Seven talking points from Super Rugby Round 18

Oliver Matthews Roar Guru

By Oliver Matthews, Oliver Matthews is a Roar Guru


54 Have your say

    Things are back into full swing in the world of Super Rugby and the finals are just around the corner.

    In these final two weeks it’s all about building momentum, nailing down the best finishing spot that you can and avoiding injury. Unless of course you already know you’re going to be watching the finals from the couch!

    So with these very different levels of expectation and ambition, what have been the main talking points from Round 18 of Super Rugby?

    No finals? No problem!
    It would be very easy to assume that the teams right at the bottom of the table would be putting up little defence in these final few rounds. Obviously though no one has turned the Reds or the Bulls that they have nothing to play for.

    Both were able to knock over teams this weekend who are currently in qualifying positions on the ladder and did so with a combination of grit and class.

    In a competition that is so often abused for being so one-sided and dominated by Kiwi sides, it was fantastic to see teams from Australia and South Africa racking up good wins over more highly rated opponents.

    For teams like the Reds and Bulls, it’s wins like these that can really help them set the right tone for the off season and beyond.

    You don’t have to be crazy to be a Brumbies fan, but it helps
    In the past few weeks the Brumbies have finally given their faithful fans something to cheer about in 2018.

    After a really disappointing season they’ve put in some much-improved performances in the last four rounds including a great win over the Hurricanes and this weekend they pushed the Chiefs very, very close.

    While fans’ spirits might have been improved by this effort, there must be a voice at the back of their minds screaming “Where the hell has this been all year?!”

    Against the Chiefs we saw the Brumbies at their best and worst. Some great passages of play, some forward dominance and some good scores… and at the same time over 18 errors in 40 minutes of rugby and poor execution when it really counts.

    For the sake of the mental health of their own fans, the Brumbies have got to get rid of this terrible inconsistency next year and put in the performances week in week out that we know they are capable of and it can’t all rely upon David Pocock!

    David Pocock

    (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

    How much would you pay/beg for Ben Smith to join your team!
    If you didn’t watch the Crusaders v Highlanders game this week then take a moment have a look. You’ll see the usual pattern of the men in red and black putting in another relentless performance and another win, but amongst that you’ll also see yet another fantastic game from Ben Smith.

    Not only did he score a lovely try but he was everywhere and never ever stopped giving his utmost for his team.

    His incredible value to any team was highlighted when he chased down Manasa Mataele who for all money looked like he was about to score yet another try after a great break away.

    To be clear – the game was over and the Highlanders were dead and buried. Ben Smith’s effort to chase down the Crusader speedster was going to have absolutely no impact on this game or arguably the season at all.

    Yet that thought didn’t even seem to cross his mind and he pulled off a fantastic covering tackle and prevented his side from losing by more than they were going to anyway.

    His rugby skills are well known and while he might never be a current day Christian Cullen, Ben Smith’s value to the Highlanders goes so far beyond his rugby ability and he would be an asset that any team would love to have.

    Can anyone really figure out how to beat the Crusaders?
    It’s not a new discussion but given the fact that we’re about to enter the finals it’s worth asking – does anyone know how to beat these guys from Christchurch?

    Of course they’re not perfect and of course they are beatable but more often than not they put in 60 minutes of very good rugby week in week out.

    Against the Highlanders on Friday they made their fair share of errors – 10 handling errors, 10 penalties conceded and missed over 29 per cent of their tackles – but despite that they squeezed a Highlanders side filled with talent like a boa constrictor and took their opportunities fantastically well.

    If you search through articles about the Crusaders you will most likely find the words relentless and ruthless used in good number and that’s for a good reason. So how do you beat them? Has anyone found that blueprint to unlock their defence and restrict their points machine?

    Sam Whitelock Crusaders Super Rugby Union 2017

    (AP Photo/Phil Magakoe)

    Tahs attack will scare many while their defence will not
    Scoring over 70 points in a Super Rugby game should not be ignored. Yes it was against the Sunwolves but even then there are plenty of good sides who have not got anywhere near that number of tries against the Japanese this season.

