Dwyer's View: A crucial weekend - Green and Gold Rugby
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Dwyer’s View: A crucial weekend

Dwyer’s View: A crucial weekend

With the extended Wallabies squad for the June internationals is to be announced at the end of it, and in a round of matches where performances were expected to count for plenty, many players let their chances slip. So many, however, that the selectors would have been forced to disregard a lot and to look to earlier matches and even to last season to arrive at final decisions. Not that this is so bad, anyway; if you’ve done it before, chances are you can do it again.

The Rebels were awful, but the Hurricanes can punish any team if their defence is not spot on – and the Rebels defence was certainly not spot on. Bringing your fullback up onto the end of the line is not a bad idea, but so flat and so early and with no cover in behind, is just suicidal. Is this the same team that gave the Crusaders a genuine hiding? Of the Rebel candidates, Pyle and to a lesser extent Neville were not up to their best, but, vitally, their potential should be rewarded.

Higgers - loafing

Phipps worked hard and made numerous covering tackles, but threw a couple of his regular “miss everyone” passes. We must have some others who can take his place. Cooper Vuna again showed his freakish ability to make the most of the smallest attacking opportunity, but his defence is often childish. Can someone explain why our converts from rugby league – the self-proclaimed citadel of great defenders – are regularly dreadful defenders in rugby union?

Just a footnote on Matu’u, the Hurricanes replacement hooker. It is “a high and dangerous tackle” if your shoulder drives into the ball-carrier’s chin – even more so if there is the merest hint of arms involved – no matter what the ridiculously biased NZ commentary team says about it. He should be cited and suspended for a decent stretch.

The Brumbies and the Reds much awaited match-up was grossly disappointing, as these crucial local derbies often are. Both teams seemed terrified to do anything positive at all and the Brumbies looked especially tentative and fumbling. The Reds scrum, after an initial shock on their first feed, really stood up and this was an important factor in their final victory. I have always favoured Hansen over Fainga’a, because of Hansen’s superior scrummaging. Not any more; Sai looks bigger to me this season. Now, if he can just stop him giving away stupid penalties!

Morahan certainly improved his standing and his defence, whilst not put under any great pressure, looks to have tightened up. Gill and Hooper were both of their normal excellent standard. Gill, perhaps sensing that Hooper carries a lot more effectively, took more yards than he has in the past. I can’t not say this; despite the fact that he again took some very good lineout ball, I have never seen an international level backrow forward contribute less to his team effort that Scott Higginbotham. Joe Tomane looks a genuine prospect and an international in waiting.

The Reds had the better of the scrum and the lineout, with Moore strangely astray with his throws. Their defence was also better, although the Brumbies offered very little in attack, and in the end they probably deserved their win.

The Waratahs scored four tries in the first 35 minutes, including a couple of beauties. Then they, once again, seemed to lose focus and scored a lone penalty in the remaining 45 minutes. This consistent inconsistency must drive their coaching staff mad. To me, their great fault is their lack of urgency ON THE BALL. The dreaded “reload” takes precedence over any interest in the ball and the “what’s happening now”. This can only be a factor of their practice sessions – “Only perfect practice makes perfect!”

Pretorius - B.I.G

Kepu’s scrummaging has improved out of sight and he has his moments around the pitch, but Deans and co need to take a whip to him. My potential world-class lock pairing of Timani and Douglas again did well and will continue to develop. Poor Sarel Pretorius came on – again – when his forwards had gone into their customary “let’s stand around looking totally disinterested and get in the scrum-half’s way” phase. If I was him, I would let them know exactly what I thought – before, during and after the game. Foley has great running skills and could be a constant threat from the back – if everyone in the team had the same idea, all of the time.

The Force played well enough in a game of ordinary standard. Cummins in his 50th showed me that he is worth a look at squad level. I like his acceleration, footwork and size, especially at outside-centre, but Rob Horne’s belated return to some sort of form may cost him a spot. Nathan Sharpe was outstanding and will be important for the Wallabies this year. Pocock, as usual, was great – his body position, which enabled his team-mates to attach and drive him over the line was an exemplary lesson and the obvious productive alternative to the futile “voluntary tackle” flop – and Cowan and Hodgson worked very industriously. Salesi Manu and Willie Tupou are both worth keeping in mind for the future.

Not really a great weekend for Aussie team performances, but the sum total of individual performances will produce a Wallaby squad with a lot of talent. Now, it’s over to our new coaching staff.

  • murph

    Interesting that you picked out Higginbotham for criticism, Bob. It’s a bit of an obsession for you, isn’t it? How about you back up some of your criticism with some stats?

    Don’t worry, I’ll provide some to start with:

    He made 3 carries with 1 linebreak, completed 13 tackles with 1 missed tackle and made 6 lineout takes plus 1 steal. I’m not sure of his actual involvement at the breakdown as I don’t have any stats on that. If anyone could assist that’d be great.

