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…

The Super Rugby run home: top 8 all but sorted

run homeFollowing on from the Report Card last week on The Roar, it seems as good a time as any to map out the run home for the teams definitely and theoretically still in contention for the Super Rugby playoffs.

The short of it is that I think we’ll see minimal change to the current top eight from here on. By my loose predictions, seven of the current top eight will hold on, and five of those are in the positions I think they’ll finish.

My run home predictions for the current top twelve teams. I'm expecting minimal change from here on..

My run home predictions for the current top twelve teams. I’m expecting minimal change from here on..

Grab the popcorn for the Australian run to the playoffs

The Waratahs looked done for when beaten by the Brumbies in Sydney three weeks ago, but now look the Australian team most likely. Image: ABC Grandstand

In my second column for Cape Town-based rugby site Rugby365, I explain how things suddenly look rather different in the Australian conference…

With ten rounds of the 2016 Super Rugby season done, things have suddenly got a whole lot more interesting in the Australian conference.

I finished off last month’s column saying that anything can and will happen in Super Rugby, and that’s certainly been the case in the within our conference. Form has been fleeting, consistency hasn’t existed unless you include ‘inconsistency’, and where I suggested that the Brumbies probably loomed as the major – and possibly ‘only’ – source of Australian playoff hopes, well, even that claim now looks rather shaky.

Consistency now the biggest issue in Australian conference

The Brumbies had all kind of issues with the Crusaders on Sunday, particularly but not limited to, Nemani Nadolo. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: Nine rounds of the Super Rugby season are done for 2016, meaning that even with the June International window approaching, we’re just over halfway through the competition.

And if there’s one thing that has become clear over this weekend just gone and the last few weeks before that, it’s that it is looking increasingly unlikely that two Australian teams will feature in the expanded eight-team finals series.

One team is assured, obviously, by virtue of the conference system, and right at this point in time, we can be very thankful for it…