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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

It’s nearly time for the Bledisloe! Friday’s Rugby News is here to talk all the latest in the Wallabies and the Wallaroos, high hopes for the Uni Sevens series, and the Reds, Tahs and Brums all coming together for a chat.


Bring back the Bledisloe!

Photo by Keith McInnes

Photo by Keith McInnes

It’s that time of year again. The Wallabies will be set to do battle tomorrow night when they take on the All Blacks at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. It has certainly been an different build-up compared to previous years for the Wallabies, training out at Cessnock and Penrith and away from prying public eyes.

But, while the announcement of the squad yesterday has come with the usual gawks and jeers about certain player selections, there has also been a lot of people who are excited by a lot of the notable differences in this squad. You can see the Wallaby squad list below:

1. Scott Sio (32 Tests), 2. Stephen Moore (120 Tests), 3. Allan Alaalatoa (11 Tests), 4. Rory Arnold (12 Tests), 5. Adam Coleman (12 Tests), 6. Ned Hanigan (3 Tests), 7. Michael Hooper (c) (68 Tests), 8. Sean McMahon (15 Tests), 9. Will Genia (78 Tests), 10. Bernard Foley (45 Tests), 11. Curtis Rona*, 12. Kurtley Beale (60 Tests), 13. Samu Kerevi (8 Tests), 14. Henry Speight (12 Tests), 15. Israel Folau (55 Tests). Reserves: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau (71 Tests), 17. Tom Robertson (9 Tests), 18. Sekope Kepu (80 Tests), 19. Rob Simmons (71 Tests), 20. Lopeti Timani (7 Tests), 21. Nick Phipps (52 Tests), 22. Reece Hodge (13 Tests), 23. Tevita Kuridrani (47 Tests).

The first big relief was that Cheika actually announced the whole squad, unlike during the June series when he made us have to wait an extra bloody day to find out who was on the bench.

The most notable changes are firstly in the backline, which sees Micheal Cheika‘s 10th midfield combination since 2016. But, it is one that is mouthwatering to even talk about: the pairing of Samu Kerevi and Kurtley Beale. Kerevi has had limited game time, but the guy can seriously play. Pairing his hard ball running skills with Beale brings, dare I say it, something that we haven’t got from the Wallabies for a while: a bit of an unknown entity. We don’t know what’s going to turn up. Could be shit. Or, it could be champagne rugby. Add in that there will be a new arrival in Curtis Rona, who after a great season at the Force will be lining up on the Wing.

The second big changes are in the back row, with the inclusion of a more inexperienced row managing the back of the scrum. However, given the choices Steve Hansen has made with Liam Squire, Sam Cane and skipper Kieran Read, I think that Hanigan, Hooper and McMahon might be up to the task. If they aren’t, at least they can call on some decent reserves to come in and fill the void.

And that’s the third notable change: the bench. Honestly, some may disapprove, but personally, I like this bench. Tevita Kurindrani coming on the 60th minute to bring the game home would be terrifying. I remember back in 2015, when the Wallabies started their awesome run into the World Cup with that last ditch win against the Boks at Suncorp Stadium. What got us over the line? A solid bench that came in to finish the job. It also played a role in winning our last match against the Darkness.

If the main squad can hold the All Blacks until the 60th minute, then one would hope this bench would be able to come in to finish them off.

Cheika has been frank that he has made mistakes in his last year-and-a-half as the Wallaby coach, and he was surprisingly candid when he spoke to rugby.com.au.

“Last year, when I look at that game [the last Bledisloe in Sydney, which the Wallabies lost 42-8], I still believe that I over-trained them in the lead-up,” said Cheik.

“I  think that, because I was stressed about their fitness, that’s a mistake we haven’t made this year.

“We’ve worked really hard on the D because we know it’s got to be a very important part of the game because of how potent they are in attack and we’ll take a few risks sometimes to get the outcome we want but I believe we’re well-prepared in that area.”

“I  think for us, considering our situation, all our focus has been on ourselves and getting our team travelling at the right speed and also prepared with everyone clear in their role to go out there and do the job,” he added.

“2015 we were able to have a win and we felt the high and how important that was to the game and how good it felt and then in 2016 we suffered the reverse result and felt the other end of that, of how important the game is.

“There’s absolutely no doubt that it’s a huge match, huge match for our fans and we’ll certainly want to go out there and make them proud on Saturday night.”

It does add a bit more to the mind of the disgruntled Wallaby fan when you consider the All Blacks have had to contend multiple distractions in the building to this game: a shorter preparation time, a frustrating Lions series, the listening bug court case and Aaron Smith’s toilet fiasco. Or maybe I’m just being too hopeful?! Is it that bad to hope we might have the slimmest chance of beating these guys?

