Five talking points from Super Rugby Round 17

Charlie Lawry Roar Guru

By Charlie Lawry, Charlie Lawry is a Roar Guru

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    Super Rugby Round 17 is in the bag. Here are five talking points as we approach the pointy end of the season.

    1. There’s life in the Moon Dogs yet
    A second-half blitz by the Sunwolves helped them sign off their season in style against the Blues at Prince Chichibu Stadium.

    Japanese fans have been starved of highlights this year, but their team delivered an afternoon full of them. Down 14-21 at half-time, the home side found another gear, powering past the Kiwis to win 48-21.

    The Blues did themselves no favours with a number of errors, but it was the relentless Sunwolves pressure in sweltering heat that forced the turnovers. Yoshitaka Tokunaga’s miracle try at the end capped off a cracking result.

    It was the perfect tonic to many viewers’ late-season malaise. I say ‘viewers’; I meant ‘Australians’. Anyway, welcome to the conference.

    2. The Brumbies have no business hosting a final
    Maybe it’s unfair to make direct comparisons between the Brumbies and the Chiefs. Unfortunately, they played each other, so we have to. It was a stark contrast of ability in Hamilton on Saturday.

    The Brumbies tried to do the right thing, keeping the ball in hand, but found it tough to penetrate. Every time the Chiefs spread the ball, they found space. The passing and intuition of the Kiwis was always that much crisper.

    Led by Tawera Kerr-Barlow, the likes of James Lowe and Damian McKenzie had a field day. McKenzie alone threw three flick passes. A timely reminder that rugby can be fun.

    Meanwhile, the Brumbies look like little more than training fodder for the Hurricanes next week.

    3. The Crusaders are beatable
    Despite a raft of last-minute changes, the Hurricanes showed that the table-topping Crusaders are human after all, inflicting their first loss of the season.

    With Beauden Barrett and Vince Aso withdrawn in the hour before kick-off, the Crusaders dominated the early exchanges, racing to a 12-0 lead. Their trademark composure and winning instinct abandoned them soon after, however, as did the referee’s favour. Glen Jackson stung the Crusaders for 16 penalties compared to just seven against the home side.

    Despite the good vibes at Westpac Stadium, plenty of All Blacks fans will be asking why the wrong Barrett was kicking in the drawn third Test against the Lions. Jordie Barrett had a laser in his right boot all night ‒ five out of five mostly from the sideline.

    Ngani Laumape Wes Goosen Hurricanes Super Rugby Union 2017

    (AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford)

    4. Full-stop or ellipsis on the Force farce?
    There’s always a risk we appreciate things more when they’re on the verge of extinction. Fans in Perth have certainly found their voice in recent weeks as the season winds down.

    Yet in the face of contract ambiguity, the Force have made a serious case for survival. The scenes at nib Stadium as the Force trounced the Tahs 40-11 were something else. In pouring rain, the crowd rose as one to urge foundation player Matt Hodgson to kick a farewell penalty at the final whistle. You know he slotted it, too.

    Think on this. The Force finish 2017 with the same amount of wins as the Brumbies. One of them gets a home final. The other is being primed for the chop. However things plays out, the ARU has cooked it through its inaction.

    5. Waratahs fall off a cliff, into a ravine, over a waterfall…
    And CLANG into the bottom of the barrel. At least you’d really, really hope that’s the bottom.

    There’s nothing left to say about the Waratahs. They’ve gone from underachievers to laughing stock to abomination. The fans (…anyone?) don’t deserve the sludge that’s been served up in 2017.

    Daryl Gibson must need the money because anyone else would have resigned out of embarrassment. The lowly Sunwolves have conceded more than 80 points twice this season, yet even they finish with their heads held higher.

    Imagine being the biggest rugby franchise in the country and having to stick with your inept coach for another whole year because you can’t afford to pay out his contract.

    Burn it down. Start again.

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    The Crowd Says (157)

    • Roar Guru

      July 16th 2017 @ 3:16am
      biltongbek said | July 16th 2017 @ 3:16am | ! Report

      As I understand it the Brumbies are playing the Hurricanes and the Stormers are playing the Chiefs?

