The Tuesday Top 5 - Green and Gold Rugby
Rugby

The Tuesday Top 5

The Tuesday Top 5

Ok, so this round of rugby restored my faith in the Rugby Gods. Across all 4 Super Rugby games played this weekend, the average winning margin was just 3 points. And that average was blown out by the Reds 7-point win over the Force! The winning margins were 7, 2, 1 and 2, three of those games were decided in the final 3 minutes of the match and in one case after 80 minutes. Excitement overload!

Round 3 Recap

Unlike the matches I tried to forget from last week, this week’s games had me on the edge of my seat right until the end.

Once again the Force got off to a flyer, putting early points on the Reds. The Reds came back at them and unlike the week before, the Force didn’t go away. They pushed the Reds right until the end showing some excellent rugby in the process. After Ian Prior went off injured, the Force lost a bit of their structure, but stayed with it. The Reds meanwhile, improved on their dire effort in the lineout last week, losing only one of their own throws.

Angus Scott-Young QLD Reds v Western Force (Photo Credit QRU Brendan Hertel)

The other match was just as tense, possibly even more so. The Waratahs were on top for most of the match, dominating the lineout and scrum. Rob Simmons played one of his best matches and there was some pretty good play from some of the more inexperienced backs in the first 60 minutes. The Brumbies never looked like they would win but were given the opportunity when they were handed the ball repeatedly in the final 10 minutes. As a Brumbies fan it is really hard to say this, but the Tahs were the better side on the night.

Super Rugby Aotearoa

Both matches this weekend were decided by just 2 points, and in both games it was the team who was behind with 3 minutes of the match remaining that won.

The Hurricanes handed the Blues their second loss of the season. In a match that went back and forth, neither team was able to take control, despite the Hurricanes having a large chunk of possession (65%). The Blues were forced into making close to 100 more tackles than the Canes (176-78) and in the end their defence just didn’t hold out against the attacking Hurricanes.

The match between the Chiefs and Highlanders also went down to the wire, with the Highlanders scoring a try to level it up just as the clock ticked over to 81 minutes. The conversion gave them the win, the second time this year they have defeated the Chiefs by a single kick.

(Belated) Welcome Back

Ok, so this is a week overdue, but how good is it to have the Force back in Super Rugby? In their first match against the Tahs they showed that they can be threatening but left people wondering whether they would be able to keep up with the competition. On Friday we saw that yes, they are definitely able. Both weeks they have been quick to score and always look threatening with ball in hand. In fact, Jono Lance is looking very dangerous at 10, his passing is spot on and his kicking has been pretty good too.

The Force don’t have the big names, they aren’t star studded and outside of NRC they haven’t played against many of the other players in Super Rugby for a good few years. Add to that, they are coached by a man who has had such high-profile roles in the past as coach of Easts in Queensland Premier Rugby, Tuggeranong in the John I Dent Cup and the Vikings in the NRC. Not a scrap of Super Rugby experience as either a player or a coach. But he earned praise after the loss to the Reds because if the improvements in the Force’s play. I can tell you, the way the Force played on Friday, as a Brumbies fan I am pretty nervous about the match coming up this weekend!

Tim Sampson NRC 2019 Force v Rising (Credit Delphy)

Also on the Force, I happened to see on twitter a couple of weeks ago that a Force fan in Queensland was having trouble getting a new jersey. Apparently they aren’t easy to come across in Brissy and delivery at the moment is pretty diabolical so it wasn’t going to get to him in time for the game on friday night. But through various means he did get hold of a new jersey, hand delivered just before kick off by none other than one Mr Matt Hodgson, who carried the jerseys in his luggage. How can you not like an organisation where they go to that sort of effort for a fan?

Emerging Talent

One of the things I have really enjoyed so far in this competition is seeing the new faces come through. We have talked all year about the likes of Harrison, McDermott, Lolesio etc, but now there are more young guys starting to make their mark. Maybe they are players we hadn’t really paid much attention to before, like Andy Muirhead, or players who were brought in to replace injured or overseas bound players. But the likes of James Ramm, Joey Walton, Isaak Fines, Jack McGregor, Byron Ralston, Pone Fa’amausili, Tom Horton along with others are showing that there may be more depth in Australian Rugby than we are being led to believe. There are players over at the Force we are now seeing and thinking wow – where has this kid been playing? Sure, we have seen them play in NRC, but watching Jack McGregor on Friday he looked right at home in Super Rugby.

We keep getting told there isn’t enough player depth in Australia. Is it a case of it isn’t there, or is that it hasn’t (until now) been given a chance to show that it is there? What do you think? Who in the newest new crop is catching your eye?

