Super Rugby Wallaby Watch – Rnd 14 - Green and Gold Rugby

Super Rugby Wallaby Watch – Rnd 14

Super Rugby Wallaby Watch – Rnd 14

Week 14 of the Super Rugby saw the Rebels go down to the Bulls on Friday night and the Waratahs top the Reds on Saturday. Check out our team of the week.


1. Tom Robertson (Waratahs)

Robertson made the most of his first start after returning from injury. He made the gain line repeatedly, putting the Waratahs on the front foot with his strong carries. He ended with 16m from his 8 runs and made a handy 6/6 tackles.

Alex Mafi

2. Alex Mafi (Reds)

Was heavily involved this week. He made 12/12 tackles and was great with ball in hand, running for 32m from his 8 runs. Managed to top it all off with a meat pie.


3. Sekope Kepu (Waratahs)

Putting out a subtle reminder that he wants to be in the Wallabies team at the end of the year, Kepu lead the way with a strong defensive showing making 10/10 tackles.


4. Izack Rodda  (Reds)

Was a serial pest at lineout time, and got through a mountain of work in defence (15/17).


5. Matt Philip (Rebels)

With strong Wallabies depth at second row, Phillip needs to make heads turn to push into the squad. With his barnstorming running he managed 26m off his 12 runs. If he continues with this good form he may see himself in gold.


6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (Reds)

A good way to bounce back after some poor form recently. Looked dangerous with ball in hand making 33m and 2 very important offloads.


7. Michael Hooper (Waratahs)

Another week where Hooper made huge inroads in attack. He ran for 65m with 3 defenders beaten, 1 clean break and an offload. Not as involved in defence as he normally is but managed 8/9 tackles.

Michael Wells 1

8. Michael Wells (Waratahs) 

You’ll find Wells playing in between the touch line and the 15m line as a link player for the Waratahs. He carried well making 30 and made 11/12 tackles. Scored two tries which ended up giving the Tahs the win.


9. Will Genia (Rebels)

A standout performance from Genia. He ran 13 times for 53m beating 4 defenders and 2 clean breaks. Even a try to top it all off.


10.  Bernard Foley (Waratahs)

In terms of on field play, Foley and Hegarty were pretty close. Foley place kicked superbly which was the difference between the two sides. He ended up with 25 points for the night which included a try.


11. Marika Koroibete (Rebels)

Normally when we talk about his defence, it is because he makes the picks the wrong man. This week, it’s the compete opposite. Consistently picking the right man, Koroibete made huge hits in defence which forced turnovers or complete shut down the Bulls attack. He also finished two tries on his way to 69 run metres.


12. Samu Kerevi (Reds)

Absolutely lethal in attack. 13 runs for 58m including 4 defenders beaten, a clean break and 3 offloads. A piece of individual brilliance gave him a try assist as he flicked one out the back of the hand for an open Campbell to run it in untouched.


13. Chris Feauai-Sautia (Reds)

Sadly an injury cut his night short only making 42 minutes. He was looking good with some strong carries and an intercept into a pop pass giving him a try assist. With just over a half played he still managed 39m with ball in hand.


14. Jock Campbell (Reds)

Reaping the benefits of playing outside an inform Kerevi, Campbell scored a try off some of Kerevi’s magic running to the try line untouched. He ended with 93 run metres. Lucky to have this spot, as if Rona had more time I think he would have moved above Jock.


15. Kurtley Beale (Waratahs)

The longer Beale is at fullback, the more I believe he should have been playing 15 all along (with Folau on the wing). He has an incredible way of cutting back against the defence and getting inside them. He clocked up 112 run metres with 6 defenders beaten, 1 clean break, 2 offloads and a try assist. He even dotted over for one himself after a strong carry.

On the fringe of selection:

Nick Phipps – A really top effort from Phipps and was extremely close to making it in the team of the week. He must have run a marathon throughout the course of the game and ended with 2 try assist, one of which being a beautiful display of simple rugby with a draw and pop pass to a flying Newsome to run in untouched.