    But that’s hardly a talking point. What is arguably worth discussing though is the errors they still make even when they are dominating an opponent.

    Almost 25 per cent of tackles missed and two line outs lost is not good enough against the worst side in the competition. Against the quality sides in Super Rugby those sort of stats will be associated with a loss.

    If they can tighten up in these key areas then they could be a threat in late July as they have some great talent who can unlock any side, but they’ve got to close the barn door!

    No coffee for the Rebels – coffee is for closers
    The Rebels have had their best season ever in so many ways and there’s lots to be positive about for the Melbourne side.

    However, if they want to make that next step up then they really need to win games like the one against the Reds this weekend.

    Much of their play was good but 12 handling errors and 16 penalties given away was always going to make things very difficult for themselves.

    They have got to own those key moments in the game. As an example – against the Reds there were 23 minutes to go, it was a one-point game and the Rebels have a one-man advantage for another eight minutes to exploit.

    They were close to the Reds line and had a huge opportunity to score, take the lead and make their sprint for the finish line.

    However poor execution and a good hit from Higginbotham meant the chance went missing in action and the Rebels momentum was snuffed out. That’s got to change.

    Dave Wessels

    (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

    TMOs – are you in or out? Make your minds up!
    One of the most frustrating aspects of the officiating this season has been the role of the TMOs and the inconsistency in the way it’s delivered.

    In some games we get a TMO who provides his view once the referee has asked for it. In other games though we get TMOs who are acting like Jiminy Cricket whispering advice in the referee’s ear whether he’s asked for it or not.

    As always rugby fans just want consistency but this weekend we, yet again, didn’t get that.

    Come the finals the competition can’t have this lack of clarity otherwise some of these decisions or lack of decisions are going to decide some of the most important games of the season and that is not a good look for the sport.

    Getting hassled by a parent or partner about spending too much time playing video games? Now, you can tell them the story of how some ordinary gamers scored $225k for just seven weeks of work.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (54)

    • July 8th 2018 @ 11:11am
      HayMrDj said | July 8th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

      That was a disgusting display from the ref, ruined what was an awesome, close match.

      3 tries off forward passes plus Hanagin holding a player for the entire first half leading up to a 4th try that shouldn’t have been awarded. And that red was total crap, a yellow at most and then undermined his own threshold by yellow carding Tanaka for a worse tackle.

      The sunwolves were actually competitive tonight and the ref killed what could have been a classic, this game will surely be used as ammo against their life in this comp now.

      So, so disappointing. The waratahs scored some beautiful tries, it all just felt so hollow though. I can’t remember a single game more destroyed by a ref; and yes kiwis i remember 2007 and the lions series.

      • July 8th 2018 @ 11:35am
        riddler said | July 8th 2018 @ 11:35am | ! Report

        you do know it was the winger who was sent off for lifting and landing a player on his head?

        not a prop.. not an 8.. not a 10.. a winger!

        how did nz do against the lions when sbw went off..was it a 50 point blow out?

        kepu went off and we lost against scotland.. nobody talks about the ref or the fact we played with 14 men then..

        no it suits their small minded negative way to want to be a big boy on a keyboard s l agg ing people off and say australia is pants..

        really some people are just watching the game so that they can critique and abuse what they don’t like..

        • July 8th 2018 @ 11:50am
          HayMrDj said | July 8th 2018 @ 11:50am | ! Report

          I am aware it was a winger, and the waratahs found endless space out wide because of it and their talented backs capitalized.

          Comparing the sunwolves to the all blacks is ridiculous and you know it, the waratahs had this match before it started but the sunwolves were stepping up and providing some real fight as the underdog; this game could have been one the seasons highlights.

          I think its very telling that you used half of your comment to attack me directly and not debate or disprove anything I said.

