Round 5: Players in Focus
The three players in focus this week all had absolutely immense performances. All three are simply immense men and were able to overpower their oponents with their physicality this week, seemingly at will. They were all went absolutely beastmode, could not be stopped and were clear man of the match performances. There were 20 tacklebusts made between the three of them! Big Brodie Retallick was absolutely incredible against the Bulls this week in a performance that saw him take out the top fantasy player of the round and has surely been his highest fantasy score to date with 102 points! He showed the form that won him the 2014 World Rugby Player of the year award and why he is still currently the best lock in the world. He scored two tries, had 12 runs for 87m (outside back like numbers! – he even sold a dummy) 7 tacklebusts! 3 offloads, 3 linebreaks, 12 Tackles and 3 lineout takes. Simply immense.
Not far behind was probably the best Hooker in the world. No you don’t need to fly to Amsterdam or Prague, the best hooker can be found in the Springboks and Lions teams donning the No. 2, Malcom Marx. He delivered a 100 point performance against the Sunwolves in a closefought encounter in Joburg. Marx also bagged himself two tries, a try assist, 6 runs for 39m, 3 tacklebusts, 2 linebreaks, 7 tackles, and went 100% at the lineout with 16/16 throws successfully won and lastly one pilfer. The third player in focus in round 5 was Hosea Saumaki, otherwise known as ‘the Tongan Godzilla.’ Saumaki brought home 90 points for fantasy managers that had identified his talent and is particularly fantasy exciting for two reasons. The first is that I don’t think we have seen these kind of run metres per run stats ever before, Saumaki made 10 runs for 194m. That is almost an average of 20m per run (Holy Heck)! The second reason is that whilst for other players tacklebusts are just part of the game, it’s almost as if Saumaki goes looking for specifically for them (circa Jonah Lomu – or Akira Ioane!) He made 10 tacklebusts agains the Lions! He also scored a try, had a try assist, two offloads, two linebreaks and even a pilfer.
Chiefs v Bulls
There were a few fixtures this week that were truly a story of two halves and this was one of them. The Bulls came out firing and looked to be in control by the end of the first half with their first score coming in just 3 minutes to Warwick Gelant (41) and two tries to winger Divian Rossouw (56). Jesse Kriel (63 & TOTW) was the top fantasy scorer for the Bulls with 63 and was tearing apart the defense hitting some great lines at pace. Handre Pollard (41) had a solid performance, nailing all his kicks with the boot and charging over the line himself just before the break. Some words were definetely exchanged in the chiefs change room at half time, and combined with perhaps a little complacency from the Bulls turned this game around in spectacular fashion. We already talked about Brodie Retallick’s rampant performance but also making the TOTW was Anton Lienert-Brown (56 points) with a solid performance getting the ball to the men on the outside and a try himself. Otherwise Damian McKenzie (49 points) was dangerous as per usual, Solomon Alaimalo (48 points) continues to impress and Johnny Fa’auli (41 points) snuck over for essentially an intercept try but also was strong in defense and with his midfield carries. The last player of note was Angus Ta’avao (40 points – TOTW) who really took his opportunity with both hands and had an exceptional game after the Chiefs have essentially lost all of their props to injury.
Landers v Crusaders
The South Island Derby did not dissappoint – boy do these teams go hard at each other. Great team efforts saw the fantasy points shared around and only Tevita ‘Jet’ Li made the TOTW with 67 points in a very dominant display – He’s back!! Otherwise it was the wolfman, Liam Coltman (61 points) and the general Lima Sopoaga (48 points) that brought home the bacon for fantasy mangers as far s the highlanders are concerned. Elliot Dixon with 42 points off the bench is definetely also worth a mention. E.D. looked to be back in fine form returning from injury, which is great news considering the Landers lost Liam Squire this week (Check out The Casualty Ward for all info on injuries). Dixon will surely replace Squire in the staring lineup and his form combined with the fact that the Landers are now the only undefeated team will make him a great pickup – be sure to check out this weeks Stock Market for information for the upcoming games!) The crusaders were just outmuscled in this game but there were three players worth mentioning for fanatasy managers. George Bridge (48 points) showed that he is more than just a finisher with an impressive linebreak and turn of speed from the set piece to dot over for a try. Codie ‘Mr Reliable’ Taylor finished with 58 points and his front row partner Mikey Alaalatoa continues to impress with another big week and 39 points for a prop.
