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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 01 Feb 2020, 3:00 pm

Just watched the Stormers nil the Hurricanes at Newlands (final score 27-0). Terrible performance by the Huuricanes, and you'd expect them to get better but that's a good result for the competition to put some spice in. Jamie Roberts got some game time too.

Elsewhere, didn't see the matches but the Rebels slipped up against the Sunwolves, who won 36-27. Gatland's Chiefs beat the Blues at Eden Park, which is generally described as a blown chance by the Blues, and a good showing by the Chiefs bench. Crusaders were too good for the Waratahs. Jaguares host the Lions later but it's been an interesting first round, and hard not to project some World Cup follow-through in some of the results.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 07 Feb 2020, 7:56 am

Sharks have just beaten the Highlanders 20-42 in Dunedin. That's the second time a South African side has handily outplayed a NZ opponent.

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Post by Old Man on Fri 07 Feb 2020, 8:18 am

Yeah that Sharks side surprised me, not a lot of experience there. Youngsters looking good, Am will have to keep cool heads in the changing rooms, season is long.

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Post by Guest on Fri 07 Feb 2020, 10:10 am

I think the tide is turning in rugby. New Zealand had unprecedented success at all levels over the last 10 years. Now South Africa are growing and France look like they're back as well.

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 07 Feb 2020, 10:17 am

Well New Zealand gotta breathe sometime - exhale, inhale.

As they 'weaken', or inhale to continue the analogy, other Nations/sides seem to catch up and exceed - it's happened before with SA. But are they really pushing on and past New Zealand or are they just benefitting from a downturn in overall New Zealand form - much like when Tiger Woods imploded, suddenly normal players looked better than they really were.
Anyway.... the secret is in sustaining momentum for years if not decades when you get it. I think much too early to write off the New Zealand Age just yet.

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Post by Old Man on Fri 07 Feb 2020, 11:47 am

I don’t think the tide is turning at all, it is the start of the season. Foolish to read into anything now.

South African rugby is at a turning point, the domestic teams are adjusting to new coaches, the reality that they can’t build sustainable long term experienced squads.

There is a lot of talent coming through the system, but selecting the best, developing them, and somehow trying to retain a core of semi to experienced players for continuity is a big challenge.

I suspect we will see some brilliant moments in matches but game management for inexperienced squads is going to be very difficult to build into these squads.

The reality is our players leave at the first good overseas offers and we know and they know that those salaries can’t be matched.

Even with SARU reducing the number of contracted professionals in SA they can’t match those salaries.

SARU has basically accepted the fact that they can’t retain the best players hence their open selection policy in regards to overseas players for thr Springboks.

That in itself is confirmed by Felix Jones stationed in Europe simply to monitor the performance and fitness of SA players that are earmarked to represent the Springboks.

As for New Zealand, it is nigh on impossible to sustain their level of performance of the last decade forever. They had some very special players during this time that has retired, I believe they will still maintain 80% win rate, and still become number one again this year.

I doubt SA can stay on top, when you select your national team from all corners it is hard to emulate the team environment of the RWC when instead of twenty weeks you have but a few days before tournaments or tours.

Besides Rassie had a specific six week RWC plan that is now not a secret anymore.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 8:23 am

Chiefs beat the Crusaders 25-15, so that's a great first two games for Gatland.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 9:15 am

First try for Joe Marchant in Super Rugby.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 9:32 am

That's quite the statement that a team like the Crusaders only get within 10 points of the Chiefs. 'saders new logo is awful btw.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 10:08 am

mikey_dragon wrote:That's quite the statement that a team like the Crusaders only get within 10 points of the Chiefs. 'saders new logo is awful btw.

The Crusaders had a fullback playing 10. Young backline as well. Chiefs had a cracking backline with Cruden at 10, ALB at 12 and McKenzie at 15.

Crusaders are going to struggle this season any team that loses Read, Todd, Crotty, Whitelock, Franks and Tuafua all in one go is going to have a hard time.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 10:41 am

'saders always have this thing where when they have to rebuild and do really well. Their catchment area puts out class player plus they have a good coach. I seen Havili was at fly-half, so just assumed he was a 10/15.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Sat 08 Feb 2020, 11:27 am

I think Havili has played 13 a bit as well. Just one of those talented footballers you can drop into most positions in the backline. Don't think he's a natural 10.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 09 Feb 2020, 12:48 am

Jaguares led the Hurricanes for most of the match but the visitors snatched a 23-26 win at the end with a late try.

