Round 4: Players in Focus
Somebody woke up Samu! I suppose this statement is misleading in that it implies Samu Kerevi (Reds) was asleep which really wasn’t the case. Perhaps I should say that the bear has been poked! Kerevi topped the fantasy super rugby round preliminaries this week with 79 points and some incredible stats (see image below). Whilst as I said he wasn’t exactly asleep, anything sub 50 feels like rookie numbers for the Fantasy stalwart who has always been in and around the top scorers in recent years. Similarly fellow Fantasy centre, Reiko Ioane‘s (Blues) season has been kicked into gear with a 70 points, two try performance in the Blues upset over the Lions in Johannesburg. Reiko had yet to score a try this season and with coach Tana Umaga granting him his wish to move to outside centre he has certainly repaid him in kind! Whilst I’d like to see Reiko continue on with the 13 on his back, I’m not sure we will when George Moala comes back into the fray, returning from injury. Our last player in focus this week has been another not quite sleeping giant, the 2017 Australian Super Rugby player of the year and Japanese International Amanaki Mafi (Rebels). Whilst Mafi still hasn’t had any of those breakout 50m dash’s that he were a staple of his last season, he has was just involved in everything agains the Brumbies and he ended up with 76 points for those efforts.
Into the Fixtures then. Up First, HighLanders (33 – 15) StormersEmbed from Getty Images
Waiseke Naholo was back to his dangerous best with 1 try, 2 try assists, 11 runs for 145m, 4 Tackle Busts and 2 linebreaks. He looked like he was on track for a 80-100 point game but didn’t convert a few of his plethora of opportunities throughout the game – expect even more from him in coming weeks. Rob Thompson continued his great numbers and was one of the 4 form centres all earning 70points this week. Thomo had 1 try assist, 10 runs for 121m, 7 TB and 1 LB. We think he will be pushing to be one of the top fantasy centres in 2018 and that along with Jack Goodue has to be knocking on the AB’s door. Aaron Smith (49 points) was rewarded with 2 tries of his own for his support play after creating many opportunities including two try assists for his team. The two big backrowers Luke Whitelock (65 points) and Liam Squire (59 points) were everywhere around the park causing nightmares for the Stormers. Both fringe All Blacks, they were both showing the form that has earnt them selection in the past two years. For them en from Capetown, Damian Willemse (56 points) showed no signs of his injury and the 19 year old was not only ripping it up with his running game, he also showed that he wasn’t afraid to get dirty and actually put on some hits. Definetely a star for the future and type of player you want in a fantasy team. Ramone Samuels (49 points) and Steven Kisthoff (31 points) played well up front for the stormers and brought the much talked about South African physicality into their 20 odd combined tackles.
Rebels (33 – 10) BrumbiesEmbed from Getty Images
We touched on Amanaki Mafi’s big 76 point game earlier and his opposite number Isi Naisarani was no slouch either bringing home 52 points featuring lots of carries. The other star performer up front was young hooker Jordan Uelese with 52 points (he is listed as a prop which could make him one of the most valuable fantasy players this year). The 20 year old is deceptively big at 122kg but he looks like he is running around just over the 100 mark. His youth and big engine allow him to get around the park and make loads of tackles (17 this week) which is what you are looking for in a fantasy front rower as each tackle is worth double points for the men up front (2 points per tackle!). Out in the backs Henry Speight (59 points) had a blinder with 1 try, 11 runs for 148m and 5 tacklebusts and on the other side of the pitch, Reece Hodge (47 points) got back into Fantasy form, helped by taking the goal kicks and his being hungry for the ball saw him diver over for two easy tries.
Hurricanes (29 – 19) CrusadersEmbed from Getty Images
Similary to last week against the Jaguares, the Hurricanes (and also the Crusaders) put in a great team effort and this meant the fantasy points were fairly even distributed accross the board with few standout peformances. It was an extremely physical encounter which lead to a few injuries, which if you haven’t already, you can read all about them in The Casualty Ward. As if to emphasize my point about the team effort, the top three fantasy scorers from this game were all front rowers, Michael Alaalatoa (53 points), Codie Taylor (46 points) and Ricky Ricciteli (44 points) with prop Chris Eves not far behind in 7th with 37 points. These performances were highlighted by high tackle counts, Ricciteli with 13 (26 points) and Alaalatoa with 11 (22 points)! The men with the fluoro boots out back getting fantasy points were all from the home team, Jordie Barrett (43 points), TJ Perenara (39 points) and Ngani Laumpe (38 points).
