Veteran sports journalist and broadcaster Phil Gifford shares eight observations from the weekend's rugby - and selects his form XV.

1. Woke up this morning, but the Blues they stayed on snooze

Never has the primary school coaching mantra, "stay alert at all times", been more appropriate. The first try Ramiro Moyano scored proved to be the difference as the Jaguares beat the Blues 23-19 in Buenos Aires.

Dejected Blues players, including Karl Tu'inukuafe, after the final whistle. Photo / Getty
Dejected Blues players, including Karl Tu'inukuafe, after the final whistle. Photo / Getty

It came from quick, clever thinking by Jaguares' first-five, Joaquín Diaz Borilla, who tapped the ball and ran instead of kicking for touch.

Good on him.

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But if Leon MacDonald was a sadist, the large number of Blues who were sleepily wandering back, for what they thought was an inevitable lineout, will be gasping through gut-busters all this week at training.

2. Hardened sharemilkers were seen sobbing

Now they know in the Waikato what it's been like to be a Blues fan.

Being whipped 30-15 by the Sunwolves was as shocking as a 50 per cent cut in Fonterra payouts.

Sunwolves flanker Shuhei Matsuhashi is congratulated by teammates after scoring the opening try against the Chiefs. Photo / Photosport
Sunwolves flanker Shuhei Matsuhashi is congratulated by teammates after scoring the opening try against the Chiefs. Photo / Photosport

The comfort of believing there's an unlimited talent pool in this country has been shredded.

Without Liam Messam, Charlie Ngatai, and Sam Cane, the Chiefs looked exposed and fragile.

3. Player of the week

Ngani Laumape. A story that played out like Hollywood. A kid from the poor side of town comes home to Palmerston North and does it all as the Hurricanes beat the Brumbies, 43-13.

There was deft kicking. Blistering speed for his third try. And, while we knew if he ever joined the police they could use him to knock down doors, we've never seen him bowl two would be tacklers in one go before, as he ricocheted off Tom Banks and Matt Lucas.

Ngani Laumape was outstanding. Photo / Getty
Ngani Laumape was outstanding. Photo / Getty

He finished with the quote of the weekend, "I had to play hard, otherwise Mum and Dad would have given me a lecture all night."

How great, also, to see Dane Coles running like the wind, and, for his second try in Palmerston North, making an acrobatic landing that would have been awarded a 10 by any gymnastic judge.

4. Try of the week

As great as the Canes' tries were, the second Crusaders try in Brisbane, as they beat the Reds, 22-12, was one for the ages.

It started 81 metres from the Reds' line and saw six backs and two forwards handle before Will Jordan scored.

5. Houston we have a problem

If someone as genial and measured as Kieran Read is speaking out against the new plan for a global competition, it really has to be a crap idea.

In particular, the snubbing of Pasifika teams by the northern unions is hardly unexpected, but it doesn't make it any less abhorrent.

6. The mystery that is Quade Cooper

In 2013 Quade Cooper boxed on the undercard in Brisbane to the Sonny Bill Williams-Francois Botha fight.

Quade Cooper. Good at boxing. Not at tackling. Pictured kicking. Photo / Getty
Quade Cooper. Good at boxing. Not at tackling. Pictured kicking. Photo / Getty

Cooper was terrific and showed he's tough and has a ton of courage.

So why is he such a lousy tackler?

Cooper played well as his Rebels beat the Highlanders 24-19, but there was one embarrassing attempt to stop Waisake Naholo that would have left any self-respecting defence coach in tears.

7. Class will win out

Beauden Barrett returned to the Canes basically from his honeymoon and played as if he'd never been away.

Beauden Barrett was his classy self against the Brumbies. Photo / Photosport
Beauden Barrett was his classy self against the Brumbies. Photo / Photosport

Comparisons are usually invidious, but amongst other attributes he shares with Dan Carter, he's a strong, potent, tackler.

8. Who is Will Jordan, and where has he been all this time?

The 20-year-old fullback is from Christchurch but found his feet last year playing for Leon MacDonald's Tasman team.

The Crusaders' Will Jordan puts in on the boot. Photo / Getty
The Crusaders' Will Jordan puts in on the boot. Photo / Getty

He was so good at the world under-20 championships last year in France comparisons were made to Christian Cullen.

Oh, and he was also a good enough schoolboy cricketer to have scored a century for Christchurch Boys' High in the national secondary school competition.

My form squad of the weekend

Fullback: Will Jordan (Crusaders)
Right wing: Braydon Ennor (Crusaders)
Centre: Jack Goodhue (Crusaders)
Left wing: Rieko Ioane (Blues)
Second five: Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes)
First five: Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes)
Halfback: TJ Perenara (Hurricanes)
No.8: Ardie Savea (Hurricanes)
Flanker: Matt Todd (Crusaders)
Flanker: Shannon Frizell (Highlanders)
Lock: Scott Barrett (Crusaders)
Lock: Jackson Hemopo (Highlanders)
Tighthead prop: Owen Franks (Crusaders)
Hooker: Dane Coles (Hurricanes)
Loosehead prop: Joe Moody (Crusaders)

Reserves: Chase Tiatia (Hurricanes), Richie Mo'unga (Crusaders), Brad Weber (Chiefs), Vaea Fifita (Hurricanes), Liam Mitchell (Hurricanes), Angus Ta'avao (Chiefs), Alex Hodgman (Blues), Andrew Makalio (Crusaders).