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

The Tuesday Top 5

Just because the Super Rugby season is taking a break, that doesn’t mean we are! Here in this week’s top 5 we look at the Good, Bad and Ugly from the weekend, run the grill over our newest Wallabies, check in on the Lions tour and other International matches going on and keep ourselves happy with some highlights.

The Good, the Bad and The Ugly

The Good – The Wallabies winning is always a good thing, and even better they did it by scoring some good team tries. It’s great to have those flashes of individual brilliance (I’m looking at you Israel Folau) but there’s nothing better than seeing players connecting with the ball to get the points.

The Bad – How on Earth is it possible for a game to re-start after half time and there be players still making their way on to the field as the whistle is blowing? Being late for the start of a half is a junior rugby offence, definitely not one we should be seeing at international level.

The Ugly – The very average sized crowd that came to watch the test match. I understand that there were a few factors in play with this one. Not a huge draw card opposition, Saturday afternoon when there are competing sports on and I’m sure the ARU’s wonderful handling of the whole Rebels/Force/Super Rugby thing had an impact too. I have seen some people openly admit they didn’t go because they won’t support the ARU …  well another way of looking at it is that this was a perfect chance for those in Victoria to show how much they love their rugby and send a big message to the ARU that it is a popular sport and will draw the crowds. Unfortunately, the opposite seemed to happen.

The Debutants

The match v Fiji saw 4 players get their Wallaby caps. So let’s take a look at how they went.

Ned Hanigan. Well, he’s no Scott Fardy, that’s for sure. But given his age and relatively limited experience at the top level he sure has the potential to be. He had a mixed bag of a game, solid but not a stand out. He went in hard both in defence and with ball in hand. With more time, he is looking like a good prospect.

Karmichael Hunt. The in-form fullback making his test debut at inside centre, after training at 15 since entering camp and finding out just before the team was named he would be playing 12. Talk about being thrown in the deep end. But despite this he had a very good debut. He was strong in defence, up the pointy end of the tackle count, and ran hard into contact. Imagine what he could do given more preparation.

Joe Powell. He got off to a very nervous start with a terrible pass that could have shaped his time on the field. But he recovered and (box kicking aside, but he certainly wasn’t alone in that indiscretion) did fairly well for the remainder of the match. He got to the breakdown quickly and his passes found their mark, helping in the last Wallaby try.

Richard Hardwick. Talk about a dream start. On the field for like 30 seconds and winning a turnover. Could he be the answer to the breakdown problems that people were moaning about on social media? Good in both attack and defence in the final part of the game, he is definitely one to watch for, hopefully we get to see a lot more of him in Gold.

The Lions Tour

The Lions did what no Super team has been able to do this year, they beat the Crusaders. Here are some of the more noteworthy (or not) moments from the match.

Kiwi commentators at it again –  At the 15-minute mark, when Farrell is having a shot at goal the commentators discuss his kicking style and the accompanying facial expression …  “A  very interesting style Owen Farrell. Looks like he’s only just introduced himself to goalposts.”

Friendly fire – Poor Stuart Hogg was completely wiped out, by the elbow of his Lions teammate, Conor Murray. In real time it was hard to pick up what actually happened, but the replay showed the full impact. Ouch! Unfortunately for Hogg, there are some doubts about whether he will be able to play in the remainder of the tour, pending an assessment on his injured cheekbone.

More from the commentary team – “It’s a tough enough tour as it is without your own half back taking you out.”

“It’s usually a tight five forward that causes some trouble to any other member of the team.”

“Stuart Hogg, who started the game optimistically and has come off misty optically.”

Yay or Nay? – at the 45-minute mark, Owen Farrell takes a shot at goal. The referees said it was unsuccessful, Farrell himself seemed to believe it was successful. The commentators just weren’t really sure either way. What do you think?

The Other Internationals

While all eyes have been on the Wallabies and the Lions tour, there are a handful of other International matches going on all around the globe. Some are of more interest to Australian fans than others, it’s great to see such diversity in the mid-year internationals.

Springboks 37 – France 14 The Springboks looked nothing like the easy beat side of last year, as they took on France in Pretoria. It will be interesting to see if this form and style of play will continue into the Rugby Championship.

Match Report: http://www.rugby365.com/countries/south-africa/79572-boks-power-past-france-in-pretoria

Pumas 34 – England 38 With a number of English players out on Lions duty, this could be seen as a weaker side than the one that dominated in the 6 Nations. The Pumas gave them a really good run for their money, nearly pulling off the win, but a last minute try to Denny Solomona, a rugby league convert from New Zealand, gave the English the win.

