Round 8 Players in Focus
Isi ‘Get in the Wallabies’ Naisarani (92 points), ‘Mad dog’ Tambwe (90 points) and Mr T himself, the prop on the wing; Taqele Naiyaravoro (81 points).
We had been waiting for Isi Naisarani to return to form and well he topped the entire fantasy round with 92 points (POTW). He scored two tries, made 14 runs for 121m, made 7 tacklebusts and was just stuck into everything. Having David Pocock back in the side really takes the pressure off Isi and free’s him up to inject himself more selectively into the game – I can’t wait for Rob Valentini to come back, what a back three that will be! Naisarani has a big michael hooper like engine and his work rate is unparralleled from minute one to the final whistle. Certainly more of these big performances to come from him. Maddosh Tambwe and his #RyanQuaddy! How goood! The Perry Baker (USA Sevens Star) lookalike is absolutely electric and simply could not be caught or stopped in this one. Maddosh’s hatrick came in something like 12 minutes – a new super rugby record and then he bagged another off a great crossfield kick in the second forty just before being subbed off for a rest. Should have left him on for a fifth! The Lions started fast and getting that momentum only made them lift the pace of the game further. We need to find a 100m time for this young revelation (he is only 20 years old). Lastly but not least, Big Taqele Naiyaravoro. Now as a devout Tahs fan and Mr T being one of my favourite players I could talk about him forever. Let’s just say that the with Israel Folau getting injured, making a change to the Waratahs gameplan whiteboard was simple – just cross out Izzy and put in Big T where it says ‘Rule No.1: Give it to Izzy.’ (Rule No.2: There are no more rules). Look there are certainly some questions around his defensive decisions in space but if he ever gets the ball in a one on one, hell a one on two he is going to win.
Now unforunately at the time of writing (I had been waiting), Fox Sports hasn’t updated the stats centre, only the match centre which doesn’t have all the stats, so I haven’t been able to go into full detail but I’ll definetely update the stats on the Team of the Week (TOTW) when they come through.
The Hurricanes 38 defeated The Sharks 37 in NapierEmbed from Getty Images
Well what a thriller this was! I think like most people I had put down the Sharks crushing victory over the Blues down to the Blues not turning up for the night combined with playing their tackling optional footy. Like most (I think), I expected the Canes to win this convincingly but it was not to be. As we mentioned on the podcast (Fantasy XV Draft Podcast – Episode 7 out now on Soundcloud, Itunes & Stitcher), the Hurricanes looked ‘rudderless’ with the late withdrawal of Beauden Barrett prior to kickoff. Whilst it was the fill in, Ihaia West (who isnt short on Super Rugby Experience) that looked like the lost child in K-mart this week, he somehow scored and he scored big! He ended up topping the game with 70 points! There would have been few fantasy rugby managers that managed to start Ihaia and clean up. Not far behind Ihaia was Ngani Laumape with 69 points (TOTW) and still managing to bag 2 tries through a pretty incredible Sharks defensive line. The other backline performers for the Canes came by way of Jordie Barrett (57 points) getting invovled with 14 runs for 125m and Vince Aso (45 points) with 6 runs for 131m. Up front Riccitelli had a solid outing with 47 points and big Jeff Toomaga-Allen resumed his starting role as loosehead and 41 points & making the TOTW. For the Sharks their fantasy points came through Lukanyo Am (65 points – TOTW) with his two tries and from their core team of Andre Esterhuizen (52 points) & the Du Preez brothers, RDP with 47 and JLDP with 46 points. Up front the Beast continues his great fantasy form with 38 points this week and Chilliboy was solid with 40 points. The Sharks are returning home from tour and whilst they have been in outstanding form as of late, will surely get even better with some good nights sleep and a few players returning from injury.
