#ThreePoints: Brumbies confident in attacking blueprint for Blues

"When Christian Lealiifano burst through some sorry Cheetahs defence in just the fourth minute on Saturday night, it really looked like the Canberra Stadium scoreboard operators were in for a big night. It didn’t quite work out that way." Image: ABC Grandstand

“When Christian Leali’ifano (second from left) burst through some sorry Cheetahs defence in just the fourth minute on Saturday night, it really looked like the Canberra Stadium scoreboard operators were in for a big night. It didn’t quite work out that way.” Image: ABC Grandstand

ESPNscrum.com: Eight rounds into the Super Rugby season, and while the leading New Zealand teams look stronger and stronger overall, the Lions’ win over the Bulls coupled with losses to the Sharks and Stormers means just two teams separates the four South African sides.

It’s around about now that we start seeing teams begin their run toward the Finals. After seven games last year, the Crusaders had four wins and three losses and posted seven wins from their next nine games to take the NZ conference by seven points. Their tally currently? Four wins and three losses…

Here are a few things that stood out in Round 8:

  • Did Queensland suspend James Horwill for an extra week?
  • Brumbies rue the missed opportunities, and
  • Four minutes of card madness in Durban.

ABC Grandstand: Super Rugby Round 8 preview

James Horwill (left) receives his red card against the Melbourne Rebels last night. Image: ABC Grandstand

James Horwill (left) receives his red card against the Melbourne Rebels last night. Image: ABC Grandstand

ABC Grandstand Digital: Andrew Mayes and I previewed Round 8 of Super Rugby this morning on Grandstand Breakfast, which started last night with another win to the Hurricanes, and another loss to the Queensland Reds.

Just as the Reds looked impressive in their first 20 minutes against the Rebels in Melbourne, a moment of madness from James Horwill saw the former Wallabies skipper handed a red card for a swinging arm. Mayesey and I discuss that game, plus preview the Brumbies-Cheetahs in Canberra tonight, where I am currently praying the rain will hold out before I take up my seat on the sideline for Grandstand this evening…

Tips: Al Crombie’s gone all defensive this week, preferring to pick the same as me and protect his lead. The desperate act of a desperate tipster, if ever there was. For the record, we’ve gone: Hurricanes, Reds, Chiefs, Brumbies, Crusaders, and Lions.

UPDATE: Horwill pleaded guilty to the striking or punching charge this morning, and accepted a one week suspension. He’ll miss the first of the Reds’ two games in South Africa.

#Scrum5: Waratahs have a look of champions

Waratahs scrumhalf Nick Phipps had his best game of the year, against the Chiefs. Image via 'Tahs Facebook

Waratahs scrumhalf Nick Phipps had his best game of the year, against the Chiefs. Image via ‘Tahs Facebook

ESPNscrum.com: The last round before the June International window, Round 16 of Super Rugby gave us upsets galore, some chopping and changing on the competition table with teams out of and back in the race, and has beautifully set up what already looms as a thrilling run into the 2014 Final Series on the resumption in late June.

Here are the talking points from the weekend in the last Super Rugby edition of #Scrum5 for the next few weeks:

  • Has the Sharks loss to the Stormers undone all the good work?
  • Genia, Horwill serve Wallabies reminders;
  • Crusaders effective, if not completely flawless;
  • Familiarity and continuity key for charging Tahs, and
  • Brumbies win sets up Homebush blockbuster.

Plus, Andy Withers and I review the round in the #Scrum5 podcast, which will also take an international focus over the next few weeks…

#Scrum5: Horwill, Reds ‘in mind-blowing, jaw-dropping denial’

The Reds after the loss to the Rebels on Saturday night. So much about their season was summed up by the post-match ranting, none of which addressed the real issues. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Reds after the loss to the Rebels on Saturday night. So much about their season was summed up by the post-match ranting, none of which addressed the real issues. Image: ABC Grandstand

ESPNscrum.com: Super Rugby Round 14 left many of us with an ordinary round of tips, and a busy week for the judiciary members, video analysts, and lawyers. We had foul play, a ten-year drought broken, and controversy in Brisbane. But there was also some pretty decent rugby along the way, giving us yet another weekend from which there are many more than five talking points.

Regardless, here are the talking points from the weekend:

  • The Australian-ish New Zealand derby;
  • Inspired Sharks break Christchurch drought;
  • …but Deysel heads a busy week for the judiciary;
  • Horwill comments reflect the Reds’ season, and
  • Cooper injury the eraser to McKenzie’s selection whiteboard

Plus, Andy Withers and I are also back with the #Scrum5 podcast, reviewing the round: