Super Rugby Wallaby Watch – Rnd 16 - Green and Gold Rugby
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Super Rugby Wallaby Watch – Rnd 16

Super Rugby Wallaby Watch – Rnd 16

Round 16 of the Super Rugby brought us three games featuring Australian teams.The Waratahs knocked off the Rebels in Melbourne, the Brumbies flogged the Sunwolves in Canberra and the Reds went down to the Jaguares in Brisbane. Check out our team of the week!.


1. James Slipper (Brumbies)

The Brumbies dominated at scrum time and Slipper was a large contributer.


2. Connal McInerney (Brumbies)

How can you look past a reserve that scores a hattrick? Did his job and steered the mauls well. Made 7/8 tackles in the 40 minutes he was on the park.


3. Allan Alaalatoa (Brumbies)

Dominated in the scrum and continued his impressive defesive work making 13/13 tackles.


4. Angus Blythe (Reds)

Did his best to fill Roddas shoes by bearing alot of the workload. Made 13/13 tackles and pinched one at lineout time.


5. Matt Philip (Rebels)

Bent the line in attack gaining 31m from his 12 runs. Also made 6/6 tackles and snagged one against the throw at lineout time.

Tom Cusack

6. Tom Cusack (Brumbies)

9/12 tackles and making 19m from his 4 runs. Wasn’t too many blindsides that put their hand up this week.


7. Michael Hooper (Waratahs)

Another week where he got through an enormous amount of work. An incredible 21/22 tackles.


8. Peter Samu (Brumbies) 

Has a bit of x-factor about him when he has ball in hand. He made 7 runs for 40m with 3 defenders beaten and 2 clean breaks. Also scored a meat pie.


9. Tate McDermott (Reds)

ot afraid to run with ball in hand, McDermott ran for 34m from his 6 runs. Wins the spot over Genia this week due to Genia making 3 handling errors.


10.  Bernard Foley (Waratahs)

Got the better of Cooper this week. Alot like his captain, Foley got through an enormous amount of work this week making 18/20 tackles. He also made 9 runs for 42 and didn’t miss one of the tee.


11. Marika Koroibete (Rebels)

After an extremely average start to the season, Koroibete seems to have come good at the pointy end. Another week where he ran for over 100m (112) with 3 defenders beaten, 2 clean breaks and 2 offloads.


12. Irae Simone (Brumbies)

Had a very solid impact. 34 run metres with 4 defenders beaten, 3 clean breaks, a try assist and a try of his own.


13. Chris Feauai-Sautia (Reds)

Ran hard, tackled hard. He made 8/9 tackles and 8 runs for 26m with 2 defenders beaten and 2 clean breaks.


14. Jock Campbell (Reds)

Seems dangerous everytime he touches the ball. Campbell often makes good of a bad situation. He ran for 78m this week for 3 defenders beaten and 3 clean breaks. Finished a nice try also.


15. Kurtley Beale (Waratahs)

Had an enormous game. He ran for 123m beating a huge 11 defenders.

On the fringe of selection:

Every number 8 – Naisarani, Wells and Higginbotham all had great games this week. Wells in defence, Higginbotham in attack and Naisarani for pure workload. Really good signs.
Wingers – All season we haven’t had wingers putting their hand up but this week almost all of them had strong showings. Campbell, Koroibete, Pulu, Speight, Newsome, Rona and Daugunu all had impressive performances. Hopefully they can all continue their rich vein of form.
Samu Kerevi – Another that had a quality game. We’ve come to expect a little bit more from him though. He made 62m in attack with 5 defenders beaten.


Matt Toomua – Outside of a few enormous tackles, Toomua hasn’t quite been living up to the hype.

Anaru Rangi – A bit of a nothing week for Rangi. Only making 3 runs and 4 tackles. Need to see more from him.

  • Timbo

    Gee you’re brave talking like that about Matt To’omua

    • Twoilms

      It’s true though. He’s been skating through on reputation and teams lacking other options for ages.

