The Tuesday Top 5 - Green and Gold Rugby

The Tuesday Top 5

The Tuesday Top 5

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Good – On the weekend we saw another player make their Super Rugby debut in the Reds Jordan Petaia. It been good to see that we still have talented players coming through and getting an opportunity at the Super rugby level for all of our teams this season showing there is still talent coming through. So far most of the debutants have shown they deserve to be there and it does instil some optimism in the future of Aussie rugby.

Bad – It’s a concerning trend and but its stating to appear like once an Aussie team drops it bundle it appears to open the gates for one ay traffic. The Rebels have bled mega points on two occasions now and the Reds did similar on the weekend. The Brumbies may not have bled so many points but both against the Rebels and the Tahs once the momentum swung against them they just could seemingly not put the brakes on the others teams attack. Coaching or mental issue; it’s something we need to make sure Aussie teams do learn to deal with better.

Ugly – The RA financials are in and its not good reading with a $3.8m loss for 2017. How much of that is one off stuff and the real financial state of the game may be hard to actually derive. There are certainly a lot of events and transactions that the 2017 financials encompass. We can only hope most of it is one off stuff. But the reporting that the Wallabies ticket sales were down and again the admission that the Force culling “greatly impacted the overall public sentiment around rugby” it sounds like there could be some more pain to come.

160414 Pulver Clyne


Report Card

Waratahs B- The Waratahs beat the Sunwolves in Japan but again, despite a 21 points difference, weren’t totally convincing. Their discipline was poor, giving away 15 penalties (which a stronger team probably would have made them pay for) and their tackle rate wasn’t as good as we have seen from them, at only 77%.

Brumbies B- The Brumbies were poor for the first 20-30 minutes of the game, leaving many of their fans shaking their heads and saying “not again”. But they managed to turn it around and then go on with it to get the win. They looked much better than the previous week and threw the ball around with a lot less of the pointless kicking. Their defence was poor, I believe they had their worst tackle rate of the season so far, but they did look better in attack, especially their forward pack.

Reds C The Reds didn’t play that poorly, in fact they started far stronger than the Brumbies and a lot of people are saying that if not for a bad call by the ref they would have gone on to win. Yes, that call did lead to a momentum shift, but we all know that calls sometimes don’t go your way and you still have to get on with it and the Reds didn’t. They let in 7 tries, turned the ball over more times than the Brumbies (16) and their once all but unbeatable scrum had a few issues.

Embed from Getty Images

Super W

This weekend saw the final round of the Super W before the finals. There has been some great rugby on display from the ladies and some real talent has been unearthed, we have all heard by now about Courtney Hodder from the force and her bags of tries!

But there are some questions I have to ask about the competition. Firstly, I love the idea of a Women’s comp. And the quality of the games we have seen has been fantastic. So why only 5 rounds? Each team plays each other team once. Is it a money issue? I have my suspicion that the answer is yes. But there are other things about the competition which make me wonder just how serious Rugby Australia is about it.

Captains Kirby Sefo and Emily Robinson post match photo

Captains Kirby Sefo and Emily Robinson post match photo

So our 5 rounds are done and dusted. But the final, between NSW and Qld isn’t being played until the 20th of April, before the Waratahs match against the Lions (when the Waratahs are playing the Reds this coming weekend and how great would it have been to have a Tahs/Reds double header?).

Oh, and did I mention kick off for the final is at 4:45pm? On a Friday. Yep, during working hours. Not a very good way to get a crowd in. It is school holidays though, so maybe some of the mums and dads will have taken time off and will be able to get the kids out to the game.

But anyway, enough of my griping. I have really enjoyed this competition and the final should be a cracker between the two teams who have led the way through the comp. While I believe NSW will be favourites, I wouldn’t be surprised if Qld got up, they definitely have the talent. There has been a fairly big gap between the well-established teams and those which are relatively newly formed, I really hope that the competition continues in the coming years and newer teams like the Rebels are given the opportunity to grow as a team and become competitive.

