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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    The Mega 2016 Super Duper Super Rugby Thread

    Season opened Fri with Blues v Highlanders in a great game. Blues took it but both teams looked good.

    Next game was Brumbies v Hurricanes which was a bit shit in comparison, particularly if you're a Canes fan. No discredit to the Brumbies though - they have the look of a playoff/finals team about them and they smashed a woeful looking Canes side.

    Chiefs apparently beat the Crusaders but I didn't see that one so no clue.

    Much the same with the other conferences/games but I was interested to see that the Jaguares beat the Cheetahs and the Sunwolves at least on paper seemed competitive against the Lions.

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Super Rugby round-up: Week one

    7:28 AM Sunday Feb 28, 2016


    The Reds' Karmichael Hunt, left, breaks a tackle from the Waratahs' Nick Phipps during their Super Rugby match in Sydney, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)


    Australia's New South Wales Waratahs and South Africa's Stormers were victorious in one-sided local derbies in the opening round of Super Rugby on Saturday.

    In New Zealand, the Chiefs clinched a tight local contest against the Crusaders with a late try.

    Two of the new teams lost their opening games - as expected - with Japan's Sunwolves going down to the Johannesburg-based Lions 26-13 despite making a brave debut in Tokyo.

    In Port Elizabeth, South Africa, the Southern Kings lost at home to the Sharks 43-8, struggling on their return after a two-season absence.

    Also, the Melbourne-based Rebels claimed a rare away win, 25-19, at the Perth-based Force in their all-Australian affair.

    The long and mostly intense rivalry between the Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland was no contest when the Waratahs rolled to a 30-10 home win over the Reds.

    The Waratahs scored four tries to one, racking up their fifth straight win over the Reds, in front of 24,044 at Sydney Football Stadium. First-half tries to captain and openside flanker Michael Hooper, winger Matt Carraro, and David Horwitz set up a 20-0 halftime lead.

    In Cape Town, the Stormers broke clear of the Bulls after a tight first half when flyhalf Robert du Preez threw a dummy and scampered in for a 51st-minute try that rewarded the home team for its dominance in the opening stages of the second half.

    The Stormers went on to win 33-9, with Du Preez's opening try spurring them on.

    Springboks second-rower Eben Etzebeth rampaged over near the posts, and replacement hooker Scarra Ntubeni was at the back of a maul near the end to give Robbie Fleck a winning start as head coach.

    Fleck was promoted after Eddie Jones backed out of his contract with the Stormers to take over England's national team.

    Du Preez, whose father was a Springbok, collected 23 of the Stormers' points. The three-time champion Bulls, a team in transition anyway, sorely missed injured South Africa flyhalf Handre Pollard.

    Earlier at Christchurch, New Zealand, captain Sam Cane scored the Chiefs' late try to beat the Crusaders 27-21.

    Fullback Damian McKenzie converted his own try nine minutes earlier to give the Chiefs a 22-21 advantage in a match in which the lead changed hands five times.

    But it took Cane's score from a concerted lineout drive three minutes before fulltime to finally decide a match in which the largest lead enjoyed by either side was six points.On Super Rugby's arrival in Japan, the visiting Lions dominated the first half with tries by Robbie Coetzee and Courtnall Skosan to take a 12-6 lead at halftime over the Sunwolves.

    That became 19-6 early in the second half after a try by Jaco Kriel and conversion by Elton Jantjies.Shota Horie gave the capacity crowd a thrill when he scored the Sunwolves' historic first try an hour in, but hopes of a comeback were soon ended when Lionel Mapoe went over for another score for the Lions six minutes later.

    Mark Hammett, a former All Blacks hooker, was introduced as coach of the Sunwolves on Dec. 21 and his team came together just over two weeks ago.

    They had only one formal trial match before Saturday's game.

    "You can always handle losing if you know the players gave everything," Hammett said.

    "We are very proud of our players given the short time that was involved in getting ready."While the Sunwolves showed some promise, fellow newcomers the Kings were outclassed at home by the Durban-based Sharks in their South African derby.

    The Kings scored the first try through flanker Chris Cloete at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. But that was a blip and the Sharks responded with six tries and finished with 35 unanswered points, with wing Odwa Ndungane getting their first and last tries.

    The Kings, previously relegated from Super Rugby after one season in 2013, are also in turmoil off the field and being run by the South African Rugby Union after their finances collapsed.

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Dear Japan,

    What the actual fuck!?

    The Sunwolves mascot is NOT named 'Pinging'

    1:36 PM Monday Feb 29, 2016


    The Sunwolves mascot. Photo / Twitter.

    When Japan's new Super Rugby franchise revealed their terrifying new wolf mascot last week, some fairly key details were lost in translation.

    Was the wolf on drugs? Why does it look like it has spent the last two weeks sleeping under a bridge? And what is its name?

    In lieu of any genuine details about Super Rugby's creepy canid, NZ Herald reporter Matt Nippert christened the Sunwolf 'Pinging' - a slang term for a state of increased anxious activity, typically induced by an amphetamine.

    Nippert's joke took off on social media, but was quickly interpreted across mainstream media outlets and the official Super Rugby Twitter account as fact.

