Yes, there were Australian positives from the weekend

Brumbies winger Joe Tomane celebrates his three tries against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday night. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: It’s easy to lay the boot into the Australian teams currently; almost becoming a sport in itself as we are left mesmerised by the exquisite skill of the New Zealand teams and simultaneously bewildered by that of the locals.

But, if you were prepared to look for it, there was actually a fair bit to be happy about from the four Australian sides in action over the weekend. That’s not to say they were all brilliant; far from it. Three of the four teams lost, obviously, and the three losses were all pretty disappointing, on the whole.

The criticism of the Australian teams has been emanating for a few weeks now, and has been hard to ignore. And of course, the more you read it, the more you believe it; the more you believe it, the more you look for it…

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?

Five tricky teasers for Super Rugby Round 6

With Liam Gill practicing his French, and David Pocock preparing to cover new school books, it feels like Michael Hooper (left) and Sean McMahon could be setting up a nice little rivalry for the Wallabies no.7 in 2017..

With Liam Gill practising his French, and David Pocock preparing to cover new school books, it feels like Michael Hooper (left) and Sean McMahon could be setting up a nice little rivalry for the Wallabies no.7 in 2017..

The Roar: Round 6 could be something of a moving week in Super Rugby, with all but one game pitting teams in close table proximity against each other.

The 8th-placed Lions host 7th-placed Crusaders. The Blues in 13th host the 12th-placed Jaguares. The 3rd-placed Brumbies host the competition-leading Chiefs. The two cellar-dwellers meet in Port Elizabeth, and the South African derby pits the 11th-placed Bulls against the Cheetahs in 14th. To finish, the Waratahs in 10th host the Rebels in 9th.

It represents an opportunity for all winners to jump ladder positions, and when viewed like this, it does add some further overall intrigue to the round. So here’s this week’s talking points:

1. Michael Hooper vs Sean McMahon – the start of something?
2. What would constitute a moral victory for the Force in Dunedin?
3. Off-field issues versus a lap of the southern hemisphere?
4. 18th versus 17th a potential match of the round? and..
5. Was there method to the madness of Benn Robinson’s honesty?

Five prickly posturings for #SuperRugby Round 5

Returning Liam Gill can add a presence at the Reds' breakdown that hasn’t been missing, per se, but has certainly been diluted in the opening month of the competition. Image: ABC Grandstand

Returning Liam Gill can add a presence at the Reds’ breakdown that hasn’t been missing, per se, but has certainly been diluted in the opening month of the competition. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: Is Round 5 the point in the first half of the season where teams start making statements of intent?

Teams in the top half of the table can open a gap on those in the bottom half, while those stuck around mid-table can stay in touch with the leaders. No-one can win the comp in Round 5, but another loss in Round 5 might create – or underline existing – doubt about a team’s credentials. The prickly posturings, then:

  1. Can the Brumbies really avoid the whole boardroom circus?
  2. Is this the biggest game ever for the Rebels?
  3. Are the Hurricanes properly back?
  4. Can Liam Gill and James Slipper bring the Reds’ much-needed spark? and..
  5. Is this the weekend for the expansion teams?