The Tuesday Top 5 comes up with some interesting happenings in Super Rugby and Sevens over the weekend.
Las Vegas Sevens
As in Sydney, the Aussies progressed to the final but lost it as their good luck ran out.
For a windy weekend in Las Vegas, the Aussies changed their team. With one eye on Rio, Lucas, Cooper, Killingworth and McCutcheon replaced Stannard, Speight, Holland and Cusack (injured).
Lucas played well until crocked and Killingworth looked like a old-timer. Cooper had some good moments on attack in the pool games but was less effective as defensive sweeper.
New Zealand tried different players also but with less effect. They went down 0-22 to Kenya, then lost to the Blitzbokke in the quarters. Behind 0-19 in the Plate semi to Argentina, they came back to win in extra time..
England were worse because they didn’t win a game, although they got a draw against Japan—Japan ?!?!
The Aussies rode their luck to beat South Africa in the semi but the Fijians were too strong at key moments in the final.
Allan Fa’alava’au has improved since last year. Previously one who stepped to a fault, he is now also hard to stop through the tackle line. Sam Meyers, another improver, is adding value to many encounters and giving sterling opportunities to those who play off him.
Kobus Wiese in his playing days – he hasn’t got any smaller
Chiefs v Lions – Scott Stevenson when prop Redelinghuys interfered with scrummie Kerr-Barlow:
An irresistible cheap shot on a halfback—you can’t blame him.
Highlanders v Hurricanes – Pre-game, Tony Johnson didn’t show a high regard for the Dunedin students.
We’ve got about 10,000 “Scarfies” here, and 15,000 humans.
Cheetahs v Stormers – From a lineout Stormers 83kg scrummie Vermak gets ball and 120kg Cheetah, de Jager, at the same time. Joel Stransky called it a hospital pass; Kobus Wiese said:
More of a ICU pass.
Old-stager Keith Quinn was in good form at the Las Vegas Sevens:
Carlin Isles – he’s all gas and no brakes.
Bill Seward, about the USA coach with no score after three minutes against the Blitzbokke:
Mike Friday, trying to look like he’s cool, but inside there’s a badger fighting a wolverine somewhere.
But former USA Sevens’ player, Dallen Stanford, had the best one-liners in Las Vegas.
Who would win the Olympic repechage in Monaco? It’s harder to pick than a broken nose.
Some of the USA players were fast: Isles is getting permission from Air Traffic Control to take off.
Iosefo, he rounded them like parked cars
Perry Baker, as prominent as a pimple on a teenager.
Jason Woodward kicking for the Rebels – shouldn’t have kicked that ball for the Canes
Highlanders v Hurricanes — Canes are one point down and get turnover ball 15 metres from their own line with 40 seconds left. Ex-Rebel, Woodward, still in his own 22, kicks the ball out near halfway. The moans of commentator Justin Marshall are loud.
Bulls v Rebels — The Rebs are down 3-7; but Thomson has the ball five metres out and just has to fall over to score; but he drops it getting it into his hands, unnecessarily. Later Bulls’ 15 Gelant wants to clear near his line and 13 Serfontein ducks in front of him; but the ball is kicked up his Kyber Pass. Rectum? No, fortunately just missed.
Australia v Blitzbokke Semi-Final—Cooper is close to scoring but is tackled without arms; so Australia lead 7-5 with a penalty try. Then Cooper tackles high and gets carded; the Bitzbokke score and are 12-7 up.
But the leaders have three howlers left. They get turnover ball with eight seconds remaining and should stuff around then kick it out—but pass it into touch with two seconds to go. Two high tackles later Cooper converts the Aussies’ second penalty try to win.
Best not to be high in Las Vegas.
Henry Speight v Waratahs – involved with Tevita Kuridrani in raising funds for Fiji storm relief
Brumbies’ charity work
The Brumbies made news for their charity work to go with their on-field success..
The recent cyclone in Fiji hit home literally for Henry Speight and Tevita Kuridrani with family and friends impacted as the cyclone swept through the islands, and their own village.
Henry and Tevita, with the support of the Brumbies, used the first round home game to raise funds for the recovery effort.
Local Fiji community members ran a bucket collection in the crowd, while Henry and Tevita put their game jerseys up for auction. Stephen Moore was amazingly generous in donating his 150th game jersey.
The bucket donations yielded over $16,000; the jerseys of Henry, Tevita and Stephen went for $3060, $2010 and $2010 respectively, raising more than $23,000 in total.
The Brumbies also auctioned a fully-catered box for eight for the Brumbies v Waratahs match and donated the winning bid to Lifeline Canberra. It raised $3310, giving some lucky fans a great game day experience, while helping a worthy cause.
For the second home game of the year they offered to donate $20,000 to the Domestic Violence Crisis Service (ACT) if they got 20,000 fans to the game. With attendance at 20,142, the Brumbies made the welcome donation.
Brumbies – the teacher’s pet got a good report card
Aussie Super Rugby report card
After two rounds the Head Master reports on the progress of the five teams.
BrumbiesB+ Earned a gold star in Week 1 of the term but are marked down for a poor first half on Saturday when the visiting team was not punished. Finished well though and are the best in the class.
WaratahsC Had two naughty lads in detention in Canberra and should have been three. Need regular caning and also extra scrummaging homework. A pity—had a good half-hour winning in Week 1. Could do better.
RebelsC- Had a good result in Perth but did not pay attention in Johannesburg and star pupils made mistakes. This was frustrating because they scored four tries when they concentrated properly. More consistent efforts needed.
ForceC- Bad marks for Week 1 at home but we received a note that the poor lambs were affected by high humidity. Recovered in Week 2: it was only against the Reds, but a win is a win.
RedsD- Some bad seasons, and two comfortable losses this year, indicated there was a problem at home. They are now in the care of foster coaches and one hopes that their work can improve.