With not one friggen Aussie side in the semi’s, the 2009 Super 14 is now dead to me. However, before we assign the this year’s comp to the garbo of history, I wanted to have a think about how we should view it for each of the Aussie teams now left with only BBQ footy until next month.
To help, I’ve put together a little table (below) that shows how each of the teams have done compared to 2008:
|Team||’09 Place (wins)||’08 Place (wins)||’09 Points (BPs)||’08 Points (BPs)||’09 For/ Against (Diff)||’08 Points Diff|
|Waratahs||5th (9)||2nd (9)||41 (5)||43 (5)||241/212 (+29)||255/186 (+69)|
|Brumbies||7th (8)||9th (6)||38 (6)||30 (6)||311/305 (+6)||277/317 (-40)|
|Force||8th (6)||8th (7)||36 (10)||33 (5)||328/275 (+53)||247/278 (-31)|
|Reds||13th (3)||12th (3)||19 (7)||18 (4)||258/380 (-122)||258/323 (-65)|
In the final last year, and not even the semi this, on the face of things, 2009’s been a big comedown for the Tahs. Underneath that, the real difference was just one draw in 2008, which scooped the Tahs the 2 points that put them in the top four.
Against a backdrop of losing Elsom and Vickerman and bringing in a whole new coaching set up, I suspect those at the top of NSWRFU might’nt be too despondent about where they’ve netted out. However, the Tahs attack has been excrutiating to watch up until the valiant rear-guard in South Africa when the musical chairs finally stopped.
||Foley and pack top of class, rest must try harder||B-|
Both on the table and the paddock, the Brumbies have been the big improvers of 2009. Friend et al. have done a great job to get this uplift within year 1 and perhaps the biggest reward from it is the luring of arguably the best 10 in world rugby; Matt Giteau. Just as importantly, what was a soft pack last year, has substantially hardened.
Despite, or perhaps owing to, the tragic death of Shawn McKay, the Brumbies managed to come back strongly at the end of the season, even with a rag-tag backline as well as injuries and suspensions in the forwards. You have the sense of a new dynasty being built in ACT and 2010 should be its dawning.
||Great improvements need building upon with consistency
Another inexplicable season from the Force. No other Aussie team has the ability to play such supreme attacking rugby in one half, and then go completely missing the next. More’s the pity because 2009 was surely their last realistic shot at the semi’s for a good while, having lost their star signing and points orchestrator, Giteau.
Whether it’s the round ground, bipolar kiwi coach or “cowboys” at the top it’s hard to know, but none of those problems look like they’re getting solved any time soon, which leaves some of Australia’s brightest young stars – Pocock, Cummins and O’Connor (for now) – out on a limb next year.
||A final great opportunity wasted?
I’ll let Juan or Noddy give you the impassioned insiders view, but here’s my 2 cents.
If you had to drag a team up by its bootstraps, would you:
a) work up a solid forwards-based foundation to grind out the wins and build upon for years to come
b) play highest risk ‘fling it about’ rugby with a bunch of teenagers and Quade Cooper as your lynch-pin?
If you choose (b) then you probably shouldn’t be shocked to win only 3 games, come second last and have a for/against difference of -122 (worse, by the way, than 2008).
Cue talk of building for the future…..
||Can’t talk your way out of those stats
Talk all we want about lack of depth, promising young talent, coaching changes yadda yadda – at the end of the day we had precisely ZERO teams in the fucking finals, and this was the year when all the Saffa and Kiwi talent was supposed to be off coining Euros. Not good.
While I’ve got reservations about the Brumbies sucking up an undue amount of talent, I’m coming to the opinion that having a full Wallabies team in Super 14 clothing is about our only frigging chance of returning some world order. Bring it on.