Round 9 Players in Focus
Our three players in focus and topping the charts this week are ‘Big T,’ AKA the prop on the wing, Taqele Naiyaravoro with 106 points, Reiko ‘I should not be playing 12’ Ioane with 85 points and the ‘Wham, BLAM, Thankyou Maam’ – Ben Lam with 80 points.
Last week Taqele Naiyaravoro became just the 3rd Waratah to ever run for over 200m in a game (with 206m) and this week he went one further, with 16 runs for 236 metres!!! Add to that 9 tacklebusts, 5 Offloads and 3 linebreaks and you can see how his points added up for the century. The big man is not only a joy to watch in full beastmode but would bring fantasy managers utter jubilation, bringing in some pretty ridiculous back to back to back scores now.
Reiko Ioane is a once in a generation type athlete & talent and despite making it known that he would like to play outside centre, coach and legend of the game Tana Umaga said he was not going to move the world’s best winger off of the wing. I would agree with that logic but here we are 9 rounds into the season and all be it with some injuries and all not going to plan for the Blues but Reiko has now played five of seven games in either the 12 or 13 jersey. In terms of fantasy there are always arguments for and against positional changes. At 12 Reiko can get his hands on more ball however does not have as much time and space. He is also required to be a bit more a ball player when really he should be out on the wing and just putting his head down with ball in hand. Regardless, this week he still found a way to do it all from the second-five – 16 runs for 131m, 6 tacklebusts, 4 offloads, 1 linebreak and 3 linebreaks created.
Ben Lam. IT consultant from the chin up, cage fighter from the neck down. We know he is big, we know he is strong and hell we know he is fast however every second week or so he still shocks you in one of these regards. This week it was his pace once again. He found himself in space from a beautiful Ngani Laumpe offload in centre field and it was off to the races. Three or four Chiefs tried to tackle him but they couldn’t quite judge where exactly to have a crack and the end result was Big Ben just sped through, basically untouched and over for a five pointer under the sticks.
Hurricanes v ChiefsEmbed from Getty Images
I think it’s easy to say this was the game everybody was most excited for in round 9 and it did not disappoint. Not far behind Ben Lam was the impressive Solomon Alaimalo with 75 points this week which was particularly big given that his efforts were without any tries! He had 16 runs for 204m, 9 tacklebusts and 3 linebreaks!! Damian McKenzie shredded it up on the counter as to be expected with 70 points (11 runs for 100m, 6 TB, 2 O, 3 LB & 3 LBC) and Beauden Barrett (58 points) showed us his class with an extremely skillful display for his try, scooping up the ball at top speed, then putting in a chip and regathering for the try. Standouts aside, Ngani Laumape (50 points) was strong in the midfield, drawing all the attention before shifting it out wide (he had 4 offloads), Lachlan Boshier (48 points) & Gareth Evans (43 points) were the pick of the forwards and it was great to see Charlie Ngatai (41 points) back out there, bringing a cool head to a young and inexperienced backline.
Sunwolves v BluesEmbed from Getty Images
The Sunwolves came out with a massive defensive display against the Blues in the first half however it faded away into the second with fatigue and bit of luck going the way of their opposition. We’ve talked Reiko already but brother Akira Ioane also made the TOTW with 71 points. He had another 9 tackle busts and whilst he scored one try, it seems the only person who could stop him scoring the second was himself with his big forearm getting in the way and causing him to be held up. Stephen Perofeta (52 points) continues to grow and as we have said previously, he certainly is not afraid to take on the line – he had 9 runs for 116m, 3 TB, 2 O, 1 LB and 3 LBC. Dalton Papali’i had a huge one off the bench with a magnificent show of pace for a try up the middle of the field and ended up on 52 points. Look for him to get possibly get a start next week. For the men from Tokyo it was all about the names starting with ‘L’ – Lemeki, Lafaele, Little & Labuschagne. Lomano Lemeki we said was a swing and a miss last week with 4 points but this week he was on song with a strong showing earning him 46 fantasy points – I’d think twice about picking him up though due to the Sunwolves revolving door policy on their wingers, we are very likely to see 2 entirely new wings next week. Tim Lafaele (45) and Michael Little (40) however seemed to have really sured up as the favourite midfield pairing and continue to be in great form. Lastly was Lappies Labuschagne with 40 points and what has to be close to an all time high of 30 tackles!! Thats certainly one way to get fantasy points when there is nothin else going on for your team.