The Waratahs 50 defeated The Sunwolves 29 in TokyoEmbed from Getty Images
We’ve talked about Big T topping the fixture with 81 points and not too far behind him in this one was Michael Little for the Sunwolves finishing with 70 points at centre (and he is listed as a flyhalf!). We’ve mentioned Michael Little as a great backup fantasy flyhalf option but I am beginning to think he may be a great starting fantasy flyhalf as he now seems to be starting every week, seems to backing up one great performance after another and I would argue is invaluable to this sunwolves team. Talking fantasy players out of position, Kazuki Himeno is one we have harped on about and this week he really showed why, the fantasy listed lock starting as the eighth man and absolutely crushing it with 55 points. Rounding out the sunwolves was Lappies Labuschagne up front with 57 points & TOTW – if I haven’t already said it, pick up Lappies if he is starting as he is entirely a workrate player and workrate might actually be his middlename. This guy is practically guaranteed to top the tackle count every game and can always be found in amongst the action with strong carries and pilfers aplenty. Apart from these standouts the Sunwolves didn’t score particularly well and if you had picked up winger Lomano Lemeki for some points this week, that would have been a swing and a miss – Lemeki ended up on 4 points and missed all 5 of his attempted tackles in this one. Interestingly the Sunwolves left Hosea ‘the Tongan Godzilla’ Saumaki on the bench for this one depsite all our hopes of a matchup with Big T! Talking Tahs, standouts were Jake Gordon (54 points – TOTW) taking on the line and rewarded with 2 tries and also Curtis Rona (54 points) who was enjoying the abundance of space out wide. Lastly Wallabies flyhalf Bernard AKA ‘The Big Show,’ AKA ‘The Iceman’ Foley was solid and kicking his goals ending up on 46 points.
The Chiefs 21 defeated the Blues 19 in HamiltonEmbed from Getty Images
Having both Reiko and Akira Ioane in my fantasy team and having them both record their lowest scores so far this season, I feel like I must have pushed any memory of this game out of my brain because I can barely remember what happened! From what I can, the Blues looked woeful, the Chiefs seemed to come together even more after losing their general Damian McKenzie 30 minutes in (Check out The Casualty Ward for up to date Super Rugby Injury Information) and that the Chiefs just retained the ball and composure the entire 80. This game wasn’t a great one for fantasy managers as apart from a handful of standouts there wasn’t very much happening on the fantasy front – the game was a real arm wrestle. As we seem to say every week there are not enough superlatives to describe just how good Brodie Retallick is and he is very likely the most valuable fantasy rugby player going around at the moment. Brodie notched up 67 points this week without a try to his name and was simply dominant as per usual. Solomon Aliaimalo was exceptional again from fullback and just looks dangerous every time he is near the ball – he finished on 56 points and had 9 runs for 131m. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (or ‘Triple T’) finished on 29 points in a solid fantasy performance for a scrumhalf as well. James Parsons (52 points) led from the front for the blues bagging himself their only try and the only other fantasy performances of note were the halves pairing, Johnathan Ruru (38 points) had a great outing and isn’t afraid of taking on the defense and his partner in crime the young Stephen ‘Pero-Future’ Perofeta (44 points) is looking better every week and similarly is not afraid to run it straight.
The Brumbies 45 defeated The Reds 21 in Canberra
Well we were definetly wrong on this one. We called this to be an absolute no-try stinkfest but as if they were responding to our very words, the Brumbies replied with 7 tries and two for the Reds. We did know however that this game would won by the forwards and it was certainly a very physical battle up front. Aside from Naisarani’s dominant 92 point performance, the Wallaby tall timber Rory Arnold had a blinder with a try and 58 points, Folau Fainga’a (57 points) is growing each week and looks like with Josh Mann-Rea gone, he has sured up the number 2 jersey over Robbie Abel. Fainga’a almost bagged himself a second try with a finish in the corner most wingers would aspire to. The prince that was promised, David Pocock (48 points) was exceptional again in his second week back and was pivotal to the Brumbies newfound success. Out back Chance Peni (62 points) showed without any doubt why he needs to be in the starting lineup for the Brumbies, making 10 runs for 116m and 6 tacklebusts. The Reds Taniel Tupou (37 points) finally nabbed himself his first try for the year after getting across the line several times in previous game but not being able to dot it down for the points. Caleb Timu still delivered with 46 points despite moving back to the flank with the retun of Scott Higginbotham (42 points) at 8. It looks like he will be moving right back there though as Higgers went off injured after a solid outing and looks to be out for a few weeks. The big men outside scored well , Chris Feauai-Sautia was immense, finishing with 51 points despite receiving a yellow card and Samu Kerevi was dominant as per usual with 47 points. Filipo Daugunu (44 points) looked to take advantage of no Henry Speight and he certainly ran rings around James Dargaville on the right wing.
