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Five things we learnt

Date

Paul Cully

Aaron Cruden of the Chiefs leads a team haka to celebrate winning the Super Rugby title on Saturday.

Aaron Cruden of the Chiefs leads a team haka to celebrate winning the Super Rugby title on Saturday. Photo: Getty Images

The talking points from Super Rugby.

1. The player of the tournament was Aaron Cruden. The Chiefs' five-eighth finished as the competition's top points-scorer and expertly directed his side around all season. The strength of the Chiefs' coaching panel has been frequently remarked upon, but it doesn't mean a thing unless you have a navigator such as Cruden who can implement the game plans. Against the Sharks on Saturday night, he repeatedly found space with his clever short kicking game and gives the impression he always has options and time when he carries the ball to the line in both hands. Dan Carter has a challenger for his All Blacks jersey.

2. The burning issue was the Australian conference. There isn't enough talent for five healthy Australian teams at the present. That argument is best articulated by the actions of the players themselves, who are migrating away from the teams that give them little chance of winning a title or participating in a finals series. Opening the door for more foreign players has been proposed as one solution, but the quality of the imports has been an issue from day one – some have prospered, while others have added little. There will be a great deal of scrutiny on what Michael Foley can produce at the Force in the next three years. The arguments goes that a fifth team is for the national good but not one single player who will play in Perth next year has made the Wallabies squad.

3. The Australian player of the year was Will Genia. It is a measure of Genia's class that when he is not regularly putting in game-winning performances people start to quibble about his form. He carried a heavy load at the Reds this year, especially in the first part of the season when his five-eighth partners were changing every week, but he was wonderful in the later stages. The Reds will be back in 2013 – and years after that – because this little fellow is around. One of the few players New Zealanders really fear, the Wallabies' chances in the Rugby Championship will mirror Genia's form.

4. The rookie of the year was Eben Etzebeth. Even more difficult to choose than the player of the year, given the incredible range of talent across all conferences. But in ratings of difficulty, the feat achieved by Etzebeth – emerging as an enforcer at the tender age of 20 against packs laden with Springboks and All Blacks – really stood out. A long and successful Test career is ahead if the injury Gods are kind. Already, they have him in doubt for the Rugby Championship.

5. The disappointment of the year was shared between the Waratahs and the Blues. Perhaps disappointment is an inappropriate choice of word, as both have become accustomed to underachievement. Yet there was something in the scale of their respective failures that caught the eye. The Waratahs looked off the pace from the early rounds, when it became clear that had an inability or unwillingness to chance their arm in attack, especially from turnover ball. The Blues were quite simply, at times, as bad as any Super Rugby side to come out of New Zealand. Injuries played a role in both sides' campaigns, but it didn't tell the full story.

55 comments so far

  • Can't argue with any of those comments. The Tah's need someone like Grizz Wylie to give them all a good kick up the behind. Bunch of prima donna's who actually believe the pap written about them. Put yourself up to play in a Kiwi or SA team. Be like the "last-picked" kid in the schoolyard.

    Commenter
    kdog
    Location
    Bris
    Date and time
    August 07, 2012, 12:15PM
    • Blues on the other hand need, a first five, a number eight, a lineout that works as well as a pull through with a christmas tree of the off field old boys club they call their administration.

      Commenter
      stojo01
      Location
      Zeadney
      Date and time
      August 07, 2012, 1:55PM
  • Etzebeth would ave been my pick for top rookie too but Kitshoff and Tameifuna deserve honourable mention

    Commenter
    stojo01
    Location
    Zeadney
    Date and time
    August 07, 2012, 1:11PM
    • I would pick Tameifuna as the rookie - he grew as a dominant and dominating presence in the finals despite rolling around on the ground on the sideline on Saturday with a carved wooden Maori war weapon after being subbed like the 20 year old kid that he is ...

      Commenter
      chracol
      Date and time
      August 07, 2012, 4:34PM
  • All good points, a part from number two.

    Adding a fifth francise was always going to thin the talent pool. The gains though are more players are being exposed to super 15 level rugby. More players are getting starting opportunites, which adds to the depth of the australian talent pool.

    As for the Force and wallabies caps, all I am aware of is that Pocock is leaving, and Sharpe is 95% sure to retire. Can you please advise us where Richard Brown, Ben McCalman, Matt Hodgson, Pek Cowan and Salesi Ma'afu are headed as I am am obviously out of the loop....

    Commenter
    The TMF
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    August 07, 2012, 2:55PM
    • not picked this year, no room once all the Tahs had their spots sorted

      Commenter
      piru
      Location
      Perth via Rakaia
      Date and time
      August 07, 2012, 6:01PM
  • Surely a great opportunity to entice Argentinian players out of France and into our conference and further strengthen the 4 nations?

    Commenter
    Red Heavy
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    August 07, 2012, 3:11PM
    • The only reason why an Argie would play here is if the money is better. Given the pay here is modest compared to France why would anyone bother. Having said that a couple of Argie Props would do wonders here at provincial level, it may even help our props get better, God Forbid. Interestingly the test series should be good as it will give our boys lots of extra scrummaging practice against high quality opposition.

      Commenter
      Lindsay
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 07, 2012, 3:58PM
    • Spot on. I've been baffled at some of the "marquee" signings from some of the Oz teams. Would be great to see another avenue for Argies to play professionally (they still can't here) apart from Europe.

