The Tuesday Top 5 - Green and Gold Rugby
Rugby

The Tuesday Top 5

The Tuesday Top 5

Well … what an interesting weekend of Rugby. We saw some big differences between last week and this week, both in the quality of games and teams. This week in the Top 5 we will recap the weekend that was, here and in New Zealand, talk some numbers, laws and calls and look at some of the great tries from the weekend.

Super Rugby AU Recap

Once again, I was a little uninspired after the first match of the weekend, quality wise it was far from the best we have seen. So what happened to the Waratahs from last weekend? This week the showed little of the skill, toughness or enthusiasm that we saw a week ago against the Brumbies. This week they looked pretty listless to be honest. Giving away 17 penalties didn’t help their cause either. The Rebels looked pretty much in control of the match from the outset, an intercept try the only real blip. However it might be of some concern that the Rebels had 71% possession but only scored one more try than the Tahs. Does that say more about the Waratahs defence or the Rebels attack?

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Meanwhile, a totally different Brumbies side showed up compared to the team that was pretty woeful last week. The game started off at a cracking pace with the Brumbies showing that they can attack from anywhere. The two long range tries in the opening 5 or so minutes were everything you like to see in attacking rugby – busting tackles, evading defenders, running, passing and support runners. It was really good to see some players who were MIA last week (Samu and TK) involved. I don’t know that the 24-0 score line was really indicative of the game. The Brumbies were clearly the better team, but I never felt totally relaxed, as though it was a shoo-in, especially seeing how quickly the Force have been able to score in recent games. If you have read the Top 5 in previous weeks, you will know I am not a fan of the 50/22 rule, but last night was almost enough to change my mind. Simone and Powell put in some amazing kicks to take advantage of the rule.

Super Rugby Aotearoa

Well didn’t Super Rugby Aotearoa start off with a bang on Saturday! The Crusaders up against the Hurricanes, with the Saders pretty solid favourites to win. But the Hurricanes saw it differently and gave the Crusaders their first defeat at home since 2016 – breaking a massive 36 game winning streak at home. The game went back and forth and was full of action, the Crusaders came back in the final few minutes of the game to score a try, but missed the conversion which would have tied the game taking it to Golden Point extra time.

The other game was probably more predictable, with the Blues defeating the Chiefs 21-17. The Blues lead 14-7 at half time before the Chiefs scored 10 quick points. The Blues came back with another try which was enough to win them the match. It hasn’t been a good year for the Chiefs. They are yet to secure a win in Super Rugby Aotearoa, though their average losing margin is just over 5, which is blown out a little by a 12 point loss to the Blues. So they have been in the fight but for some reason not getting finishing it off. Going back even further, this was their 7th consecutive loss, the last game they won was when they beat the Waratahs 51-14 in Wollongong.

Tahs v Chiefs 2016

Probably not smiling as much right now …

Some Numbers So Far

I took a look at some of the numbers after the weekends matches and some interesting things popped up.

The Waratahs have made the most tackles with 612. The next closest is the Force with 500. The Rebels have made the least with 341.

The Waratahs have also kicked the most penalty goals, with 11, followed by the Rebels on 10. The Brumbies have not kicked a single penalty.

The Force top the missed tackles (97), but also top turnovers won (26). The Brumbies have missed the least tackles (33) while the Waratahs have only won 14 turnovers.

The Brumbies, who have in the past been notorious for their kicking, have the lowest number of kicks from hand with just 48. Interestingly, that is only 7 more kicks than Matt Toomua who has kicked 41 times to top the individual numbers there.

Looking at some individual stats (which are out a bit because the Waratahs haven’t had their bye yet), Jack Maddox tops run metres (296), carries (48) and turnovers conceded (10). Michael Hooper tops the tackle count with 60 while Will Harrison has missed the most tackles (15).

And finally, when we look at who has won the most turnovers we have Fraser McReight on 6 followed by Richard Hardwick and Michael Hooper on 5 then Liam Wright and Andy Muirhead on 4. Out of those 5 players, pick the odd one out!

