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Sports and Fitness It's football, not soccer.

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Old August 3 2013, 12:40 PM   #106
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Re: Rugby Union 2013 Thread

Despite being outright favourites to win the match and the fact that the Brumbies had to come from South Africa to play in the final the Chiefs had to come from behind to win the Super Rugby competition for this year, the Brumbies looked to be very much in control until the travel factor kicked in at around the 60 minute mark, 27-22 at full time. 10/10 for effort from the men from Canberra who showed the Chiefs how finals should be won, until the Chiefs showed how finals can be won. My favourite NZ player Aaron Cruden had another off night with the boot, remarkable then that he was the player to slot the last penalty of the match. This final, much more than last year's powerhouse showing against the Sharks, must surely show that the Chiefs are here to stay as a significant franchise even if they are losing star players in the likes of Craig Clarke, Leila Masaga and Richard Kahui this year. If Ewen McKenzie doesn't select at least a third of the Brumbies squad for the Wallaby training squad I'd be very surprised and delighted as an All Blacks supporter, seeing as they have shown so much character to get this close to winning the competition this year.
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Old August 4 2013, 06:55 AM   #107
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Re: Rugby Union 2013 Thread

Chiefs upped the tempo at just the right time and blew past the Brumbies in the final 20. They defended well, kept the Brumbies in sight and were ruthless when it counted in the last quarter. The travel didn't help, but with some of the kicking the Brumbies could have had all the rest in the world and probably would have been run down. They gifted the Chiefs easy metres and possession and the Chiefs were ruthless when it counted in the second half on the back of this. Would have rather a win, but I'm glad that the Brumbies fought to the bitter end.

Smith might not have got the fairytale end but he was massive again. He was the Brumbies best in the final series and a big reason why they made the final and nearly beat the best team in the comp.

Unfortunately as I said above the kicking by White and Mogg wasn't great. Too much out on the full and even more unacceptable is not making touch with penalty kicks (which Mogg also did in the Lions game as well). The game ended with Mogg knocking on, which was indicative of his night unfortunately. However, they are young players and given the Brumbies roster there is no reason why they can't come back next year, older and wiser, for another crack (hopefully in Canberra!).

One of the best things of the finals this year is that with the exception of the Reds vs Crusaders is that they all have been close. The top 6* have shown that any of them could have made the final. It's what you want to see, that the comp at the top is so close and competitive and makes the Chiefs second title in a row a truly marvellous achievement.

In a few weeks it will be back to the Internationals and the "new" Wallabies. McKenzie has 12 Brumbies in the 40-man extended squad. I doubt many apart from those who played in the Lions tour will appear in the series unless there are major injuries. Depending on how the Pumas are touring maybe McKenzie might give Genia, Cooper (Ewen has to pick him after his very public support for him) and AAC a rest and we could see Brumbies 9 - 13 in a Wallabies side and maybe even Scott Sio could be blooded in the tight 5.

Last edited by Jono; August 4 2013 at 08:49 AM.
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Old August 4 2013, 08:27 AM   #108
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Re: Rugby Union 2013 Thread

Too bad for the Brumbies. Depending on what article I read they lost either because the travel thing kicked in or because they weren't good enough. As I didn't see the game I can't say, but they seem rather extreme views. I'll go with what you blokes have said.


A NSW BaBas side, including our Wallaby reps, narrowly lost to a (near enough to) full-strength Argentina this morning - 29-27, with a penalty after the siren sealing the loss (or win, depending on one's viewpoint). Not a bad effort.
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Old August 5 2013, 12:29 PM   #109
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Re: Rugby Union 2013 Thread

Well, when you lead for from the start to the 60 minute mark and then go from 10 points ahead to losing by 5 off the back of a trip to SA and back questions will always come up about whether it was fatigue was a key.

They were definitely also not good enough. No one can claim their kicking, which is a huge part of their game plan, was as high a standard as it needed to be to ensure victory. Also you can compare two moments. Both teams got a forward held up over the line and a 5m scrum. When it was the Brumbies they got their scrum wielded and lost the feed. When it was the Chiefs they again wheeled the scrum and got an easy line off the back of the scrum for a try to level the game. Both moments are what champions and championships are made of and the Chiefs were good enough to make them count.
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Old August 15 2013, 08:43 AM   #110
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Re: Rugby Union 2013 Thread

Talk about ringing in the changes, McKenzie has made some big change. The new guys in are Toomua, Cooper, Sio, Fardy, Kuridrani, White and McMeniman. The biggest surprise is Toomua in at starting flyhalf, the news was coming out yesterday that this was highly likely, but still surprised to see it. Cooper is on the bench along with Sio, Fardy, White and Kuridrani. McMeniman comes into the starting side at no.6, Mowen moves to no.8 at the expense of Palu. Other positional changes see Slipper and Simmons starting, O'Connor shifted back to the wing where he has been more successful for the Wallabies and Mogg taking over at fullback.

Surprised not to see Beale there (and Robinson, but he was already dropped) and thought the only change to the back 3 would be Tomane making way fro O'Connor. The other big losers are Palu and Douglas as they've gone from starting to out of the 22.
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Old August 15 2013, 08:49 AM   #111
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Re: Rugby Union 2013 Thread

Err...wow. Toomua has been named at 10 for the Bledisloe opener, rather than the human turnstile (who unfortunately is on the bench). Colour me very, very surprised. Since I don't get to see the Super matches I've never actually seen him play so I'm looking forward to that.

Simmons has been found wanting at this level before so his inclusion (ahead of Douglas, who IMO is pretty unlucky to miss out) is rather more of a concern. Since Robinson's been punted Slipper gets an opportunity and the pack's been further rejigged with McMeniman at 6. Whether any of these blokes will make a difference at scrum time remains to be seen. Palu's omission is also somewhat of a surprise; he had a reasonable Lions series without being spectacular.

There's already been a lot of stupid talk in the media about how we're going to do this and that and blah blah blah. It would be nice if these (mostly media) people would just shut up and leave the talking for the on-field action on Saturday.
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Old August 15 2013, 09:12 AM   #112
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Re: Rugby Union 2013 Thread

^ Add me as another who is surprised that Toomua is starting at flyhalf in his first test, guess there's nothing like being thrown in at the deep end! Meanwhile on this side of the ditch, Steven Luatua will be starting his second test after only playing for 10 minutes in the last test against France, Liam Messam is out with a hamstring strain. And of course Dan Carter is out for at least the first two RC tests after injuring himself at training again, meaning Aaron Cruden will likely start his third and fourth tests for the year over the next week and a bit, with Beauden Barrett coming off the bench.
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Old August 17 2013, 01:00 PM   #113
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Re: Rugby Union 2013 Thread

Wait a minute. I'm confused.

Isn't this supposed to be a New Era? The one where McKenzie waves a magic wand, dumps all those dreadful Waratahs and transforms the toxic Deans-Wallabies into Reds-style worldbeaters? (*** cue laughter ***)

What a joke. The "new era" looks just like the old one so far, which (realistically, and to be fair) is only to be expected even if McKenzie actually was as marvellous as he's cracked up to be.

Everything the All Blacks do looks crisp, precise and professional. Everything we do looks leaden, unimaginative and very, very amateur (just one example from the dozens on offer: quelle surprise that the human turnstile failed, for the umpteenth time, to kick a football 10 metres from a restart).

The Bledisloe will stay on NCC's side of the ditch for another year. I don't think any realistic person expected much else but the "new era" couldn't have gotten off to a much poorer start.
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Old August 17 2013, 02:13 PM   #114
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Re: Rugby Union 2013 Thread

Some nerves from me in the first half as the All Blacks made way too many dumb mistakes right in front of the sticks to keep the Wallabies in the game, an early try by Ben Smith (who else?) giving the ABs the first score and the Wallabies staying right in the hunt before another chargedown try by Cruden - must be about his fourth this year? - and an excellent team try finished by McCaw of all people scored in the corner pretty much sunk the Wallabies, with an excellent Genia break and try capping off the half, Cruden slotting a penalty at the 40 minute mark. The second half started off much the same way, Conrad Smith and two more tries by Ben Smith obliterated any chance the Wallabies had of getting a finger on the Bledisloe Cup this year, the last try by James O'Connor being nothing more than a face-saver with the score being 47-29 at full time.

Steven Luatua must surely be starting again next week after his excellent performance tonight, Liam Messam really wasn't missed tonight, what a performance for his second cap! Richie McCaw also slotted right back in after some early niggles, silencing this critic who thought he wasn't ready after 30 minutes of Super Rugby playing time this year. Aaron Cruden as expected was also solid until limping off after 70 minutes, luckily worst case we have a quality backup in Beauden Barrett, not sure who should be on the bench in that case, Colin Slade maybe? And man, our lineout was just craptacular. Dane Coles doesn't make the match day 23 and has to play for Wellington instead, but the two 34-year-olds in Keven Mealamu and Andrew Hore do? Might be time for Hansen to give Coles an apology callup!

On the Wallabies side, Toomua looked solid but not spectacular, as would be expected from his first test cap, Cooper really looked shit when he came on in the second half by comparison, defense really suffered. Hooper stepped up big to fill Smith and Pocock's boots at number 7 until being subbed to get stitches and Lealiifano had another great match and especially at goal kicking. The new scrum rules took a while to get used to but once again the Wallaby scrum got monstered in the second half. All in all, looking forward to another tough trans-Tasman match in Wellington next week, provided it goes ahead owing to the earthquake in the capital yesterday.
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Old August 17 2013, 05:14 PM   #115
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Re: Rugby Union 2013 Thread

McKenzie definitely hasn't changed the Wallabies' traditional start to the RC. It was a case of what errors they didn't make in the end. Again like under the Deans the gameplan was too much sideways without doing the hard yards through the middle and the error rate was high.