    From the stats that I have I’d say that he could be criticised for his involvement as far as carries but neither you, me nor anyone here know what gameplan McKenzie had in mind for him and, secondly, that particular statistic puts pay to the idea that he plays like a centre, skylarking out wide.

    • RJ

      Bob you’re confused. The blue team was the brumbies. Its Kimlin who you are referring to. The reds wear red shirts.

      Higgingbotham – a walk up 6/8 in the wallabies. What a talent.

    • the realist

      He did not make a linebreak and 3 carries in 80min of rugby from a no 8 is APPALLING! 13 tackles is somewhere between below par and satisfactory but I don’ t recall any of his tackles being dominant. I did see him loiter around many rucks. Frankly in a big game if this is the performance that he puts in he should not be starting in tests for the wallabies. Dwyer is just calling it the way it is. Wake up to yourself!

    • aussie werewolf in london

      I’ll give you some stats but first of all can we please stop calling higgers a walk up wallaby no 6/8. he is far from it.

      Of the two no 8’s selected for the Wallabies Higginbotham has averaged 75min per game yet has only ever carried over 50m a game on 3 occasions.

      Palu who has averaged 60min a game (and has played 2 less games than higgers) has carried over 50m on 7 occasions. (foxsports stats)

      The following is all for all to see on rugby stats and quite frankly i’m sick of checking these stats and seeing Palu and others beat the shit out of him each week only to read utter stupidity from reds fans that want to talk higginbotham into notoriety. He is a lazy idle piece of shit. If a decent player had his physique he’d be the best player in the world. Shame! This weekend for instance Palu played 13 min less than higgers yet he carried 15 times for 101metres with 1 line break and 3 offloads. Higginbotham 4 times for 11m with no offloads and NO LINE BREAKS!

      Palu hit 11 rucks… Higginbotham hit 3 rucks.

      • murph

        Firstly, I read the stats wrong – it’s 3 runs with 1 offload – not a line break. My mistake.

        Interestingly, Palu made just six tackles and had two missed tackles. How does that reflect on your suggestion that “13 tackles is somewhere between below par and satisfactory”? Hmm? Aside from the fact that 13 tackles is actually quite an effort.

        So, as you can see, the two coaches/teams utilised their two No.8s differently: Higginbotham featured in defence and in the lineout, Palu (just one lineout take) featured in attack and in/around the ruck. And why would it be a necessarily requirement that Higginbotham is involved at the ruck if Gill, Robinson/Schatz and Horwill are being committed?

        So keep your frigging shirt on, you massive girl.

        • aussie werewolf in london

          First of all I never mentioned tackles! but lets break it down because really the best no 8 is between Palu and Higgers and the best no 6 between Dennis and Higgers. (lets leave Mccalman out because he is there to make up numbers for the scotland game). Looking at foxsports and rugby stats;

          *When you average it out Higgers makes 9.8 tackles per 80min, Dennis 10.3 tackles, but Palu makes more ie 11.6. Not a huge difference but a win to Palu with Dennis in second place.

          * Per 80min Higgers misses 1.3 tackles. Palu misses 1.6 per 80min. A very small win to Higgers between the no 8’s but Dennis is the best with a mere 0.8 misses per 80min. All are very good stats.

          *But when you look at who is the better running back rower Palu is literally twice the player of Higgers. Averaged into an 80min game Palu makes 14.1 carries compared to Higgers 6.3 carries. That is literally more than double the work rate. Dennis comes in second again with 8.7 carries.

          *Palu’s average metres per 80min is a mammoth 75.7metres (which is absolutely amazing) whereas Higgers averages a good but mortal 35.9 metres per 80mins. Again Palu is more than twice as good! Dennis is again second with 41.7 metres gained per 80min.

          *Rucks: per 80min Palu hits 11.4 rucks per 80min which is impressive considering his already superior work rate… Higginbotham a disappointing 5.6. Again Palu is twice as superior!! Dennis is second once more with 7.9.

          * lineouts; Higgers jumps at the front which means he wins 4 lineouts per 80min wheras Dennis wins 3 on average jumping in the middle or front and Palu who jumps at the back wins 1.3. Is this a fair comparison? will this sway Deans? i think not but regardless Higgers wins this one.

          The question is answered for mine. Palu is as I’ve suspected and been shouting from the roof tops a far far far superior player to higginbotham. It’s no longer even worth debating. But is Higgers a better option at 6 then Dennis? Sorry the answer again is just no he is not!

        • murph

          I was addressing “the realist” re: the tackle count
          Seriously, you’re boring the shit out of everyone with your one eyed cherry picking nonsense. We get the message: you don’t like Higginbotham. Have a fucking medal.

        • Old Weary

          Higgers has a much cooler tat that Palu, fact. But with the renaissance man no longer there to identify such cultural necessities in a Wallaby side, I think Higgers may be in trouble….

