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Kendra Cocksedge

Taranaki-born Kendra Cocksedge is one of the most influential figures in the global game. After debuting for the Black Ferns at just 19-years-old, Cocksedge has gone on to win two Women’s Rugby World Cup titles (2010 and 2017) and was named World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year in 2015. She has also excelled in sevens and was part of the squad that won the inaugural Women’s Sevens World Series in 2013. 

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Super Rugby shaping for exciting finish – Cocksedge

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Kendra Cocksedge     11 Jul 2018     Getty Images

It started with Wyatt Crockett becoming the first person to play 200 Super Rugby games when the Crusaders took out the Highlanders in another classic southern derby in Christchurch on Friday night. 

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In a game stacked with brilliant tries, it was great to see ‘Crocky’ get in on the action with a Sonny-Bill Williams-like offload to set up Scott Barrett for a try under the sticks.

It was a try that showcased just how dangerous the Crusaders are. Not only do they have the luxury of leaving a world class player like Israel Dagg out of their match-day squad, they have a set of forwards who can run and pass like backs.

The Highlanders stuck in the game for as long as they could, but in the end the Crusaders were simply too ruthless and skilful in winning 45-22.

That secured the NZ Conference and minor championship for the Crusaders. More importantly though, it means the Crusaders will have home advantage through the playoffs.

It’s going to be challenging for any team to come up against the Crusaders at home. If there’s one area to focus on against Scott Robertson’s side it is defence. You need to get up in their face, restrict their room to move and – above all – don’t let up for the entire 80 minutes. If you can do that then you will be in the game.

It was great to see the Hurricanes find their attacking mojo on the weekend too. Ngani Laumape was unstoppable in crossing for four tries. He connected well with Beauden Barrett on the inside, ran great lines and was too powerful close to the line. He’s on fire at the moment and will be a huge asset for the Hurricanes in the playoffs.

The Chiefs-Hurricanes game this Saturday is going to be huge. The Chiefs need to win by 23 points with a bonus point to secure a home playoff. On paper it may seem unlikely, but anything is possible with this Chiefs unit.
A couple of weeks ago in Suva they put 42 points on the Highlanders in the first half alone. If they can repeat that effort against the Hurricanes this weekend then they could be back at FMG Stadium Waikato the following week for a home playoff.

Whatever happens this weekend it looks like the Hurricanes and Chiefs will meet in the playoffs. I can’t wait to see Damian McKenzie and Beauden Barrett go head-to-head in a knockout situation.

They can both create something from nothing and are unpredictable and electric. That’s what you want in your ten and Richie Mo’unga is the same for the Crusaders.

The Highlanders have the toughest road out of all of the NZ teams but cannot be discounted. They take on the Rebels this weekend and it’s looking unlikely they can move above six on the overall ladder.

This will mean a long trip to either Johannesburg or Buenos Aires for a quarterfinal. While it’s not an ideal route, if they can get a win on the road then they will be a huge threat in a crunch semifinal.

I can’t wait to see what happens this weekend. Make sure you get to either FMG Stadium Waikato, AMI Stadium or Forsyth Barr Stadium to catch the action live or tune in on Sky Sport – you don’t want to miss a thing.