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The Roar


Super Rugby Power Rankings 2019: Round 5

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Roar Guru
17th March, 2019
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A heartbreaker in South Africa, a late win in Tokyo, and a cancellation across the ditch.

Round 5 is finito, which means it is time for another set of The Roar’s power rankings for another week.

1. Crusaders

Last week: 1st

The Crusaders fixture with the Highlanders was cancelled following the horrific mosque massacre in Christchurch.

The right decision, and I’m sure I speak on behalf of the entire rugby community from The Roar when I say we send all our love and well-wishes to our friends over in Christchurch.

2. Stormers

Last week: 10th

The Stormers have slowly moved up to a 3-and-1 record, and obliterated a fairly consistent Jaguares side on the weekend. With the second-best record in the competition, this spot is theirs to hold for this week.


I continue to be impressed by the halves pairing of Herschel Jantjies and flyhalf Jean-Luc De Plessis, the latter of whom I see as one of the more underrated playmakers in the entire competition.

His ability to pin the corners when the Jags started the second half brightly kept his side always in control. Siya Kolisi is a phenomenal leader, too.

Damian Willemse

(Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)

3. Hurricanes

Last week: 4th

The Hurricanes were inconsistent in a 23-23 draw with the Chiefs, and they would be mighty frustrated not to have beaten their yet-winless Waikato counterparts.

As coach John Plumlee said, the Hurricanes gave themselves a number of good opportunities, played some good field territory, and (had) good momentum – only to throw a poor offload, or turn the ball over instead of setting for another few phases.

The draw leaves the Hurricanes alone in second spot in the New Zealand conference.


4. Rebels

? Last week: 2nd “Rugby is a game of two halves.” If that cliché was buried for the rest of time, I think no-one would be disappointed. 
However, The Rebels performance against the Lions in Johannesburg early this morning is the exact reason why that phrase cannot be put away. Half one: An attacking clinic, underscored by starchy defence, and hard, straight running. Candidate for the try of the year when Quade Cooper touched down following a team-wide, length of the field effort in the 12th minute. The visitors went to the sheds up 26-3. They then extended this buffer to 30 points when Tom English crossed early in the second half. Half two: The Rebels forgot how to play. Plain and simple. Dropped ball, careless turnovers, and missed tackles led to a Lions resurgence, that ended with a Gianni Lombard penalty after the siren to win 36-33. 
The Rebels have never won in South Africa, and they let a golden opportunity slip. They were on the wrong side of a 20-1 (yes, that is not a typo) penalty count, and had two yellow cards. That makes it difficult to win. Positive signs, and still the best in the Australian conference, but they will look back on this defeat with some regret.

5. Bulls

Last week: 3rd

Had a bye this weekend – but have looked like one of the best sides in the competition through the first five rounds.

6. Lions

Last week: 8th

The Lions left it as late as possible to beat the Rebels in Jo’burg, but an after the siren penalty secured them the chocolates in round five, 36-33.


If their first half was woeful, their second half was mercurial. They choked the life out of an error-riddled Rebels outfit, and were duly rewarded with the chance to go wide time and time again.

They piled on three tries when the Rebels had Billy Meakes in the bin, too. Taking advantage of a numerical mismatch is basics 101. Brumbies, take note.

Malcolm Marx and Courtnall Skosan continue to impress for last year’s finalists, who seem to have found their attacking mojo after a slow start.

7. Sharks

Last week: 5th

Had a bye this weekend.

8. Highlanders

Last week: 7th


Their fixture against the Crusaders was cancelled following the Christchurch mosque massacre. Bigger and more important things than the game they play in heaven.

9. Brumbies

Last week: 12th

The Brumbies went back to their strengths against the Waratahs, running out 19-12 victors on the back of a dominant set-piece.

Hooker Folau Fa’ainga had a double from two rolling mauls, and they were able to kill off any thoughts of a Waratahs comeback, with their ability to pin corners, and get repeat scrum and lineout penalties.

With that being said, they still have a number of issues that need fixing if they’re to challenge the top of the Australian conference.

They still look average when they attempt to play with width, and their one out attacking style will not trouble the better teams.

They also struggle to play with numerical advantage, continually kicking the ball away while opposing prop Sekope Kepu was in the sin bin. 

However, a win is a win, and no Brumbies supporter will be upset with that.

Folau Faingaa

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

10. Jaguares

Last week: 6th

The Jaguares were pummelled by the Stormers on the weekend, and despite a decent start to the second half, never really put their South African opponents under much pressure.

They lacked the urgency, and defensive tenacity to match it with a side that looked intent on making a statement in front of their home fans.

It was noted in the comments of this piece last week that perhaps the travel would catch up to them – it certainly seemed the case here.

11. Waratahs

Last week: 6th


Errors, errors, and more errors.

That was the Waratahs’ entire fifth round matchup against the Brumbies.

Alarmingly, a number of their side seem to be playing themselves out of Wallabies contention with lacklustre, and inconsistent performances.

Bernard Foley has had serious trouble with the boot this tournament, and has had left enough points on the paddock to win both games they have dropped.

Adam Ashley-Cooper looks slow and slightly off the pace, whilst there are (rightly) question marks over the form and fitness of both Kurtley Beale and Sekope Kepu.

As it stands, these Wallabies veterans are being outplayed by almost every other player in their position in the Australian conference – that is a worry.

12. Blues

Last week: 12th


Had a bye this weekend.

13. Reds

Last week: 14th

With half an hour to go – I thought the Reds would be joining the Chiefs as the two winless sides in the competition, and at the base of these power rankings.

However, to credit Brad Thorn and his men, they found something extra to run over the top of the Sunwolves late, 34-31.

Their bench was outstanding, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Harry Hoopert and Tate McDermott brought a spark that was lacking in the first half of the contest – and were all rewarded with five pointers for their efforts.

Hamish Stewart was impressive at fullback, and looked like he enjoyed the space at the back.

Their slow start was a concern, however, and the Sunwolves were able to make metres when they went wide, or when they held tight and played one out from the ruck.


The Reds defence will be their Achilles heel for the remainder of the season one feels, but this win may give them confidence in weeks to come. We shall see.

Hamish Stewart


14. Sunwolves

Last week: 13th

The Sunwolves will rue their inability to close the match out against the Reds, having dominated the first 60 minutes of the match.

Their backline is genuinely impressive, and Michael Little and Hayden Parker provide good go forward – and they showed that in abundance in the first half. The latter is also potentially one of the best goalkickers we have ever witnessed.

The Reds simply out-enthused the Sunwolves in the last 30 minutes, and that was the difference between the two sides.

15. Chiefs


Last week: 15th

It was a much-improved performance against the Hurricanes, but a 23-23 draw is not a win, and they are still zero from five, and rooted to the bottom of both their conference, and the Super Rugby ladder.

They head to South Africa now, with their season on the line, only a month into the competition.