          Do you not agree that Tanakas ‘tackle’ on Gordon was more dangerous than the red card tackle, and the fact it only got yellow made the red card seem even more over the top? If not, I’d love to hear your opinion and reasoning.

          Personally, I watch rugby to see entertaining games of competitive flowing rugby displaying high skill and good spirit; which I was very happy to be enjoying for the first half. I’d love to see where you read, in my comment, that i said ‘australia is pants’; my only comment on the waratahs was that they scored some beautiful tries.

          • July 8th 2018 @ 11:56am
            riddler said | July 8th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

            if you followed the blog..i stopped watching at half time to correct some bad organisation on my part,,

            hence i havent seen the yellow..

            this is what you took out of the game.. well enough to write it..

            3 tries off forward passes plus Hanagin holding a player for the entire first half leading up to a 4th try that shouldn’t have been awarded. And that red was total crap, a yellow at most and then undermined his own threshold by yellow carding Tanaka for a worse tackle.

            The sunwolves were actually competitive tonight and the ref killed what could have been a classic, this game will surely be used as ammo against their life in this comp now.

            how many lies and false statements in there?

            if i am attacking you.. then i think it is deserved..

            the tahs deserve credit.. instead you make up fake facts..

            • July 8th 2018 @ 12:18pm
              HayMrDj said | July 8th 2018 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

              Unfortunately, I didn’t follow the blog as I was still driving home from the Hurricanes game.

              There are 0 lies and false statements in my 2 comments. I did give the Waratahs credit in the form of “they scored beautiful tries” and “their talented backs capitalized” which are 2 positive and true statements.

              I can not make up fake facts, either something is a fact or it is not.

              Attacks on me are deserved because you made them? Interesting way to approach life…

              • July 8th 2018 @ 12:22pm
                riddler said | July 8th 2018 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

                3 tries off forward passes..

                hannigan holding a player for entire first half..

                4th try shouldnt have been awarded

                red total crap

                all lies..

              • July 8th 2018 @ 12:40pm
                HayMrDj said | July 8th 2018 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

                The Hannigan comment was clearly a hyperbole for comedic effect, which i guess didn’t land.

                I believe him holding that player should have been penalised which meant a try wouldn’t have been scored.

                Again, I believe there were 3 tries off forward passes that were missed. If you would choose to prove me wrong instead of calling me a liar, I would accept that i was wrong.

                Until then, it is not lying if I believe I am stating the truth. I accept that I could be wrong, but from the point in time I made the statement to the point I am proven wrong, the statement will never have existed as a lie.

              • Roar Guru

                July 8th 2018 @ 5:21pm
                taylorman said | July 8th 2018 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

                Well I didnt think the effect worked.😆

        • July 8th 2018 @ 11:56am
          Marlin said | July 8th 2018 @ 11:56am | ! Report

          We just want consistency with the referee- I personally reckon the linesmen and TMO are the problem.i don’t know about anyone else but it almost makes me want to watch the mungo

      • Roar Rookie

        July 8th 2018 @ 12:24pm
        Paul D said | July 8th 2018 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

        “Hanagin holding a player for the entire first half ”
        Wow! How’d he manage that? Maybe they were just holding hands. No judgement here but it must have really affected his involvement in the match.

        The first red was definitely red. If anything the second yellow could also have been red.

        • July 8th 2018 @ 12:33pm
          HayMrDj said | July 8th 2018 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

          Has the term ‘hyperbole’ not made it across the Tasman yet?

          For me it was a yellow, but honestly i would accept it as a red if Tanaka had also recieved red because I view his one as more dangerous; do you think the red was valid if you put your perspective with the ref viewing Tanakas as only a yellow?

          • July 8th 2018 @ 8:10pm
            Fin said | July 8th 2018 @ 8:10pm | ! Report

            I see it the same as the Reds Rebels game st the start of the season. Higgers gets a red that technically probably a red but pretty soft, later in the game Tui spears Genia and only gets a yellow. The second offence was worse than the first but the Ref is reluctant to issue a second red card.