Did you see that?

Are you serious?! Bloody referees; how the hell did you get that wrong? We hear it most weeks and sometimes we are just at a loss as to how in this age of the TMO it can happen.

Do we want more TMO reviews? There already painfully long half the time and personally I think we could takes some tips from the NRL process, especially the way they explain decisions.

It appears that most of the issues are around the speed of the game and the referee not being able to be in the right positions all the time. As for relying on the touchies, they are at a distance most of the time so are pretty much useless.

Have a look at these incidents below as some examples of some of the questionable refereeing moments from the weekend.

The first two with the Reds and Canes it pretty clear that the referees were out of position and called what they thought they saw. The last video I am still at a loss as to how they missed the grounding.

The videos do prompt the question about positioning and is it time to look at two referees on the field? I am aware of the arguments around different interpretations at the breakdown but we can still have one primary referee in charge of most of the breakdowns with one to support them and call the more obvious infringements in their support role. As for the World Rugby Law restrictions etc, well SANZAAR do have some influence and it could be trialled if we had the desire.

It we get better calls quicker and without so much TMO intervention I think it’s a smart move. If it could possibly add value to the product by improving the watchabilty we need to at least try it.

Wallabies – who makes the Cut?

Ok, so we’re going to open a can of worms here and look at who WE think should make the Wallabies. Let me just be clear about this up front. We are NOT picking players because of reputation, potential talent or because we “know” they can play well even if they have played like crap all season. We are not picking players that have not played Super Rugby this year. We are not picking players and putting them in positions they don’t usually play just because they are too good to leave out but there is another player in their favoured position. We ARE picking players based on what we have seen THIS year in Super Rugby.

Wallabies experimental back line.

Wallabies experimental back line.

We know you won’t agree with all of the choices, you might not agree with any of the choices. But hey, it is our opinion and as we all know at the moment, everyone is 100% entitled to have and voice their own opinion

  1. Scott Sio
  2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa
  3. Allan Aaaallllaaaalllaaatoa
  4. Rory Arnold
  5. Adam Coleman
  6. Lachlan McCaffrey Caleb Timu
  7. David Pocock
  8. Scott Higginbotham (Rebels and Brumbies have no. 8’s who aren’t eligible and Wells not up to it)
  9. Will Genia
  10. Jono Lance
  11. Marika Koroibete
  12. Kurtley Beale (though if I was going to break my own rules he’d be playing 15 based on his form in Europe)
  13. Samu Kerevi
  14. Tom English
  15. Tom Banks
  16. Folau Fainga’a
  17. Jermaine Ainsley
  18. Old Man Kepu
  19. Matt Philip (The only running lock we have)
  20. Ned Flanders Hannigan
  21. Michael Hooper
  22. Powell and Gordon to fight it out for this one.
  23. Bernard Foley
  24. James Dargaville/Curtis Rona (Depending on our bench split, but because we are channelling Cheika we can’t tell you that until the day)


Co Captains – Scott Higginbotham and David Pocock (to take over captaincy when Higgers inevitably gets sent off)



  • Who?

    I think the inability of refs to see everything is part of the game, and not a bad thing. Otherwise we’d have way more calls in the game, and we don’t need that. But for things like Kerevi’s no try, so close to the line, no whistle until Samu had the ball again, there’s no reason why he couldn’t have held off on the whistle and taken the TMO option (going back two phases). It would’ve cost no time. The Shields thing? Happens all the time, it’s just not usually as blatantly obvious to the camera. Is it an advantage to have that called all the time?
    And I don’t think Kerevi’s try would’ve pushed the Reds to the win. Just would’ve made the last 20 closer.