Brumbies v Sharks
As we mentioned on our podcast this week (Yep insert shameless podcast plug here – check us out – the FantasyXVDraft podcast episode 4 available where ever you get your podcasts; Soundcloud, Itunes & Stitcher), we are still waiting for this game to kick off as it was definetely the most boring game of the round and possibly the season so far. Accordingly we won’t waste much of time on it and the performances of note were the journeyman Lachie McCaffrey on 48 points (TOTW) getting involved everywhere across the park – a try assist, a try saver and 5 tacklebusts! Henry Speight (45 points) made the most of limited opportunities and is always good to find his way over the line in these tight affairs. Otherwise, debutant Brumbies hooker Folau Fainga’a (37 points) did pretty well in his first outing and for the Sharks it was the men coming off the bench with the best performances – Big Tom Du Toit (36 points) bagging himself a try and Jean Luc-Du Preez was impressive returning from injury with 34 points in 26 minutes. We couldn’t label Jean Luc a poor man’s Jaco Kriel so we went with an upper middle class mans Jaco Kriel. One to look out for and I’m sure will get a mention in the Stock Market.
Stormers v BluesEmbed from Getty Images
The Blues went down to the Stormers in Capetown and continued to show their incosistency coming off the back of a big win against the lions away in Johannesburg. Conversely the Stomers looked thankful to be back home and were much more clinical than their opposition. The top fantasy backrower so far this year was also the top backrower in round 5, Akira Ioane with 67 points (TOTW) with another try bringhing his total to 5 with at least one in every game so far in 2018. Mr Tacklebust made another 6 bump offs and 10 runs for 73m. Michael Collins (55 points) had one of those standout games he seems to have every 5 or 6 games, scoring a try essentially crawling over the line, just wanting it more than those stopping him did. Apart from his try he had 6 tacklebusts himself and 9 runs for 78m – he missed out on TOTW by a point. After these two it was all the Stormers in terms of fantasy points. Prodigy Damian Willemse was again on point with 55 points and top fly half putting him in the TOTW. The Firetruck Steven Kitshoff (46 points – TOTW) had another immense performance and if he keeps this up will be the top the prop this year. Last but not least were journeyman utility back JJ Engelbrecht and Springbok lock/flank Pieter-Steph Du Toit both on 45 points. Engelbrecht has been making the most of his opportunities on the wing with injuries to Senatla and Sergeal Petersen – he has been in the right place at the right time. Du Toit was impressive donning the 7 jersey and his game featured some galloping runs down the sideline. Expect even more points from him if he continues on the flank.
Lions v Sunwolves
The moondogs are almost there. They have been within arms reach of victory in a few of their matches so far this year but haven’t been able to walk away with the W. I think their performance probably caught most by surprise going down to the Lions in Joburg 40-38. The game made for great watching as both teams just threw it around resulting in some end to end play which was also awesome for fantasy managers. We’ve already spoken about the two biggest standouts in this game in this week’s players in focus, Malcom Marx (100 points – TOTW) and the ‘Tongan Godzilla’ Hosea Saumaki (90 points – TOTW). Them aside, Franco Mostert excelled captaining the team from the 7 jersey with 59 points and some pretty incredible stats (Brodie Retallick like, just minus the two tries – see the TOTW below). Like Pieter-Steph Du Toit, Mostert whom is traditionally a lock was exceptional in the 7 jersey and was making outside back like run metres. I’m convinced the Springboks are just going to play all four of their amazing locks in the second row this year – Pieter-Steph, Etzebeth, De Jager & Mostert. Moving on it was the two out of position fantasy listed flyhalves that gathered the fantasy points this week – Michael Little (48 points) at inside centre for the Sunwolves and Andries Coetzee (40 points) at fullback for the Lions. Little is definetely worth a bye cover at flyhalf if he is starting, he is sitting on a 51.5 average but I’ve got to stop stealing all the salient points for the Stock Market article that Nelson will be writing up for tomorrow.