        • the realist

          I agree 13 tackles is above par. sorry. but there is no way Higginbotham’s involvement or work rate are any where near Palu’s or any other of the backrowers vying for wallaby starts.

          why is that so hard for you to accept? man crush perhaps?

        • thebigcode

          What about the fact that Palu is constantly injured, at least Higginbothom can stay on the field.

          Higgers has played 895 minutes this season and Palu 621 minutes. This can be read two ways with your stats above – Palu has done more with less time, sure, but also he struggles to stay on the field. Not in a singe game this season has he played 80 minutes. In fact he is averaging just 56 minutes a match – that is pitiful even for Palu’s standards. And that is not even taking into account the fact he hasn’t suffered his usual season ending injury yet.

          Higginbothom is averaging 74 minutes a game – that’s right, almost a whole game! And that’s nearly 20 minutes more a game than Palu. He also has more tries, more line breaks and more tackles. I guess he is using that extra 20 minutes a game to contribute more to the team, and lets not forget the Reds are actually winning whilst the Tahs, well…

          I don’t think anyone would argue Palu is a more physical player than Higginbothom, and then when fit is a better choice at no 8. The problem is he cannot stay on the field and is a liability. Until he can sort that out (and his stats this season show he hasn’t yet) then he will continue to be a potentially great player only.

          I would have them both in the side anyway – Palu at 8 and Higginbothom at 6.

        • thebigcode

          Sorry correction above – I meant no one could argue that Palu ‘isn’t’ more physical than Higgers and a better choice at 8 when fit.

        • werewolf

          thebigcode

          Plau’s not going off injured! He’s getting replaced to give others a go. His match fitness has built up over the season and against the cheetahs i believe he played about 70min.

          He is fully fit and has a higher work rate than any australian backrower. Your rather long point is moot.

        • thebigcode

          So Werewolf, you are telling me in every game Palu is going off to let others have a go, and it has nothing to do with him being injured or lacking match fitness? I find this hard to believe, but if it is the case maybe that’s the problem the Waratahs are having – they need to leave their best players on the pitch rather than taking them off all the time!

          I think Palu is a great player and a better 8 than Higginbothom or any other candidate in Australia – when fit. I was merely showing you that anyone can cherry pick stats to make any argument they like. If you look at Palu’s stats, he is consistenty hovering around the 55-60 minute mark, not ‘building up match fitness’ as you suggest.

          Someone said below they are different players and hence should be at 6 and 8 – and I agree.

          I also think your criticism of Reds fans on here is a touch hypocritical, seeing as though you are doing exactly the same thing but with Waratahs players. Fair play to you, I love to see the passion, but really you are no better/worse than the Reds fans you are criticising.

      • Bobby

        Palu played the Cheetahs a well know defensively rubbish team, Hardly an appropriate comparison maybe the Brumbies game would make better reading…. oh wait that won’t help your cause.

        • werewolf

          Palu and Higginbothams stats v the Brumbies. Both games were played in Canberra. Bear in mind WP played 71min, SH played 81min.

          Tackles: Palu 15 tackles 0 misses/ Higginbtham 17 tackles 1 miss tackle

          Runs: Palu 13 runs for 78 metres gained/ Higgers 4 runs for 11metres gained

          Ruck/Mauls: Palu 11/Higginbotham 3

          Again Palu is just twice the player!!

          WHAT DOES YOUR HUMBLE PIE TASTE LIKE?

        • thebigcode

          Werewolf, would your Wallabies side have anyone in it other than Waratahs players and Nathan Sharpe? Because according to your posts on this page, it doesn’t appear like you rate anyone else at all…

        • werewolf

          I’m not a new south welshman. I’m Australian.

          I’d pick as follows;

          1. Robinson
          2. Moore
          3. Kepu
          4. Douglas (Vickerman if he weren’t injured. Perhaps one day Neville.)
          5. Sharpe (Timani when Sharpe retires or perhaps Pyle if he improves.)
          6. Dennis (maybe Horwill if not injured, definitely Elsom if match fit.)
          7. Pocock (c)
          8. Palu
          9. Genia (vc)
          10. Cooper (O’connor if not injured)
          11. Tomane
          12. Harris (to kick goals but hopefully when O’connor returns at 10 and is the kicker Harris and McCabe swap starting/sub.)
          13. Horne
          14. Ioane
          15. AAC (Beale when fit. AAC moves to 13, Horne to the bench)

          res: Alexander, Pnau, Timani, Hooper, Auelua, White, McCabe.

    • wallaby fan

      I hope Oxford don’t sue you Bob. I saw the picture above of Higginbotham in their latest dictionary edition next to the word ‘seagulling’.

    • Nabley

      Murph, Bobs playing with you and your like over Higgers. You really rose to the bait!

