We’re getting close to the half way point of the season and teams are fighting hard to build momentum and position themselves well for the run into the finals. Here are some of the big talking points to come out of a weekend of thrilling games.
The Kerevi-Beale conundrum
Samu Kerevi has been one of the stars of the Australian conference so far this season. He’s played every minute for the Reds and has consistently punched holes in each defence that has tried to stop him. He’s clearly best at #12 while at #13 his talents are wasted and his arguably a weaker defender.
That’s fine at the Reds where Brad Thorn will continue to play him at inside centre but what happens back at the Wallabies when Mick Cheika has to fit Kurtley Beale into the equation? The Bernard Foley-Beale combination is looking good for the Tahs but is it worth giving Kerevi an opportunity at #12 and seeing what happens?
Brumbies are back… kind of
22 minutes into the Brumbies home match against the Reds they were down 0-15 and it was looking like their season really could be flatlining. Over the next hour though they came to life and showed the competition what they can do on their day. They racked up seven tries and could well have inspired their season back into life.
Perhaps of most importance was the way the Brumbies forwards rose to the occasion. Sam Carter, Isi Naisarani and David Pocock were especially impressive but overall the forwards gave the Brumbies some much needed go forward. Previously they’d been trying to attack and go wide before earning that forward dominance but against the Reds they showed what they are capable of.
They’ve got a long way to go and their real ability will face a tough test next week as they travel to the Highlanders but there’s some hope yet for the Brumbies faithful.
Pocock is awesome
Oh my how Australian rugby has missed this man. From his work at the breakdown to the effort he puts in from minute one to 80, to the way he makes players around him better, Pocock is a special player.
Cheika will be licking his lips at getting him back in the Wallabies back row and if he and Michael Hooper can find a way to compliment each other then the Rugby Championship could get very interesting. This isn’t a given though and many will be watching to see how Cheika handles these riches.
Tahs are not the real deal yet
Putting seven tries on any opponent usually means it’s been a pretty damn good day at the office and while the Tahs will have enjoyed the game against the Sunwolves, their fans shouldn’t be getting too carried away.
Yes scoring seven tries is great, but this is the Sunwolves – everyone scores plenty of tries against the Sunwolves right? The concern is that they conceded 29 points….against the Sunwolves. If you let the Sunwolves score four tries against you then what are teams like the Lions, Crusaders, Hurricanes and Chiefs going to be thinking?
If the Tahs want to be a real threat then they have got to tighten up their defence.
Both the Hurricanes and Chiefs broke some hearts this weekend. The Sharks and Blues fans must have felt that at last they were going to feel the sweet taste of victory over Kiwi opponents after they had fought so hard to earn the win.
But in a great demonstration of what makes the Chiefs and Hurricanes real contenders for the title this year they were able to add resolve to attacking flair and steal wins in the dying seconds of their respective games.
Being able to sneak these kind of wins is important across the course of a season. Knowing that you and your teammate s around you have the ability to find a way to win games that could so easily be narrow losses is key and not just because of the extra points.
It helps bring a team together and is hugely valuable when they get into the real knockout games later in the season where it’s now or never time.