Rebels v Jaguares
This was surely the Rebels game to win (or at least to draw at the end there with Captain Adam Coleman turning down a penalty to level it for a scrum they went on to lose on the 80th minute). Whilst they didn’t come out as red hot as the first 20 minutes agains the Hurricanes, the Rebels looked the part and that this was going to be an easy one for the W column. Their rock and constant Amanaki Mafi (the fantasy god) did what he does and ended up on 54 points, perhaps getting a little less ball than in previous weeks. Billy Meakes (46 points) has surely made the number 12 jersey now his own after another great outing including a try, 10 runs for 60 hard earned metres and 2 linebreaks created. Wallaby Dane Haylet-Petty (35 points) was also a welcome return from injury and bagged himself a try. With DHP back and a concerted team effort to get the ball over to Marika Koroibete (37 points) this saw Jack Maddocks see virtually no ball and record his lowest fantasy score of the season – just 5 points. Typical of any Rebels game, the second half was dictated by the opposition and it was all the Jaguares eventually taking the lead and managing to hold on. Ramiro Moyano (77 points – TOTW) had an absolute blinder and we’d love to know what he must have done to displease his coaches and see him benched so far this season. He started this one and apart from his incredible try (that defied physics for mine), he had 10 runs for 131m, 10 tacklebusts and 4 linebreaks in a man of the match performance from the Argentinian. Other notable performances were the reliable captain Pablo Matera with 43 points, Jeronimo De La Fuente suring up the midfield with 39 points and Martin Landajo also in a rare start (we also want to know who he pissed off – clearly their best scrumhalf) with 30 points.
Highlanders v BrumbiesEmbed from Getty Images
Dan McKellar and the Brumbies talked about earning some Kiwi respect and well I think we can say that definetely didn’t happen. Whilst the Landers were fresh coming off a bye week, the Brumbies certainly had their chances, the best example being Sopoaga’s sin bin 52 minutes into the game but alas the kiwis were just too good. Whilst he didn’t make the TOTW, this game saw Ben Smith make his fantasy managers happy with a huge game and 66 points to show for it. He scored two long range tries with 9 runs for 156m, 3 tacklebusts and a linebreak to get him there. There’s no disputing Ben Smith is a hell of a player but in recent years he hasn’t been that great of a fantasy player. He’s always in the right place at the right time but with the likes of Naholo and Jet Li outside him, he is usually quite happy to hand over the ball. He held onto it today and defenses will think twice about his dummy for the next few weeks. Isi Naisarani (57 points – TOTW) & Folau Fainga’a (44 points) lead the Brumbies with some strong carries and high effort levels. Shannon Frizell (43 points) earnt his first start (relegating All Black Elliot Dixon to the bench) and he had a massive game – a big phyiscal ball carrier and not afraid to do the grunt work. He bagged himself a try and if he keeps this up I’d say he will likely start until we see Liam Squire return from injury in a few weeks time (For all Super Rugby injury news – check out the weekly Casualty Ward article, published Monday & updated daily). Otherwise Chance Peni (43 points) and Tom Banks (42 points) scored well from the Brumbies – they combined for over 200 run metres but it just didn’t translate to points on the field.
Waratahs v Reds
Heritage round and at the SCG for the first time in 38 years. Whilst there was definetely some passion there, it certainly wasn’t origin. Whilst Ruan Smith is a great player, the reds really looked like they were missing Taniela Tupou (out injured) for both his scrum dominance and go forward around the park. As much as I’d like to we won’t talk more on Taqele Naiyaravoro but we will certainly mention his opposite number Filipo Daugunu who had 6 runs for 119m, 4 tacklebusts an offload and a linebreak. It was an epic match up between the pair, the fleet footed Daugunu and the Ferrari Tank, big T and it made for some great footy. Curtis Rona (69 points) was the other back who was lighting it up in this one, looking better and better in that 13 jersey with every week. Rona was stuck into everything, he had 11 runs for 133m, 6 tacklebusts, 2 offloads, 2 linebreaks and created 2 linebreaks. Up front, Damian Fitzpatrick (57 points) showed why he continues to hold onto the number 2 jersey in front of Roach and Latu, he played the full 80 and made 20 tackles (40 fantasy points for a front rower!) Caleb Timu (46 points) was solid yet again for the Reds and his opposite eigth man Michael Wells (40 points) didn’t do so bad either. This game saw the return of Nick Phipps from injury off the bench but with Jake Gordon playing so well it is difficult to see him losing the starting spot. Israel Folau is still a couple of weeks out (probably after the bye in two weeks time) and so we don’t expect much to change rosterwise for the tahs.
