PLAYERS IN FOCUS
Our top 3 Fantasy scorers in round 4 2019 included two very new faces and also the best winger in the world breaking out from his quiet start to the year. This week’s and actually the year to date’s top scorer was super rugby debutant Sevu Reece (Crusaders) with 106 points, behind him was another extremely familiar name but just not in 2019, Rieko Ioane (Blues) with 98 points and last but not least, in his run on debut, a player that has South African rugby fans excited, Wandisile Simelane (Lions) with 80 points.
I’m sure Sevu Reece’s 2018/2019 was not been shaping up how he would have liked it. Off the back of an extremely successful Mitre10 Cup campaign for Waikato where he was the competitions leading try scorer, he had inked a lucrative deal with Connacht in the Pro14 rugby competition before they pulled the pin due to Reece’s legal troubles which we won’t go into. The Chiefs were crestfallen (even more so after Reece’s performance this week) that they were not to be able to sign the Hamilton local as they had just put pen to paper signing Tongan born, Japanese international representative, Ataata Moeakiola (who I still have marked down as a smokey for 2019!).
So of course who else but the Crusaders were in a position to add him to their extended playing squad, he trained the house down and with first choice right wing, Manasa Mataele suffering an ACL injury early in the season, Reece’s contract has been upgraded to a full squad member and we believe he has been seen as a fairly like for like replacement. He certainly delivered in spades on the rugby field this week and it probably wasn’t a difficult decision for fantasy managers to try and pick him up even for just a one weeker as the man is on the end of a Crusaders backline!! In terms of stats, his 106 points came from making 16 carries for 153m, 5 clean breaks, 3 tackle busts, 4 offloads, a try and try assist and he even won 2 turnovers). Now we can’t promise he will be starting again next week nor say how much of him we might see this season but chances are it could be alot!!
The world’s best winger Rieko Ioane decided to show up for his fantasy managers this week and do so in spectacular fashion, he pulled out his first ever #RyanQuaddy (4 tries)! Now whilst the blues are still far from where they need to be, they managed to at least get the ball in his hands this week, even if it was only to strut over and stick the ball to the turf (Rieko made 12 carries for only 34m!!). Otherwise he delivered in fours, the four tries, 4 linebreaks and 4 tacklebusts. He did look very good on the defensive end making 11/12 tackles. Whilst he still hasn’t manage to do alot of running with ball in hand, this is at least an encouraging sign for fantasy managers that he is starting to move in the right direction after a pretty abysmal first 3 weeks of fantasy.
The 2018 Junior Springbok Player of the year, Wandisile Simelane is a young man earmarked for a big future. We know he has pace and we know he can find the tryline after scoring a hatrick for the Junior Springboks against Ireland last year. With with Lions coach, Swys de Bruin, shaking things up and running out his young guns in round 4, Simelane lived up to the hype in his run on Super Rugby debut. He made 14 carries for 121metres, 3 clean breaks, beat 7 defenders, made 3 offloads and a bagged himself a try. With Lionel Mapoe having pretty firmly held down the outside centre spot for a couple of years now, it will be interesting to see how selections play out with the Lions but you’d have to think he will be given another chance next week.
SUPER RUGBY TEAM FANTASY SCORES
See how your fantasy team compared against the Super Rugby teams themselves.
|TEAM||STARTING XV||FULL TEAM (23)|
ROUND 4 FIXTURES
Hurricanes 25 vs 22 Highlanders – Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Hurricanes – Jordie Barrett, Alex Fidow (shoulder, pregame fill in for Ben May)
Highlanders – Ben Smith, Aaron Smith, Luke Whitelock, Liam Coltman, Tevita Li, Richard Buckman
Our Fantasy Man of the Match (FMOTM) Ngani Laumape (73 points) carried on from his barnstorming round 3 form, bagging himself 2 tries from 14 carries, 3 line breaks and 6 tackle busts. Apart from never passing and always popping up in the right place, the man is doing absolutely everything; putting through grubbers, scoring tries out on the wing from cross field kicks!! He is insane! Other strong performances from the Hurricanes came by way of Dane Coles (55 points) putting together some consistent form, showing good signs of getting back to his best and also Jordie Barrett (45 points) with 3 linebreaks out on the wing. Liam ‘the caveman’ Coltman (59 points) was the star for the Highlanders, winning 13/15 lineouts, making 12 tackles and scoring himself a meat pie.
