Five things we learned from Super Rugby Round 14

Nick Kelland Roar Guru

By Nick Kelland, Nick Kelland is a Roar Guru

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    The streak is over, there are a few sides starting to make moves, and others slipping further South down the table.

    Here’s five things we learnt from Round 14.

    It’s finally over
    722 days. Friday the 27th of May, 2016. That was the date an Australian team last beat a Kiwi side in the Super competition running into the Waratahs vs Highlanders fixture last night.

    Close losses to both the Blues and Crusaders in the rounds previous would’ve had fans optimistic of the streak being broken.

    In a pulsating first 15 minutes, the Tahs controlled the game nicely, and looked twice the side when they carried straight in the backs.

    Too often, Australian teams find themselves going lateral in attack, and against a side with the defensive resolve of the Highlanders, generally, it’s not a recipe for success.

    An early try to Taqele Naiyaravoro was followed by a Bernard Foley penalty goal. That’s where things turned monumentally in the home sides favour.

    In the 20th minute, Cam Clark was chasing through to try and collect a bomb from flyhalf Bernard Foley. His opposite wing, Tevita Nebura, leapt high, and won the aerial battle.

    Live, the crowd gasped slightly, but the play carried on. The officials decided to have a closer look at the incident at the next break, and the evidence was telling.

    Nabura’s right foot, upon taking the high ball, extends, and kicks Cam Clark square in the face, with a karate kick that would’ve made even Jackie Chan sit up and take notice. A red card followed.

    Two minutes later, and the Highlanders were down to 13 men due to an Aaron Smith yellow card for a deliberate knock down.

    The Waratahs scored once in this ten minute period, and their 15-0 half time lead was too much for the Highlanders to run down.

    A second half attacking clinic from the Waratahs ensued, and the streak was broken, courtesy of a 41-12 win.

    Israel Folau

    (Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    The Reds nearly got it done
    The aforementioned 722-day streak could have been one day shorter had the Reds showed slightly more execution in try-scoring opportunities against the Hurricanes.

    I’d like to use this point to state that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more unpredictable outfit in professional sport. Their 35-point loss to the Sunwolves last round was embarrassing.

    In Round 10, they got beaten by nearly 30 points against a weakened Chiefs outfit. In the two rounds before that, they were beaten by the Tahs and the Brumbies to the tune of a cumulative 48 points.

    How does a team that so often doesn’t show up to play, push a Hurricanes outfit to within an inch of their lives? Or beat a red-hot Lions outfit at Suncorp Stadium courtesy of one of the defensive efforts of the season?

    While they lost 38-34 in this fixture, their defensive effort was outstanding, and they had some solid individual performances in Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Scott Higginbotham.

    It’s a young side, and they won’t be there come finals time – but there are signs that this Reds team could be special in a few seasons’ time.

    Brad Thorn

    (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

    Hayden Parker is an old Western gunslinger
    The Sunwolves flyhalf is a genuine dead-eye in front of goal. He’s kicking at 92 per cent from the tee for the season, and he’s been a major part of his sides revival of the last few weeks.

    They threatened in close losses to the Lions and the Brumbies, but still began last round with zero wins for the season.

    Since then, they’ve beaten the Reds by 35 points, and the Stormers by three. In the latter of these two games, Hayden Parker poured in 21 points, and nailed a drop goal off his wrong foot in the dying seconds to nudge his side ahead.

    He is one of the form 10s of the competition, and, I dare say, has a few ex-coaches back in New Zealand wishing they hadn’t have let him go across to their Japanese rivals.

    The Jaguares are on fire
    Upon their inception into the competition, there were many who said the Jaguares could challenge for the title given the similar look of their XV to that of the Argentinian national outfit. To say they’ve underperformed since then is probably not far from the mark.

    That being said, 2018, and in particular the last six weeks, have been nothing short of special from the South American giants.

    They have won five straight, including highly impressive wins over the Chiefs and the Blues on the road. Last night, they smoked the Bulls by 30 points.

    They sit second in their conference, behind the Lions, and I feel they are going to be a bit of a thorn in the side of a few coaches come the pointy end of the season.

    Emiliano Boffelli

    (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/Getty Images)

    It’s anyone’s title!
    The Super Rugby ladder, upon a quick glance, tells the story of the relative closeness of this competition.

