This weeks Tuesday Top 5 has us talking weather, Sevens and everybody’s favourite … a falcon.
Round 3 Report Card
Brumbies C Poor game for a second week running, struggling to execute against a determined Force but still getting the wins even if they are ugly. The Africa trip is an important one to show they are the real deal and not let the past history of good season starts then a drop off in form haunt them.
Force B+ Finally carried out on their threat to play rugby, and running rugby at that! The Blue Army will have renewed hope after a good swing against the Brumbies. The loss of Jonno Lance will be a big blow to their aspirations.
Rebels C Coach killing material; One week they can’t start the game, the next they can’t finish. This week they managed to hold on for arguably a lucky win. Tony McGahn will be a nervous coach as they arrive in Tokyo knowing that a lapse from the Rebels could end up with them being the Sunwolves first prey.
Reds B Finally showed they can play a bit and put in a respectable performance. Still looking lost across the park but have given the Reds supporters hope. The questions of how much of this week’s performance was based on emotion and how the double-headed coach works will take a couple of weeks to be answered.
Waratahs C First time in several weeks that the Tahs scrum didn’t go backwards, and the discipline was good with no Yellow cards this week.
Keeping your head in the game
With Jono Lance set to spend an extended period on the sideline he has resorted to some unashamed self-promotion to make sure he is not forgotten.
Paul Cully’s team of the week raised some interesting selections.
Silatolu Latu can consider himself unluckily missing out on the Hooker spot.
The Reds have taken an interesting approach to their club history on their website. Having a look at their team stats for 2014 and 2015…….oh wait….
It appears that 2014 and 2015 have been banished from history.
We have heard about the amount of travel teams will have to now endure as part of the Super 18 format. Another interesting factor that has come to light is the climate changes that teams experience week to week.
On the weekend the Sunwolves played in the 33° high humidity of Singapore on Saturday, while back in Tokyo fans were feeling the chill of 8°. This contrast may have been a contributing factor late in the game with many of the Sunwolves players appearing to be suffering with cramps.
The Rebels have experienced the 35º Pretoria, to 25º of Melbourne and will be flying in a chilly mid-week temperature of 12º in Tokyo with game day expected to be wet and 19º. With the combination of the travel and differing climates, the recovery and preparation of the players will be tested.
Game day conditions are a critical factor to consider in preparing teams and a difficult task with such varying climates week to week. It will be interesting to see the effects on teams and game results as the season progresses.
Imports and Exports
3 rounds in and it’s time to have a look at how some of our imports (and exports) are travelling.
Ayumu Goromaru (Japan, playing for the Reds): So far “Goro” has failed to live up to the hype of his signing. With a start off the bench, a start at 15 and not making the field in round 3 he has had little impact on the field, kicking 3 penalties and a conversion so far this season. I know it’s early days, but does anyone know if I can get a partial refund on my Goromaru membership ……
Peter Grant (South Africa, playing for the Force): When Grant was announced as a Force signing there were mixed feelings from fans about whether he was a good investment, with his “boring” style of play rather than signing a 10 with flair. With the injury to Lance they are hoping out west that the answer is yes. Coming off the bench in 2 matches he hasn’t really done enough to show either way yet.
Tomas Cubelli (Argentina, playing for the Brumbies): Cubelli has made a fairly seamless transition (including earing his first yellow!) into the Brumbies backline. His poor box kicking during the Brumbies v Waratahs match has been one of the few negatives so far, perhaps because he is still adjusting to the pace of the game and the pressure placed on him by a quick Tahs defence. He has a pass that appears to suit playmakers Lealiifano and Toomua and a dangerous step and run.
Hendrik Tui (Japan, playing for the Reds): Tui has been one of the players that has stood out for the Reds. He tackles hard, is often annoying at the breakdown and has been making some good metres with ball in hand. He had good stats in both attack and defence, with the number of missed tackles being the only concern.
Ed Quirk (Australia, playing for the Sunwolves): Quirk has stood out as a key player in the 2 matches for the Sunwolves. He goes in hard at the breakdown and has been successful in creating a number of turnovers. He appears to be reinvigorated and enjoying himself, another player the Reds must be kicking themselves over letting go.
Vancouver Sevens Wrap
New Zealand has taken out the inaugural Vancouver Sevens with a hard fought 19-14 win over South Africa in the final. This is New Zealand’s 3rd Cup win of the series, after wins in Sydney and Wellington.
Australia made the Cup semi-finals before going down 28-19 to the eventual winners, New Zealand. It is the first time in 13 years that Australia has made the Cup semis in 3 consecutive tournaments. South Africa beat Fiji in the other semi-final to set up the decider. In the play-off for 3rd place, Australia defeated Fiji 19-12.
Embed from Getty Images
The tournament has been deemed a huge success with more than 60,000 fans showing up over the course of the weekend. This event also marked the first sevens event to be played under a closed roof.
Samoa won the Plate, Canada won the Bowl and Russia took home the Shield.
Quade Cooper received mixed reviews for his time on the field, showing flair in attack but also making errors such as a knock-on which led to Fiji’s second try. He is showing he has the skills, but probably needs more time in the game if he wants to make it to Rio.
The next round of the series is the Hong Kong Sevens where the Honey Badger, Nick Cummins, is set to make his sevens debut.