The Tuesday Top 5 - Green and Gold Rugby
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The Tuesday Top 5

The Tuesday Top 5

As a fun little intro – I just read this after I was finishing up. Ruan Smith is in Isolation awaiting results of a COVID-19 test. Given that he came off the bench against the brumbies, if he does happen to test positive (and I don’t know what the chances of that are, probably pretty small) it could have HUGE ramifications for both the Reds and Brumbies. Stay tuned to whatever rugby news you use (GAGR of course!) to keep up to date to see if they have more info!

Aaaannnnddd back to the Top 5. This week we talk final 3, look at the Good, Bad and Ugly from the weekend and take a few different trips overseas before viewinf some outstanding tries. Enjoy!

And on to the finals …

The top 3 are set, the match details are known and now it’s down to business for the final 3.

The Brumbies have the week off, and boy do they need it. Passing and catching drills a plenty at Brumbies HQ this week would be my guess. They sure didn’t look like they knew how to do either on the weekend.

On the weekend the Rebels will face an uphill battle against the Reds. The Rebels have had moments in this comp where they have looked good, but other moments when they have been far less than convincing. Two of their tightest games have been against the Force, with one going into Super time and the other being won at the death, either match could have gone the other way then I’d be talking about the Tahs right now. Then there was the draw against the Reds. They have had 2 big wins (19 points over the Waratahs and 18 points over the Brumbies) but the rest of their matches have been close.

The Reds look like they are finally putting it all together and it looks to be their game to lose on Saturday (though I am far from writing off the Rebels. I know that in this game anything can happen). They just look to be the stronger, more consistent outfit.

Filipo Daugunu 1 Brumbies v Reds Super Rugby 2020 (Photo Credit QRUBrendan Hertel)

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Good – I am pretty sure I have said this before, but my ‘good’ is having the Force back in Super Rugby. No, they weren’t as competitive as we would have liked (except against the Rebels, where they were in with every chance to win both of their games), but they also pushed the Reds. I would love to see them once they had a full pre-season, knew before the start of the season that they would be part of the competition and were not disadvantaged by being away from home for the whole competition. I think those three things could make a huge difference in how competitive they could be.

Bad – Decision making. There has been some dodgy decision making going on during matches throughout the season, I mentioned it before talking about how the Rebels managed the 10 minutes when an opposition player was in the bin, I’m going to only really mention 1 though. In the Waratahs v Rebels match in round 9, the Waratahs had to deny the Rebels a bonus point to have a better chance of making the final. They looked like they were going to win the game, were in possession of the ball, the siren had gone and the Rebels were only trailing by 6, giving them the bonus point. Michael Hooper had the ball near the sideline and rather than keep the ball in hands and try to push towards the line, he put a kick through that never looked even close to being regathered by anyone on his team. This gave the Rebels the ball, they kicked it out ending the game and finished with the bonus point they needed to knock the Tahs out. I wonder if Hooper had that time again he might re-think his kick?

Ugly – The only real ugly thing I can think of this week is the lack of basic skills from the Brumbies. 3 times close to or over the try line and 3 dropped balls. Passes behind the player or to no one, and more dropped ball than I have seen in a long time. How can they have had such poor handling in great condition when they threw the ball around so much and everything stuck against the Tahs in the rain? They conceded 28 turnovers! That is close to double their average number of turnovers conceded in their previous 7 matches.  

Michael Hooper full steam ahead Waratahs v Rebels Super Rugby 2020 (Credit - Keith McInnes Photography)

North v South

Ok, I’ll admit it. I really enjoy watching New Zealanders play rugby. Just to be clear, I am not making any comparisons, just stating that I enjoy watching it. And on the weekend I was not let down. The North v South game was an absolute cracker, right from the opening kick-off. Caleb Clark is one of the players who stood out for me during Super Rugby Aotearoa and he was at it again in the opening seconds of the match with an incredible run after receiving the kick off. It was no surprise at all to see him in the All Blacks squad. Another player who impressed was Will Jordan, he was on the receiving end of some wonderful attacking kicks, including the last one to score what would be the winning try. The things that impressed me most was the speed. The game was so fast! There weren’t long moments at the breakdown where the 9 was waiting for the ball, it just kept moving, which made it very entertaining to watch. I hope it becomes a regular fixture in the future.
Embed from Getty Images

Across to Europe

Up in the Northern Hemisphere they are getting down to the business end of things too. In Ireland, the Guinness Pro 14 wraps up this weekend with the final between Leinster and Ulster. Leinster defeater Munster 13-3 in their Semi-final while ulster did it the hard way, coming from 19-7 down against Edinburgh, to win 22-19. If you manage to catch the game it could well be worth watching, even if only to see Former Brumbies and Wallaby players Sam Carter (Ulster) and Scott Fardy (Leinster) facing off against each other. While I’m on this game, check out here what the Pro 14 have done as a way of previewing the match up.