    • mikado

      I agree with all of that. Do we need perfect refereeing? Probably not, especially if it means more delays. The Kerevi no-try is just one of those things. Bad luck for the Reds and brilliant by Pocock. Likewise the Brumbies Women no-try. Brad Shields was as you say no worse than a million other rucks over the last umpteen years. Referees continue to make it easy for teams to retain possession, and given that this increases continuity and reduces the number of scrums that’s a good thing on balance I think.

      • Huw Tindall

        Making it easier to retain possession is what World Rugby is asking the refs to do with the new rules/interpretations so we can’t really criticize them. The breakdown laws area a delicate balance in rugby. Do we have it right? I’m not sure.

    • Braveheart81

      The issue is the referee has already called knock on, advantage Brumbies so a try can’t really be awarded. Clearly the Brumbies couldn’t have stopped Kerevi if they tried but they have the excuse that the referee had made a call already.

      I don’t see how it can be turned into a Reds try once that advantage call has been made. I don’t think blowing the whistle was relevant because the call had already been made.

      • John Tynan

        Happens all the time at the moment with the home ground producer showing replays at the ground until they get what they want. Lots of things get over ruled. And if the “howler” reason is it, then that Brumbies example is perfect.
        Eto Nabuli has been yellow carded at least once this year and once last year for knock downs in a tackle that were much less blatant than Poey’s effort.

        • Braveheart81

          Pocock knocked the ball towards his own try line. It can’t be a deliberate knock on because it wasn’t a knock on. His play was entirely legal.

          The point I am making about it being impossible to overturn it to make it a try to the Reds is he had already indicated a ruling that allowed the Brumbies to stop and wait for the whistle because they were going to get the ball.

          There is nothing in the laws to say he could have changed that to a Reds try after calling a knock on against them whilst play was still live.

        • John Tynan

          Fair point on the play stopping due to a call, as opposed to “play the whistle” which they effectively were.
          Re: deliberate knock on, I think it is generally a deliberate knock DOWN these days? ie doesn’t matter which direction.

        • Braveheart81

          It is not. The law only applies if the ball goes forward. You can knock the ball down backwards legally.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He didn’t deliberately knock it down even if it went forward.

          People were justifiably furious when Nabuli got that yellow card last year for the ‘knock down’ in the tackle. Because it was a terrible decision.

          However, a knock down has to go forward, not backwards.

        • John Tynan

          Yeah, well, facts. Again.
          Same for you BH81…

      • Who?

        I don’t accept that it had to be stopped the second Kerevi regathered the ball after advantage had been called, because there was no one who stopped playing the ball until the whistle blew. If you call advantage one way or the other, the expectation is that you continue to play until the whistle.
        So then it’s about the timing of the whistle. I don’t believe it was early enough that it stopped players from regathering the ball over Kerevi. Reality was he had Joe Powell and an open tryline. Powell wasn’t going to stop him (no sleight on Powell!).
        I get that it wasn’t an easy call to get right from his position, but it shows that perhaps, when we’re so close to the line, we should let things play out for a phase and come back, rather than assuming things we can’t see really happened as we imagine they did. It’s a change in refereeing approach between TMO and non-TMO games.
        And I don’t accept there’s any reason for the AR not to have seen it – what else was he meant to be watching at that point?

        • Braveheart81

          I am saying that is why I think the decision was made the way it was. The Brumbies were playing under advantage so there is no circumstance that can end up with a Reds try unless advantage is called over. Letting Kerevi place the ball before blowing the whistle wouldn’t have changed the outcome because of advantage being called. That to me was the referee action that killed any chance of the Reds scoring a try.

          The referee had signalled and called advantage before the AR could have had a say even if they did see it.

          I agree with you that the referee making no call initially would have been the best way to referee the situation. That would have allowed the Reds to score the try and it then get reviewed. Alternatively if the Brumbies had regathered and he had then called knock on advantage to the Brumbies they would have had the ball and there wouldn’t have been any great issues in playing on from there.

  • Raytah

    Thanks MST. I’m picking from all eligible & expected to be fit in June.

