Super Rugby Round 19: Harry’s final stand

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

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127 Have your say

    I’ve been in Harry’s current perilous state. Several times, actually.

    It’s not fun. You rethink certain tips. You rethink certain rounds of tipping. You rethink agreeing to join the tipping panel in the first place.

    But of course, Harry’s not alone this weekend. In Super Rugby tipping comps throughout the rugby world, there are people toward the bottom end of the table lovingly looking upwards.

    But this is their week to shine. This is their week to stand out from the crowd. This is their final chance to go out looking like tipping freakin’ geniuses!

    What can Harry produce? Let’s give him the honour and find out…

    ROUND 18: Geoff 5; Everyone else 4.

    OVERALL: Nobes and Geoff 77; The Crowd 72; Digger and Brett 71; Harry 66.

    Harry
    TIPS: HURRICANES, REDS, HIGHLANDERS, BLUES, WARATAHS, BULLS, SHARKS.

    Sometimes we learn more from losing. Sometimes the losers are the winners. Sometimes losing purifies our souls.

    This week, a number of surprising things will occur. The Bulls will surprise the Lions in the brutal Gauteng derby. Handre Polland is igniting the backline and getting great service from lightning quick Embrose Papier. Papier-to-Pollard could be a Bok combo soon. Also, the woeful Sharks will sneak into the playoffs, because the Rebels will fall in Dunedin, and the Jaguares will continue to be more Puma-like than Jaguaresque.

    The Hurricanes will win by a little less than plenty, and the Reds will scrum the Sunwolves into the sea. Which leaves with a couple of derbies to predict: Waratahs or Brumbies? Tahs, but the real excitement will be to know whether Foley or Beale will end up as regular season tackler-misser leader. Crusaders or Blues?

    I see this coming down to the last seconds, and wait for it, BLUES!!!!!!!

    Auckland Blues

    The Blues (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

    SURE THING: We will hear a lot of mumbling about cards. In fact, we are in a Card Era. Back in 2006, the total number of yellow cards issued in Super Rugby for a season was 36. From 2007-2013, the season yellow card total ranged between 53 and 75.

    In 2016 and 2017, with 18 teams, there were 94 and 143 yellow cards handed out, respectively. 2017 was also a big year for red cards (14). 2018 has actually been a quieter year for cards: 87 yellows and five reds, so far. It’s probably just about who is getting them.

    Geoff
    TIPS: CHIEFS, REDS, HIGHLANDERS, CRUSADERS, BRUMBIES, LIONS, SHARKS

    It’s not unusual in the final round for the form book to go out the window as some sides – for different reasons – start thinking about other things.

    Big Macca is no little Macca, which weakens the Chiefs, but Sam Lousi is no Brodie. Chiefs at home. Reds too, at home. Expect a lot of scrums.

    The Rebels had to win one of their final three matches to make the finals. Unfortunately, this was never the winnable one, with the Highlanders itching to get back under their roof. Unfortunately for Blues fans, there’s no disguising the class difference in Christchurch.

    Ethan Blackadder

    Crusaders flanker Ethan Blackadder (Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

    The most enticing match of the round awaits in Sydney. Given that the Tahs scored 77 points last week, bear with me while I somehow claim that the Brumbies are in better form. Plus, they have Pocock.

    The Lions need momentum and must win. To finish the round, I’ve had no idea about the Jaguares all season. This week is no exception, but the Sharks can start packing for Christchurch.

    SURE THING: The Blues board announces that they have full confidence in their coach Tana Umaga and confirm they have arranged for Umaga and his players to enjoy an off-season, team-bonding caving expedition in Thailand.

    Nobes
    TIPS: CHIEFS, REDS, HIGHLANDERS, CRUSADERS, WARATAHS, LIONS, SHARKS.

    Woooohhh! What a season has been !! decider games right to the last round before the play off amid a few surprising results in Round 18.

