Toby Robson's Super Rugby 'Team Talk'
Dominion Post rugby writer Toby Robson runs through the good, the bad and the rugby after Round 11 of the Super Rugby competition.
In the news: The playoffs. Anything other than one game at a time has been taboo in the humble Hurricanes camp this season, but first TJ Perenara, then coach Mark Hammett, broke the mould in mentioning the side's playoff ambitions. Take that, rugby cliches!
Physio's table: None.
The good: Taking your opportunity. Perenara could have been forgiven if he'd struggled to assert himself against Piri Weepu, a player who has mentored him and helped him through his career. Instead, the young bull proved nothing will stop him reaching his goals.
The bad: The Hurricanes defence still leaks a little too easily. Yes, the line speed was better. Yes, the counter-attacking trigger is always at the ready. But, no, it is not a good thing to have conceded the most points in the competition.
In the news: Thought to be extinct in some circles, the rare Waldrom bird was spotted in Pukekohe. Thought to be one of only two left in the wild, 10,000 locals were delighted to see the Scott variety running free in its natural environment. Scientists are unsure why the popular creature has become so reclusive this season.
Physio's table: None.
The good: Richard Kahui's efforts at centre. They have probably shortened the odds on his selection on the wing for the All Blacks this year.
The bad: Dave Rennie's mood after the Lions match. And rightly so. The second half was about as messy as rugby gets. It was Chiefs circa 1997 stuff!
In the news: Dan Carter reveals he isn't sure when he'll be able to kick goals again. Hmmmm, says the nation. Who will kick goals for the All Blacks if Dan is at first five-eighth?
Physio's table: Sean Maitland (ankle)
The good: Winning ugly. It sure beats losing pretty. The Crusaders aren't vintage this year, but are firmly in the playoffs and have plenty in the tank. It's called guts and character and it's why they win most of the close ones.
The bad: Not using the white card. Surely Wyatt Crockett, as he says himself, is not a dirty player, could have been shown white not yellow against the Reds for his late tackle?
In the news: The Highlanders can rest easy they are not alone on the injury front. Rugby union takes top spot in the list of the world's most dangerous team sports on www.international-medical-insurance.com ahead of American football, ice hockey, hurling, Gaelic, Aussie rules, kabaddi, lacrosse, water polo, and football. Warriors hooker Nathan Friend is reportedly miffed by the top-10 list.
Physio's table: Doug Tietjens (knee), Elliot Dixon (pectoral), Shaun Treeby (broken cheek bone), all out for the season; Tamati Ellison (leg), Nick Crosswell (knee)
The good: One of rugby's great mullets is back. Southland openside flanker Tim Boys take a bow and a place in the team. And probably a place on the website MulletJunky, which warns users: "This hard-core Mullett page was designed for the above-average mullet enthusiast. This is not intended for people who think mullets are funny in a 'Ha-Ha' way. To a true mullet connoisseur, the mullet is not viewed as just a haircut. It's a phenomenon, a culture, a rare breed that can transform interest and curiosity into obsession.' Teamtalk is not laughing.
The bad: By Teamtalk's count the Highlanders now have eight of their original squad out with season-ending, or close to it, injuries and several more short-term issues. Plus James Haskell is suspended.
In the news: Kim Dotcom has launched a bid to own and coach the Blues next season! Not really, but someone should ask. The Megaupload Blues has a real ring to it.
Physio's table: Rudi Wulf (shoulder), Keven Mealamu (calf)
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The bad: The Blues backs. Pat Lam's copped plenty, but his assistant Bryce Woodward surely has some questions to answer about selections and tactics. Why is Ma'a Nonu still running across field? Why is Hadleigh Parkes at fullback? What is Rene Ranger's best position? (It's wing, by the way.)
Brumbies first five-eighth Christian Lealiifano is out for the season. Not sure what Robbie Deans thinks, but Teamtalk would have had the pivot in a Wallabies jersey this year.
Teamtalk loved Ewen McKenzie's use of sarcasm when asked about the penalty count against the Crusaders: "We give away an average of 10 penalties a game, suddenly it was 18 today and only seven against them. Obviously they were really good and we were really bad." You'd fit in here, Ewen (no sarcasm intended).
Sorry Puma, but the Jacaranda flower is not the same colour as the Bulls' pink jerseys. And, no, it is not OK to subject viewers to these atrocities unless it's for a charity.
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