Discussion in 'Rugby Discussion' started by A mutterer, Oct 19, 2019.
But why would Hooper not be playing in a Test?
The argument he makes is that the Wallabies will be playing 8 tests in 10 weeks, which is more demanding than a World Cup, so Hooper will potentially be rested for a match or two.
from the article:
Australia’s original World Cup-winning coach Bob Dwyer always maintained that for a team to achieve real greatness, it needed five or so world-best players in the starting XV. Right at this moment, Australia has none. But it has potential.
Tupou yada yada
Petaia yada yada
The other contender is McReight. He is one of the 16 uncapped players named in the Wallabies squad and is utterly unproven at Test level. But there is no question he has already played a significant role in the Reds getting through to the Super Rugby AU grand final. Unlike Hooper he is a classic seven, as hard on the ball as ever Dave Pocock was. And unlike Pocock, who had to work hard to develop this area of his game, he is a fluent ballrunner and a natural link man.
and in another article:
The real test will come at openside flanker. Threats are needed, but that’s not what Michael Hooper delivers. He brings a workrate second to none. This too is part of Rennie’s tactical approach, with a huge emphasis on Wallabies getting off the deck quickly and into position, either to attack or defend, every time they have an involvement with the play. But if it’s a threat that’s needed, Fraser McReight’s prowess over the ball is enough to cause All Black coach Ian Foster long nights of broken sleep.
Really doesn't seem that big of a deal when you consider how much rest they've had throughout the year and the Waratahs haven't played for 6 weeks as of the first Bledisloe.
Over those 10 weeks they have to play the All Blacks 4 times and the Saffers twice, and there will be at least 1 warm up game, v Argentina with our 2nds. In a squad of 46 i doubt that Rennie is expecting the same 23 blokes to front up for 8 tests in a row. I’m usually an advocate of pick your best team for tests regardless of the opposition, but this year is kinda different. It’s like a World Cup but with a bigger squad and not able to call in reinforcements. I think we will see a few ‘gentlemen’s agreements’ to give the development players a run, particularly towards the end of the tournament in dead rubber games.
Toomua & O'Connor would be the most likely to be in most ANY XV. From the Forwards you'd imagine Tupou, Slipper, LSL, MAYBE Simmons, Wright & Hooper would probably be only forwards locked in for most sides.
The possible options (as I see them)
I don't think anyone would disagree significantly with writing off Tupou or LSL -- hell of a player (both of them) but just not the right personality for the job. Can't pick AAA he's under too much selection pressure, nor can you pick DHP IMO too far away and likely under selection pressure.
Wright wouldn't be an awful option -- you could argue for him being captain of a successful Super side, he makes good decisions, communicates with the officials really well, does a very good job with the media. Obviously lacking experience but also hasn't overseen the arguably the worst period in Australia Rugby history. So swings and roundabouts. haha But he's a VERY smart player, he's a student of the game even having two or three cracks at scoring a try behind the opposition's goal line (most players don't even know that's a rule let alone are quick witted enough to pounce on it, apparently too quickly).
Simmons for a year -- you'd only have to commit to him for a year he'd give you stability for this year while deciding on a direction going forwards. He's been leading the Waratahs well, he doesn't make the awful tactical decisions Hooper often does, he's the most experienced player in the squad.
Slipper is intriguing, especially if you wanted to go a different direction with someone like a Wright. He could be your 'official' captain for 40-60 with whoever you are grooming serving under him. Slipper was an institution for the Reds before his 'personal issues' (there were actually some serious personal issues to be fair). He has good leadership credentials, he's put his personal issues behind. Makes good decisions, communicates with the officials & media well and should command the respect of everyone in the room.
Hooper is obviously quite devisive, naming him would really mean you are nailing your flag to the mast, if you return to him following the Cheika era I don't think there would be anything that could justify dropping him in our near future. So I think you can only pick Hooper if you are committed to having Hooper leading your team at the next RWC minimum. Beyond that at least personally I have a lot of issues with Hoopers captaincy. He embodied everything it was to play in that Cheika era, even setting aside the actual results, that was an era that saw us regularly disrespect the officials (or at least loose the officials respect for us), it was overly combative with the media, with other coaches, with anyone who wasn't us. Hooper personally as a captain is plagued by poor tactical decisions, by awful communication with the officials. He is viewed by many as a symbol of the Sydney-Centric Rugby Australia politics. Also I suspect (or at least would argue) Hooper may likely come under selection pressure from a mixture of McReight and Wright, it'd be an awfully bad look to name your captain then dump him for a 20 year old kid.
