The Tuesday Top 5 - Green and Gold Rugby
Rugby

The Tuesday Top 5

The Tuesday Top 5

Howdy folks and welcome to the Top 5 for this lovely Tuesday morning. This week sees much of the same as usual, with a few more numbers thrown in!

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Good – I’m going to leave Aussie rugby for a moment and step over to the dark side. My good this week is the match between the Crusaders and Chiefs, which was played in Suva. Not only was it an absolutely amazing game, but how good was the crowd?! They love their rugby in Fiji and I love seeing how into things they get.

Bad – Over the weekend we saw some really dumb rugby. Kicking the ball away when the only way the game could be won was with a try. Poor kicks directly to an opposition player. Kicks that were either unable to be chased, or teammates electing not to chase. I understand kicking is a necessary and tactical part of the game, but to see it executed so poorly over the weekend was annoying.

Genia with a clearing kick.

Genia with a clearing kick.

Ugly – I won’t put a still shot of it here because I really can’t stand to look at it again, but seeing even a glimpse of Reece Hodge’s dislocated finger was enough to make my stomach churn. Ow!

Report Card

Rebels D: I can understand where the Rebels were coming from with their tactics in this game. Poor conditions so kick it down field and try and keep the ball down the Tahs end of the field. The Tahs had the same tactic and employed it better. The problem is, once again the Rebels had no plan B. The kicking wasn’t working and Koriobete was the only player who was willing to run the ball from the back. With 90 seconds left on the clock, down by five and ball in hand in your own half, was kicking the ball away the best option? A kick that wasn’t even contestable. At what point did they think they needed to try and keep the ball in hand to get the win? They had a backline where every single player was a capped Wallaby, but they didn’t use them.

Waratahs C: That wasn’t exactly an outstanding performance from the Waratahs, but they did enough to get the win – just. Their kicking game, while still not great, was better than the Rebels’ and their defence was tough enough to force the Rebels into errors and poor decisions. Unfortunately their backs again failed to shine, though I though Nick Phipps had a pretty good game. It was Newsome who looked to be causing problems with ball in hand, the “stars” of the backline didn’t really fire. The forwards put in the hard work and got the rewards.

Brumbies B-: It was a win. An unconvincing win where they really needed to make it count, but they did enough to get the bonus point they needed. One again they were able to adapt their game plan when necessary, when their maul wasn’t working in the first half they tried other methods of attack, but luckily for them their maul worked in the second half. There was some great interplay once again between Speight and Kuridrani, who have formed a formidable combination in recent weeks.

Reds C-: I actually thought the Reds deserve a higher grade, but seeing as they lost and C is a pass mark, this is what I’m going with. The score line in this game make sit look worse than it was, the result blew out after a poor pass was intercepted after the siren. Until that point the Reds had a real chance of winning. Some poor kicking let them down, I don’t know about you but I’m getting a teeny bit frustrated when teams kick away possession when there is limited time left on the clock and a try could win them the game. All in all, while people may bemoan another Aussie loss, given the vast difference in experience between eh Reds and jaguars, I though they did ok.

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto

Wallaby RDO’S

There has been a lot of talk over the weekend about who still has to rest and when they will do it. Wessels seems upset because the Waratahs still have 5 big names to rest in the final 2 rounds. I don’t know if there has even been any clarity on the rules surrounding resting players. Who are the players required to rest? What constitutes playing too many minutes? And so on.

I found this from Michael Cheika “If I was to look at the detail there are 10 players have got two games [off] and maybe another seven or eight might have one game [off]. Teams are allowed to pick which game they come out of … and the teams have been really good about it.”

So who are the 10 players? Well I’m guessing Hooper, Foley, Genia, Beale, Pocock with possibly Kuridrani and Kerevi, … I’m not sure. Most likely the forwards, as they are the ones with their bodies really hammering hard week in week out.

Let’s see how the minutes are going for our “expected” Wallabies

 

Wallaby minutes table round 16

 

I have also now put in the minutes by the “fringe” Wallabies, or those who weren’t part of the final matches of the Spring tour last year.

Others minutes table round 16

With the overseas players, keep in mind that round 1 of Super Rugby was Round 13 of the Premiership, so they have potentially played another 12 matches prior to the minutes tallied here.

And just out of interest I have put them all in together and ranked all of the players from the above two tables in order from least to most minutes played. It’s a long list so you need to scroll!

