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…

The talking points: Super Rugby Rd 14

Brumbies scrumhalf Joe Powell (below) was one of 10 uncapped players in Michael Cheika's first Wallabies squad of 2016. But why couldn't the announcement have waited? Image v Wallabies Facebook

Brumbies scrumhalf Joe Powell (below) was one of 10 uncapped players in Michael Cheika’s first Wallabies squad of 2016. But why couldn’t the announcement have waited? Image v Wallabies Facebook

The Roar: It’s the last weekend of Super Rugby for the next month, and thankfully, the competition is going to go into its recess with a bang. By my count, six of the eight games can have some kind of bearing on the race to the playoffs. Here’s the talking points for Round 14:

  • Bolters galore, but not the one everyone expected;
  • Does the Wallabies announcement overshadow some important games?
  • Fantastic Friday: sorry, Boss, I’ve got to finish early. Again…
  • Unpredicta-Bulls
  • #Joubers100

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..