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Post by BamBam on Wed 12 Feb 2020, 10:13 am

That Sharks full back looks like he could be a player and a half, just watching some highlights

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Post by Guest on Wed 12 Feb 2020, 10:25 am

Old Man,

South African rugby at the schools leve regularly beat their NZ counterparts. SA should be the second best team in the world at worst. The tide is turning in that they are no longer struggling along with France, Australia, or losing to Wales and Ireland regularly as has been the case.

England had been very poor from 2003 until around 2011. They still have only just put in a worthy world cup performance in 2019. That's nearly 20 years. Australia have been very poor during a similar time grame. NZ have been almost unopposed at the international game for a decade. Now I think the tide is turning. Not just for south africa but for the other old heavyweights of world rugby as well. The losers are likely to be Wales and Ireland as they lose their NZ coaches.

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Post by Old Man on Wed 12 Feb 2020, 11:15 am

guestalt_physicality wrote:Old Man,

South African rugby at the schools leve regularly beat their NZ counterparts. SA should be the second best team in the world at worst. The tide is turning in that they are no longer struggling along with France, Australia, or losing to Wales and Ireland regularly as has been the case.

England had been very poor from 2003 until around 2011. They still have only just put in a worthy world cup performance in 2019. That's nearly 20 years. Australia have been very poor during a similar time grame. NZ have been almost unopposed at the international game for a decade. Now I think the tide is turning. Not just for south africa but for the other old heavyweights of world rugby as well. The losers are likely to be Wales and Ireland as they lose their NZ coaches.

South African rugby is very complex due to political interference which could happen at any stage. If everything was done on merit and the politicians stopped using sport as a tool to further their political ambitions then you would get consistency out of SA rugby.

whilst the transformation under Rassie at international level has been a revelation (something he embraced and were totally honest with his team about) the behind the scenes interferences forced people like Allister Coetzee into the coaching role, which had dire consequences for us.

As much as I want to agree with you that we should be second best at worst, it isn’t realistic.

Winning the RWC last year was one hell of a surprise, I doubt any realistic South African expected that. Whilst we had a very good pack, our backline was scarily inexperienced.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 15 Feb 2020, 10:21 am

Went to see the Sunwolves play the Chiefs today. The chiefs are riding high but rested some players, so there was hope in the crowd that the match would be competitive. Unfortinately, it wasn't. A couple of moments of Damian McKenzie magic created tries which opened up a gap on the scoreboard. It was 12-24 at half time, so not a pasting, and the Chiefs had a man in the sin bin. However, an early second half fumble gifted a try to the visitors, making it 12-31, and the game was done at that point. Final score was 17-43.

Just seen the Brumbies match which the Highlanders snatched at the death. The Brumbies blew that one by not being able to hold on to possession, and run down the clock. Still, I think the Highlanders were lucky not to get a red card for a shoulder charge to the head. The referee and TMO decided it wasn't clear but a lot of other officials would have had no hesitation in going to a red card.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 29 Feb 2020, 2:01 pm

Joe Marchant has scored two first half tries for the Blues against the Stormers. He is playing on the wing, which Jones will likely take note of. Jamie Roberts is at inside centre for the Stormers.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sat 13 Jun 2020, 10:45 am

Tomorrows game is a sell out. "Blues CEO Andrew Hore said the Blues are humbled and stunned with the response from fans with the event-capacity of43,000 tickets realised by midday on Saturday."

https://www.ultimaterugby.com/news/blues-confirm-a-full-house-for-super-rugby-aotearoa-opener/627898

I don't understand NZ rugby fans at all...

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Post by Pot Hale on Sat 13 Jun 2020, 10:53 am

Went to watch the Highlanders v Chiefs game repeated on sky at 10am as advertised. Not showing. Instead I got to watch two last-minute drop goals.

