Our semi-finals are played over two consecutive weeks, with full sides redrafted for each round. We do this because there are fewer teams available, making the normal trade system impossible and because drafting is the greatest part of any fantasy footy competition.
Semi-final round 1:
Semi Rd 1 Fixtures:
The Reds(447) V (250)Rieking Havoc 2.0 (Grubs Edition) Cargie (1) vs Nabung (4) Taking a quick look back to 2019, we saw Nabung trump regular finalist Blake from 4th position, so a crowd-pleasing underdog story was definitely a possibility. Skip forward to the present day and his dream of going one better than a losing finalist in 2019 is in tatters, giving up a 197 point lead to minor premier and all-round trade night dirtbag Cargie. Cargie had a clear game plan, pick the entire Reds team and everything will work out. Despite Karmichael Hunt being pulled pregame, that’s exactly what happened. James O’Connor (92 points) was the standout, a double blow considering Nabung had jumped on Will Harrison (-5) early. Taniela Tupou (54) went big and was unlucky not to take another two tries from the game, while Jock Campbell (42) and Harry Wilson (40) also contributed heavily. You’d never have guessed that Nabung’s abysmal team boasted the likes of gems Pete Samu (67 points) and Brendan Paenga-Amosa (48), but that’s where the scoring finished. To stress just how poor his side was, over half his team (Maddocks, Lacey, Newsome, Foketi, Harrison, Stander, Atkins, Bell, HJH) combined for a total of 20 points! Evidently fate has it that Nabung will lose his name to his younger brother at season’s end baring a miracle next week.
Damian McKenzie XV(349) Vs (379) Newbung’s “can you believe this bloke still hasn’t got a team name” Harry (2) vs Newbung (3) Despite breaking his elbow and drafting high on pain killers just 12 hours before surgery, Newbung now boasts a 3-0 record over 4-time champ Harry. But a 30 point lead is a narrow one, and he’ll have to make it a clean sweep next week to progress to the big dance in his debut season. Harry followed the same strategy of Cargie this week. However, picking from 2nd doesn’t afford the same drafting privilege. As a result, he couldn’t get as many of the top dogs. Filipo Daugunu (92 points) was a godsend for the side, having missed out on first choice Petaia (37) to Cargie. While first pick Tate McDermott (86) delivered exactly what was needed. A lack of other standout performers really hurt the Damian McKenzie XV, but the real low blow was losing both Reds centres Stewart (7) and Flook (11), who were surely destined to cash in on the Force thrashing. To top it off Jono Lance was dropped to the bench pregame having cut open his head, surely the bad luck can’t strike two weeks in a row. Newbung’s week completely hinged on Fraser McReight (77 points). His opposition FOOLISHLY drafted in Rob Simmons (11) in place of the young flanker. Newbung immediately selected the young smokey not realising Pete Samu was also available, a masterstroke of a mistake if I’ve ever seen one! The change-up could have seen a 154 point swing and a huge lead to the 2nd seed. Speaking of mistakes, not all managers had their eyes on the news leading into this week’s game, Newbung selecting Strachan (0) over Jack McGregor (29) who had been promoted to the starting side. A mistake that could cost him in such a tight match-up. Not to be forgotten, Jack Demspey (43) is in a rich vein of form, and Tom Wright (40) has become increasingly reliable as the season progresses.
Best Player: James O’Connor (Cargie) & Filipo Daugunu (Harry) 92 points Worst Player: Will Harrison (Nabung) -5 points Best Supersub: Nil Biggest Coaching Mistake (player left on the bench): Jack McGregor (29) left on the bench for Jake Strachan (0) (Newbung)
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Returned from injury (AU Rd 8):
Moses Sorovi (Reds) – Had his first run off the bench since the start of the year having recovered from a leg injury. Harry Hoopert (Reds) – Returned off the bench having recovered from his rd 3 MCL injury. Nick Frisby (Western Force) – Recovered from breaking his nose in training last week to play. Henry Taefu (Western Force) – Fully recovered from his rd 5 concussion to take a spot on the bench. Tom Ross (Brumbies) – Got knocked out badly in rd 6 but back on the bench this week. Rob Valetini (Brumbies) – limped off the field unexpectedly in rd 6. Still managed to play off the bench this week. Cadeyrn Neville (Brumbies) – Started having trained with the team again for the last two weeks.
