By eBike
No worries Flumpty. Glad to be able to watch some rugby but todays offering was dire.

Force v Rebels; table bottom match, scrappy and very indisciplined, very poor handling, lottery scrums and some shockingly bad lineouts, two yellows as players failed to listen to ref Angus Gardner, some handbags, a nasty accidental neck injury which (rightly) held the game up for some time.

The game went to extra time but by then I'd lost the will to watch any longer. Golden point winner put an end to things at last

MoM - Force 4 and captain Jeremy Thrush who may look like a cast member from Mayans MC but once again but in a physical and smart shift leading by example.

Special mention (again) for ref Gardner who gave another masterclass.

Top tip - in rugby we throw the ball backwards, just sayin'

Fingers crossed for much better fare tomorrow as the 'Saders close out the title after last week's slap in the face from the 'Canes.
By eBike
Chiefs v Crusaders, fabulous game ! End to end stuff, quality high tempo rugby

Controversy - Webber's very dubious dumping of Sevu Reece over the hoarding and ref O'Keefe's "bottling". Not shown in the highlights I think.

Classy moment - Crusader youngster Leicester Fainga'analoku's (apologies for my spelling) scoring a fabulous try and indicating to his back arm band for team mate Joe Moody's recent bereavement. Also the prematch homage to Kiwi legend Andy Haden who died this week.

MoM - plenty of choice, Chiefs' winger Wainu was in everything, Chiefs' 6 Boshier had another fantastic game, Crusaders' Will Jordan, Sevu Reece and Sam Whitelock stood out but for me it had to be Mo'anga at 10 who was simply sublime.
Yonah liked this
By eBike
Brumbies v Reds

Table top match barely better than the one at the bottom. Mostly blunt force trauma rugby but the emerging Reds 8 Harry Wilson catches the eye again as MoM. Another game of 2 halves with the score only being settled with the last kick of the game

Tomorrow's Highlanders/Blues could be very interesting as the Blues aim to capitalise on a very troubled week for the Highlanders. Could be spicy.
Yonah liked this
By eBike
Highlanders / Blues

The tone for this game was obvious from the KO as elbows went in, tackles were "cough" mistimed, shoulders dropped into rucks and both 9s decided to have their own game. This wasn't helped by ref Mike Fraser having a jellyfish day (as in spineless) as Blues indiscipline and cynical play reached absurd proportions. I'll always praise refs when they do well and help the game flow but Fraser was weak in not sorting out the negative tactics.

MoM, tough call, lots of good performances from establish All Blacks such as Akira Ionane, Tuipolotu and Smith but some of the younger and future ABs coming through really shone. Players like Dalton Papali'i, Caleb Clarke and Pari Pari Parkinson but Blues 9 Finlay Christie edges it and, like some other others I've mentioned could be looking at a black shirt pretty soon

BIG weekend coming up !
By eBike
Crucial weekend !

Rebels v Brumbies
Super Rugby Aus, Sky Sports Action (10:00)
Aussie rugby hasn't really hit great heights but given the Covid situation in Australia you have to give them some credit

Hurricanes v Chiefs
Super Rugby Aotearoa, Sky Sports Main Event (07:30), Sky Sports Action (07:30)
Canes need a bonus point win to challenge the Blues and should get it. You have to feel for the Chiefs though.

Waratahs v Reds
Super Rugby Aus, Sky Sports Action (10:15)
The Aussie competition needs a good game from this fixture to lift enthusiasm

Crusaders v Highlanders
Super Rugby Aotearoa , Sky Sports Action (04:00)
This could be a decisive game as mounting injuries weaken the Crusaders and the prospect of a winner take all home fixture against the Blues the following week. It's going to be intense.
By FarnhamShark
A lot of the handling, offloading and support running has been really impressive. Hope we can hit the same high standards. Lots of tries have come from rolling mauls - is that because defending them is a lot more difficult, or because the mauls are better organised, or just only watching the highlights giving a totally misleading impression,?
By eBike
Good point Farnham.

The Kiwi handling has been of a very high standard, the Aussies less so (sweeping generalisation and there have been some outstanding contradictions). What's struck me is the speed and instinctiveness of the offloads under pressure, plus the high accuracy of the "no look pass".

That's purely impressionistic and I've no data to support it. It's just the number of times I've watched jaw dropping, free flowing (counter) attacks that have been baffling in execution.

On the other hand, the rolling maul from 5m out is often the default score strategy when other means have been unproductive or it's late in the game. Many do result in a score but watching full games this is the exception rather than the rule. All teams do it, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Personally I hate them as it's often down to what the ref and TMO see or don't see.

Let's see what the last two weekends have to show us as we reach the squeaky part of the tournament (which I think has been fabulously entertaining).


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