Aaron Cruden celebrates the match-winner against the Crusaders. Image: ABC Grandstand
But for a pushed drop goal from Dan Carter, we could this week be talking about something that seemed so highly unlikely last week: the Brumbies hosting the Super Rugby decider in Canberra.
As it stands, we have a final that was considered only slightly less unlikely than the Brumbies playing at home, with the ACT side now heading to Hamilton to play the Chiefs on Saturday night, after having a few days at home beforehand.
The Brumbies ended the Bulls’ unbeaten playoffs run in Pretoria. Image: ABC Grandstand
Read more of my thoughts on how the Chiefs and Brumbies have won through to the Super Rugby Final, over on The Roar: http://www.theroar.com.au/2013/07/30/the-power-of-patience-delivers-the-unlikely-super-rugby-final/
Where once there were six, now we’re left with four. The table-topping Chiefs and second-placed Bulls have enjoyed their week off, and now begin their Finals Series campaigns in earnest against the Crusaders and Brumbies respectively.
If the Qualifying Finals last week was the lead-in, now Super Rugby is getting serious. The semi-final preview is now up on ESPNscrum.com..
The Brumbies have grafted their way into the semis, holding out the Cheetahs in Canberra… (Image: ABC Grandstand)
Part one of Jake White’s master plan for a home final is complete; the Crusaders have accounted for the Reds in Christchurch, and his Brumbies have held out the fast-finishing Cheetahs in Canberra.
Interestingly, it seems the concept of knockout rugby and finals football remains lost on some people. For some reason, the expectation of teams playing for bonus points lives on into the Final Series.
..while the Crusaders blew the Reds off the park in Christchurch. Image: Crusaders Rugby
The style debate is always going to be there, it would seem.
And yes, it’s pretty hard to ignore the vastly different performances between the Crusaders and Brumbies in winning through to the next stage. And surely, at this part of the competition, the “winning through to the next stage” is the key point.
Read more on this over on The Roar: http://www.theroar.com.au/2013/07/23/script-followed-but-with-vastly-contrasting-styles/
Hugh Pyle was excellent for the Rebels, as they came back to beat the Hurricanes. Both teams played with a freedom provided by not making the playoffs. Image: ABC Grandstand
Super Rugby’s final round for the season is done, and it took until the end of the fifth game of the weekend before the finishing order of the final six teams was finally confirmed.
In this, the final edition of Scrum Five, the talking points as I saw them were:
- Top six drama right to the end
- Who’s carrying the momentum into the play-offs?
- The form teams we won’t see
- If you wanted proof why the broken Super Rugby season is bad …
- … but on the other hand
It’s all up on ESPNscrum.com now…