This week in the Top 5 we look at how the players in the Wallaby squad performed this weekend, say Adieu to the Top 14 and one of our favourite sons, check out our Aussie tries from round 15 as well as he usual Report Card and the good, bad and ugly from the weekend.
Reds C+: The Reds were very patchy. They showed some great play and some poor passages. They actually pushed the Blues a lot harder than some had thought they would, with the match in a winnable position with the clock ticking down. Early errors put them on the back foot, the game might have been very different if they had started more strongly.
Waratahs C: They had their chances, but some poor decision making let them down. Passes that should have been thrown, trips that shouldn’t have been made … momentary lapses that are costing them big time in matches. Once again, for like the 50th time this season, they really only showed up for the second half, which is pointless if you let the other team get such a big lead to start with.
Rebels D-: Their defence held out pretty well in the first half, but disappeared in the second. They spent a lot of time camped in their own half and didn’t really get much opportunity with the ball, when they did have the ball they were unable to break a solid Brumbies defence.
Brumbies B+: They got a well-deserved win, securing top spot in the Aussie conference in the process, and for the second week in a row it was a bonus point win, seems they have remembered how to score tries. They showed solid work, both in the backs and forwards with some great scrums and mauls. They were let down a little by some poor decision making in the centres with a number of poor kicks and the inability to break the line.
Force C-: The Force threw everything at the Hurricanes and spent a large chunk of time close to the try line, but were simply unable to convert. They had multiple chances to cross the line, but the Canes defence proved to be too much, allowing them to only score two tries.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Good A break from the disappointing season that has been this year’s Super Rugby and 3 weeks’ worth of very winnable test matches to watch!
Bad Injuries to Kerevi and Simmons are a bit of a downer on an already bleak Queensland Reds season.
Ugly Nearly 2 months on, at the June test window with only 2 rounds of Super Rugby to go after the tests and we are still no closer to hearing from the ARU about what is going on. Cut/no cut … teams being allowed to sig players but still not certain of their future … That is the ugly state of affairs that is Australian Rugby.
Top 14 done and dusted
Very early Monday morning our time, Clermont took out this year’s Top 14 championship with a 22-16 win over Toulon. It was a tight match, with Toulon having a chance to take it in the last 10 seconds with an attacking line-out 8 metres from the line, but they were unable to convert giving Clermont the win.
A I said last week, there were a number of Aussies involved in the contest. Matt Giteau played his last match for Toulon before heading over to Japan next year. Liam Gill and James O’Çonnor were also in the starting side, as was Drew Mitchell, who was playing his last match having announced his retirement earlier this year. For Clermont, former Waratahs players Sitaleki Timani and John Ulugia were involved.
With all the Aussie teams in action in the last round before the June Internationals, we thought we’d take a quick look at a few of those named in the Wallabies squad performed. Who justified their inclusion? Who perhaps showed that they should have been included, and did anyone play themselves out of a potential Gold jersey?
Of the tight five that played Alaalatoa, TPN and Kepu showed the skill sets that justifies their selections. Latu drew attention to himself for both the wrong and the right reasons, again solid performance and very good over the ball, but the usual ill-discipline still is a real issue.
The locks stocks could be a little bit of a worry with Coleman and Tui taking a battering. If they don’t pull up well who does he look to?
In the back row Higgers, Hardwick and Hooper all showed they are on form, but the at the other end of the scale Timani was fairly anonymous.
While Genia was relaxing by the pool, Powell’s consistent formed continued on having another good game. Gordon too showed he is still in form and the call up will certainly do him wonders.
The loss of Kerevi was a big blow so TK will need to make sure he keeps his form on the upward trajectory. Hodge is looking good both in general play and that boot is locked and loaded. Godwin appeared to have a crack at playmaking on the weekend and after a couple of chip kicks to no one turning the ball over each time and grubber kick fail we still are wondering why he was selected.
All of the outside backs are showing form with the exception of Niavalu who hasn’t had much work to show off his skills.
So looking at form as the measure, the majority of the squad looks to humming along nicely.
Knocking loudly at the door
Chris Alcock had another very strong match for the Brumbies and can possibly consider himself unlucky not to be in the squad, especially given that Hooper is the only number 7 named. If the unthinkable happens he deserves the first call.
I am questioning why Duncan Paia’Aua isn’t in the squad if we are think about the future. Meakes would be another who could step up in to the 12 or even 13 role if required based on his current form.
So if any of the locks go down and Simmons out, there are plenty of fresh faces that would go well. It’s hard to go past Evener, possibly Staniforth and even the “other” Arnold to name just a few.
This week again saw some wonderful attacking rugby from the Aussie teams. Here are all the Australian tries from this round.