    The Sydney Morning Herald, Stuff and One News all said the mascot was named Pinging and social media blindly accepted that a manic, disheveled wolf with dilated eyes named Pinging is something Japanese culture could conceivably create. It's the sort of mass branding which may be very hard to undo.

    So what is his real name? A half-hearted Herald investigation has revealed that the world of Japanese mascots is confusing.

    The Sunwolves have linked up with Japanese band 'Man With a Mission' - a five-piece rock band who wear wolf masks on their heads - and have evolved the groups' friendly looking features to a much more twisted place.


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntRobertson
    and the Sunwolves at least on paper seemed competitive against the Lions.
    [at] [at]
    That game was fairly ordinary.

    Apparently the wheels have fallen off Japanese Rugby since the world cup...

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingwilly
    Apparently the wheels have fallen off Japanese Rugby since the world cup...
    They certainly dropped the ball with the whole Super Rugby thing.

    Crack-addled mascot aside, they hadn't even named a coach or squad until very late in the piece.

  6. #6
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    The Jap mascot looks like one of our local soi dogs after a lao cao bender.

  7. #7
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    The Waratahs versus the Reds was far closer then the score suggested.

    Good start to the competiton though and I am already looking forward to next week.

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Nigel Yalden: NZ Super Rugby Team of Week 1

    3:02 PM Monday Feb 29, 2016

    The first round of Super Rugby is in the books with great wins by the Blues and Chiefs, excellent performances in hard fought New Zealand derbies by the Highlanders and Crusader, while Hurricanes enjoyed an early crack at duty free shopping. Our Rugby Editor Nigel Yalden watched all the action (he has to, it's his job) to produce his New Zealand Team of the Week:

    1. Ofa Tu'ungafasi (Blues) - after a solid first half Tu'ungafasi become more and more prominent as the game progressed through the second; rock solid at set piece to compliment the work rate around the field

    2. Liam Coltman (Highlanders) - industrious as always around the paddock, good at scrum time and while the Highlanders lineout had a couple of miscues only one could be attributed to a poor throw by Coltman.

    3. Owen Franks (Crusaders) - it's been a while since the All Black tighthead has had to play more than an hour of rugby, but he chugged away to the end, delivering quality work at the scrum, ruck cleanout and defensively.

    4. Patrick Tuipulotu (Blues) - In his first competition game since double hip surgery last year, he thought he was going to play around sixty minutes. Then Steven Luatua got injured and he had to go the full eighty. His ball carrying in midfield (crikey he took some stopping) was the pick of a top quality all round second row performance - great to see him back and into it with such gusto.

    5. Brodie Retallick (Chiefs) - he was ... well, you know ... Brodie Retallick.

    6. Teleni Seu (Chiefs) - Mighty fine debut wearing the Chiefs number 6 jersey that's synonymous with work hard, physicality & athleticism courtesy of Liam Messam; excellent lineout forward too. The prospect of Seu, Cane and Michael Leitch combining is a rather exciting one for Chiefs fans based of this young man's first effort at this level.

    7. Blake Gibson (Blues) - there were three outstanding openside performances from the New Zealand teams, but while Sam Cane and Shane Christie were standouts for their sides, Gibson was even better. Watching the replay, you consistently saw him in and around the action. Great at the breakdown, quick around the park, did his share of the work of defence and capped it off by rampaging through Ben Smith for a try - my NZ Forward of the Week

    8. Kieran Read (Crusaders) - he's going to be held to a higher standard than any other New Zealand player this season, but Read was extremely busy and physical on Saturday night.

    9. Bryn Hall (Blues) - made really good decisions, gave Ihaia West great service and thus helped lead that backline the way a nine/ten combo at this level should. It was also brilliant to see him creating chaos by having a dart or too around the fringes of the ruck

    10. Ihaia West (Blues) - despite the early goal-kicking wobbles, West, in tandem with Bryn Hall, controlled and guided things very well for the Blues. Great recognition of space behind the line & a deft kick set up the Blues first try and displayed the steely calm you want to see from the on-field general -

    Honourable Mention: Aaron Cruden (Chiefs) - directed the Chiefs nicely in a performance that was subtle yet still very influential. Others got the plaudits & justifiably so, he's impact on that game was there for all to see.

    11. James Lowe (Chiefs) - very little action went the left wings way for all the franchise, but Lowe found a way to get more involved than others & a key figure in some very clinical exit plays by the Chiefs.

    12. Charlie Ngatai (Chiefs) - Ngatai and George Moala are likely contenders to fill the vacant All Blacks second five jersey against Wales in June and both showed way. Ngatai had a more complete involvement than Moala, who I felt drifted in and out of his game a bit. Ngatai does everything well and even has a spiral punt to keep us old fella's happy.

    13. Malaki Fekitoa (Highlanders) - all the centres this weekend were solid defensively but didn't show out to any significant level on attack. Felt that Fekitoa made the most of his few opportunities with the ball in hand, hence he gets the nod, but overall an unspectacular weekend in the race to replace the Snake.

    14. Melani Nanai (Blues) - plays very physical for a slightly built young man and finds a way to get involved in the game, yet never got badly out of position on defence.

