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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News has more on the Wallabies squad, Foley hitting 50, the Australian Schools side getting ready to rock and roll and the NRC squad chat.


Rookies Galore

Photo by Tom Offer

Photo by Tom Offer

No, I tell a lie. It’s only three. But for Izack Rodda, Jack Dempsey and Marika Koroibete it will be a case of being thrown in at the deep end when they play at altitude tomorrow against the Springboks.

All three players have certainly shown their potential as future Wallabies, and their inclusion in the squad has come at the expense of Rob SimmonsNed Hanigan and Henry Speight. The rest of the squad is pretty consistent with previous squads, with the exception of a notable inclusion in former skipper Stephen Moore, who was selected ahead of young gun Jordan Uelese.

So, why hand them their first debut starts now?

Well, according to Michael Cheika, it has come off the back of some pretty consistent form from all three players, whether they be coming off the bench or otherwise.

“I just thought I would give him a crack and give him a go,” Cheika said about Rodda’s inclusion over Simmons to Rugby.com.au.

“Simmons hasn’t been poor in any way but maybe how we start, how we finish, it’s going to be a big forward battle I would say.

“We’ll unleash him out there when he’s fresh and ready to go.

“I don’t think there is any risk there because he has come off the bench and played well in two big games and I can’t see why starting is any different – it’s a step along the way.”

Dempsey’s inclusion has come more off the back of giving Hanigan a break, given the young rookie has started seven tests in a row this year.

“Realistically he (Hanigan) should never had to play seven games in a row from his debut when he wasn’t even playing Super Rugby at the start of the year,” said Cheik.

“We could have given him a chance, taken him out, give him another chance and let him build.

“But he has done so well. It’s a different challenge for him this week.”

“[But] The eyes roll in the back of the head with Jack (Dempsey), if you know what I mean,” he added.

“He gets very aggressive and that’s what I like. I like that. You have to have one or two of those guys in your pack. He loves the contact and he loves to get into it.

“That’s one of the big reasons I like him as a player.”

Finally, on Koroibete…

“He did well in the first game and now starting he will have a chance to prepare himself for the whole week and get ready.

“He still has a bit to work on in terms of finding his lines off set-pieces and things like that but defensively and his work-rate, and stuff like that, he’s on the money.”

Wallabies squad:

1. Scott Sio, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 3. Sekope Kepu, 4. Izack Rodda, 5. Adam Coleman, 6. Jack Dempsey, 7. Michael Hooper (C), 8. Sean McMahon, 9. Will Genia, 10. Bernard Foley, 11. Reece Hodge, 12. Kurtley Beale, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Marika Koroibete, 15. Israel Folau. Reserves (one to be omitted): 16. Stephen Moore, 17. Tom Robertson, 18. Allan Alaalatoa, 19. Rob Simmons, 20. Lukhan Tui, 21. Ned Hanigan, 22. Nick Phipps, 23. Samu Kerevi, 24. Henry Speight

Should the Wallabies be successful in South Africa, it’ll be their first win there since 2011. Meanwhile, the All Blacks will look to all but wrap up Rugby Championship for another year when they face the Pumas in Buenos Aires.

Foley hits 50

Bernard Foley kicking

Bernard Foley kicking

Bernard Foley will reach an important milestone in his career in Saturday, notching up his 50th cap for the Wallabies when he takes to the field in Bloemfontein.

While his career has seen plenty of highs and lows, since the start of the Rugby Championship he has certainly lived up to the nickname ‘Iceman’, achieving a completely perfect kicking record in every single match this Championship except the thrilla in Dunedin. Currently, he’s kicked twenty out of twenty-three conversions/penalties this championship.

While speaking to Rugby.com.au, the match against the Boks was the first major thing on his mind. 

“It’s a good chance for us to be coming up against a team that’s probably hurting a little bit, to go out there and put our front foot forward,” he said.

However, he did open up on how his experience has affected his role in the squad.

“Naturally, as age and experience dwells on you, that’s something you probably push off a little bit. But I’ve enjoyed taking a leadership role amongst this team. It’s not something that I guess feels natural for me or something I really set out to do, but it is something that I now really enjoy.

“Helping out the younger guys, helping them experience the greatness of playing rugby and playing for the Wallabies because it is a great opportunity and something we all cherish.

“For me, it’s about trying to help them out by any little way I can, and also keep challenging myself to improve in that area.”

For all of the ups and downs of his career, I think it’s fair to say the bloke has more than earned his fifty caps. Looking forward to more outstanding games from him,  like that beauty of a performance that knocked England out of their own World Cup two years ago (head to 1:44 for my personal favourite Foley moment).

Schools In!

Combined States too good for QLD II  Photo Credit: ARU Media/Karen Watson

Heading into this weekend’s sport, we start with the latest edition of international schoolboys rugby.

The action begin first at Knox Grammer School here in Sydney on Monday October 2nd, kicking off with the Australian Schools Barbarians taking on NZ Schoolboys at 1pm, before the Australian Schools tackle on Fiji Schools at 3pm.

The following week (October 7) however Schoolboy rugby will get the chance to really show off, with it’s matches serving as curtain raisers to the much anticipated round six clash between the Greater Sydney Rams and the Fijian Drua at TG Millner. The Barbarians take on Fiji that day first at  11am AEST, before the showdown between Australian Schools and NZ Schools at 12.50pm. Those matches will be streamed on rugby.com.au, before the Rams and Drua fight it out as the final match of the day.

