Thursday, June 27, 2019

Super Rugby Semis... YAY, plus Summer Mountain 15s



Super Rugby Semifinals: Continent v Continent and North v South Islands
Buenos Aires, Argentina
For the first time in four years and only the third time overall since 1996, South Africa have no contestant in the Best Four of Super Rugby, but their conference, the SAC, has a prodigious performer in first-time semifinalist Jaguares. The South American franchise scorched the Super Rugby landscape finishing regular season play on a five-match winning streak. As a matter of fact the only club that’s doing better at this moment is their opponent on the weekend, the Mob from Australia, who concluded their 2019 campaign on six happies before knocking six shades of... stuffing outta Sharks last weekend at the GIO in Canberra. But Brumbies last loss came at the clawed paws of the Argentines and as it happened, at the den of the Jaguares, Estadio José Amalfitani, in the South American capital where the semifinal will be either a repeat of Sleek and Quick Cats 20-15 April joy, or a spot of revenge for the Australians. Many of the fellows onfield tonight will don their nation’s jersey at 2019 RWC later this year and some will be looking to make a favorable impression towards that end.

The Tomas Cubelli-to-Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 9-10 pipeline will be key to the Cats success this day as they’ve a massive attack array from numbers 11-through-15 and that swift theater requires the pill to operate; the Mob backrow forwards must disrupt their hosts distribution out wide and also contain the marauding Jaguares forwards in order to find a happy ending in South America after 80 minutes Friday. If the Australian pack can secure working ball and their basic game plan of hoist-and-harry serves them well this could be joy for the travelers, but that bliss will be hard fought-and-won. 
Ageless hooker, Augustin Creevy, is yet in the pack for the homeside, but Brumbies number 2, Folau Fainga’a, may be the wild card in this deck. There will have been, or also maybe will be, rain in the air to slippen the pig and slicken the paddock with temperatures in the upper 50s, which will serve both sets of forwards.

Christchurch, New Zealand
In the New Zealand derby, which may go a long way in determining who’ll get the number 10 shirt for the run-ups to 2019 RWC, and actually quite a number of AB jerseys will be on offer to claim one should think, as the top XVs in the Land of the Long White Cloud compete for national club supremacy as well as for the right to challenge Friday’s winner for the 2019 Super Rugby trophy. Only surety regarding the outcome of this one is that the prevailing side will have a member of a wee Taranaki brood called, “Barrett” on its roster.

The efficacy of the numbers 8-10 links: Kieran Read-Bryn Hall-Richie Mo’unga v Gareth Evans-TJ Perenara-Beauden Barrett will be telling, but this one could turn on the countering capabilities of the back-three backs: David Havili-Sevu Reece-George Bridge for homeboys and Jordie Barrett-Sal Rayasi-Ben Lam for the North Islanders. Skirmishes in the midfield between Ryan Crotty and Ngani Laumape in the first five-eighths will rock the AMI, also. Clear skies, mid-to-low 40s and neither rain nor wind sets stage for what promises to be an epic Kiwi contest.

Summer Mountain 15s, the only 15-a-side league of its kind this time of year has one match scheduled: 

Gentlemen of Aspen v Gentlemen of the Blue Goose

Could be the opportunity for walk-on glory should one find themselves in Pitkin County on the day and be of a mind...

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