Super Rugby
Canes, cards, clinical Crusaders and terrific Tahs
Sam Bruce and Brittany Mitchell
March 23, 2015
Waratahs 28-13 Brumbies (video available in Australia only)

The Hurricanes remain the only undefeated team on the ladder after opening the round with a gutsy and professional show of their title ambitions against a tough and impressive Highlanders side in Dunedin on Friday, and the action concluded with a brutal derby in which the reigning champions, New South Wales Waratahs, proved conclusively that they were not yesterday's heroes. In between, the Crusaders turned on the gas against the Cheetahs, with the Sharks overcame the Chiefs in a match marred by ill-discipline and the Bulls won at home - just and fortunately - for the first time this season against an unfortunate Western Force team. Read on for a complete wrap of Round 6 and watch video highlights of every game.

Highlanders 13-20 Hurricanes

Highlanders 13-20 Hurricanes (Australia only)

Predicted to be a free-flowing affair under the Forsyth Barr Stadium roof, fans were forced to sit through a stop-start opening 40-minutes as both side made mistakes. A 48th-minute try to prop Reggie Goodes gave the Hurricanes the ascendancy, and the game appeared over when TJ Perenara added another eight minutes from time. But the Highlanders rallied with brilliant fullback Ben Smith coming into his own and Patrick Osborne looking increasingly dangerous. The hosts were finally rewarded for a period of pressure when fly-half Lima Sopoaga sliced through the Canes' defence and touched down from close range. Sopoaga added the extras but the hosts had left their run too late and the Hurricanes rolled on with their unbeaten start to 2015.

Rebels 16-20 Lions

Rebels 16-20 Lions (Australia only)

The Rebels looked to have blown the Lions out of the water with a blistering opening 10 minutes, but a lack of discipline and wayward goal-kicking from Mike Harris resulted in yet another loss for the Rebels at home. The visitors thoroughly deserved their win, however, with Warren Whitely leading an almighty defensive effort to inspire his side. The Lions skipper made an incredible 26 tackles at a 100%% success rate as the visitors recovered from the early sin-binning of lock Franco Mostert, and a 13-3 deficit, to steal the win with a late try from Lionel Mapoe. The Lions will now look to round out what has been one of their best ever Australasian tours against the struggling Reds while, incredibly, the Rebels are still searching for back-to-back wins.

Crusaders 57-14 Cheetahs

Crusaders 57-14 Cheetahs (Australia Only)

The sin-binning of Willie le Roux may prove to be the making of the Crusaders this season, as the 10 minutes that followed saw them produce some of the finest rugby in recent memory. The seven-time champions had been largely out of sorts all season, and that was the case again on Saturday night before Le Roux collected Nemani Nadolo in a high tackle in the 48th minute, but the dropped balls, missed tackles and poorly timed runs quickly became a distant memory as the Crusaders piled on four tries to turn a four-point deficit into a 38-14 lead. A penalty-try for repeated scrum infringements started the onslaught before Israel Dagg, Dan Carter and Nadolo also crossed in a remarkable period of attacking rugby. Carter finished the match with a double in a 27-point haul while back-rower Jordan Taufua picked up a brace of his own.

The Crusaders produced an amazing final 30 minutes in Christchurch © Getty Images

Sharks 12-11 Chiefs

Sharks 12-11 Chiefs (Australia only)

Angus Gardner issued an astonishing three red cards on a bizarre evening in Durban, where the 13-man Sharks held out the Chiefs for the barest of victories on Saturday night. The Australian referee sent Sharks players Bismarck du Plessis and Francois Steyn and Chiefs hooker Hika Elliot for early showers, all inside 27 minutes. Elliot was the first to go following flying shoulder charge while du Plessis followed soon after for indiscriminate use of the boot. Steyn completed the trio of red cards 10 minutes later when Gardner ignored the advice of the TMO and decided a lifting tackle also warranted a red card. Away from the chaos of the opening 30 minutes, Chiefs flanker Sam Cane scored the only try of the match, from a lineout drive, but it wasn't enough to secure the visitors a sweep of their South African tour. Four Patrick Lambie penalties got the hosts home.

Bulls 25-24 Force

Bulls 25-24 Force (Australia only)

A "gutted" Western Force were left to lament a lifting tackle from Adam Coleman as Handre Pollard kicked an 80th-minute penalty to secure the Bulls a fortunate win. Coleman had only seconds earlier produced a thunderous, and legal, hit, but his overzealous effort on Pollard gave the fly-half to opportunity to steal the unlikely win. The Force had scored three tries to one and overcome yellow cards to Coleman and Tetera Faulkner to lead into the closing stages. Kyle Godwin, meanwhile, enjoyed his best game of the season at outside centre, the Wallabies hopeful running for 61 metres and picking up one of his side's three five-pointers.

Waratahs 28-13 Brumbies

There were plenty of fireworks when two of Australia's best teams went head-to-head in Sydney, and the derby definitely lived up to the hype having been likened to a Wallabies trial match. The intensity was high with both sides bringing the big hits and the hard running, but the Waratahs returned to their physical best to claim the chocolates as they dominated possession and run metres and hammered the visitors in defence; Israel Folau also produced his game of the season to answer his critics after below-par efforts. The Brumbies failed to handle the physicality; they were smashed around the park and their normally clean handling and play was nowhere to be seen as they were penalised 12 times and produced 14 turnovers. The Waratahs' return to form was marred by allegations of "homophobic slurs" that have the potential to cast a long shadow over the season.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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