Waratahs win, but fail to secure a finals spot - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rebels

Waratahs win, but fail to secure a finals spot

Waratahs win, but fail to secure a finals spot

The Waratahs won the battle against the Melbourne Rebels but will have a nervous week to see if they make the finals.

So the season comes down to the wire for both teams, with a simple equation; win, and book a spot in the finals.  For the Waratahs, a loss means an early mad Monday.  Depending on the scores, the Rebels could afford a loss, provided they earned a bonus point.

After a demoralizing defeat to the Brumbies last week the Waratahs made bold selections choices, handing Tepaio Moeroa for his first start at inside centre alongside 8 other changes.

The Rebels who were also coming of the back of a defeat only changed two for this all-important clash.

The last time these two rivals met in round two the Rebels notched up their biggest winning margin over the Waratahs, as well as the biggest winning margin of Super Rugby AU 2020 at that the time. They also managed to retain the Weary Dunlop Shield for the first time.

Coach Dave Wessels was quoted as saying “These are the games you want to play and be a part of and everyone’s just really excited for that”.

And it showed in this see-saw affair in Leichhardt Oval.

First Half

The Waratahs started the better team but gave away two early penalties, which you could put down to over-enthusiasm.  With one penalty in the kicking distance, To’omua made no mistake, giving the Rebels an early 3-0 lead.

For the next 20 minutes, all the endeavour came from from the Tahs, who got themselves into the Rebel red zone repeatedly. Dogged goal-line defence eventually breaking, Jake Gordon sniping finally paying off, finding a gap past Ainsley for his first try. The Rebels looked the more nervy team, some inaccurate passing allowing the Waratahs to build momentum and run frequent incursion to the Rebels territory.

When you think of the importance of this match, Dave Wessel’s men seemed strangely flat.  The Tahs looking the sharper by far, led by a great half by Jack Dempsey who was rewarded with his own score, barging over from five metres out.

It wasn’t until the 30th minute until the home side managed to get a foothold in the game, finally holding on to the ball and camping down in the Waratah 5-metre line.   After repeat maul infringements from the Tahs, a feature of their tactics tonight, Ned Hannigan was sent to the bin.  With a man down, the Rebels eventually found the line, with a barnstorming run from the captain To’omua finally going over for the try.

The half-finished as it started, another offside penalty giving Will Harrison the chance to knock over a penalty.

Half Time score 17-10 to the Waratahs

Matt Toomua looks for space Waratahs v Rebels Super Rugby 2020 (Credit - Keith McInnes Photography)

Matt Toomua was inspirational for the Rebels (Credit – Keith McInnes Photography)

Second Half

The Rebels started the half with more vigour, Isi Naisarani crashing over in the 45th minute after picking a massive hole in the Waratahs defence.

The visitors hit straight back with their own try on the 48th minute after weathering the Rebels onslaught led by Jack Dempsey who continued where he left off being a menace around the park.

The Waratahs built on their lead with another try to Joey Walton, running a great line off Michael Hooper to sprint in unopposed to the line.  A great moment for the youngster, scoring his first super rugby try.

A finals spot looked to be theirs, seemingly cruising the play-offs.

However, a moment of Marika magic, sliding in for a score and Naisarani getting his second sparked the game to life.  All square on the 70th minute, the match was far from done.

The next ten minutes were breathless.

Michael Hooper charged down a Deegan kick, the ball sitting up perfectly for Will Harrison who leapt over like a salmon giving the Waratahs a nine-point cushion and one foot in the finals.  All they had to do was hang on for four minutes.

Offside infringements were a bane for both sides, and so it was once more, the Waratahs gifted the Rebels another offside penalty.  Matt To’omua lined up a penalty shot and made no mistake with the kick showing nerves of steel to slot the three-pointer keeping their season alive by earning a bonus point.

