Monday’s Rugby News sees results from the weekend, Thorn furious at his team, Hooper disappointed at discipline and the latest from the Sevens.
The weekend that was
All up, it was a pretty good weekend for Aussie rugby fans, with two of the better matches we’ve had so far this year played out in Canberra and Tokyo.
First up, the Brumbies put a smile back on this news writers face against the Reds, coming from 0-15 inside the first fifteen minutes to run out 45-21 winners in front of the Canberra faithful.
The second half was where shit went sideways for the visitors, with the Brumbies outscoring the Reds 33-3. The night was capped off with a try to David Pocock, who looks to have finally reignited the Brums forward dominance with a couple of awesome driving maul tries.
As for the Reds, well, I’ll let Brad Thorn explain in a minute.
Secondly, the Waratahs put the Moon Dogs to the sword, running out 29-50 victors. It’s the second time in their last three matches that the Tahs have crossed the half-century, which suggests that there attack is finally starting to find some form. They’re going to need it against the Kiwis.
Discipline however remains a bit of an issue, with Michael Hooper having a bit of a disappointing game that saw him be sent to the sin bin.
The results sees the Tahs close the gap on the Rebels in the conference and move up to sixth overall, while the Ponies move into the top eight, overtaking the Reds.
In other results from the weekend, the Hurricanes got a scare against the Sharks, scoring a try after the bell to win 38-37. The boys from Durban look to have really found some form in New Zealand, which could make things interesting back in the Saffa conference.
All the other results were pretty predictable: the Chiefs downed the Blues 21-19, the Lions knocked over the Stormers 52-31, and the Jags continued their inconsistent form with a 14-40 loss against the Crusaders.
In the final regular round of the Super W, the Melbourne Women lost 0-57 to NSW Women in Melbourne. While it was a pretty one-sided game, the Rebels girls actually put in a good performance against a really superior opponent, and kept at it till the end.
The big win came for the Western Force Women, who knocked over the Brumbies Women in Canberra 10-29 to take the bronze position. The WA girls were the big X-Factor performers in the competition this year, and their efforts goes to show that rugby in the West is certainly not dying anytime soon.
The NSW Women will play out the final next week against Queensland Women.
You guys are so immature!
Brad Thorn is not happy. After his side had a 0-15 lead against the Brumbies, he was furious that they took their foot off the throat and allowed the Ponies to trample all over them.
So disappointed that he was with their performance, he slammed in the post-game press conference.
“I thought it was an immature performance from our team,” Thorn said.
“Coming off the bye, I felt we were a little bit flat in the warmup perhaps – sometimes you just see how it goes.
“We started the game well, but when you get in those strong positions that’s when you need to keep putting the pressure on and, I guess, keeping your foot on the throat.
“Credit to the Brumbies, they chipped their way back into the game and the momentum swung which it does in professional footy.”
So where did things go wrong? Well, discipline for a start.
“I think we were called offside three or four times,” Thorn added.
“Little things like that where they got a penalty, kicked downfield and had field position.
“Losing Chris (Feauai-Sautia) for 10 minutes is always tough against a good side at that time of the game.
“I think we had a few tries against us in that period but that’s Super Rugby – it’s tough to win games of Super Rugby.
“You’re not always going to feel fizzing as a team.
“We had a big trip, we had a bye we prepped well this week but I’ve played plenty of games where I felt flat, that’s fine, but you’ve still got to get the job done.
“Perhaps early on things came reasonably comfortably, but it’s definitely a learning curve.”
By comparison, Ponies coach Dan McKellar was all smiles.
“Tonight was a step forward, it was excellent,” McKellar said to rugby.com.au.
“In the second half we managed to create space and have the confidence to and the belief to play footy, to back ourselves.
“In this game you have to have pretty thick skin and just believe in what you’re doing.
“I’ll give it to the players – at no stage over the last few weeks have they come and said they don’t think this is working.
“They believe in the change we are trying to make and we just have to stick at it.”
“We speak a lot about resilience, it’s one of our pillars within our group, within our club, and I thought the boys showed a lot of that tonight – we had to.”
They’ll need all the confidence they can get when they head to Dunedin next week.
Speaking of discipline…
Michael Hooper was not happy too.
Despite the fact that the Tahs got a big win in Tokyo, Hoops was furious at his own lack of discipline throughout the match – which included getting a yellow card.
“I obviously had 10 minutes on the sideline there and I was disappointed in that decision that I made there,” he said to rugby.com.au.
“I put the team under pressure, allowed the Sunwolves to get some good attacking ball and score a try inevitably around the scrum, where I would have been on the field
“ I’ve got to work with my relationship there with the referee and get those decisions right.”
Discipline really is the Achilles heel of the Tahs at the moment. Despite dominating the game, they got pinged fifteen times compared to the Moon Dogs three times.
“Particularly in that first half a lot of penalties put us under pressure and probably allowed the Sunwolves to really play their game and get in our field against the wind,” he said.
“We wanted to try and slow the Sunwolves down.
“We know that they play a fast game and that was evidenced tonight by a few of their tries, which were excellent.
“Unfortunately, the referee saw things differently at the breakdown. Penalty count of 15-3.
“We did try and get on the ball, I was pleased with that.”
The Tahs head home to host the Reds next round in Sydney.
And finally, in Hong Kong…
A weakened Aussie Sevens team has had a bit of a shocker at the Hong Kong Sevens, finishing last in their pool.
With most of the Sevens players competing on the Gold Coast, the Aussie team fielded eight debutants, so it was going to be a tough ask for the boys.
But it wasn’t all bad news for the young-uns.
They started the day in line to the Challenge Cup (the second lowest tier stage of the knockout side to the competition), they’ve had a bit more success.
The boys snapped a losing streak to England, winning 17-14, and then headed into the semi-finals to face France.
Despite a valiant effort, they went down 24-12. France went on to win the Challenge Cup, while Fiji picked the major honours by winning the whole tournament. Our boys finished in 11th.