  • Red Kev

    Bob did Scott Higginbotham nail your daughter and then never call her again or something? Fair Dinkum your obsession with denigrating him is laughable.
    Did you actually watch the game? I saw him make plenty of tackles and then get out of the ruck to defend again rather than lie in there and push ineffectively or give away penalties like some pathetic sky blue wearing joke of a player.

    • Drop kick

      Did someone in a sky blue jumper nail your brother and not call back or something?
      What do the Waratahs have to do with higginbotham being lazy?

      • Red Kev

        At least you admit you’re a drop kick.

        • aussie werewolf in london

          Mate stop paying your own comments. There is no way 10 people would pay this childish come back.

        • Red Kev

          I don’t.
          I am not your “mate”.
          You are an idiot who posts under at least three different screen names to make it look like you have a sensible opinion, which you do not.

        • RJ

          Warewolf…redkev is correct.

  • Josh123

    Why do SANZAR want to ban anyone who makes anything near a tip tackle for 10 weeks, yet when a hooker decides to take out two players by lodging his shoulder into their chins they decide that is perfectly legal and not even worth a penalty?

    • rebel without a cause

      oh come on josh123. those were perfectly timed and legal hits.. as true rebel supporter i feel they were fine..this is a game of rugby.if you don’t like it you give it back harder. that’s what i expect from a player not all this suspension crap. harden the fuck up boys.

      • Old Weary

        Have to agree – I didn’t see the hits (turned off before them), but on Dwyer’s comments I looked it up on youtube and there doesn’t appear to be anything that would warrant a suspension. Not sure why Dwyer is saying he didn’t even try to use hands?

        • James

          I disagree with a fair bit of what bob says. But I do agree that you have to stamp out a guy who has 3 times this season and twice in a game put a shoulder into someones chin and caused them to not be able to continue. I’m not sure about a suspension, but something needs to be done.

          And its not a case of hardening up, its a case of not making contact with the head first. Your not a big man for saying harden up and allow this, your a goose. Will you still say harden up when he misses the chin and puts the upward driving shoulder through someones nose?

          I like hard rugby hits like anyone, but contact with the head first is not legal. Full stop. His style is probably more suited to mungo when the ball carrier has a higher body position, but not union.

        • Riccardo

          James,

          Sorry mate but it is a case of you hardeninmg the fu@k up…

    • Riccardo

      Harden up Josh.

      They were Legal and clean. Brutal but legal.

      Gerrard was unlucky in that he bounced of a 2nd tackler and Mitchell was like a rabbit in headlights mate. He didn’t step or move but sunk into the tackle which made it worse. Both were arm tackles too.

      Matu’u even went to ensure he was OK. No malice at all.

      All the crying and whinging on here is laughable.

  • NormanRalph

    I’m pretty sure I can almost write the weekend review for Bob from now on – without watching any of the games that is.

    Now, where did I file that template…

    • johnny-boy

      it’s the one that starts …. bloody higginbotham etc etc.

      • RJ

        Na theres some fresh material in there. WHat insight that i have never read before. Perfect practice makes perfect. Urgency in realignment. Rugby league converts are a waste of time, HIggers is not the best in in oz (whaaaaa??). Just missing a, “you dont need great players, you just need good players playing great”

        I was blind but now I can see.

        Not sure how he managed to make his coachig manual 300 pages. ive summed it up in 50 words

    • aussie werewolf in london

      Gents I am sure Bob is not exactly devastated by a few idiots with access to a computer but I must say your lack of respect for a world cup winning coach is pretty hard to take. Are any of you gentleman in the hall of fame?????

      I know you don’t like it when someone has the hide to use logic and good sense to form their opinions but i’d like for you to have a little look at yourselves and maybe offer your own opinions with logic to back it up instead of slinging mud.

      • murph

        You’re insufferable

      • RJ

        You are right warewolf. I should give Bob more repect. And i do repect him more than it shows in this thread, but im a reds supporter first, a gentleman second. That means higgers is my family and i have to stick up for my brother.

        • aussie werewolf in london

          fair enough

          just so i know at what point do you consider yourself australian? cos this a green and gold rugby website not the queenslands reds blogs site.

        • RJ

          I am australia for the months of June, and the months of September – January. I can be a prick untill tomorrow

        • aussie werewolf in london

          That scares me when we are discussing who should be the in the wallabies back row. State parochialism should play no part in intelligent selection debate for our NATIONAL team.

      • Riccardo

        YOU must be Bob mate…

  • skyeblue

    come on bob.. those hits were beauties.. if they were from us on kiwi boys we’d be playing it all over the news… harden up love. it is a mans game after all..if you don’t like you back up and hit him harder.that’s why we love this game isn’t..

  • Rebel Supporter

    skyblue/ rebel without a cause, those hits were not beauties nor legal, they were exceedingly dangerous and a blight on the game. The red card should have been out on that. Inman ended up with concussion and a neck injury, you don’t get those from being tackled legally. The hit was clearly with the shoulder in the region of the neck which when I last looked is above the shoulder line, therefore illegal ( at least it was when I was a senior rep referee in the 90’s), even more so as there was little if any use of the arms. It’s not a case of “hardening up” it’s about playing the game with skill within the boundaries of the Laws. Leave shoulder charges to the league they’re not wanted in our game.

