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

The Tuesday Top 5

Hello again, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Top 5. This week we are on a bit of a high after the performances we saw from our teams on the weekend. As a result, we have gone into more depth with the report card. Instead of lumping all the teams together in one of the 5, each team gets their own Top 5 section! We have still stuck with the usual good, bad and ugly and are calling in on some old friends to see what they are up to on the weekend. Nothing too important I hear ……

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good: It’s such a weird and foreign feeling. Have you worked out what that odd sensation you are feeling is? Its optimism. It might not have been wins all round but the performances as a whole from the Aussie teams were in most parts pretty good. The Tahs were the better team on the night and the Reds certainly put a good performance and were in the fight right to the end. The Brumbies were competitive for the bulk of the game before letting themselves down late. Finally, a weekend where all the Aussie teams were actually competitive.

The Bad: Can anyone let me know if you have a copy of the Daily Rugby Laws manual? Or is than now superseded by the game specific versions? I am well aware Referees will never get it all right but just a little consistency would be fantastic. It is bringing a whole new dimension to the game we don’t want. We see the indiscretion, we hear the whistle but from that point on its pure speculation as to what the referees will decide. What’s even more difficult to comprehend is that even when the indiscretions look almost identical, trying to predict how the referee will rule is anyone’s guess.

The Ugly: They say a picture says a thousand words. There is just no place for this in Rugby at any level!

Kick to face

 

Report Card Reds    A-

 How good did they play! In what I believe was their best performance of the year they really came out to prove a point after the previous weeks loss. Their defensive organisation, intent and pressure was fantastic and they really made the Hurricanes have to work hard. There were a few defensive errors but the Reds were determined to show that they also could stand up in attack. Taking the points when on offer and with some really good enterprising play they made sure they kept pace with the Hurricanes which in tandem with the pressure from the defence was continuing to squeezing the Canes right to the end of the game. I was really impressed with their ball running and the way they managed to go both around and through the Canes to score showing that when they get it right they do have multiple attacking options. Their biggest challenge now is simply to repeat that performance at home on the weekend and be the second Aussie team to scalp the Highlanders.

Report Card Waratahs    A

The Waratahs put in a great performance and were most definitely the better team on the night. They showed some variation in attack, not solely relying on the “give it to Izzy or Big T” moves (although giving it to Big T worked well for them). They were threatening the line pretty much from the outset and once the Highlanders went down to 14 men I was pretty confident they would go on to get the win. I don’t know that they took full advantage of the period of time when the Highlanders had 13 players on the field, opting to kick the ball to the Highlanders rather than run it on at least 2 occasions. They controlled the match, were disciplined, defensively strong and dominated both territory and possession. They still conceded 14 turnovers, which was better than the 20 conceded by the Highlanders. Hopefully they can keep the momentum going and get the win over a Chiefs side (which is just returning from South Africa), in New Zealand.

Report Card Brumbies    C

It looked like a completely different Brumbies that turned out against the Lions compared to the game against the Rebels the previous week. They looked dangerous in attack, Banks cut through the defence for a couple of really well worked tries. Their defence, particularly in loose play where it has been a bit iffy recently, was holding strong and they looked more like a cohesive unit than we have seen in a long while. Even when they were down to 14 late in the first half they held their own and, despite letting in one try, didn’t let the Lions get much of an advantage. At the 55-minute mark I was quietly optimistic that getting up at 1:15am to watch the game might actually have been worth it. But then things changed. The red card to Rory Arnold led to the Brumbies being reduced to 14 for the remainder of the match. I still had some hope. Then about a minute later Sam Carter was binned for a pretty dumb penalty, immediately after he was told the team were on their last warning. 13 men and it proved too much and the Lions certainly made them pay. Without the cards I honestly think they were a real chance of getting the win, and a possible grade of A for the first time. As it is their first half performance lifted their grade from a D to a C, they finally gave us some hope that they can play.

European Finals Time!!

This coming weekend sees the finals of the Pro 14 and the Aviva Premiership.

This year we’ve had a little more interest in these comps, more so the Pro 14 because of the inclusion of the Cheetahs and Kings. The Cheetahs made the finals but were knocked out when they went down to Scarlets, 43-8. The Kings finished last with just one win from their 21 games. But that wasn’t the only reason we were more interested than in the past. One of our (and I don’t just mean Mr MST and I, but I think I speak for many Aussie rugby fans) favourite players joined the Pro 14 this year, and it has been pretty bittersweet hearing about how fantastically Mr Fardy has been playing over there. Well we get one more chance to see him in action this year as his Irish side Leinster take on Scarlets in the Pro 14 final. Scarlets have a host of Welsh stars in their lineup, including Hadleigh Parkes, Steffan Evans and Gareth Davies. Leigh Halfpenny is still in doubt after suffering a small hamstring tear in the match against the Cheetahs. It will also be a good chance for Wallaby fans to check out the current form of some possible Irish internationals with Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw and Johnny Sexton all possibly lining up for Leinster.

You can catch the Pro 14 final on beIN Sports 3 on Sun 27 May 3:25am – 5:25am.

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On the same weekend another few of ex-Wallabies will be pulling on the Exeter Chiefs jersey as they line up against Saracens (who also boast an ex-Wallaby in their ranks) at Twickenham. Lachie Turner, Nic White and Greg Holmes are all part of the Exeter line-up that has been tough to beat this year. The Chiefs lost just 5 out of their 22 matches all season and finished on top of the ladder, 8 points clear of Saracens in second place. Nic White, who most rugby fans over here either love or hate, scored a try in their semi final win and Chiefs fans are more than happy with his recruitment (though some not so much with his kicking!). While the Chiefs don’t have some of superstars like Saracens do (Owen Farrell, Mako Vunipola, Billy Vunipola, Maro Itoje, Will Skelton) they are defending Champions and are determined to go back to back. This game will be worth watching purely to see how all the Aussies go!

