Super Rugby is back for 14 of 15 teams, with just the Canterbury Crusaders to play their first game.
And wow is it back. The first match of Round 2 set the tone for some quality rugby over the weekend. The Highlanders and the Chiefs played out a classic with some end to end rugby that was a joy to watch.
Tim Nanai-Williams stole the show with two tries, first a great line and step to torch Ben Smith on the outside, the second coming after 3 minutes of non stop end to end rugby which knackered the players. However, he showed how much of a 13 he is NOT in defense by letting in Kade Poki in for an "easy" try.
The try of the game for me was Ben Smith's outstanding pickup an inch from the ground and somehow grounding it with the attentions of several Chief's defenders.
The Chief's surprised me and will be worth a watch as the competition progresses, with Gareth Anscombe looking a key signing.
The Brumbies could be underlining their title credentials with a great display, and Jesse Mogg is fast becoming a bolter for the Lions tour. He seems quality, with serious pace and took his try well, his 2nd in 2 weeks. Having said that, it's clear that the Rebels have improved.
I noticed a lot more use of the TMO this weekend, with a lot of refes using the TMO for seemingly obvious tries, and it also showcased the new rulings of being able to go back 2 phases to spot any reasons for disallowing tries. Chiliboy Ralepelle's try was a perfect example of this, and an example of how technology still won't provide clearcut results. Sidenote: How Joe Pieterson isn't starting for the Stormers is beyond me.
Julian Savea shows that he is still scoring tries in the Hurricanes loss to the Blues, which introduced a lot of potentially future household names in the Blues ranks. Halai, and Saili and Luakua are all worth keeping an eye on this season.
Israel Folau made his debut for the Tahs, and showed he has a lot to work on in defense, with some half-hearted attempted tackling. Quade Cooper's defense looks a lot better than what it was (nothing), maybe the boxing is helping him.
And the Kings. What a game. Sergeal Peterson looks a star in the making. But the Kings play was very entertaining, and won over lots of fans. And proved me wrong. Go Kings.
As far as fantasy goes, with the highest score of 505 points and an average of 302, plenty of points were on show. 9 Players on the dream team had over 40 points with the entire back three of Piatau (Blues), Ben Smith and Nanai-Williams getting over 50 points each.
In the fantasy leagues, Cillian Hogan maintained his leads, but Garbhan Hogan scored the highest in round 2 to cut the gap. Connacht Man slips down to third following Garbhan's haul, with Simon Farrell and Peter Corley showing impressively. Garbhan only had one dream team member on his side this week, but had several high scorers. It's interesting to note that had Frank Halai or Johann Sadie found his way into Garbhan's XV it could have been even higher.
On to next week, and with the Brumbies, the Kings and the Highlanders on a bye, transfers will be important. The competition begins now