Matt Toomua (Rebels) – Suffered a concussion in rd 8, had scans on his neck which cleared any serious injury. Source. Will Miller (Waratahs) – Available again after an ankle injury. Source.
New Injuries (AU Rd 8):
Josh Flook (Reds) – Looks to have dislocated his shoulder. His season is most likely over. Source. Hamish Stewart (Reds) – Eventually succumbed to a hip injury. The area he was holding would suggest it is just a hip pointer (bone bruise) and should recover quickly. Source. Karmichael Hunt (Waratahs) – A late withdrawal from the game after suffering a minor hamstring strain in training. Source.
Ongoing Injury List:
Western Force Greg Holmes – Broke his thumb in rd 6. It is unclear exactly how long he will be sidelined. Source. Tevin Ferris – Stretchered off early in rd 5 but cleared of a serious neck injury. Won’t play in rd 7. Source.
Brumbies Toni Pulu – Had shoulder surgery early March, still wasn’t back training in mid-May, so he is unlikely to play anytime soon. Source. Noah Lolesio – Tore his hamstring in rd 3. The results suggest he is out for 8 weeks, giving him a target of playing in a grand final. Source.
Reds Chris Feauai-Sautia – Came off with a calf tear in rd 5, was at long odds to play rd 9, no more info since then. Source. Alex Mafi – Suffered a concussion in rd 6 then failed a late fitness test and missed rd 7. Hunter Paisami – Came off with an aggravation of his old MCL (knee) injury. Expected back in rd 10. Source.
Rebels Anaru Rangi – Could miss the full season with “a personal health issue”. Source. Tom English – Was meant to be playing in Japan, training with the squad but can’t be selected unless his trip is canceled. Source. Semisi Tupou – Suffered an ACL injury in the preseason, a slight chance to come back before the end of the season. Source. Dane Haylett-Petty – Out for at least 5 weeks after picking up a knee injury in rd 4. Source. Rob Leota – Was helped from the field with a leg injury in rd 6. Source.
NEW ZEALAND Highlanders Nehe Milner-Skudder – Hasn’t played rugby in 18 months after consecutive shoulder injuries. Tweaked his MCL before rd 9 but was hopefully of playing club rugby regardless. That would see him a chance to play in the final round of SR Aotearoa. Source. Pari Pari Parkinson – Suffered an ankle injury in rd 10 and won’t play in the north vs south game. Source.
Chiefs Nathan Harris – Had a rotator cuff (shoulder muscle) repair on the 15th of January. Out for at least six months and was set to miss all of Super Rugby. A chance to get a run during this season but we haven’t heard anything. Source. Aidan Ross – Came off with a calf tear in rd 6. Didn’t play in rd 7. Source. Reuben O’Neill – Came off with a hamstring injury and didn’t play in rd 9. Source. Ryan Coxon – Out with an injury to his thumb. Tiaan Falcon – Suffered an injury to his knee. Sam Cane – Came off with what looked like a knock in rd 9, ended up being a concussion. Source. Kini Naholo – Didn’t last long before he left the field with a leg injury in rd 9.
Hurricanes Vaea Fifita – Pulled from the starting side pre-game in rd 7, no more info at this stage. Source. Isaia Walker-Leawere – Pulled from the starting side pre-game in rd 7, not sure of what he has done. Source. Kobus van Wyk – Had his yellow card tackle on weber in rd 9 upgraded and was ruled out for 3 weeks. Source.
Crusaders Manasa Mataele – Still in the process of returning from a knee injury as of rd 8. Source. Joe Moody – Picked up a neck injury in rd 9 and was ruled out of rd 10. Source. Oli Jager – Came off with an ugly hit to the head rd 9. Looked like a concussion but they treated it like a neck injury. Won’t play next week. Source. Quinten Strange – Suffered a chest injury in rd 10 and won’t play in the north vs south game. Source.