The Lions 52 defeated The Stormers 31 in JoburgEmbed from Getty Images
One more shoutout to one of our players in focus – Maddosh Tambwe (90 points – TOTW) to congratulate him on his #RyanQuaddy and a pretty epic performance. It will be interesting to see who starts on the left wing in two weeks time with Maddosh playing so well, Apihwe Diyanti and possibly also Courtnall Skosan coming back from injury. Definetly one for the Stock Market (keep an eye out for that article to drop tomorrow or Friday). This was an incredibly uptempo game with both teams leaving it all out on the field before both heading into a bye in round 9. Kwagga Smith saw a return to some form with a try and 62 points (TOTW) and needs to stop trying to worry making up for no Jaco Kriel in the dirtywork and concentrate on his running game. Elton ‘John’ Jantjies (50 points) could hear the music, making like the rocket man to show some incredible pace bringing his entire attacking line up and cutting through the defense. Stand in captain Franco Mostert lead from the front with some big carries, a try and 47 fantasy points and Malcom Marx had a quiet one for him but still came away with 44 points. This game saw the surprise inclusion of ‘the punisher’ Ruan Combrinck – we thought we wouldn’t see him until after the round 9 bye – and whilst he only finished with 27 points, he was absolutely incredible and looks set to be scoring an abundance of fantasy points in the weeks to come. The Stormers couldn’t seem to put it all together against a fully firing Lions but two people you couldn’t fault for effort were Damian Willemse (78 points – TOTW) and Pieter-Steph Du Toit (71 points – TOTW). They took up the challenge and were literally and figurately carrying the entire Stormers team up the field. Willemse was just incredible with 16 carries for 171m and 12 tacklebusts!!! Pieter-Steph had 17 carries for 135m and 10 tacklebusts. Wilcow Louw had another strong performance with a try and 56 points and it will be difficult to find room for Frans Malherbe when he returns from injury post the round 9 bye. Aside from Willemse, Raymond Rhule (60 points) was the only back that could find any wholes in the Lions defense and he put his signature spin move to good effect with 2 linebreaks, 3 linebreaks created, 11 runs for 146m, 2 offloads and 4 tacklebusts.
The Crusaders 40 downed the Jaguares 14 in Buenos Aires
Whilst there were certainly a few tries in this one, for some reason there didn’t turn out to be many fantasy points across the board. It was the outsidebacks with the lions share, George Bridge narrowly topping the game with 63 points, followed closely by fellow winger, stand in, Manasa Mata’ele with 62 points. It was almost as if they took turns, the Crusaders opting to attack with Bridge down the left wing for two tries in the first half and then Mata’ele on the right for two tries in the second because otherwise they barely touched the pill. The Jaguares forwards just didn’t front up for this one, their last home game for a while and they will be dissapointed with that loss. The fantasy points came by way of Joaquin Tuculet (55 points) with a try and 8 runs for 78m, 2 linbreaks, 2 linebreaks created and three tacklebusts. Also the name we all enjoy saying, Jeronimo De La Fuente (44 points) with 2 try assists, 11 runs for 75m, 2 offloads and 2 tackle busts.
Wilcow Louw (STO) – 56 points, 1 T, 1 LB, 9 runs for 54m, 2 TB
Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen (HUR) – 41 points, 6 runs for 27m, 2 TB
Folau Fainga’a (BRU) – 57 points, 1 T, 5 runs for 29m, 4 TB
Pieter-Steph Du Toit (STO) – 71 points: 1 LB, 1 LBC, 17 runs for 135m, 10 TB, 2 LW
Brodie Retallick (CHI) – 67 points: 2 LBC, 16 runs for 64m, 4 O, 3 TB
Hon Mention – Rory Arnold (BRU) – 58 points.
Isi Naisarani (BRU) – 92 points: 2 T, 3 LB, 10 runs for 116m, 1 O, 7 TB
Kwagga Smith (LIO) – 62 points: 1 T, 1 LB, 4 runs for 42m, 4 TB
Lappies Labuschagne (SUN) – 57 points: 1 LB, 9 runs for 52m, 2 O, 3 TB
Jake Gordon (WAR) – 54 points: 2 T, 1 LB, 1 LBC, 7 runs for 50m, 4 TB
Damian Willemse (STO) – 78 points: 1 T, 2 LB, 16 runs for 171m, 1 O, 12 TB
Hon Mention to Ihaia West (HUR) and Michael Little (SUN) with 70 points.
Ngani Laumape (HUR) – 69 points: 2 T, 3 LB, 9 runs for 81m, 1 O, 5 TB
Lukanyo Am (SHA) – 65 points: 2 T, 3 LB, 1 LBC, 5 runs for 36m, 1 O, 3 TB
Maddosh Tambwe (LIO) – 90 points: #RyanQuaddy (4 Tries), 3 LB, 8 runs for 138m, 5 TB
Taqele Naiyaravoro (WAR) – 81 points: 1 T, 1 TA, 4 LB, 8 runs for 203m, 10 TB, 1 O
George Bridge (CRU) – 63 points: 2 T, 1 LB, 1 LBC, 8 runs for 125m, 1 O, 1 TB
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)