportunity in front of them - to seal a Lions series victory in South Africa," said the veteran coach.

    "It doesn't get much bigger than this and we're excited by the challenge that faces us on Saturday.

    "We've no excuses from last week - the Springboks put us under pressure in the second half and deserved the win. We have to be much better than that second-half performance, and I believe we will be."

    Sinckler denied allegations that he bit Franco Mostert and World Rugby were unable to find sufficient evidence to punish the England forward, who was facing a minimum 12-week ban.

    A statement from the governing body read: "Having reviewed all the evidence, the committee deemed that on the balance of probabilities, it could not be satisfied that the player committed an act of foul play.

    "On that basis, the committee dismissed the citing and the player is free to play again immediately."

    South Africa are without world player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit and influential scrum-half Faf de Klerk through injury.

    Cobus Reinach comes in for De Klerk while Franco Mostert's switch to blindside flanker means Lood de Jager will partner Eben Etzebeth in the second row.

    Veteran fly-half Morne Steyn, whose long-range penalty secured a series triumph for the Springboks over the Lions in 2009, is named on the bench.

     

    British and Irish Lions: Liam Williams, Josh Adams, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Duhan van der Merwe, Dan Biggar, Ali Price; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Tadhg Furlong, Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Jack Conan

    Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Kyle Sinckler, Adam Beard, Sam Simmonds, Conor Murray, Finn Russell, Elliot Daly

     

    South Africa : Wille le Roux, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi; Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach; Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Siya Kolisi (captain), Franco Mostert, Jasper Wiese

    Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Trevor Nyakane, Vincent Koch, Marco van Staden, Kwagga Smith, Herschel Jantjies, Morne Steyn, Damian Willemse

  • South Africa's Erasmus to face misconduct hearing after criticising match officials South Africa's Erasmus to face misconduct hearing after criticising match officials

    South Africa's director of rugby Rassie Erasmus is to face a misconduct hearing after publicly criticising the match officials following their first Test defeat to the British and Irish Lions.

    Erasmus accused the Lions of "reckless and dangerous" play in their 22-17 win last month and hit out at the standard of refereeing from Nic Berry.

    The 48-year-old made the claims in a 62-minute clip posted on social media as he highlighted what he felt were a number of calls that went against South Africa.

    He also retweeted clips from an anonymous Twitter user, alleged to be one of his own accounts, highlighting "questionable calls" made by the tourists.

    World Rugby has now cited Erasmus for his comments and he, along with South African Rugby, will face a judicial hearing.

    "Match officials are the backbone of the sport, and without them there is no game," a statement from the rugby governing body read on Monday.

    "World Rugby condemns any public criticism of their selection, performance or integrity which undermines their role, the well established and trust-based coach-officials feedback process, and more importantly, the values that are at the heart of the sport.

    "Having conducted a full review of all the available information, World Rugby is concerned that individuals from both teams have commented on the selection and/or performance of match officials.

    "However, the extensive and direct nature of the comments made by Rassie Erasmus within a video address, in particular, meets the threshold to be considered a breach of World Rugby regulation 18 (misconduct and code of conduct) and will now be considered by an independent disciplinary panel.

    "World Rugby has reminded the management of both teams of the importance of this area and their obligations regarding the values of the sport."

    In response, SA Rugby posted a brief statement on Twitter, which read: "SA Rugby has noted the charges brought by World Rugby and will respond through the designated channels. There will be no further comment from SA Rugby until the process is complete."

    South Africa defeated the Lions 27-9 in a fiery encounter at the weekend to level the three-match series at 1-1 and set up a decider in Cape Town on Saturday.

    Erasmus, who has doubled up as a water carrier, may still be present for that showdown as a hearing date has not yet been set by World Rugby.

  • Sinckler cited for alleged bite ahead of Lions decider against South Africa Sinckler cited for alleged bite ahead of Lions decider against South Africa

    Kyle Sinckler could miss the British and Irish Lions' deciding Test against South Africa after being cited for an alleged bite on Franco Mostert.

    The incident occurred during the 64th minute of an ill-tempered second Test in Cape Town, a game the hosts won 27-9 to level the series at one apiece.

    England prop Sinckler has come off the bench in both Tests so far but would face a minimum ban of 12 weeks if found guilty.

    The 28-year-old will attend a World Rugby hearing via video conference on Tuesday.

    In a statement, World Rugby added there were no additional citings from the match after Lions full-back Stuart Hogg denied allegations that he had bitten Springbok counterpart Willie le Roux.

    "I would never bite an opponent and I am annoyed and upset by this unsubstantiated accusation. I've always been proud of playing rugby in the spirit of the game," Scotland international Hogg said in a statement issued by the Lions.

    The third and final Test between the teams takes place at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday. 

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