Rugby 2014 thread

Discussion in 'Sports and Fitness' started by Jono, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Brumbies got a rub of the green and on the back of that confidence to put the Chiefs away on Friday. It was a tight first half with only one try, which looked to benefit from a forward pass in the play prior to the try. The next try by the Brumbies, which came in the second half, the final pass looked again to be forward. The Chiefs did what they have done and fought back late with two tries int he final 6 minutes, but while chasing the loss by 7 bonus point in the 81st minute they had a pass intercepted and the Brumbies got their 5th try.

    Chiefs had some good ball as well at the front end of both halves, but they were let down by drop balls and hampered by strong defence by the Brumbies. But without Cruden they didn't look as threatening as they can be.

    This win was important because the Brumbies have the Crusaders away, Sharks at home and its off to South Africa. Tahs and Force are still in striking distance and the Tahs have the advantage of already done their trip to SA over both the Brumbies and Force. In the next month I woudn't be surprised to see the conference lead fluctuating between these three teams.
     
  2. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Crusaders had won 49 games in a row at home against non-NZ teams. To have any chance you need to bring your A game (and hope for luck) and the Brumbies got some luck but backed it up with a quite lacklustre performance. So they got what they deserved and lost 40 - 20 and it could have been much worse.

    Their first 40 was terrible, both in terms of the tactics the Brumbies used and their general play and they were lucky to go into the break 20 - 6 down. The forwards were poor in contact and the set piece was shaky. The Brumbies at least put in 5 minutes of quality to get a try quickly in the second half, but continued to give away penalties and just couldn't match the Crusaders in contact. They had two opportunistic tries against them, one for a charge down and the other off a poor line out and a sneaky little kick of the ball after it popped out the side of a ruck.

    They also had opportunities, but the Crusaders were strong defensively and save for a poor read near the end that resulted in a pretty easy try to McCabe they always looked like they would get the victory.

    I think there are some decisions that need to be made before they face the Sharks next week. McCabe has looked very good every time he has come off the bench and really should start the game. The question is do they put him in for CL or at fullback where he has been subbing on. Mogg has been invisible in the last few weeks and has done nothing of real note, apart from kick bombs and make mistakes. He doesn't look anywhere close to the dangerous runner he was in the last two years.

    Whatever they do in training next week I think the entire team needs a bit of a bollocking. Because if they face the Sharks lacking intensity and with poor defence they would be in for another towelling.

    In summary, I'm disappointed.

    It's all up to the Tahs now. If they lose I think this will be the first week this season where no Australian team has won.
     
  3. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    I was going to say yesterday that if we're relying on the Tahs to keep our winning record intact we're doomed, but I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt since it was a home game.

    Happily they managed a win in what was apparently a pretty good game, albeit featuring standard Waratah indiscipline and idiotic errors (Folau's Campese-esque pass in the in-goal area being a particular lowlight). A win is a win but I can't get enthusiastic about a side that continues to do dumb things with such monotonous regularity.
     
  4. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Brumbies defeated the Sharks 16 - 9 in a game only the fans of those teams could love. It was pretty much a Jake White-off with nearly 100 kicks in the game. The weather didn't help, but you have to wonder if it wasn't rainy if either team would have really changed their tactics.

    It was very close for most of the game with only 3 points separating the sides for the most part until a late try to the Brumbies gave them the points to win. A bit of a spiteful match as well. A lot of handbags at dawn, in fact the video ref who was asked to look at an incident described it such.

    On the kicking, Steyn had a shocker. Missed 3 pretty easy kicks, and put a couple into touch on the full, including 2 kick offs. CL had a mixed night, missing 3 out of 6, 2 hitting the posts. Mogg on the other hand was solid under the high ball and his kicking was safe.

    Only bad news is that Tomane copped friendly fire and looked to have broken his cheek or eye socket early in the first half, so he'll be out for a few weeks. He had a great start as well, fielding the kick off and making a clean line break and taking the Brumbies over halfway and leading to their first points in the second minute. Thankfully, it looks like Speight should be back next week so he can fill in.

    So the Brumbies maintain their grip on the top of the conference for one more week. Onward to SA now. If they come back with no points things will get very dicey in terms of making the finals.
     
  5. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    ^
    One summary I saw described it as more like an AFL game, given all the kicking. Glad I didn't see it. Generally speaking kickfests don't do anything for me.

    I was spared any further Waratah-induced unpleasantness thanks to their bye, but it was good to see the Force pick up a win in SA and unfortunate but not unexpected that the Rebels lost. Rounding out our weekend, Queensland have been flogged by the Crusaders. It will be very interesting to see if McKenzie sticks with his precious Reds - his decision to go with the proven underperformer that is Simmons has, apparently, led to Kane Douglas signing on with a French side. Very disappointing if true. We cannot afford to keep losing talent like that, given we have so very little of it in the first place.
     
