Hey Cobbers. And welcome ye all to the week 27 instalment of the Chewsday Chew.
For those foolish enough to tune in to this Bat channel at this Bat time each week, herein lies this week’s update to Nutta’s Rugby Championship ‘Team of the Tourny’. For those not so foolish as to show up each week, read the previous line.
Forgive me if it seems cowardly, but this week I’m staying away from doing a game review of the two matches, as it will be nigh impossible to do so without expressing opinions on refereeing, malicious clean outs, submarines, Green Peace, harbour bombings and other associated palaver. Enough has and is being said elsewhere on those topics and frankly, I don’t have the space, time or expertise to add to the discussion.
What I will say is that both the Nearly All Blacks and the Catholics (Saffas – who play like they hate the pill) very nearly let the Falkland Island Silver Medallists and the Wobblies steal games that should have been well in the bag.
The Wobblies did what they do: started poorly, shuffled aimlessly about and then randomly decided to play some rugby with a fightback that was truly something. They then blew it late in the game. Meanwhile, the Darkness did their regular thing of not doing too much, just piling on pressure and waiting for a crack to pile into, which they did. They took their chances, rode the ref and so took the choccies.
So be clear the Wobblies lost that game more than the Darkness won it. But either way, the Darkness won. Congratulations to them. But to be frank, that’s what Australia does. That’s why I call them the Wobblies. And further, not too long ago, if folk were telling me the Wobbs would only lose to the Darkness by 2pts, I would probably have gladly taken the offer. Please don’t think that means I am happy. But I am weathered enough to not be shocked.
For the Argies and the Catholics it was brutally simple: after a couple of massive games, the Saffas weren’t executing precisely well so the Argies managed to stay in the fight. And their cavalry, led by the ever-spritely Agustine Creevy, damn near took the day.
So all four teams have hard lessons to learn out of that should they choose to.
Going back to the matter at hand, to explain or refresh depending on your level of exposure, throughout the duration of this year’s annual southern tier one tete-a-tete, I have been selecting a ‘team of the week’ and then agglomerating that into a running ‘team of the tourny’ based on a sliding scale of points awarded to the player adjudged (by me) as the best player in that jersey number for that week.
To be clear on those last two points;
The Nutta patented sliding scale is as follows:
I think the comments are pretty self-explanatory and only add that the Player of the Round is invariably already a 5 and the extra point takes them to 6pts for that week and over the length of the tournament, it’s those bonus points that are establishing the dominance of Siya Kolesi and Malcolm Marx.
Jersey number; I am applying a process of comparing jersey v jersey. So it’s the guy in No13 against No13 and THP against THP. This approach respects the skills of the position. However, it does have some challenges and can cause some inconsistencies especially with front-rowers given player resting and rotation. But, I feel it’s the fairest way of keeping the selection objective and position specific.
The Team Sheets for Week5 were:
And from the performances I made the following selections for Team of the Week;
Fronties – No starting loosehead really stood up enough to displace the combined impact of Kitshoff (3) with Marx and Herby who were both huge (5). So it’s an all-Catholic front row.
Locks – Brodie Retallick had a storming return to the Blackness for a 5 and frankly, it would’ve been easy to select Whitelock alongside him both on his own showing but also in tandem. However, Lavanini was simply so strong for the Grandes Aterradores as to be undeniable for a 5 as well.
Loosies – Pistol Pete Samu was the most hardly unsurprising ‘revelation’ in no7 and earned my extra point for the 6pts, while BobbyV continued to punch hard from the front and edge out some other very strong No8 performers this week, thus the 4 because the average bear was so good. And yet again, Kolisi forced his way into the No6 for 5pts despite a very strong showing from JMGS.
Halves – The halves were a little tricky for me, but I went with Jimmy Hendrikse and Richie Mo’unga based on individual games of control and accuracy, although they only got 4s to recognise that it does get easier behind a dominant pack.
Centres – Foketi had a belter of a match for mine, enough to hold off a relatively one dimensional de Allande, in being a rock of reliability in a raggedly lot for the Wobbs. Jesse Kriel put nary a foot wrong for the Catholics at No13 while Sticky Icky surprisingly had an uncommonly forgetful performance.
Back3 – The Argy pair of Cinti and Boffelli were the strongest wingers pairing I felt but No15 had to go to Jordie Barrett for a very solid day at the office.
Replacements – The Argy reserve front-row were massive when they joined the fray, as were Bruni and Moroni. Beaudy Barrett had an equally big shift to his bros while Louw brought physicality and Tyrian deTwerp was quite dangerous at whatever he did. It’s interesting to watch opponents anxiety levels visibly elevate whenever the wee man comes near.
As such, the Team of the Week looks like this:
And when merged into the results to date, the current Team of the Tourny after week 5 (of 6) is:
Note that Creevy was included at No16 as Marx owned No16 as well as No2 and can’t be in two places at once no matter how good he is. So I took the next in line for No16 which was Creevy. Siya Kolisi continues to dominate and must be team captain. The spots most up for challenge in the final week upcoming will be No1, 9, 16, 19 & 20 although the incumbents may own them if they both retain the jersey number and have a strong game. We’ll see. Surprisingly, Mostert and Akira Ioane managed to survive in their respective jerseys based off others getting moved about so much while Kwagga can’t seem to get a run at all and the world’s best fullback (Willie le Roux) can’t break out of No23.
Anyway, ‘There she blows me hearties!’ heading into the final round, so get onboard down below and tell me why I’m wrong…