            IMO in both games the ref and TMO have used some descretion for the sake of the contest on the second offence but not the first. It’s almost like WR has said crack down on offences that put the players head at risk but don’t give two red cards because that will upset too many fans.

            Red card rules need to be readdressed ASAP.

            • July 8th 2018 @ 9:01pm
              cuw said | July 8th 2018 @ 9:01pm | ! Report

              the moment they said head contact = red card , it put handcuff on the ref.

              but the issue is – once in a while the suits come out of their air conditioned holes and make a ref look silly.

              when they said gardener was wrong they also said this :

              ” World Rugby also reaffirmed it stance in dealing with instances when two players are challenging for a ball in the air:

              – If a player is not in a realistic position to gather the ball, there is contact and their opponent lands on their back or side – yellow card.

              – If a player is not in a realistic position to gather the ball, there is reckless or deliberate foul play and the player lands in a dangerous position – red card. ”

              now i wonder if there is similar guidelines for a tackle where the player lands n the head.

              becoz on both times in the Japs match players landed on heads and two different cards were given.

              it is also arguable if there was lifting involved in either case. i thought the first one Foley spun sideways , rather than being lifted and in the second was more of a neck roll than a lilift.

              it was interesting that the clash REDS match between Higginbothom and another was deemed a fair contest – though even the aussy commentary though the other guy was not in a position to catch the ball.

              i though the precedence for a red card was set when SONNY BILL was sent off in the LION test. the player ddid not suffer much – but the ref gave a red for head contact.

              by that definition we shud be seeing a hell of a lot red cards.

              i saw Lavanini get hammered on the face ( for a change 😛 ) and all the Bulls player got was a penalty …..

              there is zero consistency in the game – no wonder people like to watch footy 😀

        • July 8th 2018 @ 12:58pm
          elvis said | July 8th 2018 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

          Red by the laws, but it was just an awkward tackle. Lifted? Not really, more like supported Foley’s waist as he pivoted into the ground. Holding someone’s waist while they face plant a few inches into the ground is a lot different to picking them up and spearing them, or even dumping them on their back.

          • Roar Rookie

            July 8th 2018 @ 1:12pm
            Paul D said | July 8th 2018 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

            “Red by the laws”

            Yep. Which is all that matters.

            • July 8th 2018 @ 1:50pm
              jameswm said | July 8th 2018 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

              Exactly. The refs are supposed to ignore the laws are they?

              Lifted and dropped on head = red. Easy one.

              The Tahs lose due to ref decisions and they’re told they need to be good enough to win despite that. Wolves cop a correct decision and are excused for a 50 point blowout.

              Double standards much?

              • July 8th 2018 @ 1:59pm
                Katipo said | July 8th 2018 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

                The red card law need to be re-visited. It is ruining the enjoyment of the game for supporters. Let the teams go back to XV players after a sanction period.

              • July 8th 2018 @ 6:52pm
                jameswm said | July 8th 2018 @ 6:52pm | ! Report

                Yeah there’s something. 10 mins down a player then a sub comes on.

                Except thuggery. You play with 14 for that. Punching, biting, stomping, tripping etc

              • July 8th 2018 @ 2:23pm
                HayMrDj said | July 8th 2018 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

                No double standards from me, Tahs were robbed against the Saders without a doubt.

                My big issue with this particular red is that I feel it was less dangerous than the yellow card incident. I wouldn’t have any card complaints if the Wolves had recieved 2 red cards. However, a yellow was awarded which logically means a less dangerous tackle should be a yellow or penalty.

                Regardless, one card was definitely wrong and a good contest was ruined

              • July 8th 2018 @ 7:45pm
                ozinsa said | July 8th 2018 @ 7:45pm | ! Report

                I saw the tackle as it happened and thought red card. Nothing after changed my mind – lifted beyond parallel, landed on his head. Red card all day. Tanaka might have been lucky but doesn’t make the red call wrong. As for Hanigan holding a jumper for 40 minutes -if he’d held Leitch’s jumper, he wouldn’t have strolled in for a try.

