JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Five things we learnt from Super Rugby


Paul Cully

Ready for the Wallabies ... Dave Dennis of the Waratahs.

Ready for the Wallabies ... Dave Dennis of the Waratahs. Photo: Getty Images

1. The expansion teams are in the mire. The difference between the Rebels this year and last? By this stage in 2011 they had one more win and presumably a smaller wage bill. The Melbourne side awarded themselves the week off against the Brumbies, presumably as reward for beating the Blues, and are no closer to understanding what it takes to be consistently competitive in this competition. Much more sympathy goes to the Force, who might have been able to build something had James O'Connor stayed. As it is, not even their coach believes they can serve his ambition. Does anyone have Nick Mallett's number?

2. Bernard Foley has that little bit extra. Not for the first time this year the Waratahs fullback showed that priceless knack of offloading in contact, in the counterattack that led to Tom Kingston's try. The skill has become essential to get through modern defensive lines. Foley has pace, confidence and a refreshing lack of fear.

3. Dave Dennis will play against Wales. The Waratahs blindside breakaway is getting better as the season progresses and attention now turns to see how Michael Foley fits him into the team alongside captain Rocky Elsom. He could be an interesting prospect at No.8 if the injury gods continue to play their cruel game with Wycliff Palu.

4. Pat McCabe 1 James O'Connor 0. In the head-to-head clash with the most Wallabies repercussions, McCabe dominated O'Connor in Canberra and probably killed off O'Connor's chances of playing at No.12 in the big Tests ahead. O'Connor is a decent defender, but he is not ready to handle the traffic that comes through that channel.

5. Brodie Retallick will play for the All Blacks, potentially this year. Every now and again, a young tight-five forward comes along who is so good that you can pencil him in for Test honours way ahead of schedule. At 204cm the giant Chief dominates the lineout, but it is the 20-year-old's workrate that is really exceptional. He loves tackling, cleaning bodies out of the way and driving Sona Taumalolo over the line. The best second-row prospect out of New Zealand for a very long time.

4 comments so far

  • I agree Paul with 2, 3 and 4 at least. Haven't seen enough of the Chiefs player to comment. Dave Dennis had a good game against the Force and it will be interest to see whether Rocky matches him. I think JOC should play 10 against Wales but not sure about McCabe. He had a good game against the Rebels but i'm still not convinced. Great defender but more of a bash and barge centre - rarley passes!! Foley has impressed this year. Good shot for the Wallaby bench i reckon.

    Avoca Beach
    Date and time
    April 17, 2012, 11:15AM
    • 2. Not Test standard
      3. Not Test standard. Hands are bad in contact.
      4. Berrick at 12. O'Connor never to play at 12 unless injuries.
      5. Will only play this year if there are injuries. 20 is too young for a Test match lock. Test matches are not Super Rugby.

      Enjoyed the read but was more impressed by your insights last year.
      Out of form Cully? It's catching! Except for Higgy.Nice to see at least one Kiwi rates him because you Aussie scribes don't.

      Date and time
      April 17, 2012, 1:31PM
      • Be4rrick at 12? He's been terrible this year.

        Date and time
        April 17, 2012, 3:35PM
    • Was lucky enough to be in Canberra and watch the Rebels get their arse kicked by Brumbies last weekend . JOC had an shocker with so much traffic coming at him , just not big enough guy to play at 12 in the modern game . I'll back all the aussie teams generally , but can't get excited about the 'culture club' , feels so phoney and made for TV .
      Foley will not make the bench this year for wallabies .
      Berrick Barnes had ONE run only in the whole match last weekend . He's sitting deep in the pocket and looks to be avoding contact ( as I would after that many head knocks last year !) Pat Macabe at 12 for sure .
      Dave Denis , Pollcock and Hingers best loosies after 8 rounds . Rocky and Palu need way more game time before they join the fray .
      Retalic is a monster and looks to pick up where Thorn left off , and them's big boots to fill !

      Tah fan
      Date and time
      April 18, 2012, 7:01AM

      Make a comment

      You are logged in as [Logout]

      All information entered below may be published.

      Error: Please enter your screen name.

      Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Please enter your comment.

      Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

      Post to

      You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

      Thank you

      Your comment has been submitted for approval.

      Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

      HuffPost Australia

      Rugby World Cup 2015

      Round 1
      Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
      ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
      TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
      IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
      Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
      SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
      FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
      SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
      WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
      Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
      NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
      Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
      SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
      Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
      AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
      FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
      Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
      NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
      Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
      ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
      ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
      Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
      SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
      ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
      AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
      SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
      Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
      IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
      Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
      TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
      Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
      WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
      FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
      Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
      NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
      SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
      Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
      SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
      ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
      Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
      ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
      IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
      Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
      CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
      FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
      Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
      SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
      NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
      Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
      NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
      Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
      SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
      AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
      ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
      ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
      Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
      ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
      FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
      USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Round 2
      Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
      SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
      NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
      IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
      Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
      AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
      Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
      SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
      Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
      ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
      Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
      SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
      Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
      NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
      View All Fixtures
      Rugby World Cup 2015
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
      Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
      England 4 2 2 0 58 11
      Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
      Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
      View all
      Rugby World Cup 2015
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
      Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
      Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
      Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
      USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
      View all
      Rugby World Cup 2015
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
      Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
      Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
      Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
      Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
      View all
      Rugby World Cup 2015
      Team P W L D +/- Pts
      Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
      France 4 3 1 0 57 14
      Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
      Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
      Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
      View all

      Follow Us on Facebook

      Featured advertisers