Blues Tom Robinson – Had a meniscal tear cleaned up in his knee after rd 1. Recovery said to be 6-8 weeks, they are targeting 5-6. Generally, it varies from 1-12 weeks so it is hard to guess from the outside. Source. Hoskins Sotutu – Suffered a knee injury which ruled him out of rd 6 and rd 7. No word on a return date yet but there is some language suggesting he might be back soon. Source. Daniel Carter – Strained his calf in training the Thursday before rd 6. Looks like his only chance to play would be against the Crusaders in rd 9. Source. James Parsons – Still on the comeback trail from a concussion in Rd 5. Source.
Gone for the season:
Baden Wardlaw (Blues) – Forced to retire before the season due to a chronic neck fusion. Source. Ray Niuia (Blues) – Has a knee injury that will cost him his season. Source. Tanielu Tele’a (Blues) – Had a shoulder injury after round 6 and is out for the season. Source. Stephen Perofeta (Blues) – Has been ruled out for the season, opening the door for Dan Carter to sign for the Blues. No more detail on his injury yet. Ricky Jackson (Highlanders) – The hooker will miss the entire SR campaign with an ankle injury and operation. Nathan Vella brought in to replace him. Source. James Lentjes (Highlanders) – Fracture dislocated his ankle in rd 5, will have surgery and is gone for the season. The expected recovery is 6-9 months. Source. Connor Garden-Bachop (Highlanders) – Had an operation on his back due to return in June but his spot in the side has been taken. Source. Tevita Nabura (Highlanders) – Still getting over an operation on his lower back after he suffered an injury at training just before Christmas, was expected back in April but his spot has been taken. Source. Sam Gilbert (Highlanders) – Tore his ACL in rd 3 and will miss 9 months. Source. Josh Dickson (Highlanders) – Has broken a bone in his lower leg in Aotearoa Rd 5 and will miss the remainder of the season. He is expected to be out for four months, so we expect he had to have it operated on. Source. Kayne Hammington (Highlanders) – Fractured a bone in his hand late in the match against the Hurricanes and will miss the remainder of the campaign. Source. Atu Moli (Chiefs) – Had FAI (hip impingement) surgery on both hips to treat chronic hip dysfunction. He will miss the entire season. Source. Michael Allardice (Chiefs) – Gone for the season having undergone surgery for a shoulder reconstruction. Source. Laghlan McWhannell (Chiefs) – Gone for the season having gone under the knife to have a patellar tendon debridement (this is not a good sign for such a young player). Source. Sam McNicol (Chiefs) – Gone for the season after ankle surgery to correct his anterior impingement and clean up his joint surfaces. Source. Luke Jacobson (Chiefs) – Fractured his hand against the Blues. The recovery time for the injury is 5 to 6 weeks but the Chiefs are taking a cautious approach and don’t expect him to play this season. Source. Tyler Ardron (Chiefs) – Will now leave the squad to start his contract with Castres. Source. Solomon Alaimalo (Chiefs) – Dislocated his shoulder after scoring a try and won’t take part in the rest of SR Aotearoa. Source. Scott Barrett (Crusaders) – Tore his plantar fascia in the intrasquad trial. Had surgery on the 25th of June and will miss the full Super Rugby season. Aiming for an October return. Source. Ethan Blackadder (Crusaders) – Now had a meniscus clean up in his knee after being scratched from rd 4. Gone for the season. Source. Cullen Grace (Crusaders) – Ruled out of action for 6-8 weeks with a Bennett’s fracture (fractured thumb) that requires an operation in rd 3. Gone for the season. Source. David Havili (Crusaders) – Suffered a Bennett’s fracture in his thumb and will miss the rest of the Super Rugby season. Source. Gareth Evans (Hurricanes) – Now ruled out for the full SR Aotearoa season. We suspect from his ankle injury. Source. Fraser Armstrong (Hurricanes) – Broke his arm and won’t play again in SR Aotearoa. Source. Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes) – Came off with a broken wrist. Having surgery on the 30th of July and aiming for a return in mid-November. Source.