              • July 8th 2018 @ 6:07pm
                Jacko said | July 8th 2018 @ 6:07pm | ! Report

                Its funny because last week when the Reds had a man YC’d because of a similar tackle all the Aussies whinged how it was nothing…Only Gregan said it deserved a yellow but this week its a definate red because it happened to an Aus side instead of against an Aus side….to me both were yellow in the Tahs game and it was a correct yellow last week in the blues-reds game……so curious

              • July 8th 2018 @ 7:40pm
                Reverse Wheel said | July 8th 2018 @ 7:40pm | ! Report

                You make a good point. Except for the bit where you ignore that the tackles were absolutely nothing alike. The reds one was above horizontal but he immediately released him and he didn’t land dangerously. The wolves player never released and Foley landed hard on his head and neck.

              • July 8th 2018 @ 8:05pm
                cuw said | July 8th 2018 @ 8:05pm | ! Report

                if u really go by the strict LAWS – that was not a lifting tackle.

                he spun Foley and drove him into the ground.

                am sure at least two simillar tackles happened during the weekend – if not more .

                as someone said above – the Tanaka tackle was a little worse , because it wasa neck roll .

                rugger really needs to look at the role of these so called assistant refs – who seem to do nothing much from the time they were just touchies.

                i think in the game Ben OK reffed , there was a forward pass of about 2 meters which the touchie missed in front of his eyes.

                and in the game Peyper reffed , they needed a TMO to look at a forward pass – which any decent touchie will have spotted , specially when standing right in front of the play.

                i get a feeling that most of these refs are afraid to make calls – either becoz they may look silly if it is wrong once the TV replay comes on , and/ or becoz they think it is easier to let is pass andd then have a TMOcheck.

                i remember the time when cricket initially used TV ump – such thing used to happen , coz the field umps thought better let TV ump make decision , and get it right than look silly when the replay came on.

                thankfully now that thinking has almost gone and they make good decisions on field.

              • July 8th 2018 @ 8:11pm
                cuw said | July 8th 2018 @ 8:11pm | ! Report

                Foley was not above horizontal. it was more of a spinning tackle rather than a lifting tackle.

                unfortunately it seemed as if the touch judges never saw any bad in aussy play but saw all hell with wolves play.

                the ref also shud have been told that it was not a lifting tackle – it was a driving tackle.

                i for one doubt a running defender can lift a running attacker that easily. most of the time the lifter will be stationary . or slow moving.

                the lifting above horizontal and turniing a player requires different motions – but it is easy to drive someone back or just flip.

                dont forget – we are talking of heavy objects being lifted.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 9th 2018 @ 12:07am
                Paulo said | July 9th 2018 @ 12:07am | ! Report

                Reverse, you can watch it in the player on this page, he does release the player, he isn’t ‘driven’, but is more flipped due to momentum. Foleys hand is on the ground as he rotates and his shoulder impacts first, then his head. Not saying it wasn’t Red worthy, but I think the way the impacts happened, the second offense was potentially worse due to the impact and the way energy would have been transferred into the tackled players body. Irrelevant though as to whether the 2nd one needed a Red card, as a YC removed from the game anyway.

                The difference to last weeks card and this one is the impact. The offense is roughly the same, the main difference in sanction is how the tacklee hits the ground. If last week he had landed on his head, the card would (should) have been Red.

            • July 8th 2018 @ 7:18pm
              cinque said | July 8th 2018 @ 7:18pm | ! Report

              Hope that nobody except me is warped enough to consider the following scenario:

              The liftee – on the way down – makes a split second decision “to take one for the team”. He doesn’t break his fall, hoping for a red card.