“We’re really looking forward to hosting these matches and I know our two Australian squads have been working hard in preparing to play at home,” ARU Head of National XVs Programs Adrian Thompson said to Rugby.com.au.

“To host this year means we are fortunate in that we can give more opportunities to the Australian Barbarians side to play International rugby and will expand our depth as these young men continue their journey in rugby over the coming years.

“Australian Schoolboys matches have an important place in the Australian Rugby calendar and is an important cog in our pathways machine in producing elite talent.”

NRC/Aon Uni Sevens Goss

Media opportunity for Bond University's "Super Saturday" of rugby. This coming Saturday will feature the final round of the Women's AON Uni7s tournament, a NRC game between QLD Country and Melbourne Rising, plus the finals of the National U16 Championships, and National U15 Junior Gold Cup

Media opportunity for Bond University’s “Super Saturday” of rugby. This coming Saturday will feature the final round of the Women’s AON Uni7s tournament, a NRC game between QLD Country and Melbourne Rising, plus the finals of the National U16 Championships, and National U15 Junior Gold Cup

It’s a big festival of rugby this weekend, particularly at Bond University on the Gold Coast. But we’ll get to that in a sec.

Starting off with the NRC, the squads are in for most of the teams this week, and it looks to be a real case of coaches sticking with and deciding their squads for the remaining four rounds of regular season after this one.

You can check out the NRC squads in their entirety here. 

The Canberra Vikings are sticking with a heavily-Super Rugby packed side, including Blake Enever, Wharenui Hawera and the ever reliable Tom Banks. They have every right to stick with a strong squad, as they will be coming up against a powerful Fijian Drua side who have left their squad relatively unchanged from their two successful home games. Their match kicks off tonight.

The Melbourne Rising will be looking to take another surprise scalp and get off the bottom of the table when they travel up to Bond University to face Queensland Country on Saturday. The Rising have nailed down a good balance of Super Rugby and Dewar Shield experience, but they will have a tough time against an in-form country side looking for their first ever third win in a row. As of Friday morning, they are still to name their squad.

Both the Perth Spirit and Brisbane City are playing their cards pretty close to the chest for their match on Sunday in Perth, with both of their sides still to name their squads for the match as of Friday morning.

And finally, the NSW derby on Monday will see a more Tah heavy NSW Country Eagles host the Sydney Rays in Goulburn.  Andrew Kellaway returns to fullback, while Thomas Staniforth and Ryan McCauley will provide the beef upfront that proved pivotal in getting the Eagles over the line against the Vikings. The Rays are still to name that squad.

Get out there and support your club rugby and NRC, and you can do that by heading over to Bond University. In addition to the Rising-Country match, Bond University will also host the Aon Uni7s, Junior Gold Cup and the State Under-16s grand finals.

The Uni 7s is of particular notice, as it will be the final of four womens sevens competitions. University of Queensland have won the last three, and a win here will see them clean sweep the entire competition.

For those of you looking for something new to your rugby, get along to this festival of rugby that celebrates the rising male and female stars of our game. Have a read of our thoughts on the Uni Sevens here. 

**Breaking News** Changing of the Guard

Queensland Reds Co-Interim Head Coach  Nick Stiles

Former Queensland Reds Head Coach Nick Stiles

We usually don’t add on stuff after publishing news, but this isn’t exactly an ordinary day. Dave Wessels is officially heading to the Melbourne Rebels, and Nick Stiles has been sacked by the Queensland Reds in favour of Brad Thorn.

Starting with Wessels, the former Western Force coach has been in unbelievable demand following his impressive season with the men from the west. So demand in fact, that Irish club Munster had made it clear that they were close to forming a deal with Wessels and were prepared to throw the chequebook at him to get here.

But Wessels himself has spoken a lot about how much Australian rugby means to him, and has decided to stay here in Australia, to coach the Melbourne Rebels. This was confirmed officially today by Wessels in a statement.

“I’m very grateful to everyone at the Rebels and within Australian rugby for helping make this move possible,” Wessels said in a statement.

“For me, the decision was driven by a strong feeling of unfinished business in Super Rugby. I’m very passionate about rugby and the game in this country has provided me with the opportunity to fulfil my dream to coach professionally. Part of repaying this faith is realising the success that I know we’re capable of.

“Make no mistake, our goal is to win Super Rugby. We’re finalising an exciting group of coaches and players who will not only contribute to building an enviable and winning culture at the club but who will progress us towards that ultimate goal.”

“We’re delighted that Dave will be joining us,” said Rebels chief executive Baden Stephenson.

“He’s one of the brightest and most sought-after coaches in world rugby.

“He showed real leadership through an incredibly difficult period at the Western Force and has demonstrated his ability to build a world-class rugby program.”

Even Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was pleased with Wessels decision to stay in Australia.

“He has done an outstanding job in Perth and I say that because I have seen the players that have come in here and how they’ve come in with their attitude into the camp,” Cheika said.

“I would really like to see them stay in Australian rugby for sure.”

While it’s encouraging news for the Rebels, the Reds meanwhile are back to square one, announcing the removal of Stiles from the Head Coaches role. After co-coaching the Reds in 2016, 2017 was the first year Stiles had full control at the club.

According to Fox Sports, Stiles has the worst record of any Super Rugby coach in history in charge of more than 35 games. He was contracted until the end of next year.