 

We have seen Rodda rested for the second time on the weekend, Pocock (who has missed many more than the required two matches) and some others who have missed matches through injury, but there is still not a lot of clarity in who needs a week off. Judging by what Wessels has said, most of the Waratahs contingent of Wallabies, plus Genia.

All matches are must wins for the Rebels, Waratahs and Brumbies and all will possibly be without key players for one of them. Imagine this weekend if the Rebels lose and the Waratahs beat the Brumbies with a bonus point this weekend, playing all of their Wallabies. Then in the final round they could potentially have the chance to get a bonus point win and top the conference, but have to rest 6 or so key players. Either that or Gibson goes back on his word. It’s all very interesting.

Personally I think this whole rotation policy has been handled very poorly, especially around communicating it with fans. If we knew what was actually going on, we might be more accepting of it. But as it is, there is so much uncertainty it makes it really hard for us fans to follow.

Although in looking all this up, I did find this rather amusing quote from Daryl Gibson,“The brief is that we can’t use our best players all of the time. I agree with that.” I can only assume from this statement that he doesn’t consider Hooper, Beale, Foley or Simmons to be amongst his best players, as between them they have only missed 98 minutes all season. Just for a bit of pointless fun, that’s 98 minutes between 4 players over 53 matches. That is an average of approximately 1 minute and 48 seconds off for each of those players per match.

More Wallabies stuff

Who stood out: Out of the current Wallabies it’s hard to pick someone who really stood out. Koroibete had another decent game, he stood out from the rest of the pack as he was the one who ran the ball and pressured the Tahs defence. James Slipper, while not currently a Wallaby, is showing again why he should be. Alaalatoa was more of a quiet achiever, making 13 tackled and missing none. Hooper had a strong game as well, tough in defence and forcing turnovers.

Raised questions: Most of the backs. As I said above, poor choices, poor defence and lack of firepower was a standout from our Wallaby backs this week.

Blotted his copy book: I don’t know that there was one player who really stood out as being worse than the others. Genia had a poor one, especially by the high standards we hold him to, DHP made some errors, particularly in defence.

General observations: This week we saw some players going head to head in what may have been a battle for positions. So who came out on top?

Genia v Phipps – neither did enough to cement a spot but I would say that Phipps had the better of Genia this match, much of which is down to the fact that Genia kicked too many times and too poorly for my liking.

Cooper v Foley – again, neither did enough in this match to stand up and say “I am clearly better than him.” Both had their good and bad points.

DHP v Beale – Beale came out on top of this one purely as a result of a superior kicking game. DHP had a bit of an off night. Both of them missed crucial tackles.

Coleman v Simmons – I’m going to give this one to Coleman based mostly on Simmons terrible tackle rate (made 5 missed 4)

Will Genia grabbed Waratahs v Rebels 2019 (Credit Keith McInnes)

Our Picks

Try of the week – I couldn’t go past this try from the Chiefs against the Crusaders. It has it all, offloading, line breaks, luck … it’s all around mental!

Honourable mentions –

The Brumbies and Jaguares both kicked their way into my runners up list this week.

 

A lock who thinks he’s a centre 

  • Bernie Chan

    Hear the sound of kundu drums…the Rebels are close to being insolvent? Must be some kind of genius who decided to kill off the Force and gift a private consortium the Rebels licence. How much debt did RA “forgive” in the process…? Naturally rugby doesn’t need Twiggy’s money…

    • Huw Tindall

      That’s a bit harsh on the Rebels when they had deals worth $4 million go tits up due to (a) their shirt front sponsor going into liquidation and (b) the Sunwolves getting cut from the comp and scuppering commercial deals they had practically sewn up in Japan. Reports are finances are tight at the Rebels but they haven’t requested a bailout yet. Based on what I’ve seen I’d say the Rebels seem the best run Super team. All their marketing etc is on point – just a tough market in Melbourne and a tough couple of years for rugby generally.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Hmm I’m not sure how you quantify best run?

      • Bernie Chan

        Apologies…was not slating the Rebels per se….I want them to succeed. Was simply saying that reports in the press suggest that the Rebels are in a financial ‘tight spot’…
        RA’s competence is open to question….

        • Max Graham

          Rebels are a shit fight off the park. Shut them down and send their stars back to Perth.

  • Patrick

    Gee those guys in the red and black and black and yellow can play rugby. Anyone have any of their numbers?