    Using the conference formula, if the finals were to begin tomorrow, the Crusaders, Lions and Waratahs would be the top 3 sides (owing to their position at the top of their respective conferences).

    Seven points then separate fourth-eighth, with a further three teams sitting one point behind the finals.

    Realistically, there are only four sides who can’t play finals rugby, they are the Blues, Brumbies, Reds and the Sunwolves.

    Expect the intensity of the competition to keep rising each round as sides look for vital wins with the fight for silverware rapidly looming.

    State of Origin 2 is here, with the Blues looking to wrap the 2018 series up and the Maroons hoping to keep it alive and force a decider. Follow along with our NSW vs QLD Origin 2 live scores and blog.

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    The Crowd Says (115)

    • May 20th 2018 @ 11:39am
      Fionn said | May 20th 2018 @ 11:39am | ! Report

      This sort of round gives me faith in Super Rugby.

      Lots of good games, and I even thought the Brumbies played well aside from the cards.

      Sunwolves match was a particular highlight for me. Game of the round I think.

      • Roar Guru

        May 20th 2018 @ 11:55am
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 20th 2018 @ 11:55am | ! Report

        +1

        Weird ha? Is all the doom and gloom talk blinding us to the fact in the last 2-3 rounds SR has been nothing short of spectacular and competitive?

        Arnold’s red card really ruined it for the Brumbies. I thought they look like winners before that (especially since the Lions just could not stop themselves turning the ball over via countless handling errors).

        • May 20th 2018 @ 12:01pm
          Fionn said | May 20th 2018 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

          Lealiifano and Banks had particularly good games I thought. The fact that Lealiifano played so well for Ulster and has been so average for the Brumbies makes me think that it has to have been coaching, but he has been good the last two weeks, so maybe he was just tired.

          The problem is that Australian fans don’t want to see brave losses from Australian teams. They want to see at least some brave wins.

          • Roar Guru

            May 20th 2018 @ 12:07pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 20th 2018 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

            Lealiifano looked the money yesterday. He is picking up some serious form which is a massive boost ahead of the Ireland series.

            • May 20th 2018 @ 12:11pm
              Fionn said | May 20th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

              I hope he gets into the squad, but I wonder if he might have left his run too late.

              I think Tom Banks almost certainly has even if he continues playing like last night. If he had been playing like last night every round he would probably be making the starting 15. Based on his season’s form though I don’t think he will even make the squad.

              • Roar Guru

                May 20th 2018 @ 12:17pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 20th 2018 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

                Really? Who are ahead of them on Planet Chieka?

              • May 20th 2018 @ 12:22pm
                HayMrDj said | May 20th 2018 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

                Has Tom Banks always been that fast? I thought he was going to leave his boots behind during that first try!

              • May 20th 2018 @ 12:32pm
                Fionn said | May 20th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

                HayMrDj, that was the Banks I remember from 2017.

                He hadn’t looked as quick to me in the early parts of this year. I wonder if he could possibly have been carrying an injury? He is seriously quick when in-form.

              • May 20th 2018 @ 12:24pm
                Fionn said | May 20th 2018 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

                10s order in Cheika’s mind is I think Foley, Beale, Hodge. I would pick Lealiifano over either Beale or Hodge if Foley was injued though.

                Outside back order ahead of Banks in Cheik’s mind is I think: Folau, Beale, Hodge, DHP, Koroibete, Naivalu and who knows about Maddocks and Daugunu. Banks never made the squad last year when he was in better form though.

                Who really knows with Cheika though. He likes to throw curve balls.

                I am excited for the series. I hope Timu recovers quick though.

              • May 20th 2018 @ 12:26pm
                Ed said | May 20th 2018 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

                When is Cheika announcing the squad?

              • Roar Guru

                May 20th 2018 @ 1:04pm
                PeterK said | May 20th 2018 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

                CLL may make the squad but zero chance of playing in June regardless of the number of injuries.

                Due to him having to manage his workload and talking with his doctors he has ruled out any possibility of playing in june.

                https://www.foxsports.com.au/rugby/wallabies/brumbies-cocaptain-christian-lealiifano-rules-himself-out-of-wallabies-june-tests/news-story/a84abf6c66743d17175036f80f93b226

              • Roar Guru

                May 20th 2018 @ 1:09pm
                PeterK said | May 20th 2018 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

                Cheika is announcing the squad in 2 weeks on kick and chase.