              • July 8th 2018 @ 7:41pm
                Reverse Wheel said | July 8th 2018 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

                And a wheelchair?

            • July 9th 2018 @ 12:58am
              MH01 said | July 9th 2018 @ 12:58am | ! Report

              Actually no – cause the second one should have also been a red, but the ref introduced the concept that not much force was used… yellow. Seems the laws are not so clear when it comes to dropping a player on the head like what happened to Gordon

      • July 9th 2018 @ 12:56am
        MH01 said | July 9th 2018 @ 12:56am | ! Report

        Agree reffing killed what could have been a great game – not disputing the red, though at least be consistent , cause if the ref is going to bring force into it, you can argue the first was also a yellow if you compare to a player that is lifted and driven into the ground . That game, second was a worse tackle deserving a red . Not that is mattered cause red or yellow it was just 10 min left on the clock, so at least be consistent – the game was already ruined after the first red

    • July 8th 2018 @ 11:22am
      moa said | July 8th 2018 @ 11:22am | ! Report

      On point one, we must not forget that Los Jaguares were one of those cellar-dweller teams not that long ago and perhaps it was the Bulls who should have been knocking on the door to take top spot in that conference.
      The Jags will be disappointed-sure-but they have come a long way and are the success story ( along with the Sunwolves, Rebels to a lesser extent ) of the ’18 season imo.

      Agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of Ben Smith.What an inspirational display that was.I commented eleswhere that he is not particularly brilliant at any one thing–just incredibly consistent and high class in all of them!

    • July 8th 2018 @ 11:30am
      Tooly said | July 8th 2018 @ 11:30am | ! Report

      We are slowly assembling the players who could make us great again . Unfortunately we have a coach who is assembling another group .
      The Reds pack under Thorn is progressing well as are the Tahs under Gibso . The Wallabies, Rebels and Brumbies are in fairy land and will remain so while adhering to the Kafer plan without ball security.

      • Roar Guru

        July 8th 2018 @ 11:51am
        PeterK said | July 8th 2018 @ 11:51am | ! Report

        just not true at all that Cheika is assembling andother group.

        From the reds pack Paenga-Amosa, Tupou, Rodda, Tui, Timu are all in the squad and the 23 except for the recently dropped Timu.

        J.P Smith is not eligible.

        That leaves only Higgs who should be included (Douglas is leaving for europe at the end of super rugby).

        The Tahs always have a mass representation (if not over representation).

        • July 8th 2018 @ 12:48pm
          Redsfan1 said | July 8th 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

          I definitely think Higginbotham should be there instead of Hannigan in the Wallabies squad. Would be interested if people from NSW agree?

          • Roar Guru

            July 8th 2018 @ 1:07pm
            PeterK said | July 8th 2018 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

            I am a tahs supporter and yes I would replace Hanigan with Higgs, or Phillips.

            Hanigan has played quite well in super rugby and has improved a lot, he is genuine super rugby standard now.

            Higgs and Phillips are better.

            • July 8th 2018 @ 1:34pm
              Reverse Wheel said | July 8th 2018 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

              Personally no. I love a lot of what higgers does, but he’s just too much of a loose canon for me. I don’t see him progressing in his discipline.

              I’m not sure why we’re comparing him with Hanigan anyway. Hanigan is a 6/ maybe 4r, higgers an 8/ maybe 6.

              • Roar Guru

                July 8th 2018 @ 1:41pm
                PeterK said | July 8th 2018 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

                In the 18 test starts Higgs has had 9 starts each at 6 and 8.

                Hanigan is not a genuine lock.

                Hanigan is a 6/lock utility on the bench which Tui, Higgs and Phillips would all serve the role better.

                Agree the biggest issue on Higgs is his discipline and the wallabies do give too many penalties as it is.

                I still wouldn’t have Hanigan in the wallabies but if he keeps improving then next year yes in the squad.