      Commenter
      Shop
      Location
      Argentina
      Date and time
      August 08, 2012, 12:15AM
    • Can't imagine many international players being eager to come down here and be stuck on the bench the way Pretorius was.

      Commenter
      piru
      Location
      Perth via Rakaia
      Date and time
      August 08, 2012, 5:08PM

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Super Rugby 2015

Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8vs HUR 22 Report Stats
BLU 18vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29vs CHT 35 Report Stats
BUL 17vs STO 29 Report Stats
WAR 13vs FOR 25 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19vs BRU 17 Report Stats
REB 28vs WAR 38 Report Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13vs HUR 17 Report Stats
HIG 20vs CRU 26 Report Stats
RED 18vs FOR 6 Report Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27vs BLU 16 Report Stats
SHA 29vs LIO 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20vs RED 13 Report Stats
FOR 13vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25vs BLU 24 Report Stats
CHF 40vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15vs BRU 20 Report Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43vs SHA 35 Report Stats
LIO 19vs STO 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 17vs HIG 20 Report Stats
BRU 27vs FOR 15 Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 10vs LIO 13 Report Stats
RED 5vs WAR 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 20vs BUL 39 Report Stats
STO 29vs SHA 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 30vs BLU 23 Report Stats
FOR 17vs REB 21 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 34vs LIO 6 Report Stats
HIG 26vs WAR 19 Report Stats
RED 0vs BRU 29 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO 19vs CHF 28 Report Stats
CHT 10vs SHA 27 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 13vs HUR 20 Report Stats
REB 16vs LIO 20 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 57vs CHT 14 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 25vs FOR 24 Report Stats
SHA 12vs CHF 11 Report Stats
WAR 28vs BRU 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 36vs REB 12 Report Stats
RED 17vs LIO 18 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 37vs CHT 27 Report Stats
HIG 39vs STO 21 Report Stats
WAR 23vs BLU 11 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA 15vs FOR 9 Report Stats
BUL 31vs CRU 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR 25vs STO 20 Report Stats
REB 23vs RED 15 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
CHF 23vs BLU 16 Report Stats
BRU 20vs CHT 3 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
SHA 10vs CRU 52 Report Stats
LIO 22vs BUL 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU 16vs BRU 14 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 20vs HIG 25 Report Stats
WAR 18vs STO 32 Report Stats
FOR 15vs CHT 24 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 23vs SHA 21 Report Stats
BUL 43vs RED 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 9vs CHF 26 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR 24vs WAR 29 Report Stats
HIG 30vs BLU 24 Report Stats
BRU 8vs REB 13 Report Stats
FOR 6vs STO 13 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 10vs BUL 17 Report Stats
CHT 17vs RED 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 35vs FOR 27 Report Stats
BRU 31vs HIG 18 Report Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 29vs BLU 15 Report Stats
WAR 18vs REB 16 Report Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 34vs CHT 29 Report Stats
STO 15vs BUL 13 Report Stats
RED 19vs HUR 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 48vs SHA 15 Report Stats
BRU 10vs WAR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 41vs FOR 24 Report Stats
HUR 29vs CRU 23 Report Stats
REB 16vs CHF 15 Report Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 25vs STO 17 Report Stats
BUL 35vs LIO 33 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 58vs RED 17 Report Stats
REB 42vs BLU 22 Report Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 32vs SHA 24 Report Stats
FOR 18vs WAR 11 Report Stats
LIO 28vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 25vs BRU 24 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 23vs BUL 18 Report Stats
RED 46vs REB 29 Report Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 22vs CHF 18 Report Stats
WAR 33vs SHA 18 Report Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO 20vs BRU 30 Report Stats
CHT 24vs HIG 45 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF 34vs BUL 20 Report Stats
RED 14vs SHA 21 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 5vs HUR 29 Report Stats
WAR 32vs CRU 22 Report Stats
FOR 3vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 17vs LIO 40 Report Stats
STO 31vs REB 15 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 35vs HUR 18 Report Stats
BRU 22vs BUL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA 25vs REB 21 Report Stats
HIG 36vs CHF 9 Report Stats
FOR 10vs RED 32 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 42vs CHT 12 Report Stats
LIO 27vs WAR 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 56vs HIG 20 Report Stats
FOR 20vs BRU 33 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB 21vs BUL 20 Report Stats
BLU 11vs CRU 34 Report Stats
RED 3vs CHF 24 Report Stats
CHT 33vs WAR 58 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
STO 19vs LIO 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU 7vs HIG 44 Report Stats
REB 11vs FOR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
BRU 24vs CRU 37 Report Stats
CHF 13vs HUR 21 Report Stats
WAR 31vs RED 5 Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL 29vs CHT 42 Report Stats
SHA 34vs STO 12 Stats
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Super Rugby Qualifying Finals
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
HIG 24vs CHF 14 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
STO 19vs BRU 39 Report Stats
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Super Rugby Semi Finals
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 29vs BRU 9 Stats
WAR 17vs HIG 35 Report Stats
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Super Rugby Grand Final
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
HUR 14vs HIG 21 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 2 0 170 66
Waratahs 16 11 5 0 96 52
Stormers 16 10 5 1 50 45
Highlanders 16 11 5 0 117 53
Brumbies 16 9 7 0 108 47
Lions 16 9 6 1 -22 42
Chiefs 16 10 6 0 73 48
Bulls 16 7 9 0 9 38
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