The Tuesday Top 5 - Green and Gold Rugby
Rugby

The Tuesday Top 5

The Tuesday Top 5

Welcome back to another edition of the Tuesday Top 5. This week we will take a quick look at the Wallabies v Pumas match, but there is a lot of other rugby going on around the place at the moment, so we will check out the happenings in Super Rugby Unlocked (I still think that was the worst of the 3 Super Rugby names), talk referees – though probably not in the way you’re thinking! – and see what’s going on over in Europe.

What more can we really say?

There has been plenty said about the match on Saturday, and to be honest I’m not sure we could really add much that hasn’t already been talked about. But let’s try anyway shall we?

I’m going to start by saying I feel sorry for Noah Lolesio. He has now spent 2 complete matches on the bench, both times when the result was in the balance. What message is that sending him? You’re good enough to make the side, but not good enough to risk putting on the field in a tight one? Twice his drop goal boot could have come in handy, but he is just sitting there watching on.

I said it a couple of weeks ago, and I will say it again now. Rugby players at this level need to have a really solid knowledge of the game, when to run, when to kick and when to throw a good, safe pass rather than the one handed, behind the back as I’m falling to the ground pass. We saw a few examples on Saturday of this sort of knowledge NOT being applied when it should have been. Once again, there is more to being a great rugby player than flashy play.

That kind of leads into this quote from Dave Rennie, which is concerning – “At 15-6, we really had control of the game and we had chances to pin them into the corners and we had a fair bit of success with kicking and it looks like we got bored of it. We played and overplayed and turned the ball over and let them back into the game. Yeah, disappointing. We should have closed it out and really let ourselves down.” So who was making the decisions on the field? Was there a lack of leadership or calm heads steering the ship?

All I can say is I imagine the rematch in 2 weeks will be a very interesting, possibly fiery encounter.

Dave Rennie during warm-up

Dave Rennie during warm-up

Super Rugby Unlocked

While all eyes over here have been on the Tri Nations, over in South Africa they have just reached the conclusion of their very own Super Rugby competition. This weekend saw the Bulls crowned Super Rugby unlocked champions, after taking 4 points in their win over the Pumas in the final match of the competition (as in Super Rugby Aotearoa, the team on top of the ladder at the completion of the final round is the winner. No finals).

However they would have actually taken out the title even if they had lost. You see, when a number of Sharks players tested positive to Covid-19, their final round match against the Stormers was cancelled. The Sharks and Stormers both received 2 points for the match. That meant that going into the game against the Pumas, the Bulls were on 19 points, tied with both the Sharks and Stormers. The big difference? The Bulls had a points difference of 70, the Stormers had a points difference of 28 and the Sharks 6. So it would have taken the Pumas, who had only won 1 match, beating the Bulls by more than 42 points to stop the Bulls winning the title.

In all, three games during the season were called off due to players testing positive for Covid. You have to feel for the Lions, as they were involved in two of those matches.

running withe the bulls

A Positive Story About Referees

On the weekend, in the Autumn Nations Cup match between Wales and Georgia, referee Joy Neville made history by becoming the first female TMO in a major men’s international. Joy Neville played 70 matches for Ireland and was their captain, and as a referee has achieved a lot. She was the first female to referee a professional European match, she has refereed internationals, European Challenge Cup matches as well as Pro 14 matches.

Here in Australia we have seen Amy Perret rising through the referee ranks, this year taking charge in her first Super Rugby AU match, and doing a pretty good job of it too. She also was an assistant referee for the final between the Brumbies and Reds.

And that match between the bulls and Pumas I mentioned above? The referee for that game was Aimee Barrett-Theron. She had been Assistant Referee for a number of games, but this was her first time in charge. In fact, this was the first time in South Africa that a woman had refereed a top-level match. And by all accounts she did a fantastic job.

Personally, I think it is great to see women referees taking charge. Not just being promoted as a publicity stunt, but being given top games on merit, and then doing a great once they get there.

Embed from Getty Images

 

European Rugby

So at the moment over in Europe the Autumn Nations Cup is taking place. This is a new International competition with 8 teams involved. They are divided into two pools, with each team playing the other 3 teams in their pool. Then teams will play against the team which finished in the same position as them in the other pool. The top team in each pool will play for 1st, the second placed team in each pool will play for 2nd etc.

The two pools are:

POOL A – England, Ireland, Wales, and Georgia

POOL B – France, Scotland, Italy, and Fiji.

So far there have been 2 rounds played. In Pool A, England are on top having beat Georgia 40-0 and Ireland 18-7. Ireland are in 2nd thanks to their first round win over Wales, 32-9.  Wales is in 3rd with an 18-0 win over Georgia, leaving Georgia in 4th.

In Pool B, things are a little more complicated. Both Italy and France have ben awarded 28-0 wins over Fiji, despite the games being cancelled. The Fijian squad returned a number of positive Covid tests so the decision was made to cancel the games and give a 28-0 result. The Scotland v Fiji match this coming weekend has also been cancelled and it is expected that Scotland will also “win” 28-0.

So pool B has France on top after their “win” over Fiji and a 22-15 win over Scotland. Scotland are in 2nd and are the only team to have actually played both of their games. They defeated Italy 28-17 in round 1. Italy is in 3rd, with their result over Fiji, while Fiji is on the bottom having not played.

