The Quirk

Superugby – Round 5


Written by Ryan Quirk (The Quirk)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 26 Mar 2012 at 12:06
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At the beginning of the year I posted my preview and predictions for Superugby 2012, and to my surprise, some people actually read it.  Now I am going to post my post-round-5-review / preview for the rest of the competition…

The Teams!

The Reds!

The Reds have been decimated by injuries and a suspension to, arguably, their most valuable player, Digby Ioane… They’ve just finished their tour to SA with an absolutely mauling courtesy of the Bulls.  They have signed Sam Lane on a short term contract to cover flyhalf  after the almost cataclysmic run-on debut of Dallan Murphy against the Bulls.

They’ll continue to struggle until they get some players back from injury, at the moment they’re fast moving down the Aussie ladder with the Brumbies showing good progress under Jake White’s mentorship and the Waratahs seemingly over their early season malaise…

Key players – Digby Ioane, Will Genia and James Horwill.

The Crusaders!

The Crusaders have Daniel Carter back, albeit not entirely comfortable kicking just yet.  He made a difference immediately after coming off the bench against the Cheetahs, and was, arguably, the difference between the sides, as he most often is.  The rest of the team are growing in confidence after some early losses and will be looking to build momentum going forward.  Israel Dagg is back where he belongs at fullback and Fruean has been a monster at centre. Play-offs?  I doubt you’d find many who’d bet against it.

Key players – Dan Carter, Keiren Reid, Israel Dagg, Robbie Fruean.

The Stormers!

The Stormers are the only unbeaten side in the competition thanks to the Brumbies excellent win over the Highlanders.  Their tight 5 is actually one to contend with which should mean that they’re a shoe in for a play-off spot.  I still don’t believe they’re a championship side though, but, as has been seen before, it only takes one player to turn the attacking fortunes of a team around… Nick Koster is finally getting some injury free game time and showing just how good a player he is and Peter Grant has brought solidity to the backline, if not much attacking flare.

Key Players – Nick Koster,  Andries Bekker (how could i leave him out???),  Peter Grant, Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers

The Blues!

The Blues have been really disappointing; they’ve only won one from five games and, with all the talent at their disposal that just isn’t good enough.  They have lost key players in Kaino and Toueava for the season and big captain Kev is also battling with a calf injury.  They’ve competed in every game, much like the Sharks, but are lacking that killer instinct to put games away.

Key Players – Ma’a Nonu,  Piri Wheepu, Keven Mealamu and Chris Lowry

The Waratahs!

The Waratahs are still boring, and have now added inconsistency to their repertoire.  They lost to the Force and then beat the Sharks the following weekend, which says more about the competitiveness of the competition than is does about anything else.  Mid table mediocrity for the team from Sydney I’m afraid.

Key Players – Berrick Barnes, Adam Ashley Cooper, Totafu Polota Nau and the Timani brothers…

The Sharks!

The Sharks should be leading the competition, but they’re not.  They seem to have been conditioned to take regular naps during games during which they gift the opposition at least 12 points without too much argument.  They are relatively injury free, but are definitely missing Beast Mtawarira.  Pat Lambie has been great and Bismarck du Plessis has been gathering momentum, much like a large freight train and is fast approaching unstoppable form.  The biggest surprise to many has been the form of Meyer Bosman, his defence has improved 100 fold and he is finally living up to his reputation as distributer extraordinaire.  Marius Joubert should be used in the Vodacom Cup to mentor youngsters and nothing more.

Key Players –  Pat Lambie, Bismarck du Plessis, Willem Alberts, Meyer Bosman

The Bulls!

The Bulls were my pre-season bolters and I stick with that assessment.  They beat a good Sharks team, and thrashed the Cheetahs and the, admittedly somewhat crocked, defending champion Reds.  Their only loss came against the Blues, who are as consistent as baby poo mixed with crunchy trail mix.  They’re also relatively free from injury with only Deon Stegman, Dewald Potgieter and Lionel Cronje out.  I’m looking at them as play-off contenders, but they haven’t travelled yet and the youngsters in their team may struggle.

Key Players – Chiliboy Ralapele, Pierre Spies, Morne Steyn, Francois Hougaard.

The Highlanders!

The Highlanders were unbeaten until coming unstuck against an increasingly impressive Brumbies outfit.  They were missing their talismanic flanker, Adam Thompson and lost flyhalf Colin Slade for the whole season with a broken ankle.  They started last season very well before coming unstuck due to injuries and a lack of depth and one hopes the same doesn’t happen in 2012.  I think they’ll either just make the play-offs or fall agonisingly short.

Key Players – Adam Thomson, Andrew Hore, Hosea Gear.

The Hurricanes!

The Hurricanes have been the surprise package of the season so far.  The pushed the Stormers at home and are currently on three wins from five matches, with their trip to South Africa done.  They have unearthed some properly good players in Beauden Barrett and Andre Taylor, and Conrad Smith, Cory Jane and Victor Vito are really putting their hands up as senior players.