                Banks finally back to some form, and yes considering he didn’t make the squad last year odds are he won’t this year.

                However with DHP out injured so much Banks may be included in the squad since he is about as fast as straight winger but also covers the wing/fb.

                Straight out wingers the order would be Koroibete, Naivalu.

                Winger / fb’s the order would be Hodge, DHP, Maddocks

                F/B would be Folau (he has already said that is the case).

                I am sure Beale is only being considered for 12.

                Fionn did you notice that Folau kicked another very good long ball to exit the 22, and this time under pressure. It does look like he has been working on it.

              • May 20th 2018 @ 1:35pm
                Daveski said | May 20th 2018 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

                Wing is actually a problem as Naivalu and Koroibete not been in form at all, Daugunu isn’t eligible and defense is terrible. Surely Speight won’t get picked on 2012-14 form?

                NSW have the two form wingers but I think Cheika doesn’t know how to use one and the other doesn’t fit his “Fijian or bust” ethos when it comes to outside backs. I’d potentially have Hodge and Perese personally or even Hodge and English or Hodge and Banks.

                Sunwolves I love them – hence why i was so dissapointed with early results. Interesting the two wins have come without their probable season MVP Labuschagne ( although Parker might be that now and the big young 8, Higeno has been very good too ).

              • May 20th 2018 @ 1:46pm
                Fionn said | May 20th 2018 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

                If Speight makes the Wallabies’ 23 then I am done (I don’t think he should even make the Wallabies’ squad, or necessarily the Brumbies’ 23).

                Sunwolves have been awesome recently. Have to eat my words.

                Very good performance from your Tahs too. Good to see.

              • May 20th 2018 @ 3:37pm
                Jameswm said | May 20th 2018 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

                Hodge and Maddocks

              • May 20th 2018 @ 1:11pm
                Cynical Play said | May 20th 2018 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

                Banks deserves to be in the squad. i’d actually start him on the right wing.

                Why is Poey playing only 55min?

              • May 20th 2018 @ 1:21pm
                Fionn said | May 20th 2018 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

                Cynical, Peter, Beale is at 12 I’d really like to see a back three with Banks, Folau and Hodge. Three guys under the high ball who are quick, strong through contact, run good lines and can all three kick (you’re right, Peter, Folau is improving, and really good to see).

                I don’t think it will happen on form though, but we will see. I think they could be a successful trio. And that’s even ignoring guys like Koroibete, Daugunu, Naivalu, Perese and Naiyaravoro who are all devastating runners.

                Christian needs to take care of himself and international rugby can be brutal. Thanks for the article.

              • Roar Guru

                May 20th 2018 @ 2:04pm
                PeterK said | May 20th 2018 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

                You are right Daugunu is not eligible.

                That reinforces my case to include TN.

                That said I expect Koroibete to be selected at least initially, he did have a good intl season last year and Cheika has faith in him.

                I would select Beale at f/b with Folau dropping back on defense to handle the highball.

                This would allow Beale to inject himself as needed, and on attack could even go to 1st receiver or opposite side of Foley.

                This would allow Kerevi at 12. Rona at 13.

                The other winger for me would depend on the opposition and their tactics, strengths , weaknesses. It could be Koroibete for outright pace, TN for size and power, or Hodge for the kicking game and defence.

                Imagine TN v Rhule for instance!

              • May 20th 2018 @ 2:31pm
                Daveski said | May 20th 2018 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

                Agree MK was solid last year and hadn’t had a lot of opportunities on the end of the Rebels backline. But he’s got zero feel for getting involved and his kicking skills are just horrible.

                I’d be happy with Folau, Hodge, Banks back three. But agree in certain situations, TN or MK are offensive first options.

              • May 20th 2018 @ 3:38pm
                Jameswm said | May 20th 2018 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

                I was considering Beale at 10.

              • May 20th 2018 @ 2:05pm
                Fionn said | May 20th 2018 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

                But imagine TN trying to mark Milner-Skudder. Ugh.

                I would like to see three of Folau, Beale, Hodge, Koroibete and Banks in the back three.

