Super Rugby Round Two Review – Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

Super Rugby Round Two Review

Super Rugby Round Two Review

Round Two of Super Rugby, 2011-style, saw two more local derbies for the Aussie teams. The first was an emotional last-minute win by the Rebels over the Brumbies, while the second was a clinical takedown of the Reds by the increasingly impressive Waratahs. So, on to the whos, whats and whys of the round….

Team of the Round:

Vaea-ry impresive.

15 Mark Gerrard – REBELS
14 Drew Mitchell – WARATAHS
13 Rob Horne – WARATAHS
12 Julian Huxley – REBELS
11 Digby Ioane – REDS
10 Berrick Barnes – WARATAHS
Luke Burgess – WARATAHS
8 Ita Vaea – BRUMBIES
Phil Waugh – WARATAHS
6 Dave Dennis – WARATAHS
Kane Douglas – WARATAHS
4 Rob Simmons – REDS
Al Baxter – WARATAHS
2 Tatafu Polota-Nau – WARATAHS
1  Sekope Kepu – WARATAHS

I think the presence ten Waratahs in the XV provides a suitable testimony to their performance on the weekend. Only two for the Rebels may be harsh on them, but their lineup is filled with foreigners not available for Wallaby selection – otherwise the likes of Danny Cipriani, Michael Lipman, Gareth Delve, Greg Somerville and Ged Robinson would have been strong candidates.

Simmons - lucky pick?

How about the two Reds? Am I being biased? Digby was the only Red to make any consistent territory versus the Tahs while, at the same time, I don’t think the other wingers stuck their hands up to be counted. Lachie Mitchell is showing some glimpses of form at the Rebels, and Cooper Vuna is getting better. Still, I think Digby was the best option. Perhaps an argument could be made for Adam Byrne’s selection ahead of Simmons – he certainly provided his typical aggressive presence around the field. Unfortunately, that resulted in his typical number of penalties conceded.

For the Brumbies, Stephen Moore, Matt Giteau and Pat McCabe were all unlucky to miss out. At hooker we just couldn’t go past the thunder that is Taf. What an impact he had on that game, and unfortunately his own health. Barnes edges Gits because of his greater impact in all aspects of the game, with Berrick really leading the way in defence.

Gerrard - ready to unleash!

But how do you pick between Mark Gerrard and Pat McCabe? That was a fantastic display by the two fullbacks, the pair playing different styles of rugby: McCabe basically ran everything he got, while Gerrardo kicked most of his possession. In the end, though, I feel that Mark’s impact on the match just had a greater impact on the result than Knick Knack Patty McCabe’s.

Player of the Round:

Once again, the forum has spoken and come up with the four leading candidates for the Player of the Round. For the Rebels, he kicked the winning goal and showed that some of the hype was accurate – Danny Cipriani. While missing a few tackles, Cips successfully succeeded in guiding his team across the park either by way of his foot or by ball in hand. A wonderfully balanced player. Let’s hope his form can be maintained because he’s one of those players who is just a delight to watch.

On the receiving end of a number of those Cipriani kicks was Brumbies fullback, Pat McCabe. This man just never stopped running, no matter how often (or hard) he was hit. Scored an early try, and then just kept on trucking. There wasn’t a great deal of finesse to his game, but boy was it effective. Similarly, for the Reds, Digby Ioane ran hard all night. The Tahs proved just a tad harder to break than the Rebels, but Diggers’s enthusiasm never waned.

Something else that never waned was Tatafu Polota-Nau‘s  100 per cent commitment to the Tahs, as he demolished Red after Red, and finally himself. It was an incredible display of power rugby, with plenty of deft skill thrown in, by the high-haired one, with self-preservation at the bottom of his list of concerns.  Didn’t last an hour on the field, but did enough in that time to deliver two matches’ worth of ‘game-breakers’.

Try of the Round:

Deception with a capital DD.

For the significance of it, it was hard to go past Sir Stirling Mortlock’s five-pointer against his old team, the Brumbies. It was not without skill, particularly the delicious pass served up by Julian Huxley to a flying Cooper Vuna. But for mine, the try of the round was David Dennis’s sneaky little number against the Reds. From a skill perspective, it’s trickery of the highest order. The Reds fans were raving about the Saia Faingaa–Scott Higginbotham interchange versus the Force; well, this bit of byplay between Taf and Daisy Dennis was like “Schindler’s List” compared to “Dude, Where’s My Car?”.

Watch as Dave casually strolls to number one in the line-out, the Reds clearly thinking him to be out of play and focussing on Douglas at two. But he’s not, and Saia, Ben Daley and Sanchez are all left looking on forlornly has DD streaks away for the try. Add the fact it was scored in the last ten minutes of the half, and the try constituted a real body blow.

Moment of the Round:

While there were countless highlights for Tahs fans in their team’s deconstruction of the Reds on Saturday night, the real moment of the round came a day earlier. How can it not be Danny Cipriani’s last minute penalty kick (admittedly from the dodgiest of dodgy decisions) to give the Rebels their first Super win? Words can’t really convey what this kick meant to the Rebels. Thankfully, we have this YouTube clip:

  • The Rant

    Impressed with Barnes this year – got back some of his 2009 attacking form and the waratah outside backs are already seeing more ball more than an entire season around 2007/8/9.

    It’s way to early to get into this properly, but the uncomfortable question is this: Deans maintains he picks on form (clearly not 100% true but thats his story…) – If the waratahs streak the field this season (at least in relation to the other aussie teams) – who lines up at 9-10 for the wallabies in their first match??

    • Hawko

      Never mind 9 & 10, what about the pack, particularly the front row?

      • JTM

        Ma’afu is out of the picture at least, let’s just be thankful for that.