According to the Telegraph, Brad Thorn’s work methods have clearly left an impression on the Reds. Add in the improved performances of NRC cellar dwellers Queensland Country, and it ain’t hard to see that he will be the front runner to take the lead coaching role.

This comes after the whole John Connolly debacle this year, which saw the former Red and Wallaby coach take the Reds successfully to courts, winning $150,000. And, of course, another bitterly disappointing Super Rugby season.

Whoever is selected, they have a hell of a mountain to climb to win back supporters, and fast.

The Link era seems like an eon ago.

  • jamie

    My first thought about Foley hitting 50 is that he’s finally improved his kicking range! TO say it’s just his 50th cap thoroughly disappoints me.

    Glad Hanigan is gone. Time to put him in a squat rack. How Higgers and Timani are nowhere near the squad still defies my logic…

    • Higgers hasn’t played since the Scotland game. Neck injury.

      • jamie

        Wow really? I hadn’t heard a thing about it anywhere.

        • nmpcart

          Not too serious apparently – neck pain that needs rest – can’t play in Japan so out until next season I think it was reported.

        • I think he will make a full recovery but it is something that takes time to heal. At least in some cases. Nerve damage I think.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate just gold, he can hit 50 every time as long as he’s outside the 22

      • Gottsy

        And he can probably hit 50 when kicking for goal. It won’t go over the cross bar, but if nobody catches the ball it may just roll that far

        • Brisneyland Local

          Good call Gottsy

      • Brisneyland Local

        Pure Gold!

    • Adrian

      Timani is in the squad, but not being picked in the 23. I wish he was.

      Higgenbotham injured

      • onlinesideline

        wheres Ulyseeeeeeees ? If Moore is the reason – grrrrrr

    • Braveheart81

      When was the last time Timani played a decent game? He went back to NRC level and was poor. I think he is way off the pace right now and that’s why he’s not getting selected. Hooper and McMahon are the first choice backrowers and the 6 and bench player are being picked to fit around them.

      • Brumby Runner

        If he’s so poor, why is he retained in the squad?

        • Braveheart81

          I’d guess that Cheika still sees a future for him in the Wallabies and wants him to get back to playing at the level that he knows he’s capable of.

    • McWarren

      Bloody hell hey. Can’t say I agree with the decision but look forward to seeing how Brad Thorn goes. Let’s hope as an inexperienced head coach thrown in the deep end as a saviour he gets more time than Stiles to produce the goods.

      So what now for one of the best scrum coaches in the country? Just another Link sent packing because he couldn’t get two old pack horses and KD to win a title in his first year.

      Who from the QRU who made the decision to go with Stiles is taking responsibility for that decision? The silence will be deafening.

      • I hope they’re donating their wages to pay him out.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I dont think it was because he couldnt win the title, he couldnt win a bloody game (well 4 actually). His results were crap. They werent good as an assistant coach, as dual coach or as head coach. My guess is that it just wasnt the results they were unhappy with!

        • McWarren

          so how long does a coach get, to build a squad, build a culture, build a coaching panel. If he is handed a champion side full of experienced stars then I’d suggest not long at all. If he is handed an average squad, down on confidence, lacking direction or anything resembling a productive playing culture then I think the coach deserves longer than a season and a half.

          I wish Brad well, but hope he gets a better shot at building ‘his’ team. My suspicions is he’ll be gone in two years, either fired because he didn’t rack up enough wins or resigns through utter frustration.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I understand the sentiment and and agree per se. Personally I dont think Stiles had the ‘minerals’, but that now is a moot point. Thorn will either Crash or crash through. Personally I think he will succeed. He does have reasonable cattle, so now it is about fitness, skills, game plan, attitude, culture and application. Or in my old profession, we called it SKA. Skills, Knowledge and Attitude.
          I hope he is there for a long time to come. The reality is, he has a low benchmark to compete against so just has to improve on that.

        • McWarren

          Okay so we keep the same playing roster, mostly, keep the same back office decision makers and just keep changing coaches until one is lucky enough to be there when everything clicks. I don’t believe my feelings around Stiles sacking are sentiment, I believe it exposes the QRU as shambolic and short sighted. Thorn may work out, but I think we’ve once again set the development of the Reds squad back a year or possibly two

        • Brisneyland Local

          Sorry I was using the word sentiment as in the concept or the idea, not as a sentiment. Apologies for the lack of clarity with my verbiage. Agree with you the QRU is a shambles. The changing of a majority of the coaching staff will hopefully bring new ideas, new focus and new culture. Thorn has the trust of the squad, which is a positive starting point. He will have different ideas that he will able to express as head coach. Dont get me wrong, the whole thing is QRU shit fight through and through. The proof will be in the pudding, if we are in the same place next year, we will all know this hasnt worked. If we have improved then we have made a positive step

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          My only concern there is that the changing of the coaching staff included bring in the biggest failure in Super rugby after Woody Graham. McGahan has a failed rep, yet he’s been employed by QRU under the “look after the old boys scheme” I think Thorne’s first task will be getting rid of that deadwood.

        • Brisneyland Local

          They think that having a more established coach underneath will reduce the risk, I think it increases it.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Agreed

        • Brisneyland Local

          But one thing will be assured they will be fit and they will be disciplined!

        • From NooZealand

          And what is your “old profession” may I ask (he he)

        • Brisneyland Local

          Army

        • From NooZealand

          I salute you . I was also in the army (in my country) for a short spell.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Well done! I spent a lot of time at your Burnham Barracks and at Waiorou. As well as some time at Papakura. Love NZ.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          More the second I think.

