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Ten takeaways from the Brisbane Tens, literally the hottest rugby tournament in the world

By Jamie Wall
Wes Goosen (Photo: Getty Images)

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Jamie Wall recaps the pre-season rugby oddity that was the Brisbane Tens.

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Scotty Stevenson’s in-depth summation of the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens in terms of what it told us about the upcoming Super Rugby season gave us a lot to think about. Here’s a few more points on what to make of the new tournament as a whole.

This one weekend could count as an entire pre-season. Considering the temperatures rose to near ‘Hell On Earth’ levels it’s fair enough that the players went home having lost around 10kg each in sweat alone. They’ve probably got a fair case to ask the coaches to flag any more fitness work for the time being.

Squads will be even weaker next year. The biggest talking point in the lead up to the comp was about how the best players ended up not playing (despite the organisers giving the impression they would). The biggest talking point afterwards is the amount of serious injuries suffered, so expect the next edition to be almost completely shorn of anyone remotely valuable.

Jordie Barrett is a freak. Even his more well-known older brother can’t boast a sideline droppie to win a match.

Shaun Stevenson isn’t bad either. The young Chiefs winger was a rare standout all weekend and took home the Player of the Tournament on top of his winner’s medal.

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Tens is basically rugby with no positions. Unless you committed yourself to the shady side of the field (a few front rowers did), everyone gets a decent go at halfback and first five.

Suncorp Stadium was fuller – and probably more fun – than it looked. Perhaps the organisers spent all their time unsuccessfully trying to figure out how to temporarily control the Earth’s rotation instead of just shifting the cameras to the other side of Suncorp. This meant the view of of that we saw on TV was an awful lot of empty seats due to everyone sheltering on the shaded side. However, as the the commentators were at pains to point out, the crowd was actually fairly sizable and seemed to be having a wonderful time.

New Zealand finally dominate an abbreviated version of rugby again. The Warriors have had no luck at the NRL 9’s and the All Blacks Sevens haven’t been able to buy a win lately, so it was a novelty to see some Kiwis take out a title with less than a full compliment of players.

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But Australia dominated the jersey game. If a weird short-form tournament isn’t the perfect excuse to put out a new special edition jersey then what is? While the New Zealand teams all turned out in their boring old Super Rugby kits a couple of the Aussie sides had some fun – the Road Safety Western Force probably the pick of the bunch.

Drew Mitchell got exhausted from his lightning fast backtrack and hardly played. Last week the Wallaby winger said the Tens ‘won’t last’. He changed his tune pretty quickly once he was invited to the commentary team, extolling the virtues of the tournament so readily it made you wonder if one of the organisers had a gun pressed to his back. He spent so much time praising the tournament he barely even got on the field, which didn’t really matter too much because his RC Toulon team mates treated the whole thing like a holiday anyway.

Not even a horrific broken leg can stop the dab. Poor Mitchell Graham looks like he’ll be out for the rest of the season with a horribly broken leg suffered in the final, but it didn’t stop him acting like every kid that finds himself on the big screen. Maybe they’d already chucked him on the morphine.

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