    Round 19 will not only tell us who is in or who is out of the finals, but also who is going to take the ‘lucky’ eighth spot for the finals and be rewarded with a beautiful sightseeing trip to Christchurch where a warm welcome from the Crusaders is awaiting.

    Jaguares could take that spot, but also depending in some other results can end third, fifth, or seventh. So, they can go from home field advantage to an extensive travel, or remain in South Africa, where they will be playing the Sharks this final round, who also are fighting for that last spot.

    I would not want to be the one in charge of the Jags travel arrangements for sure, which proves that Super Rugby is one of the toughest competitions on the planet and not only for the players.

    My tips for this round are so simple that I do not have to think much about it: I will go with all home teams and cross my fingers that the personnel in charge of officiating these games will not be ones that resolve the outcome of any of them.

    All home teams with the exception of the Crusaders and Reds have something meaningful to play for, that will have a direct effect in their playoff hopes.

    Then, Crusaders are the Crusaders everywhere and who will dare to tip against them at home.

    The Reds players would like to make sure that will have a place in the team for next season if the “big” ten-year contract is signed by Brad Thorn. In front will be the Sunwolves that have not travel well.

    SURE THING: I am pleased with Jaguares’ performance this year no matter what happens to them in the playoffs. I think that they have been an entraining team to watch and have proved that can be a challenge to the rest of the teams on the road as well as at home.

    Brett
    TIPS: HURRICANES, REDS, HIGHLANDERS, CRUSADERS, WARATAHS, LIONS, JAGUARES

    So, here’s the thing: last week looked pretty bog standard to me, and the panel agreed; Geoff’s unfortunately accurate selection of the Stormers to beat the Sharks being the only point of difference. Even The Crowd agreed, picking exactly the same as us.

    This week looks similarly bog standard to me, but I’m surrounded by blokes who’ve decided Round 19 is the time of the year to start thinking outside the square!

    The Chiefs without D-Mac and Sam Cane? I don’t think so. The Moondogs? Sadly, no.

    I want to give the Rebels a shot under the roof, but if they couldn’t put the ‘Tahs away at home a fortnight ago and couldn’t hold out the Reds when they most needed to put out a finals-like performance, then it’s hard to have much confidence in them. Akira and Reiko in Christchurch? Give me a break…

    The Lions will gear up for the finals by feasting on beef, and Argentineans are similarly known for their love of seafood. They’re all obvious to me. I don’t know what my learned colleagues are thinking?

    Ben Lam

    Lionel Mapoe of the Lions and Ben Lam of the Hurricanes (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

    But this is why I’m picking the Waratahs: Brumbies CEO Michael Thomson, I’ve discovered, is not just a regular reader of this column, but evidently takes note of my tips. But I haven’t heard from him in a few weeks, and I reckon that coincides with me picking against the Brumbies and them playing well. So, in the interests of having the Brumbies finish the season well, I’ll lump myself with the opposition again. You’re welcome, Michael.

    SURE THING: Akira and Reiko to have a quiet night, only for the 13 other blokes to turn out the upset of the season and end the Crusaders’ winning streak at home…

    Digger
    TIPS: HURRICANES, REDS, HIGHLANDERS, CRUSADERS, WARATAHS, LIONS, SHARKS

    Coming in live from Surfers on my phone where it is hot in the sun, cold in the shade and everyone is out of the cave, a happy day.

    Canes by plenty, backing the Reds to finish their season off with a bang also.

    Highlanders to all it on a show for their last home game of the season and I expect the Crusader machine to keep on rolling on.

    A tasty Oz derby but you have to back the Tahs in the end while the home sides in The South of Africa appeal, Lions and I will back the Sharks to continue their season of up and down with an up this week.

    SURE THING: There will be some exciting matches to look forward to in the finals but this will be overlooked for putting the boot into the Blues, condemnation of the finals format, ‘check check’ and an unruly end of season event will dominate thoughts and minds.

    Get your votes in now – The Crowd’s tips will be revealed Friday afternoon AEDT.

    Who have you got, Roarers? Who gets your tip for the final round of the season?