    My 23 is:

    1. Sio/Slipper
    2. Polota-Nau/Uelese
    3. Kepu/Tupou
    4. Rodda
    5. Coleman/Arnold
    6. Pocock/Dempsey
    7. Hooper
    8. Higginbotham
    9. Genia/Gordon
    10. Foley/Lance
    11. Korobeite
    12. Beale
    13. Kerevi/Hodge
    14. Folau
    15. DHP

    Valentini is the bolter i’d have in my squad if he can get back on the paddock for a couple of games before June. Timu would also make it but Naisarani picked as soon as eligible. Allan A would be my 5th prop. Can’t separate BPA, Folau Fainga’a or Rangi in the race for the 3rd hooker spot yet. Douglas or Tui for 4th lock. Naivalu and Maddocks both in squad. Faui-Sautia > Kuridrani at this stage as well.

    • Huw Tindall

      A lot to like here. Would put Paenga-Amosa in ahead of Uelese given he’s played all the games while Uelese has been injured for a few. Korobeite has also been injured. Honestly Taquele would be there after the last 3 weeks. With DHP and Folau in the back 3 we could carry his poor turning circle.

    • Greg

      Surely Pocock at 7? Otherwise it looks pretty good.

      • Alister Smith

        1 game? a good game and probably his performance was the differenc though – I would agree but if we are picking on form I think he at least needs to repeat it

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He outplayed Hooper in a losing match (Brums vs Tahs) and then outplayed him again when the Brumbies played the Reds.

          Two matches back in and two matches where he was the best player on the park.

          Shockingly, Australia’s best player seemingly continues to be Australia’s best player after taking a year off to re-discover his motivation and overcome injuries.

      • Raytah

        Yes – ideally Pocock at 7. My back row is not well balanced but Hooper and Pocock are streets ahead of any 6 & 8 we have trotting around at the moment so i’d Make room for them both. I favour the Brumbies back row of Valentini, Pocock & Naisarani to be the wobs backrow by Japan

  • mikado

    The Super W has been excellent and it’s a shame that it’s only five rounds plus a final.

    In England the equivalent competition, the Tyrrell’s Premier 15s, has been excellent too. It’d be nice to see the club champions of say England, Australia, France and NZ play each other but I guess that’s a pipe dream for now.

  • Jason

    Dude, no Rodda?! The dude has been getting through work like Ned Hanigan but actually being effective!

  • Huw Tindall

    Interesting team MST.
    – First thought is no Folau? Not even on the bench? Tweets aside he’s been in his usual top form and could be even revitalizing the wallabies attacking kicking game (as a receiver).
    – It’s sad we are still struggling for an 8. Mafi and Isi not eligible. Not sure you can put Higgers in there after about 80 total minutes of rugby. Caleb Timu would be my pick at 8. We’ve got more options at 6 than 8 so easier to fill with a Wells or McCaffery or Koryzck type.
    – Kerevi at 13. Playing him out of position compared to his 12 at the Reds. Sure we don’t have a lot of 13s standing out with TK being serviceable at best but a positional change may be a bit too far.
    – No Rodda? Has been immense for the Reds. Even Kane Douglas has been finding form again after going missing last year.
    – Tom English on the wing? He played what one game there? Taquele Naiyaravoro would be there on form alone.

    • Brumby Runner

      Pretty much agree with your observations Huw. Izzy and TN would be the form wingers atm. Koriobete has had some very poor defensive games and English is a standard SR player at best.

      I’d also play Timu at 8 but that leaves a bit of a hole at 6 on present form. I don’t think Korzyk or Cottrell are test player ready yet but are probably the best of the remainder.

      I would certainly have Rodda and Philip both in preference to Hanigan.

      • Huw Tindall

        With the current injuries I hate to say it but I can see the much maligned Ted Flanigan at 6 again! At least he is an excellent line out jumper…..