44-55% Possession and Territory
27 – 11 Tackle Busts (91% – 79% tackle success)
417 – 315 Run metres
5 – 9 Turnovers won
Evenly matched in set piece.
Rebels 29 vs 26 Brumbies – AAMI Park, Melbourne
Rebels: Adam Coleman to starting lineup
Brumbies: Henry Speight (hip pointer), Sam Carter (Cork)
The Rebels made it two from two against the Brumbies in 2019, after losing by 16 in the first half and they were still behind by 11 in the 61st minute. The FMOTM Will Genia (77 points) basically took this game into his own hands and lead the team both physically and figuratively to victory. He stepped up his running game making 12 carries, beating 7 defenders, scoring a try and setting up another to get the Rebels over the line. Jack Maddocks (50 points) again showed he knows how to be in the right places on the field, with 4 linebreaks and 2 tries and Mariko Koroibete (36 points) actually did something for once with 6 tackle busts and quite a few of those coming in a great finish from a massive Quade Cooper cutout pass for a try.
Before the wheels fell off for the Brumbies they had a strong showing from young talent Rob Valetini (48 points) 6 carries, a couple of tackle busts, 16 tackles and a try. Folau Fainga’a (44 points) made 7 carries, won 14/15 lineout throws and bagged himself another driving maul try, making him the first forward to score a try in four consecutive games. Joe Powell continues to do his job well, with 2 try assists in this one and 41 points.
50/50 for possession 53/47 for territory – both going the way of the Brumbies in the first 40 and the Rebels in the second.
Statistically everything was pretty much equal
The only notable point of difference was the 2 yellow cards to the Rebels. Still got the job done.
Crusaders 57 vs 28 Chiefs – AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Crusaders: Codie Taylor, Ryan Crotty
Chiefs: Nathan Harris, ALB, Tyler Ardron, Nepo Laulala, Jack Debreczeni, Solomon Alaimalo
Well whilst they took their foot off the gas towards the end of the game, this was an absolutely dominant Crusaders victory over the Chiefs, taking them to 19 wins in a row. We’ve already talked a great deal about FMOTM Sevu Reece (106 points) and his amazing Crusaders debut (scroll to top) but the other stand out fantasy performances came from Codie Taylor (69 points) in his first match of 2019 (and off the bench mind you!!!) and again Will Jordan (68 points) rewarded with a second start at fullback after crushing it last week. Taylor took the field after the half time break and took no time picking up where he left off last season in terms of form. From just 5 carries, he bagged himself two tries, made 3 clean breaks over 50m, beat 2 defenders, made 8 tackles and won his 5 lineout throws. Talk about making your involvements count!! Similarly Will Jordan made 14 carries for almost 100m, 2 clean breaks, beat 6 defenders, an offload and 2 tries.
For the Chiefs it was Etene Nanai-Seturo (52 points), Taleni Seu (50 points) and Mitchell Brown (49 points) all finding their way over the try line and another solid outing from Anton Lienert-Brown (48 points) doing his best to deal with a rampant crusaders. Nanai-Seturo made 5 carries, 2 clean breaks, an offload, beat 4 defenders and 8 tackles and Taleni Seu made 7 carries, 1 clean break, beat 3 defenders, won 4 lineouts and stole 1, 1 offload and his try.