The match finished 38-32 to the Waratahs who, although they won, will feel a touch disappointed they couldn’t hang on to the margin that would’ve guaranteed a playoff berth.  If the Rebels win next week and make the finals for the first time, the Waratahs can put it down to their ill-discipline and inconsistent execution.

Will Harrison post try Waratahs v Rebels Super Rugby 2020 (Credit - Keith McInnes Photography)

Will Harrison is congratulated following his vital try (Credit – Keith McInnes Photography)

The Game Changer

Hard to pick one but Marika Korobiete slide in from what looked like 20 metres out sparked the Rebels a fightback that kept their season alive.


A number of players had stand out games,  Jack Dempsey was immense, Michael Hooper was at his industrious best, Matt To’ouma guide is troops around the park, scored a try and slotted a clutch penalty.

Isi Naisarni did everything though, bullocking runs, 15 tackles, 15 runs and two tries capped a busy evening.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Rebels 32
Tries: Matt To’omua (37′), Isi Naisarani (46′, 71′), Marika Koroibete (62′)
Conversions: To’omua (3)
Penalties: Matt To’omua (3′, 77′)
Waratahs 38
Tries: Jake Gordon (7′), Jack Dempsey (23′), Harry Johnson-Holmes (49′), Joey Walton (56′), Will Harrison (74′)
Conversions: Harrison (5)
Penalties: Will Harrison (40)


Ned Hanigan, New South Wales Waratahs (37) Matt Philip, Melbourne Rebels (65)

Match Photos  (Credit – Keith McInnes Photography)


  • GoMelbRebels

    Thanks for the write-up. A deserved win to the Tahs, but the Rebs didn’t give up. A gutsy and smart call by Matt to take the shot at penalty. I really think he is a better leader than DHP. Anyhoo, it’ll be down to next week. The Force would like nothing more than to not only get their first win in SR AU but also knock the Rebs out of the finals. Being a Rebels fan is not good for my health.

    • Patrick

      Nice having players who actually make those kicks too…

  • Too Little Too Late

    If that’s the end of Michael Hooper for the Tahs for a while, then a heartfelt thanks for all the effort he puts in.

    Another great super rugby AU game, both sides gave their all and my viewing dollars will follow where it ends up.

    • David Creagh

      I have never been a huge Hooper fan but his achievements should be recognised for what they are. For a young man to achieve so much in such little time is a magnificent achievement.

  • Crescent

    Just enjoying this one over a late night/early morning whiskey. I have to wonder how much pressure Wessels should be under for the relative underperformance of the Rebels lineup.

    Well done to the Tahs to bounce back from being roughly handled by the Ponies last week – still mathematically alive for a finals campaign.

  • Scott Rea

    Great write up Mickey. Disappointing that Rebels couldn’t wrap up finals spot, but we get a second chance next week. The bonus point was very important and amazingly was the Rebels’ first bonus point of Super Rugby AU. Next week go Rebels.

  • Nutta

    Thanks Mick. Good write up.

    For the Tarts, I was impressed by Moeroa. Big body with intent. Likewise Dempsey shone through. Hooper did some outstanding work in hard to see spots. But I thought the Tarts best was HJH.

    For the Scum, Nisi had a terrible opening 15min but came back strongly, Marika was his usual jumping bean but their best and my MOTM was Toomua.

    What was completely mystifying for me was that particularly given Philips earned a yellow for his completely innocuous contact in the air, how did Swinton not see red for a leading shoulder into the head of Nisi? Direct, illegal, intentional contact with the head anyone? Crickets from the Ref, touchie or TMO.

    • Too Little Too Late

      I couldn’t agree more, straight red for Swinton. I like his abrasiveness but that was an old school cheap shot.

      Phillips’ yellow was an overreach from an earlier warning about giving away penalties in the Waratahs 22.

    • Steve

      Yep, that was just craziness. I was still wondering what they were thinking about with the Phillips yellow and then nothing happened, I suspect it may have been different in a major stadium with a replay screen.

