Dwyer's View: Wallabies and Argentina a total shambles

Dwyer’s View: a total shambles

Dwyer’s View: a total shambles

The whole of the game between the Wallabies and Argentina in Mendoza was a shambles. Perhaps the week leading up to it was as well. First of all with the incidents of the luggage and between Kurtley Beale and Di Patston.

As far as the match was concerned our play was a shambles – individually and collectively. The referee and the TMO were a shambles. The Wallabies’ (and Argentina’s) discipline was a total shambles. Selection has been a shambles. In the end we were without any idea of how to win the game even when Michael Hooper was on the ground. A shambles.

What disturbed me most is that on the spring tour last year, we gradually played better and better. Even to the extent that I commented that the last two Tests on the tour were the best the Wallabies have played for some years. In this recent period we’ve played worse and worse and not surprisingly in the individual roles we’ve also played worse and worse.

If I take Nick Phipps as a case in point: the Waratahs spent the season improving his technique in the fundamentals of the scrum half position. In the last couple of months, those same fundamentals have virtually disappeared from Phipps. Even though he has some real qualities like speed and courage, the fundamentals fell away – he was dreadful.

For continuity to be successful, it means ‘continuous action’, not ‘continued possession’. Continuous action requires the game to not be staccato and the scrum half’s play is key to this. Phipps went back to the old days of Australian rugby where the scrum half stops for some unknown reason before he distributes the ball, steps back and takes a backswing before delivering the ball. It looks like it’s done to let the opposition get their defence in position. That had almost disappeared by the end of the Waratahs season, and now it’s back in full force.

It looks to me that in the last couple of months everything has been deteriorating. Realignment has disappeared. We had an opportunity late in the fourth quarter down the left wing and two of our players were standing idle in front of the ball – totally useless. Why would you do that?

Our support play and attention to detail at the tackle was missing from the kick off. One of our players kicked the ball away through a ruck in the first minute of the game.

We decide Benn Robinson can’t play so we pick Pek Cowan. Then we decide Cowan can’t play so we pick Robinson. WIll Skelton is in, then out.

We’re constantly happy with ‘good enough’ in selection: “He’s not good enough to get to the top, but we’ll stick with him.”

This is just crazy. To me it’s clear we have some chance with Skelton. It’s equally clear we have no chance with Rob Simmons, James Horwill and Sam Carter.

We have absolutely no chance with Scott Higginbotham either. He took his try well (largely due to the work done inside him), but he didn’t do anything else for the rest of the match and I wasn’t surprised when they took him off.

Apart from the fact he’s a courageous (although clearly not technically accurate) and a determined tackler – I fail to see what Matt Toomua can do for thje side’s attack at the top level.

All the players I’ve talked about are OK or good players at Super level, but from my observation they’re never going to take us any further. Ever.

We’ve got some chance with Nic White and Phipps if we work hard to get the fundamentals of their position in place every moment of every practice.

Lack of urgency in a game will be present in every game if it’s present in any practise. If it’s not present during any practise, then it won’t be present in the game. If we can’t change the play of players, then don’t have any coaches.

This has been a very disappointing period. The results you could say –  a win and loss against South Africa  – were not too bad. Against New Zealand a draw and a hiding which was less than satisfactory. If we’d had two wins against Argentina then you could say overall we hadn’t come out too badly. But even if you could have said that, in terms of performance – on which we should always judge, not results – we have to work much harder to do much better.

There have been few positives other than Tevita Kuridrani. If ever there needed to be support on my effort to get him playing inside centre then surely in his performance against South Africa last week he did it.

Also for Kurtley Beale on the wing. Can we say those who have been selected over him are better selections? As for his off field problems – perhaps they’re from frustration that his talents aren’t being used. Like a naughty kid at school, if a teacher can spark that student’s imagination they’ll often blossom.

As for our total disregard for the laws of the game; any player who played with me will know that if you deliberately or negligently give away a penalty you insult your team mates. This is because it says that unless we cheat, we’re not good enough to win. We have serial offenders of this in Horwill and Simmons.  Scott Fardy has his moments and his shoulder charge was ridiculous. The game is not a contest to see who can cheat the best, it’s to see who can play the best.

The Wallabies have virtually no support play in place. Especially with Toomua at 12, we have no straight running. So we then resort to kicking. If there’s one thing you must never do at the end of a game if you need points to win, is to kick. You must keep the ball and stay positive.

It was vastly disappointing and my worst fear is that we can now have an excuse for going back to Will Genia and Quade Cooper. Unless someone fixes Genia’s scrum half play and unless someone can add to Cooper’s God-given talent an understanding of five-eighth play, then we’ve got no chance of progressing that either.

Can I repeat – someone has to have a look at Paul Alo-Emile as then we have the chance to put pressure on an opposition scrum. Instead we bring on Ben Alexander and  – surprise  – he immediately gives away a penalty for collapsing a scrum! I’d love to have a count of the number of times this has happened in his career.

We have possibilities open to us and we have grit and determination – which are excellent qualities. But we need to be brave and not continue the way we are – otherwise not only will we stay this bad, we could well get worse. We would be lucky to get out of our pool in the World Cup next year. Fixing this is the job of our coaches.

Any way you look at how we’re going right now, the whole thing was a complete and utter shambles.

  • sethjnz

    If I had to pick one thing to pick on in the Wallabies performance I would go with their ruck penalties. How many did they concede? How many times did a Wallaby linger on the wrong side of the ruck for a second too long before rolling away towards the Argentine half-back? No wonder Owens got sick of it. I was surprised there were not more yellows for ruck infringements; Australia rode their luck on that department. All this did was give Argentina more ball, better field position, and points! Like Bob Dwyer said “the game is not a contest to see who can cheat the best, it’s to see who can play the best.”

    • Robson

      Part of the problems at the ruck arise out of zero cohesion on the tackle ball. Players arriving at the ruck see that it’s sealed off and since there is seemingly no collective strategy to attack it they do what is easiest, they enter from the side or infringe in some other way. But the other issues are lazy thinking and fatigue.

    • RJ

      to be fair, the argies were doing exactly the same thing, but Owens had a different set of rules for either team. Bitter little welsh man upset with Australian rugby. Maybe an IRB directive? Bring on the conspiracy theories.

      • Will

        nah it wasn’t Nige, lasers, travel, luggage or Di – we were just fucking shit. To blow up the lead we had against them is inexcusable from a test team. They should be mentally much tougher, much fitter and be better captained.

        I’m tired of the excuses.

    • PiratesRugby

      You’ve heard of the All Blacks, right?

      • Sethjnz

        Yip. And I also heard a lot of complaints about “cynical” penalties and calls for yellows to be thrown around after that Sydney draw. Senatore’s try came after three infringements from the Wallabies; was lucky he scored otherwise we’d probably have seen another yellow being dished out. Add to this that Australia did exactly the same thing (repeated infringements) against South Africa last week, before a final warning, then a flood of African tries, makes me think the Wallabies have a serious discipline problem.

        • Saint Richie

          bla bla bla go and watch your beloved all hack props get up slowly from a ruck and simply stand there to buy more time for the half back to clear the ball by blocking defenders. they did it all game against the bokke and have been doing it for years. One of many dark arts that have given them the edge over other teams, i’d call it cheating but it’s different when the All Hacks are doing it right?

        • sethjnz

          The only mention of the All Blacks is being made by people who are trying to defend/deflect from the Wallabies display. What is the point, that the All Blacks do it so it’s okay? Or that the All Blacks do it worse so everyone should leave the Wallabies alone? Quick, get the IRB on the phone!