    And yes, we will keep going through the finals…

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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    The Crowd Says (127)

    • Roar Rookie

      July 12th 2018 @ 5:33am
      Origin said | July 12th 2018 @ 5:33am | ! Report

      This Saturday, Bulls will bring first shock in the Republic and Jaguares will finish the job.

    • July 12th 2018 @ 7:14am
      Highlander said | July 12th 2018 @ 7:14am | ! Report

      Good to see some real 50/50games in the last week of normal season.

      Chiefs/Canes should be a goodie although no Dmac and no Sam Cane really changes the dynamic of that one.

      Brums finding some late season form might give the Tahs a touch up

      Rebels need a win, and while the panel have not had the benefit of teams being announced, expect more senior Highlanders to be sitting in the stand than heading for the grass.

      Both games in the Africa conference could go either way too.

      Good way to set up the finals next week

      • Columnist

        July 12th 2018 @ 11:49am
        Geoff Parkes said | July 12th 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        Just saw the Highlanders line-up.
        Not a weak side by any stretch, but definitely game back on for the Rebels.

        Josh Ioane, Waisake Naholo, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Tei Walden, Tevita Li, Lima Sopoaga, Kayne Hammington, Liam Squire, James Lentjes (captain), Shannon Frizell, Jackson Hemopo, Alex Ainley, Tyrel Lomax, Liam Coltman, Aki Seuili.

        Reserves: Greg Pleasants-Tate, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Kalolo Tuiloma, Tom Franklin, Dillon Hunt, Josh Renton, Matt Faddes, Josh McKay

        • July 12th 2018 @ 11:58am
          Fionn said | July 12th 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

          Yeah, that looks winnable for the Rebels. Is Reece Hodge at 10? I honestly think that they were better with Jack Deb there. It just isn’t working without Genia running the show himself off 9.

          • Roar Guru

            July 12th 2018 @ 3:28pm
            jeznez said | July 12th 2018 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

            Hodge still at 10, neither Coleman nor Genia passed their fitness tests and Parling + DHP also pulled up injured from last week.

            Will be interesting to see if Maddocks injects himself at first receiver a bit with the shift to FB.

            Fereti Sa’aga
            Anaru Rangi
            Sam Talakai
            Matt Philip
            Ross Haylett-Petty
            Angus Cottrell
            Colby Fainga’a
            Amanaki Mafi
            Michael Ruru
            Reece Hodge
            Marika Koroibete
            Billy Meakes
            Tom English (capt.)
            Sefa Naivalu
            Jack Maddocks

            Reserves

            Nathan Charles
            Tetera Faulkner
            Jermaine Ainsley
            Sam Jeffries
            Richard Hardwick
            Lopeti Timani
            Harrison Goddard
            Jack Debreczeni

            • Roar Guru

              July 12th 2018 @ 3:35pm
              Train Without A Station said | July 12th 2018 @ 3:35pm | ! Report

              I actually thought Hodge looked reasonably good at 10 last week and the issues were outside of him.

              The Rebels should have started with this front row last week. The Reds made mincemeat out of Tet and Ainsley.

              Also interesting to see Charles and Rangi both available. Assumed Charles failed a concussion test, and Rangi didn’t came back on and replace him (a prop did) so assumed he was injured too.

        • July 12th 2018 @ 12:03pm
          Muzzo said | July 12th 2018 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

          Yep still a quality side Geoff, & IMO, it will still be too strong for the Reb’s. Great to see young Josh Ioane getting a start, even though it’s at fullback. When Lima leaves, no doubt Mauger, will be slotting him back into the first five position. One to watch. Cheers.

        • July 12th 2018 @ 2:11pm
          lassitude said | July 12th 2018 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

          Looking at the table and assuming the Warratahs win (probable) and/or the Lions lose (possible) then it probably suits both the Highlanders and Jagauries for the Highlanders to lose – then the Jaguaries (assuming they win or get a bonus point) just have to travel up to Jo’burg (from Durban) and Highlanders to Sydney for the quarter finals, and not the other way around.

