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.
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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.
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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).
By eBike
Force v Rebels

Dire first half best summed up by ref Gardner repeatedly lecturing players along the lines of "you keep playing like a muppet, I'll keep giving penalties". Very little to enthuse about. Second half was barely better. Mostly blunt force rugby. Poor handling and execution made it almost unwatchable.

No MoM but Thursh/Force and To'omua/Rebels were excellent.

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By eBike
Canes v Chiefs; all I'll say is that the result makes tomorrow's Saders/Highlanders game very very interesting. With the Premiership returning next weekend and a chance to see Sale play again coupled with the possible "winner takes all" final weekend of the Aotearoa my cup runneth over :dance:

Spoiler alert - The Tahs v Reds game is turning into a one sided hammering
By eBike
Tahs/Reds. A one sided thumping but Sale old boy James O'Conner had the last word. That really was the game that the Aussie conference sadly needed. Don't you just love it when a plan comes together :joy:

Some fabulous handling and finishing, chapeau :joy:
By eBike
WHAT a match that was. A master class in how to win the breakdown, some scything end to end rugby, controversy (was it a straight red ?), never say die attitude, bodies on the line and electrifying tension.

Magnificent rugby

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By eBike
Sorry, that may not play on the board because of my blocker. Just google the Crusaders twitter feed.
By eBike
Final games

Highlanders v Hurricanes
Super Rugby Aotearoa, Sky Sports Main Event (07:30), Sky Sports Action (07:30)

Reds v Rebels
Super Rugby Aus, Sky Sports Action (10:10)

Blues v Crusaders
Super Rugby Aotearoa, Sky Sports Main Event (04:00), Sky Sports Action (04:00)

Brumbies v Waratahs
Super Rugby Aus, Sky Sports Action (10:10)

Force v Reds
Super Rugby Aus, Sky Sports Action (10:00)
By eBike
Aotearoa ends as the Blues/Crusaders game is cancelled (Auckland) and the Landers/Canes game is behind closed doors.

A couple of Oz games to come but I haven't been able to watch the Reds/Rebels game yet.

Let's put last night's debacle behind us. Watch these highlights and enjoy some end to end offloading counter attacking try scoring. It can be done.

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By eBike
More topsy turvy rugby from Oz. Reds took their chances very well while the Rebels pounded the line for little gain.

Worth watching for James O'Connor's sublime try scoring pass that took out 2 defenders.
By eBike
Super rugby (Aus) continues for another 2 weeks. Still a lot to play for as anyone but the Force could win it. Brumbies are the most likely though

# Teams P W L D
1 Brumbies 5 4 1 0 18
2 Waratahs 6 3 3 0 15
3 Reds 6 3 2 1 15
4 Rebels 6 3 2 1 14
5 Force 5 0 5 0 2

Just 3 more games left but at least we have the Premiership back. With Sale only getting a losing bonus while 3 teams got convincing 5 pointers it's going to be tough to stay in the top 4
By eBike
North v South NZ Aotearoa finale 29th August

Squads announced and they are pretty eye watering

Hookers: Asafo Aumua (Wellington), Ash Dixon (Hawke’s Bay) and Kurt Eklund (Auckland).
Props: Alex Fidow (Wellington), Ayden Johnstone (Waikato), Angus Ta’avao (Auckland), Karl Tu’inukuafe (North Harbour) and Ofa Tuungafasi (Auckland).

Locks: Scott Scrafton (Auckland), Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland and captain) and Tupou Vaa’i (Taranaki).

Loose forwards: Lachlan Boshier (Taranaki), Akira Ioane (Auckland), Dalton Papalii (Auckland), Ardie Savea (Wellington) and Hoskins Sotutu (Auckland).

Halfbacks: TJ Perenara (Wellington), Aaron Smith (Manawatu) and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Taranaki).

Flyhalves: Beauden Barrett (Taranaki).
Midfielders: Rieko Ioane (Auckland), Anton Lienert-Brown (Waikato) and Peter Umaga-Jensen (Wellington).
Outside backs: Caleb Clarke (Auckland), Mitchell Hunt (Auckland), Damian McKenzie (Waikato), Sevu Reece (Waikato) and Mark Telea (North Harbour).

Heading for a showdonw: Richie Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett (Getty Images)


Hookers: Liam Coltman (Otago), Andrew Makalio (Tasman) and Codie Taylor (Canterbury).
Props: George Bower (Otago), Alex Hodgman (Canterbury), Nepo Laulala (Canterbury), Tyrel Lomax (Tasman) and Joe Moody (Canterbury).

Locks: Mitchell Dunshea (Canterbury), Manaaki Selby-Rickit (Southland) and Samuel Whitelock (Canterbury and captain).

Loose forwards: Tom Christie (Canterbury), Shannon Frizell (Tasman), Dillon Hunt (Otago), Reed Prinsep (Canterbury) and Tom Sanders (Canterbury).

Halfbacks: Finlay Christie (Tasman), Mitchell Drummond (Canterbury) and Brad Weber (Otago).
Flyhalves: Josh Ioane (Otago) and Richie Mo’unga (Canterbury).
Midfielders: Braydon Ennor (Canterbury), Leicester Faingaanuku (Tasman), Jack Goodhue (Canterbury) and Sio Tomkinson (Otago).

