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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News looks at the opening round of Super Rugby, the Sydney Sevens, Henry Speight’s incredible feat and Bryan Habana’s plea to SANZAAR.


It’s finally back

Photo Credit Brendan Hertel / QRU

Photo Credit Brendan Hertel / QRU

Super Rugby has kicked off for another year with a bang with a series of upsets, comebacks and statement performances headlining the round.

It started in Auckland with the era of Beauden kicking off for the Blues against the Chiefs.

Unfortunately, no one told Beuaden, who was a notable absentee as the Chiefs came back from a 19-5 deficit to gift Warren Gatland his first win of the season.

The action then travelled to Canberra, where rugby was probably the last thing on people’s minds as the Brumbies hosted the Reds. The ACT boys gave their supporters something to cheer about with a brilliant solo effort from Tom Banks sealing a 27-24 win against a spirited Reds side.

Overnight on Friday/Saturday witnessed the return of kickbot Morne Steyn to the Bulls against the Sharks. Unfortunately for Morne, his 15 points couldn’t get the job done as the Sharks (and running rugby) secured the win 23-15.

This was followed by the Sunwolves starting their final year in the comp, with many already handing them the wooden spoon. However, no one told them as they shocked the Rebels 36-27 to set off alarm bells in Melbourne.

The action then headed to Christchurch where the Crusaders hosted the baby Waratahs. Whilst NSW hung tough, the defending champions were too strong in the end, running out 43-25 winners.

In South Africa, the Stormers started the Hurricanes post-Barrett stage with a 27-0 thumping. However, it was not all good news for the Cape Town side, with captain Siya Kolisi reportedly suffering a knee injury that could keep him out for up to six weeks.

The action ended in Argentina, with the Jaguares looking to prove that 2019 wasn’t a fluke. And boy did they do that, pumping the Lions 38-8 in a dominating performance that has likely awoken the South African teams from their four-month bender after the World Cup.

Sydney Struggles

2020-sydney7s-day2-12

Australia’s sevens teams have failed to live up to their lofty expectations on home soil during the Sydney Sevens.

Both teams got off to the perfect start, with the men’s and women’s side going undefeated during the first day.

The women’s side would end up booking their place after holding on to a narrow 14-10 win over France to secure their shot at destiny against Canada.

Unfortunately, it was deja vu for John Manenti’s side as Canada dusted them up 34-0, a replay of their semi-final clash in Hamilton.

They would find some redemption in the Bronze medal match, escaping with a 12-10 victory over France.

Despite this, Manenti was less than impressed with the performance put out by his side.

“I am gutted. I feel for the girls because I know they are better than that and we let ourselves down and that wasn’t the performance we were looking for,” Manenti said.

“We were particularly poor around the breakdown, it felt like we got counter rucked every time we had possession. Attitudinally we let ourselves down.

“Our discipline and our lack of intensity at the breakdown really let us down.”

As for the men’s team, they were dominated in their final pool game against the USA, with American speedsters Perry Baker and Carlin Isles scoring five of the team’s seven tries in a massive 43-7 victory.

They would then have the unenviable task of facing New Zealand in the fifth-place playoff, who defeated them 24-7 in the pelting rain.

Men’s coach Tim Walsh was optimistic about their showing, choosing to focus on individual performances as a sign of their fortunes close to changing.

“They happen – look at New Zealand last night, getting drilled by Fiji,” Walsh said.

“Those games do happen and you sort of have to be on the whole time; this format is a difficult one. One hit and you’re gone.

“You look at individually, the players are making massive inroads. Lachie Anderson is playing really, Josh Turner is going from strength to strength, Lewi Holland I thought had a fantastic tournament to date.

“A loss is not going to change anything but we played well (in Sydney) … two or three losses like that maybe, but one is not anything to worry about.”

Grand Slam Speight

Henry Speight

Henry Speight

Usually, when someone talks about a grand slam, they will likely focus their attention to either Melbourne for the Aus Open or a trip around Europe.

However, the opening round of the Super Rugby season has seen Reds flyer Henry Speight achieve his own “grand slam”, becoming the first player to score against all 18 teams.

Speight will likely be the only player to achieve this magnificent feat, with the list including defunct teams such as the Cheetahs, Force and the Kings along with the soon-to-be-exiled Sunwolves.