          Although if the Lions lose then the Jaguaries could get top of conference (if they win) – and the Lions and Jaguaries get on the same plane to B.A !!

          Lots of reasons for the Highlanders to “go down bravely”.

      • July 12th 2018 @ 3:05pm
        nogapoephall said | July 12th 2018 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

        Hope the Sharks pull it off – rather see them getting dusted up by a record score in Christchurch than the poor Rebels!

    • July 12th 2018 @ 7:16am
      JRVJ said | July 12th 2018 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      One comment in re: the final spot.

      The Jaguars apparently will mostly play their subs (mainly to rest some of their very weary starters). While the mixed Jags could surprise, I suspect the Lions will win at home, especially if the Rebels lost in NZ.

      If, however, the Rebels WON in NZ, the Sharks could be too depressed to put up a good showing.

    • Roar Guru

      July 12th 2018 @ 7:34am
      Harry Jones said | July 12th 2018 @ 7:34am | ! Report

      This headline could also fit the soccer World Cup.

      • July 12th 2018 @ 7:56am
        Carlos the Argie said | July 12th 2018 @ 7:56am | ! Report

        Hey, Harry the Croat,

        I was wondering if the reduced number of YC this year is primarily due to fewer teams and also by an apparent reduction of YC by the Jaguares (mean YC rate / game played?). It appears to me that Lavanini has been less Lavanini-esque while wearing an Orange or Black jersey.

        I also wonder, based on other discussions here, if Hansen still has some issues with Akira based on his predisposition to be sometimes Lavanini-esque…

        • July 12th 2018 @ 8:00am
          Fionn said | July 12th 2018 @ 8:00am | ! Report

          I think it’s due to players and referees adjusting a bit to the new high tackle laws.

          But when you take out the massive spike in 2017 then 2018 still has the highest number in per game terms of history. It is still a clear upward trajectory of increased cards.

          • Roar Guru

            July 12th 2018 @ 8:06am
            Harry Jones said | July 12th 2018 @ 8:06am | ! Report

            Agree with both of you. Also, the YC for “interntional knock on” was PROLIFIC in 2017.

            • July 12th 2018 @ 8:15am
              Carlos the Argie said | July 12th 2018 @ 8:15am | ! Report

              The deliberate knock-on videos shown as example in the World Rugby Laws have changed. They used to have other videos that showed that a deliberate knock-on had to be almost a “slap” of the ball. Look at the law example now here:

              https://laws.worldrugby.org/?law=11&language=EN

              By the way, an “intentional forward pass” can get a penalty. I wonder how this is ruled. Intentional forward pass. I am waiting for the first penalty called for this. See the last bullet in the link I attached.

        • Roar Guru

          July 12th 2018 @ 12:27pm
          Ralph said | July 12th 2018 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

          We’re all Croatian now.

          • Roar Rookie

            July 12th 2018 @ 12:32pm
            Origin said | July 12th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

            Oui oui, mon amie. Ha!

            • Roar Guru

              July 12th 2018 @ 12:55pm
              Ralph said | July 12th 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

              Hvala.

              • Roar Guru

                July 12th 2018 @ 9:15pm
                Harry Jones said | July 12th 2018 @ 9:15pm | ! Report

                Croatia is younger than me

                I’m getting old

              • July 13th 2018 @ 1:07am
                Carlos the Argie said | July 13th 2018 @ 1:07am | ! Report

                Yep, getting older. One day you may even start losing your hair…

    • July 12th 2018 @ 7:50am
      Fionn said | July 12th 2018 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      Very concerned that someone picked the Brumbies… 😑

      I think the Tahs will win, but two things are working in our favour: Pocock is playing for the Brumbies and Foley is playing for the Tahs. So who knows, maybe we have a chance?

      I feel very mean saying that about poor Bernard, but, jeez, he’s had some shockers recently. Although by saying this I’ve probably know guaranteed a man of the match performance by him.