Reds (20 – 14)
Embed from Getty Images
Brazil Soccer Team Bulls
Seriously though, what are these new Bulls away Jerseys. They are a dead ringer for the Brazillian Soccer team and I don’t know where they came from, even the pink camo was better. The man with his name in lights this week was Samu Kerevi (77 points) who is back to his tackle busting best. He moved into the inside centre position this week and I’m still not sure which position better suits him in Super Rugby; in the 12 jersey he is going to get more tackle busts and in the 13 a bit more space and linebreaks? Either way he is a gun and firing on all cyclinders. Filipo Daugunu or ‘Felippe’ as Nelson called him on our podcast last week (What’s that you ask? Well yes we have a brand new Fantasy Rugby podcast and will be recording episode 3 tonight as a matter of fact. Get after it on Soundcloud, Stitcher or Itunes) missed the birth of his second child back home in Fiji last week, such was his commitment to the reds and he was rewarded with a starting spot in round 4. He did not dissappoint showing signs of why he has been the source of much discussion and excitement, particularly by Rugby Reg. Daugunu had 8 runs for 83m, 4 TB, 2 offloads and 52 points. The man also has a pair of jet shoes on him and is definetly one to be discussed in the Stock Market this week. Caleb Timu (46 points) had an all round solid performance and was rewarded as the last set of hands to dot it down under the sticks. The Bulls performers were Handre Pollard back in the 10 jersey with 39, Warrick Gelant getting around the park with 38 points and lock Lodewyk de Jager having the best brough out of him by new coach John Mitchell with 36 points.
Sharks (50 – 22) Sunwolves
Pretty much went as expected. A high scoring affair both on the scoreboard and on the Fantasy front. Makazole Mapimpi (83 points) was absolutely electric making the team of the week (TOTW) with 2 tries, 9 runs for 143m, 10 TB! Andre ‘the Giant’ Esterhuizen (70 points) looked a little bith like a man amongst boys at stages of the game and imposed himself at will with some big runs and big hits. I know it was against the sunwolves but big Andre is looking better each week. Akker van der Merwe (67 points) finally got the start he deserved, (and we imagine the entire reason he moved from the Lions to the Sharks) and unsurprisingly did not dissapoint. His try illustrated that he is an incredibly explosive athlete with a turn of pace about him. He will certainly go well this season. For the Moondogs, Kotaro Matsushima took to the field for the first time this season and continued from great fantasy form last year with 61 points finding the space on the field. The other performer for the Moondogs was the Australian Michael Little (55 points) who is mainly a centre but I’d call him a utility back who is listed as a flyhalf! Could be one to keep an eye on if you need that one week flyhalf pickup but make sure he is starting on the team sheet!
Lions (35 – 38) Blues
Probably the game of the round and what a comeback by the Blues under pressure in Johannesburg! The headline performances were from the Ioane brothers once again, Reiko Ioane top scoring this match (TOTW) with 70 points and Akira Ioane again not far behind with 67 points. They scored 3 tries combined, Reiko with 2 tries and 3 linebreaks and Akira with 1 try, 127 run metres and 14 Tackle Busts!!! Sonny Bill Williams (65 points) and Melani Nanai (53 points) rounded out the Blues performers, the former bagging a wad of points with 7 offloads (28 points!). Elton Jantjies excelled for the Lions with 58 points and lead the team with a try of his own. Elton’s halves partner, Ross Cronje has been stringing along back to back to back Fantasy performances and finished up with another 40 [points this week just getting himself involved everywhere. Malcom Marx ended the game with an even 50 points, 30 of which came from the 15 tackles he made in a very solid defensive performance. He will always find a way to get some points.
