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Reds confident at the pointy end of the season

Date

John Eales

So near ... the Brumbies suffered a disappointing end to a promising season.

So near ... the Brumbies suffered a disappointing end to a promising season. Photo: Colleen Petch

Former hard-as-nails Wallaby and now dentist Brendan Nasser, who Gordon Bray described as having corpses in his dental chair, once told me that he never misses a Queensland Reds game live. Each week he records them along with the NSW Waratahs' match. Being a typical Queenslander, however, he only replays those which the Waratahs lose and the Reds win. Given that the Reds have won their final six matches this year and the Waratahs have lost their last eight, he's been watching quite a bit of rugby.

This weekend's rugby results in the Australian conference rewarded the Reds for their most comprehensive victory of the season and punished the Brumbies for their worst performance. They rewarded confidence, precision and the resulting flair, and punished inexperience, nervousness and indecision.

The Brumbies would be inconsolable. It's not that they disappointed on expectations–in many ways they far exceeded them–but expectations are relative and at the end theirs were centred on hosting a playoff match. Their arrow, which they had worked so hard for and had made so few errors in its pursuit, is now spent. They will undoubtedly see failure but there has been much to celebrate.

Australian rugby can celebrate the emergence of Brumbies captain Ben Mowen as an unassuming and composed leader who has represented the franchise with dignity, never resiling from his coach's demands or his team's ambition.

It can celebrate the form of Nic White and his leadership of the backline, the cajoling of his forwards and his selection in the Australian squad.

It can celebrate the maturation of Stephen Larkham as a mentor and the introduction of one of the game's most decorated in George Gregan to the specialist coaching group.

It can also celebrate the form of StephenMoore, Michael Hooper and Henry Speight, among others.

Australian rugby is better off for the Brumbies' season as some of these outcomes may not have eventuated.

And they came oh, so close, missing by a solitary bonus point.

While the coaches and teams themselves were most certainly au fait with how the finalists would be determined, particularly in the event of teams finishing on the same competition points, up until a few weeks ago most supporters were clueless about it. That's because it wasn't immediately relevant. It's a bit like when you buy something from the shops and don't read the instruction . . . until you have to.

Followers of Super Rugby have now read the instructions.

Some may not like the instructions. For example, the Crusaders from New Zealand who, despite finishing on 61 points to the Reds' 58, are positioned below the Reds on the rankings by virtue of Queensland winning the Australian conference. Equally, both the Bulls and the Sharks of South Africa, who completed the regular rounds with 59 points each, could feel perturbed.

This status has rewarded the Reds in the weaker Australian conference.

But this is by the by as it could just as easily reward the team from a tougher, or at least more even, conference where points may have been taken from them throughout the season.

It is what it is, as they say, but it doesn't make it any easier. They are fine lines which hit the bottom line in such a cruel or fortuitous manner.

For one bonus point the Brumbies have handed the Reds a windfall in hosting a final, literally. Last year the luxury traded the Reds out of debt.

So the finals now play out as such.

The Stormers finished first and the Chiefs second. Both sides have a week off to prepare for their home semifinals, where the Chiefs will play the top-placed winner of this weekend's play-offs and the Stormers the lower finishing. To decide the semifinalists, the Reds will host the Sharks and the Crusaders will host the Bulls.

It's possible the Reds will again face the Crusaders in a home final yet there is some rugby to be played before that is determined.

But while, of the other finalists, the Reds have only beaten the Chiefs this year, they will remain confident knowing they are capable of beating any of them. To date they have rarely been at full strength and were not for any of their encounters with these opponents.

A key for them could be Quade Cooper. They are not lost without him but they are far better with him and the width he creates with his long, accurate passing. Reds supporters will hold their breath until after the case against him for a high tackle is heard today.

Just like the final round of Super Rugby and the vagaries of the judiciary, there are few certainties over the next three weeks, but hopefully when Nasser finds the time to take his video off permanent 24-hour loop, the hue of his screen remains red and his viewing hours as busy as ever.

13 comments so far

  • Funny John that you should be giving such high praise (quite correctly) to players that your favorite coach Robbie Deans refuses to give a go in favour of his favorite pet underperforming "romneys". And you can't see the hyprocrisy ? Amazing. I can see the Bulls rolling the Crusaders in Christchurch. There appears to be fractures opening up in the Crusaders fault lines.

    Commenter
    johnny-boy
    Date and time
    July 16, 2012, 9:45AM
    • fractures?

      ... you lot never learn do you?

      Commenter
      piru
      Location
      Perth via Rakaia
      Date and time
      July 16, 2012, 4:21PM
  • " It is what it is,as they say,but it doesn't make it any easier."
    About somes up the whole S15 comp for Aussie supporters and their respective teams. As the season has panned-out things have been restored to their (normal) status with one exception.
    The Reds will get an opportunity to defend their title and rightfully so.The Brumbies didn't promise much but delivered much more but failed at the death. The Rebels did OK all things considered. The Force was always going to be a struggle but showed provincial pride not to implode.
    Finally, the Tahs.....and finally the season is over. No finals, no confidence, no pucker, no status, just no, no, no !
    Surely this isn't going to be the norm but just an exception? Geez, things couldn't get any worse, could they?