          No wonder Australian rugby is in such a rut — I know someone like you isn’t necessarily representative of the average rugby fan in Australia, but your nickname is “Cheat” and you post things like that! Haha. Hard to have sympathy for Aussie fans sometimes. Own worst enemies.

        • Saint Richie

          My nickname and picture is irrelevant, it’s a parody. it’s intended as a bit of fun but as kiwis lack any sense of humour, they don’t get it and somehow take it as a personal insult. Anyway back to the topic, we know that the Wallabies sucked on the weekend without having kiwis add their pointless opinion. If you want to make friends try adding some constructive points like Richard does.

        • sethjnz

          Pointless opinion? I had a point — you had a rant. You may also want to double check your understanding of parody. You’ve dug yourself into an anti-Kiwi hole so don’t try and dig back out.

        • Saint Richie

          OK BRO. Actually not anti-kiwi, just anti-AB based on the garbage their fans have peddled out over the years.

        • All Hacks

          Your rant is so adorable

        • Keepitcool

          Sour much haha

        • Who?

          One of those infringements in the lead up to Senatore’s try was Folau starting about a second before the 9 grabbed the ball, then stopping. And the ball didn’t make it that far out.
          Meanwhile, in the previous possession, they were fully 2m offside directly adjacent to the ruck for Saia’s clearing pass to Phipps for his clearing kick, which was almost charged down.
          So there’s definitely room for complaint about consistency with the same infractions.

      • Parker

        Sounds like the Wobblies were employing AB’s tractics, only two years too late after refs have got wise to them and have started pinging them. Doh!

  • Baybum

    Well said Bob.

    Shambolic on every level.

  • mark conley

    Alo-Emile yes. If Kuridrani 12 who 13?

    • Nik

      AAC or Horne. Beale to Wing

      • Sam

        Beale will probably be a playmaker at the bulldogs not a wing ;p

      • RJ

        Id rather AAC at 12 ans TK at 13. AAC can run at the inside shoulder and straighten up really well. Its not uncommon to see OC’s move to IC as they get older. Devilliers being a perfect example. Only problem is we need someone with a big hoof on them at 10, and Foley has a larkam esque pop gun kick. Maybe the Tah’s can play AAC at IC this year with Beale heading to League. Horne can be their OC. Someone get this into action.

    • jamie


      • the pirate

        if you are going to move someone into the most difficult defensive position in the backline who has never played there before, why not go the whole hog and use Izzy? You could then look at AAC, Beale, JOC, or perhaps Hunt at 15 . It is unlikely to happen and I certainly don’t advocate it but if you want to go left field then why not go properly left field . Sure as shit Israel Folau has the makings of a much better 13 than Hooper or anyone else we have for that matter . As I said, it certainly wouldn’t be my choice but….

    • BarneySF

      Tongan Thor

    • brumby runner

      Would rather see TK stay at 13 where he is suddenly being touted as one of the world’s best. Why move him from his best spot???

      For 12, Toomua outside Quade is a different prospect. If we need a bigger, hit it up type player (remember though that Pat McCabe played that role for Deans and it was crap), then Inman is the best option imo. But another with promise might be Nigel Ah Wong. Playing 13 in the NRC and tearing it up.

      When, and if, Quade returns I wouldn’t mind seeing a backline of No 9, QC, HB (remember him?), Toomua, TK, Spiders (Speight), Folau. If Quade doesn’t make it back, maybe Toomua at 10 and Inman at 12. Maybe not as creative but probably a bit stronger.

  • mark conley

    …. and Hooper so disappointing; how is Pocock progressing?

    • trent

      It’s been 2 years since Pocock was in the mix so let’s live in today. He may or may not be able to come back from 2 consecutive knee reconstructions. Let’s work with the talent we do have.

      Arguably the best on ball 7 in the Super competition this year was Hodgson. And he at least was on the bench this week and didn’t get a run. Despite Hooper self destructing in front of us. His fatigue lead to poor tackling technique resulting in high tackles before the brain snap charge down. Hooper the ball is kicked by the legs not the head mate. You we a meter out from making a decent charge down.

      He should have come off with at least 20 to go with Hodgson being the fresh injection of skill and leadership. Why have VCs if they never get used except in injury. Embarrassing Link.

      • RJ

        He should have never been starting. We already had 2 wingers on the field.

        • Train Without A Station

          Guess you missed moments like his momentum halting turnover when they were attacking in our 22?

        • ruckus

          hodgson is overrated

  • Kate Elizabeth

    So who would you name then Bob? It is all very well to sling something that looks and smells like mud, but if you can’t name an alternative team that we can discuss the pros and cons of, aren’t you just wallowing in the mud?

    I don’t really disagree with anything you have said, but if we don’t have the players to replace Horwill, Carter, Alexander, Toomua, Skelton, Higgers, Simmons, Cowan, Robinson (and perhaps I can read between your lines to suggest that since you haven’t named alternatives you don’t believe we do either), then what do you propose we do?

    Take uncontested scrums to a new level to run uncontested matches? Sorry ABs and SA, we don’t have players good enough, so we are just going to sit this RC out?!

    I know that there are good players in SR and in NRC who at some point may be able to step up, but blooding 7-10 players in a season never really worked for us in the past (Jones era), and with the game having moved along more since then, I suggest the gulf would be greater now.

    I think that part of the issue is actually the team culture (the thing that MacKenzie prides himself on) – these guys should all be lifting as part of a team, to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. Unfortunately we don’t have a whole, let along one that is greater than. So instead we spend all our time analysing the individual’s performance in detail and everyone is found wanting (and probably rightly so after this RC). But what about the leadership on and off the field? Where has that gone? I question that even with top-tier world beating XV players on the field we would be coherent without decent leadership and an ability to finish. Oh god, what I would pay for an ability to play the full 80.

    • Robson

      Agree. The right culture breeds the right attitude. Players with the right attitude play collectively and play every second of their time on the park (whether it’s 10 minutes or 50) like their lives depended on it.

      • Axemen

        Culture – one of the most overused terms/excuses in sport. When a team wins they have great culture, when they lose the culture is poor – it isn’t that simple people. A good culture doesn’t automatically make you a better player. Sydney Swans are supposed to have a great culture, they play a poor GF and suddenly people are saying their culture is a myth. Teams can have bad days or bad spells – it is how they bounce back and stick together that tells you what they are made of. If the players start pointing fingers and blaming X, Y & Z then you know you have issues – at present that doesn’t seem to be happening. If they cop it, take it on the chin and come out against the AB’s and play hard tough rugby then you know something is building. There is a reason why the AB’s never lose 2 Tests in a row. Let’s see what happens in 2 weeks.

        • sethjnz

          The biggest problem with “culture” is that it’s intangible. If you asked 100 players and coaches what they believed team culture was, I bet you’d get 100 different answers. So I get your point. Culture and espirit de corps do exist, but I agree it’s an overused term. If I had a choice I’d ban the use of “x factor” first though.

        • brumby runner

          And ban the players who have X Factor to burn at the expense of other, more important and tangible skills like being able to pass, catch, run straight and tackle all the while adding to the overall team effort not just for show.

        • Anon

          Our “bad spell” sure does seem to be long lasting…but I completely agree with you…although I do find it strange that at the end of last year’s tour the Wobs were sticking together like glue and post super rugby it’s as though they haven’t the energy any more. And I think Kurtley’s outburst may have been one that spoke for a lot of players..it just so happens it was he who said it…there surely wouldn’t have been as much media attention had, say, Hoops let fly at Patston

    • Dally M
      • Toadflax

        It is an interesting re-read as there are a few suggested who have not made it/who have now fallen out of favour.