The only player who had come close to his mark is former AFL player and current rugby league back Israel Folau, who scored against all teams except the Waratahs.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar was full of praise for his former flyer, revealing that the set-piece was a page out of his book.

“We knew that play was coming and it wasn’t as good as watching it last year (when scoring off the same running line for the Brumbies),” McKellar said.

“It was good to see ‘Silky” get the response and recognition from the crowd because he’s much loved in Canberra and he’ll always be a Brumby.”

The Reds headed straight for Johannesberg after the contest, eager to acclimatise ahead of their African/Argentinian tour.

They will begin the tour against the Lions, who were overrun 28-0 in the second half in their loss to the Jaguares before they head to Argentina for the hardest test in Super Rugby (IMO).

However, they will do it without hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa, who suffered ankle ligament damage just minutes into the contest.

Paenga-Amosa will consult a surgeon in Brisbane on Monday, with Alex Mafi set to take the reigns as starting hooker for the rest of the tour.

Lock Harry Hockings will join the side on tour but he will be unavailable for selection this weekend as he continues to mend his broken hand.

Habana stands up for South Africa

Juan de Jongh looks to put Bryan Habana into space

Juan de Jongh looks to put Bryan Habana into space

Discussions around the formatting of the Super Rugby for 2021 continue to flourish with rumours persisting that the South Africa clubs will be removed in the future.

With the SARU mobilising its troops in the northern (Pro14) and southern (Super Rugby) fronts, speculation continues that Australia and New Zealand will play a trans-Tasman competition in the future.

This has been shot down by Springboks and cheetah defeater Bryan Habana, who urged the governing bodies to keep the original format whilst warning his home country of committing solely to Europe.

“Logistically, I’m not quite sure how moving to Europe would work,” he said.

“I was fortunate enough to have started my career out in the strength vs strength Super Rugby format and I absolutely loved it.

“I fully understood the change towards the end of my career but for me as a player getting to play against the best teams in the Southern Hemisphere week in, week out was an unbelievable thrill.

“My personal view is I think New Zealand, South Africa and Australia all need each other. If you’re going to have a Southern Hemisphere competition, it’s going to be a bit weird (without one).”

Habana admits that whilst the competition doesn’t have the same spark as in recent years, he believes the future of the comp should focus on expansion.

“The fact is we were fortunate enough to have…(been) getting that Super Rugby exposure at the time when it was Super Rugby at its core, you played every team once and if you weren’t good enough, you weren’t good enough, and if you were good enough you felt you were the best team in the Southern Hemisphere,” he believes.

“Fifteen years ago, the thoughts of having a Japanese and Argentinian side in Super Rugby would’ve been unheard of.

“All of a sudden both those teams are fully deserving of being there.

“I don’t quite know how to justify strength vs strength but I’m very grateful that I got to play in that era.”

  • sambo6

    So I’m not sure which commentators any aussie viewers heard if you watched the 6-nations on the weekend. But over here in the UK, I tuned in to watch opening Italy versus Wales on the BBC, and much to my dismay I was greeted by that whiny fucking accent of one M.Cheika who’s joined bbc’s team for the tournament. Is there no escape?

    • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

      I believe he is the officiating expert commentator.

    • Yowie

      “yeah nah objectivity and verbal coherence are, like, massive strengths of mine hey you-know-what-I-mean”

    • Greg

      It’s OK to let go of both Mr Cheika and Mr Folau. If they pop-up…. we can just look another way and enjoy our rugby!

    • Huw Tindall

      You can slag off his accent but listening to him he absolutely knew his stuff about the teams. Was chipping in with comments about specific players careers to date and adding insight on particular plays and the structure/moves involved. This wasn’t token player trivia a la Gordon Bray but actual rugby relevant info.

      • Who?

        If that was the case, Huw (stated because I didn’t watch it)…..
        .
        Were you in shock? Because he always says he doesn’t watch the games. That he doesn’t observe other clubs, or players. He always gave the distinct impression he was disinterested in them, had no clue about them, and didn’t care.

  • Steve

    Thanks Nath.

    General thoughts on 6N games:
    – Wales/Italy went pretty much to script. Wales never really hit any particular highs but they didn’t really need to against a pedestrian opposition. So yet to see really where they are at.