      I’m not sure how long he’ll hold down the gold 12 jumper but Toomua would be my first choice captain I think. Seems to consistently make good decisions and keeps a clear head. Simone is likely to overtake him sooner or later but can’t deny he’d make a great skipper.

    • Custardtaht

      The reason for no red card……Covid, or it could be a flow on of the Qld hospital rule, Red Cards are for Red Players.

  • Custardtaht

    The Tahs achieved the first half of the equation, win, but unfortunately fell short of the second half, no rebel bonus point.

    The good news for the tahs is that the Rebels faced a win and in last season and choked, so I fully expect the same thing against the Force.

  • Hoss

    Well bollocks to that.

    Like a French kiss from my nan, feels good but doesn’t get you anywhere – and that’s what last nite was. A victory on paper but I expect it will be all for nought.

    With bodgy knees, a sore back, being over 50 and with a propensity to avoid hard work even I could beat the Force so the Tah’s season is done. Which, to be fair is about right. I don’t know that either of the Tah’s or Rebels would seriously challenge the Puppy Killers or the Reds for the final chocolates anyhow.

    Was a good game that I felt the Tah’s should have won by 20, they always seemed in control, BUT – inexperience and an inability to change in the run stuffed em. The Tah’s were terrible immediately after scoring. ALL night the rebels target Ramm on the kickoffs and ALL night the Tah’s stuffed the exit which put the Rebs on attack immediately and they benefitted.

    The officiating was poor, but with that much ball and territory the Tah’s should have put the Rebs away and taken the pea blower out of the equation – again, silly mistakes, poor discipline and inexperience made him a factor. And yes, Swinton should have been red carded – if that’s not a red what is ?? Also – Phillips essentially got a ‘team yellow’ it wasn’t a yellow for that offence, Two cows had been given a team warning immediately prior. Now before some boffin quotes me the penalty count. There was one try by the Tah’s where they had 4 advantages for offside by the Rebs prior to the scoring so the penalty count v offending count were quiet different.

    Thought Mat Philip enhanced his wallaby prospects well, ISI was huge, The Commissioner was sharp, Maddocks good (why doesn’t he take the penalty kicks for touch – he is almost as big off the boot as Hodge) and he is awesome of his left boot, Pat Healy is growing, Two-Cows, was all class and Hodgey was solid. HJH was epic and has come along in leaps and bounds and is still only young. Orr continues to impress and Ueleses never puts a foot wrong. Dempsey was busy. We are blessed with growing depth from 1-8 at present and would love to see the PONI list after this weekend.

    Actually, like the RWC Wallaby Selections site I did last year I might get my IT boffins to set up a GAGR PONI site next week to see how we fare – our own ‘Super Coach’. Maybe a GAGR sponsored trip to Kurri Kurri KFC for the selection closest to the actual squad announced from Moses when the time comes.

    To Simmo – thank you for a great career. Over 100 tests and SR appearances you deserve every happiness and financial reward that lay ahead and have been a fabulous, often maligned servant to the game. And Hoops, what can you say, if that’s it in SR for a while what a way to go out, terrific game, terrific endeavour and almost single handedly got gods own into the finals. Enjoy Nipponville, I suspect we won’t truly know what we’ve lost till it’s gone. Look forward to seeing how your games evolved upon return after some tutelage from the Dark Lord Shag. Welcome aboard Tizzano – looking forward to seeing you have a dig.

    Would love to see the reds win the prize now – great for Oz rugby I reckon.

    • Geoffro

      You mostly said it all.Gotta admit I was also left with the kissed by your sister feeling and my reaction to Toomua’s ‘sensible’ decision to take the BP was ‘ave a go you pussy,but-carn Force (even giving that I couldnt realistically see us getting over the top of the Reds and Brums consecutive weeks to lift the prize)

      • Hoss

        I blame Gus Gardner for that call a few weeks back that denied us the bonus point……There, I feel better now.

        With a 4W / 4L final result for our season finals footy would be undeserved anyhow. Having said that if the Rebs channel Greg Norman next week and choke, it will be good to Keppler and a nervous Reds.

