Super Rugby

The Tuesday Top 5

The Tuesday Top 5

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

The Good – More than good actually. I know this has been written about a lot in the past 5 days, but it was so good to see Amy Perret given the whistle for the match on Friday night. The way she handled the game was great, she certainly wasn’t afraid to tell the players off and lay down the law.

The Bad – This is one that annoys me on a regular basis. Advantage. In particular when there are multiple calls of advantage in the one area. A prime example, on Saturday night when the Waratahs were attacking in the 22, there were at least 3 or 4 calls of advantage for penalties committed by the Rebels. Then the Waratahs scored the try so there was actually no penalty registered against the Rebels, despite 3 or 4 clear infringements. Now in some cases it is as though those infringements never happened, as there was no penalty called and a try was scored so the infringements didn’t really matter anyway, right? We see it happen so often. But on Saturday the ref actually did make note of the infringements and counted them in when discussing the penalty count with Toomua. I thought this was a good move and something I wish we saw more of.

I’m gong to throw an extra one here in the bad … and I am pretty surprised I haven’t seen more Waratahs fans mention this as it impacted the result of the match on Saturday. This picture was from the lead up to the Rebels try at the 70-minute mark.

Meakes out before try

The ball was thrown back infield and a couple of phases later a try was scored. Because a couple of phases had passed, the TMO had no right to rule on it, but I’m still not sure how Gardner missed it. Even from behind he would have seen that Meakes was out, it’s not like he just grazed the line, it was pretty substantial. It gave the Rebels 5 points they shouldn’t have had, which in turn gave them the bonus point they needed to make it easier for them to knock the Tahs out this weekend.

The Ugly – Yet more questions about refereeing, I thought that a shoulder to the head was a pretty clear cause for a red card. Yellow at minimum. So when Swinton got nothing but a penalty called, I thought he could consider himself very lucky. There can’t be much argument that it didn’t make contact with the head, the player he hit had to go off for an HIA!

Interesting numbers

This week when I was trawling through all things Rugby in search of things that happened over the weekend that were worthy of putting in the Top 5, I decided to take a look at some of the stats from Super Rugby AU. I did this a few weeks ago and thought I’d have another look.

Here’s what I found.

The bonus point that the Rebels got on Saturday was their first of the season. That shows that they are either winning in close matches, or maybe kicking penalties in their bigger wins, and that their losses are usually by more than 7. And also on the Rebels, while they might be able to make their first finals appearance in their history, they still won’t be able to crack a winning percentage for the season (not counting finals in this). If they win this weekend they will finish on 4 wins out of 8 games, with a draw and 3 losses. Going back to the Super Rugby season at the beginning of the year they were on 3 wins and 3 losses. It will, however, be the first time they win more games than they have lost.

The Waratahs are well out in front on penalties conceded with 99. Sadly, it looks like they won’t crack the century. The Brumbies are in 2nd with 82 while the Reds and Rebels both have 81, so with a good weekend showing any one of those teams could take the lead!

The Brumbies defence has been outstanding, with 94 tackles missed and 928 made.

James O’Connor features heavily in the individual stats. He is topping the kicks from hand, offloads, assists and turnovers conceded.

Andy Muirhead is still 5th in turnovers won, behind McReight, Wright, Hooper and Hardwick. Not too bad for a winger.

And possible the most interesting stat, try assists. James O’Conner leads with 8 followed by Tate McDermott with 4. The next 3 players are all from the Brumbies and all with 3 try assists. Kuenzle, Simone and White. Remember, Nic White has only played 2 matches off the bench, so it’s probably fair to say he is having a positive impact.

Nic White Brumbies Cheetahs 040415-4

Jersey controversy

I’m sure you all saw in the news over recent weeks the trouble that the AFL was having with putting the Aboriginal flag on their indigenous jerseys in their recent Sir Doug Nicholls round. Well for those of you who aren’t up to speed, a company called WAM clothing hold the copyright to the Aboriginal flag. It’s a long story so the simple version is an Aboriginal man, Harold Thomas, designed the flag in 1971. Thomas granted WAM clothing the exclusive copyright to the use of the flag and is paid royalties for every piece of clothing the company sell.

Well now the issue has hit Rugby AU. Remember the amazing Indigenous jersey we all loved? It was/is one of the highest selling Wallaby jerseys produced and according to the SMH, WAM clothing have requested 20% of sales for the use of the flag on the jersey, which considering how popular it is, could amount to a 7-figure sum. Because of this, the 2020 Indigenous jersey will not feature the Aboriginal flag.

Meanwhile, Canterbury Clothing have issued an apology for what could be described as a rather poorly thought through marketing strategy. A couple of weeks ago saw the launch of Ireland’s men’s and women’s jerseys. Can you spot what people may have had an issue with?

Ireland Jersey models

On the right, 3 actual rugby players wearing the jersey. On the left … 3 models. It drew widespread criticism from women rugby players and supporters who would much rather see actual women players modelling the jerseys. In their apology, Canterbury said they had superimposed the images on to a model and always had the intention of using actual women players in the new jersey.

A 10, a 10, my Kingdom for a 10.

I think that is pretty much where we were all at for the last couple of years. Bernard Foley had the 10 jersey well and truly locked up, with only the occasional cameo from an understudy in his place. Since around 2014 we have wondered if there was another 10 out there, and then when Foley announced he was leaving it became a question of do we have any 10’s??? People naturally turned to the familiar names of Toomua and O’Conner, but in the early rounds of Super Rugby they weer almost anonymous. Instead all the talk was around Harrison and Lolesio. So we went from having 2 possibles to 4 players who all look good enough to fight it out. Add in Kuenzle, who is currently making the most of his opportunity, and we are in a situation I don’t think anyone imagined we would be in this time 12 months ago. One of the (very few) positive surprises 2020 has thrown up at us.

So if we do manage to get some international rugby in this year, who will it be? Personally I believe Toomua is playing better at 12 than he was at 10. So do we go with an older head in O’Conner or throw one of the young guns into the fray? If we needed a goal kicker on the field I would go for Harrison, he is phenomenal off the tee. Before he was injured, Lolesio looked to manage things around the park a bit better and I am looking forward to seeing how he combines with White. O’Conner seems to be the more steady, reliable one, who still has that hint of the elusive ‘x-factor’. Whichever way we go, if we can hold onto and continue to develop these young guys I don’t think we will need to be concerned about having a quality 10 for quite a few years.

Will Harrison dives for the line Waratahs v Rebels Super Rugby 2020 (Credit - Keith McInnes Photography)

Highlights

So many cracking tries again this round!

I do like that at the beginning of this video you can see some fans who appear to have made Waratahs masks!

Super Rugby

Brumbies first, then for the love of the game. "It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I'm right." —Moliere

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