Even when Wendell Sailor doesn’t play, he
still manages a headline or two, but today’s effort, “What Will They Do With Drunken Sailor?is not the marketing edge the Waratahs were hoping to gain from him. It’s a
weird weekend’s rugby when the four Australian Super 14 teams each won just one
half of their games.

After last year’s effort with the Wallabies
on tour in South Africa, you’d think Sailor would give the nightclubs a big miss, but it
looks like thinking about such things isn’t the winger’s strongest suite.

The incident also overshadows a weekend of better Super 14 results
for Australian teams than most would have predicted. Each of the four local sides
managed to have the best of one half of their matches, which is more than
nearly anyone expected of WA’s Force against the Hurricanes or the Queensland
Reds against the Crusaders. For both the ACT Brumbies and NSW Waratahs, winning the second half was enough to win the game as well – never an easy thing to do playing away in South Africa.

There was more good stuff for the new
Wallaby coach to consider – the Reds’ Cordingly again looked the goods at
halfback, there are several props who will be good enough to take to France
next year, we have great depth in flankers with George Smith claiming the
number 7 jersey and the fierce battle for
the blind-side role and Australia has two class five-eighths in Larkham and
teenager Barnes.

The bad news is that the Waratahs were
lucky to win playing very average rugby for the second week in a row. No, they
were worse than average in Cape Town, but as the Planet Rugby report says, the Stormers
let them get away with it.

The most frustrating effort though belonged
to the Reds, who once again were in front with 13 minutes to go. Instead of bleating
about referees
,
coach Jeff Miller has to keep his first
choice backs on the field for 80 minutes. When Ben Tune returns, Queensland will
have 15 players capable of beating each of the 11 sides remaining – but they
don’t have 22 who can do it.

Next weekend they face Auckland’s equally
winless Blues – coached by former Queensland player
and deposed ACT coach, David Nucifora. The star-studded Blues are the
competition’s biggest disappointments after two rounds – meaning there’s
already pressure building on Nucifora.

Peter Fray

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