    • Tommy Brady

      The retention of Dave Wessels is a significant achievement for rugby in Australia. Reassuring to see NH money just can’t buy everyone they want Down Under. Now the issue must be addressing how Rod Kafer and the ARU can produce more Australians to be Head Coaches of Australian Super Rugby franchises.

      • idiot savant

        What about an attachment scheme to learn new approaches at a level that doesn’t involve state secrets just good preparation. Perhaps to the Mitre 10 Cup in NZ, Currie Cup in SA, or RFU in England?

    • onlinesideline

      Clearly he read the comments here on GGR yesterday and changed his mind.

    • Jamie

      So he is going to take the Force coaching staff and some top players to an otherwise strengthened Rebels side.

      They will be the only Australian side with momentum, and a strong one. Unless Simon Cron is the de facto head coach of the Waratahs I would go as far as to say that they are my shout for the Australian conference in 2018.

      The sickening thing is that people will use any success to justify culling the Force.

    • theduke

      Sounds like the Reds didn’t even make it to the carpark for this selection

  • McWarren

    So Cheika thinks Hanigan has been really good? That about sums up Cheika for me. Though the comment that Hanigan shouldn’t have had to play so many games in a row is really confusing. Is Chek suggesting no other player was good enough to have replaced Hanigan, therefore he had to keep picking him. Or is he admitting he stuffed up by picking him 7 straight times. I suspect it is the first reason.

    The fact Foley has 50 tests just proves too me that we no longer value the Wallaby jersey as a symbol of our highest rep team in the country. It’s now just a natural pathway for the chosen few.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate Foley has got there because there is no one else, leaving Cooper aside as obviously Cheika doesn’t rate him. 5 Super teams either kept potential replacements in the shadow or wasted money on kiwis who weren’t good enough to play in their own country.

      • McWarren

        The problem is as you say the 5 teams not nurturing other options, but the other options are there nonetheless. If the standard Foley has set is an acceptable benchmark then I don’t think it is folly to suggest guys such as Lance, Deds, Greene, McIntyre, Mason, Stewart or Hegarty could have been used and some, if not all have higher ceilings.

        I don’t accept the no talent excuse, I will accept that our selectors and coaches are paralysed by fear of failure. Look at Stiles, one year in, old fella’s hoisted into his roster, came the closest of all Aussie coaches to beating a Kiwi team (twice) and gets the punt. Our decision makers demands for instant success means young talent is ignored for has beens, leagies, or star players played out of position.

    • Gottsy

      I feel for Hanigan, I really do. His effort was admirable, he just isn’t up to it yet. There’s been a lot of vitriol leveled at him, but as you’ve said that should really go towards Cheika

      • McWarren

        I agree re Hanigan, he may grow into the role required of him but Cheika has done him no favours and to somehow watch his performances in gold this year and think anything other than he is currently well out of his depth is baffling.

      • onlinesideline

        I actually think most of it was qualified with the comment that he has tried hard but just too small and undercooked.
        ppl didnt seem to be vicious about it
        Im sure he gets that

        • Gottsy

          Yeah for sure. Wasn’t implying that he gets it on this site, just in general. (He seems to cop it on that other site that I prefer not to mention)

    • Dud Roodt

      Yeah I would much rather Cheika have said that Hannigan is complete rubbish and should go and think about whether rugby is the career for him. Cheika bloody weaseling his way out of it yet again!

      • McWarren

        yes, well, that would have been one way Dud. But Cheika seems intent on singling out Hanigan for special mention? Yet others who have had a poor performance get no such mollycoddling. I don’t want him to publicly execute the guy, he seems like a nice young guy who is living the dream, I just don’t think you do the guy any favours by telling him how well he is doing when clearly he ain’t. My real fear is that Cheika thinks he is doing a great job at 6.

    • Chinese Dave

      Mate he dropped Hanigan. What do you want him to say? Read between the lines. He said that Hanigan really shouldn’t have had to play 7 in a row from his debut. To me it means that he just hadn’t seen anyone better he could pick. Now he has tried Dempsey and is picking him. You might agree or not. You might think Cheika is a shit coach and human being. But this whole picking on every single word anyone says is just incredibly tiresome, negative and depressing.

      • MungBean

        “He said that Hanigan really shouldn’t have had to play 7 in a row from his debut”

        Must’ve been Cheika’s evil twin that picked him 7 times when Higginbotham and Fardy sat at home watching it on telly

        • Parker

          Absolutely!!!

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well GAGR’s lots of news this morning! BL’s points for the day:
    – Congratulations Brad Thorn, and commiserations Nick Stiles. But a 4 Win record is not satisfactory. I really believe that this is the right decision for the Reds. Probably a year earlier than expected or desired, but once must act when the opportunity presents itself.
    – Foley, 50 games most of them sub par! If he wasnt a Waratah, there is no way in gods green earth that he would have achieved those numbers.
    – Congrats Izack Rodda. Some interesting selections.
    – Not wanting to be negative, but after the Bokkies copped a 57-0 pummelling, and being at Blomfontein, I think we are going lose by 7-10 points.
    Over to you GAGR’s

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      It’ll take a big change in the Boks to turn it around. I think the run on team, Foley aside, is probably better than has played this year. I’m not sold on Koroibete yet and I think he’ll struggle but at least Hanigan has gone.
      Next year with Thorne will be interesting. I think the biggest plus is that it just might be enough to sway some fans to stay on or reinvest.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I wasnt re-committing unless Thorn was signed.

        • mikado

          From your lips to the QRU’s ears! I’m impressed at how influential you are…

        • Brisneyland Local

          Oh Mikado how I wish that was true! But alas, I cant even convince my kids to clean their rooms

  • Gottsy

    I don’t mind the team. We’re just going to have to get used to the revolving door policy I think

    • onlinesideline

      I reckon that revovlving door is slowing down soon and if ever there has been a chance of selecting the same 23 for a few matches, its approaching. Call me odd, but I sense a purple patch coming. If we can sort 8 and 10, especially 8 then we are starting to look ok. Sefas injury is devasting though.I think he will be lethal.

      • McWarren

        I like the thought of our wingers being two of either Koroibete, Sefa and Perese. Speed, good defence and work rate. Too make it work I move Hodge to 12.

      • Dud Roodt

        As the boys said on the pod, it is definitely starting to look like Cheika is settling on his 23. Obviously still with a view to building player depth for 2019

    • McWarren

      I’m not sure Dempsey is any more physically imposing than Ned. Still good to see an option explored and for Ned to get a rest. I’d also like to see guys like Robertson swapped out to give our other up and comer props exposure.

      • Gottsy

        Yeah me too. I don’t think that being imposing is the difference though, I think it’s probably more to do with maturity in positioning in contact etc.

        Would be interesting to see what’s going on at training with the likes of Timani and Korczyk, and also if Tui or Simmons have been training in the back row. Somehow we need to get our effectiveness up, otherwise we’re going to get found out (again)

  • onlinesideline

    Im really interested to see how Quade Cooper will go under Brad Thorn. Really interested.
    I’m curious how his view on how rugby should be played will shape the backline. How different he is from how Link saw the backline. What sidekicks will he have to help in backline coaching. I have always been curious how QC would have turned out if he came through the ranks in NZ instead. ie would he have been a more of a Mehrtens who I loved to watch (some kiwis didnt rate him tho). If Quade could play that game he sometimes brings, great service, good touch finders, turning opposition around, etc if he could do that on consistent basis his stock value would skyrocket. What will Thorns patience be like when it comes to tackling, brainfades, hail marys etc – will be interesting.

    • Brisneyland Local

      OLSL, interesting points you raise. QC and BT has quite an established relationship and have been working together for a while already. Infact BT has over the last 2 years established a really good working relationship with the whole squad. I watched the last year running contact drills and BT was out there with them. You could actually see the players shitting themselves. It was hilarious.

      • onlinesideline

        lol – and may it continue.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I have just (5 minutes ago) renewed my Reds Membership. If Stiles had stayed, I wasnt going to. I will be going to watch these practice sessions more often now.

    • idiot savant

      Good question. If he coaches like he played – without compromise – then I suspect Cooper won’t be given the rope he has been given by Stiles. Thorn has also been working with Stewart for Qld Country in the NRC and Stewart has shown some promise as an organiser, high work rate, and very quick hands. So I suspect Stewart will see some game time in the 10 jumper.

      Also of interest is what he might do with Chris F-S. If his combination with Duncan P continues to shred defenders all those vowels might get a run together at the Reds. What would that mean for Kerevi? Early days of course and one swallow and all that.

      What Im pretty sure Thorn will do with the backs is work on their defensive structures. I think the tackle bags will be sore.

      • Who?

        Also can’t be forgotten that Perese also wants that 13 jersey (wore it for Country last year, I believe). And Chris Kuridrani had a good game the other week at 13. So there’s a bit of a log jam at 13, maybe Duncan had better watch out that Captain Samu doesn’t slide into 12..?

    • BarneySF
      • idiot savant

        Gold!

        • BarneySF

          “I disagree Quadey – now give me your larynx”

        • Greg

          Just a friendly exchange of views….. and body parts!

      • Pclifto

        Throat swapping

      • McWarren

        This photo must be doctored in some way. Too me that looks like an All Black attacking the head of an opposition player. And we all know that that just does not happen.

        • Chinese Dave

          The Kiwis have figured out quantum Rugby. The act of observing a Kiwi performing a send off offence itself causes that offence to not happen. (At least until well after the Kiwi player has retired).

          Recently they have also figured out quantum suspensions, where by observing a non test Test with three halves and no opposing teams, a Kiwi player can serve a two game (unwarranted of course) suspension.

        • mikado

          Ha. An All Black cannot be seen to be entering a ruck from the side, as it is impossible to know both its position and its velocity at the same time.

          An All Black Hole warps space-time meaning that a player who appears to be offside is, in fact, legal.

          “Dark Energy” is the invisible, intangible force that makes Steve Hansen so repulsive…

          (with apologies to all Kiwis ;) )

  • onlinesideline

    Dave Wessels is staying now – Brilliant !

  • Brumby Runner

    I’d hardly say the Vikings are heavily loaded with Super players. Four only in the run on side and two more on the bench. The remaining 17 are out of the local competition with only a small handfull of those having had some limited experience at Super level.

    And on Foley, he really should hand in his moniker of the “Iceman” until he can consistently win games against the very best in NZ and England with his goal kicking. He seems to have some mental issues when he’s up against the very best.

  • Greg

    34 articles and so far no discussion about the back row balance!

    Have we given up?

    • Chinese Dave

      Let me sum it up for you.