Mogg had a poor game. He was okay under the high ball, but he threw speculators instead of taking the tackle and recycling and as I feared his tackling was shown to be not quite where it should be. I fell off every tackle he attempted and his poor read for that Smith try was...poor. He needed to stay on Smith and trust that Folua could drag the support down in time.

The bench was so-so, but when you're getting pumped the bench isn't really going to make much of a difference. Nic White looked crisp when he came on and was providing fast ball. Cooper didn't do much. Kuridrani dropped an average pass for his first touch and unfortunately had the ball pop out when he was tackled for Smith's third try, but he ran hard and got himself in good support positions only to be let down by average decisions in passing from Folau and Cooper. Fardy, Kepu, Gill and Sio were...there.

The new scrum laws were...interesting. Don't mind the pre-bind and there were what, 2 resets in the entire game, but I don't get why the refs calls the put in. Seems completely unnecessary.

Given my super leanings it's won't be a surprise what I say next: I don't think there should be any changes, save for injuries. As poor as they were, the ABs were good and we need to see if these players can bounce back and put in a better performance. One thing that has been sorely lacking in the last few years of Dean's tenure was stability. We'll probably come third in the RC, but the key is to finish in a better place than were they started.

Edit: On a bright note, at least the Wallabies did slightly better than Argentina did against the Boks.

Last edited by Jono; August 17 2013 at 07:19 PM.
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Old August 17 2013, 10:14 PM   #116
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Re: Rugby Union 2013 Thread

^ Yeah, the 73-13 trouncing of Argentina is an ominous sign of things to come from South Africa, we will have to wait and see what Argentina's reply will be next weekend at home.
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Old August 18 2013, 08:35 AM   #117
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Re: Rugby Union 2013 Thread

Now that my disgust has had almost a day to subside, I ought to rectify my failure to compliment NZ. Even when they're not going full bore they're great to watch (although needless to say I'd rather watch them bury some other nation). They do all the basic things so well and always make an opponent pay for any error. Cruden has really stepped up and the post Carter era isn't looking quite as dire as it did a year or two ago.

From a Wallaby perspective, Hooper had a whale of a game and one or two others had occasional moments. That was pretty much it, though, and hopefully the newcomers will learn very quickly from that experience. For all the bullshit spruiked by certain past players and blatantly parochial media know-alls - not to mention the xenophobic elements in those and other categories - there was never going to be any sort of miracle turn-around with any new coach. I had hoped for something less spectacularly awful, though; instead it was pretty much a repeat of the deer-in-headlights effort in the third Lions game.

One other thing: Genia isn't the same player post-ACL. His finish to that brilliant bit of work from Hooper aside, I thought he was very ordinary (enough with the craptacular box kicking in particular) and he wasn't any better in the Lions series. At his best he's top-drawer and we need that player back, and soon.

The result in Soweto was a bit of an eye-opener. I hope for Argentina's sake they can turn things around as quickly as we need to.

On a more important note, I hope all is well across the ditch after the latest earthquake.
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Old August 19 2013, 05:09 AM   #118
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Re: Rugby Union 2013 Thread

Australian rugby did get some positive news out of this weekend with the Brumbies winning the invitational World Club Sevens series over in England, defeating the Auckland Blues in the final. Not sure of the quality of the teams given that the RC nations are in combat at the moment, but still nice to see the Brumbies win.

It came as no surprise to me that Henry Speight was instrumental in that win and was the player of the tournament. As I say every other post here, Speight has to make the Wallabies European tour. Plus it can't hurt to have a winger play on the wing.
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Old August 19 2013, 09:14 AM   #119
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Re: Rugby Union 2013 Thread

Jono wrote: View Post
Plus it can't hurt to have a winger play on the wing.
That would be a novelty for Australian rugby, wouldn't it?
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Old August 19 2013, 10:38 AM   #120
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Re: Rugby Union 2013 Thread

Orac Zen wrote: View Post
On a more important note, I hope all is well across the ditch after the latest earthquake.
Seems to be, I'm North of Auckland so I'm not exactly close to Wellington, but the worst part of the quake seemed to be people trapped in the city due to all trains being cancelled and roads clogged up both ways, mostly due to the fact that Wellington actually has a public transport network, unlike the joke of a system we have up here. Life seems to be more or less returning to normal there, and Westpac Stadium has been cleared for Bledisloe II on Saturday.

And I'll actually get to watch Argentina take on South Africa live seeing as the game will be playing at 7 am on Sunday morning NZ time, which is my pet peeve with games in SA, I swear they start them at 5pm SA time just so no one from Aussie or New Zealand will even bother getting up and watching games at 1 or 3 am
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