Check out our own preview for the match here. Come on Wallabies!

See the Wallaroos result below:

France v Australia - IRB Womens Rugby World Cup 3rd Place Play-Off

By the time you read this on Friday morning, either on your daily commute or while you’re having your first coffee or you’re in bed struggling to summon up the energy to get up and start the day, the Wallaroos will have played their match against Japan. To find out result, click here.

But here’s a wee bit of context before you do. The Wallaroos put a definite stamp on trying to forget about the French match, according to assistant coach Scott Allen. They’re keeping in mind that the Japanese team lead the Irish for nearly 60 minutes of their game, until the hosts were able to pull it out of the fire. They will not be expecting an easy encounter.

“Yeah, we made lots of mistakes, we did some things we didn’t plan to do but a lot of that was the pressure France put, they went to another level,” said Allen to rugby.com.au.

“Our focus, we didn’t even show the girls the game against France, we just showed them what we have to do against Japan.”

While a semi-finals berth is now out of the question, a win here would see the Wallaroos contend to finish in the fifth-eighth play offs bracket, which would hopefully keep their campaign alive. So there’s plenty to play for.

Scroll up again to see if the ladies picked up the win or not. Come on Wallaroos!

A Tah, A Red and A Brumby walk into a bar…

Fog made conditions difficult, especially in the second half

Yeah, that caption could be used as the starting a joke by an obnoxious Crusaders fan, but in all seriousness, the Waratahs, Reds and Brumbies are scheduled to have a meeting at the ARU headquarters today.

Why? Because with a  major staff turnover currently going on at the governing body, and a legal battle with the Western Force, the three franchises that were actually guaranteed their futures still don’t have any clear idea on what the future direction of the game is.

Officials from all three safe franchises will therefore meet with the ARU on Friday to get some clarity on the ARU’s plans for next year and beyond. The reason why the Force and the Melbourne Rebels were not included in this meeting was because it was organised a month ago, before the outcome of the arbitration hearing last week. This meant that both those clubs were still under the axe at the time of the meetings inception.

Yet, even despite this, there was reportedly no intention to invite the Rebels at late notice. This is probably due to the fact the Force are taking their case to the NSW Supreme Court, so everything is still kinda up in the air.

Judging by the article published in the Sydney Morning Herald,  it’s certainly going to be a very interesting meeting, because it doesn’t really look like the ARU can confirm anything in regards to even their own future.  Chief Executive Bill Pulver, Chief Operating Officer Rob Clarke and Chief Financial Officer Todd Day have all resigned this year, and it is widely expected that General Manager of Marketing and Insights Jade MacAuslan and General Manager of Commercial and Marketing John Nicholl will soon be joining them.

The entire situation with the Force and the ARU resignations has only added to the confusion of knowing what the actual plan is for next year. The Waratahs, Reds and Brumbies have been consequently left in limbo by the ARU.

It is still unclear if the ARU will permit increasing squad sizes or the salary cap to accommodate players who won’t have a home if the Force are removed, or if there will be any other managerial changes that will be introduced. With nothing set in stone, the foundations for ‘improved’ results next year are already looking a bit shakey.

But, on a more positive note, the teams have expressed their desire to work together and set up greater collaboration between high-performance units to deliver better results. This is a big step forward, as many of the Super Rugby clubs have acted independently of one another on the results and performance side of things in the past.

Add in as well that Michael Cheika wants to promote data sharing between Super Rugby teams to improve the base fitness level of players, and  that the ARU  also plans to implement a new national coaching strategy with the Wallaby assistant coaches and Super Rugby coaches. Maybe something positive can come out of these meetings. Fingers crossed…

Skys the limit for Uni 7s

Chloe Dalton

Finally, on a positive note, Aussie Sevens star Chloe Dalton has made it no secret that she really hopes that the new Aon Uni 7s Series can follow a similar path to that of America’s college sports.

“Looking at the college system in America, how successful they are with their sports, if we can try and replicate that on a smaller scale and try and unearth that talent at a university age, that’ll be massive,” Dalton said to rugby.com.au. 

“I think the talent’s definitely out there, whether it’s girls already playing rugby, or girls who are playing other sports and getting them to transition across, I think that’ll be a great way to go about it,” she said.

“Hopefully we can unearth some of that talent, some of the girls will have an opportunity to come and train with us, and play a few of those tournaments before we start in the World Series.”

The Uni 7s Series will be played in conjunction with some of the NRC games this year, including an exciting double match-up of the Uni Sevens and the Sydney RaysWestern Sydney Rams fixture, which will be played for the first time ever at Macquarie University on September 10 (it’ll also be a grudge match for the highly coveted Benn Robinson Bell, which was introduced at the end of the NRC last year as the big trophy that the NSW sides will compete for).

The Rays are also linked up with the Mac Uni team. In addition, there will also be teams from Canberra, Adelaide, Tasmania, New England, Bond, Queensland and Griffith Universities.

Dalton says that the combination of both competitions together will be a sure-fire draw to build a stronger atmosphere for both fixtures. With NRC experiencing encouraging growth last year in attendance (10% increase on 2015) and TV Viewers (65% increase on 2015), the addition of the Fijian Drua, and the shared fixtures with the Uni Sevens suggests encouraging signs are ahead for both competitions this year.

“I know local footy has been doing really well, even watching the Warringah-Manly (Shute Shield) derby just the other day, seeing how many people were down there, hopefully we can replicate that,” says Dalton.

“The fact that they can now just come on down to one of the local fields to watch us play in this 7s comp will be great.

“I’m hoping that a lot of people who haven’t watched Sevens before will also get down and support and hopefully some young girls will see it and be keen to give it a crack.”

The first circuit of the Aon Uni7s kicks off at the University of Tasmania in Launceston on August 25 and 26. 

  • onlinesideline

    Look it may not be the dream team where every position is filled by a guy with the optimum size speed and power we all want, with great super rugby form and all the other wishful things we expect but at the end of the day this is a game that is usually won by those who want it more.

    If you really want it, you’ll get to the ruck first, you wont drop the ball, get offside, make stupid decisions, throw stupid passes. This is what it gets down too. Sporting life or death.

    How many sides have fielded so called awesome sides on paper but come the moment don’t deliver for one reason or another.

    If they play like its their first and last game as a Wallaby they can bring the house down. If the boys really want this they can do it.

    As a code we really need this win more than ever in the last (..) years.

    C’mon boys your representing Australia – dig in and believe till the end “Hodgo” style

  • TheNutorious

    Spoiler alert…

    NZ are considerably better than we are in most if not all positions. We’ll lose comfortably and then analyse it to death scapegoating the coach and/or individual players we don’t like because of loyalties to sides in a competition that has killed the game here

    • Huw Tindall
    • onlinesideline

      Is blamng the coach for picking players out of position and picking players that are not good at defending scapegoating him when all this is said BEFORE the match by so many. He has to start taking some accountability this year. Its his 3rd year in the role. Maybe NZ are better because the right players are picked to play in the rigt position and then are coached well.

      • TheNutorious

        It is scapegoating when looking to explain away defeats and deflecting from the real issues.

        Cheika is a good coach and putting out the best team that he can. That’s the inconvenient truth.

        The sum of our parts is not very good and people don’t want to accept that. We’ll convince ourselves soon enough that the answer to all of our problems is getting rid of the coach and we’ll repeat the cycle again in no time.

        • onlinesideline

          Can’t agree with you there Nutorious. The Coach is integral to the team. He selects, he guides and prioritises everything. If the players that he selects play their butt’s off and play in the way they are trained to play and lose does the buck not fall at the feet of the coach if the team loses badly. Conversely someone like Eddie Jones, a coach, is getting praised with what he has done with the Poms – works both ways but point is the coach has to take the blame to some extent if his team is getting continually spanked.

          If not why are coaches given the boot. What you are saying is that you think hes a good coach and we dont have the cattle. Well some may argue he is not that good a coach. So far I personally am not impressed to be 100% honest.

          PS – I do think we have the cattle.

        • TheNutorious

          Coaches are given the boot to appease supporters. It is convenient for the unions as it deflects responsibility away from them and it is convenient for supporters who always will choose to believe that the coach is the reason why they are not successful.

          We are not as good as we were because the game has declined steadily in Australia over the last 20 years while the popularity of other codes has soared. We have passed the tipping point where this impacts the standard of our test team. Replacing the coach won’t change that. The changes needed are much more radical, difficult and long-term.

          The arguments people have for Cheika not being up to scratch don’t hold up to scrutiny when you look at his history. It is based on Australia not being as good as they were in the golden days and believing that the coach is the reason why.

          Eddie Jones is a good coach and he is working with some good players and a massive pool of talent. That is why they are a top class team and why Japan weren’t when he coached them.

        • onlinesideline

          Well firstly Japan played some awesome rugby and beat SA if you remember and beat them in a gutsy and skilled way too. If was no fluke.

          Secondly many of the players that were in the losing English RWC team of 2015 were picked again by Eddie Jones and were coached properly by him and look what he did with them.

          Thirdly people who question Cheika are not questioning him because we are a team that doesnt compare well to our last golden age of 1999-2003 and are in denial – I dont buy that at all. They are questioning him for totally legitimate reasons.

          We seem to differ on this – its a matter of opinion – Im not saying he doesnt have some coaching skills but his selections are a bit baffling.

          We shall see.

        • TheNutorious

          Japan did play some great rugby at times under Jones. They were not a great team though which is why they didn’t achieve anything. That’s not having a go at them or Jones, that is just reality.

          England with Lancaster/Jones and Australia with Deans/Cheika… you are comparing apples and oranges there mate. Completely different situations.

          As for disagreeing with his selections, that is a supporters’ prerogative.

        • onlinesideline

          I never mentioned anything about Deans / Cheika or compared Cheikas cattle to Jones cattle. The point I was making was that the Poms were, after being booted out of RWC, seen by all and sundry as players who just didnt have the skills, rugby smarts, to achieve anything great. Fast forward a year and largely the same blokes after being coached by a guy who knows what hes doing are now considered very able players because they have been well coached.

          You obviously think that if our present cattle of available aussie players were coached by an even better coach than Cheika that the results would largely be the same. I disagree with that.

        • TheNutorious

          “You obviously think that if our present cattle of available aussie players were coached by an even better coach than Cheika that the results would largely be the same. I disagree with that.”

          Where are the better coaches available to us? Who is there who will come in who is better?

          If we sack Cheika we will see a short term improvement in results as always happens. Beyond that I expect things will even out and we’ll do the same to the next guy.

          The inference in your leading question is that Cheika isn’t up to it. The better the staff will see a better performance if the staff aren’t doing a good job, of course. There are limits. The difference is that I believe we have a good coach our position as 4th nation in the world is our limit with the players we have.

          Unfortunately we will continue to decline as the standard of the players does, while South Africa will improve and others stay the same.

          “(England) seen by all and sundry as players who just didn’t have the skills, rugby smarts, to achieve anything great”

          England were seen as a mis-managed side.

        • HK Red

          “Coaches are given the boot to appease supporters” – I wish Richard Graham had been sacked a couple of years earlier, to appease this and the majority of QLD supporters.

        • TheNutorious

          So do I.

        • Who?

          Don’t forget that Eddie’s using mostly the same squad that Stuart Lancaster had. If you think that coaching doesn’t play a huge part in a complex, intricate and coordinated game like Rugby, you don’t understand the game. It’s not like you can expect your captain or a couple of senior players to run the whole thing. That’s why, for a couple of decades now, we’ve seen the entourage around teams increase in size significantly. A small coaching team now is three – when was that last the case?!
          Every part of a team – from the person running the kit to the coaching staff to the captain – is key. And whilst there’s a number of debatable selections in terms of positions and a few players whose selection is straight out questionable, no one’s saying the players out there aren’t doing the best they can in the positions they have. But if the systems – which the players only implement, they don’t design them – are too complex, or just not appropriate, then you can’t blame the players. You have to blame the people who are coaching systems which aren’t working.
          And it’s not like people don’t also call for the heads of players. How many on here hate – passionately – Quade? How many this year have called for Squeaky’s head? So why should it be any different for coaches..?

        • TheNutorious

          I haven’t said coaching doesn’t play a part, Who. Clearly it does.

          Lancaster is not a head coach and England underperformed. They were worse than the sum of their parts. They replaced him with a top head coach. It is not the same situation as Australia. We’re the 4th best team in the world and we have the 4th (or arguably 5th) best talent pool of senior professionals. We’re not underperforming, even though losing to Scotland was embarrassing.

          Of course people can call for the coach’s head. People can say and think whatever they want. Doesn’t make them right.

        • Who?

          I think Lancaster was a bit too green, and could still become a very good senior coach. IN the same way that Eddie’s now a much better coach than he was when he ran the Wallabies.
          I also agree we don’t have an easily discoverable better coach than Cheika, sitting in the carpark ready for our next ‘worldwide’ search.
          But that doesn’t mean I need to agree that our current coaching staff is getting the best out of our team. I don’t think they’re even the sum of their parts, let alone better than the sum of their parts.
          At the moment, I don’t think NZ are better than the sum of their parts, either. I think they’re a bit disjointed, so they’re probably ‘only’ the sum of their parts. Though that won’t last for long. But our greatest eras, whilst they’ve been built off special players, moments and tactics, were also built around ‘team’, and being more than the sum of the parts that made up the team. We have some of that spirit with Cheika, he clearly bonds the team very well, but he hasn’t yet given them anything like a consistently executable series of game plans that make them all gel as well as rugby players as they do as mates.

        • TheNutorious

          Fair points

        • onlinesideline

          Laurie Fisher would get the Wallaby forwards humming.

          Not having him and Link involved in the Wallabies – argghhh – never mind its done now.

        • jay-c

          The brumbies were shit when Laurie fisher was head coach.
          His team was shit in the U.K. When he was head coach there.
          I have no doubt he’s a decent forwards coach but,
          Please explain where this confidence in his abilities is coming from?
          Interested in the reasoning for how he’d be better

        • McWarren

          Agree, Link had the Wallabies heading in the right direction and Cheika enjoyed the fruits in 15. If Cheika was man enough he’d have Link in set up somehow.

          Here’s a speculator, we lose all the RC games leading to Cheika’s removal, replaced by Wessels. Not saying I want that too happen by the way.

        • Who?

          I don’t want Lord Laurie in that sort of role. I’d rather see him in some overarching national role, a Wayne Smith sort of role. Not necessarily involved with the Wallabies, but certainly involved in coaching development. Wayne Smith wasn’t a great head coach, but he’s certainly an excellent rugby brain. I think Lord Laurie’s in the same boat.
          Having a great rugby brain isn’t a guarantee of coaching success. There’s so much more to the role of coaching, especially in terms of the head coaching role. For mine, being a great head coach these days is more about man management, tactical direction and staffing your weaknesses (i.e. identifying what your team needs, what you can and can’t provide, then hiring and working with the best, strong assistants you can find) than technical detail work, which is where Lord Laurie’s great strength lies. But in terms of talent and coaching development, ensuring that the technical coaches around the country have the tools to develop their players, that’s where someone like Laurie might well shine…

        • Parker

          Lest you forget, “green” Eddie Jones took us to within one point of a World Cup.

        • Who?

          3, I think you’ll find. I spent the following week at Airlie Beach, surrounded by Poms… :-(
          I wasn’t intending to belittle Eddie’s achievements with the Wallabies. He’s clearly a better coach now, though, given the difficulties he faced through 2005, his involvement with White in 2007, his coaching and consultancy through to 2011, his time with Japan (including beating SA in 2015 – which, as a coach, has to be right up there with the 03 RWC SF and almost pinching the final – I don’t think anyone would say the talent differential between the Wallabies and either the ABs or Poms in 03 was as great as the talent differential between the Boks and Blossoms in 15, which means the difference was coaching). And who knows what England might achieve by the time of the next RWC Final..?
          Eddie’s not perfect, but he’s certainly a very good coach and I’m a fan.

        • Seaweed

          I agree, we’ve got the cattle. We’ve just been getting out dumbed ever since dumb Eddie (bless him) out dumbed us. I’d like to see some accountability too, among the players, coaches and the private school hillbillies who run the ARU.

        • Seaweed

          No disrespect to the Poms either – they have some fine players. Owen Farrell is the best out of hand kicker in the game.

        • McWarren

          “Cheika is a good coach and putting out the best team that he can. That’s the inconvenient truth”
          No that’s your version of the inconvenient truth. It is no reflection at all of my perception of the truth.

          And come Sunday if the ABs have swanned through our midfield defence scoring tries at will, if our lightweight backrow are monstered by tiny Kiwi fullbacks and if our pop gun kicking flyhalf and charge down king halfback continue to cough up no territory kicks and easy tries I reserve the right to demand an answer from the coach and to criticise as I see fit.

          It doesn’t mean I’m anti Wallaby, or even anti Cheika, but when the same faults occur yr after yr I think the coach and players should be held responsible.

      • joy

        Maybe NZ have much better players.

        • onlinesideline

          thats what the thread is about Joy – and Im saying maybe they are coached better and our players have same potential if they were coached as the kiwi players are. And thus Cheika at some point has to start to own the losses if they continue.

        • Dud Roodt

          Hmm, I don’t think anyone can honestly sit back and say we have the same talent that the Kiwis have but we just have a shit coach?
          We are legitimately scraping the barrel to get 23 players on a team sheet (Rob Simmons, anyone), they have about 4 people in almost every position that would be playing for us.
          So let’s get a bit realistic when allocating blame

        • TheNutorious

          It won’t be Cheika’s fault if we lose to a better team.

          He will have to finish ahead of South Africa and Argentina, though. No excuses there.

        • Braveheart81

          I definitely think it’s reasonable to apportion blame to Cheika, but he can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. The coaching at Super Rugby level is clearly a major issue and our players are certainly not arriving at test level in the same state as our NZ counterparts. They are drawing on players from five teams where the worst team was better than our best team. Their teams are noticeably fitter than ours.

          Cheika and the Wallabies need to improve but I don’t think you can reasonably say that our players have the same potential as the NZ players when the two squads assemble. There is a massive gulf that we need to close in just about every area.

    • John Tynan

      I don’t know who you hang around with, but it doesn’t sound like much fun. Most of the folks I know have rugby discussions about Wallaby players at this stage of the year.

      Personally I don’t believe Cheik has struck a decent balance in key places – the backrow again, and a Foley-Beale-Kerevi combo is a leaky one – especially combined with Grey’s “easy fixes”. Lets hope their attacking attributes can outweigh the defensive deficiencies.

      While I know there is marketing to be done and glib statements to be made in a busy sporting landscape, blah blah blah, I wish Cheik and the Wobs would engage with rugby people about rugby stuff – I know he doesn’t have to justify sh!t to me, but I am genuinely damn interested to understand his thinking – and I just don’t get it on key things. That might be because I’m a rugby dinosaur, but I’d welcome the opportunity to get the next level of what he’s up to – aside from “not fit enough”.

      • TheNutorious

        “I don’t know who you hang around with, but it doesn’t sound like much fun. Most of the folks I know have rugby discussions about Wallaby players at this stage of the year.”

        As do I :/

        Are the only posts permitted in your book the pre-emptive excuses?

        • John Tynan

          Are the only posts permitted in your books your interpretation of the reason behind other people’s posts and opinions?

          Have a great day, old mate.

        • TheNutorious

          No all is permitted ;)

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I’m not so sure on the back row. I’d have preferred to have Timani and McMahon start as I think that provides more go forward and then bring an enthuisiastic and faster player on in the second half to increase the tempo. Agree on the “leakiness” off the centre combination and it may be an area that will need support from the loosies.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate, you need to be more optomistic. The Wallabies are looking better than they have for a while and at this level there only needs to be few things go right for either team to get the initiative. I agree that the Wallabies will have to show something they haven’t displayed all year yet but with 5 weeks together, some real team bonding and nothing to lose they are always in with a chance.

      • TheNutorious

        There is always a puncher’s chance and we have a decent team. The most likely event is that we will be beaten by a better team.

    • Missing Link

      There’s no expectation from me to see a Wallabies win tomorrow, however I’d be happy to be pleasantly surprised.

      It’s taken me years, but I’m at peace with myself now with losing to NZ, and if we win, it’s a great day!

    • McWarren

      Just so I don’t make a fool of myself can you please provide an approved script for all possible outcomes of tomorrow’s game.

  • disqus_DJdUYDAkhE

    The AB’s have their sprigs firmly over the Wallabies throat. They don’t want to let it go. They won’t let it go. If the Wallabies were smashing the AB’s would we want them to back off ? No. Every Kiwi is revelling in the state of Australian rugby. Mils Muliaina couldn’t keep the impudent undertones out of his prediction on Sky Sports (NZ) last night when he asked for a close game, and why should he ? Suck it up guys, we’re in for a long road to get back on top of the heap. I will surrender my $5 to the sweepstakes in our Auck. office & pray like $%*& I can return Monday morning grinning.

  • John Tynan

    Well done ladies, finished on a high.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      That was a good match and they held off well at the end. As you say, well done ladies

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    So is the reason the Rebels aren’t invited because the other 3 are showing them where they stand in the hierarchy of franchises within Australian rugby?

    • John Tynan

      They’d just piss their responsibility up against the wall.

    • Braveheart81

      It says the reason in the article synopsis above.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Probably due. I’m just throwing a conspiracy theory out there as well :-)

    • Kevino

      I can’t believe the ARU has taken a month to meet with the other three, that request should of been granted straight away and the meeting held within a week. Imagine asking your employer for a meeting about your future and getting told to wait a month.

    • TheNutorious

      The ARU gave their reason but if the Rebels are in it doesn’t really send out a good message.

    • McWarren

      We organised a meeting of our area managers last week, realised one had been missed, called the corp travel company and hey presto all were present. The excuse they give is just pathetic, even if the Rebels were somehow incapable to organise travel from Melb to Syd you’d think they would be invited anyway.

      A new moto for the ARU:

      No conception of perception.

  • Nicholas Wasiliev

    A good match in the end by the Wallaroos, who ran out 29-15 winners over the Japanese. Fifth-eighth playoffs are still in contention, pending other results. Well done ladies.

  • Missing Link

    Was Aaron Smith that good at rugby, they plucked him out of grade 3 english class to focus on training?

    • Tomthusiasm

      You’re assuming NZ schooling goes up to grade three, we usually leave school by grade two to concentrate 100% on internet trolling.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        And rugby

      • Ricky Johnson

        And becoming Australia MPs

        • onlinesideline

          maybe thats why our policitians are such ….. nahh I’ll leave it

        • Greg

          btw I lodged an application on behalf of Ms J Bishop for NZ citizenship. I think it should work out just fine.

      • Greg

        Good to see that we are on to the serious stuff today!!

    • Dud Roodt

      To be fair, the words “sworn” and “affidavit” are fucking tough to spell and say.
      I actually prefer sawn afterdavided.

