rugby.com.au: The National Rugby Championship kicked off for 2016 with two cracking and surprisingly brutal games: Perth Spirit’s patient win over Melbourne Rising over in the west, followed up by NSW Country’s really impressive victory over defending champions Brisbane City at Sydney University.
rugby.com.au: Really pleased to announce that I’ll be back on board with rugby.com.au for the 2016 NRC season, providing competition coverage and filling my weekends with social media and match reporting over the nine weeks.
It all kicked off with the competition launch in Sydney yesterday, where I spoke to all eight teams and the key competition stakeholders…
The Roar: Talk about an opening weekend of contrasts. One game an 80-minute battle for supremacy between two surprisingly well-matched sides, and well, whatever you’d like to call Bledisloe 1.
What the opening weekend did tell us was that we probably won’t have to worry about the Rugby Championship 2016 being New Zealand’s to lose. They just won’t.
They’ll quite probably take another bonus point win this weekend in Wellington, and if the return bout between Argentina and South Africa happens to square the ledger, then the All Blacks will suddenly have a massive gap on the table.
The Big Question for week two: nominate the most important aspect Australia and Argentina need to address this week after their losses?
The Roar: Before the June Tests, Eddie Jones told me that when you take over a team, there’s always 50 things that need fixing, but only enough time to fix three. And the key – and what sorts the good coaches from the really, really good coaches – is the ability to work out addressing which three things can have the biggest impact on the team.
That’s the challenge for Michael Cheika this week. He’s obviously not taking over, but he is effectively starting again. All the ‘what were they doing for four weeks?’ questions are valid, but reviewing that now doesn’t help what needs to happen this week. Plus, there isn’t the time anyway…