Super Rugby Pacific is alive! We may only be three rounds in but excitement and unpredictability is returning to the competition.

The biggest margin of the weekend was just 10 points while several games came right down to the wire.

There were wins for the Hurricanes, Reds, Highlanders, Drua, Force and Rebels.

Read on as we review some of the Super — and Not So Super – action from Round 3.



For four heart-pounding minutes the Queensland Reds were forced to defend phase after phase of Chiefs’ attacking threats as they desperately clung on for their second win of the season.

The 23 phases began all the way within the Chiefs territory, just 30 metres from their tryline as they swung the ball wide off the base of the scrum and began making their way downfield. It looked like a certain try – and surely victory for the Chiefs — when Shaun Stevenson linked up with Anton Leinert-Brown down the right wing to get within metres of the line. But for the next three minutes and another 21 phases the red wall became unbreakable.

As the Chiefs attempted to bulldoze their way through the Reds defence, cool heads prevailed as Peni Ravi, Josh Nasser and Jeff Toomaga-Allen kept their feet and pushed the Chiefs back inch by inch, before reserve fly-half Harry McLaughlin-Phillips would prove the hero of the moment, quickly pouncing on an isolated Damian McKenzie to snaffle the match-winning turnover.

“We’re not surprised. But that’s titanic in a way, isn’t it, to hold the Chiefs?” Reds coach Les Kiss told Stan Sport post-match.

Queensland Reds celebrate victory Albert Perez/Getty Images

“You could see the relief and the joy from the guys. I thought it was a tough match. It was probably fitting that it went down to that minute, it was pretty tight.”

It was reminiscent of last year’s efforts in New Plymouth which saw the Reds withstand 28 phases of relentless Chiefs attack to seal a famous victory which was led once again by Fraser McReight and his backrow partner Harry Wilson.

Yet again McReight proved himself one of the players of the competition and the only choice for the Wallabies No.7 jersey after he put up another incredible performance in red. McReight’s red headgear was spotted across the park as he snaffled turnovers and made a huge 20 tackles, bettered only by teammate Ryan Smith, while he once again linked up with childhood friend Wilson for the side’s second try of the night.

The whole forward pack was immense with their set-piece firing, while the backrow once again dominated with Wilson producing 15 carries for 45 metres, and Liam Wright producing a captain’s effort of 18 tackles of his own.

While the side’s defensive effort was huge, shutting down the ever-threatening McKenzie multiple times and frustrating the All Blacks playmaker, their attack proved just as exciting.

Led by the young Tom Lynagh in another measured performance, it was constant players in motion as the ball went out the back multiple times with Josh Flook, Isaac Henry and Suliasi Vunivalu desperate to get their hands on the ball and test the Chiefs defence.

Vunivalu continued his impressive form setting up McReight’s try with a slick run down the wing, while a beautiful grubber downfield from McLaughlin-Phillips turned into an opportune try for Flook that would prove the winning points. They’ll only be disappointed more opportunities weren’t converted into points with so many dropped balls.

“It’s only three games in, we will stay grounded,” Kiss said post-game in an attempt to temper expectation, but now sitting third on the table and with a measured dismantling of the competition’s best team, the Reds have easily taken the mantle of Australia’s best side and have proven they’re the real deal in 2024.


Yes, we’re only three rounds in and anything can happen over a 15-week season, but there’s something brewing in this year’s edition of SRP.

Super Round has proven to be no aberration with Round 3 providing another weekend of truly exciting rugby.

The biggest points difference this weekend was just 10, coming in the Fijian Drua’s maybe not so shocking win over the Crusaders in Lautoka, while the Reds and Chiefs were forced to battle to the final seconds, and the Hurricanes remain the only unbeaten side.

The Waratahs and Highlanders played out an epic contest that went to the wire in Sydney Izhar Khan/Getty Images

Meanwhile there’s four Australian sides residing in the top eight with the Melbourne Rebels overcoming off-field adversity to sit fourth, and the Waratahs battling to the wire on Friday night.

The Highlanders flew under the radar in the opening rounds but have now set themselves a strong platform for their upcoming matches, and the Drua have steadied their season with a win at home.

It’s been the perfect start to the competition – unless you’re a Crusaders fan – with unpredictability finally brought back to a competition that for so long was played between just two teams.


Fourteen years after first bursting his way onto the Super Rugby scene with the Hurricanes in 2012, Julian ‘the Bus’ Savea has officially been crowned the competition’s top try-scorer after he dotted down for his 61st on Friday.

While no longer in the yellow and black of the Hurricanes, Savea is still at his rampaging best with Moana Pasifika, busting through defenders with ease, but it wasn’t necessary on Friday when he found plenty of space on the wing and dove over the whitewash almost untouched against the Rebels.

It brings to an end former Waratahs Israel Folau’s longstanding record of 60, which has stood since he was sacked in 2019 for anti-gay comments.

But records are meant to be broken and with TJ Perenara’s (58 tries) return from injury there’s a chance the halfback could soon claim the title, meanwhile Crusaders’ Sevu Reece isn’t far behind either after he scored his 50th against the Drua over the weekend.



It’s not often the Crusaders make it into the ‘Not So Super’ side of our weekly review and it’s even less often they make it here two weeks in a row, but after falling to their third straight loss, there’s a lot going wrong with the 13-time premiership winners.

It’s been a long time since the Crusaders had such a bad start to their season, in fact we have to go all the way back to the very first Super Rugby season in 1996 to match the record and Rob Penney will be feeling the heat with an unwanted record fourth straight loss potentially just around the corner.

It was always going to be difficult filling Scott Robertson’s premiership winning shoes, but so far Penney is proving he is not up for the task.

Shocked by the Waratahs at Super Round last week, the last place the Crusaders would want to be is in the heat and humidity of Fiji facing a Drua side also desperate for their first win.

Instead of playing a measured and controlled game plan, the Crusaders went the other way, falling into the Drua’s trap of playing a fast, frantic and at times desperate game. It was uncharacteristic of the Crusaders of old, but not so for this new look team that has struggled without Richie Mo’unga.

The play was sloppy, their forwards lacked punch, while the Drua ate up any loose balls and broken play. Savea’s try in the 19th minute proved the only highlight. Meanwhile, a last-minute lineout throw ruled not straight was emblematic of just how much is wrong at the Crusaders.

Oh, and where they finished the last time they opened their season with a 0-3 record? Dead. Last.

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