Fraser McReight passes QLD Reds v NSW Waratahs 2020 Photo Credit QRU Brendan Hertel

 

Can we just clarify …

So we are all still getting to know the new laws. It has only been 4 weeks and there are still times when we look at each other and ask “Is that one of those special kicks?” or “What happens if the ball is grounded in the in goal, is it a scrum or a line drop put?”

Well there was one instance in the Brumbies v Force match that had me scratching my head because I thought I knew, but then the call from the ref didn’t match what I thought I knew. So what is the right call? Did the ref have the right call and I have been reading the rule wrong? Or the other way around?

This is the law I am referring to: When an attacking player carrying the ball is held up in the in-goal or knocks the ball on play restarts with a goal line drop-out.

In the 28th minute the Force look to have taken the ball over the try line but the referee sees no clear grounding. Does that mean it is held up in goal? He then awards the Force a 5m scrum as they were in possession and it sounds like he says the ball has come back to them. Is he saying the ball never got to the try line? If that is the case is a 5m scrum the right call?

I’m not an expert in the rules so had to look it up and I found out that yes, it was the right call. But for your average Joe would they understand it? Would it be so difficult for the ref to say it was short, the Force were still in possession so they get the feed. Then I for one wouldn’t have been left wondering why what seemed like a held up in goal call was suddenly a 5m scrum.

Top Tries

This week there were some more cracking tries. I’ll start off with the one that Super Rugby thought was the pick of the New Zealand crop.

That’s pretty hard to argue with, but I just wanted to throw this one in there too.

Then back home we have 2 stunners from the Brumbies.

 

  • Steve

    Thanks for the writeup MST.

    Oh man, the Rebs/Waratahs match was really not one for the ages. I’m glad the Brumbies looked a bit more on form on Saturday – Here’s hoping the Reds/Brums game is worth turning up for, cause there’s not much hope for anyone else right now.

    Re: the laws, I’m actually a supporter of the dropout for held up in goal, it never made sense to me that if you mess up the try you get a do-over.

    Re the 50/22, I still don’t like it as I think it encourages the wrong things, but Simone’s efforts on Saturday were pretty awesome.

    • ATrain

      Definitely agree on the drop out Steve – I think it is a good one.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I don’t like the line drop out for 2 reasons. Firstly it comes across as “let’s make this more like league and we’ll get people watching it” which is bullshit. Rugby supporters watch rugby and league supporters watch league. Secondly I don’t think it rewards an attacking team enough. You’ve just worked all that way down, nearly scored and now instead of a set piece to run a move off you have to start again halfway down the field.

      • Brumby Runner

        KARL, most held up decisions take place after a team has worked its way into the attacking red zone, as you say, and then the gormless forwards just hit it up one off the ruck or pick and go until they either make a mistake or get over the line but can’t ground the ball. I don’t want to see that sort of play rewarded. I would much rather reward the defending side for denying the attacking side the try.

        I would prefer to see the 5m scrum but with the defending side to feed it.

        That change might even encourage a few teams to keep the ball in the backs when they get close to the try line. Win/win all the way.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Most of the time I see them I see players working hard to score and others working hard to stop them. The team has worked its way down field to get into that zone, try hard to score and usually held up due to good defence, I think they deserve a reward for those efforts. I’m not sure keeping it in the backs will see a different result as the backs usually manage to stuff it up as much as the forwards do. I guess it comes down to wanting to reward attack or defence. I always prefer to reward attack as I think that encourages more of it.

        • Steve

          I think that’s the crux of it KARL – in my opinion (for the little it’s worth) it feels like the attacking team getting possession back, but 30-40m downrange, seems about right for blowing the try.

          5m scrum just seems like a reward for messing up which never sat quite right with me

        • I don’t think we’re every going to agree on this, but I think we’re so often seeing the “on field decision try” call, that I like the defence getting rewarded when the attack screw it up, and a goal-line drop out seems fair to me, to have them actually release the pressure.

          It actually keeps the game moving, instead of 5 minutes of setting a scrum, a few resets and all the rest of it that we’re subjected to at the moment, far too often.

