After this weekend, all teams have at least won a match and tasted a defeat, adding a spicy flavor of unpredictability when we are close to the finish-line of the pool stage.
The Brussels Devils came alive in the 4th round, Tel-Aviv Heat were able to bring down the champions, and the Iberians finally defeated their oldest rivals, which should entertain any rugby fan!
HOT STATS OF THE ROUND
- The Brussels Devils recorded their highest win (48 points), in a match where they won 1km kicking meters, a competition all-time record;
- Manuel Cardoso Pinto added 6 more defenders beaten to his tally, and continues on the top of the hardest units to catch;
- Iberians have only conceded an average of 10 points per game, possessing the best defence on the competition with only 44 points conceded;
Let’s see who were the main standouts of another great weekend of the Rugby Europe Super Cup.
GIORGI TKHILAISHVILI (RC BATUMI)
The unit that leads the team by example, right? In the Rugby Europe Super Cup, we have our fair share of unbending, unbreakable, and unyielding captains, and it seems RC Batumi’s Giorgi Tkhilaishvili deserves a spot between them.
The blindside flanker pushed his body over humanly limits, working tirelessly until he got the job done, helping RC Batumi to score a back-to-back win that keeps their hopes up of qualifying for the semifinals when there are only two more rounds to play.
Thirteen tackles, three turnovers (just push back to minute 56:29 and marvel at yourself with a masterful jackal), and a whole universe of excellence in commandeering his teammates to keep the focus on the goal, especially when the Romanian Wolves threatened to score points.
Everyone loves a gallant captain that encapsulates the best features of his team, and Giorgi Tkhilaishvili proved, once again, this weekend he is exactly that.
SACHA CASAÑAS (CASTILLA Y LEÓN IBERIANS)
Sacha Casañas, Castilla y León Iberians lock, was just monumental for the Spanish franchise's first win against the Lusitanos, going from superb lineout steals to menacing thumping carries, and also scoring one of the three tries that earned them this outstanding victory in the CAR Jamor ground.
Alongside Siosiua Moala (if the Lusitanos feel sore, that’s mostly because of the number 8 runs) or Valentín Bustos, the Argentinian powerful lock was an incredible sight when he jumped at restarts or lineouts, dominating completely the aerial battle, upholding a thrilling duel against David Wallis, the Lusitanos flanker. His tackle fineness and the ability to dig for the ball in the breakdown, was crucial at some points to stop the Portuguese opposition from exploring the numbers out wide.
Even if we had a more physical bashing contest in the second forty minutes, you could still enjoy Casañas work rate and powerful will to fight for dominance in every little detail, and that’s why he is one of the Standouts from Round 4.
HUGO RUELLE (BRUSSELS DEVILS)
One of the first things a coach teaches to eager rugby players while carrying the oval ball is to have a good strong body position, hold it with both hands, and, most important of all, keep your legs driving and your knees up, so you won’t be stopped in the first moment of contact.
With that in mind, just rewatch all of the tries in which Devils winger Hugo Ruelle was involved, as you will see those basic notions were well applied, opening gaps and taking out tacklers from his path. It was simply outstanding how Ruelle went for the advantage line every time the ball found its way to his hands, overpowering Delta’s defensive strategy, and delivering the goods for the Belgian side, who got this season’s first win.
135 meters covered, a hattrick, four clean breaks, four bust-tackles (those knees just kept marching and marching), and two try-assists, crowning a MoTM game with some of the best moments of the night, alongside Hugo de Francq kicks (three conversions glued to the sideline) or the Devils insatiable scrum.
JONE TAUFAGA (TEL-AVIV HEAT)
What a way to wrap up this Super Cup weekend, as the Israeli franchise, Tel-Aviv Heat, scored their first victory against the champions, and climbed to 2nd place in their Eastern Pool, looking good at their prospects of reaching the knockout stage.
A match that dangled between the Heat backline unpredictability and the Black Lion's fierce set-piece, ended in a deep frenzy as the Georgian side tried to score what would’ve been a try-equalizer. At the same time, the home team put on a brave and seemingly unbreakable defence, that ultimately paid off.
Among the units who put in extra effort to provide us with a great show, Tel-Aviv Heat centre, Jone Taufaga, should be praised, not only for his powerful carries (twelves, and in most he was able to win the gain line) but also due to his defensive ability, that goes beyond a good tackle, as he offers a sense of calm to his teammates, holding well the line and redeploying quickly when needed.
Yes, it wasn’t flashy, but Taufaga’s efforts were pivotal to stop the Black Lion backline from getting any sort of control over the Heat, as he was always there to catch the fastest opposing runners or close-down critical gaps, making sure his side would come out as victors in this tremendous clash.
By Francisco Isaac