After 17 rounds, it’s time to reset for the playoffs

Super Rugby - AusThe Roar: For all the debate and argument about Super Rugby’s conference format, and how that affects the finals series, what we’re left with is the eight best teams however you’d like to measure it.

You can’t ask much more from a competition that that…

Brumbies top Australian conference; will host the Highlanders in Quarter Final

Matt Toomua scored one and had another disallowed in the Brumbies’ win of the Force last night. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Brumbies did enough to beat the Western Force 24-10 at Canberra Stadium last night to top the Australian conference, and set up a home Quarter Final against the Highlanders next Friday night.

But it’s fair to say it was a far from convincing win, and they have a massive week of preparations and improvement ahead of them to prevail against a red-hot Highlanders next week. Here’s all my post-match interviews and the ABC Grandstand highlights and wrap from last night…

The Rd17 talking points: what the Waratahs and Brumbies must do

The Brumbies need to hold out the Waratahs this weekend, to top the Australian conference. Image via Brumbies Fracebook

The Brumbies need to hold out the Waratahs this weekend, to top the Australian conference. Image via Brumbies Fracebook

The Roar: The Super Rugby season is right down to the wire, and even if there are debates around the finals format, the playoffs loom with much excitement.

But before the playoffs can start, there’s one last regular season round to play out, and there’s plenty of intrigue and playoffs drama left just yet.

Here’s the talking points for Round 17:

  • What the Waratahs have to do
  • What the Brumbies have to do
  • Johan Ackermann’s Argentinean tour pro/con list
  • Is there one last New Zealand surprise in store?
  • …and therefore, who’s the New Zealand favourite?

The Australian way in urgent need of upskill

Scott Fardy looks to offload for the Brumbies. This has generally been a rare event for any of the Australian teams in 2016. Image: ABC Grandstand

Busy times of late – I’ve still been writing, just haven’t really had the time to post. But I’m back on the horse, so to speak, resuming with today’s column for The Roar

There’s no two ways about it, that was a rough weekend of rugby results for the Australian team.

The stat trotted out on Saturday night was that this was the first time since April 2005 that all five Australian teams have lost in the same weekend, but it’s much, much worse than that.

It’s the first time in the history of the universe that all five Australian teams have lost in the same weekend!

And one common element in the five Australian losses, was a chronic lack of second-phase play. Offloads were occasional events, rather than distinct plans, as the Australian players across the weekend hit the ball up directly into defensive walls with no real intent to look sideways…