              • July 8th 2018 @ 2:07pm
                Reverse Wheel said | July 8th 2018 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

                Didn’t realise higgers had started so many at 6. He’s a better 8 imo. He definitely does a lot of good stuff but I’m first and foremost a believer that discipline wins games. I just want him to show that he has learned that.

              • July 8th 2018 @ 7:27pm
                cinque said | July 8th 2018 @ 7:27pm | ! Report

                Philipbotham would be one great player.
                Philip is solid, has grunt, high work rate, bit of a log.
                Higginbotham is lazy, makes errors, but understands the game and does some great things, like that try-saving hit and the offload to Dauganu.

          • July 8th 2018 @ 5:44pm
            Worlds Biggest said | July 8th 2018 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

            Tahs fan here Redsfan1, I have never rated Higgers at Wallaby Level. Just goes missing too often. However given the dearth of Number 8 options ( Timu a project ) I would be prepared to give him another shot. Given he is at the backend of his career perhaps he sees an opportunity to play in another World Cup and take it with both hands. However I think Cheika has moved on and that ship has sailed.

            • July 8th 2018 @ 6:56pm
              Baz said | July 8th 2018 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

              I think Higgers has grown up a fair bit this year. I am not a Hanigan hater and think he has lots of potential. He is improving steadily and will be a real asset in the coming years. But if I needed to pick and experienced back rower right now who will not be intimidated (can also jump) it would be Higgers. The fact that he isn’t in the squad tells me that he and Cheik don’t see eye to eye.
              Hanigan will be right for the next WC.

          • July 8th 2018 @ 6:53pm
            Baz said | July 8th 2018 @ 6:53pm | ! Report


      • Roar Rookie

        July 8th 2018 @ 11:54am
        eeds said | July 8th 2018 @ 11:54am | ! Report

        What are you talking about mate?

        We got an excellent series and lost by a dick hair to a team ranked higher than us. The squad MC picked for the Ireland series was excellent.

        If your going to run a anti MC crusade at least keep your information current.

      • July 8th 2018 @ 12:04pm
        riddler said | July 8th 2018 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

        fantasy land tooly..

        facts are facts.. opinions are not facts..

        and as thorn recognises.. crapper is a key part of our scrum success…

    • Roar Guru

      July 8th 2018 @ 12:38pm
      Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | July 8th 2018 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

      Okay here we go.
      As an OZ fan here are some Good things:
      Taniela -scrumming, running and thumping
      Reds – scrum
      Tahs – attack
      We can bank on Banks
      Maddocks should tour
      Brums are back, even if Chiefs were too good
      Plenty of props, Rowers and 6’s
      Fact that we have an eight game ball game to sort the finalists in the last week of comp. Big win for Super.

      Not so goods:
      Reds outside of scrums and scramble
      Tah defence
      Izzydefending at fullback- skinned like a cat. Would Banks have been stepped?
      Silly decision to red card Sunwolf
      No proper tens playing anywhere in all four OZ teams, (If Foley is our only answer Chek, you aren’t asking enough questions).

      TMOs and Citing commissioners. TMOs especially. There is no consistency.
      Red card to Moondog for silly tackle, yellow at worst.
      Another game, another attempted beheading of Pocock. Silence from the TMO, Moodyesque? Then the final deliberate knock down, again ‘crickets’ from the TMO. Ben Skeen’s unsolicited ancient history lesson featuring Coleman in the Irish Test is a world apart from our TMO in Hamilton.
      Refs, understandably, miss things for a variety of reasons – 100’s of things at a very fast pace, halfbacks yelling at them, etc etc. But TMO’s are employed to catch things and assess them for game relevance. They have more vision, angles, space and time. We could expect more of them.

      • July 8th 2018 @ 7:08pm
        Baz said | July 8th 2018 @ 7:08pm | ! Report

        I agree with what you are saying but think you could be a little more concise. Appreciate the absence of punctuation and sentence structure. Both are entirely over rated.
        Nice summary.

