Argentina is the winner of the inaugural Americas Rugby Championship!
Americas Rugby Championship â€“ round 5 results:
Uruguay 29 - 25 USA
Chile 13 - Canada 64
Brazil 7 - 42 Argentina
The USA Eagles have now lost their last two games against South American teams other than Argentina.
Highlights Uruguay v USA: http://espndeportes.com/video/clip?id=2613118
TPN broken wrist - 8 weeks minimum
Hegarty ACL - season
Horne knee - no diagnosis this stage
Just read that Horne is okay and will be able to play against the Highlanders. Tahs already had a few injuries, hadn't they? Foley?
Surprised to see Burger's name in the teamsheet. He's not going to make the next world cup and his body has already taken a ferocious battering. Put your feet up son. Or go earn some easy money somewhere at least.
There was a huge public clamour for Ryder a couple of months before RWC - and the BCs seemed to go alright without him. His batting does seem to have regressed in recent years - he did look like he could be a really good test player when he first came into the team but nothing in his recent past indicates he has the single-minded commitment to become a test batsman again.
Article from Sumo about Cruden. A bit OTT, but pretty much also what we witnessed as well.
There was a moment on Saturday night in all the heat and the noise and the nor-west wind at AMI Stadium when Aaron Cruden simply vanished, only to materialise seconds later so far from where he was last spotted that it was all you could do to rub your eyes and wonder how he did it.
There is a subtlety to Cruden's game that is made possibly only by a supreme confidence in his one-on-one ability. He starts games in much the same way as a prize-fighter starts a bout; he works his way into the contest through process and orthodoxy; he jabs and feints, defends, and retreats. He is conscious of landing a few early punches but he is thinking rounds ahead, noting deficiencies and patterns.
He began this way against the Crusaders on Saturday night. It was his first game since his knee - and his world cup dreams - disintegrated on this very same ground back in April last year. He stood in the pocket, made a couple of darts at the line, and cleared the ball when required.
He took the first pass early and often, a safe pair of hands for Tawera Kerr-Barlow, a calm head in the early storm.
In the first ten minutes he did the things we all expect a fly half to do. He stood in the places we expect a fly half to stand. He watched and waited and for the ball and showed glimpses of his undeniable brilliance. And then he did what Aaron Cruden does best: he evaporated. One minute he was at first receiver, the next he was in midfield, then he trailed back behind the attack line and, all of a sudden, he was back where he began, four phases later.
From those early touches, he had gleaned all the intelligence he needed to remote control the game. Such is his presence on the field that even when he had no direct involvement in the play, he was still pulling the strings. His team mates filled whichever space he had just vacated, and made room for him whenever and wherever he reappeared. When the Chiefs attacked, watching Cruden in the line was akin to playing a game of human whack-a-mole.
There is a science at play here; a mastery of illusion and sleight of hand. At 80 kilograms dripping wet, Cruden is not the kind of player who will knock over defenders. Instead he bounces out and lets his wingers hit first phase ball from the lineout, or Charlie Ngatai bend the line inside. He takes the pass at odd angles and holds defenders. He hides behind screens and re-emerges on an outside mismatch. You half expect him to yell 'surprise!' as he glides through a gap.
And even while all this is happening, even while he was happy to roam the backline and job share with his blindside wingers and his second five and the impressive Damian McKenzie - as precocious a player as this country has ever produced - he still managed to piece together more touches than all but one other fly half in the opening round of Super Rugby. It was a masterclass of deception and decision making.
There was one play in particular, a Crusaders short lineout just inside their own half, in which it was impossible not to discern Cruden's dominion over the game. He lined up three wide in defence, only to watch Andy Ellis despatch the ball from the box. He turned to see Damian McKenzie slot calmly into the first receiver spot from the resultant ruck and so he simply kept his width. Two passes later, he took the ball inside his own 22, carved inside the slide and peeled off 40 metres.
It was the kind of play that reminded you of just why Aaron Cruden is so valuable to this Chiefs team, and just why he is so hard to defend against. The reality is that he is the great illusionist, a side-stepping, shape-changing amusement park shaman. And he announced his return to Super Rugby by sprinkling his own brand of magic dust around AMI Stadium, leaving us rubbing our eyes, and wondering how he does it.
Yep. Palu is back on the bench this week, so it may have been a passing comet in terms of fantasy rugby scoring. Shame really - I don't know why we've got Palu back who has been a great servant for us, but is hardly going to help with generational change.
Agree with what both of you are saying, the Blues props were very good.
However the suggestion that Franks had a low workrate made by cgrant is a bit wrong in my opinion.
12 Tackles in a match is excellent for a tighthead prop. I would like to see a few examples of Faumuina making this many tackles in a match?
Crusaders were very good at the breakdown. This is where both Franks brothers excel. They are ruck hitters rather than ball carriers (the canes definately missed this on the weekend). I don't think the crusaders lost their match in the forwards, rather by giving too much broken field space to Mackenzie/Cruden etc
This weekend will be interesting. The blues scrum looked pretty good against the highlanders, but I think the crusaders have the best scrum in the comp. Big test for Ofa and Patrick Tuipolotu who has question marks over his scrummaging. Crusaders will need to win this battle to have a chance of winning, Blues have a lot of dangerous ball runners.
although that is probably more to do with Kaino coming back isnt it, would be Pryor to drop out of the match day squad.
I would say it would be more likely to be Edwards. In that scenario 6 and 8 would already be covered by Luatua, Kaino and Ioane (and even Gibson), whereas Pryor provides cover for 7.
Looks like Jason and Thingys love child.
Difference is Read is a much more multifacited player.
Jerry & Rodney were good players, but they both leaned heaviliy on single areas. In Jerrys case it was his physicality close in, in Rodneys it was his engine. When Jerry had neck / shoulder issues he lost the physicality & the rest of his all round game, while good, wasn't anywhere near good enough to cover. Same when Rodney slowed down. When Rodney was top 3 to every fricking ruck for 80 minutes it didn't matter than he was short & lacked power in the carry. Because that one trait was a huge part of how the ABs played. Once that went you think "we could pick a genuinely lineout option instead"
If you are picking a guy mostly because of just one trait, when he loses that one trait he's at risk. Read probably has 5 aspects to his game where he is head & shoulders above the next guy (Vito).
Same with Richie, he maybe wasn't getting hands on the ball as much as Cane late on, but he was far better in the tight, carried better, tackled harder etc.
Although there were worrying signs last year that he was losing more than just one or two of those traits.
Hopefully he's had a good break off season and will be rearing to go this year.
Also, I'm not sure Richie carried harder or tackled harder than Cane - he was just all round a better player (he was the GOAT) - but you just identified two of Canes biggest strengths and one that Richie had to work hard on (even the GOAT has to work hard some times).