    • Redman

      Got to agree those were bone jarring hits. Love em. He started low on gerard and pushed up.looks worse than it was.no body told those idiots to run in to his shoulder way..lol

    • Riccardo

      Wah, wah… Mummy, the big man hurt me!

      Was it legally done in a full contact sport son?

      Yes.. Mummy..

      Well, harden the fu@k up then!

      Mate your posting name gives you little credibility

  • Pedro

    While Moore missed two throws in a row, otherwise his throws were pretty good with a high percentage going very long.

  • aussie werewolf in london

    Bob I look forward to reading your comments each week. I agree that Nathan Sharpe was again excellent. He is in as good as form as he’s ever been. He is clearly the best lock in australia at the moment and really if Vickerman was fit it would be the relative old guard that should be locking the scrum for the wallabies. Both Thorn and Simon Shaw have proven you can still be an inetrnational lock past your mid 30’s so who knows they could still be the pair to face the lions next year. I have heard a rumour that Sharpe might give it one more season.

    • Alan

      I really hope he does, he is way ahead of any other lock in the country.

  • Gallagher

    I do like Higgers as an international 6/8 (with Palu preferred at 8), and I do agree he does seem to disappear at times, but I dont agree it is to the detriment to the ENTIRE team. He does what he needs to do, depending on the game plan and the oposition. You cannot compare the two performances from one game Bob. The Tahs where playing on open style game (first half anyway) against an open style team. The Reds/Brumbies games are always a ‘Dwyer’ affair! What do you expect Higgers to do when you have scavengers like Gill/Hooper/Robinson on the ball all the time? Defend! And thats what he did mate.

    Season to date –
    Higs (890 mins) – Higgs has played 7 games to 80 mins, only subbed twice before 70 min mark
    Palu (620 mins) – Palu is yet to play a full 80 mins in 11 games this year
    Higs – 71 runs, 19 busts, 5 linebreaks – 110 tackles, 14 missed, 34 lineout takes, 6 steals
    Palu – 110 runs, 26 busts, 4 linebreaks – 90 tackles, 13 missed, 9 lineout takes, 0 steals

    Summary –
    Palu is a much better ball carrier whilst Higgers is still competent, Higgers is a better defender whilst Palu misses a higher percentage of tackles, Higgers is a lineout asset, Palu is not. Higgers can last a full game, Palu cannot. Higgers can pilfer, Palu cannot.

    I’ll take them both at 6 and 8 thank you very much Rugby Gods!

    • aussie werewolf in london

      Please read my work on stats above, you’ll see that both Palu and Dennis are superior players to higgers in every area except lineout wins.

      Higginbotham is not a no 6. He should be on the bench to replace Palu at the 60min mark. Dennis is your 80minute man at no 6.

      • Red Kev

        Your “work” is called cherry picking.
        Last year it was Higgers is crap, Elsom is the best you were spouting.
        This year Elsom can’t get a gig despite being uninjured so it’s Dennis.
        This despite the fact most non-Waratah supporting Australians and New Zealand observers rate Higginbotham as Australia’s best and most consistent forward this year.

        • aussie werewolf in london

          no is called stats!

        • Riccardo

          On the money Red Kev…

  • Waratahjesus

    Thats why higgers is a 6 and Palu is an 8, it’s pretty obvious isn’t it.

    Palu is better off the back of the scrum, higgers is better out wide were he can pilfer and express his inner back better.

    They compliment each other and in the wallabies squad should be played together not judged against one another.

    • redbull

      What? Sensible suggestions?

      Both would not make a World XV unfortunately and that’s where AUS is generally found lacking; urgency at the breakdown and tackle breaks.

  • bones

    Thanks Bob

    I always appreciate reading your views as ypu are someone who has “been there and done it” plus also you publish close after the event.

    My major fear is Barnes : he is a reliable 10 but surely more. Compared to the inventiveness of QC, KB or JOC, the guy is a second class passenger. He will turn the June Internationals into a bore-fest, and quite likely a losing one.

    Do you agree?

    • Dally M

      Not so sure that is the case.

      I thought in the game on the weekend Barnes was trying his ass off, but lacked support from his team mates on a number of occasions.

      The gave him an unfit winger in Mitchell who he clearly wasn’t comfortable passing to under pressure & again in the 2nd half a plodding Tom Carter. On other occassions he took the ball to the line, turned to pass & found himself all alone.

      I felt sorry for him in the end. He could have won the match for them, but again they let him down.

      I think with the right supporting players he would be ok for OZ if called upon.

  • bones

    Make that “surely NO more.”