Key players – Cory Jane, Victor Vito, Conrad Smith and Beauden Barrett.

The Chiefs!

The Chiefs have started the season very well and can boast wins against The Crusaders, Hurricanes and Brumbies, with only one loss to the Highlanders in their first game.   They’ve unearthed some good talent in the tight 5 with Brodie Retallick one of the form locks in New Zealand at the moment.  Aaron Cruden and Sonny Bill Williams have justified the hype and are both playing top rugby… If they carry on the way they’re going they are definite contenders for the top spot in the New Zealand conference.

Key Players – Aaron Cruden, SBW, Richard Kahui, Liam Messam

The Cheetahs!

The Cheetahs are everyone’s favourite underdogs.  They play with heart, guts and commitment, score amazing tries from all corners and delight everyone by competing way above themselves week in and week out…  But they still lose.   They are still missing Juan Smith with his troublesome Achilles injury, but have unearthed top players in number 8 Phillip van der Walt and winger Willie le Roux.  19 year old flyhalf Johan Goosen has lived up to his hype (so far) and now even the New Zealanders are taking notice.

Key Players –  Adriaan Strauss, Johan Goosen, Heinrich Brussouw

The Western Force!

The Force, much like the Cheetahs, play with heart every week, but simply don’t have enough depth to compete regularly with the top teams.  Their loose trio is top as is Nathan Sharpe, but they will most likely compete with the Lions and Rebels for the wooden spoon.

Key Players – Nathan Sharpe, David Pocock, Matt Hodgson

The Brumbies!

Another surprise package, the Brumbies were quite dismal in 2011 and very little was expected of them in 2012.  However, under Jake White they have put together a solid start to the season and most recently ended the unbeaten run of the red-hot Highlanders.  I think they will end up in a respectable mid-table slot, perhaps sneaking into second spot on the Aussie conference ladder.

Key Players – Pat McCabe, Christian Leailifano, Stephen Moore

The Lions!

The Lions are struggling with injury, yet they’ve managed to stay competitive with their leaders playing the rugby that is expected of them.  Sadly they don’t have enough to compete regularly, although perhaps that might change when the injury crisis eases.  Still at the bottom of the table competing with the Rebels and Force for the wooden spoon.

Key Players – Joshua Strauss, Doppies Le Grange, Butch James, Jaco Taute

The Rebels!

Last year’s wooden spoonists won against the Force, but have little else to cheer about, with most of their top players as well as Super signings James O Beiber and Kurtley Beale regularly on the injured list.  Robocop Mortlock is still out with injury, which by my reckoning suggests he’s only played one and a half games in two years with the Melbourne side.  I think “plucky” describes them best.

Danny Cipriani of the “wave your arms at the guy and hope he falls over”  tackling technique finally started showing some form this weekend, only to go down injured after converting his own try. To be honest, I think the only way to wrestle the wooden spoon away from the Rebels is to allow the EP Kings into the competition…

Key Players – James o Connor, Kurtley Beale, Mark Gerrard, Adam Freier

So there you go, my take on the 2012 Super 15 after round 5, may the best team win, and if not, then the most entertaining one!



26 Comments

  • I would not have minded if you add Marcell to the Sharks Key players. Odd mistake here and there, but an absolute beast on defense, hitting rucks, gaining meters and getting over the gain line almost everytime he touch the ball. He must be one of our most valuable losies right now.

  • Comment 1, posted at 26.03.12 12:38:18 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 1) : He is fast becoming a key team member i agree, if he carries on the way he is the coaching staff are then faced with the question, “do we drop our captain?” to accommodate the loose trio of Alberts, Coetzee and Deysel when the latter gets to full match fitness and form…

  • Comment 2, posted at 26.03.12 12:41:33 by The Quirk Reply
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    The QuirkVodacom Cup player
     
  • Surely Andries Bekker should be consider a key player for the Stormers (ahead of Bryan Habana at the very least)?

  • Comment 3, posted at 26.03.12 12:51:31 by vanmartin Reply
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  • i love how you write up the Cheetahs while writing off the Lions ..

  • Comment 4, posted at 26.03.12 12:53:04 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 4) : How did i write off the Lions? I suggested their results could improve with the easing of their injury crisis, and that their senior players were stepping up and playing good rugby?

  • Comment 5, posted at 26.03.12 12:55:34 by The Quirk Reply
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    The QuirkVodacom Cup player
     
  • @vanmartin (Comment 3) : Well spotted, posted in a hurry…

  • Comment 6, posted at 26.03.12 12:56:12 by The Quirk Reply
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    The QuirkVodacom Cup player
     
  • @vanmartin (Comment 3) : Habana is playing some very decent footy again.

