Our forwards were absolute meh for most of that match. TBH I thought we would lose by more when I saw the starting side.
But we really need to learn how to defend at close quarters I lost count how many attacks came from straighttheough the middle of the ruck. Where were our guard dogs FFS?
The clan are getting away with forward passes all over the show .... then that lineout wasn't straight ....
Yep, although, you could possibly give the TMO a pass for that not stepping on the line that Sumo keeps going on about - he was obscured by Sopoaga a bit and probably looked like a foot would have to be out from that.
I thought the right foot was grounded over the touchline. Looked like the right call to me.
Didn't look like it on any of the 3 or 4 replays to me (or Sumo).
Willie Lose thought he was in touch (which makes me think I'm probably wrong).
Wasn't Lose talking about a different scenario there? That was the one where the 'Landers took the quick throw and Thompson screwed up in midfield passing to Sopoaga?
@pukunui Mataele's been impressive this year. He's not the finished article, but once a few more rough edges are knocked off he's going to be very handy.
I think Razor is pretty keen on the "two fullbacks and a power winger" configuration, so I think Mataele will have to bide his time and take his Uncle Seta's wing next year. Dagg will come back shortly and probably take over from Bridge - but, George has been going pretty well this year and his speed has been very useful.
Also, while I think of it - a shout out to Michael Alaalatoa. He's been playing big minutes at tighthead in pretty much every game - at least 70 at the weekend at altitude. Vital really, because we don't have a credible alternative. You hold your breath with some of his tackling, but he's been a big cog in the wheel while Franks has been away and it's going to be bloody handy to have him and (a well rested) Owen paired for the second half of the season.
Full credit to the Blues. They made 938m against 547 for the Lions. The Lions had to make 177 tackles and 86 for the Blues. The Lions missed 32 tackles against 12 for the Blues. The Blues made 208 passes to 110 for the Lions, so nearly twice as many, and they enjoyed 63% territory as opposed to 37%. Those are really dominant statistics in terms of metres made, forcing the opposition to tackle more and, in the end, it was the better team that won.
We were meant to end this game with no legs, but it was the Lions who ended up gassing because of how many tackles they had to make.
Although our bench did well, I'm wary of expecting them to repeat that feat, as they were given a pretty favourable situation to come into.
It is bizarre how there is basically no complaint from SA supporters about the card and that all the debate I have seen has come from other supporters which question the rules in this instance.
My opinion, the red card sucked, but it was the correct call and the rule is pretty much correct.
The only change I would make is to remove the reference to how the player falls and rather focus on the potential injury. I think this case actually shows that up pretty well; this is a clear red in my opinion, but (putting on my lawyery hat) I don't think you can say definitively that Smith's action caused Havilli to fall on his shouler/upper back. Looking at the video it is impossible to tell whether Havilli would have fallen the way he did if it wasn't for the second contact with Taufua.
I would rather that the red card be determined by the potential harm to the jumper (as caused by the challenge) rather than the result. Not sure how that would be worded, and I am comfortable that this instance should have been a red, just not comfortable that the rule as it is written is 100% right.
Agree. Outcome based sanctions are taking the easy (yet inaccurate) route for WR.
<blockquote class="ipsBlockquote" data-author="gt12" data-cid="603950" data-time="1470613550">
<p>I'm really looking forward to the 4N. Barrett looks, to me, like he's done enough to get the 10 jumper. However, with SBW back, it'll be interesting to see if he can use the tools in the back line as well as Cruden.<br><br>
One really interesting part will be how this affects McKenzie. If Barrett gets the start, McKenzie's chances rise also - but at whose cost?</p>
<p>Did you just call SBW a tool?</p>
<blockquote class="ipsBlockquote" data-author="Don Frye" data-cid="602585" data-time="1470158058">
<p>Bok backline could be more than handy.</p>
<p>9 De Klerk</p>
<p>12 Van Rensburg</p>
<p>De Allende looks out of form so a call up for Van Rensburg looks inevitable.</p>
<p>Although that backline only has three quota players....</p>
<p>Though other Habana that backline has something like 20 caps between them :think: .</p>
<p>An exciting option from next year might be to play Pollard at 12 outside Jantjes and rotating Van Rensburg and Mapoe at 13. Also can't see De Allende's poor form continuing forever.</p>
<p>Wing remains a concern, but I hope they look at Senatla (sheer speed) and Trevor Ismail (some size) going forward.</p>
<p>I like the idea of Kriel at fullback, but he is still prone to making bad mistakes, Lambie might be useful as a send play-maker at this stage.</p>
<p>Anyone who says the Crusaders weren't rebuilding this year is fucking kidding themselves IMO. Maybe Mccaw and Carter weren't at their best for them for a while now but they would add a huge amount off the field with their experience and leadership.</p>
<p>To remove that and the next level (of 1st fives particularly) in Slade, Taylor, Laulala and Bird leaves a massive hole. They had to fill that hole with Mounga, Volavola, Mckenzie and Alaalatoa FFS.</p>