      • Kate Elizabeth

        You are correct, and after my analysis of that column, 11 of the players are unavailable through injury/retirement/OS contracts. So perhaps he needs to revisit it in the current scenario?

        • John Tynan

          That’s what I was hoping for. I was disappointed and reacted similar to you that he didn’t. It was like reading an Eddie Jones article about the Reds.

    • Ruppansy

      Surprised to see your post get so many thumbs up when Bob did exactly what you asked for earlier in the year. His larger point is that the coaches are not progressing the team, the team has regressed!

      See here:

      • Kate Elizabeth

        Perhaps people agreed with one of the many sentiments in my posts. But since you raise it, let’s go back 6 months to see who is still standing from Bob’s list:

        Props: Sio injured; Smith and Alo-Emile solid but not outstanding and on occasion not dominating inexperienced opponents in the NRC,so not really deserving of a Wallaby cap; Slipper is of course a yes.

        Hooker: Moore and TPN injured.

        Locks: Douglas gone; Simmons ok; Jones no better than an off
        Horwill and it appears hell would have to freeze over before any Force players makes the cut.

        Back row: Hooper yes but not with captaincy as well; Pocock injured (still); Mowen gone; Fardy yes; McCalman injured; Carter is a big fat NO.

        Scrumhalf: White is a resounding no, he has not convinced at test level at all this year; Genia injured.

        Flyhalf: Toomua ok but not great; Leali’ifano with injury concerns and still not good enough to warrant no Cooper. Perhaps Godwin? See comment about about Force players though.

        IC: McCabe gone, TK brilliant.

        OC: AAC yes (prefer wing as he doesn’t pass); Woodward all over shop in ITM but bloody oath we could do with his goal kicking.

        Wing: Speight injured; Cummins gone; Mogg on the nose and wobbling a bit in NRC; Crawford not shooting out the lights in NRC, so not really deserving of a Wallaby cap.

        Fullback: Folau ok; Beale whatever.

        So of the 30 or so players he names 11 are out through injury or retirement or OS contracts, and that is before you get to another 6
        months of form through SR and NRC matches. If we had those 11 players available, I think we would have a totally different team delivering totally different results.

        But we don’t. So writing a column that bags the players we do have (many of who we know aren’t up to test match standard, and I acknowledge in my post) is kind of like kicking the bleeding cat.

        I think that with so many players not at test match standard, the coaches are doing their best with what we have. I think that some of the game plans applied have been more at fault than the lack of team progression. Yes, this does sit at the door of the coaches, but I don’t think the ‘team’ has regressed because of them – I think
        we don’t have a cohesive team through injury and a total lack of on field leadership and poor development of game plans for opposing teams. Stop kicking the effing ball away would be a good start. And any player can apply that rule.

        • Anor

          “Hooper yes but not with captaincy as well…..Folau ok; Beale whatever”…you got the review you wanted, now you’re saying that Bob should provide alternatives but to three of the most consistent players the wallabies have you just shrug your shoulders and say whatever….I think you may be one confused person

        • Kate Elizabeth

          Anor, would it sit better with you if I had written Folau as a yes? I think both Hooper and Folau are well deserving of their test spots, but I don’t think Hooper is managing to juggle the captaincy as well – we might also see a bit more of Hodgson off the bench if Hooper wasn’t captain/we had better on field leadership. Beale *is* for me a whatever, he didn’t do well in the early tests and then hasn’t made it off the bench since then (and perhaps was set up to fail in being named where he was) but his time off the bench against SA was absolutely atrocious, so yes, I do say whatever to him (but without the shrug of the shoulders!).

        • Anor

          It would sit better if you weren’t quite so cynical…that’s all

        • Anor

          And besides, there’s no easy fix, we have the players for the most part but something is wrong in the team environment, yes it’s easy to strike out the players who aren’t performing but to downplay the ones that are is less than constructive

        • John Tynan

          Which goes back to Kate’s point about Bob’s article. Slinging a heap of mud, but not offering much analysis/insight into alternatives.

        • Kate Elizabeth

          Anor, I must confess myself confused by your comment about my cynicism i.e. believing that people are motivated purely by self-interest. I don’t believe that any of the players I mention (or Bob) have ever been motivated purely by self interest, I just don’t think that Bob’s article acknowledges the full injury-laden picture. Nor do I think that my own interests (a solid Wallabies squad, whatever it looks like) disregards the norms of rugby.

  • first time long time

    With all due respect Bob, Phipps and White have had an entire international season to show that they are not up to it!
    Not sure what Higginbotham has done to earn your ire but if I just read your articles I would have to assume he has never played a good game.

    Despite some short comings, Genia is streaks ahead of both of them.
    His average games offer more than the other twos best.
    You conveniently overlook the fact that he has been playing with significant injuries since returning from his ACL recon, barring about 3 months, which corresponded to our best backline in recent times as you stated above.

    Despite all the talk about playing 1 or 2 playmakers the problem is we have no one out there at the moment who seems to be able to run the show. We need our No 10 to run the backline and we need an inside centre.
    I wonder if the half back hesitation at the ruck is due to lack of communication/direction from outside him because there is obviously no one screaming for the ball while he just stands there.

    Again, you say Toomua isn’t up to it just paragraphs after saying he was part of our best backline in recent times.
    Same for Cooper.

    Time to eat some crow Bob.
    Barring a bolter in next years “Super whatever we are up to” it will be Genia, Cooper, Toomua as the inside backs with TK outside. Izzy will be there in the back three and the wings are up for grabs.

    • Gnostic

      You focus too much on the individual players and not enough on how they have improved or deteriorated in the execution of individual skills. As Bob says about Phipps, the errors in his game almost disappeared with the Tahs on the run to the title, and they would not have made it there with him playing like this. What has changed? The game plan and the coaching. In fact I would say that nearly all players have regressed under Link this year as individuals and the team surely has since the EOYT.

      Genia on most recent form is not streaks ahead of anybody, like George Gregan for the last two years of his test career he was a long way behind Chris Whitaker and it would be a further injustice in selection for him to be selected “on form” ahead of Phipps.

      • Cramps

        Agreed, and it’s worrying!!

      • PiratesRugby

        Phipps has never passed properly. He can get away with it at S15 level but is exposed at international level.
        The step back and backswing is something that Gregan did towards the end of his career. Genia did it as his form fell away. Phipps and White do it too. Its not Link’s fault.

      • firs time long tme

        “You focus too much on the individual players and not enough on how they have improved or deteriorated in the execution of individual skills”
        Sounds like detailed programmatic specificity, you sure you’re not KRUDD.
        As I have said many times, all players including Genia and Cooper, need to be picked on form and if in form, those to are our only option.
        Not that anyone else at the moment is staking much of a claim.

  • Gnostic

    Thanks again Bob.

    In the GAGR forums I posted my views that largely the flaws in the side all stem from coaching or a lack thereof. That includes selection. Tactically the Wallabies are limp ducks under Link as they were under Deans. They are unable to adapt and use their own brains to use a Deans-ism (which ironically they never did under him) play what is in front of them.) They run a set move which involves a grubbed kick in the 22 from a scrum. Now in my 30 odd years as a Rugby tragic the grubber has always been an opportunistic option, not a pre-set play unlike the kick to a wide winger with aerial skills like Folau!!!!
    IMO Link made a fundamental flaw when he took over from Deans, he retained the support coaches who had input during that disasterous period. Where have Blades and Scrivener shown they are up to their roles at a lower level? Yet a truly gifted forwards coach in L. Fischer is let go over seas. This all feeds into selection.

