This is not the place to find who won, who scored, or who played well. This is what I thought of what I saw, mostly useless information, and why the refs and commentators were shit.
Hurricanes v Crusaders
Pray you never see Julian Savea drop his shoulder in your direction. Because if you do, you’re going to wake up a few weeks later with a headache and memory loss.
Dagg did his best Catt impression. Julian Savea wasn’t yet five years old when Jonah Lomu flattened Mike Catt at the 1995 World Cup. I bet even then he would’ve been hard to stop.
In popular culture terms, they’re a bit behind in NZ. After a try was scored, the stadium air filled with Pour Some Sugar On Me, by Def Leppard. Down in Wellington they think U2 are “a band to watch for the future” and Justin Bieber is still only 11 years old.
Franks plus beard > Franks minus beard. The brothers were up against each other here, and the one with the hairy face came out on top. Don’t ask me which is which.
Crotty sounds like a pair of dirty underpants. There are some funny names in Super Rugby, but none sound more like soiled briefs than the Crusaders midfielder.
Leiua is spelled L-E-I-U-A. I can spell it, but I wouldn’t bet a pumpkin on the best way to say it. What I do know, however, is that there are only four vowels there, so why are the commentators pronouncing it like there are 17?
It’s all in the family in New Zealand rugby. There were four Whitelock brothers in the Crusaders side this weekend, and they were joined by their cousin Ben Funnell in the pack. There were also two Franks brothers on the park. In fact, a little research has revealed that all professional rugby players in New Zealand have a common ancestor just three generations back, and everybody is Sonny Bill Williams’ cousin.
Continue reading for Rebels v Reds, Stormers v Chiefs, Kings v Sharks, Highlanders v Cheetahs, and Brumbies v Waratahs.
Rebels v Reds
Justin Bieber played pretty well. Especially considering he fainted on stage in London last week. It’s true, nobody has ever seen James O’Connor and J-Bieb in the same room together. Honestly.
Normally, the Australian commentators are just about bearable. However, let’s all learn a lesson from giving Kurtley Beale the microphone last week. Never again, please, never again.
Si, si, play on, si. The Argentinian referee had a decent game, but he looked more interested in the rugby than the rules. After the game he told a reporter, “The people, they wanna to see the good rugby, it’s a my job to make a the sure that the rules, they don’t a get in a the way.”
Funny Australian names. It’s hard to take an Australian rugby team seriously anyway, but when the players are called Quirk, Slipper, Schatz and Frisby it’s just impossible.
Stormers v Chiefs
OK, I admit it’ not my best look-alike spot. But every time they show Stormers reserve Nizaam Carr I wonder what the hell Ashwell Prince is doing on the bench.
Bob Skinstad needs to get his lady parts tested. Siya Kolisi tackled Liam Messam. Then he gave his opponent a helping hand up off the ground. Then commentator Bob Skinstad went into full sentimentalgasm over the “fantastic sporting gesture” that he had just witnessed. Keep it together, Bob.
Steven Kitshoff’s hair, in high definition, is a health hazard. Three times during the game I actually thought my TV was on fire. The freckles don’t help.
Bryan Habana and decisions are not a happy couple. Bryan Habana is a potent weapon, and one that the Stormers have not properly employed over the years. But for the love of rugby, the man should not be let anywhere near a decision-making situation. Give him the ball, and give him some space, but don’t let him think. (Because he’s bad at it.)
Coaching the Stormers is hungry work. Looking at Matt Proudfoot, Allister Coetzee and Robbie Fleck in the coaches booth, it’s not immediately obvious which one was the Springbok outside centre only 11 years ago.
Kings v Sharks
Derbies may be good for ticket sales, but they’re bad for rugby. I’ve seen better Reds v Waratahs games than this slug-fest.
The Hugh Bladen guide to rugby commentary, on sale now. Blades says: “Just say names, and occasionally schools, it doesn’t really matter if they’re relevant or not.”
Lopez and Lego. Jacques Botes is back from playing with Jennifer Lopez in Parker, while Patrick Lambie has admitted that he likes to wind down after a big game by playing with his Lego.
Anton Bresler missed the haircut memo. I complimented the Sharks last week on their sensible hairdressing, but Bresler continues to look just like an idiot and not like a rugby player with that greasy mullet. Shave it, shave it, shave it!
The announcer at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium needs a 27-year jail sentence. Exhibit A: Leading the unwilling and unwitting crowd in a chorus of “Defence! Defence! Defence!” This isn’t the NBA, stop it. Exhibit B: Playing that pre-recorded French horn. Exhibit C: Encouraging the crowd to start and maintain a Mexican wave. It’s all just so tacky, it makes me want to hurl (Luke Watson reference, you like that?)
Daniel Adongo must be a shit rugby player. Because the Kenyan flanker is monstrous, and looks athletic to boot. You know how in the old days tribes would settle disputes by sending their most fearsome warrior, their champion, to battle the other tribe’s champion? This guy would be that guy.*
*I’m not sure sure this happened in actual African history, but it definitely happened in the movie Troy.
Highlanders v Cheetahs
Sarel Pretorious: can run, can’t pass. Suddenly people are talking about Super Sarel again. People like Werner Swanepoel. Running might be Pretorious’ super power, but passing is his Kryptonite.
He’s not the exception, he’s the Rhule. Cheetahs wing Raymond Rhule hasn’t set Super Rugby alight just yet, but I’ve got my headline ready for when he does.
Brumbies v Waratahs
The Aussies love selling and buying sporting memorabilia. Channel 9 has been peddling old bats and sweaty jock straps for years, but now the rugby guys are on it with those Centenary jerseys. How very lame.
It’s like George Smith never left. He’s played 122 times for the Brumbies and 110 times for the Wallabies, and he’s still just 27 years old.
Clyde Rathbone shouldn’t be trying the Quade Cooper jumping sidestep. Not with his knees. Just put your head down and run into the first person you see like a good South African.
Somebody please send Jake White’s phone number to Mickey Arthur. Jake White’s school teacher approach is clearly working at the Brumbies. Mickey Arthur should give him a call and find out how to turn Australian sportsmen into obedient children.