Rugby

The Tuesday Top 5

The Tuesday Top 5

This week we grade our teams, pick apart the good, bad and ugly from the weekend, take a quick trip over to Europe, play another round of Reflotto and make ourselves feel a little better about Aussie rugby.

Report Card

Force F: As much as I hate to say it, the Force failed this week. Whether it was due to a long trip to South Africa and Argentina or just lack of basic skills, they were terrible. Unable to hold onto the ball, the last play of the match sums it up when the ball went straight from the hands of a Force player to a Highlanders player who went on to score. Passing, catching and not kicking the ball away are all things that need to be improved before next week.

Brumbies B-: They did very well to get the win, in South Africa, against a determined Kings side but the stats say they should have won by a much bigger margin. Majority of possession but unable to convert (where have we heard that before?). Their defence held tough, particularly in the second half. When they started throwing the ball around and taking chances they looked much more threatening.

Rebels D: They started ok and even with the huge loss of Hodge were completely in the match until 15 minutes to go. As we have seen so many times they just fell away and let the Waratahs run away with it. For too many missed tackles and dropped ball.

Waratahs C: Yes, they got a big win and put 50 points on the board, against a weak Rebels defence, but they didn’t really look like world beaters in doing so. They had a high number of missed tackles and turnovers, at times it looked like the ball was just being passed around between the 2 teams, waiting to see who would make the bigger mistake first. The Waratahs finally closed out the match, but again left it until the final quarter of the game. They will need to do much better in NZ next week. There were glimpses of brilliance from their Wallaby stars.

Reds A-: It looks like the Reds had a week that Michael Hooper would be proud of – they had a great week on the training paddock. Good enough anyway for 5 of them to be listed in Paul Cully’s team of the week.

Apparently, the team was from the previous week, printed by mistake.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Good: Another week, another win for an Aussie team on foreign soil. This time it was the Brumbies beating the favoured Kings in South Africa.

Bad: “Exasperated captain Michael Hooper confessed to being unable to control his ill-disciplined Waratahs …” (from abc.net.au and other various news sites)

This is at least the 2nd occasion that Michael Hooper has told the referee that his team aren’t following his instructions. This time it was “I’m trying my best but it’s over eagerness, mate” after being told to talk to his team about repeated infringements. Gardner had none of it and told him to talk to the team, which Hooper completely failed to do, returning to the defensive line without a word to them.

But it isn’t just Hooper … in the Kings v Brumbies match, after Jaco Peyper called for the TMO review of what would be a penalty try, we briefly saw Scott Fardy very animatedly telling captain Sam Carter to talk to the referee about TK being pulled back while trying to chase the Kings player (I’m sure we all remember a Wallaby try being disallowed for a similar offence v NZ). We then saw Carter listen to the referee but not seem to mention the possible offence, in fact I don’t think he said anything at all. This isn’t the first time Fardy has shown frustration at Carter’s lack of discussions with the referee.

Whether it captains not being able to control their team or not talking to the referee when needed, there seems to be some concern with the leadership in some sides.

Ugly: 2, -53, -117, -121, -270. Those are the numbers showing the points difference for the Aussie teams. Not pretty, is it?

European Finals Time

Over in Europe, it’s that time of year when their competitions are wrapping up.

Aviva Premiership

The semi-finals this week saw 2 really tight games, with Kurtley Beale’s Wasps just pipping the Matt O’Connor (yes, Reds reject coach Matt O’Conner) coached Leicester with a try in the 78th minute to win 21-20. Beale scored a try for Wasps, but went off with a hamstring injury that could see him miss the final next week. On the other side of the ledger, ex Rebels and Waratahs winger Peter Betham scored a try for Leicester.

The other match saw Dave Dennis starting at Lock for the Exeter Chiefs as they beat the more fancied Saracens, whose star-studded line-up consists of a number of British and Irish Lions squad members, 18-16. The Chiefs, like the Wasps, really left it to the last minute, with a 79th minute try stealing the win. The loss came at an even bigger cost for Billy Vunipola who has been ruled out of the Lions tour with a shoulder injury sustained in the match.

 

Guinness Pro 12

Despite losing Steff Evans to a Red Card for a tip tackle in the 37th minute, Scarlets still managed to hold off Leinster to win their semi-final 27-15. They will take on Munster in the final next weekend after they ran in 3 tries to nil in their 23-3 win over Ospreys.

Top 14

There were more Aussie’s abroad taking part in the French quarters over the weekend, with Nic White playing Montpellier’s loss to Racing 92 and Liam Gill, Drew Mitchell and James O’Connor helping Toulon defeat Steve Mafi’s Castres. The Top 14 semi-finals are on this coming weekend, with La Rochelle taking on Toulon and Clermont playing Racing 92.

Reflotto!

Some weeks the stars align and those whistle blowers pop up for some fantastic cameos that are just unmissable. We hear it so often about how the Laws are interpreted, but some weeks you have to ask was the interpretation used one of should I apply the law or not.

So this week’s Reflotto is multiple choice. See how you go compared to the whistle blowers, and remember if it’s not clear and compelling you just haven’t said the magic words enough!

Clear and compelling evidence of ball going forward … or not?

Maul time

Early tackle, yellow card and penalty try

Think you went ok? Well let’s see how you go with a very technical Law.

Law 15 – The tackle

A tackle occurs when the ball carrier is held by one or more opponents and is brought to ground.

15.3 Brought to the ground defined

(a)

If the ball carrier has one knee or both knees on the ground, that player has been ‘brought to ground’.

 

But alas, nothing really can top this one. You know it’s bad when the South African media is questioning the competence of their own referees.

This is a penalty only! W-T-F?

Try Time!

I thought we’d end on a positive not again this week and take a look at some of the tries scored by the Aussie teams.

Rugby

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

More in Rugby

  • Friday’s Rugby News.

    Welcome, greetings, salutations and a hearty ‘hello’ from the Ponderosa for another Friday’s Rugby News. Today, let’s...

  • Thursdays Rugby News 1/6/23

    Happy Thursday, comrades. This week with the help of our Tasmanian correspondent today’s news will be an...

  • Hump Day News

    Time to put last week’s disappointments behind us as we look forward to the weekend and dare...

  • The Chewsday Chew

    Hello Cobbers, I hope we’re feeling fighting fit, peachy keen and pumped for another week. As usual,...