The match is being played on Sunday 27 May, 12:00am (AST) but I cannot see if it is being televised live at this point. It looks like there is a replay on Fox Sports 501 at 9:30am Sunday 27 May.

 Embed from Getty Images

  • adastra32

    “This game will be worth watching purely to see how all the Aussies go!”

    Yes, and it’s likely to be a ripper of a game too….have a look at the Saracens vs. Wasps highlights (57-33 to the latter)..

  • Missing Link

    Great weekend as be finally cracked an NZ team, well done to the Waratahs, and in hindsight the Reds were a bees dick away from making it a double. Imagine the NZ press go into a frenzy!

    let’s keep this going. Looking for the Rebels to bring the Sunwolves back to earth, back to back wins by the Tahs against an injury ravaged Chiefs, the Reds to overcome the Highlanders if they play as well as they did last weekend, Brumbies find something, anything, just beat the Bulls in SA (can’t see this happening though)

  • Bernie Chan

    I see the rugby press has reported that unwanted former Reds/Wallabies have starred for Lyon in their upset SF win over Toulon….Gill bossing the tackle/breakdown area and Harris setting up tries and kicking goals!
    Harris mentions being keen on a return to Super Rugby if the opportunity arose…

    • laurence king

      Love to see Gill back. I like Pocock and Hooper but I think Gill can be better than both. The Wallabies would not need to consider Pooper with Gill around.

      • Braveheart81

        They would be considering Gillcock, Hoogill and Pooper instead?

        • Who?

          We’d only consider Hoogill if playing underwater. :-P

        • laurence king

          Is Gillcock for those Pisceans who want to keep their heads above the water?

        • Bernie Chan

          Surely Gillcock takes the biscuits…on poetic licence alone…Gold!
          But in all seriousness…what bloody idiot in the ARU made the decision that Gill didn’t warrant a ‘top-up’ contract…this isn’t even a QLD v NSW v ACT et al debate…some effin moron didn’t think Gill was in the top 30 players in Oz. Same buffoon who let Fardy and Toomua go…?

        • Braveheart81

          Because there were already two 7s ahead of him. Gill is an outstanding player but it would never have made sense for the ARU to have 3 players in the same position amongst their highest paid players.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks for this MST. It must have been a easier write up to do than the last couple of weeks. Well done the waratahs for making your life just that little bit better for once. Perosnally I think you’ve been a tad easier marker this week but I guess that is fair enough as the Reds did play very well in their loss and the Brumbies also played well for a long period in the game. The Good is absolutely there andthe ugly I get. as you say no need for words there and I think he is going to spend a fair bit of time on the sideline thinking about how he approaches this sort of thing in the future. A dumb decision that has no place.
    The bad is a bit of a conundrum. Just as you think you’re understanding it along comes a referee who has a slightly different interpretation and “Bang!” you’re back at the WTF stage. While I do understand the frustration I do think that the different interpretation is just part of the game and I’m not so sure that we’d find it half as interesting if all decisions were exactly the same all the time. I’ve said this before but the decison on the adjudication depends on so much. At every contact in the game there are probably 3 to 9 things that a referee can rule on. What he/she actually rules on will be based on what they actually see and this will depend very much on where they are standing at the time. Someone on one side of a ruck will see one thing and from another side it will look very different. On top of this there then comes the tactical interpretation of the law and this depends on the place it occurs and the stage of the game. I do understand this and I do agree with it. I’m not sure penalising someone for being marginally offside in a play where the ball comes out the other side and the off side has no affect on the game is in anyones best interest and it should be ignored. In saying this, there are very few games where I don’t sit there thinking “WTF was that decision based on?” I think the biggest issue is that there is never a nything spoken about why a particular deciiosn was made. I find that if I explain my thinking to a Captain or a coach they are usually happy. They may not agree but at least they know why a decision was made. I also find admitting I’m wrong also goes down well – usually. Unfortunately in these high level games we don’t get either and it can be frustrating. I do know that all of the referees performances are looked at very carefully and they are all debriefed on their game and given areas to improve on – again the average viewer doesn’t see this and so doesn’t undeerstand it. I also think that a large part of the issue is that those peopple commentating usually are very inept at their knowledge of the law and they make some outrageous comments that are then brought into by the public who think they are correct.

    Not really an answer but it does explain it a bit – I hope.

  • Wallabrumby

    Carter’s yellow card was bemusing to watch. He just got pinged for the same thing 1 minute before and then proceeded to swim around and was pinged again. That was the changing point in the game with 2 second rowers gone. Although it was stupid I was watching him very closely and he was constantly yelling at the ref, am I through the middle and asking the question and the ref never said NO or go back, just looked at him and then when he came through to sack the ball player blew the whistle and whipped out his little card.
    That was the most disappointing thing, you could see Carter trying to make a big play (50/50 call he started through the middle but the Lions pivoted and he looked like he was then on the side) and was trying not to be penalised and communicating with the ref, but the ref gave him nothing. So although it was dumb from Carter the refereeing was dumber

    I think the refs need to go back to the drawing board on how they police malls, as it is becoming as grey as scrums

Rugby

Brumbies first, then for the love of the game. "It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I'm right." —Moliere

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