Blues go two-from-two
Carlos Spencer made his comeback as the Blues monstered the Panasonic Wild Knights with the biggest win in the short history of the Brisbane Global Tens.
After trouncing local favourites the Reds 29-7 in their opening match, the Blues proved that was no fluke, breezing past Panasonic 47-10.
Spencer knocked over a couple of easy conversions but didn’t need to produce any special trick plays with his team-mates turning it on.
The Blues’ support play, short interchanges of passes and brutal defence led the way against Robbie Deans’ side, who came back from 17 points down to knock over the Rebels in their first match.
Melani Nanai starred for the Blues against the Reds but it was a collectively dominant effort in their second match, one that suggested Tana Umaga’s side are growing in confidence in this format.
Crusaders start with a bang
The Crusaders, last year’s beaten finalists, sent an immediate message by thrashing the Hurricanes in their opening match.
The Crusaders scored two tries while Jackson Garden-Bachop was in the bin for an attempted intercept, and never looked like being run down. The Super Rugby champions led 17-0 at the break and kicked away for a comfortable 22-0 win.
With firepower in the form of Jone Macilai and George Bridge complementing drive over tries, the Crusaders boast weapons capable of taking them all the way.
Fielding an experienced team led by Julian Savea, the Hurricanes consistently made errors and never really fired a shot. It was a disjointed, bumbling team effort that suggests they may be the worst of the New Zealand sides.
Chiefs win opening derby
It went down to the last controversial play, but the Chiefs emerged 17-12 over the Highlanders in the first New Zealand derby to start the defence of their Brisbane Global Tens title.
Tevita Nabura looked to have stolen victory for the Highlanders at the death but his second finish in the corner was eventually scrubbed out, after being originally awarded.
Josh McKay was at his elusive best for the Highlanders, while Tim Nanai-Williams’ brilliance and Tiaan Falcon’s footwork shone for the Chiefs.
The Highlanders, playing in a strip akin to a road worker, found success targeting the breakdown and produced one big scrum.
The Chiefs picked their moments to attack, content to kick for territory when under pressure.
Players coming from the field were clearly spent with fans and wet towels keenly used.
The Chiefs led 12-7 at half time and while they banked up a first up win, there was only millimeters in the match-deciding decision.
Desipte Conrad Smith’s best efforts, French club Pau looked well off the pace, downed 31-10 by the Waratahs.
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