    • July 16th 2017 @ 3:46am
      Blue Horned Mike said | July 16th 2017 @ 3:46am | ! Report

      Here’s the lineups:
      Lions (Seed 1) vs Sharks (Seed 8)
      Crusaders (Seed 2) vs Highlanders (Seed 7)
      Stormers (Seed 3) vs Chiefs (Seed 6)
      Brumbies (Seed 4) vs Hurricanes (Seed 5)

      The winner of the Lions-Sharks match will play the winner of the Brumbies-Hurricanes match.
      The winner of the Crusaders-Highlanders match will play the winner of the Stormers-Chiefs match.

      • July 16th 2017 @ 5:29am
        James said | July 16th 2017 @ 5:29am | ! Report

        I cannot wait till they get rid of this playoff format.

        Its a complete travesty that the kiwi teams have to travel despite having more points than thier opponents

        • Roar Rookie

          July 16th 2017 @ 11:25pm
          Kirky said | July 16th 2017 @ 11:25pm | ! Report

          James: The South African Lions never played a New Zealand team yet a Kiwi team has to go to their patch to play THEM!! ~ The Kiwis should kick their butt’ and I hope they do for no other reason than they’ve played nothing of consequence!!

          • July 19th 2017 @ 1:17am
            Brent Horstor said | July 19th 2017 @ 1:17am | ! Report

            Lions had their turn playing the kiwis last season, beating 4 out of the 5. It is only fair that they had the easier draw this season.

            • July 19th 2017 @ 7:35am
              Pinetree said | July 19th 2017 @ 7:35am | ! Report

              “Lions had their turn playing the kiwis last season, beating 4 out of the 5. It is only fair that they had the easier draw this season.”

              Brent, this is not correct. The Lions played the kiwis 8 times last year. 5 times in the regular season, and 3 times in the playoffs. They won 2 out of 5 in the rounds….

              Chiefs 32 Lions 36 (home team first)
              Highlanders 34 Lions 15
              Lions 37 Crusaders 43
              Lions 17 Hurricanes 50
              Lions 43 Blues 5

              …and won 2 out of 3 in the finals…

              QF- Lions 42 Crusaders 25
              SF – Lions 42 Highlanders 30
              Final – Hurricanes 20 Lions 3

              So all up, the Lions won 4 out of 8 games for a 50% record against the kiwis. How did you get 4 out of 5? Or do you just pull out any random stats to suit your agenda? because what you wrote was obviously false…

      • Roar Guru

        July 16th 2017 @ 8:44am
        Mark Richmond said | July 16th 2017 @ 8:44am | ! Report

        Not quite….the home team for the finals is determined by their seeding. The highest seeded winners of the qualifying finals will have home advantage next round. So, if the Sharks beat the Lions, they will still play away as they are the lowest seeded team.

    • July 16th 2017 @ 4:55am
      MH01 said | July 16th 2017 @ 4:55am | ! Report

      Point 2. No 🇦🇺 team deserves to be in the finals.

      Point 5. Players are a massive problem. Thier culture of entitlement to a wallabies journey they don’t have to perform . Folau summaries this up against the force today . Frankly NSW lack leadership. NSW problems are wallabies problems

      • July 16th 2017 @ 5:29pm
        Drongo said | July 16th 2017 @ 5:29pm | ! Report

        The ‘culture of entitlement’ is a load of tosh. We just don’t have players with as much ability as the NZ teams. It’s as simple as that yet many of you will sprout this garbage to make yourselves feel better. Why? Low self esteem.

        • July 17th 2017 @ 11:10am
          MitchO said | July 17th 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

          Drongo, whilst generally speaking you are correct it is notable that a NSW team with a lot of Wallabies was spanked by an Aussie team with only a couple of Wallabies and no marquee imports.

      • July 17th 2017 @ 7:10am
        Wiremu said | July 17th 2017 @ 7:10am | ! Report

        Don’t worry NSW will still from the basis of this years Wallabies team (as usual)

        • July 17th 2017 @ 12:24pm
          graymatter said | July 17th 2017 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

          Couldn’t agree more. But in fact both observations are correct. “Culture of entitlement” is in fact not a load of tosh And we don’t have players of the same ability as NZ.
          But I could live with us giving 100 percent of our ability and losing to a side with greater ability – fair enough. The fact is our players don’t and that is because they do feel entitled. Its not fitness – How many Australian Super 15s players or Wallabies players have you seen stretched out on the ground at the end of the match exhausted and covered in sweat gasping for breath?
          Is it skill – Maybe but perhaps we have skilled players who can’t get a start? TBH honest it has more to do with attitude and application in my view.
          And if you want to see the power of Entitlement in Action just look and see how many Australia Schoolboy’s squad members were picked from the recently undefeated National Championship side – 2!
          Guess how many selectors were from NSW – All four of them.
          So if you don’t go to a privileged Sydney or Brisbane Private School you can just about forget it!
          So the Wallabies and indeed the next generation are likely to be overly represented by NSW player and so it goes on!

