What NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport after the completion of the two Vodacom Super Rugby semi-finals.
I thought Beauden Barrett was sublime in the second half but then so was Richie Mo’unga. And there were some magnificent hits in this game and there was one in specific where Mitchell Drummond got smoked by Ardie Savea. It was all just wonderful to watch. It was an extraordinary 40 minutes and anyone who loves rugby was hopefully glued to their television.
At the end, there is a Hurricanes player over the ruck so a ruck is formed. And as TJ Perenara’s picks up the ball, one of Sam Whitelock’s hands goes in there and knocks it out of Perenara’s hand. It’s an incredibly instantaneous thing to do. I also thought that sort of action is down to brilliant coaching. It’s just being streetsmart in a vital period of the game because all the momentum was with the Hurricanes in those last four minutes.
What Whitelock did was up to the referee to spot because the TMO can only come in for an act of foul play and that doesn’t justify itself as foul play. So it was just something that was missed by the referee and I imagine that the Crusaders are delighted that he did.
That second half today was a classic example of how you can keep the Crusaders’ backline quiet. If you are able to hold onto possession and play with width and retain possession in the outer channels while also maintaining pressure with some direct play through one off runners occasionally and you are stretching the Crusaders all the time. Another important thing is you’ve got to have players at every ruck.
The encouraging thing from a Jaguares point of view is that they have been playing with much more width than they used to. They not just a one-off runner team anymore. Now they are a team that plays of the flyhalf, they’ve got Pablo Matera who runs really good lines in midfield, Emiliano Boffelli who is a great counter runner inside and outside the No 10 and they’ve got wingers who have got brilliant feet.
The Jaguares are not scared of travelling, are virtually a Test team with a game-plan and press defence that can put the Crusaders under pressure.