      He was bang average for the Wallabies last year.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Who wasn’t bang average for the Wallabies last year? The team was horrendous, and while he certainly didn’t set the world on fire, I don’t think he was as poor as Beale and Foley were over the season. He was just vanilla until that poor last match, but was hamstrung with Foley at 12.

        • Twoilms

          Yep Foley at 12 makes about as much sense as Beale at 10. None of the coaching decisions helped.

          I have to disagree that he was no worse than Foley at 10 though. Foley is much better than both Beale and Toomua at 10 because the latter two are a fullback and centre respectively.

          My point is that Toomua too often gets hoisted into roles without having to show form. Meakes has been in very good form and developed a good partnership with QC and then he gets shafted as soon as Toomua is available to the detriment of the whole team.

          Toomua will get a RWC squad position at the expense of another in form Super player without having to demonstrate hes up to it.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Maybe, but let’s hold the criticisms until we know that. Maybe he plays rubbish rugby and misses out. Toomua is a 10 though, people who say he is just a 12 are being a bit wilfully ignorant of his playing history.

          He covers 10-12 and so his versatility might be enough to get him a spot. I’d say Lealiifano is more likely to miss out for him than Meakes.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Not sure how it’ll pan out but I agree. Toomua was a great 10 for the Brumbies and I still think that’s his better position. I thought Meakes was hard done by with Toomua taking his place and I’d line to see how a Genie/Toomua/Meakes combination would stack up

        • Who?

          I agree with your first line, and especially your third line. He gets put into roles because of past history, not current form. He’s a very solid player.
          That said, I think he’s a 10, a better 10 than Foley (because he’s a pass/kick/run player, whereas Foley’s still tempering his running instincts). But he wasn’t set up for a win at 10 last year. He needs time to find his feet.
          In terms of being dropped in over Meakes, I’d imagine it’s just to get some game time. Give Meakes some rest, get some time on field into Toomua, before the season ends (because he’s ineligible for finals). I’d like to see him start at 10 this week against the Crusaders, with Cooper on the bench (just in case the calf won’t make the 80). Give Cooper as light a week as possible, because the Chiefs in Melbourne is a must-win match.

        • Twoilms

          I think the ‘he was set up to lose argument’ is overdone. He was getting lambasted for his performances in Europe before his move to the Rebels. I think he’s just not up to it. But i guess we shall see eh?

        • Who?

          I haven’t read much about his performances in Europe. I think that anyone stepping in for just one or two games is always a bit of a hiding to nothing, even moreso when you stick an out of form player out of position next to them. SO I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
          That doesn’t mean that, if he’s picked as the Wallaby 10, and gets a few games at it, no longer being a new member of the squad, he isn’t under pressure to perform. He’s never managed to be the incumbent Wallaby 10 – Cooper has been, Foley has been. Toomua’s had a good amount of time at 12, but was shuffled out of there for Giteau. He’s always been thereabouts, but never demanded his position the way Cooper and Foley have at times in their careers (for whatever reasons in each case).
          He definitely has it left to prove.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    I don’t envy you doing this. You’ve gotta try and keep everyone happy while also considering the teams the Aussies play against.

    That said, I think Powell and Lealiifano were extremely good. They had more dominant games than McDermott and Foley, in my option.

    Was Beale better than Banks? Hmm. They’re different types of players.

    Thanks for doing this. Really appreciate your willingness to watch so many games all season!

  • Brumby Runner

    Small point. Brumbies played away in Tokyo, not at home in Canberra.

  • Keith Butler

    Before passing judgement maybe recognise that Toomua has only played one full game of super rugby. Probably shouldn’t come into consideration for that reason alone.

    • John Tynan

      Another player returning to mediocre performances after “ripping it up” in Pommesland. While there are some great players, and some great rugby being played in the premiership, I still think it’s a different standard.