  6. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Brumbies lose to the Cheetahs 27-21. The Brumbies were a bit scrappy and left a lot of points out there. They missed a potential 18 points in the first have, 3 missed penalties, 1 missed conversion, and a try under the posts disallowed for obstruction. Instead they went in 11-9 up thanks to a 41st minute penalty.

    Second half, the Cheetahs got two quick tries, one through some poor defence by the Brumbies, the other just great vision to kick wide where it was a one on one jump for the ball and the Cheetahs' player stealing it out of the hands of Coleman in midair and scoring. Brumbies got back to with 3 with about 7 to go, but a massive drop goal made it so it had to be a converted try.

    Third best (maybe fourth?) result with the Brumbies getting a bonus point. They now need to beat the Bulls, preferably with a bonus point so to match the Force and Tahs SA trips to keep themselves well in the hunt.
     
  7. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    The Tahs managed a bonus-point win over the Lions, which is pleasant. Sounds like the usual mixed performance, though, and they'll need to do much better against the better sides. Other results played out quite nicely for us - we have a game in hand over both the Sharks and Brumbies and we play the Chiefs (all currently above the Tahs) so the Tahs have their destiny in their own hands at this stage. Bitter experience leads me to not find this anywhere near as encouraging a prospect as it should be but I suppose I can continue to hope for the best.

    The wheels seem to have completely fallen off in Red-land and they may well end up with the wooden spoon at this rate. As an Australian I ought to find that prospect unpleasant but given the juvenile parochialism with which so many of them approach so many sporting matters I frankly couldn't care less. The human turnstile picked up a shoulder injury during their latest loss and it will be...quite interesting to see which way Australian rugby's "saviour" will go in replacing him.

    Losses for the Force and Brumbies made it another mixed weekend from an Australian viewpoint. The Force loss was particularly disappointing but they're still travelling much better than pretty much everyone expected.
     
  8. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Wallabies squad was announced yesterday with a couple of surprises. I was surprised to see Beale at 10 and Toomua listed as a centre, I thought it would be the other way around. However, given McKenzie's explanation it's clear he wants to continue with Toomua at inside centre, so he listed him there.

    From the players in positions we can make some pretty easy guesses for the bulk of the team, baring injuries. 11 - 15 seems like it will be Cummins, Toomua, Kurdrani, AAC, and Folau, so that leaves the halves as the biggest question. I did think Foley was a certainty but I've seen quite a bit in the media pushing Beale at 10. Halfback is also open. Genia hasn't been great so it will come down to form of the other halves versus Genia's experience.

    Half of the forward pack I'd say are certainties. Moore at hooker, Hooper at 7, Fardy at 6 (since he's listed as a backrower), and Horwill in the second row. Props, Slipper and Kepu were the starters against Wales last year, so good chance they will be back. Simmon was the other second rower, but given the French are apparently bringing out a monster pack we might see Skelton instead. No.8, working off the big pack theory you would have to favour Palu, though McCalman and Higgs have been pretty good this year.
     
  9. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, that was a disaster. Bull beat the Brumbies 44 - 23, it was only 4 tries to 3, but the Brumbies leaked penalties of which the Bulls kicked 6 of 8. There was some soft defending the the first quarter and the Bulls were rewarded with two tries. By the end of the half they were I think 23 - 6 down. In the second half the Bulls got an intercept try and again thanks to the penalties from the Brumbies the Bulls got a lineout close to the line and just mauled it in.

    All three of the Brumbies' tries were in the second half. The first was off the back of a 5m scrum where Speight just sliced through the Bulls and shrugged off the cover tackles. The second was thanks to a good run by McCabe (who came off the bench onto the wing) who threw a pass in as he was getting bundled into touch close to the line, it bounced off a Bulls player coming across and Mowen was able to basically fall on the ball and slide over the line. The third was again a bit of luck. Ball kicked ahead and the Bulls fumbling it near the line between two players and Kuridrani picks up the ball and falls over the line.

    Brumbies copped 2 yellows in the game. The second, which I think was what led to the penalty that the Bulls kicked to touch for their mauling try, was not a big surprise. Brumbies gave away a bunch of penalties at the breakdown, so you could argue that they ref had no choice. The first was bordering on ridiculous. Toomua got binned early in the 2nd for a high swinging arm tackle that was a grap across the check that bumped up due to the Bulls player breaking the tackle. Not even the SA commentators thought it was worthy of more than a penalty. It wasn't in the same league as the red card against the Reds last week that cost them the game as it wouldn't have changed the result, but it might have made it less...worse.