Toomua is another interesting option, smart good decision maker, good communicator, he's got the experience. He would probably draw the most acceptance from the wider Rugby Community, as he's pretty well liked by everyone. Not too much more to add it's a fairly stock standard option. Him playing 12 would probably be a little too far removed form the ruck/scum/lineout but otherwise is a crowed pleaser.You could argue Toomua is leading the under-performing Rebels who probably on paper have one of the most talented Super Rugby squads.
O'Connor -- probably the most controversial option but I think one that has merit. O'Connor has been exceptional with the Reds his leadership both on and off the field has been a complete turn around for him. He seemingly has no ego has reflected on all the mistakes he made in the past and has grown from that. I don't know there are too many better options to have as your leader to have around your young squad, he knows because he's done it. But he's also likely well respected by the players. He's played everywhere and won big games as well as lost big games. He'd be in your XV for just about every formulation of your side. He'd not get in the way of player development. Looking at some of the articles and nightly news stories that have talked about O'Connor's work with the Reds playing in a finals -- I would imagine EVERY media outlet in the country would have a story about 'the resurrection of the prodigal son' (yes I know I'm mixing biblical stories, but it'd be that epic). Playing at flyhalf get's him a little bit closer to the scrum/ruck/lineout than say Toomua. And being a leader for a winning team should count for a lot.
I can't really see options outside those guys, and even then some of them are pretty left field. But I think those are your options.
Smith must have been watching a different Michael Hooper over the past 5 years. He has the speed of a back and a great ability to read the game. He seems to often be heavily involved in multi phase attack with the Tahs and the Wallabies.
McReight looks to be special but there is no substitute for experience and proven performance at test level.
Right - so Hooper is the obvious choice because he wants a high work-rate team? if he wanted individual threats he wouldn't have binned Naisarani.
That seems to be the rhetoric at least.
How is McReight's running and link game? most of his big contributions ive noticed thus far have been on the defensive side.
Of course there is. Form. Those matters are important but they are not the only things of relevance. There is also culture which is about how the Coach wants to impact the head space of the team right now. And there is future management which is about driving the team where the Coach wants it to go.
Hooper does well on most of those counts, but not necessarily at the top throughout. He may well be the choice at 7 and for captain. But I think it is limiting to suggest this comes down only to experience and proven performance. Those matters have seen guys past their prime continue, in part because there had been nothing implemented to build future experience or to reward current performance.
Hooper may well be likely. There is no reason to consider him guaranteed.
No player should ever be guaranteed, really.
I think McReight is really good in attack. Certainly a better link player than Pocock ever was but he's a fair way behind Hooper here.
Is it possible for Rennie to select Big Brad as his Forwards coach or does RA have a say in this?
No one is guaranteed and form is definitely a marker. How has Hoopers form been? I’m a huge fan of all three in the Reds backrow and no doubt they will contribute a lot to Wallaby rugby from this point forward, but I wouldn’t throw them head first into the fire pit that is Bled 1 in NZ. I suspect that Wright and maybe Wilson will be in that 23 but not the three of them as a unit. Rennie is a smart operator. He will make good choices.
We are fortunate to have such depth in the backrow that we are actually having this conversation and that such quality is left out of the squad.
The other thing is Hooper's experience is it's not as if he's Richie Macaw. He's captaining has lead us to arguably the worst Australian side in history. maybe no experience is better than that kind of experience?
Maybe we'd have been worse if one of the other players who was in that side but viewed as an inferior option as captain was captain of the team then?
Realistically Wright is the only potential captain that hasn't been a mainstay of the Wallabies over the last few years but with two test caps off the bench he seems like a pretty unlikely option. Surely his priority should be focusing on cementing his spot in the side and establishing his test career.
Anyway, I'm sure you'll continue with your mental gymnastics of claiming Hooper is the worst option out of the entire 44 man squad.
Absolute fucken nonsense.
Hooper will be close to the first name on the sheet. The other two members of the backrow will be selected around him. He does so many things so well, he also had a pretty decent SRAU season. The little things he does around the park like elite kick chase, etc. won’t be ignored by the players around him and any coaching staff.
The captaincy situation is basically his on default because there is no obvious choice per position to be there long term.
Some of the hyperbole with a few Reds supporters of late is almost satirical but sad because you know it’s not meant to be
I'm particularly looking forward to the case for Ikitau over Hooper as captain.
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