    – Scotland/Ireland also pretty average as a game. There was some good intensity on the open, but pretty much settled into a pretty average standard. My highlight was Stuart Hogg dropping the ball over the line trying the one-handed putdown. Why do coaches allow that shit?

    – France/England. France are back, baby. Inventive, quick and dangerous, with a new English defence coach they were also hitting hard in defence and England had no real answers. The halves are the real deal. They still went to sleep a bit in the last half hour. Jonny May may as well have been playing on his own for Eng, guy is a freak.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      DuPont is terrific. Can see that guy winning world player of the year one day.

      • Steve

        Agree – Dangerous all game, and his run to set up Ollivon was absolutely top tier.

    • Nutta

      Wales & Italy – agree. It’s sad to see a side still there after losing 42 games straight. Romania anyone?

      Scotland & Ireland – disagree. In terms of watching a match to see a competition, that was bloody great I thought. The Scots did not implode without their 1st choice 9, their scrum vs their much-vaunted opponents was fantastic and some of the Scots attacking footy was bloody brilliant to watch. Their 7 is gold. And their Aussie 12 (Sam Johnson I think?) played really well as did their other great Aussie discard (Grey). For the Paddys it was great to see Dev Toner take a great lineout immediately after coming on and Tadhg was immense all day but my MOTM was Ian Henderson (typified by his tackle on Sean Maitland) closely followed by Peter O’Mahony (did you see that try-line turnover he pulled?). Hoggets error was just the stuff of nightmares and to pull such crap at that point of the game when an upset win was a real possibility is breathtaking.

      Frogs v Filth I haven’t watched yet.

      • Andrew Luscombe

        Romania? Georgia, or even better, Japan.

        • Nutta

          All good suggestions. For me it’s more that automatic acceptance to keep playing in a comp where they clearly can’t compete is unsustainable. Even a Southern Ex-Pats team under the guise of the Baa Baa’s would be a better outfit.

      • Steve

        I’m glad you saw more in the game than I did Nutta!

        I can’t fault it for intensity and competitiveness for sure.

        Make sure you watch the last game though – will make the others look very average

    • Keith Butler

      France worthy winners and England were poor. All down to EJ imo. Gobbing off in the week before the game. No genuine 8 in the entire squad so picks Curry who is a 7 and then compounds the error by picking Lawes who is a lock, in spite others might think, at 6. We will get creamed by the Scots next weekend. Difficult to judge Wales but Italy were pretty crap. Ireland/Scotland a game the Scots could have won. Winners away could decide where the trophy goes.

      • Steve

        It’s all up in the air I think KB. Welcome to our pain of having a coach picking a random back row!

        I don’t know that the Scots or Ireland showed much more than England on the weekend – the one thing the poms can do is dial the intensity (brutality?) up when required, but they were outfoxed this weekend.

        • Mica

          I think France probably surprised everyone, except Les Bleu themselves who seemed to have a lot of self belief. Funnily enough, they did just hang on in the end. With 10 minutes to go it looked like England may run over them. A couple of key tackles/English errors saved them in the end.

    • Huw Tindall

      Good 6N summary! Thought Scotland should have won it actually. Sure I was at the pub and a few jars deep but Scotland seemed to have more creative endeavor in attack while Ireland looked a bit same old. They haven’t fundamentally changed their tactics in 4-5 years. The game moves on and opposition teams figure you out.

      • Steve

        100% agree Huw. I was hoping the first game post-Schmidt was going to show something new but it didn’t really, maybe it’s asking too much to turn it around in one game (although see: France).

        Scotland played with far more endeavour.

        France really deserved to properly pants England, sadly the scoreline looked almost competitive by the end.

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    Still have to wait for the Brumbies and Reds to play overseas opposition, but the Tahs and Rebels look off the pace. It seems like the Saders, Stormers and Jaguars will be a level above the rest and the champions will come from them. It is harder to pick the wooden spoon this year as the Sunwolves have not read the script yet.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I suspect the Saders and Chiefs will be best. Don’t think the Jags will be as good as last year.

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        Jaguars have a lot of experience, a very strong bench and will be difficult to beat in Argentina. They also travelled well last year so may have cracked that nut. They have a couple of games to build momentum in Argentina and the Sharks, Bulls and Lions are very weak – their only treat is the Stormers. The Lions is however not a yard stick.