      • July 12th 2018 @ 10:39am
        Daveski said | July 12th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        And yet Fionn… the Tahs continue to win. And Foley continues to do a lot of good things but they go un-noticed because the death-riders are too busy cleaning off their excitement after witnessing a previous mistake.

        Pocock v Miller is a really good battle. But poor Poey has had a hard last 6-8 weeks and needs some help.

        Am looking forward to see Folau v Banks and hoping Banks uses this game to take chances and enhance his reputation ( but not to the extent that the Brumbies win )….

        • July 12th 2018 @ 11:15am
          Fionn said | July 12th 2018 @ 11:15am | ! Report

          So the Tahs winning is down to a single player who is out of form?

          And yeah, Miller is a good little player. Ditto, I hope Banks plays well. Brumbies should avoid kicking too much against Folau.

          • Roar Guru

            July 12th 2018 @ 11:40am
            PeterK said | July 12th 2018 @ 11:40am | ! Report

            IMO Miller has been playing better than Hooper at 7.

          • Roar Guru

            July 12th 2018 @ 11:42am
            PeterK said | July 12th 2018 @ 11:42am | ! Report

            Brumbies should just stick to grinding forward play up the middle and wear down the tahs. When they kick , kick it out and challenge the lineout.

            Slow the game down.

            Don’t join in on an open up tempo game.

            Very similar to the way they played the Canes in fact.

          • Roar Guru

            July 12th 2018 @ 11:47am
            PeterK said | July 12th 2018 @ 11:47am | ! Report

            In return the tahs should kick to Folau out wide, he can out jump all the back 3 of the brumbies.

            Put TN in a bit of space out wide so he can get up to speed, he will beat the winger at least, neither are great tacklers.

            Also the forwards need to run it at Pocock and thus making him make the tackle.

            They should also run at CLL , he has missed a lot of tackles this year.

            In defence the tah forwards need to make gang tackles to stop the power drives of the brumbies.

            • July 12th 2018 @ 11:54am
              Fionn said | July 12th 2018 @ 11:54am | ! Report

              I just think that the Tahs will try and carve us up out wide. It is what they have done very effectively this year and they did effectively against us in Canberra mid-season (although so much of that was due to Speight’s poor tackling… he seems to have improved that a bit). I think the Brumbies should keep it pretty tight and try and play like we did against the Canes too. If it opens up I think the Tahs will have too many points for us.

            • Roar Guru

              July 12th 2018 @ 12:29pm
              Ralph said | July 12th 2018 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

              Folau to mistime his first jump, results in a red card in the 8th minute. Mayhem ensues and the sparks fly as the Brumbies win a hollow 7 point victory against the 14 man Waratahs.

              • Roar Guru

                July 12th 2018 @ 12:32pm
                Ralph said | July 12th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

                P.S. Resulting internet explosion from The Roar on Monday melts the NBN network, causing $1 million in damages. Spiro repatriated back to NZ and Brett McKay relocated to Christmas Island as punishment.

              • Columnist

                July 12th 2018 @ 3:29pm
                Brett McKay said | July 12th 2018 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

                Couldn’t I be repatriated to NZ too?!?

              • July 13th 2018 @ 6:33am
                Rugby Tragic said | July 13th 2018 @ 6:33am | ! Report

                Well maybe Brett, but to be fair, I should warn you, immigration NZ will only consider guys with good characters 😂

              • Columnist

                July 13th 2018 @ 8:05am
                Brett McKay said | July 13th 2018 @ 8:05am | ! Report

                Ouch, RT!!

              • Roar Guru

                July 13th 2018 @ 12:57pm
                Ralph said | July 13th 2018 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

                I’ll put in a good word Brett.

            • July 12th 2018 @ 4:35pm
              Laurence King said | July 12th 2018 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

              And the Tah forwards should also wring Poey’s neck in the rucks, because apparently its allowed now. Only in certain circumstances though (it has be Poey)

              • Roar Guru

                July 12th 2018 @ 4:40pm
                PeterK said | July 12th 2018 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

                yet to be tested whether other oz teams will be allowed to though.

