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.