Super Rugby: only questions at this time of year

Hunt, Beale, Pocock, Nonu du Plessis... SO, so many questions with Super Rugby less than a month away..

Hunt, Beale, Pocock, Nonu du Plessis… SO, so many questions with Super Rugby less than a month away..

“Brent,” The Roar‘s brave editor said only hours before the start of the first One-Day International of the summer, “I think it’s about time we started getting into rugby again.”

“Paddy, you’re drunk before midday again,” was my reply.

But he wasn’t drunk, and he wasn’t asking for my opinion. And the 2015 Super Rugby season was less than a month away. This was an argument that couldn’t be won, and would force your humble correspondent to start considering the Gilbert as much as the Kookaburra.

And while yes, it probably is time to start contemplating another rugby season, it’s difficult to come up with anything other than questions. I mean, everyone’s unbeaten in January, aren’t they?

ABC Grandstand – Australian Rugby 2014 review

The Waratahs celebrate their Super Rugby championship win in Sydney on Saturday night. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Waratahs celebrate their Super Rugby championship win. Image: ABC Grandstand

ABC Grandstand: Here’s the clip of the Year in Review show I did with Andrew Mayes on New Year’s Eve for Grandstand Breakfast.

My tweet last night of McKenzie's final poignant walk as Wallabies coach went viral, and is still going...

My tweet of McKenzie’s final poignant walk as Wallabies coach went viral…

Over the course of half an hour, we covered all the highs and lows of Australian Rugby in 2014, including the various Super Rugby seasons for the five franchises, culminating in the Waratahs cracking their maiden title.

And then, after the chat was going so well (and after the musical stylings of Vance Joy), we had to get in the Wallabies and, well… we all know how that finished up. It’s all in there: Kurtley Beale, Ewen McKenzie, Michael Cheika… the lot. It’s been a big year.

 

Another look ahead: my Australian Rugby World Cup squad

Pocock, Skelton, Beale: TWO of these guys didn't make my RWC squad...

Pocock, Skelton, Beale: TWO of these guys didn’t make my RWC squad…

Following on from my Cricket World Cup squad, The Roar Eds asked me to keep going and name a squad for the Rugby World Cup in England, in September and October this year.

This is an altogether harder task, mostly because it’s still not clear how many players will be required in each country’s RWC squad. That, and the tournament is TEN MONTHS AWAY!

The RWC is always going to be a forwards-oriented event, and more so being played in England, and therefore I’m going to use Robbie Deans’ 17-13 split from the 2011 RWCs as a base, and add props as required.

I’m also going to assume all players are fit, and nor have there been any further off-field atrocities or political arrests. All eligible players are eligible, if that makes sense…

Best signings for the 2015 Super Rugby season

UPDATE: the Western Force will replace departing cult hero Nick Cummins with... returning cult hero Nick Cummins! Image: ABC Grandstand

UPDATE: the Western Force will replace departing cult hero Nick Cummins with… returning cult hero Nick Cummins! Image: ABC Grandstand

I honestly thought I was done with rugby the week after the loss to England at Twickers, but The Roar‘s wonderful and hard-working editors (um, yes) are a persistent lot over this holiday period. And so here I am, in the final days of 2014, with the Kookaburra far more prominent than the Gilbert, talking about rugby again.

In a topic worth exploring while we tuck into unfortunate chickens stuffed into unfortunate ducks shoved into unfortunate turkeys, and consume silly amounts of sugar and beer while making fireworks plans, the question is: who will be the best Australian Super Rugby signings in 2015?