Super Rugby in NZ. So good you can't watch it.
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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 13 Jun 2020, 11:22 am

Bryn Gatland sinking Gatland snr’s team with the winning drop-goal. Chiefs look pretty good but seem to drop a lot of balls.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Sat 13 Jun 2020, 11:51 am

Only saw the first half and up to the second yellow card. Highlanders really should have put that game to bed, silly decisions kept letting the Chiefs back in. Chiefs backline looks pretty great but their forwards never really took control of the game and for every turnover they'd win they'd then seem to give the ball away soon after.

Highlanders play a very open style of rugby. Very high tempo. I can see a team like the Crusaders really punishing them for that. That and two completely silly yellow cards, first of which could have been red.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 13 Jun 2020, 2:30 pm

I didn’t think Highlanders looked more flashy than Chiefs, but definitely more calm and composed. Looks as if Chiefs could use a few bigger men in the front 5. Their back-row is pretty good though.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Sat 13 Jun 2020, 3:42 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:I didn’t think Highlanders looked more flashy than Chiefs, but definitely more calm and composed. Looks as if Chiefs could use a few bigger men in the front 5. Their back-row is pretty good though.

I think the Highlanders just looked more comfortable playing an open game. As you say they weren't particularly flashy just confident. The Chiefs decided to try and match them which seemed to me to be an error. As you say their tight five is missing a big bruising number 4... the Chiefs forwards inability to take control meant that they were in a game that didn't suit them despite having probably the better team.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 13 Jun 2020, 5:03 pm

Lienert-Brown and Stevenson are some players.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Sat 13 Jun 2020, 5:35 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:Lienert-Brown and Stevenson are some players.

So are the rest of the Chiefs backline. Weber, McKenzie, Cruden would walk into a lot of sides. Then you get the likes of Wainui, Tuapea and Trask all have bags of potential. Give them room and they'll run riot. They just seemed to lack the space to get their game plan going. Maybe a more experienced 10 would have slowed the game down on the first half rather than going end to end with the Highlanders.

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Post by RiscaGame on Sat 13 Jun 2020, 7:10 pm

From memory, I think I could’ve made ok money off the Highlanders today, considering they were the home team. Gutted I didn’t cover that.

A good win for the Highlanders, especially after losing the lead so late and nailing a DG from 40 yards. Must be a choker for Gatland, but he will also be proud of his son.


Last edited by RiscaGame on Sun 14 Jun 2020, 6:51 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Wrote Chiefs second paragraph.)

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 14 Jun 2020, 10:20 am

Risca, highlanders won...

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Post by RiscaGame on Sun 14 Jun 2020, 6:51 pm

Haha. Got muddled up in the second paragraph. Oh dear.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Sun 14 Jun 2020, 9:16 pm

Not seen the game from today but Otere Black getting quite a write up. He's been one that's had potential for some time. Have Mo'unga and Barrett got more competition? If Barrett can't beat him out the 10 shirt for his own club then AB selection might get interesting.

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Post by Old Man on Sun 14 Jun 2020, 9:19 pm

I think the experiment with Barrett at 10 is over.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Sun 14 Jun 2020, 9:46 pm

It's a similar case to Damian McKenzie isn't it. He such a good footballer and he's so skillful you want him on the ball as much as possible. His kicking from the tee is terrible though but there's no doubt he's an excellent playmaker. Not sure he controls the game well enough at international level. It does leave the ABs with two exceptional playmaking fullbacks if that's how they're going to play.

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Post by Old Man on Sun 14 Jun 2020, 9:52 pm

Yeah, both are terribly gifted rugby players, for me Barrett’s pace and defensive ability puts him ahead of McKenzie, but neither are really controlling tens.

Mo’unga also are blessed in the speed department, him running down Kolbe last year showed that.

On counter NZ remains very dangerous due to that pace and their ability to put the counter attack ball into space

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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 8:40 pm

Always thought Barrett and D-mac were great 10/15 options and could play wherever when required. Neither are good as Carter though. Outside of Barrett and Linert-Brown the incumbents aren't really as good as Carter, Nonu, Conrad Smith and Ben Smith. Barrett, Cruden, etc could usually slot into that backline and be as good as DC. NZ has an insurmountable batch of class wingers, but who is the full-back aside from Barrett and D-mac?