This weekend there are 3 games. Wales take on England, France play Italy and Ireland play Georgia.

England win

Highlights

Like I said earlier, there is a lot of rugby going on around the world at the moment.




  • GeorgiaSatellite

    Thanks MST. Congrats to the female officials. The Georgians wouldn’t know what to make of that, female president notwithstanding. The Lelos did well to keep the score down after last week’s blow-out against the Filth, but they need to learn how to score some. Great experience for them, playing tier-one nations for a change. The lack of crowd makes me realise how lucky you are in Oz to have real people at the matches.

  • Patrick

    France were pretty lame and the lack of Romain Ntamack’s direction at 10 really showed… shades of the Aussies there.

    As things stand, I think England are probably favourites against Australia or New Zealand (or Argentina), although they probably need George Ford back. Their pack really seems a notch above when on song.

    I think that it is entirely possible that France will beat NZ or Australia or Argentina as well. So with the unknown element of how the Boks will shape up when they finally get on a pitch, the world rankings at this stage next year could easily be:
    1. ENG
    2. South Africa
    3. France
    4. NZ
    5. Australia
    6. Argentina
    7. IRL
    … the rest

    • Steve

      Yep it’s tough without the Dupont-Ntamack axis for France. In my books the best 9-10 combination in the world right now. On the plus side Stuart Hogg adding to his reel of fk ups was pretty fun.

      I just couldn’t see Australia competing against England whilst our major weakness (securing attacking rucks) is coming up against their biggest strength. Kind of glad we don’t have to suffer any more indignity to the English this year.

      I’ve also been following some new game called Covid(?) this year – England has been scoring much higher than Australia in that as well by the looks of it. Embarrassing really.

    • Geoffro

      I reckon there be a Royal Commission in NZ if those standings eventuate

    • Alister Smith

      Yeah Pat fair call. Our extra losses against NZ and their win might put us behind Argentina though

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Big call. I think the lack of games will see the list disrupted somewhat but not so sure NZ are going that far back. We’ll be up at 1 again soon mate

      • Patrick

        You may be, if your administration survives the test, but I don’t think you’ll be 6 points clear on the rankings again for a while. And if your administration fluffs it, you’ll definitely fall this far, remember you still have not played England or South Africa this year (or France).

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Yeah but they also haven’t played us. I know England look good but Ireland were also very poor that helped them. No one knows what SA are like post RWC and while NZ is struggling a bit players like Retallick were allowed to play away because these teams weren’t being played. I think you’re right and I don’t think anyone will get that far ahead again. But I also think it’s a big call saying NZ are now as poor as Australia was under Cheika

        • Patrick

          I’m not saying that you are that poor, we should in fact have fallen lower on the rankings. But I am also not accepting the “players like Retallick” card because imagine if we were not mismanaged for 5 years and had Pocock at 7 and Arnold partnering Philipp, just for the most obvious example?

    • UTG

      List looks pretty spot on, although I’d be happy to put money on NZ spending some time at 5th at some point over the next year or two.

      • Patrick

        Me too, frankly.

    • UTG

      List looks pretty spot on, although I’d be happy to put money on NZ spending some time at 5th at some point over the next year.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks MST. As you say, it’s already been said. I’d think Rennie will be having some pretty tough one on one calls with a few players this week. Would love to be a fly on the wall for those.
    Great to see so many female referees moving up on their merit as a referee. No reason at all why they wouldn’t be great in this role and good to see that being recognized by the different organisations. I’ve worked with a few in the Sydney suburban competition and they are also very good.
    While I can see the reasons behind the tournament up north, I’ve yet to be enthralled by any of the games. Ireland was pretty poor in the weekend and this tournament is Englands to lose. I must admit I’ve never bothered watching the Italy vs anyone games in the 6N and now having them and Georgia in the same competition isn’t any better. I feel for Fiji and I’m sure they would have put up a good showing if they had been able to get on the field. Let’s hope it happens at least once before this tournament is over

    • Geoffro

      I reckon our shot at the Trinations ended with the draw so time to give a few of the youngns a good go in the final match of the year for experience sake.Hoops definitely looks like he needs a rest (I know you agree with me there :) ) so let him be the first to step down.
      Like you,I’d have to be pretty desperate to watch a match involving Georgia or Italy.What happened to Japan ? I thought they were going to be involved

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Not sure why Japan didn’t get up. Probably COVID related and as said below there is a lot of value in giving Georgia and Fiji, if they ever get on the field, some Tier 1 games so cool that it’s happening.

    • Huw Tindall

      In a team that needs a lot of direction (due to youth) we just don’t have enough on field leaders, especially in the backs. If we had JOC and Toomua out there they would have made the right calls 9 times out of 10 and we’d have brought the game home in the final 20. I don’t know what Hooper’s message to the team was in the final quarter but it didn’t quite work out. Surely Rennie and co are relaying messages down to the sideline and out to the players? You see them on the walkie talkies everytime they cut to video feed from the coaches box so they are talking to someone! Regardless, the on field leadership should be enough to see the side home in tactical situations like this. Hooper has to shoulder his share of the blame but we should also recognise the general lack of recognised on field leaders in the backs where we have none!

  • Parker

    Good referees are always welcome, regardless of how they pull on their jersey.

    • Alister Smith

      Over their heads? What other way is there? :)

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Well one night after a few drinks……..

Rugby

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

More in Rugby