Passing the halfway stage of this years competition the fight for the playoffs is heating up.
In New Zealand it looks more than likely that the Crusaders will again be on top of the log when everything is over in the round-robin stage of the competition.
They are seven points clear off the second highest team(Hurricanes) at the moment and I can not see anybody challenging them for the top spot.
Here is the current log standings:
In the South African conference there is only a difference of 4 log points separating the number one team to the number five team.
In the Aussie conference there are still all four Aussie teams are still fighting for the top spot.
In the New Zealand conference all their teams can still make the playoffs depending were the other Wild Card teams end up on the log.
Here is all the results of the weekend:
FRIDAY 26 APRIL 2019
SATURDAY 27 APRIL 2019
With Marx in South Africa for a well earned rest the news on Friday morning did not help when we heard Warren Whiteley did not pass a fitness test.
With him out of the crucial match against the Crusaders the task at hand just become an almost impossible one.
The Lions had to reshuffle the team and Kwagga was to lead the team out against the Champions.
It was always going to be a match which main focus would have been how much damage control.
The Lions was forced for most of the match to defend and against a side like the Crusaders you will not be able to defend for 80 minutes.
The Crusaders led by 17-3 at the break.
The second half went the same as the first half with the Lions that did manage to get one try over the Crusaders line.
At the end the Crusaders got a good win with a bonus point.
For sure the best game of rugby we have seen all year from the Highlanders when they beat the Sunwolves in Tokyo 52-0.
They came into the game with a clear plan to play the Sunwolves off their feet and before the Sunwolves knew what have hit them they were 33-0 down at the break.
The Sunwolves defence could not stand up to the brilliant skills from the Highlanders and they just could not keep up with the speed of the game.
Where many have failed this year the Highlander showed just how to play a team right out of the game.
One of the best games I have seen this year, for sure.
With all the injuries they are having and the lost of their playmaker Mckenzie, the Chiefs was always going to struggle against a classy team like the Hurricanes.
It also count against them that the Barrett brothers and Savea was back on the park this weekend.
Although there was a small period of ten minutes in the game that the Chiefs was closing the lead, it was never in doubt that the Hurricanes will take the win on the day.
They were devastated on the counter attack and their set pieces was on par which gave their dangerous backs enough ball to outplay and outclass the Chiefs.
The Hurricanes have shown that they are a team that can challenge the Crusaders and should be there and there about when the final comes.
Another disappointing game of rugby for supporters to sit through but at least the Sharks supporters had something to cheer about after two horrible weeks from their team.
The game never really got going due to so many mistakes by both teams and the poor refereeing did not help as well.
The Waratahs eventually lost the game due to two yellow cards and a red card.
Holloway was send off with a red card for an elbow in the face of Du Toit. DU Toit was clearly holding the player back and received a yellow card for his part in the incident.
With so many players being hold back and played off the ball in the rucks, people were questioning why Du Toit received a yellow card from the Aussie referee.
— Steve Lenthall (@steve_l15) April 27, 2019
The game was in the balance till the end as the Sharks could not really take advantage from the extra man they had.
Non of the two teams can really take much from this poor game of rugby but I am sure the Sharks will be happy for the win on their first game in tour.
What started as a great contest in the first half ended in a dull affair at the end.
Both teams seemed to have run out off steam in the second half and neither could really deliver the knockout punch as the scoreline suggest.
There was a few injuries in the game that did not help with the flow of the game but key players from both sides did not make any impact.
Handre Pollard was a real disappointment and did not have a great game. The normal control he has in the game was lacking.
The same can be said of Siya Kolisi who made so many errors on attack and his handling was poor to say the least.
The more worrying factor was that he looked tired and never had any impact which we got used to.
There will be some worry about Jesse Kriel and Pieter-Steph du Toit who went of during the game.
At the end the Stormers did enough to take the win but it was far from a side who want to challenge the likes of the Crusaders and Hurricanes in the playoffs.
Another game that promised much more in the first half than what was actually produced by the two teams in the second half.
Although the Brumbies dominated the better part of that first half they were behind on the scoreboard.
It will be one of those games where they will be thinking, what if.
The Jaguares deserved the win at the end taking their opportunities as we got used to from them.
They are starting to look like a team that is building nicely towards the playoffs and will be a team to be careful off.
Here is next weeks schedule: