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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s rugby news has Michael Hooper keen to end the hoodoo, Reece Hodge is contention to start in the centres, Tom Lawton backs Stephen Moore’s leadership and Nigel Owens praises rugby players.


Hooper Keen

Wallabies vice captain Michael Hooper is keen to break the hoodoo of personally never having won at Eden Park.

Hooper says the win would be a significant in his career.

“It’ll only ever go down as a win but I think as far as individual goal it’d be very nice to win,” he said.

“I haven’t won there for the Tahs either. It’s  a tough place to win but it’s an exciting challenge on the other side of the coin.

“Like myself, all the other guys are keen to get in and break that.”

Hodge in Contention

Wallabies defence coach Nathan Grey says Reece Hodge is ‘definitely’ in contention for a starting position in the centres for this weekend’s match against the All Blacks.

Hodge has played on the wing since making his test debut in the Rugby Championship.

“We’ve been trying guys in different combinations at training and trying to find how we can best maximise the talents of the guys that we have amongst us,” Grey said.

“He’s got a lot of experience playing in that position obviously at Super Rugby and also being on the wing for us a number of times this year.

“It’s a good option to have there.”

Lawton Backs Moore

Former Wallabies hooker Tom Lawton has backed Stephen Moore’s leadership abilities as the current captain of the Wallabies.

Lawton was one of the Wallaby players who last won at Eden Park in 1986.

“I think poor old Steve’s battling with the hardship of leading the team and having to keep that positive front,” he said.

“I think he’s come good at the back of his season. There was a patch there where the eye was off the ball a little bit but I think he’s a quality player and a very good leader.”

“What rugby needs is leadership and i think he is solidly one of those things that can provide that.”

Owens Praises Players

Referee Nigel Owens, rugby’s first openly gay referee, has praised rugby players for showing respect on the field but believes the sport has “a way to go” in learning tolerance.

“Society, rugby and all of the sports have a way to go,” Owens told New Zealand media group NZME.

“But I could not be who I am today if it wasn’t for rugby and the people within rugby.

“There will be a minority, maybe one or two players, one or two supporters, one or two fellow officials, who don’t like the fact that I’m gay.

“In rugby, they are a very small minority.”

Owens will referee the Wallabies match against the All Blacks this weekend.

  • Nick

    God I hate Chieka. How f***ing hard is it just to name the side like a normal coach?
    It’s not like the darkness care who we pick, it’s only pissing off our own supporters!

    • Muzz

      Ha ha. Yeah that’s pretty much right.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Absolutely. These guys all know each other enough now that their won’t be too many surprises. Even Hodge at 12, Folau at 13, Moore at 10 and Hooper at 15 wouldn’t phase them so I also don’t really understand it

    • Thomas

      If there are 50/50 calls on more than 1 player within 48 hours of a game it is basic man-management not to name the side.

      Don’t let facts get in the way of another foundationless Cheika witch-hunt though

      • McWarren

        good morning Michael, how’s the weather in Auckland?

      • John Tynan

        Just like it’s basic man-management to scorn and humiliate (some of) your players effort in the media after your selections don’t work?

        • Thomas

          Who has he humiliated?

        • John Tynan

          Every lock he dumped to straight out of the team this year and made some pretty poorly worded statements to the media about. And it pretty much is every lock except Coleman. By all means tell them what you are looking for and what’s missing from their game, but to do so publicly is not on in my books. And to not be able to follow through on your selections from week to week (ie This week you’re a run on. This week you are rubbish and need to go away) is baffling.

        • Thomas

          I’m not aware of him humiliating players. If he has humiliated players as you say then that is not good man management, of course.

        • John Tynan

          Praise in public, criticise in private IMO

      • Sammy salsa

        All it does in create indecisiveness in our own players. As a player you want to feel like you are the best in that position and own it, not be a 50/50 call the night before the game. I just don’t understand why we need to change the team every week. Super rugby is the audition for the national team, not training camp or the 10 minutes off the bench the week earlier. What were they looking at throughout the season? Most players won’t perform any better or worse at national level, pick and stick. The coaches need to back themselves so the players can also.

        • Thomas

          You pick your best team for each game based on a number of factors, many of which we don’t have visibility of.

          If Super Rugby is the audition for the national team how does that support the inclusion of Cooper?

          Fact is we will lose against NZ no matter who we put out. We’re rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic so to speak.

      • Sammy salsa

        All it does in create indecisiveness in our own players. As a player you want to feel like you are the best in that position and own it, not be a 50/50 call the night before the game. I just don’t understand why we need to change the team every week. Super rugby is the audition for the national team, not training camp or the 10 minutes off the bench the week earlier. What were they looking at throughout the season? Most players won’t perform any better or worse at national level, pick and stick. The coaches need to back themselves so the players can also.

      • Sammy salsa

        All it does in create indecisiveness in our own players. As a player you want to feel like you are the best in that position and own it, not be a 50/50 call the night before the game. I just don’t understand why we need to change the team every week. Super rugby is the audition for the national team, not training camp or the 10 minutes off the bench the week earlier. What were they looking at throughout the season? Most players won’t perform any better or worse at national level, pick and stick. The coaches need to back themselves so the players can also.

    • MM

      Why? So you can have more time to whinge and criticise?

  • John

    Cheika is turning into Deans v2.0.

    • Thomas

      What a sad little place this comments section is when idiotic comments like that find favour.

      • Brendan Hume

        difficult to discern game plan, picking players out of position… how’s the comment idiotic? 2016 has really unveiled Cheika as being quite limited in his coaching. I’m sure he’s a great motivator, but he seems to lack the tactical insight into the game that would allow the Wallabies to go to the next level.

      • first time long time

        You sound an awful lot like Gavin.

  • Gegonago

    The only rational reason that Cheika wouldn’t release the team is because he is going to start Hodge at 12 or Naiyaravoro on the wing

    But frankly what does it matter…

    • McWarren

      I honestly think he hasn’t named the team because of indecision. He doesn’t know what team he wants or what style to play.

    • Nope it’s because he has Foley at 10 and Mumm at 6. Just trying to minimise the time for fan backlash.

      • Gegonago

        >Just trying to minimise the time for fan backlash.

        Australia have fans?

  • Kokonutcreme

    I reckon Nathan Grey has a harder job than Cheika this weekend. How do you stop a team like the All Blacks from scoring tries? They’ve already conceded 10 in their previous two matches and while they have improved a bit since then, so have the All Blacks.

    Congrats to Reece Hodge if he starts in the midfield tomorrow. Kid has talent and runs straight and hard. Must get under Cheika’s skin that if Hodge starts ahead of Cooper on the bench it’s exactly what Hansen predicted two days ago.

  • Tim

    I would like to see Hodge in 12 but against the best side in the world would be a very big ask. I would love to see Mumm dropped from the squad and have fardy start at 6 and Timani at 8 having Pocock come off the bench. As Pocock is coming back from injury and we will need him overseas.

    • TheMountain

      Back this, or another go at Kerevidrani, really should have given them a training round against Pumas though, the weekend may be an ugly affair

    • McWarren

      I don’t understand logic that essentially says: ‘Hodge is our best choice at 12, but lets not put him there against the best side in the world, lets put a player with less ability but more more experience’. Sorry mate I just don’t get it.

      • Tim

        I didn’t say we should not put him there. I said it would be a very big ask. He should have played against the Pumas at 12. Foley should go bench and Cooper 10

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    I would bloody hope Hooper wants to beat the voodoo, just like I hope the entire team wants to. God knows the poor bloody supporters want them too.
    I tend to agree with Lawton that Moore was getting to close to things earlier. As a leader he has to step back from the now a bit and look at the bigger picture. hard to do in the cauldron of a test but really essential in making good decisions.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Fellow GAGR’s, I am hearing rumours through my network that Cheika has ditched Cooper to the bench, in favour of pairing Phipps and Foley!
    Are any of you hering the same thing?

    • Unanimous

      Yes in the media last night.

    • Kokonutcreme

      Yep, Steve Hansen mentioned it on Wednesday

      • AllyOz

        Does Hansen have a bug in the Wallabies hotel?

    • The Big Lebowski

      I bloody hope so.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Really why? Both Foley and Phipps are desperately out of form!

        • True to form then for chieka at least?

        • The Big Lebowski

          I’m not saying Foley is in great form at all, but Cooper is a liability with his cross-field running, especially against the ABs. You can’t beat New Zealand with flick passes alone.

          Hodge was always going to end up at 12 – which has now been announced – and a straight running 12 needs a straight running 10.

          Phipps, well….Genia showed his class earlier in the season, then he showed his clause (to go back to France). I’m disappointed there’s not a more dominant 9 somewhere in Australia but there seems to be some making strides. I just hope Cheika has the gumption to take a few of the NRC guys on tour.

    • Thomas

      We may stand a chance then, good call. Cooper has done well but it’s a common sense decision.

      • McWarren

        no its a short sighted decision.

        • Thomas

          In what way? Would picking Cooper be a long-term decision?

          We’re not blessed with a world class 10. Foley is the better pick for this fixture. Cooper may be a better pick for others. We’re waiting for someone better to step up

        • McWarren

          As you mentioned above Cooper is a confidence player. What a way to instill confidence in your player by dropping him. Leave him at 10 even if we lose this game Cooper should remain at 10 for the tour. Give the guy a real and decent crack at filling the 10 jersey. Foley got a good crack and unfortunately hasn’t maintained the form that earnt him that crack.

          So in short, yes picking Cooper is a long-term decision. For past 5 even 8 years we have been picking teams to win the ‘next’ test. We need to start planning medium to long term, then we might just start winning in the short term.

          Oh and by the way, as a dyed in the wool Leinster fan I am a big Cheika fan. He just seems to be out of his depth currently.

        • Thomas

          The only blip on Cheika’s CV is the England tests. Hardly out of his depth.

          Cooper is not world class, Foley is not world class. Both of these players will be in and out of the 10 shirt until a world class 10 emerges.

          It’s about what is best for Australia, not Quade Cooper (or Bernard Foley).

        • Joy

          Yes Foley is short sighted. Cooper has wide vision.

      • John Tynan

        By “common sense” you mean it agrees with your opinion, obviously? Lots of trolling going on Mr. so-called Thomas, not many words defending your own common sense (which, in itself, is not particularly common, anyhow…)

        • Thomas

          That was quite incoherent. What was your point?

          Quade Cooper has gone from playing no rugby to playing every game in recent weeks, a toll on anybody, and an arduous tour is fast approaching. This is a high-pressure fixture for which his particular skillset has proven to be not ideally suited. As a confidence player, it makes perfect sense not to start him at the weekend.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I dont get how it is common sense. whilst they are a known combination. Neither of them is in form or had game time in either of those positions. This will be a an utter calamity!

        • Thomas

          He should pick the secret world class in-form 9 and 10 he has up his sleeve then ;)

        • Brisneyland Local

          He doesnt have any!
          QC at 10, Frisby or Phipps at 9 is a coin toss.
          even leaving Foley at 12 would have been a better option than this.
          We dont have the options and Foley form at 10 has been shite.
          Phipps’ form at 9 has been sub par for ages.
          So rather than eaving an average to slightly above average combo on the paddock, we go to something that ahsnt worked for ages.
          This is going to be hilarious!

        • Thomas

          That was my point, he doesn’t have any!

          let’s call a spade a spade here, the anti-Cheika sentiment here and 99.99999% of the for/against Cooper arguments are based on Super Rugby loyalties.

          Cheika is a fine couch, Cooper is a good player, but the selection is justified.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I am not anti cheika, I dont mind him to be honest. I am just mystified by his choice here. Our 9/10 hasnt worked for a long while. finally we have one working. We lose Genia (there is nothing we could do about that) but to then put two out of form players into those positions. For me this sint about state loyalty (despite my Psuedonym I am a NSWelshman) I am just not understanding removing a player that has been in good form, added more to our attack and kicking game, and replaced him with someone whose kicking game has been appalling (other than place kicking conversions / penalties) and whose distribution has been flat and too far back.
          I understand your sentiments and agree with Cooper for an against thing. for me it is form and stats, and there is nothing in either that justifies this 9/10 combo.

        • Thomas

          I don’t really disagree with your post.

          I think our 9/10 has worked “relatively” well in most games under Cheika with the exception of the 3 England tests and 1st Bledisloe this year.

          I have no qualms about starting Cooper tomorrow. I think Foley is the better call for this game but it’s a close call. They will rotate the shirt until someone better emerges. Selections at 9 may influence decisions in tight calls.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Fair call. I jst want Genia to come home sooner rather than later. A world class 9 is important, and that he certianly is.

        • jamie

          I know Genia was the worlds best in 2011, but I believe he’s actually better now, somehow?

        • Brisneyland Local

          He is looking good isnt he. those sniping runs just get me every time!
          2018 back at the Reds!

        • jamie

          Sorry mate. Super rugby loyalties are irrelevant to most of us when it’s gold time. Picking on the players that are out of form is not just because of super allegiances. It’s very hard to argue that Mumm, Phipps and foley, as well as (I can’t believe I’m about to say this) Folau. Note: Hooper and Kepu are still by far and away vital to the the starting XV. That They’re all Tahs is irrelevant as I’d be calling for Moore’s head too if it would ever happen.

        • Thomas

          I’d have Fardy in ahead of Mumm.
          To be fair, I wouldn’t even have Phipps in the matchday 22.
          Cooper and Foley is a close call

    • Geoffwho

      If it is playing out that way then it can only be for Foley’s goal kicking. Especially if Hodge starts at 12. Cooper would be better suited to a player like Hodge at 12. Foley has shown he needs a second playmaker for support. Whatever, you’re not going to beat the All Blacks kicking for points.

  • Tomthusiasm
  • Dingo

    If cheika moves Foley to 10 we’re jscrewed. He was beyond useless In the first 2 bledisloes and that was with a halves partner that could actually pass and kick

    • Thomas

      We’re screwed anyway because we’re up against a team with a better player in every position and playing them in their own backyard.

      Cooper has gone from not playing at all to playing every game in recent weeks and is going to a place where he does not play well. It’s a common sense decision to use him as a finisher

      • McWarren

        If Cooper is dropped, it is Cheika saying to him, sorry mate I don’t trust you enough, take a seat and let the guy who failed the last two times have a third chance. I personally like to see the pair of them given a chance at 10 & 12. Though if Hodge gets the nod at 12 Cooper holds the 10, imo. Cooper needs his forwards to protect him and give him go forward ball. Doesn’t matter what 10 we pick, you could dust off Noddy Lynagh or Steve Larkham , but if the forwards aren’t forwarding the backs will be backwarding.

        • Thomas

          We’re going to lose either ways.
          Cooper is a rehabilitation project. If he gets humiliated this weekend his confidence will be shot for the November tour. He’s played a lot of rugby in recent weeks after playing little over the last year. Makes sense to sit this one out, given the history of this fixture.

        • McWarren

          I don’t see the sense in protecting players from experiences that they can grow from. The last few times Quade failed in NZ he was hung out to dry and he new it was coming. It effected the way he played, he knew I felt he didn’t perform better than anyone else on the paddock he was gone, no other player has that pressure on them, none. Bad man management by the coach in this instance.

        • onlinesideline

          Maybe Chek prefers Foley coz Phipps is there and they work best together and Cooper works best with Genia there.

        • Tip

          Lets put a stop to this line of thinking.

          Nobody works well with Phipps except the opposition.

    • The Big Lebowski

      You can’t doubt that when Foley is in form, he’s electrifying. I actually think he is just physically and mentally knackered.

      RWC, then Japan, then Super Rugby, then Test season, then November tour.

      He looks completely buggered.

      • Thomas

        Good point. Japanese contracts should not be entertained by the ARU. If we can’t afford to retain the players here then let them go abroad, don’t do this contract sharing.

      • jamie

        He’s a a good running player. Put him at fullback where he belongs if you think he’s ‘electrifying’

        • The Big Lebowski

          Who’s your 10?

        • jamie

          Cooper. Without question.

      • Electrifying? Calm down…

        • The Big Lebowski

          I’m so sorry if you barely raised a pulse when he dismantled England at RWC i.e when he was in form.

          My main point was that he is buggered.

        • Tip

          He kicked some goals and made a line-break.

          Are you forgetting the Wales game, the Scotland game, the Argentina game or the All Blacks game? Hell, do you remember the Fiji game!? Because Foley certainly didn’t cover himself in glory throughout these in the WC.

          But nah, we should all just remember that ONE time Foley scored a try and kicked all his goals.

          The coach is cooked, Foley might be too. But they both have to get out of the oven ASAP because they can’t handle the heat.

      • John Tynan

        Agree. Posted the other day that I saw a repeat of the game when he almost singlehandedly destroyed England. Not a shadow of that bloke.

  • First time long time

    Uncontrolled pessimism below….
    We are going to lose on Sat.
    And please no howls about “get behind your team”, I am but it won’t change the inevitable.
    I don’t care who he picks, i would like to see QC, Hodge, Kerevi, Naiavalu, Morahan, DHP.
    Folau needs to be dropped, he is just not performing.
    Cheika……….
    Anyhoo, go wallabies

    • Missing Link

      There is an unprecedented level of pessimism amongst Wallaby fans. Absolutely no expectation from me to win, but it begs the question, is this how low we have to go before things turn around or is there lower? If there’s lower, I’m not sure I want to find out what that feels like.

      • first time long time

        I’m hearing you loud and clear Link

      • Chinese Dave

        Of course there’s lower, way lower. We’re the #2 team in the RWC, we could easily slip down to 4. We’re the #3 team in the world, but could easily go down much further. Our biggest perception problem is that we compare ourselves to NZ and to our past glories. We’re basically a pretty good Rugby nation who are massively eclipsed by the best international Rugby team ever and we have the fortune/misfortune of playing them three times a year, more than anyone else.

        • Thomas

          Well said.

          Lots of memberberries being consumed here.

      • Thomas

        What do you mean turn around?
        People here would be happy to lose if the Reds XV was selected.

        This is our level. The 2nd best team in the Southern Hemisphere. We’re probably punching above our weight to be 3rd in the world.

        The game is almost dead in Australia. We used to churn out world class players in every position, now we arguably have 3 (Beale, Pocock and Hooper) and two of those get slated here most days.

        This isn’t Cheika’s fault.

        We keep on hounding out good coaches to deflect from the real problems. Turning around Australian rugby is up to the ARU.

        • Missing Link

          My definition of turn around would be having the Wallabies in a position where prior to each Bledisloe game there is a credible 50% chance they could beat NZ. In my opinion, that will revive the game in Australia. The fans are there, they are just dormant because we aren’t competitive enough, I don’t care if they are fairweather fans, they are still fans – there aren’t many rusted on fans in any sport like us who keep going back for more.

        • Thomas

          We all want that. The problem is that we don’t have the players though

        • first time long time

          Now I’m sure this is really Gavin

        • Thomas

          What?

          Do you disagree with any of the above?

      • Brisneyland Local

        I am sure if we hit rock bottom, they will pull out an excavator!

  • Adrian

    Wallabies team

    1. Scott Sio (24 Tests)

    2. Stephen Moore (c) (111 Tests)

    3. Sekope Kepu (72 Tests)

    4. Rory Arnold (5 Tests)

    5. Adam Coleman (6 Tests)

    6. Dean Mumm (52 Tests)

    7. Michael Hooper (60 Tests)

    8. Lopeti Timani (2 Tests)

    9. Nick Phipps (47 Tests)

    10. Bernard Foley (36 Tests)

    11. Henry Speight (5 Tests)

    12. Reece Hodge (5 Tests)

    13. Samu Kerevi (7 Tests)

    14. Dane Haylett-Petty (9 Tests)

    15. Israel Folau (47 Tests)

    Reserves

    16. James Hanson (11 Tests)

    17. Tom Robertson (3 Tests)

    18. Allan Alaalatoa (4 Tests)

    19. Rob Simmons (65 Tests)

    20. David Pocock (60 Tests)

    21. Nick Frisby (2 Tests)

    22. Quade Cooper (63 Tests)

    23. Sefa Naivalu (1 Test)

    • Missing Link

      Fardy must have banged Cheika’s wife or something…

    • Thomas

      The experts here will be outraged obviously but it’s a ballsy team. I like it.

      Still expect a comprehensive NZ victory though

      • First time long time

        What’s ballsy about it?
        He has made the one change that everyone has been suggesting for weeks/months (Hodge to 12) and kept all the players who haven’t been performing. Please don’t make me spell them out.

        • Thomas

          Knowing he will get pilloried by those who put club ahead of country. Making big changes for a big game.

          Obviously you know better than Cheika, and by extension me, so I’m wrong.

        • first time long time

          Not sure that’s a great defence of Cheika or yourself but hey you said it not me.
          I’m not the one picking guys out of form/position;
          Phipps
          Foley
          Folau
          Mumm
          Just because they happen to be Warratahs doesn’t change anything…. you are the one who has made the ludicrous parochial statement.
          I am not suggesting replacing them all with Qlders.

        • Thomas

          Is it a coincidence that the players you have a problem with all play for the Waratahs?

          We’ve a poor squad, players will be in and out. The one you are most upset out, Cooper v Foley, will occur again and again. Both decent players with pros and cons who will rotate the shirt for the next 3 years.

        • first time long time

          Yes it is a coincidence.
          Rotating your 10 for 3 years is retarded.
          Next

        • Thomas

          Rotating your 10 for 3 years is retarded? We don’t have a world class 10. Very different players but Foley and Cooper are evenly matched. They will continue to rotate the shirt this year and beyond.

          What should they do? Stick by a player at 10 no matter what?

          Foley has been in bad form, should he have kept the shirt despite this? Cooper has barely played in the last couple of years, should be have remained exiled?

        • If the selection panel chose a good 10 and stuck with him, I’m thinking there would be some pretty decent QC highlight reels happening.

        • DEAN MUMM! NICK PHIPPS! tell me they are the right way to go?

        • pretty sure fardy is not a qlder nor many others that could fill the lock, loose or halves positions… get off the soapbox, go to the naughty corner…

        • which players would he get pilloried for selecting? surely you cannot mean mumm, Phipps or foley at 10?

        • Thomas

          I would pick Fardy but I don’t get the hatred of Mumm here. He’s a decent versatile player, a leader, and needed in the line-out.

          I wouldn’t even give Phipps a Super Rugby contract.

          Foley is a fair call. Cooper would have been a fair call too. Certainly this was not a decision to get upset over

        • StSaens

          I suppose picking Dean Mumm, the worst No.6 ever to have played for the Wallabies, is pretty ballsy.

        • first time long time

          Touche

        • The Big Lebowski

          I agree. How that bloke is anywhere near the jersey is beyond me.

      • McWarren

        Well you should expect a comprehensive victory mate. We’ve a 9 who can’t pass straight and a 10 can’t kick the ball to the end of my hallway. But hey god forbid I should be ‘outraged’ at thought of the team I grew up loving being run by a coach out of his depth.

        If you don’t like contradictory comments to your own opinion then I suggest you look elsewhere to waste your time.

        • Thomas

          Out of his depth?

          Won the RC last year, reached the World Cup Final, finished 2nd in the RC this year. What are you guys expecting?

          There is no need to throw your toys out of the pram because we have different opinions.

        • fatman

          You are kidding yourself, as has been said before, we were kicked up the arse by a giant rabbits foot at the World Cup, our results were purely through good luck not good management. Cheika is quite clearly out of his depth, his selections & game plan, or lack thereof, clearly show that.

  • Adrian

    Its on ARU website

  • Brisneyland Local

    Sorry this team selection is not good at all.
    This 9/10 combo is very problematic. Neither player has had game time in position. whilst they may work together well at the Tah’s, neither has played well in the last 9 matches. so putting to out form players into the ‘engine room’ is not going to do us well.
    All blacks by 25+

    • Willem Labuschagne

      Hi BL — There is a way to see this side as a positive step. Look, Hodge at 12 is something we’ve all wanted. Arnold and Coleman at lock seems like a jolly good combination that one hopes will be allowed to develop. Nice to see Speight on the wing. Timani at 8 — these are things we’ve wanted to see.

      As far as the Cooper/Foley choice at 10 is concerned, I see some extenuating factors in the Foley choice. First, I like Cooper, but I’m pretty sure that it is his combination with Will Genia that allows him to play at his best. His style of play is unpredictable, and it took some time for Genia to learn to read him. I think that with other 9s like Phipps, there is mutual incomprehension. So the absence of Genia takes away some of what Cooper brings to the team. And then add to that the unfortunate history in which Cooper alienated Kiwi fans by doing silly stuff in the past, which brings added stress to his mind whenever he plays at Eden Park. So, with all the justified criticism of Foley’s form this season, I don’t think this is a huge mistake on Cheika’s part.

      What we need to see is further small incremental steps towards sanity by Cheika in future — Folau to the wing, DHP to 15, for example. A better choice at 6, whoever that may be, perhaps a new hooker. Small steps, but they’re in the right direction at last.

      • Adrian

        Good analysis Willem

      • Brisneyland Local

        WL, your argument is sound. Yes Genia and Cooper have been playing outside of each other since they were 12 years old at school. so yes they do know each other. That is the only part about the Phipps Foley combo I get.
        The issue is the form. Phipps passes of late have been erratic at best, and horrific at worst. His play at the break down has been good (see I am not totally against the guy), but his behaviour and niggle is going to get him sin binned with Owens holding the whistle. especially if he has another Brain snap again. Lets not go there.
        Foley’s running game of late has been pretty good, but his kicks not finding touch, or going straight to a player are not good. He is way too deep in attack.
        So despite the benefits of the known combo I really dont think it overcomes the bad form of both of the guys.
        Re Hodge, couldnt be happeir. About time. Speight, fantastic he is back! Timani at 8 is great too!

        • harro

          I’d say Hodge will do most of the kicking, at least I hope he does

        • Brisneyland Local

          I bet Foley will still a fair bit of kicking. Hodge’s kicking is good. Foley’s not so!

  • Big Ted

    I have just read that the backline will be
    9. Phipps
    10. Foley
    11. Speight
    12. Hodge
    13. Kerevi
    14. Hayley-Petty
    15. Folau

    Didn’t think Quade deserved to be benched, but perhaps he will give both Foley and Quade good time at 10.

    Looking forward to seeing Hodge at 12 and though Naivalu was unlucky not to start given Speights’ lack of playing time due to injury

    • Thomas

      Quade and Bernard will rotate the #10 shirt for as long as both are around until a truly great 5/8 emerges. This debate will rage and rage.

      Case for either of them. The scrum-half pairing swings it for me.

      • jamie

        I still think Quade is that ‘great 5/8′ if he just didn’t have another 10 getting in his way. I’ve always thought he was a good player, but this season he’s played the house down in what has been a very average team.

        • First time long time

          If you pick QC you need to play to his strengths and pick the right guys around him.
          Then just back him to the hilt and if it doesn’t pay off it doesn’t pay off.
          But he is the guy who could unlock the kiwi defence and would have liked to see him with Hodge at 12 and Kerevi at 13.
          It seems we are picking a “game plan” and then trying to fit the team into that.

        • Thomas

          Is building a team around a single player is a better decision than building a team to suit a game plan? Perhaps, although I am not sure.

          I don’t think either are prudent. It’s more complex than that. You choose a team that suits the squad you have and that suits a game plan. It involves compromise and creativity which is why selection committees died off decades ago.

          Sometimes Cooper will start, sometimes Foley will start. Both have different strengths and weaknesses that suit different oppositions and game plans.

        • First time long time

          Mate I get what you are saying but I just don’t agree with the selections.
          I have said it before, I also think QC suffers a bit from a similar problem as Chris Latham early in his test career, he would try the things that got him picked and if it didn’t work he got dropped.
          Finally he was given the support to just go for it and he was awesome.
          I think, if you pick Cooper, go all in, or as in this case don’t pick him.

        • Thomas

          Yeah fair enough.

          It’s a close call. If Foley gets ill and Cooper starts I will be as happy about our chances.

        • Nick Gregory

          This. Quade is the best #10 if you pick guys like Kerevi, Folau, and Genia around him (i.e. guys who know to expect a between-the-legs offload at any time when running support). If you pick him between somebody like Phipps (who is erratic and gives poor-quality seed) and Foley (who lacks any go-forward and doesn’t quite have the natural skill of Folau), he performs underwhelmingly and gets criticised for it.

        • The Big Lebowski

          That’s a cop out. Quade is supposed to be a backline general. If he can’t direct the troops then he’s as good as useless.

          Go forward? Rod Kafer has been critical of QC all year for going sideways.

          Maybe Cheika decided they need go forward in the mid-field, decided Hodge was the best placed guy to do that, and decided the best place 10 to give him that space is Foley.

          Might not be the ideal selection process, but he’s got it right this time.

          Either way, QC or Foley are not a patch on Barrett. And so in someways we will never have peace at 10.

        • Nick Gregory

          It’s true though – his oft-cited standout periods (2011 SR season and 2013 Spring Tour) are when he was running around with blokes like Toomua, LLF, Tomane, Ioane, FTA and even Tapuai on his shoulders. Put him between a Pat McCabe/Rob Horne/AAC type of player who only know to catch and run straight, and he is useless.

          I also don’t understand the desire for everyone to see ALL players run straight. Yes, a big number 8 hitting a pop pass and running straight through a gap is a thing of beauty, and is difficult to stop. A number 10 receiving the ball and having 0.5s before the rush defence crushes him is not an ideal situation to be running straight. It’s union, not league, finding a hole is perhaps more important than going “up the guts and into ‘em” each and every time

        • The Big Lebowski

          I agree, run to the gaps (run into arms, not shoulders etc). But a 10, running sideways to the gaps you are invariably going to close the gaps down for your outside men. You can go straight-ish (small angle) but going laterally without crossing the gain line it is what QC does all too often. He doesn’t end up find the hole.

          Put it this way, if QC was vying for an All Blacks position, they wouldn’t consider him at all for this trait alone.

          There might be some merit in your statement if the pigs are always static or going backwards. Foley had the benefit of some decent forwards performances at RWC. But QC doesn’t seem to threaten the line, and sometimes you need that on the inside channel just to straighten up the drift defense.

          By the way, I get your point with McCabe/Horne reference, but AAC? 116 tests and 37 tries puts him in a different category. His only crime was accepting an invitation to come back this year.

        • McWarren

          So your solution is to start Foley, who runs sideways from deep?

      • but hasn’t Chieka been suggesting that they will be working on the combination? he was obviously aware of his team during the week when he suggested that Foley may not start at 12… I am giving Chieka a lot of rope but can’t help but feel incredibly frustrated. I suppose Foley was chosen because of Phipps? so now we have the form 10 out because the 5th best Australian 9 is first in line and they are apparently a good combination…

  • Adrian

    Oh dear!

    To win they had to play the very best attacking players, especially Cooper, and hope for luck and an over-confident New Zealand

    This team is sort of ok, but missed the opportunity to really take it to them. Latu and Skelton would have helped do that.

    Who knows what style he’ll play, but I hope Timani, Coleman, Kepu, Sio, Alaalatoa and Robertson really drive it up close and offload to backing up Hooper, Phipps and rest of backs. I hope Hodge and Speight do well, and Izzy clicks.

    I hope Cooper comes on and has a blinder.

    I hope we don’t play pass the parcel and call it running Rugby. I hope we don’t have that 2nd receiver type of backline passing 5m before the advantage line

    We are still a chance if NZ are off their game, but a 10 point loss is my tip…..

    • Thomas

      Definitely a case to start Cooper. Foley’s selection is justifiable to.

      This game is going to be a coronation for the new NZ side on its way to history. Expecting a massive scoreline.

      I think Cooper will be the incumbent 10 for the November tour for what it’s worth

      • Adrian

        I’m calming down, and your points are valid

  • Stanleyfish
  • firs time long time

    On the wings I want a Rebel and Force.
    at 12 I want the rebel that’s there.
    at fullback Force.
    yes at 10 I want a red.
    at 13 red, but apart from Genia he has been our best back this year.
    at 9 we are struggling w/o Genia Stade Fracais.
    So despite Thomas/Gavin suggesting parochial stupidity, all evidence to the contrary.

    • Thomas

      Less Waratahs in the team basically, yeah?

      Can you not just get behind the Wallabies?

      • first time long time

        “Less Waratahs in the team basically, yeah?”
        You are an idiot.

        • Thomas

          Ok…

        • first time long time

          yay we agree on something else

  • Thomas

    There is definitely an argument to start Cooper. He has come in from the cold, hit the ground running and played his part in turning around what was panning out to be a disastrous season for us. He has done very well in 2016 for us.

    Cooper and Foley are evenly matched but with different strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately this topic provokes horrendous responses from many fans here who, in many cases, can’t see the woods for the trees.

    For this game I can see the logic in benching him, particularly with Phipps starting. If Foley comes down with something and Cooper starts I will not be perturbed though.

  • SuperHans

    People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazi’s. You can’t trust people

  • Tim

    Rebuilding?? ABs lost Carter, McCaw, Nonu, Smith and Mealamu… ask them how their ‘rebuild’ is going.

  • Thomas

    Of course it’s a possibility. Foley is a better 10 than Cooper.

  • John Tynan

    Oh, well. Of course.

  • Thomas

    Why else would Cheika pick him? Unless you subscribe to the moronic “we’re losing because Cheika is an idiot, not because NZ are better” nonsense

  • MM

    So no decision Cheika makes can possibly. E correct?

  • Thomas

    Hindsight is 20/20. Everyone makes mistakes. He is a good coach well placed to make decisions without a time-machine.

    However, may here believe that he is incapable of making correct decisions simply because players they favour, because of club loyalties, are/are not selected.

  • Thomas

    It hasn’t. We don’t have a Carter, Cruden or Sexton. We’re stuck with Foley and Cooper.