Sharks v BullsEmbed from Getty Images
This was a wet one at Kings Park (which generally means few fantasy points) and whilst I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, I didn’t think it would be quite the smackdown the Bulls laid on the Sharks. The Bulls came out of the sheds firing on all cylinders – I can’t actually rember seeing them throw the ball around as much as they did in that first 20-30. This style of play and some indivdual brilliance from youngster Warwick Gelant (50 points) saw them go a few tries up and then the rain really started to come down. With this the Bulls changed their gameplan accordingly and went back to what we know them for, the set peice and boy did the dominate. Their lineout was untouchable and the Sharks were really missing the Beast (Tendai Mtawarira – who was pulled pre game with a groin injury) in the scrum. Adriaan Strauss (35 points) bagged himself a try and was cruelly robbed of another when a penalty try was awarded and a yellow card give to Thomas Du Toit for collapsing the maul. I say he was robbed because the ref blew the whistle just as Strauss was going over the line for a try and I disagree with the penalty try and yellow because hasn’t the advantage been received in the form of the try? The yellow just really ended the game for the Sharks despite their best efforts to hang in there. JLDP (Jean-Luc Du Preez – 60 points) never stopped trying nor did his opposite flank Philip Van Der Walt (39 points). Whilst it will be back to the drawing board for the Sharks, the Bulls look to be building something under new coach John Mitchell.
Craig Millar (SUN) – 34 Points, 70 minutes, 5 runs for 22m, 1 LB & 12 tackles
Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro (JAG) – 32 points, full 80 mins, 7 runs for 34m, 1 TB & 11 tackles
Damien Fitzpatrick (WAR) – 57 points, full 80 minutes, 7 runs for 40m, 1 IO, 20 tackles!!!! & 7 LT
Lukhan Tui (RED) – 33 points, 13 runs for 63m, 2 TB, 1 O, 1 CRT, 1 LBC, 5 TCK, 2 LT
Grant Hattingh (SUN) – 32 points, 7 runs 28m, 1 TB, 15 tackles, 5 LT, 1 TF
Akira Ioane (BLU) – 71 points, 1 Try, 16 runs for 93m, 9 Tacklebusts, 1 O, 1 LB, 1 LBC, 3 TCK, 3 LT, 1 PF
Jean-Luc du Preez (SHA) – 60 points, 14 runs for 63m, 7 TB, 3 O, 6 TCK, 1 LT, 1 PF
Isi Naisarani (BRU) – 57 points, 1 Try, 10 runs for 86m, 3 TB, 2 LB, 1 LBC, 6 TCK, 1 LT, 1 LS,
Will Genia (REB) – 31 points, 2 TA, 1 run for 34m, 3 TB, 1 O, 2 LB, 1 TCK, 1 LT
Beauden Barrett (HUR) – 58 points, 1 T, 1 TA, 7 runs for 101m, 3 TB, 2 O, 1 LB, 3 LBC, 5 TCK, 1 LT
Reiko Ioane (BLU) – 85 points, 1 TA, 16 runs for 131m, 6 TB, 4 Offloads, 1 LB, 3 LBC, 9 TCK,
Ngani Laumape (HUR) – 50 points, 1 T, 1 TA, 8 runs for 60m, 4 TB, 1 O, 7 TCK
Taqele Naiyaravoro (WAR) – 106 points, 2 T, 16 runs for 236m! 9 TB, 5 Offloads, 3 LB, 3 TCK
Ben Lam (HUR) – 80 points, 1 T, 10 runs for 156m, 8 TB, 1 O, 4 LB, 4 TCK, 1 LT
Ramiro Moyano (JAG) – 77 points, 1 T, 10 runs for 131m, 10 TB, 4 LB, 9 TCK
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)