The Tuesday Top 5

Hugh Cavill February 25, 2013 40

No GravatarThis is the Tuesday Top 5, my patented pentagram of piercing analysis and second-rate puns. Get it right up ya, clowns.


5. The Force sucked

They sucked hard. I’m sorry Forcers but that is the only way to describe it. Honestly, I sat through the whole fucking game, and it’s 80 minutes of my life I will never get back. They should have won — the Kings were spirited but fairly one-dimensional. Instead they fell off tackles, dropped balls, missed kicks. It was just plain shithouse. And that’s sad for me because I love the Force, and they played really well last week. I hope for their sake that this was a one-off, because if it wasn’t they will take the wooden spoon. And kudos to the Kings for showing up the critics, in front of 35,000 fans to boot.


 4. The Rebels proved what we all knew…

With 3 heads he could pack scrums all by himself

With 3 heads he could pack scrums all by himself

…that they can’t survive without JOC and Kurtley. When JOC went off they began to struggle, and when Kurtley got injured their goose was well and truly cooked. While they were worn down by a relentlessly professional Brumbies outfit, I really hoped they would do a little bit better. The back row has been below par — Gareth Delve has been very quiet and Scott Fuglistaller has been anonymous. Higgers is slowly improving, and that needs to continue. But their depth is still paper-thin in almost every position, and with no new recruits in sight the only solution to the Rebels fans is prayer. I’d suggest Brahma, a Hindu god and, according to the Bhagavad Gita, a great ball-runner in tight.


 3. Slow down, Brumbies fans

OK Canberrans, so you’ve got a good team this year. Some have even called them ‘the real deal’. But let’s not get too carried away, guys. You have beaten a rusty Reds side at Fortress Bruce and a Rebels side without JOC and Kurtley for much of the game. It’s fair to say these are not victories that have sent shockwaves through the competition. Jesse Mogg has scored a couple of nice tries, and Benny Mowen has hit a few rucks. It is a promising start. But I’d hate for you guys to get ahead of yourselves (and to be fair the reasonable ACTites have not… all four of them! BUUUURN!).

D-grade put-downs aside, I’m not going to throw out any wild premiership predictions until I see how our guys measure up against overseas opposition. So far we are 0-1 (thanks, Force). Watching the NZ conference games on the weekend it was hard to see that ledger ending up in the black. I don’t want to rain on your parade, Brumbies, but remember what happened last year when you started thinking about finals: you went from an unstoppable juggernaut to Greg Norman on a Sunday back 9 at Augusta.

So don’t let those expectations get too lofty. Not yet, anyway.


2. How do you solve a problem like the Waratahs?

I don’t know what to think about Saturday night. The Tahs played patches of really good rugby interspersed with complete rubbish. Brutal defence followed by soft missed tackles. Ten-plus phases of expansive play followed by three knock-ons in a row. If they can eliminate the errors then they can be a good side playing fast, entertaining rugby. And who knows where they could end up. But you get the impression that won’t happen overnight.

I liked the new style Cheika has them playing, although we lacked a bit of punch in midfield. I am not a Tom Carter-hater, but we needed a little bit more from him. He can normally be relied on to take us over the a-line on the first phase, but he seemed to lack that little bit of dynamism he once had. The solution at 12 isn’t obvious though, and I’d hesitate to throw in an untested rookie like Volavola (who looked nice off the bench). The back row was outplayed, and Michael Hooper was a bit disappointing. His strength is his ball-running and we didn’t see that on Saturday. The lineout was shambolic until Mitchell Chapman came on; he needs to start. As does Benn Robinson.

Beating the Rebels is essential, especially at home.


1. Strategic blindness by referees

Sully and Scott Allen will be pissed...

Sully and Scott Allen will be pissed…

You thought number 1 would be about the Reds, right? One for each Super team would make sense, yeah? Wrong. The Reds get no love from me this week. I know the Festival of Hate is technically over, but I ain’t buying it. All you Reds fans (most of our readership, if our polls and comments are anything to go by) can go jump. Throw your empty bottles of moonshine at me, see if I care! In fact I will make this decree for season 2013: any team who beats the Waratahs will not be spoken of here the following week. Please pass that on to whatever pathetic non-Waratahs team you support.

