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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Scott Sio
- Brandon Paenga-Amosa
- Allan Aaaallllaaaalllaaatoa
- Rory Arnold
- Adam Coleman
- Lachlan McCaffrey Caleb Timu
- David Pocock
- Scott Higginbotham (Rebels and Brumbies have no. 8’s who aren’t eligible and Wells not up to it)
- Will Genia
- Jono Lance
- Marika Koroibete
- Kurtley Beale (though if I was going to break my own rules he’d be playing 15 based on his form in Europe)
- Samu Kerevi
- Tom English
- Tom Banks
- Folau Fainga’a
- Jermaine Ainsley
- Old Man Kepu
- Matt Philip (The only running lock we have)
- Ned Flanders Hannigan
- Michael Hooper
- Powell and Gordon to fight it out for this one.
- Bernard Foley
- 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)