          I think this week was the first time we’re properly seen the 50/22 and 22/50 kicks executed as tactical options rather than accidents. (That might not be quite fair, they happened in week 1 I think, but they seemed more like accidents to me then – I could be doing a disservice to the kicker though.)

          While they added something, I’m not convinced they’re adding the right thing. One of them punished a side for being in flat out attack, which wasn’t the avowed intention but an unintended consequence. One of them seemed more like it was what the law makers intended. Not a great return rate… Hopefully they’ll be filed in the bin where they deserve.

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    On 50/22 Brad Lacey has been the only wing that left a large gap behind him. Hunt and Simone exploited this until Brache was moved to the wing. I think the rule is working as it provide space wide as wings have to hang back a couple of seconds longer. I expect Lacey will not find himself in the starting side against the Rebels.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks MST and love having you back. Interesting figures and you can see why there are so many questions being raised about Hooper. I’m on record for not being a fan so nuff said. I personally am not a fan of the kick law variations. I do see how it can be used but I think a 22/22 is fairer as it demands more accuracy and skill. I hate their no mark call and I think both that and the 50/22 just encourage a kick and hope mentality. Doesn’t matter if your kick is poor because there’s no penalty for a shit kick, just reward if you get one right and I don’t think that is something Australia wants considering the kickers here are so poor in accuracy anyway. We need laws that encourage people to get better not laws that encourage them to remain shit.
    Some good tried there and I loved the Brumbies long range tries. Real teamwork on show there.

    • Brumby Runner

      Kicking from hand is generally poor in the Aus teams, but made to look worse by the lack of any competition for the ball when it comes down.

      The two 50/22 kicks by Simone and powell both looked to be deliberate attempts when each of the kickers noticed the defense was lacking down deep.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Yeah I agree they were. The thing is the rules as they stand encourage kicking for kicks sake because there’s no penalty for a shit kick and I thin k that’s wrong

  • Ads

    Michael Hooper tops the tackle count with 60 .
    And finally, when we look at who has won the most turnovers we have Fraser McReight on 6 followed by Richard Hardwick and Michael Hooper on 5.

    Nah those numbers are wrong. Everyone knows Hooper is an overrated seagull who makes no turnovers and is an ineffectual tackler.

    • UTG

      Hooper carries the Tahs all game, “Hooper actually looked alright in patches.”

    • Red Block

      This is the best thing about his Dad no longer being coach. He actually has to play well to earn his spot.
      What a shame he hasn’t played like this for the past 5 years.

      • UTG

        He has played like this, it’s just now people don’t have the “he’s only getting picked because he’s a Waratah” line to hide behind they have to admit how good he is.

  • Brumby Runner

    Almost half way through the comp and the Brumbies haven’t scored a single penalty? Must be some sort of record. Either shows they can’t kick a goal to save themselves (unlikely) or that they have so much confidence in their game plan and structures as to see the penalty shot as being low reward against going for a try.

    • Ads

      Agree B most likely, and their position on the table supports it. Different kettle for me for Internationals. You need to take the points!

    • UTG

      So much confidence in their maul, I’d say. Rightly as well.

    • I’m not sure what their conversion rate on lineouts close to the try line is, but the maths says if you kick all your goals (both PKs and conversions) and it’s higher than 42.9% you’re better going for the try. Obviously the first assumption about all your goals is a bit iffy, but for a first order assumption, you can say the two errors offset – you’ll miss as many PKs as conversions so that’s about the right rate.

      I haven’t studied their lineout driving, but I’d guess from memory once they make that choice they’re scoring tries about half the time, maybe a little bit more. Maybe not from that first lineout, but from the ensuing phases without a turnover.

      If you’re that good… to misquote The Hunger Games, the odds are ever in your favour.

  • Hoss

    My fellow Australians,

    I am coming to you live and mask-less from NSW today having had my rights to not wear a mask ratified under the 1948 Geneva Bunnings Protocols & Conventions. If you’ll just bare with me while i adjust the al-foil cone hat, there, that’s better.

