The last few weeks have been wild on the Super Rugby Pacific front.
Triple headers, upsets and nailbiting finishes – the whole kit bag has been thrown at us.
So this week’s column comes during some down time at Casa de Maloney.
I’ve got the feet up watching the latest season of Better Call Saul on Stan which is, well, phenomenal.
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The Twilight Zone was a B-Grade TV show in the 1950s with an A-Grade theme tune.
In it, weird and wonderful stuff played out that made no sense at all.
Real upside down stuff.
How fitting then, that Saturday’s twilight fixture between the Waratahs and Crusaders would follow the same script.
Sean Maloney and Andrew Mehrtens are joined by Morgan Turinui in a special episode from Marvel Stadium. They talk upcoming Wallabies fixtures, Super Rugby Pacific and start the backline for the Weird Cat XV
A loud and large Tahs crowd showed up and ripped in at Leichhardt Oval.
Normally so gentile, they lifted their side, kept the ref honest and generally made a ruckus for the full 80 minutes. It was awesome.
NSW led 17-0 at halftime against the undisputed kings of Super Rugby and did enough to hold on.
Usually, normally… always, the Crusaders come back. They did not.
The match defining score came via a rolling maul which resulted in a penalty try.
The nerds at Stan Rugby tell me that hasn’t happened in six years versus the Saders.
We were so far inside the twilight zone, none of us even knew it.
All this brings me back to what coach Darren Coleman told me before a ball was kicked this year.
“Seanny, if we can win back 90 per cent of the rugby loving public in NSW through effort and attitude alone, I will regard this year as a success.”
Hopefully Saturday takes his men a long way toward that number.
Dylan Pietsch gifts the Waratahs a dream start
If you haven’t yet watched Tane Edmed’s post-game interview with Morgan Turinui, you should.
Morgs reckons Tane was so exhausted ahead of the chat, the guard came down and we were given one of the best rugby moments of the year.
When I asked what his initial reaction was when Tane became overcome with the emotion of the moment, the answer was simple.
“I just wanted to put the mic down and hug him.”
Think we all did.
As I said, if you haven’t yet, take a squiz.
This one was special in Suva, Fiji.
Seven months after leaving the island to begin their journey as a Super Rugby team, the Drua played their first proper home game of the season versus the Highlanders.
It. Was. Insane.
It was a sellout crowd with scintillating rugby and a spirit to the game that was unmatched in recent memory.
There is something truly beautiful about Fijian supporters who can elevate their players to deliver off-planet level rugby.
They laugh In the stands, they shriek, they smile and they sing.
It’s been a long time coming but my God it’s good to have them in Super Rugby Pacific.
THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN
it’s been three years since Christian Leali’ifano and Sekope Kepu played Super Rugby in Australia but man it was good to have them back on Saturday night.
Starting with Moana Pasifika and up against a resurgent Rebels team, both turned back the clock with huge performances.
Kepu made a couple of his trademark long runs and Leali’ifano steered his team flawlessly.
The other highlight of the night was their teammate Timoci Tavatavanawai.
It’s a big name and it he has the game to match it.
Drew Mitchell likened him in commentary to Fijian sledgehammer and former teammate Josua Tuisova.
It was uncanny how similar the two are.
Remember the name.
Valetini wins classic foot race
BOBBY V’S BELTER
For many years in Canberra there was a giant backrower with six inches of lift via his hairstyle who would terrorise teams.
His name, Radike Samo.
We saw history repeat in the Brumbies’ win against the Hurricanes with Rob Valetini tapping his inner ‘DK’ to score from 50m out.
The haircut is near identical and so is the athleticism with ‘Bobby V’ outpacing a flyhalf before scoring his wonder try.
When the England series rolls around he should be the second name on Dave Rennie’s team sheet behind the captain.
Which current Wallaroo demanded some tackle practice from a former Wallaby at Super Round… on the dance floor of a dive bar in Melbourne?
WHO DAT AGAIN?
Which grade player on Sydney’s northern beaches fronted up at their club’s ladies day auction, wearing only his trunks and a sex mask?
In a stunning turn, he went for near top dollar.