Les Leulua’iali’i-Makin (Brumbies) – ruled out of Super Rugby season after rupturing his Achilles on the 25th of January. Source. Blake Enever (Brumbies) – Has been released by the Brumbies to return home to Brisbane immediately on compassionate grounds where he will continue his recovery from a lower leg injury. Source. Now confirmed he has signed for Leicester. Source. Isaac Lucas (Reds) – Had his RA contract torn up after rejecting a pay cut from the Reds. Expected to sign for a Japanese rugby club. Source. Harry Hockings (Reds) – Had his RA contract torn up after rejecting a pay cut from the Reds. Expected to sign for a Japanese rugby club. Source. Izack Rodda (Reds) – Had his RA contract torn up after rejecting a pay cut from the Reds. Apparently he still might reverse his decision to leave. Source. Henry Speight (Reds) – Has been released from his contract to take up a 3-year contract with Biarritz, won’t play Super Rugby AU. Source. Dane Zander (Reds) – Suffered a knee injury in training before rd 6 and won’t play again this season. Source. Damien Fitzpatrick (Waratahs) – Retired from professional rugby before the AU season started. Source. Kurtley Beale (Waratahs) – Won’t take any part in Super Rugby AU after being released early to take up his contract with Racing 92. Source. Mack Mason (Waratahs) – Still on contract until November but has been allowed to seek employment on his farm in Queensland and isn’t back training with the squad. Source. Carlo Tizzano (West Harbour), Joe Cotton (Southern Districts), Triston Reilly (Randwick), Henry Robertson (Sydney Uni), as well as sevens player Angus Bell (Sydney Uni) (Waratahs) – All released to play club rugby for the remainder of the season. Source Chris Alcock (Western Force) – Has just announced his retirement prior to the start of Super Rugby AU. Source. Luke Jones (Rebels) – Released early to play overseas and won’t play in Super Rugby AU. Ryan Louwrens (Rebels) – Has had an operation on his ruptured bicep and will miss the rest of the season. Source.
Have we missed something? Drop a comment or tweet and let us know.
The final round of the OG League is complete and the play-off pictures are well and truly taking shape!
Trade Night Rd 6
Round 7 Fixtures:
Rieking Havoc 2.0(457) V (213) Peri Peri Chicken Nabung (5) vs Wylie (3) With a curveball thrown in for fantasy managers in the last week of the regular season, the result of this fixture came as no surprise to anyone post the trading window for the week. In his true all or nothing fashion and with a reckless abandon, Wylie kept the 6 crusaders and 3 blues on his roster largely hedging his bets that the Blues v Crusaders game would go ahead behind closed doors with Auckland back in stage 3 COVID lockdown. He left two trades unused and still had 2 Chiefs with the bye on his roster, opting not to pick up even a benchie replacement. With the Blues/Saders game called off, Wylie’s team had only 6 men take to the field and this ultimately saw his place in the finals and all his hard work extinguished on the home straight. Of his 6 men that did take the field, they were actually pretty good! Taniela Tupou and Jona Nareki both brought home 47 points, Prinsep 37 after being denied a 40m linebreak try and Stewart and Daugunu on 32 and 31 points respectively.
Nabung was praying to any gods that would listen this week and someone, somewhere must have heard him and answered those calls. Sitting at 5th on the table, the equation was simple, a win and nothing less would see him into the finals. His roster was actually in pretty good stead heading into the last round of the regular season despite having dropped some big names throughout the season. He made three trades, picking up the remaining two starting outside backs available, the Western Force’s Brady Lacey and debutant Jake Strachan and additionally picked up prop Tetera Faulkner. He fielded 14 starters, unable to play Tuipulotu, Rieko Ioane or George Bridge with the game cancellation. It was always going to be difficult to lose with 14 men on 6, but regardless his men put out a quality performance even narrowly bagging him a bonus point (which would have seen him actually finish 3rd had another manager not also picked up on as well). Stand outs were all from the Highlanders vs Hurricanes fixture with landers halves, Aaron Smith with 68 points, Josh Ioane 61 points, Ash Dixon 51 points and Peter Umaga-Jensen with 48 points. Welcome to the finals once again Mr Nabung.
