Crusaders, Leinster, Waratahs, Cardiff, Stormers. Could the Celts be in Super Rugby’s future?
The Roar: This shapes as a really interesting weekend of rugby. I reckon Round 11 has a bit of a ‘moving weekend’ feel about it.
There are two groups of teams that this applies to: the Crusaders we already know are going to be there or thereabouts, but the three teams immediately behind them on the table – the Hurricanes, Bulls and Highlanders – have a really good chance to put one over teams in and on the fringe of the top eight.
Below them, the Sharks, Brumbies, Waratahs, and the Blues all have a chance to remind the top eight teams the they need to keep an eye over their shoulder. So here’s some Round 11 talking points:
- Is Super Rugby’s future Celtic?
- Rise of the third bananas?
- Make or break week for the Blues;
- Will Steven Bradbury top the Australian conference? And..
- Neutral referees: I reckon it’s happening.
“Even though Peyper tried to tangle us up about control, there’s no way Stormers winger Dillyn Leyds grounded that ball, because there’s no way he was holding it in the first place. And if he lost possession, it had to be a knock-on.”
The Roar: Anyone that’s read my stuff for long enough will know that I’m loath to criticise referees. I simply don’t let them impact the way I watch games, nor do I let them affect my enjoyment or otherwise. I feel the same way about commentators, for what it’s worth. Essentially, my focus is on the players and the rugby they play.
But all this is not to say that refs are immune to criticism. When they get something so clearly wrong, they should be (and are, I would like to hope) held to account.
So when Jaco Peyper told Brumbies winger Joe Tomane, while waiting for TMO Marius Jonker’s recommendation around a try being scored by Stormers winger Dillyn Leyds, that “he doesn’t have to have control,” you naturally go into a state of ‘did I just hear what I think I heard?’
New NRC Referee Nic Berry in his playing days: “I don’t really have a leg to stand on when I get a chirpy no.9 at the moment,” he told me. Image via @BuildcorpNRC on Twitter
rugby.com.au: The latest in my series of competition profiles for the Buildcorp NRC website features former Queensland Reds scrumhalf, Nic Berry, fast-tracking his way through the refereeing ranks.
Of all the potential candidates you might think of to develop a new referee, a yappy scrumhalf probably wouldn’t feature to high on your list. But Berry is indeed making that very transition, making his NRC debut on Sunday on the Gold Coast..
And they decreed, “Thou shalt not attack the head and neck.”
And they were ignored. And the game continued. And the game was good…
The Roar: We all suspected it might be the case, but the World Rugby refereeing ‘clarifications’ announced last week, which I outlined on Thursday, are evidently going to take some time to take proper effect – if indeed there is any real effect to take.
I was certainly watching closely to see if the areas of re-focus were suddenly refereed completely differently in the Super Rugby qualifying finals.
In reality, it was the same as ever.