Match Report: http://www.rugby365.com/countries/argentina/79573-last-gasp-solomona-try-gives-england-victory

Scotland 34 – Italy 13 In a match that is of interest to Wallaby fans, given we play both of these teams in coming weeks, Scotland showed that they could be a force to be reckoned with, with a strong win over Italy.

Match Report: http://www.rugby365.com/countries/italy/79574-scotland-hand-townsend-the-perfect-start

And in the other matches …

Japan 33 – Romania 21 Match Report: http://www.rugby365.com/countries/japan/79570-japan-beat-romania-in-world-cup-rehearsal

USA 19 – Ireland 55 Match Report: http://www.rugby365.com/countries/ireland/79585-ireland-power-past-usa-in-try-fest

Canada 0 – Georgia 13 Match Report: http://www.rugby365.com/countries/georgia/79587-georgia-blank-canada-in-the-rain

Wallabies v Fiji – the good stuff

We watched the game, it was analysed, players were in turn praised and criticised and we all discussed what the Wallabies should do to make the necessary improvements before taking on Scotland.

But let’s forget about all of that for a moment and just watch the highlights of our first win for 2017.

  • Brumby Runner

    Thanks MST – another good write-up. Hard to see any confirmation in the AMI Park crowd that Melbourne offers the biggest and best opportunity to grow the game. Despite all the reasons being offered, it was a very poor effort.

    • Bobas

      No one outside of Super Rugby fans in Melbourne knew the game was even on.
      They had the chance in the lead up to use Hunt, who is a widely respected AFL footballer, to drum up some awareness that there was a game on.

    • Rebels3

      This is a silly argument, lazy infact. Nobody was throwing this out when Canberra had a marginally better crowd only a few years back or when Perth scrapped a few 1000 more for a test against a much more fancied Argentina last year. Neither of which crowd came with a fraction of the discontent the community has towards Rugby has atm, neither with the Wallabies coming off their worst 12 month professional record ever, neither with shocking all round super results, neither the same weekend as 2 x 90,000+ crowds at other events (Brazil v Argentina & Demons v Pies) and the Socceroos v Brazil on the Tuesday night, neither on a long weekend and played the same time as junior sport (bare in mind the VRU did move games to accommodate crowds).

      It’s just an excuse for people to pile on more pressure to the Rebels.

      I ask people to judge this crowd after Sydney and Brisbane both struggle to get above their own lowest crowds in the professional era. As a born and bred QLD’er id be surprised in Suncorp get more than 15-18k. Sydney might do ‘ok’ purely on the notion that the team they are playing is a little bit more attractive.

      • Brumby Runner

        But R3, I think this time around there has been significant amount of noise on this site from Rebels’ fans, almost advocating in some cases, for essentially a boycott of the game. I think those attitudes did nothing for the support of the Wallabies nor for the size of the crowd that should have turned up.

        Not a case of reap what you sow?

        While at the same time loudly offer that Melbourne has potentially the largest untapped audience for the game. Looks quite inconsistent to me.

      • MST

        Agree that there were definitely a number of reasons for the poor crowd, as I said in the article. But talk of fans staying away because of the ARU is founded in conversations I have had with people and stories like this.
        http://www.foxsports.com.au/rugby/wallabies/michael-cheika-says-offfield-dramas-led-to-record-low-crowd-for-wallabies-in-melbourne/news-story/98c0dc976c817965e28473c852d7b32c
        It makes you wonder just how many fans did “boycott” the game. If it was a significant number then it could have done more harm than good and given the appearance that Melbournians just aren’t that interested in Rugby.
        Oh, and if you are referring to the test in Canberra v Fiji in 2010 the crowd was 15,438. Not great, as you said “marginally better”, but for a smaller city with a much smaller population in what could be seen as League territory? Plus the Brumbies were appalling then so a lot of fans had turned away.

        • Mr Wobbly

          Yep, so let’s set aside the facts that the game was scheduled on a long weekend, in a week with several big sporting events on in town. That the opposition have been thrashed by the Wallabies most times they’ve played and haven’t beaten the Wallabies since the ’50s. That there was zero, ZERO, promotion of the game outside of the rugby community.