    Brumbies at best will be 5th at the end of this weekend. It is a definite that either the Crusaders of Highlanders will go ahead since they are playing each other (even a draw would see the Highlanders go ahead). Both the Chiefs and Hurricanes also have a chance depending on who wins and with the Canes if they get a bonus point. The Force also have a chance with a bonus point win against the Lions to jump ahead. So they could fall to 7th. Whatever happens the Brumbies are in the must win territory now because they have a bye still to come, so only 3 games and I think every else in the top 6 - 8 have 4 (the Tahs and Force both do at least), if they want to even make the finals this year.
     
  10. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    Aside from the exclusion of Robinson (bizarre, IMO), the inclusion of the serial underperformers Slipper and Simmons and the bewildering ongoing selection of the grossly overrated Horwill, I thought the squad was pretty predictable. It'll be quite interesting to see which way the Saviour goes at 10 now the human turnstile's out of the way for a while, and ditto the choice at 9. Genia just hasn't been the same since the knee reconstruction and this is as good a time as any to see what the next cabs off the rank are like. Regardless, it's well past time for some of these blokes, particularly in the forwards, to stand up - at all, never mind consistently - and demonstrate that they belong at international level. And it'll be interesting too to see who the Saviour installs as captain. Please, not Horwill. Almost anyone but Horwill.


    Meanwhile the Tahs had, on paper at least, a good win but it wasn't in the bag until well into the second half. It was good that they went on with the job, but next week will be the real test - the Chiefs away. If we can contrive to win that game I may allow myself to feel mildly optimistic about our credentials but I won't be surprised if we stuff up royally, either. What did surprise me was the poor goalkicking; hopefully that's a one-off because these things can be very, very costly at the business end of a season.
     
  11. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    Err...wow. The Tahs won a game across the ditch for the first time in four years with a 33-17 success against the Chiefs. Colour me quite surprised, but also very, very pleased. The snippets on the news revealed almost nothing, except that how the hell the first Chiefs try could possibly have been awarded is beyond me, but the win is a very good thing and our destiny remains in our hands.

    Bit of a pity the international window now potentially gets in the way of our momentum but hopefully a successful campaign against the French will lead to more success when the S15 resumes.
     
  12. NCC1701

    NCC1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Back in here for the first time in ages, real life has been real hectic lately, hence me not posting here or elsewhere on the board!

    Chiefs are doing a good job knocking themselves out of the competition, both the Canes and Tahs making them look like the whipping boys of old in the last two rounds. Crusaders finally made it to the top of the conference - damnit! - despite a number of home losses, and making hard work of getting past the Force last night despite getting two penalty tries, it will be interesting to see them take on the Canes in Wellington after the international window. Blues look awesome at home - loss at North Harbour Stadium to the Sharks last week doesn't count, there were a lot of South Africans at that game - and completely piss poor on the road, so I see with horror they're travelling to Perth and Christchurch after the break. Canes are running hot and cold as well, although looking better than the Blues. Highlanders are still in the running too, despite a poor showing in Brisbane last night.

    In Australia, it's interesting to see the Tahs are top of the conference this year, with the Force of all teams a distant second - although I expect the Brumbies to regain the number two spot against the Rebels tonight, could be wrong after the trip from SA though! Rebels looking about as average as always, and Reds back to their old ways, not that I'm complaining.

    And in South Africa, it seems the all-conquering Sharks will go on to win the conference, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them in the final. The rest of the conference looking pretty weak to be honest, the Bulls still with an outside chance to make the top six.

    At least it's keeping things interesting with two of the top three teams having never won a title yet, only a few games left until the international break. A few interesting developments, I wouldn't be surprised to see Barrett start at 10 for the All Blacks, Jerome Kaino back in the mix, and Fekitoa looking like a strong contender for the 13 jersey when Conrad Smith retires. It would be nice to see Ben Smith start at fullback, but Israel Dagg seems to be back in form just in time to pull on the black jersey, again.
     
  13. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Brumbies thankfully didn't do what they did in Melbourne earlier this year and put the Rebels away 37 - 10. White and Toomua were very good and Kuridrani who has been average had his best game in a while.

    Worst part of the game is that with 5 to go the Foxtel coverage broke at the stadium, so instead I had to watch two replays of the final 5mins of the Reds v Tahs, rd 1, 2012 before the info box saying that there was a problem told me the score and I missed the final try of the game.

    The test are now up. Looking forward to seeing what the Wallabies line up will be and seeing how they go. Hoping that the Brumbies players will make it through the series without injuries.
     
  14. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    I'd wondered where you were. But what is this "real life" of which you speak? :confused: :p

    In quite unsurprising news, Stephen Moore is the new Wallaby captain. Not at all displeased with this appointment. One hopes it will be a long-term thing and that he's not going to be a seat warmer until Pocock reappears or some other candidate suddenly becomes more appealing; the musical chairs situation with the Wallaby captaincy in recent times has to end.
     