              • July 12th 2018 @ 7:33pm
                Mapu said | July 12th 2018 @ 7:33pm | ! Report

                So you PK believe ref bias and systematic cheating is happening?

          • July 12th 2018 @ 12:32pm
            Daveski said | July 12th 2018 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

            Is he out of form? I just find with Foley if he does one or two bad / dumb things in a game then he’s written off as having been “useless for 80”.

            The truth with the Tahs is probably somewhere between “they’re winning because of him” and “they’re winning despite him”.

            • July 12th 2018 @ 1:34pm
              Fionn said | July 12th 2018 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

              Sort of weird team from the Brumbies – Enever at flank while McCaffrey is on the bench?

              1. Sio, 2. Faingaa, 3. Alaalatoa, 4. Arnold #1, 5. Arnold #2, 6. Enever, 7. Pocock, 8. Naisarani, 9. Powell, 10. Lealiifano, 11. Muirhead, 12. Godwin, 13. Kuridrani, 14. Speight, 15. Banks; 16. McInerney, 17. Mayhew, 18. Lealuaiall-Makin, 19. Carter, 20. McCaffrey, 21. Lucas, 22. Hawera, 23. Taliauli

              • Columnist

                July 12th 2018 @ 3:31pm
                Brett McKay said | July 12th 2018 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

                Enever forced to the flank, Fionn, Cusack hasn’t recovered from the head knock last week…

              • Roar Guru

                July 12th 2018 @ 3:38pm
                Train Without A Station said | July 12th 2018 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

                Brett, if you had ever played in the tight 5, you would know that no tight forward is “forced” to the flank. It’s an absolute pleasure they all aspire to.

                I remember my old boss used to say “I’m a blindside. I’ve just played lock for 20 years”.

              • July 12th 2018 @ 4:13pm
                Fionn said | July 12th 2018 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

                Why not McCaffrey?

              • Roar Guru

                July 12th 2018 @ 5:12pm
                jeznez said | July 12th 2018 @ 5:12pm | ! Report

                Agree Fionn – I would have thought you start the bloke in position and then bring the forced change off the bench as needed.

              • Columnist

                July 12th 2018 @ 9:02pm
                Brett McKay said | July 12th 2018 @ 9:02pm | ! Report

                Gold TWAS, I’m writing that down…

                Also, re McCaffrey, I’m guessing the Enever to blindside is about backrow coverage toward in the second half. With Cusack out, and Valetini done for the season and Fakaosilea already gone, the Brums are suddenly a bit light in the backrow.

                If McCaffrey started, and one of he, or Naisarani or Pocock went down early, replacing him with a lock would leave them in a bit of a hole…

              • Roar Guru

                July 13th 2018 @ 12:41pm
                jeznez said | July 13th 2018 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

                Brett but the hole is even bigger if they run Enever for say fifty minutes and then Maccaffrey comes on and gets injured early – what do you then do for the last half hour?

                Even bigger issue if they run Enever for half an hour and then Maccaffrey got a knock before half time.

                You want the specialist playing bigger minutes and it looks obvious that Enever playing out of position will need a spell.

                Looks like a tactical decision for me – my read is that they’ll really try to hammer it through the forwards with Enever and the tight five looking to dominate in tighter channels. Then they’ll speed the backrow up as players tire.

                I made the exact same tactical decision for the team I was coaching in a QF a couple of years ago. Burnt us badly as we got done for speed to the breakdown and had minimal pill. Didn’t help to have my big ball carrying backrowers out there when we didn’t have the ball to carry.

                Swapped them for my quicker backrow players but the game had already gotten away from us.

              • Roar Guru

                July 13th 2018 @ 12:53pm
                jeznez said | July 13th 2018 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

                Is also what the Reds did in their first match against the Tahs this season with Tui at 6, they barely got their hands on the ball early.

