If the pre-tournament messages of top All Blacks playing in the inaugural Brisbane Global 10s were lost in translation (in the end their New Zealand Rugby contracts didn't allow them to), the on-field stuff was delightfully direct and perhaps more engaging than many predicted.

For an example, look no further than the run by Reds prop Taniela "Tongan Thor" Tupou at Chiefs captain Liam Messam in a quarter-final, a collision for the ages which saw Messam perhaps lucky to escape without a citing for a shoulder charge and 20-year-old Tupou, a 135kg former student of Auckland's Sacred Heart, served with a two-match ban for a headbutt in the resulting melee.

The collision, which saw Messam bounce back a couple of metres but somehow remain on his feet, was one of the more spectacular of the weekend, but several others caught the eye - including from Reds veteran Radike Samu on new Crusaders midfielder Seta Tamanivalu, a crunching tackle which saw the 40-year-old former Wallaby win an award from the tournament organisers.

For a viewer more conditioned to watching sevens than 10s, this is clearly a game which caters for power as well as pace. There is a place for defence as well as attack. It's a game that requires more thinking, too. More decisions have to be made at the breakdown in terms of how many players to send there, and the kicking game - which became more prevalent in the sudden-death matches as bodies tired in the stifling Suncorp Stadium - is more important than in the shortest version of the game.


The extra three minutes a half creates more challenges and, conversely, opportunities. Sevens is probably more prone to serving up freak results than 10s, and we saw several matches in which teams overcame big deficits to win - most notably the Hurricanes over the Force and Samoa over the Blues.

There were big momentum shifts, and the heat and physicality made the mental side of the game particularly tough.

Blues coach Steve Jackson, in particular, would have been disappointed to see his side throw away a 14-point lead against Samoa.

It's a game in which the set piece retains its importance. And one which requires mental and physical resilience.

Australian Rugby's chief executive Bill Pulver has been a controversial figure here for his take on Spygate, but his insistence that the Global 10s is the perfect lead-in to Super Rugby seemed close to the mark when he told Australian media: "I think it is the most powerful launch vehicle for a Super Rugby season I've seen so far."

Sickening injury roster for Chiefs

There was grim news for the Chiefs to go with the good out of Brisbane - halfback Brad Webber is out for at least six months after fracturing his femur in the final. A fringe All Black, Webster is expected to be out of contention to face the Lions and the entire Super Rugby season.

He went down awkwardly in a tackle, and was stretchered from the field. He will need surgery. With Augustine Pulu having moved north to the Blues, there will be heavy pressure on Tawera Kerr-Barlow to deliver for the Chiefs.

And the Chiefs have also lost prop Mitchell Graham for the season. He got a leg trapped in a tackle and required oxygen from medical staff after crying out in agony. He has a fractured tibia and fibula and will be sidelined for at least six months. Young lock Fin Hoeata, a member of the wider Chiefs training squad, also suffered ligament damage to his ankle, and will be out for two to three months.

The Hurricanes have lost lock Vaea Fifita for one to two months.