Dances with Sunwolves
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.