        • Nutta

          I knew you had been stewing on Gus over that. I could feel it in me waters…

        • Keith Butler

          But Gus is a NS Wallian, surely not.

        • Hoss

          The one who saw Jake Gordon ‘advancing’ from a kick but we used the Puppy Killer 9 offside wasn’t ‘clear and obvious’…….having said that – it’s shits me for all teams from kicks, box kicks in particular, you could ping any of up to 10 players for advancing, but nada gets done.

    • IIPA

      Couldn’t agree more – Ramm received the same kickoff what six times ? And the Tahs couldn’t work out what was happening and change up their receiving alignment ?

      Six kick offs and I counted one forced ruck penalty and five Rebels lineouts barely outside the Waratahs 22 were the result.

      Other than that immense frustration I enjoyed the game, thought HJH, Hooper, Hanigan, Gordon, Walton, Moeroa our best. But no one was poor. Well Newsome wasnt great and Horton has come back to earth a touch.

      • Hoss

        Feel for Karmichael this morning. Young Moeroa was terrific (and a large human) and probably took his jersey for 2021 onwards last night and if Godwin comes then KH could be squeezed out.

        Hannigan been very consistent this year and played his best rugby. Horton got the yips and really fallen down the ladder in terms of pecking order for gold, but he’s young and will come back. But as a smallish hooker every other aspect of his game must be spot on to compensate and he has slipped somewhat.

        • idiot savant

          Horton is a gun. He’s just young. He’s gonna be a Wallaby for years. He’s what we have been looking for – a Dane Coles type.

        • Hoss

          Wow – so he’s a colossal prick ???

        • idiot savant

          Have you seen his haircut?

        • Nutta

          Yeh I’m not convinced that he’s the Hookers Messiah or a colossal prick. The pressure of scrumming these days requires a bessa block at 2. Regardless of what appears to be a national deficiency in folk who can hit water with a lineout ball tossed from a boat, I think the days of an extra under-weight loosie hiding at 2 are over until something forces scrums to lift 6inch or more higher. Lightweights just won’t survive and nor can they bring the requisite pressure to bear. And given he objectively lacks a definable mullet plus doesn’t seem to be involved in every second (or indeed any) off-the-ball incidents, I’m not sure he qualifies for the prick-card either. Time will tell on both counts I guess.

        • idiot savant

          He’s surely working on the mullet. What is that crap growing at the base of his skull? And on lightweights as hookers – both the last 2 AB hookers have been lightweights and it hasn’t bothered them.

        • Nutta

          Now hang on a sec…

          Dane Coles and Cody Taylor are 110kgs each. Their bios say 108 but I call BS on that.

          Horton is 95kg on a wet day in a cotton jersey (as if – I’ll lend him one if he doesn’t know what a proper jersey is). Either way he’s not a Centurian unless he’s got dead-set lead shot stuffed in his pockets.

          So at a min of 10kgs difference at normalised impact speeds and kinetic energy levels, Taylor and Coles are each hitting with a hellava lot more force than anything Mack can physiologically lay down.

        • Nutta

          Actually, here’s a good read if you’re interested in the nerdy stuff… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6226082/#R01-2017-0025-0020

        • Hoss

          That’s a brilliant assessment mate and love the science. So, for arguments sake if a 148kg Goliath has an approach angle of say 6% what are the forces ones partner may experience during close contact?

        • Nutta

          Ahhh, well this gets interesting as the numbers I was looking at were cumulative effort over a 10sec scrum .

          So herein we would have 4 differences to contend with; 1) 148kg vs the test subjects 110kg 2) comparative differences in aerobic fitness to deliver performance over time, 3) the difference in cumulative measurement between a 10sec static scrum and the repetitious dynamic gyrations of the ‘close contact’ so alluded to and 4) the difference between the all-of-body effort channeled through the shoulders into a scrum versus the specific effort of a substantially smaller group of muscles yet delivered through a likewise smaller physical touchpoint.