My point here is about how referees seem to ignore rules en masse that they once vigorously enforced. Remember those crazy days when refs penalised attacking teams for going off their feet at the breakdown? It seems like so long ago. For some reason it is back to a free-for-all at ruck time. I didn’t see one penalty for sealing off at the breakdown, and I watched almost every game. No idea why we are ignoring this now, obviously refs have decided that penalising for going off your feet is ‘so 2012’.

What do you think?

Yeah, you.

PS. I know it might be Monday night when you read this, so the title is unaligned with your current temporal state. But don’t whinge about it in the comments section please, or I will send my bloodthirsty armada to destroy all of your ships and battlements! Consider yourselves warned, minions.

Discussion

  • http://twitter.com/thebigcode Julian Jefferis

    Extra fired up tonight Barbarian! I like it. Totally agree with the refs. How players can play not knowing what will be pinged and let go from one week to the next is beyond me. Im happy with less penalties at the breakdown, but it also needs to be policed. There seemed to be far more leniency on the not rolling away this week.

    But Carter lacking the dynamism he once had? That’s hilarious! A good tryer sure, but surely ‘dynamic’ has never been used to accurately describe Tom Carter. Get Barnes into 12 and ban him from kicking.

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      In fairness, what was actually said about Tom Carter was “seemed to lack that little bit of dynamism he once had”. I’d call that a fair assessment, unfortunately. ;(

    • SuckerForRed

      In the past I have actually been a supporter of Carter. Yep he was quiet on Saturday night but there were a lot of players that were quiet. I think that the passion that he so obviously brings to the Tahs is great and will be missed when he moves on. Also remember he was being covered by Taps.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sul.sullivan Shane Sullivan

    hmmf

  • Dougall

    Cheifs and Highlanders really showed how a true darby should pan out, what a f*&#king sight to see, especially in their first round. Already a true contender for game of the season IMO.

    Tahs V Reds needs the whole ‘State of Origin’ mentality back, I mean come on, not one fight? I thought I was at a roar game Saturday night.

    I have to say though, Quirk showed exactly what is right with Australian rugby, young guns giving it their all to keep their starting position. Schatz out. Samo in.

    Izzy has a long way to go, league fans who think the stars can just come over and continue their rein in this code are just simple minded, it doesn’t happen at the click of a finger.

    Brumbies. Tahs. Reds. Rebels. Force. That is what the table is looking to be like.

    • Rusty

      Dougall from 365?

      • Dougall

        haha yes mate, glad to hear/see another cross user

  • Garryowens

    Tom Carter he puts me in. Deep sleeeee

  • Pedro

    It’s funny that you begrudge Brumbies fans from getting excited, I mean two out of two is pretty good. Imagine how good one win might have felt after nine losses in a row?

    Oh and unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you might have noticed that George Smith just signed, I think it’s ok to get excited as a brumbies supporter.

    • USARugger

      Not sure if you’ve been following George on his most recent Japanese vacation but I have to agree, it is good that you bolstered your front-row stocks!

      • Pedro

        Is he fat now?

        • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

          Does anyone return from the Land of the rising yen over weight? :(

        • Purce

          Not sure if you are saying here that people do or don’t return overweight…. McMeniman ? Chapman ? Both look in pretty good condition.

        • Pedro

          I just wasn’t sure if he was playing in the front row in Japan or he was just built like a front rower now. (from what USA rugby said)

      • SuckerForRed

        From what I have seen he has been playing 6 & 8 in Japan. Either way he will be good to provide some tutilege to the likes of Pocock, Gill & Hooper.

  • Johnny-boy

    It could be that Delve is ’welsching’ on his leadership duties ….

  • Larkhage

    I try not to get ahead of myself but after the average ’08, ’09, ’10 years and the dreadful 2011 where things happened that should not have, then the uprising of 2012 with a minimal ‘name’ squad with the opportunity of finals, and now this year with the come back of rugby legends Rathbone & Smith, along with the recovery of playmakers Toomua and Lealiifano, as well as wallaby 12, McCabe… It’s sort of hard not to…

    • Kelly

      Rathbone is a good story but he is no rugby legend. That said I am all in on the brumbies too.