    Cooper has a poor history in this particular fixture for a variety of reasons but of course you can make an argument to start him which would be rational. The absence of Genia makes the decision straight forward, though.

  • harro

    Bledisloe 1, Sydney 2015

  • first time long time

    No you assume it is “club” loyalty. Many here favour the players that are in form or giving someone else a go if the incumbent is out of form.
    You keep bringing up parochial loyalties because you have no better substance for your point of view

  • Thomas

    Do you really want to justify Cooper’s selection by going back through his history in a Wallabies shirt?

    Cooper and Foley are evenly matched players with different strengths and weaknesses and work well in different combinations. Neither anywhere own, have owned, or will ever own, the #10 shirt.

    Cooper is sitting this one out and it is a fair call. He will be back for big tests in November.

    I don’t really understand what is going on here with the outrage. It’s about Australia, not any individual player

  • jamie

    Cooper in 2013 was world class.
    I’m not sure how he isn’t world class when he plays consistently? He’s a world beater. Put 2 islander centres outside him and you’ve got a backline.

  • Thomas

    What do you disagree with me about, FTLT?

  • first time long time

    Disagree that any grievances are purely parochially based uninformed thought bubbles.
    rational criticism of Cheika is well founded.
    People keep trotting out that we made the RWC final but we have been in reverse since.
    Also…
    Disagree;
    “Knowing he will get pilloried by those who put club ahead of country. Making big changes for a big game.

    Obviously you know better than Cheika, and by extension me, so I’m wrong.”

    Agree with this;
    “There is definitely an argument to start Cooper. He has come in from the cold, hit the ground running and played his part in turning around what was panning out to be a disastrous season for us. He has done very well in 2016 for us.”

    Agree;
    “The experts here will be outraged”
    Disagree;
    “obviously but it’s a ballsy team.”
    I won’t keep going

  • Thomas

    Obviously both players could potentially do a job. I rate both players. Cooper has done very well coming in from the cold and helped save the season.

    The difference as I am sure you understand is that Cooper, as an individual, has some bad history in this particular fixture. Foley does not (I am not talking about team defeats). Foley has a more predictable/reliable approach from a game management perspective and I think this suits the selection of Hodge. Phipps selection also favours Foley. It’s a close call though.

    I like both players and would select different players for different games. Both have strengths and weaknesses, ironically there is little overlap which makes rotation more acceptable.

    I expect Cooper will get more game time in the NH in November and I am happy for that to transpire.

    I want Australia to be successful, the occupants of the shirts is not the big issue for me.

  • jamie

    Cooper is more successful against the ABs than foley. Also has the highest win %age of any 10.

    Also dominated this game in 2013. 2015 was an exception IMO: his yellow was a poor decision but he never should’ve been in that position anyway.

  • Joy

    Swap Cooper for Carter in any trans Tasman event over the last five years and the result would have been worse for Australia.

  • jamie

    Foley was never going to make that backline work. Cooper could, Kerevidrani is very similar to the 12-13 and Digby Cooper had outside him in 2011.

  • Thomas

    I’m genuinely stumped by your anger here?

  • Thomas

    Jamie, I’m not arguing for Cooper to be put back in the cold. I like him as a player. I also like Foley. I know that is breaking some rules here!

  • first time long time

    you are joking right?
    We were behind until he and Phipps got subbed of for Tomua and white.

  • first time long time

    No anger.
    Just don’t agree.

  • harro

    We were leading 10-9 when Foley came off and it was still 10-9 when Phipps was binned 5 minutes later (and didn’t return). The lead then changed four times before the match finished. So, obviously, that result was all due to Phipps and Foley being subbed for Toomua and White.

  • Thomas

    A world class 10 is Dan Carter. A world class 10 is Beauden Barrett. A world class 10 is Jonathan Sexton. A world class 10 is Owen Farrell. A world class 10 delivers top class performances in a consistent basis.

    Bernard Foley is not a World Class 10. Quade Cooper is not a World Class 10. We have two good 10s who are far from complete players and not consistent. Neither will own the 10 shirt.

  • Joy

    100% correct

  • Thomas

    Why doesn’t he start every game? Why was he a flop in Europe?

    He’s not that player. Either is Foley.

    Let’s judge these guys fairly, two good players. No more, no less.

  • first time long time

    They were having stinkers.
    You don’t replace your 9 and 10 with 30 or more min to go if they are playing well.

  • Joy

    Selecting Foley is a vote for mediocrity. It’s dumb.
    Sure Cooper has faults but they can be covered. How do you cover for Foley’s lack of imagination, shortsightedness, lack of creativity. When he controls the game it seems like we are running backwards and forwards in a rut. It’s boring and the result is predictable. If Cooper had control the games against England the result would have been very different. By control I mean of Cheika and Larkham too. There is no way Copper would have delivered the mindless boring bullshit the Cheika/Larkham/Foley brains trust repeatedly coughed up. Sure we need Cheika to harden up the forwards and the defense. Leave the attack to Cooper (as with McKenzie)

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