2013 Australian Super Rugby Team of the Year: Part 2 - The Backs

It's not only those that stick their head in the scrum that can contribute, in a negative sense of the word, to the plight of their Super Rugby team. Here's some backs that haven't been there or done that either, in part 2 of the Rolling Maul's 2013 Australian Super Rugby Team of the Year:
HALFBACK
Grayson Hart (Waratahs)

Matt Lucas
Sarel Pretorious after another
poor game for the Tahs
Note - there are no images of Grayson Hart
2012 was the year that Grayson Hart was 'discovered'. Plucked from the relative obscurity of Club Rugby in Sydney, he suddenly found himself the starting halfback for the Waratahs when the Sarel Pretorious experiment went more Mr Hyde than Dr Jekyll and the alternate halfback Brendan McKibbin just wasn't working either. Hart had a few games at the tail end of the season and big things were expected of him in 2013. It didn't work out that way. McKibbin found form almost immediately and formed an effective partnership with Barnard Foley at five-eighth. Meanwhile, Matt Lucas, the world's smallest Rugby player, who was recruited to replace Pretorious, made an immediate impact from the bench in early season matches and Hart was right back where he started, playing out the season for Southern Districts in the Shute Shield.

FIVE-EIGHTH
Sam Norton-Knight (Force)
Norton-Knight had it coming
Norton-Knight is best known for being pushed in the back by Lote Tuquiri after taking a quick tap in 2007 instead of leaving the ball to Peter Hewatt to attempt a very kickable penalty that would have seen the Waratahs make the semi finals. That was typical Norton-Knight who could have blinders against mediocre opposition but when the pressure was on or the opposition showed some class would shrink into nothingness. Eventually he slunk out of Super Rugby entirely. He wasn't missed in New South Wales. So it was a surprise to all New South Welshman that he should bob up in Perth with a contract to play for the Western Force in 2013. Suffice to say he hadn't changed. Struggled to hold his starting spot, occasional flashes of class, more moments of incredible averageness. What was Force coach Michael Foley thinking when he recruited him?

CENTRES
Berrick Barnes (Waratahs)
Here we go again...
After a horrid 2012 that featured more head knocks than a nail and repeated bouts of 'footballer's migraine' (which is what followers of the Waratahs have a tendency to get), Berrick Barnes was on a course for either redemption or obliteration in 2013. The good news is that there were no more head knocks and no more migraine. The bad news is that he fractured his wrist instead. A couple of late season appearances from the bench actually went quite well, scored a couple of important tries and kicked some important goals, but come Wallabies time and same old same old, although at least this time it was the common or garden variety of concussion and not the old migraine that ended his season. Barnes was last seen named in the 'NSW Barbarians' team to play Argentina pending his move to Japan.

Tom Carter (Waratahs)
The Rolling Maul is going to miss Tom Carter (again). He's an old school Rugby player who plays for fun and isn't afraid to go the biff or take the piss. It only took about two matches for Michael Cheika to expel Carter from his 2013 plans, but come the Lions series, with a host of Tahs missing, who did he turn to to lead the Tahs against the Force to a mighty upset victory but one T Carter. The post match interview was a classic as the captaincy goes to his head (but not the squishy bit in the middle of it):
“That’s probably one for the true believers and people like Phil Waugh and the past greats…”
A few weeks later, with Carter's retirement imminent, he revealed his favourite teammate; ''Luke Burgess. Me and Burgo definitely had a 'love' until he got married to Em. I feel like he betrayed me and left me for another woman, and I haven't forgiven him for that.'' And worst teammate: ''Bernard Foley. Personal hygiene and a pig of a human.'' We will never see his like again.

WINGERS
Tom Kingston (Waratahs)
About 15 months ago Tom Kingston was being talked about as being a Wallabies bolter. But time has a funny way of stuffing things up and the roll call of wingers who leapfrogged Kingston in the favoritism stakes reads like a who's who of the Waratahs backline - Cam Crawford (2013's Tom Kingston), Ben Volavola, Israel Folau, Drew Mitchell and even the best chin in the business Lachie Turner all got their chances. No surprise then that Kingston signed with the Rebels, where he will be replacing none other than the other forgotten winger of Australian Rugby...

Cooper Vuna (Rebels)
Speaking of once were Wallabies (2 games), Cooper Vuna was all set for a massive 2013 until a fractured shoulder in a trial game saw him miss the first half of the season. When he did return, in time for the Rebels tour of South Africa, he found himself to be Kurtley Beale's punching bag on a bus during the tour, supposedly as he tried to defend captain Gareth Delve. Suffice to say that it wasn't the club's finest moment. He was sent straight home and served a one match suspension, and by season's end played all of four matches and quit the club to join the Super Rugby retirement home that is Japanese Rugby.

FULLBACK
Kurtley Beale (Rebels - sort of)
Oh for the good old days when what went on tour stayed on tour and over the following 30 years bits and pieces leaked out until they became the stuff of legend and a hundred vague retellings on the speakers' circuit. If only Kurtley Beale had been borne a generation or two ago he'd be as famous for his on field skills as he'd be legendary for his off field activities. Instead he's had to endure all sorts of sports psychobabble and public confessions while his 'problems with alcohol' are sorted out. How the Rebels must pine for that more innocent age. Instead, their star attraction and best player (no, not James O'Connor) played only a few games, showed glimpses of his brilliance and then disappeared to the obscurity of the Shute Shield and the Wallabies. next year is anyone's guess (and that goes for O'Connor too).

Click here for Part 1 - The Forwards

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hilarious. As for what Foley was thinking when he signed SNK, 'this bloke had potential, surely he has grown as a player since he left oz'

He hasn't grown.

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