        The Chiefs didn’t convince me against the Blues, although the quality of this game was a level higher than the Reds vs Brumbies game that followed. They were played under very different weather conditions however. The Canes and Highlanders looks set to use this year to rebuild.

        The Australian conference are again weak and I do not see a Superugby title contender among them. The fact that the Sunwolves may win the conference with a team that only got together in the last month is also telling. Australia will benefit from the conference system and get a team in the finals but that seems to be as good as it will get.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The Sunwolves won’t win the conference. I am pretty confident in saying that. I don’t see a non-Kiwi team winning it. I think until Jags will decline, and only one SA team has ever won the comp.

        • Brumby Runner

          All that on the back of one round of games is really very premature. I won’t be at all surprised to see most of your predictions fail to materialise.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          Superugby has historically been very predictable.
          If you look at it statistically and predict that this year’s quarterfinalist and semi finalist will be the same as last year, you will be correctly pick at least 6 of the final 8 and 3 of the final 4. This year is a special year as some teams looks at least on paper (round 1 confirmed it) of the mark.

          I will stick out my neck to predict that the Jagaures, Saders and Stormers will make the final 8, but are not confident to pick the bottom 8.

  • Yowie

    Brumbies coach Dan McKellar was full of praise for his former flyer, revealing that the set-piece was a page out of his book.

    While we’re re-allocating credit, back in the late 80’s at Souths it was me who suggested that Tim Horan and Jason Little start working together.
    (It’s remarkable that they listened to someone who wasn’t even 10 years old yet)

    • I believe it was all Dan’s work. No one in Rugby would steal an idea of another coach. It’s not gentlemanly

  • Crescent

    Thanks for the Monday write up Nathan – it’s a weird feeling to be discussing rugby this early in the year, but I kind of like it.

    Going to place my thoughts on the Crusaders v Tahs match here, mostly because I can, and because I spent some time last night watching the recording of the game, as I watched the live event in the middle of a family thing, so wanted to get past my distracted impressions.

    I have also decided to sup from the cup of positivity for now, and am looking to talk up the potential before excoriating the deficiencies. That will come later in the season, when the amount of booze required to blunt the frustration becomes prohibitively expensive.

    Firstly, there were things for Penney to like from that performance, and he would have come away with plenty to correct. The scrum stood up pretty well given the depth lost – they weren’t super threatening, but also weren’t under massive pressure, just provided a pretty steady base to launch set piece plays from. It’s a start, and I worried they were going to have skates on. I was also surprised at how the forward pack hung in there at the breakdown. Unfortunately it was only in patches, where the Crusaders were much more efficient over the full distance and reaped the rewards.

    Most costly deficiencies in the attack was the lateral movement with the outside backs (Hi Kurtley) – cost a try in the first half as he robbed the wing of space on what should have been a more direct line, draw and pass and let the winger have the option of going round the outside, or looking for an inside shoulder on a single defender. Add to that another bombed try when Beale fed the double teamed wing, with two unmarked players on the inside, and the Tahs are more closely in the competition. That said, if my grandmother had bollocks, she would have been my grandfather. But these are the critical moments in a game that can steal momentum. The Crusaders ran more direct lines from depth, simple off loads to players in motion, and they rightly took the momentum and took the game. I don’t believe the Tahs would have prevailed even with the two tries, but they certainly would have pushed the Crusaders harder and made a real contest of the game.

    In terms of running better lines from depth, the last try of the match to Newsome showed they can play that way effectively. Let the ball do the work, come from depth hard and straight – but make sure the support players will follow through should the defence make the tackle. Rugby 101 but beautifully effective – as the Crusaders demonstrated.

    Harrison, for mine, played pretty well. Nawaqanitawase showed tremendous attacking ability, but will need to work on his defence. Took a fair bit of traffic down his wing in defence, and was caught out a few times. In fairness, he had to face some 2 on 1 situations, so I am not willing to put him down as a poor defender. Hunt injected himself nicely into the game and will be a game breaker for the Tahs if they can capitalise on the opportunities he sets up.

    Lineout accuracy from both sides was beneath their relative standards – the stats make them look better than they were, although nice to see the Tahs winning that element (4 won against the throw vs conceding 1 on their throw).

