PLAYERS IN FOCUS
Our top three fantasy scorers and players in focus for round 6 of Fantasy Super Rugby 2019 were all forwards this week. There was the one and only Malcolm Marx (Lions) one short of the century with 99 points, the in form Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco (Sunwolves) with 96 points and the workman, Whetu Douglas (Crusaders) with 83 points.
Malcolm Marx was the Fantasy Man of the Round this week as his performance combined his rising effort levels and the Lions starting to score off the rolling maul once again. He came away with 99 points from two tries off the back of those driving mauls, 11 line outs won, 10 tackles (20 points for a front rower) and won the team 3 turnovers. The bye couldn’t have come at a better time for Marx who would surely be starting to look at a Springbok rest week (if such a policy exists) and probably the Lions as well, whilst they were just starting to heat up, it could be a good break to regather themselves.
Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco has just been getting better and better with each given week! He has started all 6 games at eighth man for the Sunwolves and now has the 6th highest average of all back rowers in the competition with 46.5 (Note: he is the only one of them to have played 6 games so far). He scored 96 points in this week’s fixture with 9 carries, 3 clean breaks, 5 tackle busts, 3 turnovers won and 2 tries, which should have been 3 but he was robbed when a penalty try & yellow card was awarded to Sylvian Mahuza for deliberately knocking down the last pass that would have seen Vosayaco over in the corner. Only time will tell how secure Rahboni’s starting jersey is, the factors we are waiting on at the moment are; 1) the resolution of Amanaki Mafi’s legal proceedings as to whether or not he will be allowed to play (he’d have to be the first choice number 8 we would think) and 2) the reintroduction of a number of the Japanese Brave Blossom’s into the Sunwolves squad, specifically young talent Kazuki Himeno, currently captaining the Japanese squad touring around New Zealand playing some Super Rugby B teams. Either way if Rahboni keeps playing this well he will be hard to drop and could also just find himself in the 6 jersey. Go son!!
Whetu Douglas is a player in focus once again after an 85 point shift in round 3. He is just an absolute work horse and accumulates fantasy points by just getting stuck into everything. This week he scored 83 points from 15 carries, 1 line break, 6 tackle busts, 4 lineout takes, 2 offloads, 9 tackles and he won 3 turnovers!! He now has an average of 53.6 from 5 games but unfortunately his stocks are now dropping with the return of All Blacks captain Kieran Read into the Crusaders Fold this week. In a crusaders team making an uncharacteristic amount of mistakes, Whetu just went about his business like the terminator.
SUPER RUGBY TEAM FANTASY SCORES
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ROUND 6 FIXTURES
Blues 33 – 26 Highlanders, Eden Park, AucklandEmbed from Getty Images
This match had a bit of everything; some moments of individual brilliance, a helluva battle at set piece, some great kicking (Marty Banks) and some terrible kicking (Harry Plummer) and even a yellow card and score so low for an All Black winger, you’d never believe it!!
There were a few moments of individual brilliance in this game, particularly from Melani Nanai (FMOTM – 65 points), but the stand out was courtesy of Reiko Ioane’s (57 points) try straight up the guts off a line out and through the entire team for a try. If you needed to know why Rieko is the world’s most dangerous winger just make sure to go check out the tape of this one.
In the set piece it was a see-saw affair with the blues getting an early ascendancy in the scrums before the landers took absolute control exemplified by Luke Whitelock (51 points) scoring a try from a 5m scrum drive over. From there it wasn’t until the Blues brought on some fairly handy replacements from the bench in the form of All Blacks Karl Tu’inukuafe, Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Patrick Tuipulotu (37 points). But boy did that turn it around, particularly big Karl up front getting the scrummaging MVP for mine!
In terms of fantasy performances it was TJ Faiane (49 points) running some slick lines and Ben Smith, Dillion Hunt and Jonathan Ruru all ended up with 41 points. The low score was a man who is a god down there in Dunedin, Waiseke Naholo with –19 points!!! His season is going from bad to worse so far in 2019 and he missed 4 tackles (-8), conceded 2 penalties (-10) and copped a yellow card (-10)!!!
Some Match Stats:
Blues 61% possession and 62% territory
Defenders beaten 32 -15
Line Breaks 10-5
Tackle success: Blues 79% V Highlanders 77%
Hurricanes 34 – 28 Stormers, Westpac Stadium, WellingtonEmbed from Getty Images
The Stormers had a strong start to this match with the game plan obviously being to hold on to the ball and bully the hurricanes with superior physicality from their big men up front. Bongi Mbonambi (71 points) was the Fantasy Man of the Match (FMOTM) in a particularly fired up performance, he made 10/10 tackles (20 points for a front rower!!), won 11/12 line outs and bagged himself a crucial try just before half time. The ‘firetruck’ Steven Kitshoff (54 points) and the ever reliable Pieter-Steph du Toit (49 points) also put in big shifts both making 12 carries and PSDT making an insane 30 tackles!!