              • Roar Guru

                May 20th 2018 @ 2:13pm
                PeterK said | May 20th 2018 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

                Fionn – Exactly, and that is my issue with Cheika apparently not doing any opposition analysis.

                This is why I say who the other wing I would select game to game would depend on the opposition.

                I also would sometimes even play Beale at 12 and move Folau back to 15 depending on the opposition tactics and backline.

                Same thing with forwards , sometimes Pooper would be the best option, sometimes just Pocock or just Hooper starting. Also whether you have Higgs, or Timu or start Tui.

                But then again I would have different game plans and not just exactly the same one.

              • May 20th 2018 @ 5:43pm
                cuw said | May 20th 2018 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

                The Brumbies gifted it in the end.

                How stupid can Carter get – or is it the lack of oxygen in thin air?

                one 2nd rower is sent off – the referee warns next maul foul will be a card .

                he ” swims on the side ” and gets penalized and carded.

                also im wondering what is wrong with Speight ? he was very quick to shake the hand of an incoming Lion replacement. WTF ???

                does he want a Nobel Prize or something??? concentrate on ur game dude – DUH

              • May 20th 2018 @ 6:26pm
                Ed said | May 20th 2018 @ 6:26pm | ! Report

                Thanks PK re squad announcement.

                I do find it a wee blinkered of not focusing on the opposition and thinking if we play our systems, the result will look after itself.

            • May 20th 2018 @ 7:46pm
              Ken Catchpole’s Other Leg said | May 20th 2018 @ 7:46pm | ! Report

              Yes Neutral and Fionn, I too started to think of CLL in gold while watching last night.

              Banks showed some class early and defence was strong for long periods but the team’s lack of overall cohesion showed in the end.

              • Roar Guru

                May 21st 2018 @ 1:28am
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 21st 2018 @ 1:28am | ! Report

                PeterK gave us the bad news, he is not in contention for the June Tests. Understandable but very sad.

          • May 20th 2018 @ 8:24pm
            Gepetto said | May 20th 2018 @ 8:24pm | ! Report

            Hegarty could be good at #10.

            • May 21st 2018 @ 2:25pm
              Laurence King said | May 21st 2018 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

              I think the Waratahs backline is one of the smartest going around and when Hegarty comes on it gets even smarter. But honestly, I don’t like the way Chieka has to hide poor tacklers. As much as I like Foley, I think he has to go; pick Beale as 10, Kerevi at 12 and Rona at 13 and Hodge, Banks and Folau. Easily go with different choices with the wings because we are strong there. I’d at least give Beale a go for the Ireland tests to give him some quality time in the position.

        • Roar Guru

          May 20th 2018 @ 1:21pm
          PeterK said | May 20th 2018 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

          NVFS – The brumbies were really tired and the altitude got to them even without Arnolds card I think they would have lost.

      • May 20th 2018 @ 6:54pm
        Baz said | May 20th 2018 @ 6:54pm | ! Report

        Interesting. The Tahs and Reds are growing stronger week by week. The Kiwi teams, especially the Highlanders have looked progressively more beatable. Good to see some smiles around the Tahs camp. Their game wasn’t spotless but not a bad effort.

        • May 21st 2018 @ 2:33pm
          one way street said | May 21st 2018 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

          Reds should knock over the Highlanders this week then.Won`t happen.

          • May 21st 2018 @ 6:40pm
            Baz said | May 21st 2018 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

            Would not surprise me in the least if the Reds got up. This season is starting to produce some unscripted results.

      • May 21st 2018 @ 12:09pm
        Phil said | May 21st 2018 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

        Agree,Fionn.I was very impressed with the Brumbies up until the cards.What is wrong with Arnold?I really thought he had the makings of a great 2nd row partner with Coleman,but his utter stupidity in this game amazed me.Carter,too,ruined any chance they had of winning.
        Wonderful to see CLL back to his best and Banks has that real pace which is a huge asset.As you say,Banks showed the form of his earlier days.

        • May 21st 2018 @ 6:50pm
          Baz said | May 21st 2018 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

          Nothing wrong with Arnold. Just a small brain explosion. No use being that big and playing soft. I just love the fact that he got stuck in and was aggressive. Puts opposition on notice. Write there that’s what I want from my forwards. Pity about the Red card and the final result but if I was coach I wouldn’t be complaining. He knows he needs to just be a bit more accurate.
          You are correct about CLL. Back where he should have been 6 weeks ago. Son Mckellar has 15, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 5 and at least one winger sorted out for next year.
          He needs a decent hooker and some outside backs.