    All in all, Penney has plenty of work ahead of him, but nothing so fatally flawed that we should not expect this team to improve markedly during the season. Still have to like the Brumbies to top the table in the conference, then it will get tighter between the rest. On first week form, Rebels now look to have the most work to do, and the largest amount of improvement required. I have hopes for the Reds (weird for a Tahs supporter!), let’s see how they go on the road – it will make or break their season.

    That’s the first lengthy post of the season from me – let’s see how long the positivity can last.

  • Jason

    I actually am for the ditching of South Africa. They have continually shown that they have no regard for what’s good for Australia/New Zealand and only themselves. They where the driving force behind Japan being asked for a ridiculous ‘fee’ to play Super Rugby — that no one else pays… If South Africa want to be included in Super Rugby then they really ought to start playing ball. They have ensured they have an exit available for them to be able to make demands (and they will!) with the upcoming TV deal.South Africa just sold the farm to win the last World Cup; while Australia and New Zealand desperately try to keep players local, South Africa opened the flood gates because they don’t care about Super Rugby they care only about South Africa.

    If South Africa were more of a partner I’d be more for them staying but they aren’t a partner they are a bully.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      As I understand it, the JRU said they would no longer underwrite the Sunwolves, as it wanted to focus on The revamped domestic league. That this was the real reason for the Sunwolves’ exit. However, it seems evident that the Saffas were happy to see them go and didn’t want SANZAAR putting much effort into convincing them to stay. Exactly like with the Force debacle though, there is so much information from all sides that it is difficult to discern the truth.

      I’m happy to see a competition between Aus, New Zealand, Japan and the Pacific Islands. I think the club level partnership with South Africa may have run its course.

    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      Superugby is an expensive competition and SARU has used the opportunity when they had to axe two teams to develop an alternative to Superugby that provides them with significant leverage in SANZAAR. With this leverage SARU has been able to influence decisions in their favour. SARU would argue that they have provided the bulk of the revenue for Superugby and that NZ and to a lesser extend Australia benefited on the back of their revenue. It is desperate times for SARU, not only do they have to manage a political agenda, the ZAR is so weak that they have no realistic chance to compete with European clubs to secure the services of even their third string players.

      You should however direct your anger at Rugby Australia under Clyne’s leadership and NZRU that have been reactive to changes in the sport’s landscape and that still do not have a strategy to develop an alternative to Superugby. Your negotiation position is just as good as your next best alternative. It is difficult to understand why Rugby Australia and SARU would not support Twiggy Forrest in setting up a Asia-Pacific competition that could provide a strategic alternatives and leverage.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Pretty easy to fact check that statement:

        – SA didn’t cut any teams, they moved them to a different competition, thus the SA teams didn’t benefit from a higher concentration of talent;
        – SA doesn’t provide the bulk of the money anymore either as I understand it, rather Europe does;
        – having to travel to SA is one of the reasons the competition is very expensive for the rest of us;
        – SA might have forced Aus and NZ to find an alternative with Japan, which wouldn’t require South African involvement.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          Using the same logic them Australia also didn’t axe a team as the Force is still playing in a different competition. I still doesn’t understand how having less players play Superugby every week improve your talent – concentration of talent argument. It surely has not helped the Wallabies.

          If South Africa is not playing there will be no live matches to broadcast In Europe during the most attractive time slots. It help Superugby that South Africa is in the same time zone than most of Europe and SARU
          surely consider it as part of the the value they bring to SANZAAR.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Nah, not really. The ‘Force’ is realty the Force in name only. It lost RA support (whatever one thinks about this) and is a private venture run by a billionaire. Due to that lack of support it is closer to an NRC team than a super rugby level team.

          That’s true, but I don’t think it is actually overly important. Everyone in Europe knows the South African teams are mostly of poor quality. They tune in to watch the Kiwi teams mostly I expect. If Japan is brought into the fold it really negates the importance of Sourh Africa at any level. Apparently there are talk from Pro14 and Prem investors of a joint England – Pro14 competition soon. This would have no need for South Africa (although wouldn’t necessarily preclude it either). Could be that SA finds itself with nowhere to go soon, as I would imagine that neither the SANZAAR partners nor NH are too happy with how SA is playing all its partners off against each other.