      • Keith Butler

        Don’t know about ripping it up but George Ford the England and Leicester 10 rated him highly. He’s only played one full game since he returned so give QC a rest (and Genia?) and play him at 10 against the Saders with Meakes and Hodge/English at 12 and 13. Could rest a couple of forwards as well. We need our strongest team against the Chiefs but I fear that even that will not be enough.

  • Missing Link

    6 months ago, who would have thought we’d have a battle on our hands for 8 jersey?

    9 and 10 is still a point of contention. Genia locked in but Phipps, Gordon, McDermott, Powell? do you take a punt on McDermott?
    Then there’s Foley and Cooper, we know their strengths and weaknesses, Does CLL trump both of them? Do you take a punt on Hegarty?

    • Huw Tindall

      I’d out money on White, Genia and Phipps for the squad. No way they bent of liver backwards to get White to sign a an RA contract to then not have him there unless he bombs in TRC and warm ups. Genia obviously and Phipps because he is Chek’s boy (I think he has been playing well too TBH).

      Although, in 2015 we only took 2 9s with the gamble of putting Giteau at 9 as last resort. Traditionally the 31 man squads have 3 9s. Really though you fly people in to cover emergencies so not a big deal if only 2 9s in the 31. Japan isn’t that far away!

      Hegarty will be nowhere near as a makeshift 10 for the Reds who have zero attack outside Kerevi. Can see all three 10s though. Word is everyone rates CLL as a leader and you’d take him for off field value as well as reserve 10/12.

      • Brumby Runner

        The issue with flying a No 9 in Huw, is that if one of the two who’ve been taken injures himself on game day (and it does happen) then you haven’t got a reserve for that day. On top of that, if the injury is minor but likely to keep the player out of action for a couple of games, he has to be sacruficed for the remainder of the tournament to allow a replacement to be flown in. Altogether, not a good strategy to take only two No 9s.

        • Huw Tindall

          Agree mate. Why they take 3 hookers and 5 props! No risks taken there. In the current squad there isn’t a Giteau style makeshift 9 so I can see them taking the usual 3.

  • Who?

    Two surprises in that 10 shirt for me. First off, that Leali’ifano didn’t get the gong – I didn’t think either Cooper or Foley did anything to earn selection. Not that either was bad, it just wasn’t a game where the 10’s had that much impact.
    Secondly… 18/20 tackles for Foley?! How on earth did the Rebels find him so much?! That means he was involved with only 2 fewer tackle attempts than Cooper had touches. Which emphasises how little impact the 10’s had offensively (I’m told Cooper had 22 touches in the game, and the Rebels kicked 35 times), and suggests Foley must’ve been in the front line defence more? Because I don’t recall him being asked to make tackles in the backfield. It’s a good effort.
    Who’d have thought we’d ever see a 10 picked for their defensive efforts..?

    • Sam

      I think to split them based on defense is clutching at straws. In short no difference between QC and BF. CLL should have been the 10 – controlled the game well. That would put him at 4 nominations and QC at 5. I hate to say it but the old two dads probably deserved a mention because got the better of the rebels outside men, who are 20 years younger than him, and changed the game when he took on the young buck Maddocks (albeit added by a great pickup for the try).

      • Who?

        I wouldn’t pick 2 Dads – I’d mark him down for that try. It was a panic reaction to being hustled 10m sideways by Maddocks. A player with his experience – and 2 Dads 5 years ago – would’ve forced Maddocks into the stutter (as 2 Dads originally did) before running over him, rather than trying to run around. Trying to go around the outside is an Under 7’s play, and something you can only successfully do when you’re young and fast.

    • Jason

      I actually think Hegarty could be a good squad in, plays 10 & 15 covers 11, 12 and 14 and is a genuine jack of all trades.

      • Max Graham

        The Reds backline can’t make breaks or score tries unless Kerevi creates the spark. The Reds 9 is in red hot form. Their centre is also in good form. Their winger is perhaps the best in Australia this year. Maybe some of the blame can be put on Hegarty? If only he has Hodge’s PR team – both journeymen in my opinion.