      • July 17th 2017 @ 7:07pm
        McGruff said | July 17th 2017 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

        Gibson must leave now !!

    • Roar Pro

      July 16th 2017 @ 5:30am
      robel said | July 16th 2017 @ 5:30am | ! Report

      If the Force are chopped, the ARU will have no option but to change tier name to the Eastern Australian Rugby Union (EARU).
      To the EARU, you are the most despicable, parasitic, hypocritical, fatuous, contemptible, short sighted, pathic bunch of gnomes in all the history of mankind.

      Urine drinkers

      Go the Force

      • Roar Guru

        July 16th 2017 @ 5:43am
        biltongbek said | July 16th 2017 @ 5:43am | ! Report

        I know almost all those words 😉

        • July 16th 2017 @ 5:50am
          Pinetree said | July 16th 2017 @ 5:50am | ! Report

          You’ve used most of those words to describe SARU in the past I’m pretty sure BB? Haha, love the passionate words Robel. Don’t hold back mate, let em know what you really think!

        • July 16th 2017 @ 12:38pm
          Grahame said | July 16th 2017 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

          All of them except “pathic”.

          • July 16th 2017 @ 2:25pm
            Rhys Bosley said | July 16th 2017 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

            Perhaps it means being psychopathic or sociopathic, except not being able to get either of those things right.

            • July 16th 2017 @ 10:23pm
              superba said | July 16th 2017 @ 10:23pm | ! Report

              more likely pathologic ??

          • July 17th 2017 @ 12:12pm
            oldman emu said | July 17th 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

            pathic. noun. A male who is the passive partner in anal intercourse

            • July 18th 2017 @ 8:33am
              Uncle Eric said | July 18th 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

              Pathetic perhaps? Seems fair to me.

      • July 16th 2017 @ 5:57am
        Rt said | July 16th 2017 @ 5:57am | ! Report

        The EARU sounds like “hear you” which must be a parody because the ARU aren’t even listening!

        As a lifelong Waratahs fan I’m astounded by how badly they’ve played this season. They are slow and ponderous, lacking commitment, game plan, aggression and heart and those are the nicest things I can say about them. As for Gibson’s “I’m not a bad coach”, that’s akin to Custer saying “I’m not a bad general.” All evidence to the contrary.

        The Brumbies (who at least play with some commitment) looked decidedly average against the chiefs. It is embarrassing to look at the table and see a team on such few points with a home semi.

        At least the Saturday performances outshone the Reds Friday night farce.

        The only thing worse than the performance of the Reds and Tahs this season has been the constant stream of excuses from their coaches. Bad culture, a fish rots from the head.

        Hopefully the only way is up.

        • July 16th 2017 @ 7:43am
          Dan54 said | July 16th 2017 @ 7:43am | ! Report

          To be fair Rt, I think the Reds and Tahs coaches take their lead from the Wallabies’ coach, when finding excuses to lose or who to blame. When Chuckles decided that he could blame the Super coaches for his players apparently not being fit enough after usually finding ref excuses etc you get the impression that these other numpties want to get on the bandwagon!

        • July 16th 2017 @ 8:19am
          sittingbison said | July 16th 2017 @ 8:19am | ! Report

          Because of this EARU is now called FUBARU

        • July 16th 2017 @ 10:06am
          The Sheriff said | July 16th 2017 @ 10:06am | ! Report

          Ditto to all of the above.

        • Roar Guru

          July 16th 2017 @ 7:22pm
          Joey Johns said | July 16th 2017 @ 7:22pm | ! Report

          I don’t think the Tahs outshone the Reds.

          The Reds were playing the Highlanders

          • July 17th 2017 @ 2:56pm
            Marto said | July 17th 2017 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

            Correct ^^

    • July 16th 2017 @ 6:17am
      englishbob said | July 16th 2017 @ 6:17am | ! Report

      I think its fair to say that everyone expects the brumbies to be out next week. Truth be told if they are in the best 8 teams( I personally don’t think they are, there’s 5 NZ 2/3 SA and one argentine team better than they are) then they certainly don’t deserve a home qtr final, but this years format has been an aberration and should be forgotten asap, next year will make more sense.