  • Jimbo81

    Moore can’t throw straight under pressure. Massively overrated. Why we don’t have the world cup.

    • Alan

      eh no. we were smashed by a better team in pretty much every aspect of play. If your going to stick the blame of the WC failure on someone perhaps look beyond the field and into the coaches box, or those in the aru..

      • aussie werewolf in london

        Losing Ben Robinson and Palu didn’t help. And the fact our 9 and 10 played like lemons.

    • Riccardo

      Mate,

      You’re lucky I don’t report you for being an imbecile.

      The reason the Wallabies don’t have Bill is beacuse that quarter against the Boks just about wiped out the lads who then had to front against a very good All Black side who nullified Pocock by running straight at him.

      Get a grip…

    • Nutta

      Jimbo81
      Tell if I’m wrong, but you aren’t seriously suggesting the reason why we didn’t win the RWC was because of Stephen Moore?

      Poor squad selection, poor scrum, poor kick & pressure game, tackled to exhaustion the week prior to AB’s game, most potent player (Poey) negated by direct running, coming up against possibly the most rounded AB’s team I can recall ever seeing… all this and you lay it at Squeaky Moore’s feet?

      Bit harsh dude.

  • Joanie Bran

    Your best bet is to get a secured credit card.

  • Nutta

    Bob

    Apologies for some of the childish shite written above. Whilst I’ve been guilty of getting sucked in by a troll before, it still doesn’t make it gratifying to read the abusive, myopic shite written above. It’s like watching other folks kids chuck temper tantrums at BBQ’s. For what it’s worth it is cringe-worthy and not a reflection of most folk I find on this site.

    I understand why the Queens & Wobblies like Higgers. They both need a lineout option. Personally I favour Mowen and why the Waratarts let him go for bl##dy Rocky is well beyond me. Donkeys gain and after the season they had last year they needed a break! Truth be told I actually favour Saffy for a hard-as-fk support and crash ball runner to back up Poey. But his slipped disk took care of that for this season – poor bugger.

    Anyway, whilst I often disagree with you, cheers for your thoughts. You’ve been there. You’ve done it. Some others just need to grow up.

  • Jerry

    The tackle on Mitchell was high – there was contact with the chin – but there was nothing illegal about the hit on Gerrard. It wasn’t high (he injured his sternum which is below the neck last time I checked).

  • Jerry

    Oh, and I absolutely love that Bob Dwyer is able to accuse anyone of being ridiculously biased with a straight face….

  • Rhino

    Reading Bob’s thoughts (particularly about Higgers) is like playing golf. It’s torturous, you hope you’re going to pull something worthy out of it, but more often than you keep seeing the same mistakes made over and over again. But you look forward to going back again in the hope that it will all magically get better next time.

    • ………but you keep coming back for more????

      • Rhino

        Yep, play golf every week and read Bob’s diatribes each week. Not sure which is more painful. My golf game comes together about every 4th round … I’d say I’d agree with Bob on a less frequent ratio. But do keep coming back for more on both counts so perhaps self-flagellation is my thing!

  • Suzy Poison

    As a Saffa, I agree with Bob. I dislike the show-pony loose forwards. I am totally backing Bob Dwyer on this one. Higgers is a good player, but he is exactly like Pierre Spies (built like Tarzan, plays like Jane ) or Ryan Kankowski. Personally, I don’t like any of these players. Sure all good line-out options, because they have height. But for me Kieran Reed is the world’s best number 8, by a country mile. Because he gets stuck in, and does the donkey work too. Worth noting, that when the Boks won the 2007 World Cup, Danie Rossouw was playing number 8. Big Danie was not known for his speed, just another large slow lumbering plonker, but hard to stop, and always in your face.

    You can go on and on, about injuries to the Reds backline, but it was their (mostly Wallaby) pack that was bossed around by the Saffa teams this year, whereas last year, they bossed the Saffas. For me, the out of form, Simmons, Higgers and Radiki Samo are essentially the core reasons why the Reds won’t make the finals this year. These two Wallabies loose forwards especially, have been consistently outplayed especially by the tighter no name Saffa loosies. C.J. Stander, Jacques Potgitier from the Bulls, Siya Kolisi, Ryan Elstad from the Stormers and Warren Coetzee from the Sharks. This mob made last year’s Reds heroes look like zeroes this year. And not one of these no names loosies, have ever pulled on a Bok jumper.

    • RJ

      I agree with you that the saffa packs have belted the reds pack this year, but higgers has been the one exclusion.

    • redbull

      100% on Kieran Read. Doesn’t have the height of some of his opposing numbers but has everyone’s measure.

      There should be some analysis on Crusaders (and NZL) losses compared to his game stats. It seems to me when he has an off game they go down. I recall him being quiet in the 2011 final.

    • muffy

      Suzy, you are right… as much as it pains me, The Reds played like girls on their SA tour this year (Sharks game was not too bad)… yet I draw your attention to the Crusaders and Chiefs games where they were excellent.