Curtis Rona – The Tahs need to stop their rotation policy and give Rona back his starting jersey. Only on the field for 25 minutes he made 42 run metres from 4 runs and looked dangerous with ball in hand.

Angus Blyth – Was really close to making the starting lineup this week. The young Reds lock made an impressive 13/14 tackles and pinched one at the lineout. He made 1 run for 1m which ended in a 5 pointer.


Quade Cooper – Wasn’t quite his night tonight. He wasn’t terrible but 4 costly hand errors and only making 3/6 tackles gets him a spot here.

Bryce Hegarty – To be frank, I thought Hegarty had a great week in terms of on field play. He scored 2 tries and ran for 58m with 5 defenders beaten. He only slotted 1/6 conversions which ended up being the difference between the two side and so he ends up in the disappointments.

Reece Hodge – A bit of an off game for Hodge (which isn’t like him). He just wasn’t involved with only making 4 tackles and gained 0m in attack. 2 handling errors also.

  • Gipetto

    Wee Jock made a few mistakes and did some good work. I hope he gains confidence and doesn’t join the other Reds’ debutantes at the doctors’.

  • IIPA

    Genia was poor. Might have padded his stats with a couple of runs supporting initial breaks but service and decision making around when to kick were horrible. Phipps and Tate better last round.

    Philip in a beaten pack, Mafi and Robertson are worthwhile picks.

    Rona has a tendency to look good coming on late and he should be a better player than Clark and Newsome as he’s 20kg heavier but I’m not sure I’d start him. Clark should have won a spot outright for the chase / tackle on Mafi.


    The Reds Mat Magahon would be the only change I’d make. Very similar stats and involvement in the game to Beale….. but he’s not a Wallaby, and he’s not a natural fullback either so grabs the gong. Pretty impressive show for what I think was his first run on game? Cam Clarke must have been pretty close aswell!
    Kepu and Wells seem to be ramping it up at the right time if the year!

    • Mica

      I thought McGahan had a great game on debut too. Showed plenty of promise and that strong left boot is a bonus. What’s his eligibility though? He’s listed as an NZ rugby player on the interweb and his dad played for the kiwis in Rugby’s mentally challenged cousin.

      • GO THE Q REDS

        Yeah he’s an Aussie… born in Nsws I think but yeah he played all his club rugby and school rugby in NZ.

  • Braveheart81

    Definitely more of the key Wallabies improving their form at the back end of the season which is great. I think the likely matchday 23 players who are short on form at the moment and need to improve are:
    Tupou – still pretty out of sorts and not having nearly the impact he did last year.
    Coleman – injuries and lack of form this year have really hampered him. Wouldn’t make the RWC squad if you were just picking on form.
    Hodge – has been up and down this season. Some good moments and some poor ones. I think he’s likely to figure in our best 23 because of his versatility but unlikely in the starting XV.
    Maddocks – would have been favoured to have a starting wing spot earlier in the year but his form has dropped away. Could end up being in a tight contest to win the final outside backs spot for the RWC squad.

    • Who?

      Agree on most, but not quite on Thor. He might not be as threatening in set piece at present, but his impact around the field shouldn’t be underestimated. For example, Foley’s first try on Saturday night. He missed the tackle. But he made the previous tackle – he had no right to be back on his feet and even attempting that tackle, he’d outrun 3 other players to be closest to Foley. Similarly, on one of the box kicks that landed right near halfway (first half), he was the first chaser, tackling the receiver from behind after they came down.
      His impact isn’t perhaps at the level many demand of him, but his workrate around the field – the ground he covers – is quite incredible.

      • Braveheart81

        I think he’s got pretty stiff competition though. Last season he started 3 games for the Wallabies but if you were picking the side today he’d be behind Alaalatoa and Kepu. I still think he’s guaranteed to be one of our five RWC props but he’s not quite at the level he was last year.

        Realistically prop is our best position in that with everyone fit a genuinely international quality player will miss out on the 23.

        • Who?

          No doubt about any of that. Meat and potatoes first, gravy later. He’s definitely behind 7A’s at scrum, and 7A’s, whilst not first chaser on gerryowens, is absolutely no slouch around the field. The question will be Tupou or Kepu, and that may come down to the strength of the opposition in the scrum and around the field.
          In terms of not being at last year’s level, it’s worth noting he said that opponents have figured out what to expect from him, and have worked at countering it.