    • Braveheart81

      I know Foley is deeply unpopular but I’m not sure how Lance gets the nod at 10. The Reds have scored the least tries in the competition and are 6 behind the next lowest try scoring team. His defence has been good but he’s not doing a whole lot else.

      CFS is surely a decent nomination for the form 13. With Daugunu I’d say he’s been one of the two best Reds backs this season.

      • John Tynan

        This is the problem, hey? I was always happy to grant that the difference between QC’s best and worst games was too big for international consistency, and also happy to grudgingly grant that while Foley’s highs were never going to be as good as QC (THAT England game aside), his lows were nowhere near the same level.
        While I think Foley’s highs are actually waning in terms of impact, more worryingly his worst games are starting to impact team performance, and I don’t see the succession.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Foley essentially has to be 10 now unless Lealiifano switches back to 10 and plays well (which is a possibility). Lance is going overseas and so we can’t rely on him.

          The other option is still to change eligibility and bring back Toomua, who is killing it in England, and there is even talk by some fans of him starting at 10 over Ford, where he played during the 6N when Ford was starting at 10 for England.

        • Wallabrumby

          Toomua moved overseas because he had Foley cemented in 10 by Cheika and Cooper seen as the back up…. also mainly because he was following his wife on a Kontiki Tour. Form alone from anyone else wont untrench Foley by the looks of it. I actually am not a Foley hater either, just beleive that he shouldn’t kick for touch or general play and should defend in his position, that is not his fault though that is the coach’s decision. He is the best we have at the moment I believe.
          So Toomua did the right thing in my mind he had no chance of usurping Foley. Good to see him playing well and staying mostly injury free.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate I think Lance’s problems have been more due to the slow service from the half. He is so much better on defence and has a much better kicking game. I do have to be aware I really don’t like Foley so may be seeing too much, but I just think he’s so much better.

    • Phil Kcraig

      Agree Huw with most of your calls….Kerevi is finally playing well at 12 and just not defensively a great 13 so lets not go back there. I would play Rona ahead of him personally and have Kerevi on the bench for impact. Izzy is obvious selection at fullback for my mine at at fullback, particularly as banks been largely used of bench and nowhere near where he was last season. Taquele would be ahead of English for other wing with English going to the bench at best. And Rodda been immense and would say on form would be my first choice, with Rory second and sadly Adam Coleman on the bench (his form this year been patchy). I reckon Timu better option at 8 but unfortunate Valenti, McCaffery and Dempsey injured as they all otherwise great 6 options

      • Huw Tindall

        Is Valentini a jumping option at 6? Important with our relatively short back row. He was probably the NRC bolter I was most looking forward to in Super Rugby this year. Hopefully back soon.

        With the current injuries I hate to say it but I can see the much maligned Ted Flanigan at 6 again! At least he is an excellent line out jumper…..

  • Ads

    No big T in a form based team?!

  • Metootootoo

    I agree that the time for the the Super W final is not very good – but the reason for the delay is to avoid a clash with the Comm Games 7’s next weekend

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    MST you have again brightened up my day. Thank you.
    The referee calls are an interesting one. Rugby is so complicated that there is always so much to rule on. At every breakdown/ruck/lineout/scrum etc there are probably 6 – 8 things a referee could rule on and what defines a good referee is the ability to be in the right place, at the right time, to rule on what is the most critical rule at that time in the game. That’s why you often ignore off side etc when it isn’t going to affect the game. I think those calls were made wrong because the referee wasn’t in the right position. Not sure why the Reds didn’t appeal for a review a bit harder but can see why the Canes didn’t :-).

    A couple of calls on the side you have picked:
    I’m not sure Arnold and Coleman have done enough this year. Both seem to be playing within themselves and aren’t having the impact they have had in the past I’d have Rodda at least as one lock.
    I’d have Timu as 8, he’s been immense in attack and defence this year..
    I think Kerevi is all over Beale at 12.Beale still crabs when pressured, his defence is up and down and he works best with space and he’s not getting that due to the slow passing from the players inside him.
    I’d also have Folau on a wing as I’ve always thought it was his best position, doesn’t get caught so bad in defence and less requirement to kick – both weak points in his game.