      I personally think the loss of so many key players effected them physiologically more than they let on….with most of those guys back, I will put money on a big showing from here on, especially in the forwards.

      For the record, having an emotional response to your teams predicament is not how a professional outfit should behave…they deserve all the criticism they get..but…at the same time, they need to be recognised when they do step up to the plate, and that time is now.

      I also believe that the Reds themselves probably see it this way too.

  • AJ

    Why is he the one exclusion because he’s standing in the back line?

    This is bullshit. I like a blindside that can run and hit the line but ball security is tantamount and quite frankly when we get beaten its always because we get beaten at the breakdown by either the AB’s, England or more recently Ireland. That’s why we’re loosing the Bledisloe time and time again. We need to dominate the breakdown.

    Look at Vickerman’s stats from last year – the number of breakdowns he’s hit and the difference he makes. That’s what we should be looking for. Another beast to smash the breakdown and the opposition when they’re trying to counter ruck or steal our pill. It ain’t rocket science. Maybe we should be looking at the remaining second rowers to see whether they can offer this. Caydern Nevill at blind side perhaps. Yeah I’m fan but the guy clearly has mongrel – and mongrel where it matters in the tight. Doesn’t mind the occassional hit up either.

    Want to know what makes a blind side a game changer? Go watch Richard Hill and the last Lions series in Aus until Nathan Grey did us all a favour and knocked him out. The best blind side I’ve seen in living memory, f*cking hands down.

    • chasmac

      Kaino and Jerry Collins and Willie O are the types of #6 that I like.
      Sounds like Richard Hill is in that category as well.
      Bob obviously sees potential in Higgers otherwise he wouldn’t waste his time passing comment on his form. This potential needs to be converted with good coaching and application.
      The Rebels could be the making of Higgers with their coach coming from the Sydney University ranks.

      • aussie werewolf in london

        Dany Lydiate from wales.

        The guy broke his neck 4 years ago and rehabilitated himself by going back to his family farm to work. The guy is all heart, is built like a brick shit house and just runs around smashing people and competing at breakdowns which is all you want from your no 6. He is the best no 6 of a great lot in my opinion followed by Kaino, Dusatoir, Bonniare, Ferris, Burger, Juan Smith, Denton.

        oh and agree above Hill was the best no 6 in history.

        p shiggers is no where near these guys

        • Patrick

          Dusatoir is really a 7, Bonnaire as well plays like a seven.

          Jerry Collins and Owen Finegan were two of my all-time favourite 6s, but Hill was certainly very good as was Burger and before him Rassie Erasmus.

        • Nabley

          Dusatoir plays both open and blind by staying on the LHS. He is not as good a 7 as he is a 6 and 6thats because 7 is much more specialised than 6. The real thing though is all Back Rowers come and then go. The Back Row generally has the shortest half life at the top and all countries keep their old champions on for too long.

          I had thought most of last year and especially during the RWC that Dusatoir had stayed round too long, but he did play very well in the final and somehow got the IRB player of the year.

          Burger was right up there once but has not performed at world class for several years. I think NZ is doing that with McCaw. He no longer has the speed of a 7 and I am not so sure he is robust enough for a 6. While we like to give him a hard time on this blog, his off games are still better than most other 7s in the world.

          This would probably have been Kaino’s last year at the top and he was getting out on top until his injury, which really robbed our SH competition of something special. Finigan in his day was right there with the best if not the best but it was a short period.

          Look at the No 8s. Van Niekirk, Spies, the guy from the Sharks now in Europe, were in their day streets ahead of anyone, but each passed fairly quickly. Read and Harinordquy are on top at present and both are starting to slip. The Welsh Tongan will proably emerge on top, maybe this year in NZ. I can not see a replacement for Read in NZ teams yet, but one will be needed there probably within two years.

          The unfortunate thing is we do not have too much that can match them. Palu is big and strong but too one dimensional and that limits the ways in which he can be used. I think we have seen his best. Most others are too small to be world beaters. I have been impressed with Mowen when he has played there, but I do think size is an issue.

          Read not a real big man who came from a No 6 position, to a world class 8 all in one year. That might be Higgers future, but it will take a lot of coaching. He is far from being there right now. The pluses are he is big, fast, extremely athletic and well coordinated. In addition he can be aggressive. The minus is he appears a bit lazy and likes to swan. If someone could take him in hand his time might come, but once a player shows as lazy, its normally in the DNA and there are not too many ways out.

          By the way, I always thought Richard Hill was OK, but not great.

        • the realist

          Nabley i can’t believe i read your comment.

          you refer to Foletau as the ‘tongan welsh no 8′ which is either patronising or casual racism, probably both, and you think Richard Hill was not great? find me 1 rugby expert that doesn’t think Richard Hill was a great and i’ll stop watching rugby.