    • July 8th 2018 @ 1:46pm
      Lara said | July 8th 2018 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

      As the playoffs are near, again we see that the conf system has it’s pros n cons. Yes, the system will get you the spread of teams that SR wants, n therefore keep the interest up as far as possible into the comp. The system works , but as a pure comp, to give the credit to the teams that perform throughout the season, you are left a little flat. Home game advantage is important, so is travel, so are the teams you play during the regular season. Read proposed to go back to a round robin system …..I tend to agree . However, this current system is still better than last year. I always want the best teams to fight it out n give credit where credit is due.

      • July 8th 2018 @ 7:34pm
        cinque said | July 8th 2018 @ 7:34pm | ! Report

        Could there be a slight compromise for next year?
        The conference system will be here for a while.
        Give the conference leaders a final spot, where they finish on points.
        If they finish as they are now, Crusaders, Hurricanes, Chiefs, Tahs get home quarters.
        The top two get home semis.

        Would that appease the Kiwis?

        • July 9th 2018 @ 4:03am
          P2R2 said | July 9th 2018 @ 4:03am | ! Report

          no – if you hold 1-2-3-4 at the top then that is what it should be…this giving a leg-up to AUS and SA teams sucks

          • July 9th 2018 @ 9:49am
            Lara said | July 9th 2018 @ 9:49am | ! Report

            Exactly, so you will have the Canes play the Chiefs in the playoffs….two of the best teams in the comp, with more points than the some conf winners , had a harder schedule, but no biscuits for a hard season…that is what I mean by feeling a bit flat.

            • July 9th 2018 @ 12:46pm
              cinque said | July 9th 2018 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

              With the suggsted “improvement”, it would be

              CRUSADERS – Rebels
              HURRICANES – Jaguares
              CHIEFS – Highlanders
              TAHS – Lions

              If they go with the home teams, semis would be

              CRUSADERS – Tahs
              HURRICANES – Chiefs

              then presumably

              CRUSADERS – Hurricanes/Chiefs

      • July 8th 2018 @ 8:32pm
        cuw said | July 8th 2018 @ 8:32pm | ! Report

        they will not go back to round robbin.

        a team like BLUES will then have a good chance of ending among the top 8.

        atm they are down becoz they play NZ teams and lose to them – 7 losses and will be 8 next week ( so half of their 16 matches is against NZ teams ; so if they played just 4 their chances of winning shud improve.)

        then u might have basically 5 NZ teams and 3 others in the finals round. which is not what TV companies want.

        ideally they wish for the wolves also to be up there – so that TV viewers have some interest in the next round of games 😀

        soo then will realize that many good players are lost becoz of too many games . already Sam Whitelock is looking older than his age. his woorkrate has dropped , it is clear to see.

        i mean how many times this season did he run thru a backline – like he did a couple of years ago?

        whereas Brodie and Ben Smith and Read look recharged after rest.

        when will these suits realize players are not machines and fatigue has set in due to too many games??

    • July 8th 2018 @ 7:06pm
      jameswm said | July 8th 2018 @ 7:06pm | ! Report

      So looks like week 1

      Crusaders v Rebels/Sharks
      Waratahs v Jaguares
      Lions v Highlanders
      Hurricanes v Chiefs

      Good for the Tahs. Looks like the top 3 NZ teams are on the other side. If the Tahs beat the Jags then in the semis they are at home against the Lions or Highlanders, both fresh from a trip east from SA.

      So it’s imperative to beat the Brumbies in the final game to keep 2nd spot.

      • July 8th 2018 @ 7:46pm
        Reverse Wheel said | July 8th 2018 @ 7:46pm | ! Report

        So hard to know, wouldn’t be surprised if the brumbies beat the tahs and they end up hosting Highlanders. Would not be happy about that, Highlanders would be fired up and looking for revenge, and I haven’t forgotten our last semi in 2015. A win would then mean a trip to joburg. Then back to nz. So much rests on the brumbies game….