In the first game of the year, the Rebels beat the Force 30-23. When this game was scheduled as the Super Rugby opener, I’m sure the majority of rugby supporters looked at the match with the same amount of enthusiasm as a child ogling the socks he got for Christmas. Not expecting much, we were pleasantly surprised by the amount of running shown by Australia’s two orphan teams.
There was nothing in it stat-wise with the teams sharing possession of the ball and the match could have easily ended in a draw had Kyle Godwin’s boot been as tuned in as James O’Connor’s.
What was considered the Australian derby, Brumbies against the Reds, turned out to be a messy affair and penalty feast at the breakdowns. With the pinch-king David Pocock making his Brumby debut, that probably didn’t come as a surprise. The Brumbies in the end won comfortably, 24-6.
Neither of the first choice kickers were on song and whilst the Reds stuck with Mike Harris, the Brumbies displayed four sharpshooters. The Reds’ attacks got smothered and although they defended better, the Brumbies found the holes with Jesse Mogg dotting down twice – his second as the result of a floating pass by Quade Cooper.
Round 1’s Super Trooper award has to go to Alfie Mafi who crossed the white wash twice and had the Rebels’ defense stretched on more than one occasion.
The Brumbies vs Reds match really didn’t live up to expectations; tempers were flying, we saw a lot of silly pushing and shoving, a penalty feast at best. Therefore, considering the level of entertainment provided in the Super Rugby opener, I’m giving the Best Battle award to the Rebels vs Force game as not even the three yellow-carded franchise jumpers disrupted play to any real effect.
Stupid mistakes are often part of rugby and often enough a turning point in the game. My Howler of the Week has to go to Quade Cooper as his floater got intercepted by Jesse Mogg, actually allowing the scoreline to flatter the Brumbies.
Happy reading to you all and watch this space for news related to selections for Round 2.
By Jackie Smit