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'No faith in the Waratahs,' 'Force's miracle man': Which four teams look destined to miss Super Rugby finals?

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1st March, 2022
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The NSW Waratahs have shown signs of promise after their disastrous 2021 campaign but an encouraging start has failed to convince Kiwi rugby writer and The Roar Rugby Podcast guest Jamie Wall.

Wall joined hosts Brett McKay and Harry Jones, who was on the line from Paris where he had a vitally important update about the public toilet situation in the 2023 Rugby World Cup host nation.

The trio looked at the second round of Super Rugby, including the hot and cold debut of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, and riffed on a question from Roar Guru ‘jeznez’, who asked them to name the four teams who would miss out on the Super Rugby Pacific finals this year.

Click below to listen to this week’s edition of The Roar Rugby Podcast or follow on your favourite podcast app.

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Harry’s picks were “Drua, Moana Pasifika , the Rebels, who I call the ‘Repels’ because they repel rugby knowledge , and the centrifugal Force. I don’t see the length of the season being kind to the Force and I think at the tail end of the season it could be too much.”

Wall, who has written several rugby books including the recent history on the rivalry between the Springboks and All Blacks, provided a cheeky reminder of New Zealand teams’ superiority in Super Rugby competition.

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“If you’re talking bottom four, you’re an Aussie you’d know more about this than I would,” Wall joked.

“Just kidding. I think I’d probably go with Harry in that Drua and Moana Pasifika are probably going to be holding up the bottom of the table, the Rebels as well.”

But he disagreed on the Force.

“I’m liking what I’m seeing out of them, the 55-year-old Richard Kahui out there still going stong (yes, he’s actually 36).

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“I think it’s one of the greatest rugby miracles of all time. If you look back at his Chiefs and All Blacks career, when he first came on the scene he was known as an injury prone guy who was made of glass and who would miss more games than he would play.

“For him to somehow become as durable as he is, and he’s still going out there and playing really good rugby, it’ astounding for us.

“He still looks great, the girls still absolutely love him over here. If anything he’s got even better looking as he’s got that grey.

“I wouldn’t write off the Force just yet. I have no faith in the Waratahs, at all. I think they’re a team that are going to be good in about four years when all their players turn 23. They’re going to be in some pretty tough games against New Zealand teams.”

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Harry said the early signs suggested it would be another tough season for Australian teams when they faced the Kiwi sides.

“I don’t think trans Tasman is going to be very good for the Aussie teams, and that ‘s not because I don’t think there’s not green shoots,” said Harry.

“There are some beginnings of really good forward play in Australia, but you look at the NZ rugby derbies and it’s just rhythm and cohesion.

“When I watch even the good Australian teams – the Brumbies, the Reds, the Mighty Mighty Tahs – they’re not really spoiling or splitting the ball or smashing it. That’s what works against Kiwi teams – the Irish, French South African way which is to spoil things and stop at the source and smash the strong part of the ruck, find holes just around the ruck.”

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The biggest story in NZ over the weekend was the debut of RTS, which was going well until the Blues capitulated late in the game against the Hurricanes to lose by a point, with the former rugby league star at fault for the final try.

Roger Tuivasa-Scheck of the Blues.

Roger Tuivasa-Scheck of the Blues gives instructions during the round two Super Rugby Pacific match between the Blues and the Hurricanes. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Wall said he was surprised RTS had been left on the field until the finish in his debut game.

“He looked in the first half like a guy who really knew what he was doing he was popping offloads, his combination with Reiko Ioane outside him looked like it definitely wasn’t their first game together – they knew where each other was going to be,” said Wall.

“I think having those two together when the game was on the line… I thought they might have made a change.

“I was surprised to see Roger still out there at the 80 minute mark. I thought he’d done enough to walk off, have everyone pat him on the back and say ‘great start to your career’.

“In the weeks coming up we’re going to see him refine those rough edges on his game more. I pretty sure, getting in the All Blacks is part of the deal he’s signed to come over here much like Sonny Bill Williams’ deal was. I’d be highly surprised if he didn’t make it into the All Blacks at some stage this year.”

Have you got a question you want the panel to chat about on next week’s pod? Put it in the comments below.

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