{{notification.title}}

{{notification.message}} {{notification.action}}

BATTLING BLUES BUST CHIEFS!

Back

BATTLING BLUES BUST CHIEFS!

BATTLING BLUES BUST CHIEFS!

Blues_Chiefs_May1819_primary
New Zealand Power Rankings
 
1) Crusaders: Come home from South Africa with a healthy lead after a win and a draw. It probably should have been two wins, but they were denied in Cape Town by TMO Marius Jonkers almost triumphant interpretation of what is a forward pass. Still yet to put a full strength team on the park.
 
2) Blues: Get a generous upgrade because they were the only New Zealand team to win at the weekend. At last turned enough opportunities into tries to get a bonus point win, but still face an uphill task to make the cut for the playoffs.
 
3) Highlanders: Beaten by the better team in Johannesburg, missing too many tackles. True, they did get the hard, dry end of the biltong, conceding 12 penalties to three, but a quick look at the recent penalty counts against visiting overseas team at Ellis Park should have served as a warning.
 
4) Hurricanes: Off key performance against a fired up and physical Jaguares side. The direction of Beauden Barrett was sorely missed and for once they were beaten at the breakdown where Ardie Savea can’t do it all himself. A bye this week and then a trip to South Africa means the home quarter final isn’t quite in the bag yet.
 
5) Chiefs: Left Eden Park in a grumpy mood after copping what they felt were some rough calls by Glen Jackson. Their admirable courage in the face of a crippling injury count has served them well, but was only going to win them so many games. The Reds in Hamilton this week provide a chance to get back into winning form but they are on the brink of elimination.
 
South African Conference
 
A great weekend for the lot of them, with the Bulls, Jaguares, Lions and Stormers all winning, and the Sharks maintaining their spot in the top eight  despite a bye. 
 
No question, the slimming down of the South African group has been an unqualified success with all 5 teams very much in contention, and it would be churlish to pour cold water on their achievement.
 
However, it is a little hard to ignore the 43-6 penalty count that local refs have awarded the Lions against their last three overseas opponents, or the errant forward pass calls that cost the Waratahs and Crusaders over the past two weeks.
 
To be fair, the Jaguares were hard done by in Dunedin too, but showed great resolve to bounce back in Wellington, and give themselves a real shot now at topping the group and earning home advantage.
 
That would be some achievement, given how tough the group is, but it should be well within the capabilities of what is, after all, a test strength side.
 
Australia
 
A rousing Reds Waratahs derby, one that actually lived up to expectation, did little to dull the chronic pain that Aussie rugby is feeling right now.
 
The Israel Folau saga has becoming an oozing wound, feasted on by a media who can’t wait to report Anthony Mundine’s divisive rants, and the musket shots fired by old school types like Alan Jones and Bob Dwyer, all of whom have an agenda of some sort.  
 
And then, just as some sort of finality is looming, Waratahs’ hooker Tolu Latu gets found asleep at the wheel, 4-30 am, two days before the Reds match.
 
Some may take delight at the mess that Aussie Rugby is in, but really, what is not good for rugby in Oz, is really not good for the game in this part of the world full stop.
 
Things aren’t a lot better on the field, with the Rebels bashed up by the Bulls, and the Brumbies able to stay narrowly ahead without playing.
 
Five Star Performers
 
1) Pablo Matera: Probably the best number 6 in the world right now. Into everything in Wellington, and a major influence on the outcome.
 
2) Rosco Specman: South African might have found themselves a new Bryan Habana here, hopefully one who won’t have to spend his entire career chasing  kicks and sweating on intercepts.
 
3) Caleb Clarke: Came out of school ranks with a rep for his speed and strength, but is showing a really good all round game that could take him a long way.
 
4) Braydon Ennor: Real impact after coming on for Ryan Crotty in Cape Town, making some powerful runs, showing a great fend and then delivering a perfect pass to Sevu Reece for…..oh that’s right.
 
5) Samu Kerevi: It is a terrible shame for Queensland and Australia that he is leaving. Too often used in the past by coaches in the bash and barge role, he is so much more than that, as exemplified in his brilliant offload to set up Jock Campbell in Brisbane.