Junior Wallabies are 2019 Oceania U20 Champions

Junior Wallabies are 2019 Oceania U20 Champions

Top Tries

As usual I trawled through the rugby sites to find out what others thought were the top tries from the weekend. Unlike most weeks, I actually agreed with the choices. But then I had another look at all the tries from this weekend, and there were actually quite a few good ones. So I have thrown those in too for good measure!

It’s hard to argue with this one from New Zealand. Laumape out ran Beauden Barrett then ran over Otere Black.

Jock Campbell got the official Super Rugby vote for try of the round from Super Rugby AU.

But I thought these were also pretty good.
There was the sneaky move by Tom Horton off the back of the rolling maul…

The very sneaky kick from Harrison to set up Ramm…

The really sneaky run by Isaak Fines…

The little chip kick from Jono Lance that actually paid off …

The Reds doing a bit of juggling

The Reds doing a bit more fancy hand work…

And finally, because I love both intercepts and length of the field tries …

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Morning MST. Great weekend of rugby and like you I’m impressed with the number and quality of the players coming through. I just hope Rennie picks a lot of them to build for 2023 and is given the leeway for this year to be not counted so much. It just goes to show how diabolical the selections and tactics have been over the last few years.

    Loved the tight games this week and great to see all teams fighting to the end. Auckland missed a couple of players and it showed. Not as much depth there and they rely on a couple of players a lot. Gatland is proving more and more that he isn’t the coach he’s cracked up to be. Some weird selection decisions and somethings not right as even players like Sam Cane just aren’t playing at their usual level.

    Some great tries there and gee Laumape has got some gas. Not many people can sprint away from BB. Loved that last try by Fines. Gutted for the Tahs but great to see the passion

    • Geoffro

      looked a helluva lot like Campbell didnt force the ball from that angle.Nice work from Paisami though.Rennie should be heartened but interesting comments from him elsewhere that an Aussie should be coach when his tenure is over.Wouldnt have been Otere Black for quids in Luamapes effort,he was on a hiding to nothing

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Yeah facing Luamape going full steam ahead wouldn’t be something I’d want to do either mate

        • Geoffro

          Bit of a Jonah moment that one

      • Hoppy

        Campbell definitely did place the ball correctly but there was only one view that showed it clearly. I also thought initially that he might have fumbled it the way it bobbled afterwards.

  • Nutta

    Thanks MST

    I’ve always believed the claim of lack of talent was garbage. It usually gets tossed around by the middle-fat-layer type wearing the free tee-shirt whilst they reach for another pie and beer in the sponsors box. However the retention and development of that same talent is another matter. The way these lads are shining through now is, to me, a revelation of the culpability surrounding the political culpability manifested through the willful mis-management of the NRC. The cattle have always been there. And there are more still to be tapped in the outer suburbs of Sydney & Brisbane (and elsewhere) one someone finally decides to get serious.

    Hey NSWRU, how are those ‘big plans’ going for western Sydney? Wasn’t that was the reason for deliberately opposing and stopping Twiggy Ball from setting up in western Sydney OVER 2 FKN YEARS AGO?!?!?

    Sorry. I’ll go have my 6th morning coffee and calm down.

    • Nutta

      Still haven’t calmed down.

  • Dally M

    Thanks MST.

    I don’t think its ever been a problem with player depth, it’s more about appropriate development and opportunities for the younger players i.e. Mason sitting behind Foley and never getting game time, and retaining the talent we have.

    If we could get back the players we have lost overseas that are not at the tail end of their careers, we would have the depth for 5 teams and be competitive.

    With a new Wallabies coach and the opportunity to be picked on form, hopefully we will see more players stay, provided they have a comp to play in.

  • Perth girl

    There has never been a shortage of talent here, that was just a furphy put out by the suited idiots in RA to justify cutting a team!
    Thank you for acknowledging the Force coaching team. Alot has been said about the players coping with SR but nothing about the coaches. Tim is a lovely humble man who took a chance coming to Perth with his family and it is good to see how well he is going with an NRC title under his belt already

    • Who?

      He’s definitely one of the top two Australian Super Rugby coaches.
      Not hard, when he’s one of only two Aussie coaches! :-P
      I don’t say that to undermine his efforts (because the Force look cohesive, they look like a team – not a common thing amongst Aussie teams over the years), but to laud the Force for not just developing local playing talent, but also local coaching talent.

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Brumbies first, then for the love of the game. "It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I'm right." —Moliere

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