                The Reds looked much better later in that match but similar to what happened to the team I was coaching they gave up too much of a lead.

            • July 12th 2018 @ 2:26pm
              Orange Fuhrer said | July 12th 2018 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

              It`s slightly different with the Wallabies Daveski

              The truth with the Wallabies is probably somewhere between “they’re losing because of him” and “they’re winning despite him”.

      • Roar Guru

        July 12th 2018 @ 4:36pm
        PeterK said | July 12th 2018 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

        Fionn – you will be overjoyed with the latest news.

        Toomua is coming back to australia.

        https://www.canberratimes.com.au/sport/rugby-union/toomua-is-homeward-bound-but-not-back-to-the-brumbies-20180712-p4zr3v.html

        Bad news for you he is joining the rebels.

        Strangely for 2.5 seasons, he is joining the rebels for the second half of 2019 HOWEVER he is eligible to play in this years november tests and it is a distinct possibility.

        • Roar Guru

          July 12th 2018 @ 5:14pm
          jeznez said | July 12th 2018 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

          That is great news. Think this might be why we haven’t seen any sight of Maddocks at 10. Adding Toomua to Meakes and Hodge gives strong options around the 10/12 axis.

          • Roar Guru

            July 12th 2018 @ 5:28pm
            PeterK said | July 12th 2018 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

            it is great news.

            At the minimum Toomua covers both 10 and 12.

            At best if Toomua performs and Foley doesn’t Foley can be dropped which isn’t the case ATM.

            • July 12th 2018 @ 5:42pm
              Fionn said | July 12th 2018 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

              Toomua and Beale at 10 and 12 is perfect.

              I’m sad he isn’t coming to the Brumbies, but happy he’s coming home.

              • Roar Guru

                July 12th 2018 @ 5:58pm
                PeterK said | July 12th 2018 @ 5:58pm | ! Report

                Cheika didn’t write off Toomua after all or push him away then.

                It seems Cheika was working hard at this once he decided QC was not suitable.

              • July 12th 2018 @ 6:03pm
                Fionn said | July 12th 2018 @ 6:03pm | ! Report

                I didn’t think Cheika did do that. However, he went overseas because he was ridiculously behind geriatrics, like Giteau, and players he was more complete than, like Beale, and players he was better than, like Foley.

              • July 12th 2018 @ 6:38pm
                ForwardsWinMatches said | July 12th 2018 @ 6:38pm | ! Report

                Tough call Fionn. In 2015 the combinations of Foley, Giteau and Beale worked very well. I think hindsight is influencing your comment. It may not have worked, but I don’t blame Cheika for starting with Giteau in 2016 after what happened in 2015.

              • July 12th 2018 @ 6:45pm
                Fionn said | July 12th 2018 @ 6:45pm | ! Report

                2016 England series, not 2015.

              • July 12th 2018 @ 7:05pm
                ForwardsWinMatches said | July 12th 2018 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

                Toomua is a really solid player but he’s not a world beater. In any case, if Cheika has influenced his decision to come back, you should be very pleased with Cheika as he’s clearly thinking about other options for the inside backs.

              • July 12th 2018 @ 10:14pm
                Taylorman said | July 12th 2018 @ 10:14pm | ! Report

                Yes he is, apparently Cheika spoke to him at Leceister though Im not sure hes the answer. Defensively he can get a little too excited and tears in at the opposition full tip and can either leave holes in the defensive line or get injured.

                Dont think Cheikas got him as a starting 10 in mind but it shows he wants to exhaust all his options and he can cover most of the backline, and has before, so becomes valuable there. Still think hes a lightweight option and illustrates the lack of depth in oz midfield options if Cheika has to go back to the future again.

            • July 12th 2018 @ 6:12pm
              Ed said | July 12th 2018 @ 6:12pm | ! Report

              Excuse my ignorance but does Toomua kick for goal? If he does, what is his success rate?
              Foley is also there for his goalkicking as who else is there? If you bring in Hodge as goalkicker, does he replace DHP on the wing?

