This week we look back at the season that was, and pick bits of it apart. There were some things to learn, some stats to be concerned about and some awesome tries. We also check back in with the little saga that is the ARU at the moment.
There is no way can I go lower than an A+ for that display of rugby we witnessed in Johannesburg over the weekend. It had pretty much everything. Great tries, tough defence, brutal hits, controversy (well not really, it deserved a Red and I’m not going to go into the whole teams shouldn’t have to go down to 14 men in big games etc, etc) and a near fairy-tale comeback. It really was edge of the seat stuff, and that was as a neutral fan watching. I can only imagine how tense Crusaders and Lions fans must have been. Anyway, it was a match that had it all and was fitting of the Super Rugby Final.
Well that’s that
The Super Rugby season is done and dusted, with the Crusaders crowned Champions after an exciting final on Saturday (Sunday our time). So what have we learnt from this season? Here are, in the completely un-knowledgeable opinion of MST, three of the most important things we can take away from the season that was.
- Attack and defence are both important. It’s no good being good at one if you can’t do the other.
- Goal kicking is important. If not for a quality goal kicker the Lions wouldn’t have made it past the first final against the Chiefs. Conversely it was poor goal kicking that lost the All Blacks the series to the BIL (or at the very least played a fairly significant part).
- Players need to have that thing we like to call Rugby IQ. Know the game, know how it’s played, know when to run, when to offload and when to take the tackle. Sometimes these things appear lacking in the Australian teams.
- And as a bonus 4th item, I can’t undersell the importance of being able to pass, catch and kick the ball and make the tackle. Shouldn’t really need saying, should it? But how often did these, the most basic skills, let us down?
Stats and Stuff
I tried my hand at creating some interactive tables using some of the stats from the season. It makes for some interesting comparisons. If you click the title of the column it will change the order using that data. There isn’t really too much to say about it, you can make your own conclusions based on the information. But it is pretty interesting. It may be slightly concerning, however, that when looking at Tackle %, there are 4 Australian teams in the bottom 8, and 4 New Zealand teams in the top 8.
If you would like to see some different comparisons click the explore link and it will take you to the site. Once there, click the explore tab and you can select the type of representation you would like to see, then select the data you want to compare from the drop-down menus, for example you can see if there is a correlation between number of penalties, kicks in play and tries scored (if you so desire). I highly recommend the bar and column graphs!
Tries of the Year
Because I really didn’t have the time (or inclination) to re-watch every try from this year in an effort to dig out the best ones, I had YouTube do the work for me. This is one of the better compilations I found. I know there will be some who might not agree, some who can think of better tries etc, but these are all pretty bloody good. There are (of course) a lot of tries from NZ teams, but honestly they just score some great tries.
Keep an eye out for the 2 tries from the Chiefs v Stormers match, they are enough to make any rugby fan drool.
And because this one isn’t included in the video, and the Brumbies fan in me thinks that is a complete outrage, I have to include this one!
The ARU and the Beanstalk.
There has been plenty happening in the past week in relation to the ARU/Force/Rebels saga, it is more and more resembling a plot from Days of Our Lives! The problem is, none of it is coming from the ARU, bar a “They did something without telling us” memo. Rebels have a new owner, Rebels releasing statements that their future is secure, lots of bewildered people trying to work out how the VRU taking ownership suddenly secures their future. So many questions, financial, licences, ownership … AAARRRGGGHHH!!!
Meanwhile the Arbitration is done, and we are waiting on some kind of word as to an outcome. Whispers were it could be Monday or Tuesday this week, but at the time of writing there has been nothing. Twiggy still backing the Force, putting his money where his mouth is. But again, no formal word, nothing from the ARU.
It still astounds me how silent the ARU has been throughout this whole thing. Yes, I know … I really shouldn’t come to expect much (anything) from the ARU, but to leave so many people hanging for so long is beyond a joke. Imagine if all businesses behaved this way? None of them would have any employees or customers left and probably wouldn’t be in business any more.
Anyway … the little bean plants are doing tremendously well, leaves galore. I even have to lift the blinds higher to fit them on the window sill now, they have outgrown their original spot. They are certainly in a much healthier and happier state than Australian Rugby at the moment.