Tuesday Top 5 - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

Tuesday Top 5

Tuesday Top 5

Welcome back, friend. Let us waste no time with idle chit-chat and get straight to it.

 5. Back to the basics, Brumbies

The classic Moggarithm, showing his average kick trajectory

The classic Moggarithm, showing his average kick trajectory

Despite having a fair bit of possession, the Brumbies were well outmuscled by the Stormers. On the surface that is no disgrace; playing them away is probably the toughest assignment in the competition. But there were a few worrying signs. Their scrum was comprehensively dominated by a pack that looked vastly inferior to the Sharks unit, on paper at least. A few of their shining lights also went missing – Ben Mowen, Christian Lealiifano, Joe Tomane. And boy, they missed Jesse Mogg. Robbie Coleman’s popgun boot was a pale imitation of the Moggarithm, and they suffered because of it.

With no go-forward ball, they started trying things and got too far away from the basic game plan that has served them so well in the opening weeks. Two of the Stormers’ tries came as a direct result of tight forwards attempting cut-out passes – first Stephen Moore, then Peter Kimlin. I am prepared to write it off as a one-off, a bad day at the office. I am a generous man, after all. But they need to atone in Canberra this weekend, and against a battered Bulls outfit at the end of a long tour I don’t see that being too hard a task.

 4. How things change

ant faingaa 516 tackle


Last week I wrote off Quade Cooper. Obviously he spent the whole week fuming, just waiting for a chance to show me up. And didn’t he do a lovely job of that on Saturday night. Certainly aided by the return of Will Genia, Cooper looked far more assured and his long passing game made a welcome comeback. All of a sudden he is back on the Wallaby radar. Same with James Horwill, who played a very impressive half of rugby for someone who has been out for almost a year. Pencil him in for the Lions, and mark a (c) next to his name while you are there.

It was a decent performance from the Reds, even if it won’t have other teams quaking in their boots. After the Force debacle it was a badly needed shot in the arm, and a flicker of light that the 2011-style glory days may not be gone for good. Despite the good work of the triumvirate (Cooper, Genia, Horwill), the talisman is Anthony Faingaa, who once again was impressive. He has never quite cut it in gold, but in a red jersey he is a handful for any opposition, bursting with enthusiasm and energy.

3. Form is temporary, class is permanent

George Smith hasn't lost it

George Smith hasn’t lost it

This was a week for the established players. George Smith led the way, and simply has to play for the Wallabies. Surely the ARU has enough clout and cash to get him out of his Japanese contract. As noted, the triumviate were outstanding against the Bulls. Adam Ashley-Cooper put his hand up in Sydney, as did Drew Mitchell and Dave Dennis. This creates a few lovely headaches for the selectors, as the old dogs start to respond to the upstart challengers that have dominated talk in the early weeks.

 2. Tah Talk Time

Despite moments of scrappy play, it was great to chalk up a win on a sunny Sunday arvo. The crowd was a bit smaller than hoped, but they were vocal and after a thrilling finish you better believe they will be back next week. At 24-10 down w ethought the Tahs were gone, but to their credit they slowly worked their way back into the game. The win was built on solid execution of the basics – fast, clean passes in front of the man, accurate clean-outs and good low tackling.

Rob Horne and Adam Ashley-Cooper were particularly good. Both took their options very well, including plenty of nice passes. This idea that they never pass is simply a fallacy. I accept AAC’s first instinct may be to tuck the ball under his arm, but that is a good trait in a 13, and true of every current 13 in the Super Rugby comp. Somehow both have copped a ‘ballhog’ reputation, but even a cursory viewing of Sunday’s game would show this to be rubbish. This combo should be the Tahs’ first-choice centre pairing. And Paddy Ryan continues to impress. With Dan Palmer struggling against the Stormers, James Slipper playing consistently solid (but not brilliant) rugby and Ben Alexander a little quieter than usual, God knows who will be pulling on the gold number 3 come June.

1. The strugglers

Time to give Julien Huxley a call?

Time to give Julian Huxley a call?

It looks like a case of same-old, same-old for the Force and Rebels. Jeez, it is frustrating. For all the good moments nothing much seems to have changed for either side in the last three years. The Force are throwing away games they should be winning, while the Rebels can be good one week, then a complete clusterfuck the next (on and off the field). How do we break this cycle? Crowds are dwindling, balance sheets are looking worse. If you were a top player you would have to think long and hard before accepting a contract with either team. I love watching both and want them to succeed, but something needs to be done before the situation becomes untenable. I have no idea about the answers; feel free to put your theories and theorems (for all the Pythagoras fans out there) in the comments section. I suspect a change of coach down south may be in order, while the Force just need a few players who can break the line.


