Seven talking points from Super Rugby Round 16

Oliver Matthews Roar Guru

By Oliver Matthews, Oliver Matthews is a Roar Guru

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    While there have been fewer matches this week with none of the South African conference playing, there have still been some great games and plenty to talk about.

    So much in fact that it’s easy to pass over topics such as the Crusaders still looking unstoppable, the Blues sad demise and the Rebels still being in contention for the finals.

    With those glossed over, let’s get into some of the bigger talking points of the weekend.

    When is a punch not a punch?
    When you’re Julian Savea apparently. The Kiwi winger was saved from potentially serious punishment thanks to the cameramen at the ground being far too focused on where the ball was than where the action was. It does raise an interesting question though – what happens if the same thing happens at a key moment in a key match? In a time when we’ve got so much technology at our fingertips is it still possible that we don’t have complete coverage of matches in Super Rugby?

    The ‘Tahs have got to be tougher in defence
    The Waratahs versus Reds clash was a hugely entertaining game and the atmosphere looked incredible. It was a good win for the ‘Tahs who are getting closer and closer to winning the Australian conference. They scored some great tries and their attacking mojo is definitely back.

    However, attack does not win competitions and leaking 41 points against a side who have only managed to score 247 points in the previous 12 rounds (average of 20 per game) is not exactly the signs of a top team.

    And while we’re talking about this clash, just one quick thought…

    (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

    Reds have to be Maroon
    Nothing to do with the rugby but it was awesome to see the Queensland side in maroon this weekend for their Origin style clash and they really should wear it every week.

    Ireland have go to buy some stilts
    It’s not a new story – Folau scores try after soaring above opponents to take great catch.

    But Irish coach Joe Schmidt must be looking at his back three (average height several centimetres smaller than Izzy) and wondering if he can get his guys some sort of stilts.

    The real question, however, is not about whether Izzy will out jump his opposition. The question is can Bernard Foley deliver the aerial bombardment to give Izzy the chance? It’ll be interesting to see how the Irish defence look to pressure Foley to make sure he doesn’t have the time or space to put up those high kicks in the first place.

    Hurricanes? More like a strong gust of wind
    The Canes have looked fantastic all season long having added a real defensive wall to their attacking flair. But in the last couple of games that attacking flair has gone walkabout. In the first 14 rounds of the competition they were racking up scores of 30+ week in and week out but in the past two rounds, they’ve limped to 13 and 14 points and back to back losses.

    Now, of course, this could just be a temporary blip and they are still one of the favourites to make the final. But we’ve seen this situation plenty of times before with other sides – an impressive start sweeping all before them and then a stumble later in the season when things really matter. Once we’re into the finals one poor game is all it takes to end the entire season earlier than expected.

    The Canes have got a relatively straightforward run into the Finals with two of their final three games being against the Brumbies and the Blues. So there’s plenty of time to get their rhythm back. But that does need to happen because at the moment the all star back line is not clicking like it was earlier this season.

    TJ Perenara

    (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

    What does the future hold for the Brumbies?
    A good win over the Sunwolves today should not distract anyone from the underlying issues in Canberra. They’ve had a terrible season and the expectations of both players, fans and pundits have not been achieved with the Brumbies right down the bottom end of the ladder.

    With their final three games being against the Canes, Chiefs and Tahs it is quite likely that they won’t pick up another point this season and will limp into the offseason. During that downtime the club will have a lot to do including sorting out the coaching set up – with so many stories about the lack of alignment between playing group and coach there is definitely room for improvement.

    It’s going to be a great few weeks of international rugby!
    So many top teams are hitting good form in the Super Rugby competition and the top talent is about to go head-to-head with some of the best from up North. There are so many intriguing stories including how the 6 Nation champions Ireland will go against a Wallabies side desperate for form, or can Eddie Jones’ England get out of the rut they’re in or can a resurgent French side stand up to the might of the All Blacks?

    There will be many, many stories over the coming months that talk about how teams are tracking towards the World Cup and there’s still time for nations to improve, but these matches are important in each team’s plans.

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    The Crowd Says (33)

    • June 3rd 2018 @ 7:25pm
      Fionn said | June 3rd 2018 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

      To anyone that may be interested – judging by Pocock’s Instagram it looks like he, Sio, Alaalatoa and the rest of the Brumbies’ Wallabies went straight to the airport after the match and it seems like they must have made the flight.

      So all of the complaining about them needing to rest so that they could be there on Sunday came to naught.