After conceding some points and penalties from this early pressure, when the Hurricanes did get the pill, well they simply wanted to run those big men ragged with some edge to edge play to tire them out. And this is precisely what they did! Unsurprisingly whilst the top fantasy scorers for the Stormers were forwards, they were all backs for the Hurricanes. Wes Goosen (59 points) bagged himself two tries from some truly terrible one on one defence from SP Marais and the Barrett brothers combined in the first and second five roles in a truly comprehensive showing bothing nabbing themselves a meat pie; Jordie Barrett with 59 points (3 clean breaks, 4 tackle busts) and Beauden Barrett with 45 points (10 carries, a clean break and tackle bust).
Some Match Stats:
Line Breaks 11 – 6
Defenders Beaten 27 – 16
Hurricanes conceded 11-7 penalties
Stormers stole 3 line outs
Waratahs 20 – 12 Crusaders, Sydney Cricket GroundEmbed from Getty Images
I was at this game on the weekend and unlike the general consensus on superbru (the tipping website) in which 98% of punters had the Crusaders to win, I had the Crusaders down at 99% to win haha! Even as a devout Waratahs fan I couldn’t see the Tahs winning this one. But alas I was pleased to be proven wrong and the Waratahs broke the Crusaders 19 game winning streak. Essentially this game boiled down to an uncharacteristic amount of mistakes by the Crusaders, whether it was in the form of missed tackles or passes not going to hand and conversely the Tahs uncharacteristically executing their skills, winning the physical battle and keeping their composure.
Whetu Douglas (83 points) was the FMOTM and is one of our players in focus this week (you can check out his stats up top) and was the only real positive performance from the Crusaders pack. Out the back it was George Bridge (53 points – 4 line breaks, 90+ run metres) who probably should have a good 20 points subtracted because that first crusaders try was a clear forward pass from Codie Taylor (43 points)!!!
Israel Folau’s (65 points, 12 runs, 3 line breaks, 4 tackle busts) try from a cross field kick was just that bit of luck the Tahs needed and it saw him pull even with Doug Howlett as the leading Super Rugby try scorer of all time with 59 tries. Michael Hooper (51 points – 22 tackles!) put in another great captain’s performance, really leading the forwards from the front and locks Jed Holloway (49 points – 1 try) and Ned Hanigan (43 points – 18 tackles, 2 turnovers) just really muscled up and took it to the men from Christchurch, showed them they are not invincible!
Some Match Stats:
Crusaders – 18 handling errors
Carries 96 vs 146
Crusaders lost 3 lineouts. Tahs 0.
Missed tackles: 23 – 22
Clean Breaks 11 – 10
Sunwolves 24 – 37 Lions, Singapore National StadiumEmbed from Getty Images
This match was simple, there was some great enterprising play out wide from both teams here but it came down to the Lions just following the textbook on how to beat the Sunwolves that we discuss every week. Set piece and front up in the forwards. Malcolm Marx (99 points – FMOTR) scored his two tries off driving mauls and put on a masterclass in tight – check out his complete stats up top of the page. Nic Groom (59 points) had a great game with 1 try, 2 line breaks and 2 try assists and Wandisile Simelane (43 points) couldn’t find as much space as he would of liked but still beat 6 defenders from his 11 runs.
For the Sunwolves it was another of our top three fantasy scorers for the round and player in focus Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco (96 points) turning it right up – again scroll to top for more detail. Jason Emery (48 points) was a crucial linkman and mae 2 line breaks, 4 offloads from his 6 carries and he won 3 turnovers!!! Rounding out the Sunwolves fantasy performances were Gehard Van der Heever (39 points) continuing to score well and Grant Hattingh (39 points) in his first game for the moon dogs in 2019.
Some Match Stats:
Metres 586 – 530
Line breaks 17 – 13
Defenders beaten 25 – 30
Offloads 18 – 4
Bulls 20 – 56 Chiefs, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Despite the Chiefs ability to regularly put on performances like this in recent years, I don’t think anyone saw it coming this weekend, particularly given their form as of late and conversely the Bulls great form. Simply put, the Bulls just had no answers, they couldn’t slow down the incredible attacking machine that was the Chiefs, absolutely being blown off the park. The Chiefs just came out firing and from the first whistle and they won the physicality battle, the battle and set piece and then just made the Bulls defence look like swiss cheese, finding holes at will. As you’d expect there were loads of fantasy points in this fixture.
Unsurprisingly this Chiefs resurgence was in large part sparked by the return of Damian McKenzie (74 points – FMOM) to fullback where he does his best attacking work. He put on quite the spectacle making 13 runs, 3 line breaks, 4 tackle busts, 3 try assists and even won 3 turnovers. He was also a laser off the boot making 6/7 conversions and 3/3 penalty kicks. When your pivot is playing that well you don’t even need Anton Lienert-Brown (pulled pre game due to illness – check out the Casualty Ward), instead the Chiefs young centres Tumua Manu (62 points – 3 linebreaks) and Alex Nankivell (58 points – 2 tries) were being put into space and making the absolute most of it! DMac was certainly killing it out back but none other than the big man Brodie Retallick (66 points) was crushing it up front. Brodie came away from this one with 2 but could have easily been 3 tries if he wasn’t so unselfish and just got through a mountain of work. Speaking of work, Lachlan Boshier (58 points) really stepped up the plate and got stuck into everything, he made 4 turnovers (16 points)!!
