Matt Cassidy is back with this week’s edition of Who’s Hot and Who’s Not. It was a historic week for the Waratahs, while Richie McCaw won’t want to remember the Super Final.
It was third time lucky for the ‘Tahs who finally got their hands on the Super Rugby trophy. The Sydney siders, who finished top of the regular season table, won by the slimmest margins in front of the biggest crowd ever recorded for a Super Rugby match. Michael Cheika’s men thoroughly deserved their breakthrough title.
The Waratahs’ top dog became the first man to coach cup winning teams both sides of the equator. In 2009, Cheika coached Leinster to their first ever Heineken Cup victory in Edinburgh. And on Saturday the former Randwick No. 8 guided the NSW Waratahs’ to a dramatic first ever Super Rugby title. It will not be long until we see Cheika in charge on the international stage.
The flyhalf wrote his name into Aussie rugby folklore as he landed a 44 metre last minute penalty to send ANZ Stadium into raptures and give a much needed boost to a beleaguered union. The kick was not difficult in terms of its angle but the distance was on the edge of Foley’s range not to mention the excruciating pressure he was under. Foley rose to the occasion and as they say the rest is history.
Russia & Uruguay
And then there were two. 84 entrants have been competing for 12 available places at the 2015 World Cup and with, 11 of those places filled, Russia and Uruguay will compete for the final spot in a two legged playoff. Russia progressed after they beat Zimbabwe 23-15 and Uruguay defeated Hong Kong 28-3.
Arguably the finest ever openside flanker to play the game had probably the worst moment of his career when he conceded a stupid match winning penalty. McCaw admitted afterwards that “he should have known better” than to contest a 50-50 ruck. Some would say it is poetic justice for a man who has got away with his fair share of cheating on a rugby field. Karma’s a b*tch, eh Richie?
Todd Blackadder’s charges have been playing some brilliant rugby in the lead up to the final which enabled them to have a home semi-final. The men from Christchurch played very well on Saturday but they will rue the start they made, allowing the Waratahs to build a 14 point lead. The Crusaders will also feel that they are going through a barren patch as they have not added to their seven titles since 2008 despite reaching the last four every year since. Guess it is back to drawing board for 2015.
CJ Van Der Linde
The massive ex-Leinster prop’s move to Toulon was vetoed after the club’s authorities believed he was struggling to keep up while on trial. The prop was injury prone when he was based in Dublin and he played a grand total of twenty minutes for London Irish last season. Perhaps it is time to call it a day for the 2007 World Cup winner.
A name that few people will be familiar with but if you were watching the Women’s Rugby World Cup you will know her as Samoa’s fullback, sent off for a dreadful tip tackle. Pulumu picked up England’s scrumhalf, Natasha Hunt, and dropped her on her head. Fortunately, Hunt was fine but the tackle was incredibly dangerous and disgraceful. Let us hope we do not see any more tackles like this during the course of the tournament.
Matt Cassidy, Pundit Arena.