Damian McKenzie XV(441) Vs (279) Ride My Pone Harry (1) vs Nsync (8) Nsync finished the 7 round regular season with a big fat doughnut, unable to muster a single win in his team’s name in the Draft Rugby 2020 2.0 season. As a result of finishing bottom of the log, Sync will face the Draft Rugby 2020 punishment, keep an eye out for posts to come on that and in addition has booked himself a gig in the wooden spoon playoff. This is the playoff between the OG Leagues bottom two managers, the loser to have his name immortalised on the fabled wooden spoon trophy. In the weekends fixtures, Ride My Pone at least had name sake and fan favourite, Pone Fa’amausili back out there starting for the rebels and he scored 33 points in a colossal matchup with the Tongan Thor, Taniela Tupou, on the weekend. Whilst it can feel as though Pone is the size of a few players, Sync may have been a little carried away and only managed to field 10 men in this penultimate week’s fixtures. His clear standouts were Will Harrison with 54 points and Marino Mikaele Tu’u with 53 both finishing the season strong.
In contrast, despite being top of the table and blessed with ‘the bye’ in his final fixture, Harry’s victory was a hollow one as it actually saw him drop down a position to finish 2nd on the table after he narrowly missed out on an attacking bonus point. He was 9 points shy of the 450 required for the attacking BP and locking in the minor premiership. Some have said that he was perhaps a little complacent and just didn’t play the man. After a mad scramble at trade night, Harry was unable to fill all the holes and ended up taking the field with 13 men, a few of those off the bench. His mob was lead by big fantasy performances from Mat Philip (52 points), Brandon Paenga-Amosa (55 points despite a yellow card), James O’Connor (48 pts) and Bynard Stander (44 pts). Harry will now back his finals experience and commence the mind games, particularly given his opponent in the playoffs (2 v 3) will be *spoiler alert* the only OG league member in his maiden Draft Rugby season.
The Wallatahs (531) Vs (361) Where My Hosea At Cargie (2) vs Nelson (7) Cargie & the Wallatahs emptied the tank for the last round of regular season Draft Rugby, making 7 trades to get starters on the park, including making an early determination that the Blues v Crusaders game would be cancelled and making some moves. He farewelled his Crusaders stars, Richie Mo’unga and Will Jordan, trading for Matt Toomua and Jordie Barrett whilst there was still a chance the game would go ahead. It was the J’s in Cargies team that delivered the knockout blows, with new recruit Jordie Barrett putting on a huge performance under the roof in Dunedin and 77 points, Jack Maddocks having perhaps his game of the season and scoring 64 points and Jake Gordon 48 points. Supplement this with a very strong back row of Shannon Frizell & Henry Stowers (both 45 pts), Ardie Savea (39 pts) and trade pickup Kyle Godwin (39 pts) having the game of his career! Cargie was elated with the weeks result as not only did he book himself a position in the big dance, the finals playoff, but it felt as though he beat both Nelson & Harry Dale this week, the attacking bonus point saw Cargie usurp Harry to finish top of the table despite Harry also winning his fixture this week. They both finished the season on 24 competition points but Cargie had him with an extra 300 fantasy points (3389 – 3090) over the course of the season.