      • GO THE Q REDS

        And hopeful those are exactly the sorts of things Cheika and Co are looking at in detail with all players. Stats and even involvements only tell some of the picture

    • Brumby Runner

      BH, Coleman definitely hampered by injury. Hodge is mucked around by having to play in so many different spots. Tupou, while down a little on form, is still the No 2 THP behind Allan Ala’alatoa. Maddocks is the most concerning example. Not sure if he is out form or out of position. Certainly hasn’t looked good at wing all year.

      • Braveheart81

        That is Hodge’s role though. Maybe after the RWC he’ll settle in one position but at this stage, that’s what he does. He doesn’t make the 23 in my opinion if it’s only to cover one role. There are better specialists in all positions.

        Coleman has been hampered by injury but he hasn’t exactly looked good when playing.

        I don’t think you’ve been watching much of Tupou and Kepu if you still think Tupou is playing better rugby than Kepu.

        I thought Maddocks started the season on fire but has fallen away.

        • Brumby Runner

          I think I can just as readily accuse you BH of only watching the last two games if you think Kepu has been in better form than Tupou over the whole of the season. I would still take both, but would more readily play Tupou in the 23 than Keps this year.

        • Braveheart81

          I’m unsure how the whole season matters. Picking a test team in July and a RWC squad in September doesn’t involve an average of an entire season. Recent form is far more relevant. Even on that, Kepu’s stats are well above Tupou across the whole season. Tupou is comfortably the most penalised prop in the comp despite playing substantially less minutes than others like Kepu. His attacking stats are nowhere near the standout they were last season. His workrate is average in terms of tackles made and percentage.

          Anyway, you’ve been saying Kepu’s test career is finished for about 2 years now but I reckon he’ll be deservedly in the 23 at least at the start of the test season.

        • Brumby Runner

          On recent form, I defer to Christian Tedge and his analysis of the Reds/Tahs game last weekend. Seems he saw their respective games much as I do.

          I do not think Kepu will displace either AAT or Tupou from the 23 on a long term basis, maybe get a start or two or come off the bench sporadically. But I do acknowledge his versatility. He has successfully adjusted to the LH side recently and that will see him in the RC and RWC squads probably. His main competition for the 5th prop spot might be Robertson.

        • Howard

          Head to head, Kepu 10 tackles no misses, Thor 8 made 3 missed. Runs Thor 4 runs for 3 m. Kepu 3 and 4. Thor 2 penalties, Kepu 1. Tupou had as very slow start and is improving, but hes hardly set the world on fire yet. I hope he continues to improve, but Kepi has been more consistent

        • Who?

          What the stats don’t show is work off the ball. One of Thor’s likely misses will be when he chased and missed Foley for Foley’s first try. But he’d made the previous tackle (where, whilst bringing down the player, he released as the player went to ground, so that’s likely one of his missed tackles), reloaded and out ran three Reds players to be the one closest to tackling Foley. The stats also don’t indicate that one of his tackles was as lead kick chaser on a gerryowen.
          I think many would debate the claims that Kepu has been more consistent. He’s played more this year, but few have been raving about him. Both are slowly building to the RWC, neither has been at their peak so far this season.
          I’m not saying that Kepu’s rubbish, I actually think the biggest difference between them is age. Kepu has great hands – he did more playmaking for the Wallabies against England last year than our backs did (he sent Folau through for the try, he created the overlap with a good line and perfectly judged pass after drawing the man outside him for DHP’s no-try), he’s got a history as a brilliant ball carrier. Thor’s developing well, he can be a devastating runner (though I think he’s got to work on his lines a bit, which is down to the coaching he’s under – some good signs from all players – especially LSL, but still much improvement to come), he’s happy to pass and looks to set up his support runners. Lots of similarities. The question is one of where their career trajectories intersect.
          Truthfully, we’re just lucky to have them both, and this debate, and 7A’s. Combine that with guys like Ruan Smith and the Talakai brothers, and we’ve actually got some excellent scrummaging THP’s going around at the moment. :-)

        • Howard

          And I’m not saying that Tupou is rubbish BUT Thor hasn’t made one appearance in Wallaby team of the week this year. Kepu has made 4. Thor is a good player but he hasn’t been that great year. I agree that it’s good to have depth. Kepu is at the end of a wonderful career and Tupou is on the cusp of a similarly stellar one but I’d rather have consinstany over a highlights cameo

  • How is it possible for RA to let Kerevi go ?
    What a machine.