Jaguares v Reds
This was always going to be a battle of the big men up front and accordingly five of the top six fantasy scorers were forwards. Caleb Timu (57 points – TOTW) was clearly the man of the match and featured everywhere; he had a 12 runs for 110m, 6 tacklebusts, a pretty incredible linebreak off a lineout that lead to a Daugunu try in the corner and he made 19 tackles! Agustin Creevy (49 points) was the best of the Jags, with 11 runs, 8 tackles, 2 turn overs forced and whilst they didn’t do well in the scrum, Creevy importantly got the lineout right with 14 sucessful throws. Brandon Paenga-Amosa (46 points) fellow front rower James Slipper (40 points – TOTW) were impressive dominating at scrum time, the driving maul and rock solid defense – the pair of them making a combined 22 tackles (44 fantasy points). Newly minted captain Pablo Matera finished on 41 points and has been consistent leading from the front with his work rate for the Jaguares. From the pretty men out the back it was Samu Kerevi that snuck into the top fantasy scorers in this game with 47 points. Samu likes to be heavily involved and the shift to inside centre has seen him get more ball in hand and he doesn’t need much space to get going and over the advantage line. He had 11 carries for 88m.
Tahs v RebelsEmbed from Getty Images
I’ll be honest, it was that hot (40 odd degrees) a sunday afternoon that even as a devout Tahs fan I briefly considered staying on the couch with the A/C for this one. I got out there though and my commitment was rewarded with tries and fantasy points aplenty in a very free flowing affair and this was truly the game of two halves. It was the rebels 20 -3 until Lalakai Foketi crossed the line just before half time to make it 20-10. The tahs downed a few red bulls or something at half time because they came out and put on a 41 to 7 point performance in the second half, final score 51-27. Nedless to say there were lots of fantasy points and you can see the games top performers pictured below;
The 21 year old Jack Maddocks continues to ask questions of the defence and of his coach who had decided that he has held out a starting position meaning that one of the two wallabies wingers Sefa Naivalu or Marika Koroibete have to come off the bench. One of my favourite players, Mr T, Taqele Naiyaravoro came off the bench for the Tahs and was the definition of an impact player. He was at his destructive best and the wrecking ball could not be stopped down the left wing two tries, 6 runs for 113m, 3 tacklebusts and offload and a linebreak. We are hoping his form has warranted him a start but suspect that won’t be the case after the Tahs bye next week, with the backline starters still very unclear and his impact from the bench proving too valuable.
That brings us to my next point – what the F is going on with the Tahs backline. This week Bryce Hegarty‘s great form in training was rewarded with a start at fullback and moving the world’s best fullback Israel Folau to the wing. Now don’t get me wrong, Israel Folau has the potential to be the world’s best winger as well and I would love to see him up against Reiko Ioane in a Bledisloe. There is no one better under the high ball in the world and he is the most dangerous weapon for a cross kick in world rugby. That said I’m not sure where he is worth the most fantasy value but I would still think fullback if I had to guess just because he has more choince on how to inject himself.
