Tremendous Rugby Aotearoa’s new golden level rule launched initially of the 2020 competitors was purported to generate extra pleasure however the reverse has arguably been the case this season.
Two matches on this yr’s match – each on the identical weekend – completed up even-stevens after 80 minutes. The primary sport noticed Chiefs No 15 Damian McKenzie kick a penalty after 5 minutes of additional play handy a loss to the Highlanders whereas David Havili slotted a drop purpose for the Crusaders to sink the Hurricanes barely sixty seconds into golden-point time.
Whereas these six minutes of extra-time had been intense, they resulted within the competitors’s two prime sides pulling away on the prime of the desk.
Heading into the ultimate spherical of motion, the Crusaders have the bye however already locked in a house closing after their victory over the Blues final weekend, whereas the Chiefs are unassailable in second place, courtesy of their five-point buffer over the Blues.
The Highlanders might take third spot if they will rating a win over the Hurricanes and the Blues can’t stand up over an inexperienced Chiefs crew however apart from that minor accomplishment, there’s nothing to play for within the closing spherical.
#SuperRugbyAotearoa desk if the golden level video games had simply been attracts:
Would have made for an fascinating closing spherical…
— James (@jrodbourn) April 29, 2021
As highlighted by James Rodbourn on Twitter, there can be much more at stake this weekend had been it not for these extra-time victories.
If the Crusaders and Chiefs needed to accept attracts in these Spherical 7 matches, there can be simply two competitors factors separating the second-placed Chiefs and the fourth-placed Highlanders.
As such, the Chiefs would want to safe a win on Saturday evening to ensure their place within the grand closing – and would have been pressured to once more area their first-choice crew.
If the Blues as an alternative prevailed and the Highlanders overcame the Hurricanes, the spot within the closing would come to down who had the higher factors differential between the 2 victorious sides – and there can be simply three factors in it going into the beginning of the spherical.
It’s an ironic twist, provided that golden level was conceived as a method of constructing the competitors extra thrilling – which it inevitably did for all of six minutes, whereas the subsequent 160 minutes of Tremendous Rugby Aotearoa motion is now all however redudant.
“Attracts can typically depart everybody feeling a bit empty and after suggestions from our coaches and gamers now we have added the golden level rule,” stated New Zealand Rugby Head of Skilled Rugby Chris Lendrum forward of final yr’s competitors. “We’ve seen the thrill it will probably generate in different codes and we predict provides an actual edge.”
Nothing’s come straightforward this yr – Tremendous Rugby Aotearoa has been powerful each bodily and mentally. #SuperRugbyAotearoahttps://t.co/9f1R9nQpoE
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 29, 2021
Whereas the golden level rule hasn’t precisely improved this yr’s competitors, that’s not an inditement on the rule as a complete – it simply so occurs that the successful sides in the one further time matches have additionally ended up as the primary and second seeds for the grand closing.
Had the Crusaders misplaced their match in opposition to the Hurricanes, a bonus level victory for the Chiefs on Saturday would hand them home-ground benefit for the competitors closing – though that’s not one thing they’ve managed for a while.
A win for the Highlanders in opposition to the Chiefs, however, would have put them in pole place this weekend to nab second place – however provided that they’re in a position to stand up in opposition to the Hurricanes.
As an alternative, the worst doable outcomes have transpired – except you’re a Crusaders or Chiefs fan.
It’s an unlucky consequence of the golden level legislation however possible not one that can see the rule scrapped for subsequent yr, no matter kind Tremendous Rugby takes, provided that the Australian competitors has additionally integrated golden level for the previous two seasons.
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