    • Geoffro

      Yeah,it was like they decided to throw away the script and just play some lovely instinctive footy.Didn’t the Fijiaans love it too.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks MSTs, mate that game in Suva was awesome. It was good to see Debreczeni play well and boy can he kick a ball.

    I am so with you on the poor execution and game management here. Not one captain seems able to make an on field decision about the game and work out what needs to change on the field when things aren’t going well. I’m not sure if this is something that is driven from the top or bottom but it’s pretty damning.

    TBH I don’t think any player wanting to push out an encumbent is doing enough. I think the only thing pushing change in the Wallabies is the Folau issue and it’ll either be Beale at 15 with Kerevi and TK in the centres but more likely Beale at 12, Kerevi or TK at 13 and DHP at 15. I also think he’ll bring AAC in because of his “experience”. And to be fair to him the likes of QC, Lll and others, they really aren’t performing consistently high enough to justify a change.

    • Geoffro

      If we are left with those guys I really hope they go into the WC with a last chance saloon attitude and pull out all stops for their swansongs like Gits and Mitchell did last time around.Looking forward to the next gen of Wallabies and wont shed too much of a tear over the loss of most of our current highly capped incumbents post 2019.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate, It’s like the old saying in the gym, “If you do what you’ve always done; you’ll get what you’ve always had” I don’t think there can be any major changes. I think the 2 selectors will have a minor effect but I don’t think you’ll suddenly see a vast change to the team structure, tactics (There aren’t any of those anyway) and game management on the field.

    • numpty

      I think there are plenty of players pushing out incumbents. You’d be suicidal not to have Kerevi at 12, being the form back in SR. Banks and Hodge have both shown good form at 15, along with Beale, who is not an incumbent in that position. Phipps has only just returned to the starting tahs lineup over Gordon, and McDermott has come from nowhere. Faingaa at hooker. Last but not least, Lealiifano has by far been the consistent 10 of the season, although he isn’t talked about, he deserves a shot imo.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate I agree, not sure Cheika will

  • Steve

    Oh man, the Rebels…

    They’re such a good metaphor for Aus rugby at the moment – how dumb can you be? And when Blind Freddy (good friend of mine) can see something isn’t going to work, why keep doing it??

    For all the talk and belief we had that Quade would come back and set a high performance bar, he’s just been so AVERAGE. I’m no fan of Foley’s but I honestly don’t see us losing much having him there vs. Cooper.

    And for all the talk that Toomua would come back and be the man after his stint in the NH, nothing so far has even suggested he should be ahead of Meakes at the Rebs.

    Sorry for the rant, just the more I think about it the more it annoys me!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Maaaaate this site is built for rants. Go you

  • AllyOz

    Spot on with regards to the unnecessary kicking MST. All Australian teams (that I watched – missed the Brumbies) were guilty of it.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Yep mate spot on. It was great to see Debreczeni play well for the Chiefs on Saturday and be interesting to see if he develops more for them in the next couple of years the way Samu did at the Crusaders.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    How is a bonus point win with 6 tries against a Sunwolves team that played well at home unconvincing?

    • MST

      Because it wasn’t until 10 minutes to go that they secured the bonus point and even then it could have been taken away from them. The Sunwolves scored 3 easy tries and at times made the Brumbies defence look rubbish. The Rebels put over 50 points on them with ease while the Brumbies only held a 1-2 try margin over them for most of the game.
      The Brumbies, while they got the win and bonus point, were missing some of the fire they had against the Bulls and Blues.

      • Brumby Runner

        The Brumbies’ structured defense was top class again against the Sunwolves as it has been for the past 6 to 7 weeks. It was in unstructured play that at least two of the tries were conceded, and Masewera has done that sort of thing to almost every team they’ve played. If (when) they make it into the finals, it will be on the back of their extremely strong defense that gets them there.

  • Bernie Chan

    Was on a flight from Asia so missed the Rebs v Tahs game..on fuxsports a writer says Foley outplayed Cooper. Thoughts from those who watched the entire game…? Hard to tell from a 4 minute highlights package…

    • idiot savant

      I thought it was fairly even. Both of them were nervous and kicked too much. In fact both sides were nervous for a long time. Foley is tougher and doesn’t shirk contact which will I think guarantee he starts at 10 with the Wallaby selection panel. Unfortunately Foley also misses a lot of tackles and is erratic kicking out of hand. Cooper’s passing was slick but the Tah defence was good all night so his passing wasn’t a factor in the game. But they are both risks. Foley will need to be hidden in defence. Without Beale and Folau in form, Foley doesn’t stand out as much. Cooper is good on front foot ball but ordinary without it.

