Hello and welcome, G&GRs and friends, to another Monday News!
Somehow, we’ve made it pretty much to the halfway point of the Super Season. All teams have now played eight games (poor Moana having played four games in what seems like a fortnight) and we have a gist of how and where the teams will approach the end of season.
There were some fucking cracking games this weekend! Gee whiz, talk about some amazing individual and team skills, too. What I really appreciated was the positive media representation of the Crusaders v Blues game…. which didn’t last long until “the refs ruined it for us” chorus for many of the other games. FFS.
- Super Rugby Round Nine
- Women’s Rugby
- Super Round
- Players in Australia
SUPER RUGBY ROUND NINE
Crusaders 23 – Blues 27 – What a fantastic start to the weekend this was. If you haven’t had the fortune of escaping your better half’s piercing death stare, I would 100% recommend finding a nice, quiet spot with your choice of beverage and snack for 80-odd minutes of rugby-viewing pleasure. Legit, I have no words. I doubt even Hoss will have an appropriate array of superlatives for this. Gem of a match (and the Saders lost mwahaha!).
I hope Thomas Banks, Esq. gets a good view try-saving tackle during his recovery. What an effort from the Blues lads here:
Rebels 32 – Reds 36 – Somehow, after a dismal first 20 mins or so, this turned into a bloody good match to watch as well. The ending was certainly dramatic enough! The Reds really have to stop giving teams (bar the Brumbies it seems… selfish pricks) easy points and letting them back into games. The Kiwi teams will run amok if they continue this trend. Jordy Petaia appears to be injured again (i.e. continues to be a liability) and the Rebels will rue the missed opportunity to steal a win; however, they are finally starting to resemble a rugger team. The Reds themselves will be filthy to squander an opportunity for a bonus point.
Chiefs 45 v Moana Pasifika 12 – The brutal toll of both the introduction to Super Rugby and a horror fortnight of rescheduling has shown Moana Pasifika exactly how brutal this competition can be. Fortunately, there is no trip to the DDFs or FISMs this year! The Chiefs, after scoring a grand total of zero last weekend, were eager to ensure they scored a bonus point win… and that they did! Not really too much more to say tbh.
Highlanders 21 – Hurricanes 22 – Another thrilling encounter across the ditch with the Canes holding on against the Highlanders. The Highlanders will rue some missed opportunities as well as an overeager finish to go down by one. Despite the Highlanders down a man for 20 minutes after a glass of vino was earned by Josh Dickson, the Hurricanes simply couldn’t put the buggers from down south away. They burned themselves with two tries going begging plus myraid other errors. Credit where it’s due for hanging in there too, Landers!
Contrary to Justin Marshall, I personally found no conclusive evidence that the ball had been grounded in-goal by the Highlanders. There certainly was not enough to overturn an on-field ‘no try’ either. Well done to Angus Mabey on debut!
Force 24 – Waratahs 41 – The Force will soon be wondering where their season went, after plunging to yet another loss this season. What is obvious here is that the Force simply do not have a whole squad ready to play an entire competition. Well played to the Tahs who absolutely blew the Force away in the first 20 minutes or so. Their challenge will be to keep that intensity up for the full 80 minutes against the Kiwi sides. With ‘Gooper’ (Hamble, Hooble, Charper… whatever), Charlie Gamble and Michael Hooper, they definitely have some blokes with proverbial ants in their pants! They are another side who may well rue the loss of a bonus point come the pointy end of the season.
For those wondering, Gus Gardner made the correct call re Mark N’s knock-on at the death. Mark lost control of the ball so any action after that moment is irrelevant.
Well, folks, it’s on! Although cynical about all things rugby league, this will be an interesting concept to hit rugby. Hopefully, the games are well supported or rugby will look absolutely foolish (again). I’ll be both in the crowd and acting as assistant TMO for the Super W GF and the Blues v Drua for my sins. Ha!
Again, being ridiculously cynical, I do wonder if some of the bleating from the Kiwi sides about perceived referee performances and ‘rub of the green’ is some form of mind fucking ahead of the matches against Australian sides. Indeed, the referees are all meeting in Melbourne from early-ish this week to have a mid-season camp and review/prep session or two. While definitely not going nuclear like the NRL did last season with their Magic Round, I would expect that teams may well get a notice to sort their shit out (and hopefully, to quit your bitching) in order for the weekend to be the spectacle it has to be. The media have to do their part, too.