          This could take a while…

        • Hoss

          I believe some of the variables could include an opponent who’s say 5’6, 58kgs, inebriated and humming ‘land of hope and glory’ during said contest.

        • Nutta

          Was the contact preceded with the requisite warning of ‘You awake?’ or perhaps the more sensual ‘Brace yourself Dearest, I’m coming over…’?

        • Hoss

          Does a countdown count?

        • UTG

          Agree. I have Uelese as the long-term rake because he brings that power game needed at test level.

    • Brumby Runner

      Philip definitely took one for the team but it shows how ridiculous it is to give a team warning in such specific terms as the next one is off. On the subject of cards, Swinton should have been red carded and both Robertson and Simmons were fortunate not to get yellow for each having repeated offenses in defending rolling mauls.

      • Hoss

        Morning BR,

        No issue here with Swinton getting a red or subsequent citing. No arms, high and forceful contact with the head – a red and 4 weeks suspension everyday. He actually had a good game till that point and was industrious but……..disagree with Gene and The Mutant Ear, IMO the maul has ended and had broken away and therefore constituted being able to be tackled which I thought was the case. Anyhow, all irrelevant I guess, the Tah’s has control of their destiny and came up short.

        Got my ticket for next weeks game in Newcastle and designing a large sign now……‘Come on Force do it for the Tah’s’ should help I reckon.

        • Yowie

          ‘Come on Force do it for the Tah’s’ should help I reckon

          Gold. Would love to see how that sort of motivational speech would play out in the Force dressing rooms. Giving each player a local anesthetic in a randomly-chosen part of their body would have a less deleterious effect on performance than “do it for the Tahs boys!”

        • We luv NSW

        • Hoss

          If I am the force it’s the lesser of two evils for mine. Lose to the mutant offspring who cost us a spot at the dinner table or too the progeny of this responsible for the discussion in the first place…..it’s a lose-lose for the force and if I remember anything from my year 8 maths class – except our hot student teacher – it’s that two negatives make a positive. So go the Force.

          Always liked that team.

        • Hmm, I must have failed maths101…
          Need to work it out with a pencil maybe, a bit like our old constipated maths professor.

          Typical you bastards got a hot student one, more favouritism.

        • Nutta

          I’m convinced by your authenticity.

        • Hoss

          The think you’ll find that even a cursory glance at the GAGR Hansard will show I’ve always been a big supporter of that team from somewhere westish of Mosman.

        • Nutta

          Fkn near all teams in this country are west of Mosman… but point taken.

        • Keith Butler


        • Nutta

          Now regarding the Mutant Ear, how has that abomination managed to survive to now?

          Between home, Covid isolation and multiple bus trips and layovers in shitty hotels, how in Christs Good Name has there not been a serious sit down with a bottle or 3 of whiskey, some hot towels, a razor blade, gauze, some needle nosed pliers and a bent needle with some fishing wire to close it up afterwards?

          Bloody soft these Yungfellas. And no sense of adventure…

        • Hoss

          It’s a rotten tomato just waiting to be juiced ain’t it. I wince looking at it.

          On another note – you sort Uncle Dan out re delivery? I emailed you earlier bout delivery options.

        • Nutta

          Sorted. Domestic Operations Manager will be home.

      • idiot savant

        Yeah it was a red card but Jesus I love the way Swinton plays. I want to see him show that aggression against the All Blacks. He will have to attempt to put an arm around though. Perhaps he should study the All Black technique where you can render a Frenchman unconscious and break his jaw and have it deemed an accident? The TMO obviously thought it was well within the limits for a Tah. So fair enough.

        • Greg


          Come on. That was reckless play by the Frenchman. He deliberately put opposition players at risk.