Both hookers performed very well and played a similar style just putting their heads down, getting the grunt work done and slowly accumulating the fantasy points. Combined Damian Fitzpatrick and Anaru Rangi made 19 tackles (38 fantasy points) and each of them made two offloads (4 points per offload) keeping the ball alive. Rangi was given a start after a Jordan Uelese withdrawing late due to a hamstring strain – check The Casualty Ward for updates but he will likely be out this week as well. Both hooper and Mafi were involved but even they looked tired out there on the field, it could not have been easy playing in the heat (even with quarter time drink breaks). The last notable performance was Billy Meakes who was brough off the bench due to DHP being knocked the hell out and he stepped up to impress coach Dave Wessels enough to earn himself a start this coming week against the Sharks. Meakes was a handful in the midfield and had two try assists, 1 linebreak, 1 linebreak created, 2 tacklebusts and 2 offloads.
Steven Kitshoff (STO) – 46 points: 9 runs for 49m, 5 TB, 1 LB and 7 TCK
And Both of tied on 40 points:
James Slipper (RED) – 40 points: 8 runs for 26m, 1 O & 12 TCK
Angus Ta’avao (CHI) – 40 points: 5 runs for 36m, 2 TB, 12 TCK
Malcom Marx (LIO) – 100 points!! 2 T, 1 TA, 6 runs for 39m, 3 TB, 2 LB, 7 TCK, 16 LT, 1 THW & 1 TF
Brodie Retallick (CHI) – 102 points!! 2 T, 12 runs for 87m, 7 TB, 3 O, 3 LB, 12 TCK, 3 LT
Franco Mostert (LIO) – 59 points: 8 runs for 84m, 4 TB, 1 LB, 12 TCK, 4 LT, 3 LS!
Akira Ioane (BLU) – 67 points again! 1 T, 1 TA, 10 runs for 73m, 6 TB, 3 LB, 9 TCK
Cakeb Timu (RED) – 57 points: 12 runs for 110m, 6 TB, 1 LB, 19 TCK
Lachlan McCaffrey (BRU) – 48 points: 1 TA, 1 TS, 10 runs for 64m, 5 TB, 1 O, 1 LBC, 8 TCK, 2 LT & 1 LS
Joe Powell (BRU) – 32 points: 1 TS, 3 runs for 32m, 1 TB, 1 O, 2 LB, 1 LBC, 5 TCK
Damian Willemse (STO) – 53 points: 4 C, 3 PG, 8 runs for 79m, 3 TB, 1 LB, 1 LBC, 9 TCK
Jesse Kriel (BUL) – 63 points: 2 TA, 1 TS, 10 runs for 94m, 3 TB, 3 LB, 1 LBC & 5 TCK
Anton Lienert-Brown (CHI) – 56 points: 1 T, 8 runs for 55m, 4 TB, 1 O, 1 IO, 1 LB & 10 TCK
Hosea Saumaki (SUN) – 90 points! 1 T, 1 TA, 10 runs for 194m (Holy Hell!) , 10 TB, 2 O, 2 LB, 2 TCK, 1 PF
Tevita Li (HIG) – 67 points: 9 runs for 147m, 7 TB, 3 O, 4 LB and 5 TCK
Jack Maddocks (REB) – 58 points: 1 T, 8 runs for 101m, 6 TB, 1 O, 2 LB, 4 TCK and even a lineout take (the overthow).
Fox Sports Fantasy Rugby Glossary of Terms:
TA = Try Assist (5)
LTA = Last touch assist (3)
TS = Trysaver (5)
C = Conversion (2)
PG = Penalty Goal (3)
DG = Drop Goal (3)
YC = Yellow Card (-10)
RC = Red Card (-15)
R = Runs (or Carries – 1 every run)
RM = Run Metres (1 every 10m)
TB = Tackle Busts (2)
O = Offload (4)
LB = Linebreak (5)
LBC = Linebreak Created (3)
TCK = Tackle (1 point or 2 points for a front rower per tackle)
LT = Lineout Take (1 – also includes successful throw from hooker)
LS = Lineout Steal (4)
THW = Tighthead Win (7)
PF = Penalty Forced (4)
TF = Turnover Forced (3)
PC = Penalty Conceded (-4)