65% to 45% possession (FIRST HALF)
69% to 31% time in opponents half (FIRST HALF)
643m to 419m
150 carries to 110
9 tries to 4
Other stats all much more even than you would have thought:
34-27 defenders beaten
19-15 clean breaks
10-17 turnovers conceded
103 -135 tackles
27 – 34 missed tackles
Blues 28 vs 20 ‘Wolves – North Harbour Stadium, Albany
Blues: Blake Gibson (ankle sprain), Scott Scrafton (knee injury), Sam Nock (calf tear)
‘Wolves: James Moore (late withdrawal last week), Semisi Masirewa (Concussion)
The ‘Wolves came into this game with great confidence after their first ever away win in Super Rugby against the Chiefs in Hamilton. The Blues however were ultimately wanted it more and were desperate for a win to get their season back on track after 3 losses to kick it off. Again we’ve already talked about Rieko Ioane’s #RyanQuaddy of tries and FMOTM performance (scroll to top!) and so the other fantasy performances for the Blues came from none other than fan favourite Melani Nanai (59 points) and former captain and front row stalwart, James Parsons (50 points). Nanai may have signed overseas with Gloucester in 2020 but it hasn’t effected his game time so far and he is having a really strong start to 2019. He had 4 tackle busts, 3 try assists in this fixture!! Parsons just got the hard graft done as he always has done and won 10/11 lineout throws, made 11 tackles, 9 carries, an offload and lead a rock solid scrum. Other noteables for the blues wer Augustine Pulu & Akira Ioane with 46 points a piece and Josh Goodhue with 45 points, stepping up in the absence of blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu sitting out for his AB rest week.
For the Wolves the halves pairing in particular excelled, Jamie booth (59 points) and Rikiya Matsuda (56 points) having great shifts. Booth was the cream of the crop, the former Hurricanes scrum half put on a hell of a running display, making 7 carries for nearly 100m, 3 clean breaks, beating 5 defenders and making an offload. Matsuda also played the house down with 10 carries, 3 clean breaks, 3 defenders beaten and a try. Michael Little (42 points and son of Walter Little – had to be said) was solid and really that second general that the ‘Wolves need to create that extra spark and unleash the exciting men outside. They look a better team with Little on the park.
All the stats going the way of the Blues
11 – 2 Lineouts won
15 – 4 offloads
3 – 15 penalties conceded
18 – 10 turnovers conceded
Waratahs 28 vs 17 Reds – Sydney Cricket Ground
Tahs: Tatafu Polota-Nau (from leicester)
Reds: JP Smith & Scott Higginbotham to start for the first time in 2019
The Waratahs really stepped up their physicality and effort levels to win this close fought affair at home (it was almost as if it meant something to them!). Combine this with a ground surface completely unfit (and dangerous) for scrummaging and the Tahs had this in the bag. As a devout NSW supporter I was honestly worried going into this one but the Tahs stepped up across the board, the scrum held firm and the backs were accurate in execution. The FMOTM was Chris Feauai-Sautia (66pts) with 7 tackle busts and a long sprint for a try in the corner against the run of play and not far behind for the Reds was captain Samu Kerevi (57 points) who also crashed his way over for a try and was left as all too often having to try and come up with all the answers himself.
Otherwise it was all Waratahs on the Fantasy front, Harry Johnson-Holmes (HJH)(64 points) made 19 tackles for a whopping 38 points. Curtis Rona (50 points) combined with Kurtley Beale to create something out of nothing and like CFS, had about a 50m sprint down the sideline to score in the corner. Michael Hooper (48 points) must have been eating his vegetables this week because he really lead his troops in terms of that step up in physicality and effort level that I mentioned. He just got stuck into everything and made 23 tackles in this one. Last but not least (or the way we usually talk about him, sometimes least) Ted Flanigan (Ned Hanigan)(47 points) was one who in particular followed his captain and really stepped up his work rate and physicality, making some big hits and absolutely smashed his way over the line for a try under the posts.
Possession: Waratahs 29% – Reds 71%
Defenders Beaten: Waratahs 9 – Reds 24
Tackles made: Waratahs 162/191 (85%) – Reds 50/61 (82%)
Goal kicking ⅚ and ¼ (hegarty)
Lineouts Tahs 8/9 Reds 24/25
Scrums Tahs 7/7 Reds 2/4
11 – 29 TB
Lions 47 vs 39 Jaguares – Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
Lions: No returns but practically rolled out an U20’s team!!
Jaguares: Emiliano Boffelli
After losing to the Bulls at home in round 3, Lions coach Swys de Bruin made some bold changes, not only personnel changes but also changes to the game plan. He benched or flat out dropped some of his under performing regulars and brought in the young guns to inject some speed and enthusiasm into a Lions team that wasn’t looking like its usual self. The Jaguares would have thought they would have been right when they rested many of their international players this week and then saw the Lions teamsheet but alas it was not to be. The youthful Lions played some of the best up tempo footy that the Lions have been playing in recent years. Youngsters Wandisile Simelane, Ruan Vermaak, Vincent Tshituka, Gianni Lombard and Franco Naude (on loan from the Bulls) looked more than comfortable at Super Rugby level. This new level of vigor saw all facets of the game improve, the Lions scrum was insane – absolutely destroying the Jaguares, winning 6 scrums and pushing over 3 of the Jaguares scrums.
The FMOTM was Wandisile Simelane (scroll to the top for more detail and his breakdown of stats). Elton Jantjies (59 points) lead these youngsters around and absolutely flourished in this fast paced game plan and showed what he can do when people give him options. He scored a try, made 6/7 kicks at goal and had 3 try assists. He scored over his 1000th Super Rugby point in this game, a pretty incredible achievement. Other fantasy performances came by way of Courtnal Skosan (58 points) making 12 carries for 48m, 3 clean breaks, 2 tries and Marnus Schoeman (48 points), Malcolm Marx (47 points). For the men from Argentina it was Matias Moroni (57 points) with 3 carries for 91m, 2 linebreaks, 3 defenders beaten, a try and a try assist.
543m v 326m
125 v 92 carries
13 v 7 clean breaks
25 v 16 defendes beaten
91/107 tackles v 119/144
Both teams conceded 14 turnovers
Bulls 37 vs 14 Sharks – Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
This was the same story as last week – the Bulls kicked 5 penalties to 0. They just have a game plan, don’t try to do anything fancy and just stick to it. They have one hell of a goal kicker in Handre Pollard (45 points) who knocks them over from anywhere within 55m and they use him, he kicked 7/8 on the night. Apart from the kicking, Pollard has now just come against his three would be rivals for the Springboks jersey in Elton Jantjies, Bob Du Preez and Damian Willemse and they have all been found wanting.
The FMOTM was Dan Du Preez (DDP)(59 points) with 14 carries, 1 clean break and defender beaten, 3 lineout takes, 3 offloads and a try. Dan is doing so well and enjoying the spotlight that he might want to push his brother Jean-Luc Du Preez down the stairs or something before he comes back to rejoing the Sharks and steal his thunder. If he keeps this form up DDP will be pushing for a Bok jersey. Speaking of Bok number 8’s the man who he would have to beat out is none other than the Bulls Duane Vermeulen (53 points) who is loves rolling his sleeves up and doing the hard yakka, he made 14 tackles and won 8 lineouts. Rosko Speckman (52 points) continues to be hungry for work, he made 8 carries, 3 clean breaks, beat 3 defenders, 1 offload, 5 tackles, and scored another 2 tries.
There was a great battle between the hookers in this fixture, veteran Schalk Brits (50 points) up against the young and angry warthog, Armand van der Merwe (49 points). Brits (coming out of retirement) has been a hell of a pickup for the Bulls and just really brings an experienced cool head that they lost when Adriaan Strauss retired from Super Rugby. Brits made 8 carries, 6 lineouts, 3 offloads, 11 tackles and a turnover. The other notable fantasy performance was Jesse Kriel (48 points) who as of late has been as consistent as we imagine he is with his gym routine.
42% – 58% possession
39% – 61% time in opponents half
88 v 121 carries
10 v 5 clean breaks
17 v 26 defenders beaten
405m v 366m
133 v 71 tackles
8 v 20 turnovers conceded
Harry Johnson-Holmes (Waratahs) – 64 points
Michael Alaalatoa (Crusaders) – 44 points
Codie Taylor (Crusaders) – 69 Points (OFF THE BENCH!!!!)
Ned Hanigan (or ‘Ted Flanigan’) – 47 points
Joshua Goodhue (Blues) – 45 points
Dan Du Preez (Sharks) – 62 points
Duane Vermeulen (Bulls) – 53 points
Taleni Seu (Chiefs) – 50 points
Will Genia (Rebels) – 78 points
Elton Jantjies (Lions) – 59 points
Wandisile Simelane (Lions) – 80 points
Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes) – 73 points
Sevu Reece (Crusaders) – 106 points
Rieko Ioane (Blues) – 98 points #RyanQuaddy!!!
Will Jordan (Crusaders) – 68 points