        • Howard

          Even though the justifiable red was not given, it was stupid. Gave away the penalty from the kick off and allowed Rebs to get down field and eventually score. Sure aggression is good, but stupity not so much. If he was sent could of cost Tahs the game

        • Hoppy

          Swinton??? The red card was typical of his approach. He’s a thug and the AB’s will love it if he turns up trying that stuff on. He’s not a hard man – he’s almost top of the missed tackle count level with Harrison and Newsome. Every other blind side flanker in Au Super Rugby is more effective than Swinton – he’s a penalty waiting to happen and if he keeps doing this armless tackle ‘hard’ man shit he’ll end up putting a genuine Wallaby chance in hospital or out of the game completely- just as he could have done last night on Naisarani.
          And I see elsewhere that you think that the Tahs are the most dynamic attaching team in Aus rugby – heaven help us. They have done some good things in recent games but even with their blowout against a Reds team that was deeply affected by Pataia’s father’s death, they are so far off the other teams on attacking stats it is laughable that you would claim otherwise.
          5th out of 5 in turnovers won
          2nd in Missed tackles
          3rd in tackles made
          Having played 1 more game than any other team, they have 10% less metres in attack than the Reds, 16% less clean breaks than Reds, 30% less defenders beaten than the Reds and 10% less tries than the Reds – and on that last one 30% less than the Brumbies. Put your tahs coloured glasses away mate.
          They’ve got some great players coming through but so have all the other franchises which is great for Aus rugby – so long as we don’t end up with a Sydney centric focus in selections – until it might be justified somewhere in an uncertain future.

    • Brisneyland Local

      HOss, I am definitely in for your Super Coach selection. Get your IT Peeps cracking!

      • Hoss

        Already texted em mate.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Good man! Other than 4&5 we seem to have some real depth. And if Rennie sticks to his previous dialogue then picking on form this year, we will have a strong 23. If Renni throws some decnt tactics in we will be competitive.

        • David Creagh

          I am not convinced that the stocks are that low. Neville has been good as has LSL, Phillips and Hosea. If we look more widely I think Frost could be worth an early experiment too. I wonder if Mcafery or other blind side could be converted to the 2 row….

        • Brisneyland Local

          I dont think our stocks are empty and I think that in time those players will be top rate. I dont know if they are ready for the Darkness. I would love to see Coleman and Arnold back for a little bit and have this next gen on the bench behind them, gaining the experience.

    • UTG

      It’s a tough one. We Tahs’ supporters definitely would have taken this situation at the start of the comp but it feels like we let at least a couple of games slip.

      On the game itself, the Tahs just couldn’t ice it, credit to the Rebels who just kept coming back (Toomua was excellent). Very happy with how the Tahs’ backline is shaping. 12 Tepai 13 Walton gave me some Nonu Smith vibes last night. HJH is unlucky he’s behind AAA and Tupou, he would probably be looking at a long test career otherwise.

      For me, Hooper’s charge down that led to the try summarised his long service to NSW. We’ll miss him greatly next year.

      • Hoss

        100% UHG. Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

        • idiot savant

          Im betting you won’t notice he’s gone….

        • Custardtaht

          Exactly, then they’ll pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

        • Hoss

          Don’t it always seem to go

      • laurence king

        I thought Hooper was pretty quiet last week, but a great game last night.

      • Rugby Truth

        No stats today ol’ mate?

        Game stats show hooper made 4 tackles, 1 handling error, and 1 penalty conceded.

        Brad Wilkin made 15 tackles, and 1 penalty conceded.

        In your constant boring quoting of statistics, means Wilkin completely outplayed hooper.

        • UTG

          2 try assists.

          Must be tough for you reading the praise of Hoops.

        • Rugby Truth

          1 try assist for the waratahs.
          1 try assist for the rebels.

          No, unlike your good self, I don’t watch Australian rugby through sky blue and navy blue glasses.

          IMO, I thought he had a good game on Saturday. I can openly admit that, but there have been far too many games for NSW and Australia where he’s been dead set ordinary, like a dog chasing seagulls on the beach – runs around all day without really doing anything.