    • May 20th 2018 @ 11:50am
      JRVJ said | May 20th 2018 @ 11:50am | ! Report

      I’m an avowed Jags fan, so I am delighted that they are finally finding their place in Super Rugby.

      I think that this tournament DEFINITELY benefits from a high octane Jaguars side, which at least in 2018, is clearly improving the quality of Super Rugby as a competition.

      As to what teams are out of the playoffs, definitely the 4 mentioned in the article are out, though I’d say the Stormers are on the razors edge of being out of competition (they’ve garnered 24 points after 13 games, while the final two current playoff sides, the Jags and Sharks, have 29 and 28 points respectively with 4 games left, and the no. 9 side, the Rebels, have 25 points with only 11 games on the books).

      It’s hard for me to see the side from Cape Town playing in this year’s playoffs.

      • Roar Guru

        May 20th 2018 @ 11:58am
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 20th 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

        Stomers travel to Buenos Aires from Hong Kong this week also. I can’t anything else than another convincing Jags victor coming.

        And yes, the Jags looked marvelous against the Bulls in the second half. Reminded me of the All Blacks on a good day.

        • May 20th 2018 @ 12:01pm
          JRVJ said | May 20th 2018 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

          Actually, the Jags’ next game is against the Sharks (on Friday, May 25th), not against the Stormers.

          The Jags play the Stormers in B.A. right after the June window.

          • Roar Guru

            May 20th 2018 @ 12:09pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 20th 2018 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

            A sorry. I thought he Saffa commentators said it was Stormers next up and they talked about the long journey.

            Sharks is a tougher prospect but on the current form, I back the Jags against pretty much any team in the competition.

      • Roar Guru

        May 20th 2018 @ 7:01pm
        Charging Rhino said | May 20th 2018 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

        Sharks and Jaguares still have to play each other twice, so who ever is the better team head to head will have a foot in the door for a playoff spot.
        Bear in mind that the Jags have never beaten the Sharks ever, yet have beaten the Lions numerous times who are a “better” team. And the Sharks are 3 wins -1 loss vs NZ teams. Just a pity they’ve been so average vs everyone else!

      • May 22nd 2018 @ 4:28am
        Carlos The Argie said | May 22nd 2018 @ 4:28am | ! Report

        JRVJ,

        I am not sure they are finding their place. I am actually very pleased that they have improved in so many dimensions. Scrums, line-out are better. Discipline is better. Especially foul play is much better. The diva-like behavior with referees is better. The defense is there too. If you look at the second half of the match, this is how you want them to play constantly.

        I just think they need to “maintain” the effort a little longer before I am willing to admit they found their place.

        I have no idea how Hourcade is going to deal with this team, or why Ledesma took a swipe at public media. The fans have the right to complain about a quasi-national team playing so poorly and with such lack of discipline. It is Ledesma’s job to gain the respect for the fans. If he wants sycophants, he missed his opportunity.

        So far, I am keeping my fingers crossed. Next year will be much harder as many players will take the money and run to the NH as they can still play for the Pumas. Can you imagine Jaguares without Kremer, Lavanini, Tetaz, Sanchez, Bofelli or Matera?

        • May 22nd 2018 @ 4:57am
          JRVJ said | May 22nd 2018 @ 4:57am | ! Report

          Well, “finally finding their place” does not mean I’m taking their efforts for granted. Clearly it could all come crashing down during the remaining 4 games this season. Or they could be terrible next year.

          But their performance these last 5 games (or even the last 7 games, if you want to rope in the Lions victory) are very encouraging.

          As to 2019 and onwards, UAR has to open up the purse strings so as to not lose out on all their talent. It’s as simple as that.

          • May 22nd 2018 @ 7:17am
            Carlos The Argie said | May 22nd 2018 @ 7:17am | ! Report

            Ah, the purse strings! Now we get into what seems to be happening in Australia too.