      Sometimes I just refer to them as “sawn off’s” when me lawyer asks for one.

      In all seriousness, having seen the way Kiwi’s troll on Australian Facebook sites dedicated to rugby, I’m now almost certain it’s all Aaron Smith and he just has 20,000 troll accounts.

  • Mitch T Gray

    Brumbies – Waratahs merger? Force back in?

    • TheNutorious

      If you were to start rugby again in Australia with 4 teams that would be a no-brainer.

      • Missing Link

        Almost everyone knows that it makes sense, but the issue is that both of these teams are so resistant to “losing their identity” that it’ll never happen.

      • Brumby Runner

        Granted, it makes more sense than a Brumbies/Rebels merger, but who, in their right minds would want to be part of the Tahs? Have to remember too, that there are calls for the Tahs to split so that all parts of NSW beyond the Eastern Suburbs and North Shore/Beaches can have some attachment to a SR side. Would never work.

        • TheNutorious

          Good point. If it came to it I’d be open to an inverse takeover by the Brumbies

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      and let the whinging start. I’m not sure there is enough good will, forward thinking and unselfishness to allow this to go ahead, no matter how much of a good idea it might be.

  • Adrian

    Thanks Nick, and a good summation of our chances and what Cheika said.

    We are certainly not in that golden era of 10-25 years ago, but like we were for most of the 55 years that I’ve followed the Wallabies.

    We did have wins v NZ, and they were all surprises. They were usually orchestrated by a special player, a new player , a novel tactic, or unusual intensity.

    Beale, Rona, Folau and Coleman could do something similar tomorrow.

    I think we’ll leak points, but score plenty.

    We certainly won’t be in the hunt if we try “safety first”, or lack intensity.

    Come on the Wallabies

    • idiot savant

      Copy that. GO WALLABIES!

    • McWarren

      I think the intensity is the key. It’s our fall in intensity that means we don’t play 80 minutes. If we can maintain the rage and not drop our heads when they score, and they will score, then who knows. The BIL’s showed the way, intensity, pressure, hard work in defence, hang in there until the last 65 minutes. Take your chances, even if they go up by 20 after 20 minutes, take 3 points if on offer. Build the score at every chance.

      AND don’t kick short and pointlessly in our half. If they cant kick for distance kick for rows back into the grandstand.

      I’m worried we are in for a pasting, but I live in hope.

  • Tommy Brady

    S . V

    Those 2 characters above represent letters in the Latin alphabet. One could also argue they represent both the recent past and current state of rugby in Australia.

    The S is the road Australian rugby has travelled over the past 15 years featuring the highs of World Cup finals and Super Rugby trophies and the lows of continued Bledisloe Cup losses, ineffective leadership and regression at the professional playing level.

    The V (or the base of it) is where rugby in Australia lies right now — as in the next 48 hours! The sport is at a crossroads. A fork in the road has been reached from which it goes one of two directions.

    Direction 1 is to continue on it’s current highway in it’s old fossil fuelled vehicle burning energy and in danger of failing it’s next test of road worthiness. Today’s gathering of officials representing the Reds, Waratah’s and Brumbies will uphold their parochial traditions, view each other as rivals – not partners, offer little and agree to even less. They’ll end the meeting signing off on cosmetic alterations – but fall well short of the necessary structural shifts in behaviour required to bring domestic rugby together to create a healthy, competitive and progressive sport in the fearsome, on-going battle of the winter codes. Tomorrow’s test match will feature a Wallaby performance low in skill levels but high in emotive disruption to best prevent a loss from being a hiding. Player attitudes will be poor. The coach will be moody, hostile. The players won’t win, the coach won’t win, the fans won’t win, the sport won’t win. Australian rugby will continue down a path towards irrelevance.

    Direction 2 is to get off the current highway and travel in a new direction. A road of collective togetherness, fuelled by renewable energy and demonstrating the visions, practises and habits of highly successful sporting organisations. It will be clever, strategic, thoughtful. Today’s meeting in Sydney will agree that the old model must be buried and meaningful change must occur. It’s not what’s best for the Reds, Waratahs and Brumbies but what is best for Australian rugby to resuscitate a sport currently sitting on life support. There must be whole-hearted agreement to a centralised system that everyone benefits from. The rising tide will lift ALL the boats – not just their own. Tomorrow’s test match will feature a game full of thoughtful endeavour by the Wallabies. Across the park skill levels will be high, conditioning levels impressive and the spirit of the contest will be marvelled at. The players will be admired for their skills and dedication. The coach classy and respectful. It will be high quality, competitive, meaningful international sport — the stuff rugby fans love. The stuff the AFL, NRL and FFA will observe and squirm with envy. I mean feel seriously ill because they know rugby has it and they never will!