    Fitness. The Wallabies have been together how long now? You have Mackenzie picking Skelton in the 23 for the biggest tests of the year and then dropping him saying he isn’t fit/workrate too low, yet as Chieka rightly pointed out players don’t get unfit overnight and Link et al have had charge of them for months now.

    Finally as you say there is little pattern and structure to the attack and that isn’t just down to the players selected, as the individuals certainly played better and with better structure as individuals in their respective Super sides. This comes back again to coaching. Against the Bok I thought they were playing unlimited tackle league with the one out runners one pass of the ruck.

    There is only one word to describe what I have seen this year in the RC and include the second French test, that is incompetence from the Coaching/Management team.

    • Cramps

      Bloody hard to disagree with that sentiment!

  • Jon J

    Interesting read; couldn’t agree more. Is it possible to get Bob to do a review/share his thoughts on NZ/SA/Argies as well after the Championship? maybe with a view to how teams are tracking towards the RWC?

  • Richard

    Very interesting analysis. As a Kiwi reader to this great website, may I make a couple of observations….

    There is no doubt that within this Wallaby squad there are some genuinely world class players. What I seem to observe too often though is not enough of these players working hard enough to boost the team and not enough of them setting the standards for the others to follow. A lack of player depth in many positions is what it is, but it’s not a licence for players to not be working real hard knowing their spot in the team (and associated financial rewards) are under no threat. How else do you explain the consistency in the lack of sustained test match intensity, the skill errors, the mental mistakes and the inability to put any real stamp on any games.

    What is apparent within the current All Black squad is real competition for places and any guy knows that a poor performance can set them back real quick in the overall picture. For the handful that perhaps do not feel such pressure, their role is to lead and consistently be setting the standards. It is highly effective.

    Maybe the Wallaby problems exist because the coaching staff are still new and Hooper feels the captain by default, not by choice. But someone has to start imposing their presence on this Wallaby squad otherwise the good wins in venues such as Dublin and Cardiff and Rome will be offset by painful losses in NZ, SA and Twickenham. The clock feels like it is ticking as as Bob Dwyer so clearly illustrated — the time to change is now.

    • idiot savant

      So who are the players capable of imposing their presence? Since Mowen left there has been no one with that kind of authority/respect. And as you say there are youngsters in key roles – Hooper, Foley.

      What I found disturbing was that apparently Link was sitting next to Patston when the t-shirt incident got out of hand. Is there a leadership vacuum at the top?

  • Lenny

    I think Rory Arnold, the new Brumbies and Vikings second rower could be a world cup bolter. The man is a giant and seems to posses that mongrel the wallabies pack lack

    • Bobas

      Unfortunately the Vikings coach is on par with Ewan, he’s getting nothing out of his players. Id be surprised if any of them not yet selected get a spring tour spot. Just look at how much more Larkham gets out of Mogg and Coleman. They both were top of the try scoring charts 6 weeks into the comp this year.

      Saying that, I would like to see Arnold, he looks a bit like a Fardy type player, able to adapt to his surroundings and bring his game to the next level.

      • Lenny

        Defiantly agree with you there, I think despite whatever coaching is going on down there (obviously nothing flash) Arnold has that hard edge about him that stands out. He seems relatively athletic and a good lineout option, certainly had more of an impact than staniforth and could pip Skelton because he can be lifted. Hopefully some good super rugby minutes next year might put him into contention.

    • jim

      played Currie cup – was immense

  • Old Alo

    So depressing to watch this team — the Waratahs and some other Super 15 sides would beat the Wallabies because they play like a team and they are still going 100 miles an hour at the end. Witness their last minute win against the Crusaders. The Tahs structures and selections are so much better. Let’s do a Gillard (or an Abbott) — get rid of the bloke whose stuffing things up and get Cheika in.

  • Bobas

    Apart from maybe the scrum (and it couldn’t have been much worse) all our Super Rugby teams would have done a better job from 30-80mins.

  • Bill

    Watching Toomua get cleaned up by a charge by Pablo Hernandez made me think Tevita would be better suited to 12 in defence just because his height probably gives him a few more options than Toomua has at his disposal. Whether Kuridrani wouldn’t be exposed for technique at 12 is a funny question I guess given he plays 13, but teams play through 12 a lot. It’d be worth a look. I think Bob’s writing Toomua off a bit unfairly, I thought when he went so did our direction. And I really like our attack down that wide 13 channel with Kuridrani there rather than closer in.

  • Boris

    We have better players coming through or back from injury in lots of positions in the backs and at hooker but nothing promising really in the second row or number 8. I think we are missing Sharpe/Vickerman/Douglas and Palu more than we realised.

    The spring tour will be our last chance before the world cup to find the solution eg Neville, Skelton, Jones, Holloway, Wykes, Coleman etc

  • Bobas

    We need to:
    Get our 4 best props, 2 best hookers and pencil them into the team sheet.
    Get our 12 best rugby players (including 3 genuine line out options [up to and including lift Folau or TK]) and pencil them in.
    Pick utility players in 19,20,22,23 (so we don’t get left with TK or Horne in first receiver).
    Get Cheika coaching the forwards and Larkham coaching the backs. Cheik to do the motivational speeches (bring the golf clubs).
    Produce G&GR ‘Di Patston approves the wearing of this T-Shirt’.

    • PiratesRugby

      Our two best hookers are injured. Long term.
      Pocock, Genia, QC all injured.
      Horwill was injured and out of form until recently.
      Toomua played with concussion.
      Palu and McCalman injured.
      Beale on the verge of a hissy fit unless he gets picked.
      JOC gone overseas to grow up.
      There’s only so much leakage of talent that a team can endure before it starts to come apart at the seams.
      Link can’t just buy a south african forward for a couple of seasons. I’m prepared to give him a bit of a break.
      On the other hand, I think that Michael Hooper has not been a good choice as captain. His game management is poor. His ref management is poor. His ability to control his own team and even his own actions is poor. His own game is fine. His captaincy is non-existent. He provides no leadership. Link should be criticised for buckling to pressure to name the NSW captain as the national captain. It has cost us at least two games.

      • Bobas

        I’m aware of the injuries.
        Should I have written from those available? or is it obvious Moore with one knee would be worse at hooker than S.Fiangaa?

        I fail to see how the rest of this is a response to the points I made.
        My point was we need our best 15 on the park and ability to cover a bench that can cover injuries.
        If you want to hate on Hooper go for it with someone who actually mentions him, or start your own discussion box.

  • Glenn Condell

    Agreed Bob. Safe selections in a WC lead up are stale selections. The time to be bold is now, and failing that, the EOYT selection simply must give some outsiders a chance. As you have often pointed out selectors need to look at players and say ‘could this guy at his peak worry the All Blacks/Boks/Poms on a regular basis?’ And if the current cattle haven’t done so and don’t seem to have enough improvement left in them to manage it, you have to look at the up and comers (i.e. Skelton, Coleman, Arnold at lock, Alo-Emile at TH) and blood them a good year out if you can.

    In 1988/89 we had Test cattle who were good but not capable of winning the second World Cup. No-one had ever heard of Eales, Kearns, Horan and Little and some of your left field selecting in 89/90 raised eyebrows, but you were right about their greater potential.

    Who believes the team we are selecting can win next year? We need to work out which players have it in them to be among the best in their position within 12 months, select accordingly from the EOYT on and let them know they are there for the long haul.

  • Rugby Tragic

    Bob I am just wondering if you can clarify what the distinction is such that you can think the Wallabies were excellent on the spring tour, when Cooper was at 10, but also think that Cooper does not have the game managerial skills to be there? Because in my opinion, switching Foley for Cooper is exactly what we need to do. Foley has been unfortunately been worked out by opposition defences because he bases his play off simple passing plays that, while brilliant with an all-star backline at super level, can be contained with effective rush defence, leading him to crab like we say on the weekend. Quade has managed to stop a lot of that, provided he can provide Toomua, Kuridrani and Folau with appropriate attacking lines.

    • Bob hates Quade and will never change that opinion even if he single handedly wins the World Cup next year.

    • Roland Chan

      Cooper has been worked out too. The thing about world class players is that they aren’t one trick ponies and therefore can’t be worked out.

      McKenzie has not delivered much like he didn’t at the tahs, but the players aren’t great either.

  • bad ass

    Thanks Bob. Not sure if the problem revolves around individual players and selection preferences as much as it does around the team unit, the game plan and how it is trained for and then executed. A few peculiarities but the selections as a whole aren’t that bad. Ewen did a good job with what he had at the reds but he is in a rut now and needs to climb out of it. A few days off to clear the head and start again from scratch I think. The present course is a disaster after a promising tour of Europe last year.

  • idiot savant

    Hey grumpy, lost your happy pills?

    I agree with your assessment of the shambles on the coaching side but I think you have way too much hatred going for the players. Its not as if they dont go out there trying to do their best. I’ll bet you didnt treat players like that when you coached otherwise you would have had no success.

    I thought abuse in social media was a gen X/Y thing? While your hatred for Higginbotham is clear, you could have at least had the grace to admit that he played a good game this time. Find those pills Bob, because your game analysis is top notch. We want to hear that not your player assassination.

    • Chinese Dave

      “Its not as if they dont go out there trying to do their best” – This isn’t under 10s, at this level it’s about performing, not trying their best.

  • jamie

    So this team is screwed, how about we post a hypothetical piss take for the RWC next year?

    1. Slipper
    2. Moore
    3. Kepu
    4. Jones
    5. Skelton
    6. Fardy
    7. Pocock
    8. Higgers

    9. Genia
    10. Cooper
    11. Speight
    12. Kuridrani
    13. Hooper
    14. JOC
    15. Falou

    16. Faingaa/TPN
    17. Cowan
    18. Alo-Emile
    19. Carter
    20. Hodgson
    21. Phipps
    22. Hunt
    23. Tomane

    • Steve

      Higgers = no way
      More likely 8.Pocock with Hooper at 7
      Hopefully someone other than copper at 1o

    • Farthibg

      That’s a much better team. A lot more threatening than the super safe team we have now.
      I think Bob’s best point is picking players like Skelton who could be world class rather than guys like Carter who will be solid at best.

    • the pirate

      You would drop AAC for Hooper at 13? I respect you for coming up with some thoughtful suggestions but I can t get with you on that one . AAC would be 13 in my backline, apart from that I like the look of yours. Don’t have a problem with 10 Cooper 12 Toomua 13 Kuridrani and AAC on bench either for that matter

      • jamie

        Tongue in cheek. I would like to see Hooper as a back, he certainly acts as a third centre, but we need a fetcher and a Hooper in the team.

        • the pirate

          yeah fair enough mate I see your point, though if I had to choose a place in the backline for him it would be at 12 rather than 13 as I think it would be an easier transition . We could always put him on the rack and stretch him out a bit as we really need a consistent running number 8

    • ruckus

      pretty good team except for cooper

    • Axemen

      have you been watching the Rising? Jones has the highest missed tackle count for the entire team at the moment – his defence has been dreadful and not test standard.

      • jamie

        He has a year to improve to the World Cup. Did you see him in super rugby? He hasn’t even had a proper chance at international level. Link gave Carter and Skelton 60 + minutes during the french series. Jones came on for 10 minutes in a woeful performance by all 15 WBs

        • Axemen

          S15 was 3 months ago – why isn’t he doing it now in a lower standard of competition? That is the difference to Aust and the AB’s – we think someone should be put into the Test team to learn and prove themselves where the AB’s you prove and earn your spot before you get there. Which one seems to work better?

        • Truth

          Except money bill

        • Who?

          Think he’d have been picked for the Wallabies on April’s form, but in May, immediately before the French series, he played against the Reds, Tahs and Brumbies. And was outplayed in each game by Horwill and Simmons, Skelton and Carter. The locks who were picked for the French series were picked on form.
          If we were to play Jones, I think we play him at 6… The lock we need to have building is Coleman.

        • jamie

          Notice the key words in my first comment ‘RWC next year’ not ‘Bledisloe 3 this year’. Would you also like to tell me Pocock and Moore are injured?

        • Who?

          You talked about him in Super Rugby, I explained why he wasn’t selected off the back of Super Rugby.
          I didn’t say he isn’t a prospect, and in fact gave an option that makes him more attractive, as Fardy’s form has, until the last fortnight, been roundly criticised.
          And I really hope both Squeaky and BamBam are back for next year. I actually don’t mind your team, but would have Simmons in there, as our most effective scrummaging lock and as our best lineout operator. Plus, his game against the Boks wasn’t half bad! When he doesn’t give away penalties (which isn’t every game – unless you only read Mr Dwyer’s articles), he’s our best lock.

  • BT
    • Will


  • Luke Amasi

    Yes the Wallabies have slowly deteriorated BUT is it the players or the staff who gets blamed? Is it both? Because there seems to be a rift between the players and ‘links’ staff. The players got Beales back and Link had Pattersons back. In fact I don’t care whose at fault just sort it out, the Wallabies know what’s up so fix it.

    As a Wallabies supporter I would like to approach this team in a new light. sort your s&%t out Wallabies. You cause us to much cause for comment on this site!

    • PiratesRugby

      Hooper supporting Beale before the investigation is completed is a mistake. It effectively puts a wedge between players and staff. You need to show respect to the people that work with the team and for the processes of the organisation. Poor leadership. Again.

      • Bill

        It’s good it didn’t apparently involve alcohol, or does Kurtley losing his rag without alcohol just make it worse? But I guess to paraprase Bob it’s ok he’s just an exciteable boy.

  • Ian

    I always find it funny when the Queenslanders get called for bias on this site but then articles like this get published. Surely Bob knows some 4th graders in the Sydney comp who should be starting ahead of many of our only World XV capable players.

    • Scott

      Ian most of the current players are not test players that is what Bob is saying and the last player he did pick from Sydney second grade was some bloke named Kearns and I would rather him playing then some of the current players? What beer you may think he is spot on they are a shambles with no direction or any idea on the field. Soma bob Dwyer is spot on.

      • derickjames555

        So true. We have most rubbish forwards in world rugby. I bet you even that Uruguayan scrum I saw the other weekend could humble us. I can’t believe we haven’t had an enforcer type player for the last ten years. Surely there’s someone in this country who is 200cm and not a pussy

  • Axemen

    C’mon Bob, have the guts to say what you really want to say. Make Chieka and the Tahs the Wallabies team. For every Tah player you have an excuse for their poor play – everyone else is useless and should be out of the team. You seem to have Link in your sights for poor coaching and leadership – but what about Hooper performance as a player and the skipper – he was deplorable in not addressing the teams infringement issues and then being one of the worse offenders himself. Hooper is purely an impact bench player at Test level – nothing more. Where is the individual criticism of Folau and AAC for shocking chip kicks – sorry they are Tahs so no criticism, isn’t AAC supposed to be a leader – or maybe more of a downhill skier. The entire article you spray the team – but not one word on the inept performance of Foley. A guy that tries hard but is simply not Test standard. if you are going to be a columnist leave your “cheerleader” pom-poms at the front door and do the job Bob – very disappointed in a man who is supposed to be one of Australia’s greatest rugby brains using his column to politic for his Randwick buddy Chieka – obviously Link didn’t buy you a beer down at Coogee when he played there.