      So that gives Chek and his crew 4/5 weeks to get their house in order and start sharpening the wallabies up. For me the best thing he could do is name is nominal side at the outset and focus on improving the combinations defence and fitness, leaving it open to ‘it could be Foley or Quade” does no-one any good and the way the team will play will vary wildly. They’ve both been hit and miss, pick and stick.

      Its made slightly simpler for him in that there’s no competition for places in a lot of positions so he can get on with doing the best with what he’s got available.

      • July 16th 2017 @ 8:08am
        MA said | July 16th 2017 @ 8:08am | ! Report

        It would be simple for me if I was Michael Cheika:
        1. No Waratah will be selected in the starting Wallaby side. None.
        2. Thanks but no thanks Nathan Grey. We made a mistake and we are going to correct that immediately. Your services will not be required by the Wallabies.
        3. Thanks but no thanks Stephen Larkham. We made a mistake and we are going to correct that immediately. Your services will not be required by the Wallabies.
        4. I, Michael Cheika, submit my resignation effective immediately. I have no right to appointment my successor but I highly recommend you call the coach I replaced and give him a fair shot with out the toxicity of Hopper, Beale and the other born to play Warratah’s in the starting team.

        The above would require integrity. We know that those involved have none. That is why the Wallabies will continue to fail and embarrass Australia and the Waratahs will continue to fail and embarrass NSW.

        • Roar Guru

          July 16th 2017 @ 8:50am
          PeterK said | July 16th 2017 @ 8:50am | ! Report

          point 4 makes 1 irrelevant.

          If he resigns the new coach will select the team and i bet they would select some tahs to start.

          • July 16th 2017 @ 9:45am
            Akari said | July 16th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

            As it should be, PK. It’s hard for Hooper to carry the Tahs forward pack almost single-handedly all year. He is IMO the best 7 there is available.

            • Roar Pro

              July 16th 2017 @ 11:38am
              Crazy Horse said | July 16th 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

              Hodgo, a 36 year old playing his last game, ran rings around him last night.

              • July 17th 2017 @ 3:07pm
                Marto said | July 17th 2017 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

                Agreed…Hooper was insipid and weak..Like he has been all his career..He is a 20 minute impact sub only.Hodgeson owned him easily..

            • July 16th 2017 @ 9:55pm
              Schuey said | July 16th 2017 @ 9:55pm | ! Report

              I agree Akari. Hooper carries that pack. He’s a machine

            • July 18th 2017 @ 12:35pm
              Gonzo said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

              If only we could clone Hooper. He gets a lot of hate but he is all heart and soul that guy. Never stops trying.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 18th 2017 @ 12:37pm
                piru said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

                I don’t think the hate is because of him or his game.

                How can you hate a bloke who throws himself into everything the way he does?

              • July 18th 2017 @ 12:42pm
                RahRah said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

                I don’t think the hate stems from a personal agenda, rather the frustration that he keeps getting picked ahead of much better number 7’s who then have to play out of position to cover for him.

              • Roar Guru

                July 18th 2017 @ 1:27pm
                Timbo (L) said | July 18th 2017 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

                I am a reformed hater, I have worked hard to get there. I am trying to focus my attention on promoting players that In my opinion there are better choices. Hoops doesn’t select himself (I don’t think), someone else owns that choice and should be held accountable (or rewarded) for it.

              • July 24th 2017 @ 3:11pm
                Marto said | July 24th 2017 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

                Gonzo

                ^ Trying doesn`t mean you are good.

          • July 17th 2017 @ 3:04pm
            Marto said | July 17th 2017 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

            Not many Waratahs should start.. I`d have 1 in the run on 15 Kepu ….

            TPN form Moore
            DHP for Folau
            Quade for Foley
            Higgers for Hanigan
            McMahon for Hooper
            SK for Horne
            Naivalu and Speight on wings
            Hunt 12
            Genia 9

            Locks
            Coleman
            Arnold
            etc etc

            • Roar Guru

              July 18th 2017 @ 1:19pm
              Timbo (L) said | July 18th 2017 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

              I am pretty sure there are some injury concerns on your list.