            Will the UAR spend the money in the professional teams or will they continue to support the growth of amateur rugby? Amateur rugby, as you know, has the passion and the generation of new players. The club/tribe love affairs. The competition. This is where the Argie rugby heart and soul lives.

            So, UAR has to maintain a balance. They also have to decide how much amateurism will remain and how much will pro rugby grow internally. Another interesting dilema: the city or the rest of the country. URBA or Interior.

            • May 22nd 2018 @ 7:45am
              JRVJ said | May 22nd 2018 @ 7:45am | ! Report

              In the short term, they’d be absolute fools to let the Jags fall apart.

              They finally have a good thing going, they should be able to get more revenue streams in place (attendance, sponsors, merchandise), PROVIDED that they remain competitive.

              • May 23rd 2018 @ 1:57am
                Carlos The Argie said | May 23rd 2018 @ 1:57am | ! Report

                Don’t underestimate Argentina’s ability to mess things up!

                Such a beautiful country full of resources and always jumping from crisis to crisis.

    • Roar Guru

      May 20th 2018 @ 11:51am
      The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 20th 2018 @ 11:51am | ! Report

      He is one of the form 10s of the competition, and, I dare say, has a few ex-coaches back in New Zealand wishing they hadn’t have let him go across to their Japanese rivals.

      Hayden Parker’s ex-coaches from NZ are in Japan coaches the Sunwolves…
      I have no idea what his contract situation looks like but surely he must be on the radar of both the Blues and Highlanders ahead of next season?
      I know he is not eligible for Japan so he is not their plans for the WC.

      • May 20th 2018 @ 11:57am
        Fionn said | May 20th 2018 @ 11:57am | ! Report

        I wonder if he has an Australian grandparent.

        • Roar Guru

          May 20th 2018 @ 12:01pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 20th 2018 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

          LOL!

          Easy to only focus on his goal-kicking, but I think his game control skills are excellent also. And he scores tries and tackles pretty well for being a little fella.

          • May 20th 2018 @ 12:02pm
            Fionn said | May 20th 2018 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

            He threw some sweet inside balls and offloads after making line breaks. Good player.

        • May 20th 2018 @ 12:20pm
          HayMrDj said | May 20th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

          You’ll probably find he has an English one first 😉

      • Roar Guru

        May 20th 2018 @ 1:36pm
        Kane said | May 20th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

        It’s great to see Parker doing well, but when he was still playing in Dunedin he was a walking injury

        • Roar Guru

          May 20th 2018 @ 2:14pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 20th 2018 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

          Fingers crossed he has his injury hell behind him. The boy can play footie and is a joy to watch at the moment.

        • May 20th 2018 @ 3:34pm
          cuw said | May 20th 2018 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

          hardly played for Highlanders – Lima kept him and others out.

          another old guy Blues shud have looked at.

      • May 20th 2018 @ 1:40pm
        Daveski said | May 20th 2018 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

        Neutral I believe he’s been in Japan a few seasons – or is it only this year and last?

        Who of these Sunwolves foreign players will be eligible for RWC Japan duties? Wykes, Little, Hattingh, Saumaki, Tupou, Quirk, Britz?

        I think Lafaele and Helu already capped for Brave Blossoms yes?

        Hattingh would be very useful and has been up in Japan a few years, one of the form locks of the competition…

        • Roar Guru

          May 20th 2018 @ 2:02pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 20th 2018 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

          Who of these Sunwolves foreign players will be eligible for RWC Japan duties? Wykes, Little, Hattingh, Saumaki, Tupou, Quirk, Britz?

          Millar, Quirk, the 2 Georgians, Parker and probably Saumaki not available for RWC. All other Sunwolves players are in contention.

          I think Lafaele and Helu already capped for Brave Blossoms yes?

          Indeed they are. Tupou is capped also I believe. Hattingh is very much in JJ’s plans for the WC. Lappies is in the plans too (even if he is done with the Moondogs for this season he is called to the Japan training camp that starts this week).

          • May 20th 2018 @ 2:29pm
            Daveski said | May 20th 2018 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

            Millar has been very solid. Lappies would be more than useful in the backrow.

            Looks at the Sunwolves backrow depth: Mafi, Hendrick Tui ( perhaps a little past his best ), Leitch, Himeno, Lappies, Nunomaki… plus are you suggesting Britz and Wimpie might be eligible too?

