Having played Mister Hyde in being thrashed by the Penrith Panthers in the NRL the previous week, the Warriors took on the mantle of Doctor Jekyll in restoring their fans’ faith with an impressive 26-6 win against the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.
Issac Luke, Simon Mannering, Sean Johnson, Blake Green, Solomone Kata and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck were all in top form and Gerald Beale slotted into right centre nicely to complete a cohesive attacking performance backed by strong defence.
With Luke and Green the team’s best playmakers and Johnson more assertive in his attack, the sixth placed-Warriors were much sharper than in their dismal showing against the Panthers.
However it’s a pity that there are so few moves executed to put classy fullback and skipper Tuivasa-Sheck through gaps rather than force him to play a Lone Ranger role. Give him space out wide and more tries will come.
Meanwhile having lost 28-24 to a Chiefs team bereft of several of their stars in Hamilton, the Hurricanes will be hoping home ground advantage in Wellington will allow them to return to their best in Friday night’s Super Rugby playoff.
With Beauden Barrett and Ngani Laumape barely firing despite the absence of Damian McKenzie and Charlie Ngatai, the Hurricanes have now lost four of their last five matches.
Nippy halfback Brad Weber had a cracker for the Chiefs when outplaying tenacious PJ Perenara and fast and elusive fullback Solomon Alaimalo’s reputation continues to grow.
Once again, the clash between Beauden Barrett and Damian McKenzie should provide intriguing viewing.
Having farewelled the Blues 54-17, the Crusaders should topple the Sharks in Christchurch on Saturday night in keeping with their favourites status.
With sharp left wing George Bridge (3) and burly centre Jack Goodhue (2) leading the way, the Crusaders backs scored seven of their eight tries after the forwards laid a strong foundation.
While it was another impressive Crusaders performance, it was a sad way for the Blues to farewell former St Kentigern schoolboy Jerome Kaino who has been a champion stalwart for a team that has failed to deliver for far too long.
Unlucky not to be named Player of the 2011 World Cup, Kaino’s crunching tackles were reminiscent of those inflicted by the late Jerry Collins who successfully urged him to play “with more mongrel”.
What a shame France’s FIFA World Cup success in Russia should be marred by terrible rioting among the Paris celebration. Having won the final against little Croatia 4-2, France were deserved winners, as were Belgium in claiming third against much-improved England in a spellbinding tournament that kept fans enthralled.
In providing excellent facilities and a warm welcome, the Russians proved sport can be a vehicle for encouraging peace between nations. On the other hand, it did nothing to appease the Paris riots.
Robbie Manson’s storming finish and 4 seconds victory over world single sculls champion Ondrej Synek in Lucerne should cement his place in this year’s worlds ahead of double Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale who finished a three seconds back in fourth place.
At 39, age is taking its toll on a popular champion who is 11 years older than world record holder Manson whose storming 43 strokes per minute finish blitzed his rivals.
- Ivan Agnew is an award-winning sports writer and author