Outside backs: Jordie Barrett (Canterbury), George Bridge (Canterbury) and Will Jordan (Tasman).

My "ones to watch"
Lachie Boshier, Hoskins Sotutu, Peter Umaga-Jensen, Dalton Papalii, Finlay Chrisite, George Bridge and Will Jordan.

It's going to be intense !
By eBike
Heading for the last round up of Super Rugby AU games as the Force host the Reds. Good game until the last quarter when the Reds simply ran away with it. Two (?) more games left plus the North v South Aotearoa game.

User avatar
By Major Bloodnok
Good grief. Watching Brumbies v Waratahs and I don't think we can complain about English refs. In the space of two minutes, a clear forward pass (knock-on? - it went to ground) and a huge offside were passed over by the video ref. The offside resulted in a try from a kick through: the 22 line was right there showing him in front of the kicker, but the video ref said "no clear offside".

On the other hand, I enjoyed hearing the ref telling the front rows, "don't bugger about, guys".
By eBike
And all done with a straight face !

It's worth commenting on Gardner giving try scorer Wright a telling off for winding up the defender after scoring his first try - more refs need to do do that. It's childish and, as Gardner put it "that's how it starts..... cut it out"

Also worth mentioning Bayley Kuenzle's touch line drop goal try conversion kick :dance:

Good game overall, video highlights as soon as they appear
By eBike
" No clear and obvious offside, you can award the try !" :brickwall:

Can't blame Gardner for that howler so judge for yourself.
By eBike
Hilarious but not in a good way.

Once again, confidence in the TMO has been undermined utterly and completely. It's not good for the game. It simply raises questions about the competence and integrity of TMOs.

Thanks for finding the proof that the TMO CBA to look at.

It will be interesting to see if this farce is mentioned in Saturday's build up to the Brumbies/Force game. :crazy:
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By eBike
Not long to go now, only a few games left.

Top Brumbies play bottom and winless Force. Good game, strong start from the Force but relentless pressure from the Brumbies wore down the Force.

Big shout out for the Force though as they've played all (?) their games away because of inter state Covid restrictions. Much respect for never rolling over.

History made as Amy Perret takes the whistle for the first time in Super Rugby, vastly experienced from the Word 7s Series and being AR for most of the Aussie games. She certainly put several Brumbies (deservedly) firmly in their place.

The big one tomorrow as the first Kiwi North v South game takes place. Not counting or own Big One later in the day

A special mention to all the 'Saders players and fans on Saturday. Kia Kaha Christchurch :clap:
By eBike
Rebels v Tahs, 4th plays 3rd for a play off slot. Rebels have a game in hand though to make things interesting.

Cracking game, cracking tries, no shortage of skill or effort from both teams. Closer finish than the score suggests.

Kiwi North v South postponed because of Covid in Auckland. Due next Saturday but we'll see.
By ale shark
NZ North v NZ South kicks off at 8:05am tomorrow/Saturday if anyone needed reminding.

Almost worth letting the wife have a nice lie-in.
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By eBike
Rebels v Force; a cracking game, highlights won't do justice to the edge of the seat clash. Both teams gave it everything and the closing 20 was fabulous to watch.

The North/South game is into the second half and it's nip and tuck. Unable to watch it live but I may catch the final 10 minutes.

By eBike
No worries. I was just getting round to it. What a game, what a final try.

Just managed to catch Reds/Brumbies match and will post highlights later, unless someone else does it first.

A couple of points:-

What are assistant refs seeing when "obviously" forward passes are allowed to go unchallenged ?

Good to see ex UK players feature on the coaching staff, Geoff Parling at the Reds, Wales' Mark Jones at the Crusaders.

A shout out for James O'Connor (again) for being the first Aussie to score 100 points for three different Super Rugby teams. Reds/Force/Rebels

Great to see a real crowd at the Brumbies game.

The Super Rugby AU semis are next week; Brumbies/Tahs and Reds/Rebels

What to watch this afternoon............ :joy:
By eBike
A result that changed little. Maybe a psychological blow ahead of the semis next week but still leaves the playoffs as per expected.

Brumbies looked a little jaded and never quite clicked against relentless pressure from second place Reds.

At least it throws some doubt into the semis and might make them a bit more interesting.

Brumbies/Tahs ? Probably the Brumbies to go through against the inconsistent Tahs
Reds/Rebels ? Probably the Reds as the higher placed team but the Rebels are really up for it

By eBike
Reds v Rebels; the only "semi" as it's a playoff for the a chance to take on the Brumbies next week. I misunderstood the format.

Close first 40, attritional loss of key players in the second, some good tries and great to see a prop slice through on an inside ball to sprint away before throwing a perfect scoring pass.

Final's next week then Super Rugby's all over. That said, the Mitre 10 is running in NZ so most of the All Blacks are still in action and covered by Sky TV

Only one game in town this weekend though...........

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By eBike
And finally !

Brumbies v Reds, Super Rugby AU Final.

What a corker of a game.

"That's all folks !"

By ale shark
NZ Aus, 3am Sunday, repeated 10am on Sky Sports Arena for those that are interested.

James O'C is starting at 10 for Aus, first time since 2013 Lions apparently.
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