    • the pirate

      I think the coaching staff have to take a lot of the criticism for the kicking tactics. When people like Folau and AAC are using chip kicks or grubbers its a reasonable bet that they are following instructions. Admittedly they should use their better judgment more but its a brave player who completely disregards the directions of the coaching staff

      • Blech

        But when Toomua does it its poor decision making and he should be immediately dropped.

        • the pirate

          What? I didn’t say that. Nor did I in any way infer that . My point was that it is unfair to focus too much blame on players for implementing a questionable game plan. I simply quoted back the two examples that had been used in the post I was replying to. How do you possibly get any criticism of Matt Toomua out of that?

        • Blech

          No, I know you didn’t say it, but there are many on this site who constantly justify the actions of some players while calling for others to be replaced for doing the same things. Didn’t mean to infer you thought that, it just seemed a good place to make a point.

        • the pirate

          Fair enough Blech old boy. I thought you were probably just making a point in general rather than replying to me but I just wanted to stress to all that I wasn’t having a crack at Matt Toomua who I think I could have included in my example also as someone who is copping a bit too much criticism for sticking to a game plan that appears to be questionably designed and poorly emphasised by the coaching staff.
          Obviously the execution of our kicking game hasn’t been ideal and the players have to take some blame for that but I think more of the blame should be directed toward the coaches who are telling our players that grubber kicks in an opponents 22 are a good idea.

    • johnsont

      You’re an idiot. Bet you think Liam Gill is the solution.

      • Axemen

        Not really – think he is hugely over rated and I don’t care what state they come from as long as they do the job they are supposed to do. Pocock is most desired but who knows if he will ever get to the levels he used too so no sense living on ifs/maybe. Give Hodgson a go, least he is a constant ball scavenger and a good leader. Is he world standard – probably not, but Hooper is well over rated and should spend more time on his game than worrying about his hair getting in his eyes. Hooper would offer great impact from a very lack lustre bench also.

        • Chinese Dave

          “Hooper is well over rated and should spend more time on his game than worrying about his hair getting in his eyes”. I don’t need to mock your ignorance, you do so yourself. Post less please.

        • gee

          Hooper had 2nd most steals in the comp (under Vermeulen). How is that not doing his job? You’re ignorant as fuck

        • roger

          http://www.planetrugby.com/story/0,25883,16024_9506470,00.html eat a dick mate. The rest of the world thinks differently.

    • Jay-c

      The sad reality mate is that the tahs are a far superior team to the wallabies this year.
      The tahs of 14 would hammer the current wallabies

      • Will

        I think you might be right….

    • Toadflax

      Axeman – just re-read the April article referred to by Daly M. It’s certainly NOT a Tah’s for Wallabies list. Pretty harsh re Foley bearing in mind he made his test debut in this game 1 year ago. I think it would be good if Bob D updated the April article at this point so we can see his current thinking.

    • topgun

      Calm down bud, you sound like a wounded bull… are you a Reds fan perchance? Folau did what he could with no possession, Foley wasn’t tops but how can a 10 shine without a halfback? Either Simmons Carter or Horwill need to be axed for the shining light of the pack. AAC didn’t have a shocker, he had an AAC performance. two weeks ago you were probably ravig about how good Foley’s kick to beat the boks was I guess you think Gill>Hooper too… sounds like you’re a bit sour about the Waratahs having their due,

      • John Tynan

        Same halfback he played with all year to win the S15 you mean?

        • topgun

          Phipps got yellow carded… that along with Toomua’s concussion is where it turned to shit

        • John Tynan

          Oh, righto. I thought you were on the “Phipps isn’t a halfback’s @hole” soapbox. Sorry.

  • Mark Blackwood

    Get Chieka in to advise Link re the fitness and consistently good ball skills NSW managed this year (or at least do it behind the scenes if they are afraid of the media) Even most of the Watatahs players have seemed to have lost these qualities for the Wallabies. I suggest we are missing a Potgieter like hardman to inspire the forwards.

    It’s all in the team CULTURE. We are playing the same 50 minute matches as under Deans, with the same basic skill errors and brain freezes.
    Something/someone in the background has to change.

    -Hooper is great but an ineffective captain. And his game shows up the limitations of the team. He always hits it up, never passes… why? Because there is rarely support. Everyone bags him because he is the easy mark. Ever present while many of the other forwards are not (Slipper excepted).

    -Alexander can’t catch or pass. Forget the scrum, if you don’t have basic ball skills you CANNOT BE the best Australia has to offer.

    – Horwill always on the wrong side of the ruck. He does get through a mountain of work but he is slow to realign, never shows any urgency. Is there an alternative?

    – Higginbothom is a good player but doesn’t do enough. Plays too wide.

    – Everyone stop bagging Skelton. 1st year player. Be patient and see what comes. I think he will become world class. Massive improvements shown since the start of the season.

    – Phipps is coming along, needs work but currently the best we have.
    Unless we want to kick possession away to much with White.

    – Kuridrani at 12 as Bob says, AAC at 13. Allows Foley to be more creative with a hard man on his outside shoulder, Nonu style. Tomua on bench as cover for 10 and 12.

    – Tomane out. Poor defence and has a habit of running outside the field of play, even before he has the ball. I don’t care if he has a pretty hairstyle.

    – Folau never to grubber kick again, always aims at the defender (last two games) & where is the cross field kick, ala rugby league, for Folau in the corner?
    We need to use our weapons more.

    • derickjames555

      Great shame Potgieter got capped by the Boks. Could’ve been a time server. Haven’t had an enforcer player like him in 10 years. People criticize Hooper but for a guy who has a team of vaginas around him he’s done incredibly well.

      • Parker

        I’ve always dreamt of being in such a team. Where can I sign up?

      • Touko

        That’s pretty unfair on vaginas. In my experience they can take quite a hammering and keep, um, coming back for more.

    • Chinese Dave

      “Cheika to advise Link” – that’s not going to happen. Cheks is the next Wallabies coach and both he and Link know this. Link especially has a high level of arrogance that would preclude him from taking the advice of lesser threats to him than Cheika is.

      Otherwise, all good points. In Hooper’s defence, I’d say that he is very young and is captain by default. I bet, deep down inside, he can’t wait for Moore and/or Pocock to come back and take that burden away from him. It was unfairly thrust upon him due to a lack of alternatives more than anything else.

    • PorPor

      Great point on the cross field kick to Folau. I don’t know why they don’t employ that tactic more often. I remember the cross field kick being one of the most effective set plays when Lote was our winger. Folau is similar shape and height and has way more leap in him.

      • Queenslander

        You have been watching too much Mungoes, if you kick in the attacking 40 metres you should be dropped

        • Fatflanker

          Can’t agree with that – when you don’t have the ability/nous to cross the gain line – and it appears we don’t – no use hammering away for xx number of phases then just losing the ball. Call it Mungo-ball but he Kangaroos use it to devastating effect when they couldn’t find a way through. The difference is they kick accurately and chase hard. I actually think McKenzie is holding the cross-field kick back for the RWC – it is just so obvious a tactic for Izzy.

