Super Rugby 2020 – Round 4

Hello and welcome to week 4 of super rugby, not even a queef edition.  A truly embarrassing weekend for the Chiefs, who cede the top of the Kiwi division to the Crusaders after their shock loss to the Brumbies.  Such was their impotence that I’d like to describe the Chiefs’ attack as a queef, but the analogy would wildly overstate their attacking threat with the ball (though Cruden crash ball is a dubious strategy).  

Credit to the Brumbies, they played with intent for the full 80.  Despite a final score of 26-14, the Canberran side never really released the pressure on the home team, though the Chiefs’ team was too potent to be blanked entirely.  Further credit must be awarded as the Brumby attack was not through the maul (for the most part).  Crusader Pete Samu was dominant before leaving and really led the charge for the visitors.  Some questions to ponder headed into the bye week.

Where was the sting on defense?  As mentioned above, the Waikato side’s attack is not often in question.  One of the chief sources of excitement for Warren Gatland’s return was to put some spine in the backbone of the defense.  This was evident weeks 1-3 but last Saturday’s side could not have defended themselves from a meter maid parking ticket, let alone Tevita Kuridrani.  Or James Slipper, looking for all the world like a gassed-up Seth Rogen bustling to the white paint the same way Rogen steamrolls relentlessly forward towards those sweet, sweet minimum wage dollars from stoners with underdeveloped senses of humor everywhere.  

On a related note, a key element of the bend not break defense has been the prestidigitation of one Lachlan Boshier, a non-All Black rested regardless by Gatland.  Would the brazen ball-thief’s presence at the breakdown have turned the tide?  The very talented Quinn Tupaea came off the bench to give a bit of bite in the second half, but the spanking had already commenced.  Similarly, Brad Weber sat for Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.  I have previously touched on how underrated Weber is, and while Tahuriorangi may have a swifter pass, he is simply no replacement for Webby.  This was most apparent as Tahuriorangi fired a loose pass off the ruck to nobody in particular, looking for all the world to be a Kiwi denizen of the tickle dungeon, airmailing a pass to nowhere, though smaller, less jovial, and substantially less drunk (I’d imagine) than his Buena Park contemporaries.  

Do his suspect personnel decisions mean the Gat-man washed?  Ha, no, but thanks for the chuckle, alarmists.  What’s next, are you going to tell me home nations rugby is over since none of them can beat France?  That said, he is an old man and perhaps the Chiefs’ slow starts can be attributed to the post-dinner nap he takes to make sure he can stay awake through the end.  

Finally we reach what has now become a fixture of this newsletter: the reanimator’s corner, where I mention stitched-together zombies parade around as hollow husks of their former selves.  Today we mention Sam McNicol, who last played in 2017 and started for the Chiefs.  Was fine on defense, lacked the spark of the (rested) Solomon Alaimalo.  We also mention big boi Luke Jacobson, who, true to form, was rock solid in his 10 minutes allotted this quarter before reinjury.  We look forward to his return in early May for his next 10 minute contribution.  

Elsewhere, we welcome back the Bulls to SH rugby as they scored a try but managed to lose to the Blues.  The other marquee matchup between the Jaguares and Stormers also failed to launch in slick conditions; I had a nice nap after Saturday’s crossfit session lulled to sleep by the soothing sounds of Steven Kitshoff scrummaging.  
J

ABRONI WATCH: despite playing for the Wallabies last year, Adam Ashley-Cooper cannot find the field for the Austin Jabronis, who are 0-2-1 on the nascent season.  

Next week’s matches look dire.  Looks like a good chance to gun for a new intra-day masturbatory PR.  Good luck!