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Mon 15 Jun 2020, 10:12 pm

Linert-Brown is good but he's not in the same league as Conrad Smith was. I think part of the problem for the ABs at the world cup was that they didn't have a flyhalf capable of pulling the strings like Carter and were too slow to realise that after the Lions tour so come the world cup didn't have a settled secondary playmaker system working. To few current AB Super Rugby sides use one as well. 

ALB is a good centre but he isn't the star of the backline. He's one of those guys that organises and makes it work for the big guys.

For me the ABs need to concentrate on those two playmakers as fullbacks. Havilli at the Crusaders is a very good 15 but two interchanging playmakers with some powerful runners to pick out should get them back to their free flowing best. The inability to find a centre to adequately replace Monu or SBW hasn't helped. Crotty and ALB were too similar and Goodhue was a little raw. No Savea style monster on the wing did nothing for them either.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 16 Jun 2020, 11:04 am

I always seen Linert-Brown as more of a 12 though, who can play 13. I don't think they need a Savea, Crusaders can provide 3 class wingers themselves. If you want that type of winger then there's Ben Lam - I thought he would have been capped by now.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Tue 16 Jun 2020, 12:00 pm

Crusaders can name an international level fifteen, their squad is ridiculous. Fainga'anuku is the winger I'd be watching from them, he looks like he's going to make it in a big way. Reece has got great feet but he looked a little underpowered at the world cup.

I think ALB needs the right centre partner and he'll slot whichever side he needs to. Either Laumape at 12 or Iaone at 13 could work for them. They were desperately short of go forward against England and that was with Farrell on one leg. They need more for those rare occasions where their forwards don't dominate.

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Post by Old Man on Tue 16 Jun 2020, 12:35 pm

Reece got owned by Kolbe during the RC last year, hurt his reputation quite a bit.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 16 Jun 2020, 12:57 pm

The ABs back 3 did struggle a bit on the backfoot against England, but still looked dangerous every time they touched the ball. Wonder if Ioane is a 13 now due to the amount of wingers they have... they must have the best and quickest backline in world rugby.

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Post by Old Man on Tue 16 Jun 2020, 12:58 pm

Without a doubt in my mind

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 20 Jun 2020, 8:31 am

Chiefs aren’t playing too well this week.

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Post by RiscaGame on Sat 20 Jun 2020, 9:43 am

Seems like they haven’t managed a sin bin period too well again. That’s like five points, over the two games (and three yellows), isn’t it?

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Sat 20 Jun 2020, 9:46 am

No they are not. Awful discipline, no good complaining to the ref when your flankers don't seem to know the rules about entering a ruck. Schoolboy stuff.

The Blues number 8 has been excellent, Sotutu looks like a future international. The Blues backline looks pretty lethal as well. The appointment of Leon MacDonald seems to have been an astute one.

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Post by bsando on Sat 20 Jun 2020, 12:30 pm

Yeah chiefs looked pretty average at times. Blues backline seems deadly, good mix of power, speed and skills. McKenzie tried too many cross field kicks, while I don’t remember seeing Blues use that tactic at all. The Blues lineout and scrum was very effective as well.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 8:05 am

Looks like these two (Blues vs Highlanders) and Chiefs have very good options at No.8, Read could have a decent replacement after all.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 9:04 am

Some of the backrow options down in NZ are ridiculous. Ardie Savea is supposedly concentrating on playing 8 as well. Really like the Blues backrow as a unit.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 9:35 am

Interesting fact, the Frizells are WQ, well just one is now.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 9:55 am

Pivac will be in touch shortly then.

Great turnover at the maul from the Blues 8 at the end. He looks like he's going to develop into one hell of a player the way he's going. He's Fiji though so could see a quick AB cap coming his way to keep him eligible long term. Highlanders forwards seemed to panic and forget the laws during that turnover though. Even if you're held up make sure it's over the line because you get the ball back, they all stopped pushing and tried to wrestle the ball back. Need to back your mate to hold on then get it over the line get the scrum 5 and go again.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 10:04 am

No chance, Tyson has a million dollar NRL contract.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sat 27 Jun 2020, 10:21 am

Hoskins Sotutu is also EQ. I imagine at least one of these No.8’s will end up the NH, they’re all very good in contact.

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