        Anyone else reckon that it’s just a little suss that the golden boy Larkham comes back to Brumbyland and the coach get’s the sack?

    • ula

      fuck the tahs

  • eMack.

    What’s the follow up with Taf? Is he playing against the Crusaders on Friday?

  • Gallagher

    GREAT to see Gerrard back playing so well and booting the hell out of the ball so well! Almost makes up for Latham retiring.

  • zeedok

    “How do you pick between Gerard and McCabe?”

    Easy, pick Kurtley. Sure Gerard kickrd well, but Kurtley had two touches in the first try and made no mistakes.

    McCabe? A good prospect, but all he did was hit it up — I don’t think he even actually made a break, did he? (

    • yeah he did. And made off-loads and didn’t miss tackles and scored a try and was a threat each time he touched the ball.

      Beale was good, make no mistake, but Gerrard and Mccabe were fantastic.

    • Bobas

      McCabe scored his teams first try and was the leading fantasy points scorer due to his number of runs, tackle busts and line breaks.

  • Hawko

    How can a player who missed 6 tackles out of 12 attempts make team of the round??? And the winner of the Quade Cooper non-tackling award is…..Julian Huxley.
    How can any Red forward get a spot in the team of the week? The only two Reds who played well enough to even challenge for a spot were Horwill and Robinson and neither of them played 40 minutes. And the winner of the Richard Brown ineffectiveness award is…. Rob Simmons.

    • Zeedok

      I agree.

      No offence to Reds supporters — I really want them to do well this year (eg second, behind the Tahs), but how can you honestly justify putting any Reds in the team of the week when they were comprehensively beaten in every aspect of the game on Saturday? Even when Digby and Quade had a little room towards the end of the game, they never really looked like scoring.

      And while I’m delivering the round-houses . . . None of the Brumbies deserve to be considered either. The Rebels played with passion and comittment, but the Brumbies had an embarassing number of opportunities to put them away.

    • have a go at opening that other eye Hawko.

      Who would you pick instead of those two, as if I didn’t know…

      • Zeedok

        I freely admit that I am biased — but credit where credit’s due I reckon.

        The Tahs were awesome. Remember, this was only the 2nd 4 try bonus point game the two teams have played in Super Rugby (last one was the Reds in 2003, if I’m not mistaken) and the biggest margin for a long time.

        The performance was even more impressive when you consider that the Reds team of 2010-11 is much better than the Reds teams of the last 5-6 years.

        So, who would I pick instead of Digby . . . well it is tough. Of the wingers who played on the weekend (excluding Drew who is already in the team) it would have to come down to Digby, Lachie and Vuna. None of them really stood out I guess.

        I think Lachie Turner had a reasonable game — he scored one try, made a line break to set up another possible try (before Cross dropped the ball), but probably could have run a couple more times instead of kicking (inaccurately as it turned out). I think it is hard for Lachie to stand out when your wing partner is Drew Mitchell and the fullback is KB.

        Cooper Vuna also had a reasonable game — he threw that last pass that put Stirling over, but (as my wife puts it) “he’s too slow for a winger”.

        Then to Digby . . . He ran hard, but didn’t really get too far. He was definitely the best Reds player on the field.

        In the locks? While I think the combination of Douglas and Simmons would be awesome in the Wallabies over the next 5 years, I don’t think Rob Simmons had much impact on last weeks game — the Tahs set piece was solid, and I can’t recall seeing Rob pulling off effective hit-ups or dominant tackles. Having said that, none of the other locks really stood out either (except maybe Nathan Sharpe — by his absence).

        So, maybe I’ll let you have a Reds lock in there, but I’m still not sure about the wing!

        • AJ_

          Lachie Turner!!

          From the footage above he was perfectly positioned to stop that Dave Dennis try of the round, but clearly there was no committment…

      • Hawko

        I would have picked Horwill in his proper position probably or failing that Mumm, who was spot on in his team role. O’Neill wasn’t bad, I didn’t see what everyone was raving about with Byrnes, Chisholm was not outstanding and I didn’t think Hand did much. Simmons was a mercy pick.

  • redbull

    I think fingers the fatter is going to have that try replayed to him a number of times. A bad miss read by him. No point watching a hooker throw the ball in, there are jumpers doing that already. Maybe he was getting some pointers? A shame as he gets through a lot of work around the park normally and I think Reds did get a good deal swapping the two fingers for Moore.

    • Hawko

      You must be one of the few who thinks that after last Saturday.

  • MickeyDR

    Most upsetting aspect of the Reds vs Tahs game from a Reds fan perspective is that we can’t even blame an inconsistent or poor referee for our poor showing (I’m still not happy with the scrum situation but that’s Rugby wide). The Tahs were stupidly good in round one and two so I have to put most of the blame on them.

    The Rebels defended like madmen and deserved the win. However it was a shame the crucial last plays had to come about off the back of poor referring decisions (forward pass before the Brumbies try then the penalty reversal [WTF was with that?])

  • Swat

    Just for Quade-bashing sake, can we please get some clips of his turnstile defense against the Tahs. It’s now becoming comical how poorly he tackles, and if you want to show how commitment in defense actually works contrast it with Rob Horne’s one arm try-saver.

    • Hawko

      I agree that the Tahs defense made the Reds look bad. Some of the Reds backplay (that incident is just one example) clearly and cleanly opened the Tahs up for a moment. But the Tahs slammed the door shut in a microsecond. Other examples are closing down Toua when I thought we were gone and Mitchells defusing of a 2 on 1 overlap.

      Quade needs to spend time, lots of time, working under Muggleton. It just might win us a world cup.

  • Pingback: Super Rugby Round 3 Review – THE Aussie Rugby Blog for fans of Australia and the Wallabies()

ACT Brumbies

The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

More in ACT Brumbies