  • Greg

    We have a ref and two touch judges (now assistant referees) and a TMO. More? I don’t think so. if those guys can’t see what is happening… how will one more help?

  • Muzz

    I agree with the selection of Paenga-Amosa as hooker but it’s interesting to note that he wouldn’t even have a contract if Steve Moore didn’t retire at the 11th hour.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Paenga-Amosa cannot throw the ball in straight at the line out. Unless he works on this hugely he can’t be the hooker for the Wallabies.

      • Braveheart81

        The Reds have the most successful lineout of the Australian teams (very slightly ahead of the Waratahs) so BPA is doing something right at lineout time.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Again, stats aren’t everything. They have very good jumpers. The Brumbies have an unsuccessful line out not due to poor throwing but due to incompetence at times from the jumpers.

          Paenga-Amosa has thrown far too many that aren’t straight, and a lot more aren’t being called.

          This will come back to bite you at international level when they referee it more strictly and every team we face will have at least 3 jumpers and will look to compete constantly.

      • John Tynan

        Never worried TPN.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Sure it did. There is a reason he was behind Moore for years despite being a ball runner and scrummager.

          His line out throwing has improved hugely though, which proves it is of course possible to improve it. His throwing has been very good for a fair few years now.

  • RahRah

    Kerevi is playing well because he is playing in his best position 12!! Timu at 8 (what have you really seen of Higgers, seriously?), Folau on a wing, Beale at FB. RHP for Flanders.

    • Braveheart81

      Beale’s best tests in 2017 were at 12 and worst were at the end of the year at fullback. I think he needs to stay at 12.

      • RahRah

        True that, but this year he has done nothing at 12 and kerevi has much better form atm in his best position of 12. Beale to the bench and kerevi still at 12.

        • Braveheart81

          I don’t know. I think Beale’s form has been pretty good. I think CFS and Daugunu have been the best two backs for the Reds but they are also a team that has struggled badly to score tries. I certainly don’t think Kerevi is going to be close to forcing Beale out of the 12 jersey in June.

        • RahRah

          I think you are right, given Cheika’s proclivity for a “ball playing 12″.

        • Braveheart81

          Why limit it to Cheika? It’s pretty much the preferred option for every coach at test level.

        • RahRah

          It comes in and out of fashion.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, I think Braveheart doesn’t really know what he’s talking about.

          New Zealand used Nonu (very much a Kerevi-esque player) and now SBW. SBW has a great offload but does not have good passing skills otherwise and is certainly not a ‘ball-player’, he is a hard-running centre who can offload, like Kerevi.

          Wales for years used Jamie Roberts, who is totally limited in his ball playing.

          The Boks preferred Jean de Villiers who is another hard-running centre who can pass but isn’t a ball player.

          Ireland seem to currently prefer Bundee Aki.

          Even Australia’s best 12 was Tim Horan, who was a complete 12 who looked to run first, but could also pass and offload where appropriate.

          Australia is one of the few countries wedded to the ‘two playmakers’, and only has been since Horan’s retirement. We’ve failed time and again with the two playmakers.

          About the only one who could do it properly since Giteau declined from about 07 was Toomua, and that is because he is more in the Horan of a hard-tackling runner who can also distribute.

          If you want to beat the best you have to learn from the best. New Zealand has shown the way, and it is a hard-running 12 who can only distribute and offload.

        • Braveheart81

          Nonu was a genuine ball playing 12 in the second half of his career. His passing both short and long was excellent as was his kicking game. Thinking of him as a crash ball 12 is incorrect.

          Jamie Roberts was absolutely a crash ball 12. Wales persisted with that for a long time and are certainly the exception. They have moved away from that now.

