Super Rugby Snapshot: Round Two

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Super Rugby Snapshot: Round Two
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 16: Ngani Laumape of the Hurricanes makes a break during the round one Super Rugby match between the Waratahs and the Hurricanes at Brookvale Oval on February 16, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

In any workplace, social interplay is a beneficial aspect to the environment. Be it humourous or motivational speeches, or in some cases, via a simple bit of sports team picking competition. Casual or organized into teams, individuals can be in it ‘just for jokes’ or put in plenty of thought over the season. To assist, we present a Super Rugby Snapshot that might give fans a regular overview of the outcomes, standings, and the upcoming fixtures to be aware of.

That is – briefly stating what happened; and how it impacts on the place of that team, and how much it has benefited their standings. Because while not sporting experts, your casual sports fan do often live vicariously through their favourite team, player and the results that support their interest.

So after Round One has been completed, after the Monday morning banter and joviality has passed, there is only so much to learn from those placings. The opening round – a start only, so in all honestly it was a ‘who can tell’ round. Bonus points now between work mates will only be a Super Rugby snapshot of those picks importance, nearer the end-of-season fortunes.

It is a case of lest we judge now, but look towards Round 16 and 17……where the real standings will be justified.

After Round One, the following weeks and months will capture rugby fans attention in the Southern hemisphere. not only there, but also many fans from the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Last Word on Rugby will look to enlighten and clarify the competition, week-to-week, looking towards the next week’s matches – Round Two – and over the season towards the Super Rugby playoffs, and Grand Final 2019.

Super Rugby Snapshot: Round Two

Looking now at this weeks fixtures, there are still those riveting local derby games but several sides start their offshore travel segments of the season.

Friday 22 February: Highlanders v Reds – Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

Two winning sides face off, with the ‘Landers being supported this week at their brilliant enclosed stadium. The benefit of perfect conditions, plus the added support of students in town for the Orientation, should make this party central. And the home side have enjoyed tremendous success over their Australian conference opposition in the past.

The disparity might be apparent, however don’t get too overconfident. Two weeks into the season, the Highlanders are the side laced with All Blacks but they are still in ‘warm up mode’. So if the Queensland team have any chance, it definitely is this round.

Saturday 23 February: Sunwolves v Waratahs – Prince Chichibu Stadium, Tokyo

Two home matches in a row is a boost for the game in Asia. Singapore, and now in Tokyo, this is the year where Asian fans are treated to a huge volume of rugby. What fans deserve is the very best performance, and Tony Brown must hit the right mark in motivation this week.

Waratahs supporters will be mindful of their ‘traveling woes’ of the last few years. They do win, but can you regularly bet on them? Probably but, the failure of Bernard Foley to convert when the opportunity was given (like the Blues did) can be the curse no team wishes to hold. So disregarding the past, and considering the two teams, you would feel the more polished ‘Tahs have an edge.

Sat 23 Feb: Crusaders v Hurricanes – AMI Stadium, Christchurch

Local derby games are no bigger. It is worthy of a final – already – even though the sides have yet to peak. But of all the sides in this competition, you would imagine they each can hit near to 100% when they choose to.

Selections here will be crucial. Both sides have the firepower, and provided they have access to them; can use them for a good majority of the game [in regards to minutes]. Limited, it could impact of either or even both. So John Plumtree, more so than Scott Razor Robertson, will want the freedom to have his players available.

Note: Beauden Barrett, who did imply he might be available, has been left out of the XV – how that one extra week off pays dues in this match outcome, might be a point of conjecture next week.

Sat 23 Feb: Brumbies v Chiefs – GIO Stadium, Canberra

This might be the ‘match of the Round’ when you examine the Australian Conference. The Brumbies need wins to propel themselves into contention. Yet, with the loss of David Pocock it has put a scare into their campaign. They have ample replacements, including Pete Samu off the bench (see below), yet it is a consideration when making your picks.

Entering the Australian Capital Territory, a Chiefs team still needing a win, are ready to fire. Powered by their co-captain Brodie Retallick, the side will want to ‘put in a good one’ for his 100th cap. It will be a Super Rugby snapshot – which former champion team, are the strongest at this time of year.

Sat 23 Feb: Sharks v Blues – Jonsson Kings Park, Durban

Like the Reds; although with a more enthusiastic backing from the established media, the Blues start a two-week transit that is terribly important. For their players, keeping up what confidence they earned in a two-point loss to the Crusaders, has to be maintained. Leon MacDonald mentioned it, and the leadership of this group is under the spotlight in Durban.

if the blues Succeed, the rugby world will take notice.

Fail, and allow the Sharks to maul them – hopefully not as badly as they did in 2018 – and the disdain which so many show for the Blues, could easily be renewed.

The Sharks return home, top of the standings, top dogs in the South African conference, with everything to gain. It should make for a great evening on the Eastern Coast.

Sat 23 Feb: Stormers v Lions – DHL Newlands, Cape Town

Local derbies need this type of rivalry. The Western region versus the Northern, big brother plays his sibling, Thor vs Spiderman (see below) and it just brings out the natural competition.

South African fans will be overjoyed – possibly with thoughts ahead of September and October – but the warning is ‘don’t get too far ahead of yourselves’.

Each coach must want to throw everything at this battle, so there will be not holding back. especially from the Stormers, who want to hold the Lions in check (before they extend another lead, as they have for the last three seasons).

A tight contest, but tries could be scored in succession; a big score could be on the cards.

Sat 23 Feb: Jaguares v Bulls – Jose Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires

To wrap up Round Two, the South American team enjoy a second home game. So it will be a fun-filled evening for locals. It’s just, with all the entertainment, Jaguares stakeholders will be wanting the main ingredient to be present ….Victory.

Winning away isn’t a natural occurrence for the Bulls. All too often, they endure several weeks of hard toil, so what can they do differently in 2019? Pote Human has seen a great mix of traditional Bulls front-on damage, but with a new tinge of ‘damage from the outside backs’. Their tries in round one were sensational. Can they take that on tour. Fans say Yes.

It might be a great fixture, although defence can stifle any form of attack – especially in the heat of Buenos Aires.

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There it is. The ‘list’ if you might call it. The detail as Razor Robertson calls it, so it is up to fans to expand on the detail – study team lists, look at the injury column, study defence/attack statistics, etc.

Yet if you are just in for fun, then LWOR think that is just as important. Enjoying the long season is important, and at the start it appears to be so far away – but just enjoy the rugby. Pretty soon it will be June, and then the numbers begin to count.

Enjoy this first edition of the Super Rugby snapshot. We will look to be your weekly update, a brief on the future, including notes and views on who is hot, which teams are climbing – who is dropping – but most of all, an easy-peezy way to make your Super Rugby.

And psst….don’t forget to get them in by Friday!! 

 

“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images

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