Go on, comment. You know you want to…

  • handles_olove

    Let me assure you that the Reds glory days are not gone for good. Anybody hazard a guess as to which Australian Super XV team is the youngest? Oldest regular player in the squad is Greg Holmes, not yet 30. Even big Kev is only 27, which is quite remarkable for someone who has missed 27 years of football. Gill, Browning, F’Sautia, Frisby, yet to have a 21st amongst them. Shipperly, Lance, and a few others have still got a headache from theirs.

    • Rex Munday

      Wait until Spinno gets hold of them.

      • Brax

        Who’s Spinno?

    • Bessa

      Oldest? Samo at 37 (probably more like 45)

  • david baldwin

    Have to say i thought Tomane was ok, certainly not a non shining light BaBa, will have to watch the game again though. I have a thought – Tomane for 13 for the Wallabies, have a look at his stats – he is a massive human and check out his youtube video with Speight, he would be perfect in my mind!!

  • JimmyC

    Great blurb. There is only one thing better than double denim and that is triple denim.

  • Pedro

    The stormers had at least two penalties against them at scrum time, so they weren’t that dominant. The brumbies also came back from a 12 point deficit to be within 3 with under ten minutes to go. Also lealiifano kicked everything and Aleuia demolished a up and coming springbok. These are a few less “worrying signs” to come out of the game.

    • Barbarian

      I accept a few of those points (despite clawing back the Stormers were always on top IMO) but I would hardly call Fotu demolishing Gio Aplon as an encouraging sign. Gio weighs about 35kg. Fotu could quite literally eat him. And just because you concede penalties at scrum time it doesn’t mean you aren’t dominant.

      • Pedro

        Thanks for the reply, Enjoying the blog.

        I agree that the Stormers were dominant at scrum time, I was just highlighting the fact that they didn’t have it all their own way.

        Fotu’s hit was a highlight for me, I don’t care that it was a mismatch. It’s like watching a winger burn a prop, creating mismatches is part of rugby and it’s often beautiful to watch.

  • David

    I agree nothing easy to be done with either the Force or the Rebels…rebels clearly need some stronger leadership: you tell me what they are doing getting on the piss after being disgraced, next thing you’ll see is them disembarking back in Melbourne in civies (Eddie Jones must have gotten in their ear). Buying more quality players isn’t the answer BUT certainly they need a Brad Thorn to tell them what’s what.

    Tony McGahan to coach? While we are still pissfarting around getting our 3rd tier up and running we need to smuggle more players into NZ’s ITM cup – the young guys at both these teams simply need more football.

  • Homer J

    The Reds need some young locks though. Samo is ooooollllddddd, AWH is almost as old and his knees work like they are 74. Kev may be 27 but where is his partner when Simmons goes to the Farce next year?

    • I doubt if Deans didn’t throw a Wallabies jersey at Samo he’d even be in the mix with the Reds this year.

    • Brax

      Why would Simmons go to the Farce? And not to worry, McMenimen will be back in Red next year. And age means nothing for some blokes, like Samo & Brad Thorne.

  • I can’t believe this travesty hasn’t received more abuse yet

  • Bay35Pablo

    Liked Horne against the Blues. Cut threw a few times and looked good. Don’t know if it’s playing at 12, or he’s just champing at the bit, but bit of both I suspect. Could do worse than Horne & AAC in the centres. Tommy Carter, the bench or France are calling I suspect. As Gaffs said to Ruggamatrix a few weeks ago, he needed better coaching years ago and he might have done more. He’s still decent as it is, but not quite SR game breaking quality.

  • Dougall

    As great as it is to see the Tahs win, seeing Horne play a decent game isn’t good IMO. I don’t want to see him come Lions tour, yet it’s games like this that give Deans the impression he can do the job.

  • #1 Tah

    I believe that was the natural Moggarithm, not the classic one.

  • Parra

    Horne had a very good game but I think after so much opportunity for the Wallabies without actually making an impact, he will have to do a lot more before he’s considered again.

    AAC had a solid game including at least one good fend where he broke the line and made some metres but it’s pretty rare that he makes the once trade mark busts anymore.

    Also, is it just my imagination or does he get turned over a LOT in the ruck/maul?

  • cay_t

    The Farce are building… at least they are not playing to lose like they used to… they have gone too far in the other direction, but at least its positive. They made plenty of breaks, messed up lots of opportunities to win, but then could not revert to their tried and true shut down game plan as the Cheetahs D in tight was well up for it. Like the Tahs… I think they will come good. Foley was hamstrung in the East, he has carte blanche in the West and at least they are exciting to watch.

  • ScrumJunkie

    Agree Hill should probably move on, don’t think it will happen though. His selections in the centres for this match were laughable. That is just one example of his poor judgement. Buying Burgess another.
    We never get to see KIngi at halfback, but I’m pretty sure his pass couldn’t be any worse than Burgess’.
    He needs a 12 desperately, so he buys a 9. Isn’t CL from VIC originally? You should have thrown everything including the kitchen sink at him, to get him down to melbourne.
    Or at least Pat McCabe, he seems excess at the Brumbies this year.

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