Waratahs wary of Brumbies after big first-round win
A 52-10 point smashing of the Hurricanes will mean nothing if the Brumbies can't beat arch-rivals the Waratahs at home on Friday night.
Beaten by the Hurricanes in last year's semi-finals, the Brumbies showed they would be a different proposition this time around by running in seven tries to one against the New Zealanders, with internationals Stephen Moore, David Pocock, Scott Fardy, Tevita Kuridrani, Sam Carter and Argentina half Tomas Cubelli all scoring.
The clinical, attacking style raised a few eyebrows, with Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson acknowledging the game in Canberra would be a serious challenge.
"They're running from areas they probably wouldn't have run in the last two or three years. They're definitely being far more positive," he said.
"To me they looked like they've added a few things over the off-season but they're still very, very strong in the forwards. And definitely their lineout platform is very good."
The Waratahs also kicked off with a win, downing the under-strength Reds 30-10 at home.
Other highlights in round one included the 34-33 win by newcomers Los Jaguares, the Argentineans coming from 24-3 down to beat the Cheetahs in South Africa. The Jaguares have retained most of the players that took Argentina to the semi-finals of last year's World Cup, and are expected to be a serious contender for the top eight in their debut season.
The other new teams - Japan's Sunwolves and South Africa's Southern Kings - began with losses, suggesting it could be a long and difficult season for both franchises.
Defending champions the Highlanders also opened with a loss, beaten by an enthusiastic Blues outfit led by new coach Tana Umaga.
Blues 33 (M Nanai, B Gibson, P Tuipulotu tries; I West 3 con, 4 pen) Highlanders 31 (B Smith 2, T Walden, W Naholo; L Sopoaga 3 con, pen; H Parker con) in Auckland on Friday night
Brumbies 52 (T Kuridrani, T Cubelli, D Pocock, S Fardy, S Moore, J Mann-Rea, S Carter; C Lealiifano 7 con, pen) Hurricanes 10 (N Laumape try, B Barret con, pen) in Canberra on Friday night
Jaguares 34 (M Landajo 2, A Creevy, R Baez tries; N Sanchez 4 con, pen, drop) Cheetahs 33 (F Venter, penalty, T van Jaarsveld, W Small-Smith tries; F Zeilinga 2 con, 2 pen; N.Marais pen) in Bloemfontein on Saturday morning
Lions 26 (R Coetzee, C Skosan, J Kriel, L Mapoe tries; E Jantjies 3 con) Sunwolves 13 (S Horie try; T Pisis con, 2 pen) in Tokyo on Saturday afternoon
Chiefs 27 (S Stevenson, S Tamanivalu, D McKenzie, S Cane tries; D McKenzie 2 con, pen) Crusaders 21 (R Mo'unga, D Havili tries; R Mo'unga con, 3 pen) in Christchurch on Saturday night
Waratahs 30 (M Hooper, M Carraro, D Horwitz, N Phipps tries; K Beale 2 con, pen; B Hegarty pen) Reds 10 (J McIntyre try; A Goromaru con, pen) in Sydney on Saturday night)
Rebels 25 (R Hodge 2, A Thomson tries; R Hodge 2 con, 2 pen) Western Force 19 (J Lance try, con, 4 pen) in Perth on Saturday night
Sharks 43 (O Ndungane 2, J-L du Preez, W le Roux, P Jordaan, L Wazi Mvovo, tries; J Pietersen 5 con, pen) Southern Kings 8 (C Cloete try; E Watts pen) in Port Elizabeth on Sunday morning
Stormers 33 (R du Preez, E Etzebeth, S Ntubeni tries; R du Preez 3 con, 4 pen) Bulls 9 (F Brummer 3 pen) in Cape Town on Sunday morning