    Australian rugby fans have never had a better time to feel depressed – or feel excited. As the great senator Robert Kennedy so famously said “Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not”. The next 48 hours will tell. The fork in the road has been reached.

    Enjoy the test match everyone. May the ANZAC spirit be alive.

    • TheNutorious

      Completely agree.

      Change will happen eventually. It should have happened already. The sooner the better but I fear we will keep our heads in the sand until the deal expires in 2020.

      To nitpick (sorry!) Bobby, and his brother previously, were paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw!

      • Tommy Brady

        Haha. Very strong last point!!

        • TouchFinderGeneral

          GBS was clearly a rugby man:
          “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

          I recently visited a favourite haunt of his – Garinish Island, Cork. There were pictures of him here and there, beard as mighty as his gaze. I imagined 23 GBS’s in Wallaby kit lined up to face the haka – & the AB’s collapsing in terror! . C’mon Cheik’s – you know what to do.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Well I hope it goes down the second path (except for the beating us part). I’m not optimistic it will as I think the ingrained attitude of the 3 franchises just don’t see it. IMO this is the major issue facing Australian rugby and until it is resolved the sport will continue to suffer. There will always be short term patches to cover the cracks but the foundation is weakening

      • Tommy Brady

        Agreed KRL. Identifying problems is often easy. Agreeing to, and then successfully executing on the required changes is the test of how much people really wanted the changes. One can only hope.

  • MST

    Meeting transcript 18 August 2017 – : ARU, Brumbies, Reds , Tahs – future direction of SR.

    ARU: Welcome gentlemen take a seat

    3 Amigos: Anybody else coming or is it just you?

    ARU: Who else is there, all the rest have quit remember. Ok, so gents, what do you want to discuss?

    3 Amigos: Really, do we need to even ask? It’s a flecking mess! What’s the plan now we have cut the Force? I mean, we still can’t do any marketing till this court shite is sorted, the fans have turned and it’s a mess.

    ARU: Gents, can you indulge me just a few seconds before I explain: can you all raise one hand up? Great thanks.

    3 Amigos: Can you just tell us how the fudge ARU are going to fix this?

    ARU: So do you knobs remember a awhile back when we had a little get together and I stood there and explained that we had a plan to shaft the Force so we could get more money cos we don’t have a clue what else to do to make money- just like you lot had no idea either? Remember we talked about easy quick cash, and we just bang on using grassroots as the smoke and mirrors?

    3 Amigos: Well, um , yeah, but, we ah; that was your plan.

    ARU: Our plan? So, you do remember the part where we said that we all had to choose if WE wanted to do this then we all had to vote for it – or not? If you do vote for it we can do it? And then when we asked who wanted to shaft the Force for quickie cash you all put your hands up and wanted to go ahead with the plan?

    3 Amigos: Yeah, but……..

    ARU: Oh FFS, that was the plan; we explained it all, you all even asked questions and were happy with it and it’s the plan you liked and wanted us to go do it. So what this BS about coming and asking me WTF to do now you muppets? It’s now all gone to shite as we had no better plan and it turns out it this idea was a complete and utter cluster in hindsight – so some people are saying. I don’t hear you lot with any other suggestions and look at you; as usual running to us to bail your asses out. We have pretended enough, time to grow the fudge up – “Oh but we made a profit- Pfft!” Yeah, with the ARU big hand out to give you a hope in hell of making ends meet. Seriously? We even paid for draw cards and you still can’t get people to turn up.

    3 Amigos: But….ah…

    ARU: The bigger question for you muppets is now simple. The ARU- Titanic is going down and we know there ain’t enough lifeboats for all of us. Bill and the boys have all grabbed theirs, I have mine ready – good luck you silly fleckers! Maybe you should vote on it! Bwahahaha! Hey, can muppets swim?

    ARU: Oh, boys, so there are no hard feelings, here’s some free advance tickets to the Bledisloes and British and Irish Lions game in Melbourne. Oh, and a tip from the work experience marketing kid. Apparently you should stay away from any “stronger as one” type campaigns for some reason.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well I am thinking that maybe we can construct some airport toilets on the side line, and that might distract Smtih for a few minutes (equal to a yellow card I say) and we might only lose by 30!

  • adastra32

    The basics of defence and territory will win or lose this for the WBs. For the first, the BiL had Andy Farrell; England has Paul Gustard – both ex-Saracens with similar (and winning) philosophies. On recent evidence, Aus has a leaky bucket. Plug the holes and there might be a chance.

Rugby
@Nick_Wasiliev

Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician and second-rower trying to kick start a writing career in an increasingly bonkers world...

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