For the men from the high veldt it was inspirational leader and leading nominee for best guy in super rugby award, Schalk Brits (46 points) who made 12 tackles, won 8/9 line out throws and I think at one point admitted to the ref that he had knocked it on and it should in fact be the Chiefs scrum. Out the back it was another reliable bulls stalwart, Jesse Kriel (44 points) with 13 carries and 2 line breaks.
Some Match Stats:
Clean breaks 5 – 16
Offloads 3 – 15
Turnovers won 1-8
Sharks 28 – 14 Melbourne Rebels, Jonsson Kings Park, DurbanEmbed from Getty Images
The Rebels decided that coming off a loss where they blew a 31-5 lead against the Lions and without there captain Dane Haylett-Petty (out injured – read more about it in the Casualty Ward) that it would be a good idea to rest some of their key players this week, namely Will ‘the team’ Genia and Isi Naisarani. Conversely the Sharks rolled out there close to full strength team, just missing first choice back rowers Jean-Luc Du Preez and Phillip Van Der Walt. The Sharks played territory, kicking it twice as much as the rebels and then exerted pressure, the Rebels conceded twice the number of turnovers (26) to the Sharks 13. The Rebels were actually winning at the set piece, stealing 3 line outs and winning two tightheads at the scrum. But it ultimately came down to playing it in the right areas and forcing the rebels to turn it over or give up a penalty, Rob Du Preez (36 points) slotting 3 penalty kicks.
Speaking of Du Preez, the fantasy battle’s top story was the battle of the eighth men, with stand in captain Angus Cottrell (56 points) topping the fixture (FMOTM) just in front of Dan Du Preez (55 points – 1 try, 4 tackle busts). Cottrell stepped up with the captains armband and made 14 carries, 3 tackle busts, a line break, 2 offloads and won 2 turnovers. Quade Cooper (51 points) was class even in the absence of his halves partner Will Genia, he made 16 runs, 3 offloads and had 2 try assists. The other notables from the Sharks were Makazole Mapimpi (46 points) with a try, 2 line breaks and 5 tackle busts from his 6 carries, and lock Hyron Andrews (43 points) the go to man when the sharks did win the lineout (with 5 lineouts won) and 14 tackles.
Some Match Stats:
Kicks in Play 28 – 14
Turnovers Conceded 13 – 26
Line outs Stolen 1 – 3
Offloads 4 – 11
36 Reds – 14 Brumbies, Suncorp Stadium, BrisbaneEmbed from Getty Images
This was an interesting and frustrating game choc full of surprises and error ridden in a very hot and humid Suncorp stadium in Brisbane. We were expecting the reds to dominate come scrum time and the Brumbies at the line out, perhaps scoring a few rolling maul tries but we couldn’t have been more wrong. James Slipper (28 points) absolutely schooled powerhouse and former team mate whom he probably taught to scrummage, Taniela ‘Tongan Thor’ Tupou (-6 points) in a dominant Brumbs scrum performance and conversely the reds were all over the line out, winning 18/19 (95%) of there own and pinching 4 from the Brumbies who went 13/17 (76%).
In terms of fantasy the top 6 scorers were all from Queensland and none of the Brumbies got over 40 points. Bryce Hegarty, Chris F-Sautia & Tate McDermott all ended up with tries and 49 points. Not far behind them was Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (46 points) and Scott Higginbotham & Samu Kerevi on 45 points. For the Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano ended up with 38 points managing to keep it together but just not get the boys up in this one.
Some Game Stats:
Defenders beaten 26-15
Clean breaks 8 – 2
Tackle Succcess 85% – 79%
Lineout success 18/19 95% – 13/17 76%
Steven Kitshoff (Stormers) – 54 points
Ben May (Hurricanes) & Harry Johnson-Holmes (Waratahs) – 38 points
Malcolm Marx (Lions) – 99 Points (2 Tries!)
Brodie Retallick (Chiefs) – 66 points
Jed Holloway (Waratahs) – 49 points
Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco (Sunwolves) – 96 points (2 Tries!)
Whetu Douglas (Crusaders) – 83 points
Lachlan Boshier (58 points) – 58 points
Nic Groom (Lions) – 59 points
Damian McKenzie (Chiefs) – 74 points
Tumua Manu (Chiefs) – 62 points
Alex Nankivell (Chiefs) – 58 points
Israel Folau (Waratahs) – 65 points
Melani Nanai (Blues) – 65 points
Wes Goosen (Hurricanes) – 59 points