    15. Damien McKenzie (Chiefs) - he's just so much fun to watch play rugby. Great hands, great feet, no fear, full noise for the full 80 minutes and impressed with some excellent goal-kicking (that penalty from 50 metres was a peach of kick) - his positional play was pretty darn good too - my NZ Back of the Week

    - Radio Sport
    Concur with all that except for Blake Gibson who unceremoniously bumped off that lovely man Ben Smith, he should apologize!

    Malaki Fekitoa should also get the award (every week) for having the coolest name in all of Super Rugby.

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Round 2 matches:

    Friday 4 March
    13:35 Crusaders v. Blues
    15:45 Brumbies v. Waratahs

    Saturday 5 March
    11:15 Chiefs v. Lions
    13:35 Highlanders v. Hurricanes
    15:45 Reds v. Force
    20:00 Bulls v. Rebels
    22:10 Cheetahs v. Stormers

    Sunday 6 March
    00:20 Sharks v. Jaguares

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    I see Tana has gone all Kirwan and changed a successful 9/10 combination.....

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Yeah I really don't get that. That was one of the main knocks on the Blues last year: no apparent rhyme nor reason to selections, players unable to establish themselves or form combinations...

    Still he's a sharp and astute man and it's early days. Maybe he's just thinking that now he has his first-choice pairing he might as well baptise the back ups.

  12. #12
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    In game two when he's trying to establish a winning pattern???

    Secure your playoff spot then blood the back ups.... or game time when a game is won.....

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Dunno, just hazarding a guess, who really knows what he's thinking.

    It is a long comp with a high attrition rate though and maybe he's confident enough in the back ups to do the job today.

  14. #14
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    Let's face it, the Saders are not really considered much of a threat right now, either. Early enough in the season to mess around ?

  15. #15
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Six of one, half dozen of the other I suppose but I guess that if you want to find out if player x, y, or z can handle it sooner rather than later is better.

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Didn't get to see much this round, only the Saders v. Blues and parts of Chiefs and Landers games.

    Some interesting results though:

    Crusaders 28 - 13 Blues

    Brumbies 32 - 15 Waratahs

    Chiefs 32 - 36 Lions

    Highlanders 17 - 16 Hurricanes

    Reds 6 - 22 Force

    Bulls 45 - 25 Rebels

    Cheetahs 10 - 20 Stormers

    Sharks 19 - 15 Jaguares
    Early doors but Brumbies seem to be living up to pre-season hype, have to call Lions over Chiefs an upset, Landers piping the Canes, and Jaguares look to be a competitive mob.

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    I have been watching this along with Premier rugby in UK and looking for the major differences.
    The one thing I have noticed is the similarities, particularly in error rates and penalty counts. Both groups seem to have an affinity for handling errors and high penalty counts.
    The NH games definitely suffer the loss of quality players to the 6N.

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chassamui
    The one thing I have noticed is the similarities, particularly in error rates and penalty counts. Both groups seem to have an affinity for handling errors and high penalty counts.
    I haven't been watching a lot of NH stuff lately so can't really comment on that, but pretty much par for the course with Super Rugby in the early rounds.

    Takes teams a while to come to grips with the officiating and any changes or variations in rules / applications of rules. Handling generally tends to improve as it goes on also.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntRobertson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by chassamui
    The one thing I have noticed is the similarities, particularly in error rates and penalty counts. Both groups seem to have an affinity for handling errors and high penalty counts.
    I haven't been watching a lot of NH stuff lately so can't really comment on that, but pretty much par for the course with Super Rugby in the early rounds.

    Takes teams a while to come to grips with the officiating and any changes or variations in rules / applications of rules. Handling generally tends to improve as it goes on also.
    Jam tomorrow then?

  20. #20
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    ... It's too early in the morning still and I haven't had enough cups of tea to get that reference!

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    Well..... Tana.... it didn't work....

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Nope, certainly didn't.

    The Blues are a mystery. Largest player base in the country, record of letting players go who then go on to be superstars for other teams, and unfathomable coaching decisions from a succession of otherwise seemingly rational coaches. Oh, and of course year after year of utter dross.

  23. #23
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    I'm delighted to see that the Reds are still shite; I enjoyed watching the force embarrass them. I also enjoyed watching the Chiefs lose at home. So far, so good.

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    ^ enjoy the Reds defeats, long may they continue

    They have sacked their coach today

    Richard Graham sacked as Reds coach

    Perenially under pressure Queensland Reds coach Richard Graham has copped the sack from Queensland Rugby Union, after back-to-back losses against the Waratahs and the Force.

    Graham will be replaced by interim co-coaches Matt O’Connor and Nick Stiles until a replacement is found for the 2017 season.

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Round 3 matches:

    Friday 11 March
    13:35 Blues v. Hurricanes

    18:05 Force v. Brumbies

    Saturday 12 March
    13:35 Highlanders v. Lions

    15:45 Rebels v. Reds

    17:55 Sunwolves v. Cheetahs

    20:05 Kings v. Chiefs

    22:15 Stormers v. Sharks



    Highlanders v. Lions could be an interesting one.

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