      • Max Graham

        Foley doesn’t shirk the tough stuff but needs to be hidden in defence?
        If only we could hide him in attack as well. Serial underperformer who obviously has dodgy photos of Sydney based journalists who would praise him for remembering to bring his boots.

    • Who?

      Savant’s right, wasn’t a great game for judging 10’s. Wet conditions, both teams clearly instructed (especially the Rebels) to play field position…
      .
      Foley threw a really nice short ball to put Hooper into space in the second half, think that was around the time of Rona’s try? Not in the same play, but leading up to it. Kicked ok, but the winner on the night for effective kicking was Beale.
      .
      Cooper tried really hard to get involved. Got across the stripe twice (once denied for a knock on by Rangi a couple of phases earlier), arguably cleaned out too much. The Fox guys said that the support acts were more decisive on the night, and I think that’s fair. I didn’t think Toomua did much, other than one excellent tackle to bundle Rona into touch (just before Rona’s shoulder charge on Koroibete), Beale had more impact.
      .
      Ultimately, the Rebels had more possession, but dropped far too much of it, and the Tahs forwards defended really well. The Rebels tried to play South African (Jake ball – kick if in your half, attack through your forwards in their half), the Tahs had a decent set piece move and a lucky offload bounce for their two tries, so it wasn’t about great work in possession (the better try was a nice ensemble effort, the lucky try was just that – AAC was lucky to get away with a panic pass when he was about to be bundled into touch).
      .
      Neither did anything great, neither did anything terrible, it just wasn’t a night for 10’s, not when the back 3 were kicking it (except Marika!) and the forwards were carrying or dropping the ball.

      • Bernie Chan

        Hear Sanchez kicked too much as well..QC only got 10 and 12 touches (1st half and 2nd half)…? Must have been “Jake-ball 101″!
        Marika is Fijian…hates to give away possession…in fact he doesn’t even like passing!
        Bloody weather..is it a Melbourne thing…?
        MST seems to have nailed the weekend review…!

        • Who?

          Marika is Fijian, but can’t kick (not an issue for other Fijians – Kerevi’s been putting in some great kicks this year). So he ran – and hard.
          In terms of his passing, he really needs credit for his passing – he’s thrown the last pass for a try in each of the past three weeks, and the second last in another. He’s shown clear signs of growth this year, which is really, really pleasing. :-)
          .
          I’m sure that the kicking from 9 (Genia and also Ruru) was completely coached. Wessels says Cooper’s right on board with the game plan, but the issue is whether there’s scope to vary the game plan when it’s not working. When your forwards can’t simply blow through the line and when they can’t hold the ball. There doesn’t seem to be a plan B.
          .
          Weather – dunno? Pretty icy up here today – not sure we got out of single digits, and there was snow up on the Granite Belt! Doesn’t happen every year in Qld…

  • Brumby Runner

    Apart from the rather exceptionally poor kicking in the Rebels/Tahs game, it should be noted and appreciated that Tom Banks had a fantastic day with the boot kicking for touch. Best display from an Aussie player in a very long time.

    So, if between them, Hooper, Beale, Foley and Simmons have only had 98 minutes rest, there is something rotten in the State of Denmark. It has been widely reported, even by Tahs fans on this site, that Hooper, Foley and Simmons, maybe even Beale, had to have two whole games “rest” each. Allowing that one has had one full game off, then the other three have had only 18 minutes between them. Before I go chastising, criticising and generally calling for a rebellion, is there a chance your figures are incorrect? I was under the impression that each of Hooper, Beale and Foley had indeed missed a game so far and needed only to sit out one more each to meet the quota.

    • MST

      Yeah, Foley, Beale and Hooper have missed a game each. But when I was doing the maths, I didn’t count those minutes. The 53 matches I was counting did NOT count the games they have missed. So – there are 53 matches that those 4 players combined have actually played in. In those 53 matches they have missed a combined 98 minutes.

      I was trying to show that even with resting players, the minutes they are playing in the rest of the season is still very high and not in line with what Gibson said about not using his best players all the time.

      From what I have read in various places, Foley, Beale, Hooper, Simmons and Kepu are still expected to have a week off (first for Simmons and Kepu, second for the others – Genia is having his second week off this week)- which they obviously aren’t doing this week.

Rugby

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