          Exactly. So why keep South Africa around? It’s teams are mostly of poor quality, it has proven itself a bit of a disloyal SANZAAR partner in promising to cut teams the moving them, is offering less and less money and can offer significantly less than Japan.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          The Force as a private concern is getting more on and off the field support that they every received from RA. The quality of rugby is between NRC and Superugby as a depleted Force side won the NRC including convincing winning in the final against an strong ACT side that included Wallaby caps. The stronger Force side that played against Samoa and Fiji looked very different from the NRC finals side. I hope that the Force will continue to use the NRC as a development pathway for young players as they did this year as it will serve no purpose to flog the other NRC sides year after year with your GRR side.
          When SARU axed the Cheetahs and Kings their best players joined the remaining Superugby sides or took up overseas contracts – similar to the reaction when the Force was axed. The Cheetahs played the Kings last Saturday with only one RWC player on the field – the wing Magazole Mapimpi. The Western Force that played Showcase rugby last year had more test caps in their side with representatives from the USA and Samoa in their side. The quality of South African Superugby teams declined not because the Cheetahs and Kings still exist, but because South Africa cannot afford to compete with Europe and Japanese pay packages.

          It is interesting that both NZ and Japan’s commitment to the SANZAAR partnership are not been questioned. Every party is using the partnership to further their interest regardless of the cost of the other partners. The All Blacks rest their best players in the first half of the Superugby competition that devalue the competition, while Japan continue to poach top players from South Africa, Australia and Japan and voted against South Africa for hosting the RWC in 2023. This kind of partners, who needs enemies?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          That is a load of bollocks. The Force received exactly the same salary cap as the other Aussie teams. When the team was set up it was primarily through raiding established players from the existing teams. From memory, the Force had additional $$$ for the first few years.

          The gulf between Mitre 10 and super rugby is immense. The NRC is of a far lower standard than Mitre 10. Thus, the gap is far bigger.

          This is shown in that the Force were a poor super rugby team. Since being cut from super rugby they lost most of their top players. Despite this, they can dominate the NRC. Pretty clear why.

          By definition, most of the Canberra players good enough to make the Wallabies we’re playing for the Wallabies in the World Cup (aside from a few weird selections).

          Yeah the European pay packages matters more and yes the Kings and Cheetahs were raided. That said, they still have super level players who would bolster the other teams.

          True. Clear difference being that the interests of the other parties are more complementary. South Africa is the clear exception.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          Did you read my comment? I never stated that the Force received more than other franchises, I stated that they now get more support from Twiggy and WA
          than what RA ever offered. The quality of Superugby teams vary across the conferences with the Australian conference most likely the worst. I said that the quality of the Force team us above NRC level
          but yet Superugby level. I made no comparison with Mitre 10.

        • Mica

          Not sure that the gulf between Mitre 10 and Super Rugby is that large. I’m continually amazed at how well NZ rookies from the Mitre 10 cup do in their first seasons of Super Rugby. I expect that the stronger NZ Mitre Cup teams would be about mid table if they played Super Rugby.
          Also by the time the Force exited the competition, they were pretty equal in performance with most of the other Australian Super Rugby franchises and weren’t an easy win for the other Aus franchises. Like the other Aus teams they were able to get a couple of wins over the NZ teams, which in recent years has been the exception rather than the norm.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Nathan. I feel so much better with rugby back on. Some good games last weekend and the usual shockers. My Hurricanes were poor and they need to step up or this could be a long season. I think the Rebels fans will be feeling the same.
    Bad luck on the 7’s I think maybe the pressure at home got to them. I think they are on the right track though and small changes can make a big difference
    I’m with Habana and I hope SA stays as I’m not sure going North will help them in the long run. Maybe the new format next year will help.

    • Mica

      Agree the ‘canes were poor. The Rebels need to be better, but I was actually really impressed with the Sunwolves. Some good performances in that team and I am hoping they can continue to improve with more time to gel as a unit. I am really disappointed they are leaving the comp. Love the crowds and atmosphere that they get at home. I also like rugby that they played last season and hopefully will continue this season. This really seems to be a missed opportunity to me, especially since Japan seems to be coming on in leaps and bounds at the international level too.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Yeah it’s sad the Jap RFU can’t back them as it’d only help their national team

Rugby
@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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