  • Gallagher

    Updated combined scores after fourteen rounds;
    (Picked on incumbency if a draw, numbers mean additional selections, stars mean fringe selections, Capitals is run on squad with 5/3 split, Brackets doesn’t make match day squad, Up arrow recently IN squad, + symbol means injured or contract ripped up)

    1 SLIPPER 3**, Sio 3 (Johnson-Holmes 1*, Robertson, Faulkner, JP Smith, Hoopert)
    2 FAINGAA 6*, Fitzpatrick 2 (Rangi 1**, Mafi 1)
    3 ALAALATOA 7*, Kepu 3 (Talakai, L-Makin)
    4 ARNOLD 4 (Holloway 1, Swain, Staniforth)
    5 RODDA 4* (Phillip 4, Carter 2*, Simmons 1, Coleman**, Hockings)
    6 SALAKIAIA-LOTO 4*, Jones 2*** (Hanigan 1*, Scott-Young 1, +Valentini 1*, Dempsey**, Brown, Swinton)
    7 HOOPER 6* (LWright 4, +Pocock, Hardwick)
    8 NAISARANI 3**, ^Samu 2** (McCaffrey 1*, Wells 1, Timu, Cottrell*)
    9 POWELL 5*, Genia 4* (McDermott 1, Sorovi, Gordon)
    10 COOPER 4*, Lealiifano 3 (Foley 2, Hegarty 1)
    11 NAIVALU 4 (Korobete 1, Peni, Newsome*, Pulu)
    12 KEREVI 9 (Hunt 3, Meakes 2**, TWright)
    13 KURIDRANI 3*, F-Sautia 3** (Ashley-Cooper, English**, Ikitau, +Petaia)
    14 RONA 4* (Clark 3, Campbell 1, Speight, Muirhead, Hardy)
    15 BANKS 3* (+Folau 2**, Maddocks 1*, Haylett-Petty 1, Beale 1, Hodge**, Stewart*, Lucas)

    Talking Points;
    – Faingaa, Hooper and Powell are now our third to fifth players that can’t be caught/beaten, at Hooker, Openside Flanker and Scrumhalf and are now UNTOUCHABLE WALLABY’s!
    – Possible upcoming UNTOUCHABLE Wallaby’s – Salakiaia-Loto, Genia, Naivalu, Kuridrani, F-Sautia
    – Due to a combined ongoing lack of a backup to 8 if Naisarani is injured and the fact Salakiaia-Loto is the best performed 6 and more of a lock backup option, LWright (who was also a bolter), has been replaced as we need a different style of player on the bench as coverage for 8.
    – Phillip, Foley and Clark putting real pressure on Rodda/Arnold, Lealiifano and Rona!

    WALLABY Untouchables!;
    G&GR Fringe worthy selections;
    Tupou*, Blyth, Higginbotham*, Cusack*, Phipps*, Simone
    Samu (to bench) IN, LWright (from bench) OUT

    G&GR Disappointments;
    Johnson-Holmes 2, Kepu 2, Talakai 1, Tupou, Ainsley, Faulkner, L-Makin, Salakiaia-Loto, Hockings, Holloway, Ruru 1, Foley 1, Cooper 1, Beale 1, Meakes 1, Korobete 1, Hegarty, Mason, Hunt, English, F-Sautia, Simone, Peni, Muirhead, STupou, Naivalu, Maddocks, Folau, Hodge
    Still no selections?;
    Tupou, Phipps


23 year old Rugby tragic who plays for Merewether in Newcastle. Too young to remember a Bledisloe Cup win.

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