      Hooper is shit, he should be playing 12 or coming on in the last 20 minutes. He couldn’t fetch a dollar from his pocket. Hanigan/Dempsey is rubbish and only picked because he’s a Tah. McMahon is amazing, he’s the best, the only one better in the world is Liam Gill. Pocock shouldn’t be fannying around the world getting paid 800K for doing absolutely nothing, the bloody do gooder with his opinions.

      Did I miss anything?

      • Who?

        Yeah, you missed Liam F****** Gill’s middle name. Isn’t it mandatory to use it at all times on GAGR..? :-P

        • Chinese Dave

          Damn, I knew I left something out.

  • Dud Roodt

    Very happy Wessels is staying in Oz rugby. Hopefully he can replicate his success in the west at the Rebels.

    The Thorn one is interesting. As I’ve said on here previously, we seem to be pushed into hiring decisions too early. I think Thorn could have done with at least 2-3 NRC head coaching seasons under his belt. Not saying he’s not up to it, but don’t want him to not succeed and be thrown on the scrap heap because of it.

    I like the look of the squad. Like Dempsey as he does have mongrel. Would like he and Hannigan to go have an off season in Thailand on the juice though.
    Fingers crossed the 3 new additions kill it.

  • idiot savant

    I think Cheka has made some smart selections for the Boks. Increased forward grunt at the breakdown to secure faster ball when we have it is the key to us beating them as our backs clearly have their measure.

    The Boks will kick for territory and apply tackle and breakdown pressure to try and turn us over in our red zone, so we really did have to beef up our forward presence. And if we can score points early that should provide some insurance for when the altitude kicks in later, so starting Rodda is the better move.

    I can wait to see if our scrum improvement can be sustained. Go boys!

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well here is an interesting one boys and girls!
    I just got off the phone with Reds Membership team after reading the news, eagerly wanting to renew my membership based on the good news.
    Alas, no decision has been made. Nick Stiles isnt even in Australia at the moment. The QRU havnt had this conversation yet with Nick Stiles.
    So whilst the report may be accurate, it is not formally a done deal!

    • idiot savant

      The words arse and both hands come to mind…

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep apparently!

    • nmpcart

      Do you think the conversation hasn’t actually happened vs hasn’t been announced? I suspect if this has leaked that they have had the discussion – one report said Stiles has known for weeks, and I wonder if his overseas trip is talking to overseas clubs about a job? The QRU may have had plans about when they were going to announce it – possibly after the NRC is over perhaps?

      • Brisneyland Local

        Well there are certainly conflicting reports. The staff I spoke to were as shocked as anyone to read the report. They werent playing dumb or towing the party line, they were genuinely shocked. On the second instance, a very friend of mine who is well placed said One has been informed the other hasnt! And that to me sounds like typical QRU! Pure Gold!

        • Hoss

          If true mate that is truly appalling.

          Fail or succeed a person is entitled to integrity and leave with dignity.

          FFS – whats wrong with people ?

        • Brisneyland Local

          Coudlnt agree more.
          But as much it saddens me that is the QRU through and through!
          They say they are there for the fans then they do everything possible to piss them off.

        • HK Red

          Christ on a bloody bike! Could this shambles get any worse?!?!
          How is it humanly possible to mis-manage a club to such a degree?

  • Adrian

    Ok team

    We are building depth in locks department.

    Simmons to call lineouts in last 20, and cover for Coleman before then.

    Hope it’s a 6:2 bench.

    Interestingly some bookies give Wallabies 7.5 points start, and they’ve been pretty accurate lately

    • Hoss

      Morning Adrian – i dont share the doom and gloom about our lot. I dont reckon the Boks have vast improvement in them and lets face it we are fitter than previous so Altitude wont be as invasive. Us by 14 – if we are smart (play for territory and turn the big boppers around all game – via Hodges prodigious boot)

      • Adrian

        Morning Hoss.
        Yes, agree with you generally, agree we can win, and agree re Hodge.

        Hopefully Byrne et al will give Hodge tips on how to do this kicking. Sometimes new guys who can kick get carried away, and overcook their kicks, … like fast bowlers at the WACA for the first time.

        I think we have the goods, and so long as we get some sort of parity in the forwards, our backs can do the trick

  • Jamie

    The slating of individual players and coaches are getting as dull as they are foundation-less and just driven by loyalty to Super Rugby sides.

    Slating Cheika and Foley simply because you support the Reds, or Cooper simply because you don’t, doesn’t make you a real Wallabies fan. Doesn’t even make you a real Reds/Waratahs fan. It just makes you look silly.

    I get that he who shouts loudest gets the most attention here but this goes against all that the game stands for.

    Go Wallabies.

    • Hoss

      A-bloody-men.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Jamie whilst I can understand your view, I dont agree with it. I dont slate Foley because I support the Reds (Which I do), I am a NSWelshman too. I slate him because he isnt the player we need and his skills are questionable at best.
      I slate Cheika because of his results, his demeanor, his public utterances after he loses a game and blames the umpires. This doesnt mean I am any less of a Wallabies fan then any other Wallabies fan out there.
      My opinions are not based on who I support, they are based on the evidence before me and every other supporter out.
      This is debate. It is not who is or isnt a supporter because they dont fully suport the team. Regardless of the decisions that Cheika makes or doesnt make, come game day I support them. It doesnt make my opinion less valid, or make me look silly (well to anyone else but you).
      It is what it is!

