AS we hit the month mark of Super Rugby 2017 I can’t help but be overwhelmed by a sense of mundane and I largely direct my finger wagging towards SANZAAR. The uncertainty, clouded by rumours, misspeaking coaches and general fear over the future of a number of franchises has sucked the life blood out of the competition and all I can say is thank the rugby gods for the New Zealand Conference and fantasy rugby!
Round 4 failed to provide the rugby redemption many of us had hoped for, the bottom-dwellers again missed their opportunity to climb the ladder, while the same can be said about a number of individual players on the fantasy front.
The Blues showed signs of promise, getting out to a 5-24 lead over the undefeated Crusaders before seemingly leaving the field 30 minutes earlier, as the home side ran out a 33-24 point victory. George Moala and Augustine Pulu continue to pencil their names into the All Blacks squad, top scoring the match with 56 and 54 points respectively.
The Rebels demonstrated some signs of improvement, but they struggled to play an 80 minute game. At the 70 minute mark the scores were level at 14 a piece before the Chiefs put them to bed with a penalty and 2 tries (14-27). Brodie Retallick (69 points) top scored for the Kiwis, while Amanaki Mafi was streaks above the rest with 76 points for the Rebels.
The Bulls earned their first ‘W’ of the season with Jan Serfontein (54 points) bagging a brace of tries against the winless Sunwolves.
The injury stricken Highlanders struggled against the Hurricanes (41-13), the Tahs failed to do pretty much anything against Aussie Conference leaders the Brumbies (28-12), while the Reds, Kings and Cheetahs couldn’t add to their win columns away from home.
A number of players lifted their fantasy stocks, but none more so than Ardie Savea who took out the Player Of The Round with 83 points.
What we learnt
–The Lions’ den is a fortress, they again embarrassing their visitors, this time the Queensland Reds, with a 44-14 pummelling. Granted the game was tainted by a Quade Cooper red card for a head-high tackle.
–The Jaguares are a different team to last year and their confidence is starting to show after 3 from 4 wins to kick of the 2017 season. Next week they take on the Reds at home where they will be searching for their first win against a non-South African team this season, before they challenge the Sharks, Bulls and Lions away from home.
–The Australian have a halves crisis, with Bernard Foley yet to play a match due to ongoing concussion symptoms there is a real question over Australia’s first-five choices. Of the 5 franchises; Bryce Hegarty is looking absolutely rubbish, Quade Cooper is only consistent in making poor choices, Jono Lance is yet to really fire, however he surely isn’t a world beater and the other two are Kiwis. What makes things worse is the fact that Garden-Bachop is starting at 10 for the Rebels… He is rubbish and Jack Debreczeni is finally starting to get his mojo back.
To date, Ryan Louwrens and Joe Powell are the only halfbacks in Australia who would be getting a look in at a Wallabies number 9 jersey. Incumbent Nick Phipps (NB he hasnt earned the italics) looks like he would be struggling against U15 girls at the moment. If Daryl Gibson can’t see that and doesn’t give Jake Gordon the start next week, I’ll join the crowd calling for his sacking.
Don’t forget to check out our Casualty Ward for any injury updates!
Team Of The Week (TOTW)
- Tom Robertson (WAR) – 44 points – 1 try, 3 runs, 2 tackle busts, 1 linebreak and 8 tackles
- Ofa Tu’ungafasi (BLU) – 34 points – 10 runs for 28 metres, 1 offload and 8 tackles
- James Hanson (REB) – 57 points – 10 runs for 60 metres, 3 tackle busts, 1 offload, 1 linebreak, 8 tackles and 8/8 lineouts
- Brodie Retallick (CHI) – 69 points – 1 try, 10 runs for 49 metres, 4 tackle busts, 2 offloads, 1 counter ruck turnover, 1 linebreak, 1 linebreak create, 9 tackles and 7/7 lineout take
- Jason Jenkins (BUL) – 46 points – 1 try, 7 runs for 35 metres, 1 tackle bust, 1 offload, 2 linebreaks, 1 linebreak create, 5 tackles, 3/3 lineout takes and 1 turn over forced
- Ardie Savea (HUR) – 83 points & 2nd TOTW – 1 try, 1 last touch try assist, 1 try save, 14 runs for 69 metres, 2 tackle busts, 5 offloads, 1 counter ruck turnover, 1 linebreak, 9 tackles and 2 lineout takes
- Amanaki Mafi (REB) – 60 points – 16 runs for 91 metres, 6 tackle busts, 3 offloads, 1 linebreak, 18 tackles and 2 turnovers forces
- Elliot Dixon (HIG) – 56 points – 1 try, 1 try save, 6 runs for 44 metres, 2 tackle busts, 2 linebreaks, 8 tackles and 1 lineout steal
- Augustine Pulu (BLU) – 54 points – 1 try, 1 try assist, 1 last touch try assist, 12 runs for 56 metres, 3 tackle busts, 2 offloads, 2 linebreaks and 1 linebreak create
- Jack Debreczeni (REB) – 49 points – 9 runs for 84 metres, 4 tackle busts, 3 offload, 2 linebreak and 1 linebreak create
- Rohan Janse van Rensburg (LIO) – 65 points – 1 try, 2 try assists, 1 last touch try assist, 9 runs for 81 metres, 7 tackle busts, 1 offloads, 2 linebreaks and 1 linebreak create
- Matt Faddes (HIG) – 59 points – 1 try, 8 runs for 62 metres, 3 tackle busts, 1 offload, 1 ineffective offload, 3 linebreaks, 1 linebreak create and 1 pilfer
- Ramiro Moyano (JAG) – 81 points & 2nd TOTW– 3 tries, 4 runs for 52 metres, 6 tackle busts, 2 offload and 3 linebreaks
- Courtnall Skosan (LIO) – 74 points – 4 tries, 11 runs for 137 metres, 1 tackle busts and 2 linebreaks
- Andries Coetzee (LIO) – 63 points – 1 try assist, 1 conversion, 8 runs for 99 metres, 8 tackle busts, 1 offload, 2 linebreaks and 2 linebreak creates
Written by Nelson Dale