      • June 3rd 2018 @ 7:31pm
        jameswm said | June 3rd 2018 @ 7:31pm | ! Report

        Wasn’t it more about reducing game time than making a flight?

        • June 3rd 2018 @ 7:35pm
          Fionn said | June 3rd 2018 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

          Nope, as I understood it Cheika said that he didn’t think 6 days was enough to prepare for a test, and wanted them there on Sunday and not Monday (as they will be).

          If it was about game time then he surely would have requested all likely Wallaby starters to be rested?

          • June 4th 2018 @ 3:39pm
            Joseph said | June 4th 2018 @ 3:39pm | ! Report

            Cheika’s request for the Bumbies players to be rested had nothing to do with catching the plane.
            The Sunday before a Saturday test is usually a rest recovery day for the players before team training on Monday.
            Pocock and Co now just dive into training Monday without the proper recovery.

      • Columnist

        June 3rd 2018 @ 8:33pm
        Brett McKay said | June 3rd 2018 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

        Yep, I can confirm this Fionn – we finished our broadcast for ABC Grandstand just on 6pm, and I made my way upstairs to the commentary box about ten minutes later walking and talking to four of them, who were dashing up to say a quick goodbye to their families before climbing into two cars waiting at the gate…

        Canberra-Brisbane flight was about 7:30pm, so they’d have made it comfortably..

      • June 3rd 2018 @ 10:26pm
        Rebellion said | June 3rd 2018 @ 10:26pm | ! Report

        XV against Ireland (Post Injuries & Samu):

        1. Scott Sio
        2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa
        3. Sekope Kepu
        4. Adam Coleman
        5. Isaac Rodda
        6. Caleb Timu
        7. David Pocock (c)
        8. Scott Higginbotham
        9. Will Genia
        10. Bernard Foley
        11. Sefa Naivalu
        12. Kurtley Beale
        13. Reece Hodge
        14. Marika Koroibete
        15. Israel Folau

        16. Tolu Latu
        17. JP Smith
        18. Taniela Tupou
        19. Jed Holloway
        20. Pete Samu
        21. Joe Powell
        22. Tom Banks
        23. Jack Maddocks

        • June 3rd 2018 @ 10:47pm
          huh? said | June 3rd 2018 @ 10:47pm | ! Report

          What is the purpose of this when many of those players haven’t even been named in the squad?

        • June 4th 2018 @ 12:17pm
          Phil said | June 4th 2018 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

          So I guess, Rebellion,you are privy to the news that Michael Hooper is injured and replaced in the squad by Higgers,is that correct?

    • June 3rd 2018 @ 7:49pm
      moa said | June 3rd 2018 @ 7:49pm | ! Report

      * If the Reds start wearing maroon again—will they need a name-change? I mean the clue is in the colour, right?

      *I am surprised no camera caught a better view; I should rephrase that.No better view was produced for the TMO…we all saw it live and what we saw was better than the crap shown to the tMO.
      Does this suggest collusion of some kind? And to what end?
      I mean Julian Savea being absent is hardly going to be a crushing blow to the ‘Canes.

      *I’m looking forward to the Internationals but after watching the disappointing showcase match in Washington D.C this morning I am now tempering my enthusiasm a trifle.
      I expect France to be very competitive.I don’t know what to think about RAS v England anymore.And Ireland v Aus should be enthralling.Maybe.

      • June 3rd 2018 @ 10:30pm
        Laurence King said | June 3rd 2018 @ 10:30pm | ! Report

        Technically speaking, just being a smart arse. Maroon is actually red, being Red plus Black. Black not being a colour but rather a tone. So maroon is just dark red. Told you I was a smartarse. LOL

      • Roar Rookie

        June 3rd 2018 @ 11:43pm
        Paulo said | June 3rd 2018 @ 11:43pm | ! Report

        Not sure there was any better vision of the Savea punch. I think if you throw a punch, it shouldn’t matter if it connects or not, you get the punishment. Just because he is bad puncher (potentially), doesn’t excuse him of trying to do it. And on a player prone on the ground too. Should have gone in my opinion.

        • June 4th 2018 @ 12:39am
          MH01 said | June 4th 2018 @ 12:39am | ! Report

          Agree with you . Though it looks like a punch , you cannot see where he makes contact.

          Though camera angles can be deceiving , and be rough To get sent off with that evidence . Don’t want a precedent where players get sent based on assumptions – soon aerial contests will be gone all together .