  • Comment 7, posted at 26.03.12 12:57:17 by Ben Reply
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  • I have just received confirmation that Marcell has received the Defence award against the Tahs – 26 tackles! What a boykie!! :)

  • Comment 8, posted at 26.03.12 12:58:06 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 8) : How many missed?

  • Comment 9, posted at 26.03.12 13:01:12 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 9) : just looked at the stats – according to them 3. But Rob will confirm stats in his article!

  • Comment 10, posted at 26.03.12 13:05:03 by Ice Reply
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  • @Ice (Comment 10) : :cool:

  • Comment 11, posted at 26.03.12 13:08:05 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 7) : As is Odwa but decent may just not be good enough when you need game breakers against certain opposition teams.

  • Comment 12, posted at 26.03.12 13:16:33 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 12) : You can’t even compare the two dude. Habana is a game breaker.

  • Comment 13, posted at 26.03.12 13:24:08 by Ben Reply
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  • Meyer Bomsman a key player? Coetzee and JPP have to be key players…we have seen how our defence has struggled without JPP and Coetzee is currently the best defender in superugby this year. Coetzee makes a crap load of carries and JPP is JPP!! Great on attack, and almost always gets the team going forward.

    Coetzee for me has been the best Shark so far this season…followed by JPP. If Lambie plays like he did last week he will also come into the reckoning. Sykes has also been really good this season.

  • Comment 14, posted at 26.03.12 13:24:25 by JJR Reply
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    JJRCurrie Cup player
     
  • @JJR (Comment 14) : As much as i’d like to name the whole team as “key players” i really can’t. I might have overlooked JPP because he missed the last two games with injury. But be fair, Bosman is having a great season so far and deserves to be on that list…

  • Comment 15, posted at 26.03.12 15:21:11 by The Quirk Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 13) : They are both decent wingers so I think the comparison is fair. They’re both hard workers, team-players, opportunistic, reliable on defence and both have lost a bit of pace.

    Habana definitely was a game breaker. I’ve watched all the Stormers games to date – I’m not seeing that same wing any more – the guy that can change a game in an instant. He scored a really good try in his last game though. I’ll very happily eat my words should the situation change though. I have nothing against Habana and mean no disrespect with my comment – I think he’s an awesome human being and rugby player. He just doesn’t pose the same threat he used to.

  • Comment 16, posted at 26.03.12 15:40:09 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 16) : Agree. He isn’t what he used to be but still at the moment he is much different from Odwa. Habana still possesses the ability to create a flash of brilliance where Odwa doesn’t. Habana might have lost some pace but is still light years faster than Odwa.

  • Comment 17, posted at 26.03.12 16:26:54 by Ben Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 16) : Odwa and opportunistic in the same sentence. Not so much imo.

  • Comment 18, posted at 26.03.12 16:28:44 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 17) : A “light year” is a measure of distance, not of speed. So you can’t actually be “light years faster”… it doesn’t make any sense. All you can do is define how much less it will take one player to cover a light year than it will another.

    Just saying :)

  • Comment 19, posted at 26.03.12 16:34:45 by robdylan Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 17) : Agreed, I don’t have any numbers to back this up but I also reckon Habana is probably the faster of the two. I honestly see flashes of brilliance from both though.

    @Ben (Comment 18) : Really? Odwa is always on the lookout for work in the backline whereas a number of other (usually less experienced) wings seems to wait for the ball to arrive at their position. In my mind joining the line where you see a chance is opportunistic. We might only differ on our shared terminology here.

  • Comment 20, posted at 26.03.12 16:35:47 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 19) : :lol: :oops:

  • Comment 21, posted at 26.03.12 16:39:56 by Ben Reply
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  • @Ben (Comment 21) : LOL…. just messin witcha kiddo :)

  • Comment 22, posted at 26.03.12 16:43:59 by robdylan Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 20) : Yes they both go looking for work I agree. Haha okay so that’s what you meant with opportunistic.

  • Comment 23, posted at 26.03.12 16:44:07 by Ben Reply
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  • @The Quirk (Comment 15) : I would think a key player is one that if we play without him we would be missing a lot…without JPP we havn’t looked good on defence in the midfield and Coetzee we simply can’t do without the way he has been playing.

    Bosman, if he were to get injured we would be fine. :smile:

  • Comment 24, posted at 26.03.12 16:54:45 by JJR Reply
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    JJRCurrie Cup player
     
  • @JJR (Comment 24) : Bosman is a really tough one because his performances have only really started picking up this season. Should he be injured now, we might not even know what we’re missing out on! In the same breath, Timmy hasn’t disappointed at 12 either so I get your point.

  • Comment 25, posted at 26.03.12 17:01:11 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @JJR (Comment 24) : Surprised your not calling for Jordaan to be named a key player! :lol:

  • Comment 26, posted at 26.03.12 17:01:38 by Ben Reply
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