        • Queenslander

          For mine I know it is tempting to cross field kick but I think all it does is place the ball in an unnecessary contest that we may or may not win. It is a lottery and not the sign of a sensible confidant team. I watch the Mungoes and hear ‘The Voice’ say a try is brilliant when it has bounced off a couple of shoulders an arse or two and some knuckle dragger falls on it. Should be worth 1point and I don’t want to see it in rugby. Dagg will simply take the mark and we have achieved nothing

        • Fatflanker

          Its a valid test of skill under pressure and it should be in the Walaby arsenal – not as if we are killing it with brilliant set plays or dominating the set pieces at the moment, is it? If it only came off once in four attempts in the opposition 25 we’d be getting more return on the scoreboard than we currently enjoy. We have a guy who should dominate in the air – use it once or twice a game and give the opposition something to think about. Dagg vs Falau contesting for a well- placed mark? I give Dagg 60/40 at best.

    • Galty

      Agreed. I reckon whites only there cause he’s got a decent kick. Time to get genia on the bench ahead of him

      • Queenslander

        But remember Genia became the most prolific and worst exponent of the box kick we have seen prior in injury etc. Love him when he doesn’t kick but he was becoming Gregan with the step back and pass. If he fixes that then bring him on

  • AB

    The idea that Beale is mucking up off field because he’s not getting enough game time is at best misguided, and worst dangerous. Making excuses for repeatedly bad behaviour will not fix the problem. He seems to have real self discipline issues, and attitude problems, seemingly are exacerbated by alcohol. People like Quade have turned it around, so there’s certainly hope for Kurtley. But for a professional who gets paid not only for field performances, but also marketing the game etc, it’s not acceptable and the ARU must be close to breaking point, a la JOC.

  • nowared

    Bob, perhaps you would like to recap on the time ,when you were Waratahs coach, and you lost by 90 odd points to the Crusaders -so much for your coaching skills – or better yet ( with your hatred of all things north of the NSW border) perhaps we can recap on the Scottish test in Brisbane when you selected the Ellas over Roger Gould and Paul Mclean and we lost the test . The Ellas both had shockers – next test was duly won with the selection of the 2 Queenslanders.
    Bob, try not to be so arrogant -there are a lot of people around who know just as much as you do. I would expect a wallaby tight head to know a bit about it – more than a Randwick third grader.

    • Ted

      The article is hardly arrogant bro. Harsh, yes, but there’s some valid insight in there too. “there are a lot of people around who know just as much as you do” said the keyboard warrior to the World Cup winning coach. Now that’s arrogant.

    • Nutta

      Wow mate. I don’t think Bob Dwyer needs me defending him and I certainly dont always agree with him on players. But no1 everyone who writes on this site does it generously so feel to disagree on the rugby but taking personal swipes like you just did is just poor form

      No2 if you are seriously trying to defend a Qlder view of that auspicious event of which the “highlight’ was the Qlder crowd booing 2 blackfellas running out in an Aussie jumper because the whitefella goodolboys that the rednecks wanted weren’t there, then old mate you seriously have to a think about yourself on 2 fronts now…

      • BloodRed

        Whoa there Nutta. Did you just seriously turn Maclean/Gould vs the Ella’s into an issue about race? Fucking well out of order. That is a new low for this web site. I am personally sick to shit of the pops at Qlders just because they’re Qlders. I was in Qld at the time and at that game. The booing was about a coach picking personal favourites over clearly superior footballers. The Ella’s all became crowd favourites when their form warranted selection.
        Lift your game.

        • Nutta

          Lift my game?

          We can play semantics on why the crowd booed. But to be historically correct, they weren’t booed for playing badly or losing the test as the game hadn’t started.

          They were booed running OUT onto the field.

          We had two blackfellas running out on a test field wearing a national jersey and they got booed. FACT. I’ve still got the video.

          And if I recall correctly, that was whilst we tut-tutted South Africa, lambasted the Cavalier’s and were holding yet another “deaths in custody” enquiry at the time (I wonder which state that was in?).

          I don’t give a rats arse where it happened – but it doesn’t surprise me where it happened. I also recall a couple of beer cans being thrown at them.

          We have had national embarrassments before in rugby – the loss to Tonga in ’74, the Samoan loss a few years ago, the Scottish losses of recent years, the towel-up a month ago by the AB’s… but by my reckoning nothing before and nothing after has ever come close to the fact that an Australian crowd booed two blackfellas as they ran out onto the field in their national jumper.
          Anyway, enough said.

        • BloodRed

          Hardly semantics to call the QLD crowd racists. The Ellas were booed because a couple of footballers who had recently out performed their southern counter parts were not picked in favour of 2 blokes who went on to have shockers in a game we lost. Your assertion that it was because they were/are “blackfellas” is offensive and plain wrong. I’ve been out in Brisbane and had beers with all the Ella brothers who are good fellas and gentlemen each. They were treated like the legends they went on to become.
          Lift your game

        • Trev

          Nutter – Your username checks out. The biggest load of horse shit I have ever read on this site, and that is truly saying something. Your racism towards Queenslanders is offensive, your petty jealousy of QLD is much like the rest of the NSW cock holsters on here, pathetic. A right bunch of carpet arsed weasel dicks. Booooo!!!

  • RubberLegs

    For Bob, the main purpose of the Wallabies is to keep Tahs fit in the off-season.

  • Aron

    I was optimistic after the EOYT last year, even more so after the performances of our Super teams later. The likes of Fardy and Simmons have regressed though and we are missing Moore, Mowen and Palu. Our tackle count is way too high and the opposition is primed to monster us as soon as Phipps gets his hands on the ball (him delaying delivery not helping). Bob’s point about Skelton is true. We need more fwds who can punch it up, clean out etc, generally commit more opposition to the tackle/breakdown.

    • RubberLegs

      Apparently Sekope didn’t run with the ball once.

  • Ken

    We are missing are few great players with injuries, however this shouldnt be a problem, if the forwards we have know understand what their role is towards the game plan. We had one last year on the EOYT, but it seems to be lost and now we are trying to go wide before we go forward. This will never work. Few more forward punches with pods would be nice before we spread it.

  • bobo

    Given our no. 8s are inconsistent, maybe Hooper would do a better job there and free up the 7 position for someone more disruptive at the ruck. Better consistency might outweigh the lack of balance. His elusive running could make up for his lack of power.

  • Alex

    Back to Genia and Cooper the wallabies go. If Genia returns with 2011 form and Cooper early 2011/late 2013 form I think that would go a long way for the Wallabies and either the return of Pocock or Moore as captain. As for Lock and 2nd five just make do with what you have I guess unless Kurindrani goes to 12, Ashley-Cooper 13 and Beale to 14.

    Also try to lure back Digby Ioanne, that guy is a menace for the opposition when he gets the ball, big and powerful something the Wallabies seem to lack in the backline right now.

  • CM

    With Bob’s bias and attachment to NSW I’m amazed is ever able to leave the state without his head exploding.

    Go back and read his articles about last years Spring Tour, aside from his BS bias and anti-Cooper propaganda he declared it the best he’s seen in 10 years. Look at the team. All the guys he hates.

    Now the team is stacked with more NSW players than then and it’s a shambles. The guys who get the blame are the ones who played on last years amazing side (and even more amazingly players who aren’t currently playing).