    Now, where was I – yes, Rugby. Tahs were shite, Rebels were less shite (lets be honest they weren’t ‘good’ but simply won by being proportionally less shite than their more shitest opponent so therefore one would reason that that they were less % shite than the Tah’s who were greater % shite than the <less shite Rebels – or better explained as the 'shite coefficient' i believe). If Two-Cows is the pinnacle for Gold 10 based on his YTD efforts we are well and truly rooted. He is serviceable at best, the same way a chiko roll is serviceable as a gustatory delight – it's food, but don't look much closer than that or you will be disappointed and perhaps concerned.

    Now for all the PC out there – you know who you are….'24-0 didn't reflect the closeness of the game' or 'they were right in it up till the end ' or versions there-of. GIVE ME A BREAK. One team scored nil, nada, zilck, bubcus, zero & sweet FA. My Tah's were completely shite (refer shite coefficient above) and still scored 10 points but a 'brave' team who gets their pants completely pulled off were in it till the end……….if i wanted inane, rambling, incoherent, factually incorrect, mindless drivel i would go to Bunnings.

  • Hoss

    My fellow Australians,

    I am coming to you live and mask-less from NSW today having had my rights to not wear a mask ratified under the 1948 Geneva Bunnings Protocols & Conventions. If you’ll just bare with me while i adjust the al-foil cone hat, there, that’s better.

    Now, where was I – yes, Rugby. Tahs were shite, Rebels were less shite (lets be honest they weren’t ‘good’ but simply won by being proportionally less shite than their more shite-est opponent so therefore one would reason that that they were less shite (as a percentage) than the Tah’s who were greater shite (as a percentage) than the percentage less shite Rebels – or better explained as the ‘shite coefficient’ i believe). If Two-Cows is the pinnacle for Gold 10 based on his YTD efforts we are well and truly rooted. He is serviceable at best, the same way a chiko roll is serviceable as a gustatory delight – it’s food, but don’t look much closer than that or you will be disappointed and perhaps concerned.

    Now for all the PC out there – you know who you are….’24-0 didn’t reflect the closeness of the game’ or ‘they were right in it up till the end ‘ or versions there-of. GIVE ME A BREAK. One team scored nil, nada, zilck, bubcus, zero & sweet FA. My Tah’s were completely shite (refer shite coefficient above) and still scored 10 points but a ‘brave’ team who gets their pants completely pulled off were in it till the end……….if i wanted inane, rambling, incoherent, factually incorrect, mindless drivel i would go to Bunnings.

    • Ads

      Amen brother. As a tah’s fan I thought I was the only one finding “the tah’s are shit” (scientifically correct) but “the Force were brave and unlucky” stuff tedious. TEDIOUS I say.

      • Hoss

        #tahsunited

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      You crack me up. I agree 100% on the comments. My comment was that usually when a team gets zip, they look as though they haven’t tried. I think the Force did try, just weren’t good enough. Maybe my comment should have been, didn’t reflect the effort put in by the Force

      • Hoss

        My favourite quote from Yoda ‘there is no try, only do’ or ‘there is no try, must be Force’ – yeah baby – a Hoss Original. You’re welcome Australia.

    • UTG

      Their discipline and ball retention was atrocious but to let in one second half try when there was 80% possession against them was a pleasing defensive effort. If the shoe was on the other foot we would have been hearing how terrible the Tahs were for not being able to score more points with that much ball.

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    It appears that the Boks are reluctant to play in a Rugby Championship. They have legitimate reasons including that they would be poorly prepared to play Test rugby as it is unlikely that any Currie Cup rugby will be played when COVID-19 are out of control and spreading like a bushfire, and that they cannot take players for months from home when it is likely that their family members will be sick. There are also concerns in the SA press that as all the games will be played in NZ that this competition will devalue Test rugby. I think it is the right call, you cannot play the All Blacks unless you are at least 99% prepared. All Black supporters will be disappointed as they will not get the Rugby Championship and World Rugby #1 rugby title back without playing against the Boks. However winning a competition when the other team are unprepared and where the stakes are stacked so well in your favour by playing all games at home is not Test rugby.

Rugby

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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