Dances with Sun­wolves

The Press - - Sport - Richard Knowler richard.knowler@stuff.co.nz WEEK OFF: Rebels

1. It’s time to chuck the Sun­wolves a meaty bone to chew on, isn’t it?

This refers to the Sun­wolves’ 63-28 mas­sacre of the Reds in Tokyo last week­end. We sin­cerely hope any­one bold enough to pre­dict such a lop­sided re­sult had the courage to do some com­mer­cial trade with their lo­cal bookie. Get in there!

So big ups to former High­landers coaches Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown. This is what Su­per Rugby needs – a min­now with the po­ten­tial to cre­ate upsets. There could be worse things to do than tune into the Sun­wolves-Storm­ers stoush in Hong Kong to­mor­row af­ter­noon. As for the Reds? The Hur­ri­canes are wait­ing to serve up some­thing spe­cial in Welling­ton. It could be messy.

2. Could the High­landers pick a worse time to en­counter the Waratahs?

Just re­flect­ing on their re­cent 31-29 loss to the Cru­saders could be enough to make the Waratahs scram­ble for the sick bucket. But us­ing the Joe Moody con­tro­versy as an ex­cuse for the de­feat just won’t do; be­cause the New South Welsh­men re­ally need to ask how they could blow a 29-0 lead. None of this could bode well for the High­landers.

The up­com­ing match in Syd­ney could be tricky for the South Is­lan­ders, who will clearly be do­ing all they can to avoid kick­ing the ball down the throat of Waratahs full­back Is­rael Fo­lau. He might have some kooky views about the Rain­bow bri­gade, but what an ath­lete in the air.

3. Does war­bling about the ref­er­ees make any dif­fer­ence?

It doesn’t seem to. If Kiwi ref Ben O’Ke­effe had leapfrogged through cen­tral Syd­ney after the Cru­saders-Waratahs game last week, he would have been show­ered with rot­ten veg­gies and vile po­tions.

The Aussies weren’t happy O’Ke­effe missed the mo­ment when Joe Moody in­tro­duced Kurt­ley Beale to his fore­arm. Cue out­rage.

Well, how about this as some­thing to fuel the Ock­ers’ out­rage? O’Ke­effe will con­trol the Hur­ri­canes-Reds match.

4. Re­mem­ber the ‘good old days’?

It has been a strange week. In ad­di­tion to con­firm­ing coach Tana Umaga has been granted a one-year con­tract ex­ten­sion, the sickly Blues spring a sur­prise by anoint­ing former Cru­saders full­back Leon Mac­Don­ald as his as­sis­tant – on a three-year deal.

Does this mean Mac­Don­ald is be­ing groomed to take over as head coach? Who knows. But we do know that in the past, these Blues-Cru­saders games were appointment viewing.

Nowa­days, not quite so much. The Cru­saders have won their last six games against the old foe.

5. Can any­one use this round to force their way into the All Blacks’ squad to be named Sun­day?

Bar­ring in­juries, it doesn’t seem likely.

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