          No doubt there were some people that decided not to go to the game due to their anger at the ARU. No offence intended but, unless you are a Rebels
          or Force supporter, you have no idea of the depth of resentment and anger towards the ARU. How people choose to express their resentment is surely up to them. I’m not aware of any attempts by anyone to organise a boycott but obviously many chose not to go to the game.

          Putting all of that aside, what is the reason that nobody bothered to turn on their TV to watch? TV ratings for the game were pathetic and that must
          be just as harmful as a small crowd.

  • It just feels like if that game was in Perth instead of Melbourne last week they would have had a great crowd. The Force fans are trying to show how much having a team means to them by turning up to Force games. Whereas the people in Melbourne either seem to feel very confident that the Force will be cut or they really just don’t care. I don’t get the protest thing either, not showing up to games is really good way to show the ARU that rugby in that city is not financially viable.

    • MalachyBernard

      Don’t forget about ticket prices. Why can’t the ARU drop the price of the standard seats to fill the stadium? High volume low margin – it’s not rocket science. They may event recruit some new rugby fans.

      • wilful

        I didn’t think $90 for a family ticket was unreasonable.

        • Huw Tindall

          Bloody great value. A boondocks ticket at Twickenham for a Barbarians v Australia game last year was like £40!

        • MalachyBernard

          I didn’t know that. Thanks for that info. I have heard so many comment that the tickets have been exorbitant. How much is a single adult for the cheapest seat? I think if they advertised the game well and tweaked the pricing it would go a long way to helping.

    • J A R

      Should the Force be axed, will there be a massive crowd at the Wallabies match? Everyone giving their money to the ARU and having a cuddle with Pulver et al? Saying, ‘it’s OK Bill. We love Rugby in Perth so we’re just happy you bought the show to us.
      I doubt it. Perth an Melbourne have their own merits including a hardcore of support. I wouldn’t dwell on crowd size v second string Fiji though.
      The main problem is the lack of communication and direction from the ARU.
      Over the next 10 years, big matches need to bring in a lot of revenue no matter where they are played. We need focus!

  • Keith Butler

    If you’re looking for weird kicking styles how about Damian “666” McKenzie and Dan “Ants in his Pants” Biggar. Inspite of my support for the Lions and England I was more impressed by the Boks who overturned a decent French side. Have the Saffers turned the corner?

    • Brumby Runner

      One comment on that game. At 78 mins, the French had a lineout about 30m out from the tryline. The Saffas pinched it and passed back to Jantjes (I think) who immediately kicked out on the full. French awarded a lineout on the 10m line in SA territory. Should have been about 15m out from the tryline. What standard of officiating is being foisted upon us continually?

    • Chinese Dave

      Hmm, I always thought Biggar was giving himself a quick tug to calm down the nerves…

  • Brendan Hume

    Sad news for Hogg – confirmed his tour is over…

    Wallabies need to put the Scots away handsomely on the weekend. Missing Laidlaw and Hogg particularly would dent any team – both quality players. Aussies really need to make a statement.

    Haven’t seen much on the U20s on GAGR. Will someone be doing a write up? Been hard to keep on top of the tournament.

  • Huw Tindall

    Can Hardwick jump in the lineout? If so start him at 6 this weekend no questions asked. The current deficit at ruck time with on-ballers is too costly to not rectify. Latu at hooker could cover this but that’s not likely to happen in the starting pack. Hooper is a lock and Higgers showed an improved tight game, high workout, and is a lineout option so I’d continue with them. This leaves 6 as the only flexible spot for an on-ball forward. Timani doesn’t have enough game time this year but gets through a lot of ruck work and hard yards so could use him on the bench; maybe not to start though as he isn’t a lineout option. Hannigan is a lineout option but plays a wider game compared to Hardwick so I’d consider resting him from the squad altogether. Hannigan definitely has a future but he isn’t the complete package yet – as MST pointed out in the article. Of course Fardy would have been perfect but given he is heading OS I think cutting him from the squad was the right long term decision. Short term pain for long term gain.

    • jamie

      Hardwick is 183. Put him inbetween the locks and he can go sky high.

      • Huw Tindall

        That’s about the same as Bernard Foley at 182cm according to his profile. I’m 181cm and feel small anytime I’m close to a professional rugby player. At 183cm Hardwick won’t be running the lineout anytime soon.

        • jamie

          Correct, however, lifters height is as important as the jumpers.

          Lifters outstretched height + Torso of jumper + his outstretched arms is as high as the ball can be thrown. If anything, it makes more sense mathmatically to throw a shorter guy up there and use your tallest players to lift, so long as he can jump athletically.

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