TJ'S Super Rugby Wrap Sheet
TJ'S Super Rugby Wrap Sheet
TJ'S Super Rugby Wrap Sheet
Super Rugby Wrap Sheet
New Zealand Power Rankings
1) Crusaders : Get the gong because they were on a short turnaround and a six hour time shift after their game in Johannesburg, defended for extended periods and took pretty much all of their scoring chances against the Jaguares. Nine points on the road is a good return, although the bye will cost them the NZ conference lead this week.
2) Hurricanes: Because when you lose your star first-five before the game and your star halfback during the game and you don’t play very well against a pretty good side and you’re losing with time up and you still find a way to win…….
3) Chiefs: Against a Blues team that was a lot better than pretty much everyone expected, they had to fight tooth and nail for it. Got the job done by squeezing the Blues up in their own half for almost the entire second half.
4) Highlanders. DNP
5) Blues: Much as they gave it their all, they just didn’t know how to get out of their own half, and appear stuck in a rut of not being able to do the right thing in the big moments.
Five Star Performers
1) Manasa Mataele : Not just his finishing, not just his busting the line, not just the way he got Mike Delany out of a hole after his Keystone Cops cross kick…just look at the way he instinctively set up Mitch Hunt for his try…the way he held the ball, darted infield and passed at exactly the right moment. He’s brilliant. Has to start from now on, surely.
2) Madosh Tambwe: It looks like the Democratic Republic of Congo (previously known as Belgian Congo, Republic of Congo, and Zaire) has its first rugby superstar. OK, so the flying Lions winger learned the game in Johannesburg and will doubtless play for South Africa, but it’s a good yarn. Every journo is hoping someone else will be able to find out if his hat trick inside 13 minutes is some sort of record.
3) David Pocock: Has just picked up where he left off. Cue the debate over who should wear the Wallaby number seven, and maybe even captain the side. No brainer IMO.
4) Ihaia West. Because sometimes when you’re not having a great night you just have to keep trying things until something comes off, and who knows you might just lay on the try that gives you the chance to kick the goal that wins the game.
5) Angus Ta’avao : Path blocked at the Blues, scapegoat for an underachieving Waratahs side, pitches up when the Chiefs lose five props, rolls up his sleeves, says “I’ll do that” and starts playing the best rugby of his life.
The Rebels lead is starting to get swallowed up, and they now have just one point on the Waratahs who played bully against the Sunwolves, and the Brumbies, whose return to competitive form has coincided with the return of Pocock. The Reds are slipping and will eye this weeks clash with the ‘Tahs as a potential cross roads.
South African Conference :
Not one of the South African teams has won more than two of their last five games, and if their inconsistency continues at this rate they will battle to get more than one team in the playoffs. The Stormers are probably the worst example of a team with plenty of power and enough talent, but just cannot put any sort of run together.
The Lions will probably win the group, although they have a very tough road trip just around the corner.
Ref Watch :
Sharks fans, and the SA media were crying foul after the heavy penalty count in Napier, and perhaps, just perhaps, they had a case…but they’re unlikely to get much sympathy from New Zealand fans given some of the home town calls and selective use of TV evidence in the Republic so far this year.
Home town advantage cuts every which way. It is a harsh reality of sport, even if there is no reason why it should be, and it seems you just have to take your lumps.
Elsewhere The Reds were denied a Samu Kerevi try because Ben O’Keefe called a knock on when replays showed it was a Brumbies knock back. Had there been no TMO available it would have been a forgivable error, but to choose not to check was a bad error of judgment.
Izzy Right or Izzy Wrong?
People have a right to express their opinions about religion, gender, sexual orientation, politics, whatever….but it is naive, and maybe even a bit pig headed to do so without expecting some sort of backlash, and when voicing your opinion causes unrest, and when it might just be outside the boundaries of you contract, then you are playing a dangerous game.
You do have to wonder just how much thought Israel Folau has given to the fact that one of his Wallaby team-mates David Pocock, also a devout Christian, is a staunch supporter of same sex marriage, and that at least couple of prominent figures in the refereeing business are gay.
Pocock is far too mature to allow it to be an issue, and it’s hard to imagine Nigel Owens, for example, allowing Folau’s views to influence his decision making, but there is scope for this to turn from smoke to fire and not before time, Folau has been called to HQ for a chat.
Catch TJ with Rugby Nation for all the high points of the weekends action. Sundays 4-30pm on Prime with updated replays on SKY Sport
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