          Horan retired 18 years ago. I don’t think it is really relevant to the discussion.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Nonu was not a genuine ball playing 12. He was a guy who had limited distribution at the start of his career and improved them hugely by the end of his career (went out on top).

          However, he was NEVER a ball player the way that Beale or Giteau was. He was a complete centre who could pass if needed but could also run destructively and offload just like Kerevi.

          You have no example of a team opting for a ‘ball playing 12′ consistently except for Australia unless you try and claim that Nonu was a ball player, which would mean you didn’t watch him much, especially at the start of his career (Conrad Smith was more of a playmaker).

          You do understand that Australia have mostly sucked since Horan retired?

        • Braveheart81

          Nonu didn’t play at 12 until he had played about 30 tests for the All Blacks.

          Owen Farrell has started 24 of his last 27 tests for England at 12 (most of the tests they’ve played from 2016).

          Scotland are playing Peter Horne at 12 a lot who is a 10/12. Otherwise Huw Jones who I wouldn’t describe as a crash baller.

          Anyway, if I say something is black, you’ll argue it is white so we may as well stop this.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Nonu’s distribution was anywhere near what it was until about 2010/11, and even then he wasn’t a ‘ball player’.

          Yeah, England went for it with Farrell but recently abandoned it due to the reasons it has been of questionable effectiveness for Aus—lack of forward momentum off of 10 and defence.

          Huw Jones isn’t a crash baller, he is a very skilful elusive runner, but neither is he a playmaker (did you see his attempted left to right pass against Ireland when he bombed an almost certain try?), he looks more like a Reece Hodge to me, only with more elusive feet.

          Peter Horne I will give you. But, seriously, are we going to copy Scotland and not New Zealand now? Copy the best, they have the strategy right.

        • Kokonutcreme

          I remember in 2003 when Nonu made his debut in Super rugby, it was on the wing as Umaga and Alatini were the preferred midfield and Umaga was captain.

          He was making headlines as a blockbusting runner but was guilty of poor ball control, indiscipline and big hit and miss on defence.

          At the same time Sam Tuitupou made his debut for the Blues and impressed many judges with his strong tackling, support running, consistency and temperament.

          I was surprised that Nonu made the WC squad ahead of Tuitupou who I rated the better player, however over time Nonu has worked hard on his skills to become a more complete player, and improved his discipline and temperament channelling his aggression to the benefit of the team.

          Not a playmaker in the strictest sense, Conrad Smith played that role effectively in their partnership, but his rounded skill set offered more on attack than just his direct running threat.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          ‘Not a playmaker in the strictest sense, Conrad Smith played that role effectively in their partnership, but his rounded skill set offered more on attack than just his direct running threat.’

          Yeah, I don’t for one second think that we should go for a Jamie Roberts style crash-baller.

          What we need is a complete 12 who can run, pass and (ideally) kick (as Nonu learned to do by about 2011).

          Samu isn’t just a crash baller, he has elusive feet and is always looking to offload and put guys in holes. Daugunu’s 100m try was off a deft pass from Kerevi. I was sitting on the Brumbies 22 on the weekend and the number of times Kerevi made breaks down there and then looked to offload or pass was fantastic.

        • John Tynan

          “What we need is a complete 12 who can run, pass and (ideally) kick ..” and tackle

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah. We don’t have a Jean de Villiers type defensive 12, but Kerevi is a pretty decent tackler at 12, although Hodge is probably the best defensively… or Godwin, who I want nowhere near the Wallabies.

        • Mica

          I can throw an Aaron Mauger at you. My recollection was that he played a very similar type of game at 12 to Matt Giteau. Then again, I agree that in recent times the NZers are looking at the hard running option first and distribution/kicking are considered a bonus.
          This looks likely to continue into the future with players like Laumape and Liernet-Brown likely to be the next long term prospects.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, I will agree that in the past NZ utilised a second playmaker (hence, they call the position second five-eighth).