              12 Hodge (Hunt)
              13 Rona (Samu)
              14/15 Wing Fullbacks DHP, Hodge, (Niavalu), Folau

              Tahs
              18 Kepu
              21 Gordon
              10 Foley – I still think he is a more balanced choice and he doesn’t give the impression of taking his spot for granted.

              But this is a stupid dream.
              Beale will walk straight back into a spot at either 12 or 15 shuffling DIzzy to 14 with DHP and Hodge sitting it out.

        • July 16th 2017 @ 9:38am
          Jacky said | July 16th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

          Very well said and how true the Force coach could also be used

          • July 16th 2017 @ 11:39am
            Gary said | July 16th 2017 @ 11:39am | ! Report

            He our coach. We dont want the ARU to ruin him

          • Roar Rookie

            July 16th 2017 @ 11:30pm
            Kirky said | July 16th 2017 @ 11:30pm | ! Report

            Davo’ Wessels will still be coaching ”the Sea of Blue” next year and he’s made that abundantly clear!

        • July 16th 2017 @ 4:20pm
          William Tell said | July 16th 2017 @ 4:20pm | ! Report

          Absolutely yes – especially #4. No white-anters!

        • Roar Guru

          July 16th 2017 @ 8:13pm
          Simon said | July 16th 2017 @ 8:13pm | ! Report

          Well said.

      • July 16th 2017 @ 9:25am
        Fionn said | July 16th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

        Sorry, on what evidence are the Jags better than the Brumbies?

        • July 16th 2017 @ 10:31am
          Red Menace said | July 16th 2017 @ 10:31am | ! Report

          The Jags won more games than the Feral Horses.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 16th 2017 @ 10:36am
          Paulo said | July 16th 2017 @ 10:36am | ! Report

          They have one more win maybe? I don’t agree as Brumbies did finish on more points due to bonus points, but maybe you could argue number of wins.

          • Roar Guru

            July 16th 2017 @ 10:41am
            PeterK said | July 16th 2017 @ 10:41am | ! Report

            jags didn’t play any nz teams though

            • Roar Rookie

              July 16th 2017 @ 12:17pm
              Paulo said | July 16th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

              100% agree.

        • July 16th 2017 @ 5:53pm
          englishbob said | July 16th 2017 @ 5:53pm | ! Report

          Jags played alot less Australian opposition than the brumbies did, the jags beat the lions which no aus team did, and the jags play all their away games in foreign lands as opposed to the brumbies who have five away derbies in aus. Admittedly the jags have had some howlers but they are capable of scoring tries the brumbies aren’t and can produce a higher standard versus the brumbies more steady average play. Honestly its just an impression, and I’m aware the brumbies beat them in arg but of I was a nz franchise id be much happier playing a one dimensional brumbies team than the jags

          • July 16th 2017 @ 8:34pm
            Fionn said | July 16th 2017 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

            Being able to score more tries isn’t necessarily linked with being a better team – look at how often the Wallabies lose to England despite scoring more tries, or the Lions series just passed.

            The Jags lose to the Force in Argentina and the Brumbies in Argentina and the Kings in Argentina, while the Brumbies beat the Force and the Kings in South Africa.

            I would say both the Brumbies and Force are better than the Jags based on the past season.

    • July 16th 2017 @ 7:56am
      Worlds Biggest said | July 16th 2017 @ 7:56am | ! Report

      Thank Christ this is nearly over for Australian fans. The Brumbies will be a training run next week and then we can close the chapter on the worst ever season ( for Oz teams )in Super Rugby history. Good on the Force for finishing on that note especially Hodgo. Also happy Twiggy is lending his support.

      As for the Tahs, I’ve been a supporter for over 30 years and that is without a doubt the worst of the worst, what a complete shambles. From champs to absolute chumps in three years.

      • July 16th 2017 @ 8:24am
        Rt said | July 16th 2017 @ 8:24am | ! Report

        What he said

        • July 16th 2017 @ 6:14pm
          double agent said | July 16th 2017 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

          Same.

          • July 16th 2017 @ 7:57pm
            Scot Free said | July 16th 2017 @ 7:57pm | ! Report

            Ditto

      • July 16th 2017 @ 9:56pm
        Schuey said | July 16th 2017 @ 9:56pm | ! Report

        Agreed.

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