            • Roar Guru

              May 20th 2018 @ 2:38pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 20th 2018 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

              They seem to have great depth in the back row.
              Himeno has been great, a young lad with a big future it seems.
              Wimpie is already Test-capped I believe and Britz played with Japan A earlier this year.

            • May 20th 2018 @ 3:43pm
              cuw said | May 20th 2018 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

              how does one qualify for Japan? living in Japan for 3 consecutive years?

              if they have been back in their resident country / country of birth after 205/16 thye may not be eligible.

              eg Im sure Lappies played for Bulls in 2016 super rugger season.

              and to think Michael Little – son of Walter will play for Japan ! 😛

              • Roar Guru

                May 20th 2018 @ 5:49pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 20th 2018 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

                I got my info from Rich Freeman (the on-field commentator on all Sunwolves games) so I assume the info is right. Hit him up on the Facebook page Rugby News Japan, he is an absolute gentleman who answers any questions you have and is up for a rugby chat (if you are a serious operator, but I am pretty sure you are CUW)

                Lappies will not be eligible until next year, but he will be with the squad until then and has declared himself ready to play for Japan.

              • May 20th 2018 @ 7:02pm
                Daveski said | May 20th 2018 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

                Yeah he’s the go to man for all things Japanese rugby !

      • Roar Rookie

        May 20th 2018 @ 10:15pm
        Kirky said | May 20th 2018 @ 10:15pm | ! Report

        At an educated guess, Parker will be back at the Highlanders next Season, Sopoaga is heading North, logical!! ~ and Mauger and Joseph are Buds’ so shouldn’t be a problem!

    • May 20th 2018 @ 11:59am
      moaman said | May 20th 2018 @ 11:59am | ! Report

      The Sunwolves and Jaguars winning really makes this competition come alive for me.
      There has been so much negativity on this site for quite a long time now so it is refreshing to see those players —particularly the Sunwolves—really just enjoying their rugby!

      After all…that’s the reason we all ( or most of us anyway ) actually played the game.To have fun!

      • Roar Guru

        May 20th 2018 @ 12:02pm
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | May 20th 2018 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

        +1

        Nail. Head.

        Well spoken moaman.

        • May 20th 2018 @ 3:54pm
          Peter Kelly said | May 20th 2018 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

          +2 stop the whining and let’s just play ball

      • May 20th 2018 @ 1:49pm
        woodart said | May 20th 2018 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

        yes, all the naysayers on here rubbishing the compettition should think again about what we have, competetive teams from five countries ,in both hemispheres. its not perfect, and never will be, but it is super rugby!

      • May 20th 2018 @ 6:29pm
        Ed said | May 20th 2018 @ 6:29pm | ! Report

        Agree Moaman.

        Rebels better be on their game next week or they could be in for a shock against the Moondogs.
        The Jaguares will be a mighty handful for their opponents if they keep this form for the finals.

    • May 20th 2018 @ 12:18pm
      HayMrDj said | May 20th 2018 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

      I would argue that the Warriors are more unpredictable, they must be giving the bookies nightmares.

      It’s a shame the talk around Super Rugby is mostly negative as the competition is infinitely better than last year. It’s great to see the Jags and the Sunwolves getting results and SA has really stepped it up in terms of local and inter-conference competitiveness; I believe all 5 teams can finish 1st or last depending on results.

      If the Brumbies and Blues can get it together, next year is going to be the best season in quite a while.

      • Roar Guru

        May 20th 2018 @ 7:03pm
        Charging Rhino said | May 20th 2018 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

        Who are the Warriors?

      • May 20th 2018 @ 7:11pm
        Mickey said | May 20th 2018 @ 7:11pm | ! Report

        Are you talking about the Warriors from the NRL?

    • May 20th 2018 @ 12:29pm
      CJ said | May 20th 2018 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

      One swallow doesn’t make a summer. Of course, we can win a game every two years and occasionally scrape out a competitive loss. Australian Rugby needs a game changer like a Frank Facer or a Harry Hopman or a Rod McQueen or a Don Talbot or a William “Bill” Sweetenham who has been inducted in the Swimming Hall of Fame. The current CEO needs to fund someone of this caliber as her side kick – otherwise, as Jim Morrison would say – “This is the End”

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