Cue the ‘strongest conference’ arguments

The Bulls are one of three South African teams with four wins; only ten points separate the five teams. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: She’s a weird-looking beast, the Super Rugby table after the completion of Round 7 this weekend just gone.

Courtesy of the conference system currently in place, we again have this situation where the teams listed in fourth and fifth spot on the table actually have better records than two of the top three teams, who of course occupy the spots they do by virtue of leading their national conferences.

But when you look further into the conferences, this is where the strongest and weakest conference debate quickly emerges..

ABC Grandstand – Australia wins 2nd ODI, AB de Villiers goes nuts..

Mitchell Starc has 10 wickets in the first two Tri-Series ODIs. Image: ABC Grandstand

Mitchell Starc has 10 wickets in the first two Tri-Series ODIs. Image: ABC Grandstand

ABC Grandstand Digital: With Michael and Rob in the chair again this week, it was great chatting to the Grandstand Breakfast boys about Australia’s impressive start to the One-Day Tri-Series tournament.

After knocking off England in Sydney on Friday night, Australia accounted for India in Melbourne, where Mitchell Starc was “just happy to contribute” with his career-best ODI figures of 6/43, and James Faulkner’s finishing prowess again got Australia home after something of a middle order collapse.

Pretty in Pink: AB de Villiers was setting records for fun last night. Image: ABC Grandstand

Pretty in Pink: AB de Villiers was setting records for fun last night. Image: ABC Grandstand

And yes, we also found time to discuss South African skipper AB de Villiers’ stupendous knock in Johannesburg last night, where he notched the fastest ever ODI century from just 31 balls. It was ridiculous! He also set the fastest ever ODI fifty along the way (16 balls), and South Africa went on post a new record score, of 2/439 from their 50 overs against the West Indies.

The Windies, despite making 291 in reply, still lost by 148. Worst still, they won the toss and bowled…

 

 

Could Hanson’s desire lead to trans-Tasman alignment?

Could Dan Carter for the Waratahs? I can see it being allowed to happen. And soon... Image: NZRU via Twitter

Could Dan Carter for the Waratahs? I can see it being allowed to happen. And soon… Image: NZRU via Twitter

The Roar: An interesting little development over the weekend. All Blacks coach Steve Hanson declared that in order to protect New Zealand rugby development – and the untold issue of stopping the poachers – the time may be rapidly approaching where he is allowed to select Australian-based players.

And this is where I wonder if my long-held belief is about to come true, that at some point in time the SANZAR borders will be opened, thus allowing players to play Super Rugby wherever they like, while retaining their national eligibility.

I’ve pondered this, and other benefits for both Australia and New Zealand, today on The Roar

Ricky, oh Ricky…

Ponting b. Kallis 4.  And an early leader in the Ugliest Dismissal of 2012/2013…

Ricky Ponting was bowled by Jacques Kallis in Adelaide yesterday, in one of the more unattractive dismissals in recent memory.

Even aside from the horrendous loss of balance, there were a number of technical issues that troubled me about Ponting’s dismissal, which I’ve detailed today over on The Roar.  Only a few weeks shy of his 38th birthday, and with his aging contemporary, Michael Hussey still belting Test hundreds for fun, this is as ill-timed as it gets for technical glitches in the Ponting game.

Meanwhile, Australia set all sorts of records in Adelaide yesterday, amassing a mammoth 5/482 on Day 1 of the Second Test, after being reduced at one stage to 3/55. 

Michael Clarke became the first man in Test Cricket history to compile four double-centuries in a calendar year, David Warner broke the shackles with a 112-ball 119, and Hussey was out on what became the final ball of the day for 103.

And South Africa, the No.1 Test team in the world, well, they have a mountain of work ahead of them in this match already..