        • June 4th 2018 @ 3:21pm
          cuw said | June 4th 2018 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

          I think a hell of a lot happened at that ruck and most of it was not looked at.

          first of all there was a forwards pass by TJP. well noone cared ( perhaps correctly ).

          then the Squire arm / shoulder that connected with Savea – which has been excused by citing / hearing.

          then there was a shoulder charge at someone by Rikki. partially visible before camera follows the ball.

          there is also the punch by Savea minutely visible before camera follows the ball.

          am just wondering – what is the role of those cameramen who run along the touchline.

          it can be assumed that the fixed high cameras follow the play from the higher elevation from a wider angle.

          shud the running cameramen stay with the action close to them and let a distant camera cover the ball?

    • June 4th 2018 @ 12:30am
      MH01 said | June 4th 2018 @ 12:30am | ! Report

      What a good game reds v Tahs was . Both teams turned up to play running rugby .

      It’s super rugby – crusaders leading the table constantly leak between 20-30 points .

      Which is it, do we want entertaining rugby or test rugby . Cause I got one can’t stand the usual oz derbys …… for once we had a really entertaining game .

      • June 4th 2018 @ 12:23pm
        Phil said | June 4th 2018 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

        Yes,MHO1,amazing how so many people criticise the Oz derbies as being dour affairs(correctly,I might add),then when we get a good one it’s criticised for being lousy defence?I especially noticed quite a few Kiwis commenting about the poor defence but how many of the very entertaining Kiwi derbies are high scoring games,and we all love them?How about giving credit to good,attacking rugby.

    • June 4th 2018 @ 6:35am
      Dave_S said | June 4th 2018 @ 6:35am | ! Report

      Stay as the Reds. Reverting to maroon looks like an admission of failure.

      The switch the Red was in part (as I recall) to distinguish rugby Qld from league Qld – go back and to maroon and it looks like an attempt to get back on the Qld league bandwagon.

      Plus they are no longer a Qld rep side anyway, so that connection has been severed.

    • June 4th 2018 @ 7:51am
      The Slow Eater said | June 4th 2018 @ 7:51am | ! Report

      So the first win by an Aussie team on Kiwi soil in 3 years doesn’t rate a mention as a talking point but the colour of the Queensland jersey does?

      • June 4th 2018 @ 9:18am
        Agreed said | June 4th 2018 @ 9:18am | ! Report


        But if it were the Tahs breaking the drought they’d be a full blown article sbd analysis.

        Critics will say it was against a struggling Kiwi Blues team…

        • June 4th 2018 @ 11:41am
          HayMrDj said | June 4th 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

          And with the rebels win, aussies teams combined have now overtaken the sunwolves for wins against NZ teams since the start of the 2017 season

        • Roar Rookie

          June 4th 2018 @ 10:41pm
          Kirky said | June 4th 2018 @ 10:41pm | ! Report

          Agreed! ~ No lie mate it was a shocking Kiwi team they played!

      • Roar Rookie

        June 4th 2018 @ 10:40pm
        Kirky said | June 4th 2018 @ 10:40pm | ! Report

        That game in New Zwaland was only against the Blues whodidn’t even play a game at all, they seemingly said to the Tahs Skipper ” just go for it we won’t stand in the way” and they didn’t, ~ Not worthy of a mention, ~ Any team whoever it was would have beaten that Blues side on the weekend!

        I would imagine the NZ Rugby powers that be will step in there as I’m sure they won’t be putting up with any more of that rubbish.

        The President of the Blues sacked himself this morning and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Tana doesn’t get the shove by them if he doesn’t resign himself!

        It’s all over this Season for the Auckland Blues so watch this space!! ~ Remembering also that New Zealand Representative teams are expected to play rugby, not lie down like this current lot did 90% of the Season! ~ NZRFU won’t wear any more of that nonsense ~ interesting much!

        Good on the Tahs but it’s only a pity you guys playing well, had virtually no resistance at all!

    • Roar Rookie

      June 4th 2018 @ 9:40am
      Paulo said | June 4th 2018 @ 9:40am | ! Report

      Fair enough it was against the Blues, but I said somewhere else an ugly win is still a win. Rebels did well to execute what they started, Blues created chances and didn’t execute. A win is a win and keeps the Rebels going. For the fabled fortress of NZ rugby I have to say the crowd and atmosphere at the ground, from what I saw on TV, was pretty disappointing. It’s turning out to be the real fortress of NZ rugby is a temporary ground that starting to fall apart down in ChCh.

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