Meanwhile, in what I’m guessing is the longest break between rounds ever, the Champions League continues with the Quarter finals on September 19th. The last round to be played was all the way back on the 19th of January. In an all French match up, Clermont will play Racing 92 and Exeter Chiefs will play Northampton Saints. Leinster and Ulster again feature, though this time against different opposition. Ulster will be taking on Toulouse while Leinster will play Saracens. Though we don’t know yet if that will be Saracens minus one Owen Farrell.

On the weekend during the Gallagher Premiership between Saracens and Wasps, Farrell was sent off for a dangerous tackle on 18 year old Academy player Charlie Atkinson. Farrell has been criticised many times for his tackling technique and to be honest this was just plain stupid. Watch the video and judge for yourselves. Most reports are saying Farrell will most likely get a long ban which will wipe him out of the match against Leinster in just under a fortnight. Oh, and Saracens ended up losing the match too.

 

Top Tries

  • Geoffro

    Nice write up MST.Really enjoyed the rugger on display . The young lads from up North will really need to keep their heads on though because if they face the Brums again in the final they are likely not going to see the same errors from them.I hope they dont shut down because the Ponys will grind them in a less open affair.N v S was great to watch , baabaa-esque,so woudnt be fearing we’d (Wallabies) get blown away in a test by sheer pace and skill etc,etc. What really shits me about Farrell is his behaviour after he’s poleaxed someone where he is more interested in bemoaning his own fate than the welfare of the guy he just flattened.He really deserves to get rubbed out for a long time after this hit.

    • Mica

      Especially considering he’s the English captain and he took out an academy player.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks MST. Some good points and while I think the Brumbies game play was due in part to the result not mattering i think they’ll still be concerned about how poor they were. They will definitely be a different beast in Canberra in 2 weeks time for sure.
    Rebels were very lucky and they need a bloody good look at themselves. I think there are more players playing their way out of the Wallabies than there are playing their way into the team and while Toomua has been good at 10 I think the team needs him at 12 to get the back line going.
    Mate I know this will upset people but is anyone really surprised at Hooper making a poor decision on the field? He’s done this as the Wallabies captain for the last 6 years and it’s the main reason I don’t want him as captain. he just doesn’t seem to learn.
    Lots of people after Farrel for his ongoing poor tackles, and more, his response afterwards where he doesn’t seem to care. Personally I think he’s over rated and if I was SA I’d want him in the lions as captain as it’ll make beating them easier.
    Loved the Nth vs Sth game and the speed of the game was great. You’ve hit my pet hate here. I hate the 9’s who piss around at the ruck and spend ages gettin rid of the ball. All they do is slow the game down, let the defenses get set so attack is stilted and inevitably stops movement so receivers are getting the ball standing still. It shits me to tears. Get the ball out fast to people running onto it. It’s not that hard.

    • David Creagh

      Mate, I’m with you on Hooper. I reckon if you asked him he would probably say something like “I saw an opportunity and backed myself. Just didn’t execute well”. Just like Kurtley Beale did when he missed the penalty against the lions slipping over wearing cleats on a soft muddy track saying that he wouldn’t change, cost his side a historic series win (right up there with Campo’s pass to Martin).

    • UTG

      Yep, I would desperately want him to play if I was SA as they’d more than likely get a good portion of the game against 14.

  • Timbo

    That Farrell hit… NEVER looked like it was going below the shoulders. He’ll be gone for a while I’d say.

    Rugby over the weekend was great. As much as i was bored sitting on the couch on Friday night considering watching regular telly, the 3 games on Saturday were all excellent in their own way. The Force leaving nothing on the pitch, the Kiwis showing why they’re the best in the world when they can field 2 teams that would take care of most tier 1 rugby nations and the Reds Showing the Brums that they’re more than just a big front row.

    Looking forward to the week of chat leading up to Saturday.

  • Mike D

    Don’t normally rag on players – they’re professional players and I’m an amateur viewer – but that hit by Farrell was absolute rubbish. It looks like a deliberate attempt to completely devastate a young player, which is just selfish and cruel. If it’s not, then it’s just friggin’ laziness, leading to failure to learn correct technique and apply it. Neither is in the spirit of the game.

    On a good note, thanks to the Force for the season. I sincerely hope we see you again next year, regardless of the format. Could very easily have acted poorly and given RA the finger, and I couldn’t judge them if they did – would have burnt themselves too, but people often do that. Instead showed themselves to be the better man and joined the comp, played away from home for months at a stretch and usually played well.

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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