Dominion Post rugby writer Toby Robson runs through the Super Rugby competition with one week remaining until the playoffs.
In the news: The urban dictionary defines warm fuzzies as the warm, pleasant sensations one feels in the stomach and heart area when emotionally moved by an act of goodwill or love. Or slightly creepily: Watching children open presents on Christmas morning gives me the warm fuzzies. Teamtalk's definition: The Hurricanes beating the Chiefs to reach the playoffs. Group hug!
Physio's table: Chris Eaton (hamstring), TJ Perenara (broken ankle).
The good: Nine wins and a shot at the playoffs. Whatever happens on Friday night, the Hurricanes' season has been a success. Hands up if you thought they'd finish higher than 10th? Hammett, hand down.
The bad: Winning with a bonus point and still missing the playoffs. It could happen, but it's about as likely as that popular 1980s biscuit, the Choco-ade, making a return ... wait one dang minute!
In the news: Teamtalk can reveal Sushi Boy's "other" handshake deal. He and Khoder Nasser will star in the next season of The Amazing Race. Starting in the Tron, the pair will race other couples from Tokyo to Sydney, and back, with a range of cross-code challenges along the way. Other confirmed pairings include Rosanna Arkle and Jaime Ridge – shown fighting each other during the KFC Godfather of all Fight Nights in Auckland last Thursday – as well as Steve Tew and John O'Neill.
Physio's table: Richard Kahui (shoulder surgery), Ben Afeaki (concussion), Kane Thompson (back).
The good: He leaps small rucks in a single bound. Yep, Tawera Kerr-Barlow was like a super hero against the Crusaders. Imagine how he'd have gone with a solid set piece.
The bad: The Chiefs and Hurricanes have agreed that if the ball goes out on Friday night, lineouts will be replaced by a ballot system. It seems fairer than the previous lottery format trialled by both sides in recent weeks.
In the news: Ribs. Not Kansas City, BBQ beef, Memphis style, spare, or baby back, but Kieran Read's. The No8 is in doubt for the playoffs and that's not good for the Crusaders. Read's influence is immense and his absence would be a significant blow.
Physio's table: Read (thoracic cage).
The good: The set piece. Two weeks, two victims. It might not be as key as it once was at Super Rugby level, but it sure helps. Whatever the case, the Crusaders pack are the best in the business when it comes to lineouts and scrums.
The bad: Todd Blackadder is still fuming about the Hurricanes' unjust tries in Christchurch.
In the news: Jamie Joseph will warm his coaching mittens at Forsyth Barr for two more years. Good job too for a bloke who has helped revive rugby in the region.
Physio's table: No longer relevant.
The good: Won seven, lost two. Unfortunately, that's the first nine games. After that, it was won two, lost five. Joseph's on the right track though and with fewer injuries, this squad should get better next season.
The bad: The effect of not having a first choice specialist openside this season after losing John Hardie early in the year. James Haskell has been decent, Tim Boys adequate (haircut excluded) and late callup Scott Fuglistaller underused.
In the news: Rudi Wulf wants to leave New Zealand again? Didn't he just arrive? Or was that Orene Ai'i? And was Brad Mika in the Blues this season? What year is it again?
Physio's table: Jerome Kaino, Isaia Toeava, Anthony Boric, George Moala, Gareth Anscombe, Rudi Wulf, David Raikuna, Ali Williams, Charlie Faumuina, Benson Stanley. Wow!
The good: Charles Piutau. Energy, skill and polish. Throw in Frances Saili and Steve Luatua and there just might be a silver lining to this year.
The bad: Round 19 is not a good time to be showing signs of life.
Perth is famous for producing Heath Ledger, Rolf Harris, Rove McManus and actor Sam Worthington, while Porirua is known for nurturing quality loose forwards. Put them together and you have former Northern United and Wellington Lions No8 Anare Koliavu making his Super Rugby debut for the Force against the Blues at Eden Park three years after heading across the Tasman.
Frans Steyn is allowed to return for the Sharks to help them get into the playoffs, but can't play in the playoffs because he wasn't registered in February. What? So, teams can bring in whoever they like for the final fortnight if their playoff hopes are in the balance? Questionable.
Follow Hurricanes news on Twitter @dp_hurricanes
- © Fairfax NZ News
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