Win the big moments and you’ll win the big finals

As they’ve been able to do consistently for last six weeks or so, the Hurricanes won though to this year’s Final by winning the bog moments. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: After the four best sides won through to the Super Rugby semi-finals, it follows nicely that the teams that finished first and second overall will face off in the decider in Wellington on Saturday.

When it came down to it, the Hurricanes and the Lions won through by dominating their respective semi-finals.

Come to think of it, and even though there have been semi-final thumpings in recent seasons – both last year, for just one example – it’s hard to think of a more one-sided finals series; certainly not since the introduction of the conference format, anyway.

In both cases, their domination was no fluke. Both the Canes and the Lions won through because they won the big moments in their games…

The talking points: Super Rugby semi-finals

The Highlanders are well into their second lap of the Southern Hemisphere this month. Will the travel factor catch up with them in the Semis this weekend? Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: The best four teams in Super Rugby have made it through to the semi-final stage, and no matter what you might think of the competition format or the finals qualification process, you can’t ask for much more than that.

Here’s the talking points for the semi-finals:

  • Can Folau be overtaken as leading try-scorer?
  • Crouch-bind-set-win?
  • Defence always win the tight games
  • Gardner versus Peyper for the final?
  • Big news day in Christchurch

The key players who delivered semi-final berths

Beauden Barrett was excellent for the Hurricanes in their QF win over the Sharks. But was he the best 'Canes? Image: ABC Grandstand

Beauden Barrett was excellent for the Hurricanes in their QF win over the Sharks. But was he the best ‘Cane on the park? Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: Ultimately, the four best teams in 2016 have won through to the Super Rugby semis, after a weekend of quarters that delivered surprising result after surprising result.

Even in the wet weather, the general consensus was the Highlanders would have too much for the Brumbies, yet the home side were in a position to make the winning play for most of the final ten minutes. The Lions were widely favoured to topple the Crusaders, but I can’t imagine too many saw the 17-point margin coming.

And similarly, the only plausible explanation for anyone suggesting they had the Hurricanes and Chiefs winning by 40 is that they’ve either mastered time-travel, or they’re lying…

The talking points: Super Rugby Quarter Finals

The Crusaders seem vulnerable to me, with the loss at home last week, the virus afflicting some members of the squad, and now the whole travel-and-play-at-altitude thing that’s suddenly upon them. And that’s a week after wondering if they were the best-equipped team to win in the Republic. Image: ABC Grandstand

There’s no mucking around today on The Roar. It’s Quarter Finals time, and we’re straight into it. Here’s the talking points for the first week of the playoffs:

  • 6pm kick off. On a Friday night. Come on, seriously…
  • Brumbies cannot afford to chase;
  • Hurricanes very well placed to avenge 2015;
  • The African job, and
  • The curly Kiwi question.