      • Larkhage

        He’s a legend in my eyes

        • Kelly

          To me it is frankly an insult to George Smith to put them in the same breath as legends. Smith is, Rathbone just frankly isn’t.

        • Larkhage

          Calm down mate, I think calling either of them legends would be the ultimate compliment, I really don’t think levelling the two in the same category of greatness would detrimental to either. And it’s not like i’m putting George Smith and Tom Carter together…

  • vic

    Rebels have great ball runner in tight his names is luke jones and he made all othet second rowers look pedestrian over the weekend. Higgers made 5 try saving tackles and scored one. Quirck was the only other 6 who played better in australia. Who else would you have at 6 dennis? Captain fantastic? The guys is a myth in all jerseys.

  • http://www.greenandgoldrugby.com/ Matt Rowley

    Fuglistaller – not sure how anonymous that is

  • http://twitter.com/SmithStinsmith Justin Smith

    Mitchell chapman does not need to start. He looked completely out of his depth aside from some, ‘strangely’, good passes.

  • D

    Congrats to Michael Foley for reaching double figures in consecutive Super Rugby losses. He’ll surely kept up his streak next weekend as the Force take on the Bulls. Will 11 straight losses be a record & does he hold it now at 20 Hopefully the Tahs reach that milestone next week. Go the Reds!!!

    • D

      Damn phones. Sorry that was supposed to be 10 not 20 & please ignore the other grammatical errors.

  • Rex Munday

    Not sure what you’re talking about referee bias re: ruck infringements. Hooper cynically picked the ball out if the side of the ruck at least twice on Saturday. The first time was on the NSW line and was penalised (it deserved a yellow) and the second occasion it was waved through as play on.

    On the first incident, the Tahs copped three penalties, at least one blatantly cynical, while camped on their own line in defence and somehow a yellow was not produced. Pollock was woeful but balanced.

    • Barbarian

      Where did I say anything about bias? Was just talking about how refs as a group seem to ignore this rule or that for some reason. Not commenting on the performance of any individual ref.

    • Johnny-boy

      The Tahs are not going to be able to use that patented curved McCaw gate all year

  • DrewB

    On the ref’s, I’m still confused as to why Pollock kept telling the scrum to “sit”…

    • SuckerForRed

      I was hearing ‘s*it’. But ‘sit’ might be better.

  • Truck

    Worst. Blog. Ever.

    • Barbarian

      Agreed. I wish there were less people like me on this site and more like you, Truck.

      • Blinky Bill of Bellingen

        That’s a new take on ‘I wouldn’t join any club who would have me as a member’.

  • Rusty

    Lots of internal hate this week?? Waratahs didn’t get beaten by the ref they got beaten by a lot of young players who were prepared to outplay their supposed “wallaby” opposition. True to form Quirk, Gill, Holmes and even Faingaa out played their numbers.
    Until the waratahs are prepared to put their Hollywood bodies on the line I expect a lot more articles like this.

  • dudebudstud

    Stop blaming the refs for ignorning laws. Every year the refs are told to focus on this or that. Those decrees come down from the people above them. So if it looks systematic, it is not one ref dropping the ball, its SANZAR and the IRB telling the refs what to focus on.

  • Gottsy

    I wonder if the force will be relegated and replaced by the lions??!?

  • Kevino

    JOC and Beale both played more than half the game. Give the Brumbies the credit they deserve, they where impressive from 1 to 22 and shower superior fitness to the Rebels. They will top the Australian conference and Reds will come second.

  • Tangawizi

    On the bright side for Force fans, all 5 of them should be able to pick up a new jersey for about $50 at the end of the season

  • Lee Grant

    Good stuff Hugh.

    Not all of the punters will agree with all you said, but too bad if it gets up their nose – it’s your unique view of what happened last weekend.

    Keep it going son; you done good.
    .

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