Highlanders 19 v Crusaders 34
The default position in rugby must be quality technique. To play at a high level for 80 minutes you must demonstrate quality technique in all aspects of the game. Understanding and accepting the reasons why will ensure you are a team that is hard to beat.
The Highlanders started at a fast pace and technique good. 13-0 a fair reflection of the start. However, when your opponents have a similar amount of time in possession, you must transition from attack and retention skills to defensive skills quickly. If you don’t, you will pay the price.
The Crusaders thrive on this challenge and the combination of quality technique and X-factor players makes them almost impossible to beat. Will Jordan may be the player of the tournament in the 2023 World Cup.
Waratahs 16 v Reds 20
After 15 minutes of play the Waratahs had 90% possession, field position and kickable penalties, which they didn’t take. The tackle count was 57-5, the Reds were working hard! BUT they were leading 10-0!! At half-time the score was 10 all. One Waratahs coach said he was happy with the performance!!
Ben Donaldson will not necessarily learn from experience! So, let’s not wait for that to happen! His decision making of when to pass was below standard. Saturate him with decision making situations at training. This is serious!
The Waratahs can’t play this game again, but they will be aware that domination counts for nothing if the score board remains the same. Their mental edge will be sorely tested again next week when they travel to Canberra to play the Brumbies.
Brumbies 42 v Fijian Drua 3
The Brumbies took their game to another level from last week’s late win against the Force. They have great depth of talent in their squad and look to be the best of the Aussie teams. They work hard at all aspects of the game and their driving maul is a potent weapon.
Fiji must improve as a team before they can become the Harlem Globetrotters of rugby. They showed glimpses of what they have to offer but playing, as well as personal discipline let them down. A home game against the Rebels offers some hope next week.
The Brumbies may put an end to the Waratahs season unless the Waratahs can find that killer instinct in their opponents 22, next week in Canberra.
Blues 32 v Hurricanes 36
An unbelievable finish to a high tempo game played off fast ruck speed ball and accurate crisp passing, especially long passes.
Rugby league star Roger Tuivasa- Sheck made his debut at full back for the Blues and started as though he had played the game all his life. His timing, agility, and off-loading skills, of the highest quality.
The Blues played with a hunger and quality that suggested they would win easily. But such is the depth of quality players in New Zealand teams that even when 12 points down with 10 minutes to play, the Hurricanes were always capable of winning. And they did just that! A devastating attack, with Tuivasa -Sheck handed off on the halfway line, finished by Ardea Savea grounding the ball under the posts.
The Kiwi teams in this competition are all capable of beating each other.
Rebels 3 v Force 28
Make no mistake, the Force are a good side. Their line speed is good in attack and defence. Their support lines direct and well-timed. They could have the Wallaby second row pairing in Phillips and Rodda.
The Force coaches deserve credit for producing a well organised team. But oh, how they would like to play the last 1 minute of the previous week’s loss to the Brumbies.
Godwin will always score tries because he runs straight, (parallel to the touch line).
The Rebels have huge problems, not least the basics and raw hunger. Do you really want to win? Their season could be over next week at the hands of the Fijians!!
Coaching thought: “Is instinctive play decision making.”