In terms of the match-ups, my tips are below:
Waratahs v Chiefs – the Tahs to get a schooling in the intensity they need for a full 80. They won’t be embarrassed at the end of the match; however, they will get beaten in the last 20. The Chiefs (let alone any Kiwi side) will not want to be the ‘team that lets the country down’ against Aussie. Chiefs by 12.
Moana Pasifika v Force – The Force will be hoping to have their full contingent back as they have a genuine chance to beat Moana. As we know, the newcomers have had a season from hell regarding scheduling. A full week off, albeit with a hop, skip and a jump over the ditch, will do them the world of good. Moana are definitely a better team than the Kiwi sides and the schedule are making them out to be. I think this could well be a close game… I’m going with the Force by three purely due to Moana’s heavy previous fortnight.
Fijiana v Waratahs Women- The Fijian Women will be all over the Tahs. I doubt we’ll see the trouncing that occurred a few weeks ago because of finals nerves; however, the Fijians will be too strong and will win by 15. Fantastic to see the women’s game get the visibility it deserves. It’s a 2pm kick-off for those watching on Stan! Another good reason to avoid those DIY jobs…
Blues v Fijian Drua – A bye week for the Drua came at the right time. It allows the players to rest and reset after a hectic start to their Super status. Unfortunately, they come up against the Blues who are showing exactly why they are a favourite. Anything can still happen with the Drua (and I’m expecting a lot of big hits) but the Blues ought to be too strong. Blues by 20.
Hurricanes v Reds – This is potentially the match of the weekend. At the very least, it’s a litmus test of what Australian rugby can show against a quality side. I can see a fierce forwards battle; however, it will come down to the flair and finesse of the backs. Reds by two.
Brumbies v Highlanders – The Highlanders will be filthy with their result against the Canes, both with themselves and at perceived injustices. The Ponies are coming off a valuable weekend off and have managed to rotate their squad to provide extended rest as well as opportunity for their young lads. Brumbies by five. Ought to be a cracker, too.
Crusaders v Rebels – Although the Rebels, somehow, have a decent history against the Saders, I don’t see them getting close this weekend. The Saders are too well-drilled and confident, despite a narrow loss to the Blues. They’ll be smarting from that loss as well as looking to re-establish themselves. Saders by 25.
I am continually delighted by the progress of women’s rugby and dumbfounded at the complete ineptness Rugby Australia (and, apparently, Rugby NZ… their coach has now stood down) continues to show in this area. Granted, there seems to have been some conscious effort towards match reporting this season (Stan trying to get value for their money) and RA working towards getting their shit sorted towards a highly likely Women’s RWC 2029 in Australia. I appreciate things take time; however, until we see scenes close to this below, we’re cooked:
SEVENS SERIES – VANCOUVER
Check in here to get lives scores and updates. Most of the finals will be on in the wee hours so I won’t be able to update them until Monday PM (driving back to Melbourne on Monday).
Day One highlights are below:
PLAYERS IN AUSTRALIA
In a curious SMH article, Paul Cully writes that the Tahs have to hold on to their third string flyhalf, Tane Edmed. It is this selfish notion that continually fucks up the development of talent in Australia. If Tane stays the third string option, then he’ll be lost to Aussie rugger in two years time. He won’t want to stick around riding the pine and playing Shute behind the other two lads. It’s a complete waste of talent. Ironically, if NSW did keep him on, I’d say they are the ones who can’t work with RA (lol… NSWRU and RA are probs the same fuckers in suits). Ideally, he (or Donaldson/Harrison… whichever) finds a new AUSTRALIAN home. Similarly to how RA and the Force/Brums have managed Fruitcake Fainga’a, Esq., there must be a way to get the players of now into Aussie teams, especially with a lack of a NRC or similar that can enable their development and get them minutes thus increasing depth. The Australia ‘A’ concept is good; however, this ought to be a side selected from both fringe Wallabies and the best of the rest.
Well, folks. Happy Monday. Here’s to a top weekend of rugger ahead!