Five dribbly drop kicks for Super Rugby Round 8

Whoever of jack Debreczini (left) and Beauden Barrett has the best night off the kicking tee will go a long way to deciding the Rebels-Hurricanes game tonight.

Whoever of jack Debreczini (left) and Beauden Barrett has the best night off the kicking tee will go a long way to deciding the Rebels-Hurricanes game tonight.

The Roar: It’s another really interesting round of Super Rugby ahead of us this weekend, with a number of games of vital importance for both teams in the contest. The Chiefs will remain on top of the table despite having the bye, which is certainly a fair reflection of their scintillating form over the first couple of months.

But below them, a number of key contenders go head to head, which is sure to deliver us a weekend of intriguing rugby. Here’s the talking points for Round 8:

  1. The next real test for the Rebels?
  2. ‘Canes season on the line?
  3. The Beale/Folau show is on;
  4. Brumbies’ test of depth, and
  5. Could a Lions win seal Africa 2?

ABC Grandstand: Wallabies flattered by tight loss in Paris

New French wunderkind Teddy Tomas bursts away from the Australian defence in Paris on Saturday. Image: ABC Grandstand

ABC Grandstand Digital: Dan Lonergan and I this morning on Grandstand Breakfast reviewed the Wallabies’ 29-26 loss to France in Paris yesterday morning our time, and tried to contemplate where Michael Cheika and the team might go from here.

Though the scoreboard indicates a tight affair, it really didn’t feel like that, and if anything, flatters the Wallabies. The French defensive and breakdown pressure won this game for Les Bleus, and won it pretty comprehensively, in all reality. Though they hit back to bring the margin back to 3 points, the Wallabies were never really a chance of winning this match. And so on they go to Dublin.

Also, we address the Kurtley Beale-shaped elephant in the room, with the midfielder recalled to the Wallabies squad over the weekend. Fair to say it’s not gone down well in all quarters…

 

ABC Grandstand: Cheika lays out the cards

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has made just the one change for France. Image: ABC Grandstand

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has made just the one change for France. Image: ABC Grandstand

ABC Grandstand Digital: On Grandstand Breakfast this morning, Joe Sullivan and I preview the France-Australia Test, kicking off in Paris at 7am tomorrow morning AEDT.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has made minimal changes from the side which accounted for Wales last weekend, while French mentor Phillipe Saint-Andre has also kept the faith in his side, which beat Fiji 40-15 in the first of their three November tests last weekend as well. Curiously though, Saint-Andre named a 12-man bench, which I’m yet to see has been trimmed down.

Kurtley Beale is backBut the big talking point is the overnight news that Kurtley Beale, along with Queensland backrower Jake Schatz, will be joining the Wallabies squad. Beale is not replacing anyone due to injury, and has been added to the squad a fortnight after very nearly having his contract torn up. He was fined almost fifty grand for his sins in the whole Di Patston episode, but was not suspended.

And aren’t the conspiracy theorists having a field day this morning…

 

ABC Grandstand: Beale not joining the Wallabies in Europe

Kurtley Beale and skipper Michael Hooper: their reunion will have to wait for the moment. Image: ABC Grandstand

ABC Grandstand Digital: Another rugby round-table discussion on Grandstand Breakfast this morning, where Francis Leach, Tim Gavel and myself tried to work out if we’re any closer to the truth in this whole ugly Kurtley Beale situation.

The truth is becoming harder and harder to recognise, as the misinformation campaigns continue, but there has at least been some sanity, with the news Beale will not join the Wallabies squad on the Spring Tour, as was widely expected when his re-eligibility was confirmed after his hearing on Friday.