        • Jason

          Yeah, I agree Hegarty isn’t excellent, but he is a solid professional and covers a number of positions, kicks goals (except apparently when he’s playing the Waratahs). Plus he’s a genuine flyhalf unlike Hodge.

        • Max Graham

          I don’t rate Hodge at all actually.


      Totally agree on the 10s again this week WHO but I couldn’t be bothered arguing the unlooseable point with a Gagr selector who can’t put aside the temptation of the QUADE v Foley and vote as if they’re the only two in the game. I GARUNTEE if Quade had Foley’s stats this week and the Rebels snuck the win…. Lealifano would have got the gong because Quade didn’t single handly rule the world!

  • Mart

    Is it just me or does any one else like the look of Lachie Swinton?
    He’s big, aggressive, can make dominant hits and is young

    • Mica

      Just made this point before I read your comment.
      I like the way you think Mart. :)

    • Sevenwithasixonmyback

      Yep. Lachie is a great worker. And certainly aggressive.
      Plays well at Lock in Shute. Great in the Lineout and at 6 is great at the breakdown. Has come a long way in a short time (though did play Shute GF in ’16)

      • Mart

        Impressive. I’m not saying he a Wallabies starter but he’s now on par with Dempsey and we’re not exactly brimming with 6’s putting their hands up.

        Very solid prospect

        • Max Graham

          He’s a gun. Think Rob Valetini edges him, but along with Dempsey we have 3 x great prospects at 6.

        • Mart

          Went to the Tahs Brums game, some of the shots he was putting on you could feel in the stands.Solid aggro

    • Brumby Runner

      I recall the U20s a couple of years ago. Swain and Swinton combined as the best, imo, second row in the Aussie team. Certainly, the most aggressive.

      Hockings and Blythe were the favoured second row. They have also come on in leaps and bounds in Super Rugby.

    • T.edge

      Put a good shot on Naisarini early on as well.

  • Mica

    No mention of Lachie Swinton. He was one of the Tahs best from what I saw. Haven’t seen his stats, but he did some good things on the park. Also Brumbies were away to the Sunwolves.

  • Gallagher

    Updated combined scores after sixteen rounds;
    (Picked on Wallaby squad 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, retired or contract ripped up)

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

    Talking Points;
    – SLIPPER, SAMU, NAISARANI and F-SAUTIA are now our Eleventh to Fourteenth players that can’t be caught/beaten at Loosehead Prop (bench), both Number 8’s (inc bench) and Outside Centre (bench), and are now UNTOUCHABLE WALLABY’s!
    – Wallaby spots up for grabs still remain in the Locks, Blindside Flanker, backup Scrumhalf and Flyhalf, Wings and Fullback!
    – Arnold, Naisarani and Lealiifano have been pipped at the gate (by Philip, Samu and Foley) with only two rounds left!

    WALLABY Untouchables!;
    G&GR Fringe worthy selections;
    Tupou**, Blyth, Higginbotham**, Phipps*, Daugunu
    Phillip, Samu (from bench) and Foley IN, Arnold, Naisarani (to bench) and Lealiifano OUT

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

    • Jason

      or contract ripped up

      Nearly wet myself after reading that!

      • Gallagher

        I agree, Genia is my number 1 pick at 9 all day, no question

    • Brumby Runner

      I assume McInerney should be in the No 2 category not at prop.

      I’m actually pretty impressed with what is the current starting team. Wouldn’t mind seeing that at all.

      Sio, Fainga’a, Ala’alatoa, Rodda, Philip, Salakaia-Loto, Hooper, Samu, Powell, Cooper, Naivalu, Kerevi, Kuridrani, Rona, Banks.

      • Gallagher

        Good pickup ta

        I would definitely start Naisarani and Genia, and consider starting Korobete, DHP and Beale

  • Jason

    I really want to see Daugunu at the test level, he hasn’t quite yet reached his full stride! He’s has some sensational runs but really needs to go looking for work (he does at NRC) he has the potential to be a real point of difference at the test level he’s soo fast and so very elusive, oh and he is a quality kicker too. Would love to see him at the end of a quality backline.

    • Max Graham

      He’s got hands like BBQ plates.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I don’t agree. But he also isn’t eligible for the Wallabies.

        • Max Graham

          He’s nowhere near good enough for the Wallabies. When all are fit, there must be 10+ better wingers in Australia. He can’t get on the bench for a full strength Queensland.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Actually he’s tended to start for Queensland since about round 4, when uninjured. That claim isn’t even propaganda, it is just wrong. And Thorn seems to have a preference for blunt objects, as opposed to players with guile.

          Who are these ten better wingers?

      • Jason

        He did play Goal Keeper for the Fijian National Team in U20’s.

  • AllyOz

    I haven’t seen a lot of Naisarani as I only started seeing Super games on a regular basis this season and more fully in the last 6 weeks. So I missed seeing him play at the Brumbies. I don’t think I have seen his best rugby yet but must admit to being underwhelmed over the last couple of weekends. I think this is our most difficult position to find at the moment – there just doesn’t seem to be too many Toutai Kefu’s running around. A few decent players but no one has emerged that seem to consistently perform at this level.

    • Brumby Runner

      Long time now since Toutai. Isi would be the equal or potentially better than the No 8s we’ve had at Wallaby level since then, including Pocock in the 8 position.

      Next best would be either Pete Samu, not as tall but equally strong in contact, or Lachlan McCafferey who probably has more “smarts” than the others. On overall season form, I think we’re doing ok at No 8.

      • Max Graham

        I rate Isi but you’ve even forgotten or underrate (in my opinion) Cliffy Palu.

        • Brumby Runner

          Haven’t forgotten him Max, and imo haven’t under-rated him either. Cliff was a big bloke who ran hard, but for most of his career his runs were all behind the gain line because he played so deep in attack, and he didn’t bust the defense or make the metres in contact that Isi does. I just rate Isi the better player.

        • Who?

          Equally, we only had a couple of top tours from Cliffy. For the most part, he was either timid (which caused him to cop a serve from his mum, leading to his best tour) or injured. If he’d played at his peak for longer, he’d be much more warmly remembered by non-Tahs. Tahs remember him well because they did see a bit more of him at his peak.

        • Max Graham

          I rate Isi but he’s got a long way to go before he can be considered better than Palu. He was often on his own hitting rucks and smashed blokes to bits in defence. Fantastic player in my opinion – second best Oz 8 I have seen.

        • Mica

          So you’ve only seen 2 Australian number 8s then? :)
          Palu was great when he was on, but he had some serious consistency and work rate issues.
          A case of what could have been.
          Kefu, Gavin, Willie O are the great 8s I remember.

    • Hoss

      Look to Valentini post 2019 mate – he could be our long term 8 if he can stay injury free.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I reckon he’s a 6, not an 8. Could be wrong, but think he’s suited to that tighter role. He’s a beast, but too young right now.

        • Hoss

          Bradman was young too.

  • AllyOz

    Happy enough to see McDermott as the 9 of this round but some serious doubts about his moustache growing ability. Hopefully that will improve with maturity, along with the rest of his game. I thought he had a cracker on the weekend but I didn’t see the Brumbies play. I would rather he missed the RWC – another season of NRC and Super Rugby will be better for his development in the longer term.

  • Hoss

    I’ll call it a draw mate. Larwood at 150km/hr, no protective equip and uncovered pitches. That stuff would keep me up at night and as an ex fast bowler, I hate batsman, but still !!!

    • Patrick

      more to the point Pocock was young and he coped with most things other than Cheika’s drill sergeant fantasies

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

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