    Good luck to the REDS we need you now !

    Commenter
    Machooka
    Location
    inner west sydney
    Date and time
    July 16, 2012, 11:02AM
    • North of the Tweed, the sages of our code have often been heard to say:- 'WHEN THE WARATAHS ARE PLAYING WELL, THE WALLABIES WILL HAVE A GOOD TEAM!!; After their 2012 experience and their 13 members of Robbie Deans' latest train-on squad I am very confused. Very very confused. Where are the sages now? I was at Suncorp last Saturday evening and couldn't find one!! GB

      Commenter
      Grae Gafia
      Location
      Sandstone Point
      Date and time
      July 16, 2012, 12:23PM
  • NZ and South African teams must be looking at the Reds with envy! In the Australian conference you only needed 58 points to be top of the ladder (even though the Reds are only sixth overall based on points). If the Reds were in any other conference they would only be 3rd or 4th in a conference.

    I agree with the current system, but the Reds have all the aces based on the conference they are in. Until the Australian teams become more competitive, I suspect we will see this type of thing happening for a while and benefiting the Reds.

    Darren

    Commenter
    Redback Rebel
    Date and time
    July 16, 2012, 12:30PM
    • Thats a good point and a valid one. This is only the second (?) year of the conference system and hopefully the time will come when the Aussie conference is a strong one. In fact, that all conferences are strong. Thats the point of having five Australian teams in the conference: to build depth and give opportunity for players to develop at a higher level. SA have the Currie Cup and NZ have the NPC (forgot whats its called now) but we don't have a national type tier to our system. It will always start off slow as it has with the Force and Rebels but if the ARU keep promoting the game at a grassroots level, hopefully the player pool in Australia will develop to the vast numbers and ability that the other conferences have. Despite the comparatively limited number of players we have always had to choose from, the Wallabies have remained consistently in the top 3 or four teams in the world and have two RWCs in the cupboard. Go the Reds!!

      Commenter
      John from the Hill
      Location
      QLD
      Date and time
      July 16, 2012, 5:02PM
  • MAybe the Super 15 season should be extended by a couple of weeks so everyone plays everyone. Currently teams do not play one team in the other 2 conferences but play the teams in their conference twice on h&away basis. . If there is a weak team in a particular conference and you do not play them but play all the other better teams you miss out on probable "gimme" points.

    To be truely fair each team in all three conferences should play every team in the other conferences.

    Commenter
    Andy
    Date and time
    July 16, 2012, 3:46PM
    • For example, the Brumbies didn't play 2 of the top 3 teams this year (Stormers and Crusaders) and almost (should've) made the finals. The poor old Hurricanes missed the finals by 1 game but had to play all the top teams.
      It seems a bit silly that they don't squeeze in 2 more games and make it fair for everyone.

      Commenter
      Crispy
      Date and time
      July 16, 2012, 6:50PM
  • I could see this farce (IMO) some weeks ago. A team getting a home game (please ewen, no luck??.........you should have been down to 13 guys in last 10 miniutes for professional penalties conceeded in the 10 metre area). However MORE luck as you get third spot when it is really 6th (just). Ok for top team in each conference to be in the 6 but not at worst 3rd. Do not see how that is "fair?
    Reds are not good travellers and are better at home ground so this is really a leg up. Also, and I know this will get Oz fans upset but there can seriously be no doubt as to the weakness of the OZ conference (Blues....worst S15 team in NZ history?? ) when Brumbies with everything up for "grab" were woeful.
    Crusaders cracking? Someone here has forgotten their medication. They had the 5pts at half time (as I predicted) but fell off pace in 2nd half.........ok, what is your criticism of Crusaders? Just wishful thinking. They sat their premier players on the bench at half time!! + had Read in the stands! When has an Oz team done that???
    I believe turnstile cooper played 70 minutes ( 10 for sin bin) and he is usually missing in the heavy stuff
    Sure Canberra just missed out but john the canes with possibly the youngest squad were only a point further back and were far and away winners on bonus points, top try scorers and +/-
    This is finals time and crusaders have the best form/pedigree

    Commenter
    Heading off
    Location
    Guatavita
    Date and time
    July 16, 2012, 4:09PM
    • The comment re professional fouls etc was in Highlanders game. I do not like to criticise refs but it was a shocker. Earlier in same game he pulled the captains together and issued a warning on number of penalties to that point. Jamie MacIntosh pointed out they (Highlanders) had committed two!!! The Reds??..............8!!
      He told Genia after three (!!!!) consecutive infringements during a passage of play INSIDE the 10-15 metre area........"I could go to cards but need you to stop these infringements".............Genia (any captain would have done same.........just ignored him and so it continued until the highlander player was held up over the line)
      Yes, Ewen you have had no luck!! Please.........the better team lost......full stop

      Commenter
      heading off
      Location
      Guatavita
      Date and time
      July 16, 2012, 4:23PM