    We need to move on from this BS attitude that the Tahs success will mean Aussie success. It was a stacked team. Imagine the All Blacks all moving to one province. Same result. Doesn’t make them better players, just a better team.

    The Tahs have always had the talent to win, that’s why they have traditionally been a disappointment.

    In the last 2 years
    The Tahs upgraded at 9 from a very good club player to a test player.
    They upgraded from Chris Alcock to one of the top 3 opensides in the world.
    They brought in Potgieter replacing the Mumm type.
    They signed Folau
    They signed Beale and then played him in a position he’d never played before. He wasn’t good enough to win the position he’d played since he was a child or the position he was World XV in just 2 years ago.
    Rob Horne couldn’t get a run in his normal position.

    Improving any franchise in that manner is going to have a massive result. Add Hooper, Phipps, Folau, Beale and Potgieter to the Force this year, see how they might have gone.

    Compare that to the Brumbies of 2013 and Reds of 2011. No recruitment, no expectations. Players who started in these grad final teams couldn’t even make the Tahs match day 23.

    Oh and the other comparison we beat the All Blacks and won the Tri-Nations. Had Deans taken Hodgson to the RWC we might have been playing for first instead of third.

    People have short memories. The Pocock v Hooper debate only exists because of that. The All Blacks and Boks don’t operate on a short term memory function. McCaw hasn’t been the pick of the Kiwi opensides in Super Rugby for years, they still pick him. Maa has spent time on the bench at SR, teams stacked with all blacks have struggled to win. Carter and McCaw take seasons off and come straight back in. They don’t drop them and move on. World Cups are won by teams that play together for long periods.

    In Australia we have 7 players who have at some time been World XV standard since 2011 or even appear to have that ceiling: Moore, Horwill, Pocock, Genia, Cooper, Beale (15) and Folau. If any of those players play at their best they can be amongst the World best. Only one of them is in the team at the moment.

    Many of the current group have a ceiling much lower (with the exception of Hooper) And when they don’t turn up, what happens then? Beaten in Argentina?

    We certainly have some exposed weaknesses, but we need to pick the best capable team and build with them.

  • Alibi

    Bring back Deans, please. Then it’ll always be a kiwi conspiracy rather than poor players buckling under pressure.

  • topgun

    Get Samu Kerevi into the extended squad! prime him up for the future!

  • Brad Allen

    I agree with Kate in that Bob is happy to join the bandwagon. April 2014 He was suggesting that Toomua/Leali’ifano as first choice flyhalf, now not good enough to play at International level and there are probably many more instances of him doing this. I’d suggest to him to have a longer memory before running off at the mouth. What he has stated in the column above I mostly agree with.
    Toomua has been a passenger for this year at international level. Not enough pace or size to threaten the line, rarely steps in and interchanges with Foley to reduce pressure. Kick game was very poor. Centres I would keep Beale, he has succeeded in Super Rugby and only had one appearance where he didn’t influence the result, which was the 2nd SA test. Kuridrani, AAC and Godwin would be my other centres.
    Carter hasn’t really performed. Horwill and Skelton I think are up there. Simmons for me gives away far too many stupid penalties. Higgers is too lazy, Alexander doesn’t seem to be able to stay on his feet at scrum time.
    White at scrum half is far too inaccurate. Most passes behind or a body shot instead of in front of the player. Can’t expect to break the gainline when you need to check your run to catch the ball. Phipps and Genia at 9 for me.
    Wing I think Tomane doesn’t perform at all in either attack or defence at the international level. Looking forward to Speight being fit, JOC returning and the eventual return of Cummins.
    I feel that the Australian selectors aren’t being honest with themselves.

  • subfreq

    This season started with Link dropping Beale at 10 in the tone setting match of our season, soon to be shuffled away and ultimately dropped. Not surprisingly frustration has in all likelihood lead to the latest disciplinary lapse from KB. It doesn’t excuse it, he should do better but Link is doing the very things he criticised during Dingo’s time.

    The only consistent thing with the wallabies in the last 6 years is tinkering game after game with the first 15 selections.

  • BAM

    Im glad someone said how poor Higgenbotham has always been. So over rated.

    • RubberLegs

      He was a brilliant leader for the Rebels this year and has a great array of skills; He outplayed McCabe when they clashed which makes him arguably Australia’s best #8. I don’t count Palu; he’s always looking for an ice pack or a bandaid.

  • Timothy Vanzyl

    What Bob is saying is that the coach is the problem – it is his job to make the right selections ( which he hasn’t) – build and implement a strategy ( which he hasn’t ) and underpin that with a team culture which is based on doing the basics right, discipline and playing with determination for the team (which he hasn’t) . When none of these things exist then you know what the problem is – I cenrtainly do

  • Andy Mac

    Sure,blame the coaches,it’s the players that make the fcuk ups,not the coach,these guys know how to play the game,stop blaming the bloody coaches for every useless retard on the field. The coach can only do what he’s allowed to do,if he’s allowed to get in a sport psych,and then doesn’t,then yeah,he has something to answer to,i’ve said it countless times,80% of the Wallaby team are not up to international standard,and now,after how many years has Dwyer come out and said it?. Robbie Deans record was so much better then Links at the same juncture,stop blaming the coaches and get behind them for once,and weed out the bad shit from the team,the “stale old and worn out never been any good from the start” players,and there are a lot of them. Hooper is not a Captain,a damn good player,but not a leader.

  • Brad

    Shambolic yes, but make sure you to sign up to B Dwyer’s coaching clinic where you will learn how not to make all the mistakes for the cheap price of $19.95. Come on Bob your pieces are going more from an inside experienced view to barrow pushing and maneuvering. Please leave that for the the NSWRU boardroom.

  • Guy

    Thanks Bob… If you tire of these morons and choose to take your thoughts to another site, be sure to let me know so I can follow you over.

  • Simon_Sez

    I agree the whole Wallaby thing is a complete shambles. McKenzie inherited the core of a winning team from Michael Cheika, playing with confidence and a winning culture. What do we have now, a team that is disjointed and full of bad habits.

    The Wallaby forward pack is useless and unable to win equal possession. Palu, Timani, Kane Douglas, TPN and Moore, Sio and others are needed in the squad. The ARU need to relax the non overseas player rules, even just for a short time, until the local talent can effectively take their places and Australia no longer need their services. Having players like Douglas,Timani, Giteau and Mitchell sitting on the bench would improve the standard of the Wallabies.

    The ARU need to make the short term change for the next World Cup, otherwise I think the Wallabies are in danger of not even making the quarter finals.

    With regards to Kuridrani playing at 12, I think it is a brilliant idea. So while you are at it why not play Folau at 13 and have the two interchanging during the match.

  • Nabley

    Bob well said. But I must say that I thought the first quarter was OK, particularly the use of the outside backs. But then the wheels fell off and they hardly saw the ball again.
    I was amazed that Yellow Cards were not bought out earlier. You named the three main offenders, yet they got away with it. Phipps when he got his was simply a fool that you expect from junior players with not very much knowledge of the game. Hooper is too reckless to be a captain and was well put in his place by the Ref who to his credit was able to recite Hooper’s offending as he sent him on his way.
    Incidentally, my wife and I saw Robinson play in an NRC game. She pointed out to me how little Robinson was doing. So like a selector I simply focussed on his play for 15 mins. It was a shocker of the aimless waste of space, kind. Made worse by a brilliant no name substitute taking his place mid second half that helped turn the game. The following week he was named back to the Wallabies squad, for the predictable result that you saw. I still cannot fathom it. He is way past use by date.


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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