OK, the title's a bit Meatloaf-ish, but it reflects the fortunes of the New Zealand teams in Super 14 this weekend. And since we are at about the time when the rugby season should be starting, we'll have a weekly overview, starting today.
It's been an excellent weekend for the New Zealand teams, with the exception of the hapless Blues who can't buy a trick at the moment. The Highlanders won at "home" in Palmerston North (we wonder what Ele at Homepaddock makes of that!), knocking over the previously unbeaten Bulls, and picking up a four-try bonus point in the process. This was a win-win scenario for the Highlanders - battling dwindling attendances at the House of Pain, they onsold the match to the Manawatu union. The Highlanders got a guaranteed match fee, and Manawatu will be in the black after more than 10,000 watched the match yesterday.
The Chiefs are now the form team in the comp. with another helter-skelter bonus point win in Brisbane, and the Crusaders "won ugly" against the Stormers at home. But the highlight for us was the bonus-point win by our beloved Hurricanes at Jo'burg. Any win at 6000 feet above sea level is a good one, and the 'Canes will now enjoy their week in Durban preparing for a match against the table-topping Sharks next weekend. The Hurricanes are now up to fifth on the table, but with a game in hand over three of the top four. The Highlanders, Crusaders and Blues ocuupy positions six, seven and eight, whilst the Chiefs' recent form sees them rise to third.
And we wonder how Aussie rugby boss John O'Neill can justify his pleas for another Australian team in an expanded competition when three Australian teams fill positions 10, 11 and 12!