        • UTG

          Put Walton away a hole and charged down the kick that led to Harrison’s try, that’s two.No matter how many times you rehash that same simile, it doesn’t make it true.

          I suspect you deem anyone who says anything positive about the Waratahs as watching the game through ‘sky blue and navy glasses’.

    • David Creagh

      Not a fan of Maddocks. He does some good stuff, has the occasional great game but he is like Gilbert in that there is a lack of consistency and the delta between his good games and his bad games is very large. I did not think he was that good last night and was just solid. Dempsey was very good but again needs to be more consistent. Flanders (or as I prefer to know him “The Work Experience Kid) has been OK this year but again lacks real impact.

      I have also have been pretty vocal on my views of Simmonds and that he is a one trick pony if the game was called “Line Out” he would be close to the top of the tree. He has however been an excellent servant of Australian Rugby, Queensland and New South Wales and deserves recognition for that. At least three or possibly four Wallaby coaches rated him highly for him to be a fixture in the side.

      • IIPA

        Agree about Frost being worth a look. Neville only played one AU game which was Friday and was okayish but solid earlier in the year.

        On form I’d say our second rowers are Philip, LSL, Hosea then either Hanigan or Blyth. That suggest to me real depth concern.

    • Keith Butler

      Congrats Hossman. A totally unbiased report giving praise to players from all sides where praise was due. Don’t know about a red for Swinton but would certainly be a yellow in my book. Whether that would have made a difference is a mote point. The Tahts deserved the win but for the Rebs a finals place is theirs to lose. Time to stock up on bevies for super Saturday. Two Moos has some cojones for taking that kick, never looked like missing.

      • Reds Revival

        I think you mean a “moat point”, where he is surrounded by water.

    • Greg

      Does anyone have a link to a video of the Swinton incident?

    • Huw Tindall

      Can we talk about Harrison’s kicking. The bloke is about 95% this season. Far and away the best kicker all year and they haven’t all been gimmes from in front. Could be enough to sneak him into a Wallabies side, especially if Rennie still has JOC down in the PONI squad at 12. Lolesio won’t be back for a while with his injury and Lance is too old for next RWC so it’s really between JOC and Harrison for initial 10 honours I’d think. Personally I’d lean towards JOC first up, assuming he continues his good run into the finals. Can’t buy test experience and as good as the young guys are I think we need some older heads in clutch positions. White/JOC/Toomua is a pretty darn good 9/10/12 – no combinations mind you as they’re spread across clubs. Get that PONI site up and running Hoss and send the URL to Rennie and while you’re at it.

  • idiot savant

    I bloody love the way the Tahs play rugby. They are the most dynamic attacking side in rugby au by a large margin. The speed with which they clear the ball from rucks is great to watch. They can make 30 or 40 metres in 3 or 4 phases in the blink of an eye. Really good clean outs and Gordon is very quick to gather and pass.

    Lomani on the other hand is as slow as a wet week. The Tahs got away with a fair bit of illegal ball slowing (lying on other players and hands on the ball and side entry) but even so. By the time the first receiver got the ball the Tah defence was all over them. Surely Tuttle starts next week.

    Without Toomua the Tahs would’ve flogged the Rebels. He is the only creative back they have and boy he was good last night. Im not convinced he shouldn’t go back to 10. Deegan is a good kicker so good in the wet but he can’t vary his depth or take the line on and offload like Toomua. The Rebels look less likely with ball in hand with Deegan at 10.

    • Adrian

      100% agree idiot, re Tahs.
      Great speed of passing, and the handling is at times mesmerising

  • Adrian

    A good game, and Tahs slightly better than the bookmakers said (received 2.5 pts start), but not quite where they needed to be. They needed a bonus point, and plenty more to lock in a better points differential

  • Tim

    Watching that game leaves me scratching my head as to why some many of the tahs got picked in the PONIS squad. Hooper played well but he is giving away alot of pens now. That ref was so bad.

Melbourne Rebels

More in Melbourne Rebels