              If Cheika selects 6-2 bench, would jersey 23 be Toomua or Hodge?

              It is great news re Toomua but until Cheika is no longer the Wallabies coach, Foley will be picked if fit, except against minor nations.

          • Roar Rookie

            July 12th 2018 @ 5:42pm
            Paul D said | July 12th 2018 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

            Wouldnt mind seeing Beale at 10 with Toomua outside in Spring. Have them share playmaking generally depending on whats in front of them. Only struggle would be getting the partnership up to speed quick enough.

            When would Toomua be back at the rebels? How much of the season to go? It would be nice to see him face off with Foley a couple of times leading into RWC.

            • July 12th 2018 @ 5:52pm
              Fionn said | July 12th 2018 @ 5:52pm | ! Report

              I’d prefer Toomua at 10 given he straightens the attack more, but let’s face it, they’ll probably interchange a fair bit anyway.

              • Roar Guru

                July 12th 2018 @ 5:56pm
                PeterK said | July 12th 2018 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

                on attack Toomua at 10 and on defence Beale at 10 so the flankers can assist / cover the 10 channel.

            • Roar Guru

              July 12th 2018 @ 5:55pm
              PeterK said | July 12th 2018 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

              According to the article second half of 2019 super rugby season.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 12th 2018 @ 6:27pm
                Paul D said | July 12th 2018 @ 6:27pm | ! Report

                Well Rebels V Waratahs are Rd 10 and 16. So I guess its touch and go for the first.

              • Roar Guru

                July 13th 2018 @ 5:11am
                taylorman said | July 13th 2018 @ 5:11am | ! Report

                Good that as many northern based players are being brought back during world cup year as possible. I think it made a difference in 2015 where it placed a slight strain on northern club resources that doesnt happen in non world cup years.

                Be good to watch Toomua in SR and hopefully test rugby again, hes had a good run with Ford at Leicester in a pretty good backline so his transition will be interesting.

    • July 12th 2018 @ 8:21am
      sinclair said | July 12th 2018 @ 8:21am | ! Report

      Agree re Foley – confidence looks down and form is well off. Brumbies might be a lot more competitive than expected. Hooper’s absence and Miller’s breakdown work may make this less of a clear advantage to the Brumbies and the scrum and lineout will be fascinating. NSW scrum creaks and totters but seems to hang on. If Brumbies can claim the set piece …

      I see the backs as being an area where NSW look to have more strike power but if Foley struggles and Beale overplays his hand and if Brumbies can cut down space and time then they have a show.

      It is a lot of ifs but I live in hope.

      • July 13th 2018 @ 3:17am
        ozinsa said | July 13th 2018 @ 3:17am | ! Report

        I don’t. People rightly get irritated by things like not finding touch or kicking it dead but ignore just how well he used the space to own most (or a lot) of the tries scored. It’s strange but he’s now as flaky as Cooper was and sometimes as brilliant.

        But people want to hate so he’s useless. Oddly, I read the U.K. press and listen to the U.K. commentary and they, to a man, rate him.

        • Roar Guru

          July 13th 2018 @ 10:36am
          taylorman said | July 13th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

          Yes they do and one of the reasons for that is he played probably his best test ever to dispatch England cruelly in 2015, hard to not be impressed with that performance.

          I think Toomuas similar, a no nonsense no frills loyal to team individual in the Foley mode. Loves his tackling but can have poor technique, Foleys similar. I think Cheika wants them both in the backline because its two players he will know what he’ll get.

          That adds a certain amount of consistency to a backline that has Genia,Beale and Folau that apply the x factor, with Kerevi or Kurandrani in the centres.

          I think with Toomua Cheikas allowed to think he has his own Ford Farrell 10,12 setup and that would be fair, though a little below them in the skills department.

          But as with Giteau, getting Toomua back with only NH club form going into a World cup…? Big risk, but one I think he’ll take.

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