  15. NCC1701

    NCC1701 Commodore Commodore

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    Still around, lurking more than anything else. And I dunno, but it's quite scary out there :eek:

    It has been quite a roller coaster ride regarding Wallaby captains lately, hasn't it? Are there any senior players left who haven't had a (c) next to their name over the past three years? I see Will Genia has been left out of the first test team entirely in favour of Nic White and Nick Phipps, I thought he'd make the bench at the very least.

    Over here Read is out with more concussion symptoms, so will not be risked in the first test. Cane is also out, meaning Kaino will likely start at 8, Messam stays at 6 with Vito on the bench and Luatua recalled into the squad.
     
  16. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    Pretty pleased with most of that performance last night, although the second half wasn't quite as impressive. France were pretty dismal but a side can only play what's in front of them and most of what we did came off. The debutantes all had decent games but the goalkicking will need to improve a bit.

    Not much of a captaincy debut for Moore - injured within the first couple of minutes, off after less than five, and out for some time (knee reconstruction). Very, very disappointing. One hopes Polota-Nau can somehow manage to stay fit for the remainder of the season; Lord knows remaining injury-free isn't his strong suit.

    Surely France will be better for the hit-out. It's hard to see how they could be much worse.


    Seems as though our mates across the ditch were less than stellar and England were a bit unfortunate. No matter, though; there are perhaps one or two (at most) countries I'll support England against, and NZ is most assuredly not one of them.
     
  17. NCC1701

    NCC1701 Commodore Commodore

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    A much improved performance from last week for the All Blacks saw us win 28-27, England scoring a try at the death to lose by one point. It has taken three halves, but the All Blacks have finally arrived this year. Ben Smith looked superb in his preferred position at fullback, scoring a try and saving one at the other end of the field as well. Surprised to see Aaron Smith last until the 75th minute before Perenara came on, his box kicks were atrocious, even getting one charged down, although his general play was a lot better. Bring on Hamilton next week!

    Also watched the Wallabies vs France game, a much improved French defence saw the Wallabies sneak away with a 6-0 lead, not a night for try scoring, or goal kicking, the French missing both of their long range kicks at goal, and the Wallabies missing three or four of their own as well. Still, it was more entertaining than the All Blacks vs England game last week!
     
  18. Orac Zen

    Orac Zen Mischief Manager Super Moderator

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    I thought it was a much better game than the scoreline indicated - an old-fashioned sort of Test, with both sides having a go and neither able to convert its opportunities. As expected the French were a much-improved outfit and it was the sort of rugged hitout that will do us good ahead of the Four Nations (they really do have to come up with a better name than that. Geez).

    It was pleasing, in an odd sort of way, to see Hooper survive the game uninjured. The Wallaby captaincy has been a bit of a poisoned chalice in recent years so good on him for surviving it. So far, anyway.

    I read some English journo's gushing report on last week's Test - you know the sort of thing, England lose but "the All Blacks' aura of invincibility was destroyed" (or some such drivel) in the process. Good comedy value, as usual, and I'm not at all surprised that normal service was promptly resumed. No doubt the same reporter will now claim England were crap. :lol:
     
  19. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It was definitely a different game than last week for the Wallabies. Both sides defended much better and they halved the number of missed tackles from last week. The Wallabies did have the better of the chances, but couldn't convert. On the positive side they kept their tryline intact, which doesn't happen often.

    The goal kicking wasn't great and it added to keeping the game tight and safety first. Some of the tactical kicking wasn't that...tactical, either. Toomua kicking it dead when going for the corner was also pretty head shaking and he also got charged down. Throw in getting a try disallowed for him impeding the defender meant it wasn't his best night.

    It was quite disappointing that the Wallabies didn't take advantage of being a man up mid way through the 2nd half, something the AB weren't guilty of in the last two weeks. McKenzie had to send out a message tot he team to pick up the tempo during this period and stop fluffing about.

    It wasn't a pretty game, but it was a win. It also marks the first series win under McKenzie.

    Edit: Oh, and the Genia surgery news might explain why he hasn't made the 23. He was carrying an injury and McKenzie didn't want to risk him.
     
  20. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Wallabies have an easy win against the French 39 - 13. The French defence was back to where it was in game 1 and the had over 30 missed tackles. Got a bit scrappy in the middle of the second half from the Wallabies, but the French didn't really have it in them to take advantage. The Wallabies won't be so lucky against an in form All Blacks or Boks, so they still have some way to go before you could have much confidence that they won't be thirdly-ran in the upcoming RC.

    Looks like everyone made it through the game as well. Brumbies have already had 3 players in the injury ward from the test series and given it's win or die time they need everyone on deck.