          However, their fortunes only really improved to the point that they became the dominant team they are today when they went for the hard-running 12 who could also distribute, instead of the primarily playmaking 12.

        • Mica

          Would have been interesting if Ngatai could have stayed fit in recent years – he may have been the exception here as more of a tactical 12 (kicking, running and distribution) rather than an out and out line basher/breaker. A couple of years ago he was the heir apparent to Nonu and was in outstanding form. Then repeated injury and concussion really cruelled any chance he had.

        • RahRah

          Nonu, Horan, Roberts, ??

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He’s got a tackle completion rate of 67%.

          I know that stats aren’t everything in isolation, but in this case it simply re-affirms what we already know—the bloke cannot defend. His defence does not cut it at international level, especially at 12. His bump off by Kolisi was embarrassing and cost us a win in South Africa.

        • Braveheart81

          Kerevi’s tackle completion rate is 10% higher. I agree that Beale’s defence hasn’t been great but I don’t think Kerevi’s is providing enough of a point of difference that he will be selected to play 12 for the Wallabies.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          10% is a lot higher at international level. Kerevi has also played multiple tests at 13, where more tackles will be missed as they aren’t front on. He was 87% for the round at 12.

          Kerevi is also playing better in attack than Beale.

        • Brumby Runner

          BH are you willing to concede that Beale has been far less than effective in his defense (tackling) this year and that he must improve? Had an absolute shocker against the Sunwolves.

  • 1. Slipper
    2. TPN
    3. Tupou
    4. Arnold
    5. Coleman
    6. Pocock
    7. Hooper
    8. Timu
    9. Genia
    10. Foley
    11. Koroibete
    12. Beale
    13. Kerevi
    14. Folau
    15. DHP

    16. Paenga-Amosa
    17. Sio
    18. Kepu
    19. Phillip
    20. Higginbotham
    21. Powell
    22. Hodge
    23. Naivalu

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    I mostly agree with your team, but this is what I would play.

    1. Sio
    2. Polota-Nau
    3. Kepu
    4. Simmons
    5. Coleman
    6. Higginbotham
    7. Pocock
    8. Timu
    9. Genia
    10. Foley
    11. Koroibete / Daugunu
    12. Kerevi
    13. Kuridrani
    14. Folau
    15. Maddocks or Banks

    16. Slipper
    17. Uelese
    18. Tupou
    19. Arnold or Rodda
    20. Hooper
    21. Ruru
    22. Hodge
    23. Beale or Maddocks or Banks

    Kepu is not playing as well as Tupou at present, but is the incumbent, is a destructive scrummager with good skills, running and tackling – possibly second best THP in the world after Furlong

    Coleman is the incumbent, and we know he lifts for the Wallabies

    Higgers is needed to deal with O’Mahony/Read at the line out

    Timu is better than Higgers running off the back of the scrum, while Higgers is faster to stop breaks down the blind side

    Kuridrani is not in great form but one of the world’s best defensive 13s, always lifts for Wallabies and is incumbent

    Koroibete is incumbent but Daugunu in better form

    Choice between Maddocks and Banks is down to preference. Maddocks is probably in better form but Banks has improved the last two weeks

    Paenga-Amosa is weaker than Uelese through contact and is worse at throwing into the line out

  • Perth girl

    Dont forget the women are not being paid to play in their comp. Many of them would not be able to afford to take time off work to play in a longer comp.Of course there may have been more money around to pay them but it was needed to pay Pulver his golden handshake of 500K on top of his wage of 775K!

  • Hoss


    6 foot 12″, 300 pound dynamic,aggressive, abrasive, explosive,intimidating second rower.

    Last seen 2017 playing like a psychotic pharmaceutical kleptomaniac (always running hard with the pill). Would run into, at, over the top of or through other largish humans.

    Answers to Adam.

    Reward if found.

    Please call 1800 justfuckingrunthepillAdam.


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