The incumbent OG League Wooden Spoon and spoon to be the back to back to back spoon, Nelson thought he might be in with a shot looking at his oppositions team sheet early in the week. I would say he talked a big game this week but he does every week and eyeballing Cargie’s wealth of Crusaders that may be rested or the game being in doubt truly excited him. After Cargie pulled the trigger on some trades, he responded with some of his own but ultimately was only able to muster 13 players to get on the grass and put up scores this week. Nelson even had a bit of luck with pick up Chase Tiatia on the bench being promoted to a start on the wing with Wes Goosen pulled pregame illustrating the importance of your bench and using your trades. This said, you know you are in trouble when your top scorer is Michael Collins, mind you Collins did deliver a 76 point performance but after that apart from Tate McDermott returning to a start with 42 points, that is pretty much where the music stopped. Unlike his club footy team on the weekend, pulling off a win in the 89th minute, it wasn’t to be for Where My Hosea At and nelson now faces the reality of finishing 7th on the table and confirming his participation in his 3rd wooden spoon playoff.
0 out of 3 Barretts sucks (266) Vs (600)Roll away Blue! AJ (6) vs Newbung (4) AJ was in the unique position of being a result (& a bit of luck) away from both a spot in the finals or that of the wooden spoon playoffs. What does one do in this position, well he hedged his bets and whilst making efforts to field a full side, he also took a calculated risk by trading in the Crusaders Will Jordan for a mainstay of his roster Jordie Barrett. If he couldn’t get the win he wanted to make it harder for the one man, Nelson Dale, who could relegate AJ the spoon playoff with a victory of his own. AJ’s team took the field without either of the Barrett brothers after which his team has been named and also just down a few men in general. After the Crusaders/Blues game was canned and Alex Mafi was pulled for the reds pregame, AJ ended up fielding only 11 men with a crack at fantasy points. I jested previously that Nelson knew he was in for a bad time when his top scorer was Michael Collins, well frankly that pales in comparison to AJ’s top scorer being the 35 year old veteran, Jeremy Thrush with 40 points for the force. Frank Lomani with 39 was the only other score worth a shoutout in AJ’s measly 266 total fantasy points, the 2nd lowest score for the week. Whilst despite the loss he’ll be happy to have avoided the spoon playoffs, at 3 wins and 4 losses for the regular season, being one win off the finals illustrates just how close-fought this season of Draft Rugby was.
Last but certainly not least, we have the Draft Rugby 2020 1.0 competition leader, Newbung, really turning it on in his maiden season to enter the finals playoffs with some momentum after recording the top score of the Draft Rugby 2020 2.0 season with 600 fantasy points!! He may have lost his club footy match on the weekend in an effort that saw him literally cost him a broken arm, but alas he won the encounter that really mattered and we are sure thats where his priorities lay, in Draft Rugby anyway. His players scored well across the park it would be easier to mention those that didn’t, with Wes Goosen being pulled pregame and Mark Telea not able to take the field due to the Blues cancelled fixture. Newbung’s had 8 players in the high fantasy scoring Highlanders vs Hurricanes fixture under the roof in Dunedin. The highlight performances were made by trade night pickup Jamie Booth’s 65 point haul, manager trade Mitch Hunt (60 points – unluggy Nels), Jack Dempsey with 51 and Vince Aso with 49 points. It’s been years since we’ve had a set of brothers in the finals and whilst they don’t take each other on in the semi finals, that only a) sets the scene for a potential Nabung v Nabung grand final and b) puts the odds at 50% that the Nabung family to take home the Draft Rugby trophy in 2020. We’ll have to see what their oponents Harry and Cargie have to say about that.
Best Player: Jordie Barrett 77 points (Cargie) Worst Player: 0 points for Bryce Hegarty, Wes Goosen and Jack McGregor Best Supersub: Byron Ralston 41pts (Newbung) Best Free Agent: Biggest Coaching Mistake (player left on the bench): Nil
Team Scores Round 7:
Finals Rd 1 Fixtures:
Both the OG Semi-finals, and the Wooden Spoon play-off will be played over two consecutive weeks, with a complete redraft of teams for both rounds. The managers with the highest cumulative scores will progress to the grand final or avoid the dreaded spoon respectively.
The OG League Semi-Finals:
Cargie (1st place) V (4th place) Nabung Harry (2nd place) V (3rd place) Newbung