Jaguares (38 – 28) WaratahsEmbed from Getty Images
Emilliano Boffelli, or ‘Steve-O’ as we call him (from Jackass) started the game the way you’d like any of your fantasy players starting, crossing the paint for a 5 pointer in only 16 seconds. Check it out in the match highlights here. This was an extremely expansive and high fantasy scoring affair and the boy did the men from Buenos Airies show up ready for work that day. Boffelli scored two tries but ended up with the 6th highest fantasy score of 52. He was joined by fellow team mates, captain Joaquin Tuculet (57 points) and the real team captain, Agustin Creevy (been given a rest this year because he still needs to captain the Pumas) topping the team scores with 69. It’s good to see Creevy is back and more lively around the park! He made a bunch of tackles and forced a penalty and two turnovers. The other three big scoreres were from the Waratahs, the top fantasy score of the entire round 4 was Izzy Folau with 86! How good IZ HE? This really needs no explanation, he just did what he doest best with 12 runs for 112m, 4 TB, 2 LB and competing with Sonny Bill’s 7 offloadms, 6 of his own. Curtis Rona had 66 points to his name with 100 run metres, 5 tackle busts and 3 linebreaks and big Jed Holloway kicked himself into gear with 9 runs for 88m, 2 TB, 2 linebreaks and a lineout steal.
Michael Alaalatoa (CRU) – 53 points: 1 try, 6 runs, 1 LB and 11 tackles
Jordan Uelese (REB) – 52 points: 11 runs for 37m, 1 offload, 17 tackles, 6 LT & 1 TF
Agustin Creevy (JAG) – 69 points: 11 runs for 68m, 2 TB, 2 LB, 8 Tackles, 10 LT, 1 PF & 2 TF
Lodewyk de Jager (BUL) – 36 points: 9 runs for 60m, 1 TB, 19 tackles and 4 LT
Matt Philip (REB) – 35 points: 7 runs for 29m, 1 TB, 18 tackles and 4 LT
Amanaki Mafi (REB) – 76 points: 1 try, 16 runs for 124m, 8 TB, 1 LB and 12 tackles
Akira Ioane (BLU) – 67 points: 1 try, 11 runs for 127m and 14 Tacklebusts!!
Luke Whitelock (HIG) – 65 points: 1 try, 11 runs for 48m, 2 TB, 1 LB, 24 tackles and 1 TF
Aaron Smith (HIG) – 49 points: 2 tries, 2 try assists, 3 runs for 38m, 2 TB, 1 LB + 1LBC
Elton Jantjies (LIO) – 58 points: 1 try, 1 try assist, 5 runs, 2 TB, 1 offload and 2 LB
Samu Kerevi (RED) – 77 points: 21 runs for 151m, 9 TB, 2 Offloads, 1 LB
Rieko Ioane (BLU) – 70 points: 2 tries, 10 runs for 100m, 5 TB, 1 Offload, 3 LB
Rob Thompson (HIG) – 70 points: 1 try assist, 11 runs for 130m, 7 TB, 2 Offload, 2 lB + 1 LBC
Andre Esterhuizen (SHA) – 70 points: 7 runs for 49m, 3 TB, 3 Offloads, 3 LB, 1 LBC and 22 tackles!
Israel Folau (WAR) – 86 points: 1 try, 12 runs for 112m, 4 TB, 6 Offloads, 2 LB, 3 LBC
Makazole Mapimpi (SHA) – 83 points: 2 tries, 9 runs for 143m, 10 TB, 2 LB
Waisake Naholo (HIG) – 68 points: 1 try, 2 try assists, 11 runs for 145m, 4 TB, 2 LB
Fox Sports Fantasy Rugby Glossary of Terms:
TA = Try Assist (5)
LTA = Last touch assist (3)
TS = Trysaver (5)
C = Conversion (2)
PG = Penalty Goal (3)
DG = Drop Goal (3)
YC = Yellow Card (-10)
RC = Red Card (-15)
R = Runs (or Carries – 1 every run)
RM = Run Metres (1 every 10m)
TB = Tackle Busts (2)
O = Offload (4)
LB = Linebreak (5)
LBC = Linebreak Created (3)
TCK = Tackle (1 point or 2 points for a front rower per tackle)
LT = Lineout Take (1 – also includes successful throw from hooker)
LS = Lineout Steal (4)
THW = Tighthead Win (7)
PF = Penalty Forced (4)
TF = Turnover Forced (3)
PC = Penalty Conceded (-4)