<p>Todd Blackadder staying this year has definitely slowed/delayed any building for the future IMO. I couldn't identify any new game plan and he didn't bring in any decent talent to address their weaknesses. The only positive from their backline that has provided variation from "give it to Nadolo" has been Dagg returning to form.</p>
<p>The Blues have definitely come along further from where they started the year despite having less talent in the forwards and the Canes despite a few speed bumps along the way have hardly looked like they have missed Nonu, Smith, Thrush, Franks, NMS, Motu'u or Broadhurst, who arguably left a bigger hole than the Crusaders had to fill. </p>
<p>Next year won't be much easier and Robertson will need to come up with something good to make use of that forward pack. I hope he can make a difference, the Crusaders used to be one of my favourite teams but they are just bloody frustrating to watch now.</p>
<p>So in summary the Crusaders did pretty well to make the playoffs after losing the guys they did and having a rubbish coach.</p>
<p>Probably benefitted from the Waratahs sucking arse this year. </p>
<p>But should have done better with the forward pack they have.</p>
<blockquote class="ipsBlockquote" data-author="Canes4life" data-cid="596258" data-time="1468387970"><p>Why would you risk losing top spot and instead of playing the Sharks who they smashed earlier this season, they risk playing a kiwi team like the Hurricanes/Crusaders who bet them comfortably during the regular season.<br><br>
I hope they get smashed in Argentina for being too cocky at this stage of the season.</p></blockquote>
I do think it's got anything to do with being "cocky". <br><br>
Managing player welfare is extremely important and it would be hubris to not take these precautions when it's available to them. <br><br>
I very much doubt that the Lions are looking beyond week one of the finals and doing their best to prepare for that game. This is a franchise that hasn't played finals since the Laurie Mains days....
<blockquote class="ipsBlockquote" data-author="Dice" data-cid="580411" data-time="1463473296">
<p><strong>We're not so assured at 10 like we were at backrow when we told Meafua to move on, so I hope we don't let him go so fast.</strong></p>
<p>Completely agreed. Blues and their ITM Cup teams and their struggles at 10 - if he's talented I'd hope he is considered - not exactly in a position to be picky!</p>
<p>Hopefully at the very least Hickey isn't selected as captain of Auckland ITM Cup - which then opens up to the possibility of him being dropped on form, which should have happened last season.</p>
<p>Just watched this as well, great performance, however I was hoping that the kicking stats had shown Barrett had shaken his yips but all the kicks he got were pretty easy shots. Hopefully it will at least give him some confidence. Fatialofa has been looking awesome, massive lug of a bloke, never really heard of him before the last couple of weeks. </p>
<blockquote class="ipsBlockquote" data-author="Cantab79" data-cid="569535" data-time="1459642940"><p>
Very happy to take two wins from the SA road trip, especially given the supposed quality of the two teams. I hope we don't stumble against the Force in Perth now, who have been somewhat of a bogey team for the Crusaders over the years and who played well for 60 minutes against the Highlanders in Dunedin.<br><br>
I hate people who harp on about the referee after a game, but I found Stuart Berry's officiating at scrum time extremely frustrating to watch.</p></blockquote>
Got to agree. Appeared to be some feedback that he was pretty much blatently biased. So I was deliberately looking for it in his decisions.<br><br>
Frankly i think it was more he was out of his depth. <br><br>
The only call I think was super glaringly wrong was the tip tackle on Romano (?). Had to be a penalty if not a yc. Went with the scrum ... ???<br><br>
Oh. And when he penalised the Saders for the Ellis Park grass being shit. That was poor.
<blockquote class="ipsBlockquote" data-author="Crucial" data-cid="565074" data-time="1458163748">
<p>I still maintain that Fekitoa's rush out of the line is part of the Landers defensive plan at times. The players around him seem to totally expect it and position themselves in case he doesn't slow down or stop the attack.</p>
<p>It looks like some clever thinking on turning a potential weakness into a strength. Using his speed off the mark to best effect.</p>
<p>He just needs to make sure that if he is playing in a different defensive system he doesn't do this by habit.</p>
<p>Even though the bloody Landers beat my Canes in the final last year relegating us to permanent brides maids, they are my favourite team to watch. Always have a clear game plan that everyone is on board with. They are the smartest Super team by some stretch at the moment. Chiefs, Blues, Saders and Canes always attract "WTF are they doing?" type comments.</p>
<blockquote class="ipsBlockquote" data-author="taniwharugby" data-cid="562889" data-time="1457251206"><p>I seem to recall Breyton Paulse doing some impressive post try celebrations, but I've never thought he came across as arrogant because of them.<br><br>
Each to thier own.</p></blockquote>
But hey Habana was ever the stern, humble player on the field, same with Matfield and especially Botha. Not some of the most arrogant fellas around at all, they would've been shit otherwise. I mean, who was that git who raced a cheetah? Never heard from him again.