Hurricanes lost a very winnable game against the Stormers in Palmerston North 18-16, playing too little rugby in the first half and too much in the second, and being down a man - and nearly two - just before half time for illegally bringing down a maul didn't exactly help matters. If it wasn't for Bryan Habana's conversion chargedown at half time it looks like it would've been a draw, not sure whether it was legit like the ref ruled but I can't remember the last time I've ever seen that happen! Man, the Stormers' defense at times made it look like they were defending against a club rugby team, it's their bread and butter I suppose. At least I'm set for disappointment early and not expecting the Blues to do any miracles against the Reds shortly.
EDIT: And in the end the Reds won but it was the Blues that impressed me the most with the ability to win turn-over ball, lineouts and scrums, after the suckfest that was the Highlanders-Blues game a few weeks ago where the Blues couldn't win ANY of those matchups, great improvement in that area. Reds managed to win 12-11 after being stalemated at 9-11 for 35 minutes after half time. Ali Wiliiams has grown into his role as Blues captain after being the class clown for the last couple of seasons. I'd like to see a finals rematch at Eden Park this season but with the Reds winning 4-0 against Kiwi opposition - and Aussie teams now winning 8-2 against Kiwi opposition so far - it isn't likely to happen.