SYDNEY (REUTERS) – ACT Brumbies ran in seven tries to trounce the New South Wales Waratahs 47-14 on Sunday in the final match before Super Rugby joined much of the rest of the sporting world in putting up the shutters because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Governing body Sanzaar said on Saturday that the mostly southern hemisphere competition would be suspended indefinitely following Sunday’s match in Canberra after New Zealand announced that anyone entering the country must self-isolate for 14 days.
South Africa’s Sharks, the Canterbury Crusaders and the Brumbies filled the top three spots in the standings going into the shutdown, with the seventh of 18 rounds of the competition incomplete after the cancellation of the penultimate fixture.
The Jaguares were scheduled to host the Otago Highlanders behind closed doors in Buenos Aires on Saturday but the match was called off three hours before kick-off to allow the visiting players to return to New Zealand.
Local pride ensured a full-blooded contest in the Australian capital despite the uncertainty and a brace from winger Solomone Kata helped the Brumbies to a 21-14 halftime lead in front of a decent crowd at Canberra Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Sharks stayed top after prevailing 24-14 in a blockbuster derby against the Stormers in Durban on Saturday.
The Sharks (24) have a seven-point lead over the Cape Town-based Stormers at the top of the South Africa conference.
The reigning champion Crusaders played the Sunwolves on Saturday in Brisbane because of the coronavirus outbreak in Japan and turned a slender 14-7 lead at halftime into a 49-14 victory despite a red card for hooker Hugh Roach.
Roach was dismissed for elbowing Sunwolves prop Hencus van Wyk in the face late in the game.
The Crusaders top the New Zealand conference on 23 points ahead of the Auckland Blues (22), who thrashed South Africa’s Lions 43-10 at Eden Park to continue a promising start to a campaign that may not now be concluded.
The Waikato Chiefs are third on 19 points following their 27-24 loss to the Wellington Hurricanes (17) in Hamilton on Friday.
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