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Super Rugby 2015

Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10 vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8 vs HUR 22 Stats
BLU 18 vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29 vs CHT 35 Stats
BUL 17 vs STO 29 Stats
WAR 13 vs FOR 25 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Stats
REB 28 vs WAR 38 Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Stats
HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Stats
RED 18 vs FOR 6 Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27 vs BLU 16 Stats
SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20 vs RED 13 Stats
FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25 vs BLU 24 Stats
CHF vs CRU 17:35WS
REB vs BRU 19:40AAMI
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL vs SHA 02:05Loftus Versfeld
LIO vs STO 04:10Emirates Airlines Park
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF vs HIG 17:35WS
BRU vs FOR 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU vs LIO 17:35QBE Stadium
RED vs WAR 19:40SS
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT vs BUL 02:05FSS
STO vs SHA 04:10DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs BLU 17:35FMG Stadium
FOR vs REB 22:00nib Stadium
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU vs LIO 14:30AMI
HIG vs WAR 17:35FBS
RED vs BRU 19:40SS
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO vs CHF 00:00DHL Newlands
CHT vs SHA 02:05FSS
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG vs HUR 17:35FBS
REB vs LIO 19:40AAMI
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU vs CHT 17:35AMI
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL vs FOR 02:05Loftus Versfeld
SHA vs CHF 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
WAR vs BRU 16:05AS
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs REB 17:35WS
RED vs LIO 20:00SS
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF vs CHT 14:30WS
HIG vs STO 17:35FBS
WAR vs BLU 19:40AS
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA vs FOR 02:05Growthpoint Kings Park
BUL vs CRU 04:10Loftus Versfeld
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs STO 18:35WS
REB vs RED 20:40AAMI
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
CHF vs BLU 18:35WS
BRU vs CHT 20:40GIO Stadium
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
SHA vs CRU 01:00Growthpoint Kings Park
LIO vs BUL 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU vs BRU 18:35EP
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs HIG 18:35AMI
WAR vs STO 20:40AS
FOR vs CHT 22:45nib Stadium
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
BUL vs RED 00:00Loftus Versfeld
LIO vs SHA 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs CHF 18:35AMI
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR vs WAR 15:30WS
HIG vs BLU 18:35FBS
BRU vs REB 20:40GIO Stadium
FOR vs STO 22:45nib Stadium
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA vs BUL 02:05Growthpoint Kings Park
CHT vs RED 04:10FSS
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF vs FOR 18:35WS
BRU vs HIG 20:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs BLU 18:35AMI
WAR vs REB 20:40ANZ
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO vs CHT 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
STO vs BUL 04:10DHL Newlands
RED vs HUR 17:05SS
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG vs SHA 18:35FBS
BRU vs WAR 20:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs FOR 16:30EP
HUR vs CRU 18:35WS
REB vs CHF 20:40AAMI
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT vs STO 02:05FSS
BUL vs LIO 04:10Loftus Versfeld
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU vs RED 18:35AMI
REB vs BLU 20:40AAMI
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR vs SHA 18:35WS
FOR vs WAR 20:40nib Stadium
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO vs HIG 00:00Emirates Airlines Park
STO vs BRU 02:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs BUL 18:35EP
RED vs REB 20:40SS
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR vs CHF 18:35WS
WAR vs SHA 20:40AS
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO vs BRU 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
CHT vs HIG 04:10FSS
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF vs BUL 18:35Rotorua International Stadium
RED vs SHA 20:40SS
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs HUR 18:35Emirates Airlines Park
WAR vs CRU 20:40ANZ
FOR vs HIG 22:45nib Stadium
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT vs LIO 02:05FSS
STO vs REB 04:10DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU vs HUR 18:35Trafalgar Park
BRU vs BUL 20:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA vs REB 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
HIG vs CHF 18:35Rugby Park
FOR vs RED 20:40nib Stadium
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
STO vs CHT 02:05DHL Newlands
LIO vs WAR 04:10Emirates Airlines Park
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR vs HIG 18:35McLean Park
FOR vs BRU 22:00nib Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB vs BUL 16:30AAMI
BLU vs CRU 18:35EP
RED vs CHF 20:40SS
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CHT vs WAR 00:00FSS
STO vs LIO 02:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU vs HIG 18:35EP
REB vs FOR 20:40AAMI
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
BRU vs CRU 16:30GIO Stadium
CHF vs HUR 18:35Yarrow Stadium
WAR vs RED 20:40AS
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL vs CHT 02:05Loftus Versfeld
SHA vs STO 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 10:00
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 10:00
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 10:00
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 10:00
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
7 vs 7 10:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Brumbies 2 1 1 0 42 6
Cheetahs 2 2 0 0 7 9
Hurricanes 3 3 0 0 47 13
Chiefs 2 2 0 0 7 8
Rebels 2 1 1 0 0 5
Stormers 2 2 0 0 23 8
Highlanders 2 1 1 0 1 5
Sharks 2 1 1 0 11 6
View all
 
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