Update Wednesday 26th of June: OPTA have now confirmed that Finals (Matt) Todd scored off the Crusaders 48th minute rolling maul try, not Whetu Douglas. This means that Matt Todd actually scored 58 for the week, while Whetu only scored 31 points.
The Championship Semi-Finals Rd 1
(1) Havili’s Homophobic Henchmen V Burnin’ Bridges (4)
(2) Call me Big Papali’i V Karl Marx Groomed these Maddogs (3)
Burnin’ Bridges 643 leads 383 Havili’s Homophobic Henchmen
The most daunting task in Draft Finals is qualifying 4th and taking on the top dog. Despite this Nabung has absolutely crushed round 1, with a commanding lead of 260 points. TJ Perenara (84 points) was by far the dominant scrum half, and Burnin’ Bridges roster also featured RG Snyman (57), Allan Alaalatoa (51), Tom Banks (51), Folau Fainga’a (50) and David Havili (50). Add Pita Gus Sowakula (48), Sam Cane (45) and Guido Petti (40) to the mix and you can see how he dominated week 1. Cue the number 1 seed. Thank god for Pablo Matera (66 points) and Brad Weber (54), because without them Blake wouldn’t even be in with a sniff next week. Blake has featured in every finals campaign since joining the competition but has never won the big dance. He has a mountain to climb this week, I for one can’t wait to see how he tries to book his place in another final. The Championship round 2 semi-final brings an all new type of challenge, with only four Super Rugby teams in action this week, and four managers vying for their signatures, the chance to steal starting players off your competition is a tactic that hasn’t been able to be employed until now. The head to head now sits at Nabung 1, Blake 3.
Call me Big Papali’i 501 leads 359 Karl Marx Groomed these Maddogs
Harry’s win levels the head to head match-up at 2 a piece, this weeks game will be a fitting decider as one manager will go through to the grand final, while the other will be left licking his wounds. 142 points is the lead Harry takes into semi-finals week round 2, after Fantasy Man of the Week Richie Mo’unga (85 points) put out a finals performance for the ages. His first pick Ardie Savea (55) was also solid, while Matt Todd (58), Solomon Alaimalo (51), and Dane Coles (44) all showed their class. Yet again Matt Todd showed that finals Todd is completely different to his regular season form (28.6 AVG), surely he’ll be a top pick in he remaining draft rounds. Wylie may have beaten his finals competition in the final regular season round, but the long confusing team names roster wasn’t up to scratch this week. Ben Lam (48 points) bucked the teams trend and top scored after bagging a first half try, while Rory Arnold (45) was also solid. Harry’s lead gives him the advantage, but he is far from safe. Will Harry’s finals experience lead him to victory, or will Wylie, who spent the most weeks on top of the regular season ladder, cover the spread to take him through to his first final.
The Wooden Spoon Final Week 1
(7) Otere is the new Black 554 leads 486 Clan McKenzie (8)
At the half way point for the battle to avoid the wooden spoon Nelson has taken control with a narrow 68 point lead. Both managers first round picks were relative duds with Nelson’s Sevu Reece (23) and Larry’s Anton Lienert-Brown (36) both not featuring in the highlights. Otere is the new Black were led by RG Snyman (57 points), but Ardie Savea (55) and Brad Weber (54) also cracked the half tonne. Strong performances from Ben Lam (48), Pita Gus Sowakula (48) and Dane Coles (44) helped him take round out round 1. The biggest play was made by Nelson stealing Richie Mo’unga (85) to sit on his bench from underneath Larry’s nose with his 12th pick, despite already signing Beauden Barrett (28) to his roster in the third round. If he’d just played the Crusaders fly half he’d have a commanding lead going into next week. Larry stayed in the fight this week through the Spoon’s top player Pablo Matera (66 points), while both Allan Alaalatoa (51), Folau Fainga’a and David Havili (both 50) scored strongly, Rory Arnold (45) also contributed to the team. Nelson’s round 1 lead puts their head to head match-up at 4-0. The Super Rugby Semi-Finals brings one last chance to avoid the Wooden Spoon. Will Nelson or Larry take out the title?
Best Player: Richie Mo’unga 85 points (Harry)
Worst Player: Liam Squire -3 points (Wylie)
The Best Supersub: Nil
The Best free agent: Andre Esterhuizen 60 points (Spoon Final); Henry Speight 46 points (Championship Final)
Worst Coaching Decision (player left on the bench): Beauden Barrett 28 points started over Richie Mo’unga 85 points (Nelson – Spoon Final); Lachlan Boshier 33 points started over Pete Samu 71 points (Harry – Championship Final).
Round 2 to come next week!
Written by Harrison Dale