          You sucked me in by being right about Dusatoir and Bonnaire. The french play them as left and right flanker and both play no 6 for their clubs. the rest was all jibberish.

        • Nabley

          Not racist, just I could not remeber his name. On the jibberish, it takes one to know one.

        • werewolf

          Realist I think you were a little harsh on Nabley.

          Nabley it helps if you name the players by name if you want to be taken seriously. Considering Foletau is arguably one of the best no 8’s in the game.

        • the realist

          Sorry Nabley. I was a bit over the top.

  • Davey

    Bob I genuinely have the utmost respect for everything that you have achieved as a rugby coach, there is no doubt you will be remebered as one of the greatest Wallaby coaches of all time.

    That said, your continual personal attacks on the one player greatly detract from your message and as can be seen from the volume of comment above, create a diversion for the good things that you have to say. Do yourself a favour and lay off Higgers.

    Also I would urge you to have another look at the replays of Motu Matu’u’s hits in the Hurricanes v Rebels game. They were both legal, both involved the use of his arms and were both below the neck at point of contact (Gerard has a sternum injury from the hit). The only possible issue could be that the top of Matu’u’s head may have come into contact with Lachlan Mitchell’s chin, but only as a secondary contact after the shoulder hit. Watching a couple of replaty before condeming a player would be considered common courtesy.

    • Red Kev

      I watched those hits over and over last night because I had a back-and-forth about them on another forum.
      I believe (a) the hits are 100% legal, (b) Motu has a tackling technique problem.
      Three guys injured in two games is too many from the same guy performing the same action. Therefore something needs to be changed.
      Motu, just before the moment of the tackle drops his eyes and therefore his head to ‘lead’ the tackle with his head. By dropping his eyes he allows his spine to line up through the neck providing more support to impact to ensure he doesn’t get injured himself, but he also promotes the top of his skull (which is the hardest part of the human body) and because he is no longer looking at where he is aiming as he tackles he is essentially attacking with his head.
      The fact that he also has a solid drive in his tackles (forwards and up – which is what tackles should be) makes the hits even more dangerous. The top of his head (hardest part of his body) is contacting the opponents chin. You can clearly see it in Gerrard’s tackle, Mitchell’s would have been the same but the line Mitchell was running coupled with Motu dropping his eyes and essentially tackling blind at the last second meant his shoulder slammed into him instead of his head.
      All that is required is a tackling coach to teach Motu to keep his eyes on who he is tackling so he no longer leads with the top of his head into people’s chins.
      At least, that is how I see it.
      Legal, unintentionally dangerous because of a very minor tackling technique issue.

  • Jerry

    Thank goodness I’m posting at the end of this name calling, character bashing episode of G&GR. Hopefully nobody will read my post, but I have to say I was utterly disonsolate by the injuries Ma’atu inflicted on Mitchell and Gerrard. It’s a hard game for hard guys sure it is, but two players in hospital as the result of a seemingly legal tackle (it may not look it in slow motion, but in real time it certainly seemed so) is really two too many. If this carries on this guy could kill someone. The TV footage should have carried a warning – Kids don’t practise this on your baby brother.

    • Robson

      Jerry didn’t write this – I did. How did he get on my script. Should’ve checked the ID panel before posting I spose. Sorry about that Jerry.

      • Patrick

        There I was thinking it was Jerry Collins’ repentant ghost..!

  • hannibal

    how fast is Higginbotham over 40m? Its an old idea but if he wont hit rucks and likes being vertical rather than having a face full of mud lets give him a go in the centres? He seems to have fair speed, footwork and can even kick. Can he be a centre in the Mortlock mold? We need to find a new centre with size, speed, flair and footwork because theres no one right now.

    Seems we’ve got a couple of other options at 6 and 8 anyway and he’s too good to waste judging by the love Reds supporters have for the man.

  • Riccardo

    Bob,

    Your barely contained vitriol towards Higgers and all things NZ continues to defy belief and diminishes your credibility.

    The fact you label NZ commentators biased is ridiculous in the extreme. Do you ever read what you write?

    Motu’u’s tackles were legitmate and involved arms. Gerrard was unlucky. He got bounced by the 2nd tackler and you could hear his sternum crack from my lounge. Mitchell was a little silly. He looked up when he got the ball, froze and actually sunk into the tackle which made it much worse. No one wants to see young guys injured and perhaps Red Kev is right in that Motu’u may need to improve his technique but they were legal and brutal hits.

    As a Kiwi, I actually think the back row of Higgers, Pocock and Palu is not bad. Mowen and Hooper deserve consideration too. McCalman? Please. Pity Gill’s off to a junior fixture as I’d have him in the squad too. He is the future.

ACT Brumbies
@bobdwyerrugby

If you don't know Bob Dwyer is the world cup winning coach of the 1991 Wallabies, then give yourself an uppercut. He did a load in between, but he now runs Bob Dwyer's Rugby Workshops, which you can read more about on his site.

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