      • idiot savant

        Courage under fire.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I didnt believe it to be aimed at me, but even it is was, we all have the equal place here to state our opinion. I wanted it for the record, that my opinion is not based on the team I support. I support the Wallabies first Reds second. Always have always will. (Fiji third, The Drua fourth, and the Nadroga Stallions fifth for full disclosure!).

      • Jamie

        it is hard to believe that the criticisms of Foley are motivated by anything other than provincial bias. Nothing tangible justifies them and they are so relentless and from the same segment of the support.

        He isn’t the player we need? He’s the player we have. The stats do back this up despite the spin prevalent on here. Him not being a Barrett or a Sexton is not his fault.

        • Brisneyland Local

          All of your statements are correct. But if any other ten had the games he has had lately they would have been dragged! If it was Cooper (and for the record I am not the biggest Cooper fan to be honest) who played these games not only would he have been lambasted, but the bias towards him would have been significantly more. DO I need to hyperlink the previous pages on here to highlight that? Foley is now copping to a degree an almost equal degree of critiscism that Cooper and a number of other players do.
          There a number of people who slate Foley on here (GAGR) that are not Reds supporters. Gee even the guys who host this site on their pod have been bagging Foley of late, so to say it is a state based argument is not accurate.
          But you are correct in stating that our ten stocks are low. We have what we have, but that does not negate our right as fans of the game to criticise him or any other player regardless of their state of origin or what team they play for. To say that implies that they only players I can critiscise are Qlders (not that I am one) is flawed and disingenuous. I am happy to be critiscised if I am being discriminatory based on state, but I play the ball not the man. Whilst I may at times be overly descriptive in the language that I use, the point that I make is I critiscise the things he does as a player.

        • onlinesideline

          I agree with this. Its been nationwide and its never been personal so …
          Additionaly stats tell SOME of the story. How do you quantify a poor clearing kick that results in an AB counter attack that results in a try 5 phases later ?

        • Brisneyland Local

          Thanks OLSL, I am glad I am not on my Pat Malone here.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Never on your own mate. I bag Foley because despite his good form at times, and despite being a full time rugby player, he has never improved his kicking, a basic skill that has put his teams under pressure for the last 4 years. So either he’s so bad he can’t improve, I don’t believe that. Or, his coaches are so bad they can’t improve him, I also don’t believe that. Or he doesn’t see any threats so he doesn’t give a shit and so doesn’t try, I actually do believe that.

        • first time long time

          A try at most 5 phases later approx once per match against the ABs. If we are being realistic, a reasonable % of his clearing kicks should be counted as turnovers in his stats.

        • first time long time

          It’s relentless because he keeps getting selected and for that I blame Cheika

        • onlinesideline

          isnt QC’s winning rate higher for the wallabies when playing over Foleys winning rate when playing ? – what stats are you referring to ?

        • first time long time

          Yes it is and after the start to this season I’d hazard a guess that it’s it’s higher than anyone else in the team

        • Who?

          Foley’s the player we have because Cheika wants him. He was the obvious choice in 2014, when Toomua and Cooper were injured. 2015, Cheika stepped in and continued largely to select blokes he knew from his time with the Tahs. But since then, surely there’s been an opportunity to look at others. Did we? Well, sort of. We gave Quade 5 games at 10 last year. And had some reasonable results, in spite of the fact that for reasons known only to Cheika he decided to select a clearly tired, jaded and out of form Foley at 12 (a position he’d never played) outside Cooper (and Foley then proceeded to step all over Cooper’s toes).

          We haven’t looked at Lance. We haven’t looked for anyone else, we haven’t talked to the Super clubs about why they’re picking Kiwis at 10.

          So Foley’s the player we have because the coach likes him. But does the coach’s preference for him have any relevance as to whether he’s the best 10…? I’d argue that it doesn’t. In the same way that Cheika’s selection of Moore at 2 the last 2 years hasn’t considered the public’s position about his form or fitness.

          My personal issue with Foley is that his mentality for running the game is not what I want in a 10. His – rather obvious – decision making hierarchy is run/pass/kick. That compares with the traditional NH 10’s selection of kick/pass/run. My preference is the traditional Australia order – pass/kick/run. The Ella approach – if you pass it for 35 minutes, no one will be marking you in the last 5, so you take your runs and score your tries then.

          I don’t want my 10 as a crashballer. But Cheika likes that ‘direct’ running at 10. I’d argue that Barrett’s more of a Beale than a Foley – he runs much more sideways and has much, much more pace than Foley. I like Barrett – I’m a huge fan, have been for a good number of years now. But I actually see him as the Michael Hooper of 10’s. In that, he’s a fantastic Rugby player, but I’m not sure he ticks all the KPI’s I expect from my 10. That it’s not his natural position (which makes me think Hansen may have been right using him as a 15 initially), because his skillsets are arguably better used elsewhere. But he’s a fantastic rugby player (in the same way that Hooper’s a truly magical rugby player, but he just doesn’t tick the KPI’s I hold for a 7, primarily around securing attacking ruck ball and slowing defensive breakdowns). I actually think Hooper would be one of the greatest 7’s players, if he went that way, as would Barrett. And it’s interesting to note that Foley started there, too…

