Round 11 of the Super Rugby Pacific 2022 season will forever be known as Australian rugby’s weekend of hope.
Wins for the Waratahs and Brumbies against the Crusaders and Hurricanes respectively has given Australian rugby fans a glimmer of hope that things are heading back in the right direction.
And it didn’t end there, with all five teams earning respect. The Melbourne Rebels beat new outfit Moana Pacifika, the Reds went down to the Chiefs by just two points – with a debutant replacing James O’Connor at fly half – plus the Western Force took it to ladder-leaders Auckland, going down 22-18.
Australian Super Rugby teams have won three from eight in trans-Tasman contests so far this season, a big improvement from recent years.
The Tahs pulled off a stunner at Leichhardt Oval, upsetting the heavily fancied Crusaders 24-21. One betting agency was offering $15-1 odds against the Super Rugby Pacific juggernaut.
Biggest Australian win in Super Rugby since 2014.— Christy Doran (@ChristypDoran) April 30, 2022
One to spark a nation.
Waratahs 24 beat Crusaders 21 at Leichhardt Oval in front of a big 10,000 strong crowd.
The Brumbies defeated an NZ team for a second straight week. They’re flying the flag, sitting second on the ladder, just behind the Blues.
There’s now newfound confidence that the Wallabies can end a 19-year Bledisloe Cup drought later this year.
“It was a great weekend, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said at the launch of the Test schedule.
“It’s important that we do well … it gives our players confidence that playing against some of the best in the world, they can stand up.”
The Bledisloe Cup is just two matches this year, in September, meaning Australia will need to beat the All Blacks in both games to end the agony.
For Waratahs fly-half Tane Edmed, who was playing at the ground where his father played rugby league at for the Balmain Tigers, the post-match emotion poured out after a winless campaign last season.
“I’ve got 30 friends and family here. I’ve got these boys (teammates). And the fans have been outstanding,” Edmed told the host broadcaster post-match, holding back tears.
“Some of the stuff we endured last year, we didn’t win a game… the support and belief that DC (coach Darren Coleman) instilled – we know we can do it.”
First-year Waratahs coach Darren Coleman said the players were emotional after beating an ‘awesome’ NZ team.
“Everyone was feeling it, everyone was happy,” Coleman said following the Waratahs victory.
“There was a lot of emotion because we’ve had some wins obviously this year and we’ve got some credibility back, but to knock off a top Kiwi team was awesome.”