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 sh1t.
Crusaders v Hurricanes
All the New Zealand teams were sporting and supporting the Plunket logo on their shirt fronts this week to raise funds for the parenting advice and childhood development charity.
The charity is a good fit for NZ rugby, given how many one-year-olds are crawling around today exactly 21 months since their Rugby World Cup win.
Refs seem to want to consult the TMO after every try these days, same as how umpires like to check for a no-ball after every wicket. I know we want as many right decisions as possible, but it sucks the excitement out of the moment when it’s overdone.
The Whitelock franchise is well known (only three in the Crusaders 22 today), but the Hurricanes brought the sibling rivalry this week with Ben Franks propping up against brother Owen and fullback James Marshall facing brother Tom on the Crusaders right wing.
James, Tom, Ben, Owen (in no particular order)
Keeping it in the family is nothing new in New Zealand. In fact, while there are 130 contracted players across the five franchises, there are only 76 different last names. I’m not going to say the word that starts with ‘i’ and ends with ‘nbred’ but I’m sure going to think it.
Rebels v Highlanders
Australian commentators, love ’em or hate ’em, they come up with some great one-liners. Like, “Ben Smith has had spiders on him tonight, they haven’t wanted to touch him!” Expect Skinstad, Brosnihan and Co to be butchering that one next season.
Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore and Brad Thorn have a combined age of 104. Incidentally, that’s also their combined Grit Score, out of 100.
I tried to find a photo of Brad Thorn bleeding, but it turns out he doesn’t. Ever.
Fans of Quagmire from Family Guy would’ve enjoyed the way the Australian commentators say Bryce Hegarty’s surname: Hegarty-Hegarty, alright…
Commentator one: The Highlanders will have to regroup next year as a number of players are leaving to play in France and Japan. Commentator two: Plus there’s a rumour that Ma’a Nonu might return to the Blues. Commentator three (should’ve said): Every cloud…
Sharks v Kings
Marcell Coetzee looks like the oldest kid from The Middle, and he plays like a can of Coke that’s been dropped after shaking for two minutes.
Warren Brosnihan described a Sharks rolling maul as “a giant Sherman tank”. Fact check:
A rolling maul is probably 12 feet long and moves about a metre a second (3.6km/h), and the Sharks forward pack weighs a combined 895kg.
A Sherman tank is 19 feet long, has a top speed of 48km/h and weighs 30 tons.
So it’s more like a very mini Sherman tank, Broz. A slow, mini, pathetic Sherman tank.
Waylon Murray played his first game for the Kings since 4 May. While it’s a only a rumour that he spent those two months off recording an album in Nashville, it is undisputed that he has the best country and western name in Super Rugby.
Stormers v Bulls
My boycott of Stormers rugby continued, until I heard the result. Luckily I’d recorded the game, just in case, which allowed me to be pleasantly surprised (and fast-forward through most of Skinstad’s insights).
Between them, Etzebeth and Elstadt gain more metres for the Stormers while tackling opponents back than Pierre Spies has made running forward for the Bulls all year.
Bryan Habana is actually a very good player when he cuts out the four or five mistakes per game that we’ve come to expect. He’s off to France now, can we have JJ Engelbrecht back?