Behind the Back Foot

Morning all! Another weekend of rugby has gone by, how was it for you? I hope your team went out and did the best that they could. As a coach, that is the best you can achieve. I didn’t get a chance to coach, as the day job and other things stood in my way. Oh, if anyone is looking for a salaried coach, in sunny climes, do let me know, as I’m always open to offers. There, it had to be said, and it’s out in the open.

Anyway, I did watch Ulster on Friday evening, away against Edinburgh. Overall, it was a tense match, played in cold, wet & windy conditions. Neither side really looked like dominating this Pro12 encounter, and the scoreline reflected that, with just 3 points in it. The match was spoilt by a red card given to Ulster for lifting a defender’s legs above the horizontal and not bringing him to ground. The ref gave the card after watching the big screen. Looking at it first hand, the tackle looked dubious. By the letter of the laws, it was red. If only soccer refs had the same conviction in giving game changing cards.

The big question that the game threw up was not the ref’s decision, but the tackle itself. It was at a ruck, the defender took the ball carrier off his feet, in fact his head and neck made fairly healthy contact with the turf. It was all low speed stuff. I have looked and asked the question of Ulster tackling techniques before. Continue reading Behind the Back Foot

Super 15 Rugby Round 2 Team of the Round Form XV – Do You Agree?

Super Rugby Round 2 Player of the Competition was Waratahs back Kurtley Beale according to fantasy rugby website www.testrugby.com .  Beale’s Waratahs dominated the Super 15 Rugby Round 2 Team of the Round Form XV, where he was joined by Michael Hooper, Jacques Potgieter, Bernard Foley and Taqele Naiyaravoro.  Ironically, Israel Folau who is usually one of the best players in www.testrugby.com didn’t score as heavily in the Waratahs benefit match against the Rebels.  The Waratahs were among other top teams from 2014 to impress in Round 2 who were first round casualties.  This means that managers shouldn’t just dump players after one bad performance.  Several managers probably got rid of some of the Waratahs stars after Round 1.  They play a style conducive to high fantasy rugby points.

Scott Barrett from the Crusaders was a surprising bargain in his first Super Rugby start, scoring a try and being very impressive.  Unfortunately for those interested in buying him, wait to see if he gains selection as he has three All Blacks locks in the Crusaders squad in Sam Whitelock, Dominic Bird and Luke Romano to contend with.

There are some other things to be careful of.  Last week Bismarck du Plessis was a late withdrawal and this week several players including James O’Connor and Sonny Bill Williams were late withdrawals.  There isn’t much you can do about this unfortunately.

Malakai Fekitoa again showed his class.  It is a pity he is so much more expensive this season! Continue reading Super 15 Rugby Round 2 Team of the Round Form XV – Do You Agree?

Super 15 Rugby Round 2 Review – 10 Things To Learn

Super 15 Rugby Round 2 2015 was in stark contrast to Round 1 with more predictable results and margins to make things easier for tipsters, but here are ten things we can learn from Super Rugby Round 2;

1)  The bounce back theory saw the Crusaders, Waratahs and Reds bounce back emphatically from their disappointing Round 1 results at the expense of the Highlanders, Rebels and Force.

2)  Despite doing better in tipping in Round 2, many tipsters including Super Rugby Tips found themselves dropping places.  We even got four margin points, but the problem is that the margins were far more predictable for everyone this weekend.  Congratulations to Brit47 for being the only tipster to pick all winners in Round 2 and get the valuable Grand Slam Bonus to move to the top of the Super Rugby Tips conference.

3)  I am going to come out and say it, I think Dan Carter is going to struggle to return to the All Blacks unless there is an injury crisis.  It is hard to go past Aaron Cruden, Colin Slade and Beauden Barrett are hard to go past.  Lima Sopoaga is also close to the action.  Cruden showed his class for the Chiefs and should start for the All Blacks with Barrett and/or Slade set to be on the bench.

4)  What changed between the ITM Cup and Super Rugby for Chris Boyd.  He coached Wellington to a terrible ITM Cup campaign and has become the first to coach the Hurricanes to back to back wins in South Africa for the first time since 2006.  He does have some great players at his disposal, but the Hurricanes have recently been a bit disappointing.  Continue reading Super 15 Rugby Round 2 Review – 10 Things To Learn