Man oh man, Super Rugby Pacific was bursting at the seams on the weekend, Friday to Sunday action which got underway with 25 Test players cutting around in Canberra. Twenty-five!!!!
There were thrillers all the way through, plenty of massive tackles, some extraordinary tries and an all round vibe following Thursday’s World Cup announcement.
It’s left me needing a lie down so today’s column comes from the couch where I’m watching Old School on Stan. ‘Hey Blue, how come there’s no ice in my lemonade?’
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INNER WEST WONDERLAND
For 43 glorious minutes, Waratahs fans dared to dream of their men claiming a second upset win versus a NZ heavyweight outfit. In awful, humid conditions they played the sort of footy you’d expect on a bone dry track. The passing and handling was honestly, quite brilliant. Looping long balls from Rahboni Warewn-Vosayaco and Jed Holloway along with Izzy Perese’s try assist were real highlights.
What’s incredible is, It all took place in front of 11,531 home fans, their best turnout this year and triple the number who showed this time in 2021.
#Reset22 was the pre-season motto, they’ve already fulfilled that mantra and more.
There was chaos inside the Leichhardt Oval commentary box pre-game, when a dog-sized possum came wandering in, looking to take a bite out of Morgan Turinui’s organic, gluten-free lemon and myrtle biscotti. It also took a real shine to Drew Mitchell and his family bucket of hot chips.
Thankfully, gun cameraman Eli Viliamu came rushing from the deck to escort the enormous marsupial out the side before he could sink his teeth in.
Sean Maloney and Morgan Turinui review the latest round of Super Rugby Pacific, and discuss the possum that nearly derailed coverage of the Tahs game on Saturday.
WHERE’D ALL THE GOOD PEOPLE GO
The lead-up to Friday’s Brumbies v Crusaders battle showcased a number of their previous encounters from the same ground which featured a full stadium.
Truly, the fans were hanging off the rafters.
Why then, in 2022, when it’s 2 v 3, with 25 Test players on show, was the crowd a lowly 8000 odd?
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In addition to the phenomenal footballers on both sides and their quality of play, hot chips and pies were being sold at 2004 prices. It wasn’t even a cold night in the capital.
Why then, were there so many empty seats?
Where’d everyone go?
Wright turns Crusaders inside out
SMITH AND STIRLO
Two men who starred for the Brumbies back when they were the hottest ticket in town were rewarded with their years of service last week, with George Smith and Stiring Mortlock inducted into their Hall of Fame.
Two more popular players you’d be hard pressed to find.
These days, both are still linked to rugby, Georgie with apparel company Palladin and Stirlo with ball technology gurus Sportable.
THE POWER OF THE PACIFIC
The inaugural clash between the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika didn’t disappoint.
In season one, both have done it brutally tough away from home but have continued to serve up class rugby week in, week out.
What made Saturday afternoon’s spectacle that little bit more special was the post game coming together of both sides.
The unpredictability of the Shute Shied continued again in Newcastle with the Hunter Wildfires downing the table topping Manly Marlins.
Coached by ‘Bubba’ Coleman, the man who claims to have taught brother Darren all he knows, the Wildfires held off a fast finishing Manly outfit with the game going until the 85th minute.
Form guides are being torn up weekly in the Shute, leaving us with the most open first six weeks of the competition in years.
Which Crusaders back had to lean on the advice of a former Super Rugby referee on the Blackjack table at the team hotel in Canberra?
‘No mate, DON’T hit on 16 when the dealer is sitting on a six.’ Was repeated often…and firmly.
WELL DONE GOLD DUST
Congratulations to former Marlins first grade coach Matt ‘Goldie’ McGoldrick who completed the SMH Half marathon on Sunday.
Coming off a non-existent base, he dropped 15kgs and powered up his busted pins to complete the course in a tick over two hours.
Former Wallaby Adam Freier finished the LA marathon recently as well, huge effort from both.
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