Is it really only the second week of Super Rugby?? Wow, how amazing is this year going to be for rugby if things continue in this manner??
This weekend has been yet another great round of rugby with huge upsets, near misses and potential World Cup ruining injuries.
The Sharks tamed the Blues, the Lions and the Cheetahs came close to snatching victory from the Stormers and Bulls respectively, while the Reds were taught a lesson in rugby by a slick looking Waratahs.
South Africa also received a blow with flanker Juan Smith now ruled out for the entire Super Rugby season and may miss the World Cup after tearing his Achilles tendon.
So without further delay, here are my views on round 2.
WOW!! What a difference a week makes. After their woeful performance last week, most commentators had written them off and doubted they could even win a game. Time to eat your own words Phil Kearns, because they proved you wrong on Friday night!! Their defence was AMAZING and it looked like a completely different team was on the field. Cipriani directed the team beautifully and was on point with his kicking game (despite acting like a soccer player when given a hard knock). Julian Huxley and Mark Gerrard both displayed great form. But the most memorable moment of the game came from their fearless captain, Stirling Mortlock. I must admit, I got a tad bit emotional when he leapt over the line to score the Rebels first ever try in Super Rugby. It was like a fairytale come true, only a week later than expected. Of course in saying all of this, there are still improvements to be made, but their future looks a lot brighter. Lesson learned, don’t ever write off a team that Rod Macqueen coaches.
Best in Class (Team)
The Waratahs get my vote for ‘Best in Class’ again this round. Once again, they played fluid free flowing rugby that was all class. The Tahs were amazing in defence and stopped the Reds dead in their tracks. Quite simply they were brilliant!!
Worst in Class (Team)
This really hurts me to write, but I well I must be very blunt. The Reds were very disappointing this week and need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new strategy. They only squeaked past the Force by one point last week and this week the Tahs taught them a lesson in rugby, Super style. They were totally outclassed at the breakdown, their attack was flat and their defence was lacking the brutality and intensity this match required. They made silly mistakes and were rightly spanked! Hopefully McKenzie can turn this around.
Best in Class (Player)
Tatafu Polota Nau
What a bone crunching legend!! His display against the Reds was outstanding. He looked powerful and completely smashed them in his defence. All I can say is WOW!!
Worst in Class (Player Ref)
I’m changing this category for this week since I couldn’t find a player whose performance was as woeful as South African referee Jonathan Kaplan. There has been a lot of debate on his performance during the Rebs v Brumbies game on Friday night and as a neutral commentator for that game, I found his decisions and performance quite simply put, very poor. He was slow at calling scrums, missed an obvious forward pass that led to a try and awarded a penalty at the end which was dubious to say the least. Time to pull your socks up Kaplan.
It’s still too early in the season to start making predictions, but if the Tahs continue with their current form, they are looking like the ones to beat. I will be interested to see whether they can maintain these results against the South African and Kiwi teams. I also hope that the Lions can get a win soon!