          I’d argue that Sexton is closer in style to Quade than Foley – he has fantastic vision, great passing and a varied and intelligent kicking game (rather than a maximum kicking distance which is close to his minimum distance). He works pass/kick/run. He also has a habit of going high in the tackle on defence, just like Quade, but his ultimate outcomes are much better (given he’s an expert exponent of the choke tackle).
          The thing that gets me about Foley is that you see him score tries, but you don’t see him putting people into holes. That’s what I want from my 10. I want try-assists. I want line-break assists. I want my 10 finding the overlaps and getting the ball there quickly, not trying to find a way through the giants near the ruck. So it’s not that Foley’s not doing his best, giving his all. It’s that I have a fundamental issue with what the coach is wanting, and is therefore selecting at 10. In the same way that Hanigan has been picked when he’s not ready (too light, needs work on positioning in contact), Foley’s issues are about selection, not himself…

        • Parker

          I don’t know that I want a Wallaby coach who ‘considers the public’s position’. I want him or her to know way more than a pubful of punters and exercise their judgement without undue influence from board members, the press and the public in order to fulfill their unique vision of what it takes to return the team to ascendancy. My guess is that Foley secures his position in Cheika’s estimation because of the points his place kicking attains. And just to be clear, I am very tired of seeing Foley, Moore and poor old Ned Hanigan wearing gold.

        • Who?

          I’m with you that I want a Wallaby coach who is more intelligent than the average punter. And above influence. I’m not sure Cheika’s unduly influenced by the board, but I’m not sure that his understanding of rugby is ahead of the average punter…….. Let alone the rugby-smart ones you find around places like GAGR. We’re not here because we’re casual fans, and the ones complaining aren’t saying, “You should win more!” They generally have some form of game theory as to what they don’t like, what they want done better, what they want done differently. Most aren’t simply whinging, “Play harder! Show some passion!” To me, that’s weak and unhelpful.

      • Honkleton

        “Foley, 50 games most of them sub par! If he wasnt a Waratah, there is no way in gods green earth that he would have achieved those numbers.”

        The very same article..

    • McWarren

      Jamie like BL below I slate Foley because I don’t think he is up to the job, an alternative is Cooper, who happens to play for the Reds, or Lance who plays for the Force, or low and behold Beale who plays for the Tahs. So who am I biased towards exactly. I have lost all faith in Michael Chieka as a coach, and I was his biggest supporter having developed an affinity for him in his Leinster days, but it turns out is coaching ability is limited in my view, nothing what so ever to do with the Reds. I get real shitty when people refuse to read and look at my points based on their rugby validity and just accuse me of being bias because they know that the player they like isn’t up to scratch.

      • Jamie

        So to confirm…

        Finishing 1st and 2nd in the Rugby Championship and reaching the World Cup Final has caused you to lose faith in a World Rugby Coach of the Year who has won the Super Rugby Championship, Heineken Cup, Celtic League and Shute Shield previously.

        Foley should be behind Cooper, Lance and Beale at 10.

        The logical conclusion is that these types of opinions, which are admittedly popular among a vocal group here, are not based on reasoned observation.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Jamie. 1st in a year when the others played for the RWC and 2nd in last years comp wasn’t that big a deal with how bad both SA and the Argies were. For me the frustrating thing is that with such a good record why is he making such shit decisions now? He seems to think that if he changes his mind then it’s a weakness so he stubbornly goes down a failed path (Cooper/foley, Hannigan) because he doesn’t want to look bad? FFS! I get talking a player up to retain confidence but he’s picky on that (smashed Cooper). Blames everyone else and doesn’t accept responsibility for his selections and plans, And like others I just don’t understand wtf he’s saying half the time. He’s list me and I’m already looking forward to 2020 as I can’t see anyone else being worse.

  • Nicholas Wasiliev

    Cheers to Steve for messaging me with the breaking news this morning, now updated the news on Dave Wessels and Stiles. Personal thoughts below:
    Good to see Wessels stay in Australian rugby, and I’m curious to see the culture that he will bring to the Rebels. The bloke is passionate as hell to make rugby better in this country, and frankly that’s what we need right now. I know he’s inclusion at the Rebels may be bitter for many, particularly in the west, but I’d rather he be here and improving our game in this country than head overseas.
    Not totally convinced about Thorn though. Usually, a coach needs a good season or two to set up and create the squad they want (hell, even Cheika needed that before the Tahs won the title in 2014, as did Link before they won in 2011), and considering 2016 was Stiles and O’Connor managing a squad run by Richard Graham who was sacked after round 2, I could only really go on the fact that Stiles only had one year in charge. Yeah, it wasn’t a good year, but the guy can coach a team (e.g. the two premierships he won with Brisbane City), and apparently, he had the support of the dressing room according to Samu Kerevi and Scotty Higginbotham.
    But I’ll eat my words if necessary. Thorn is a man who knows his rugby well, and I’d hope he do well if he is selected as the new head coach. I’ve been seriously impressed with the attitude of Queensland Country this year. They are playing some great rugby, and he is widely respected at the Reds. But then again, so was Stiles. And looked how that turned out. It’s interesting times at Ballymore.

  • Bay35Pablo

    Yep, Thorn’s form in coaching Country show he should get the gig ….
    …. noting a big part of Stiles getting HIS gig was winning back to back titles coaching Brisbane City ….
    Oh hang on ….
    Throw them in the deep end and when they can’t swim, not our fault ….

  • Jack

    Congratulations Brad Thorn. Commiserations Nick Stiles. Seems harsh after such a short period in charge, but the Reds are savage with their coaches and 4 wins with the cattle he had at his disposal is not good enough. What does Phil Mooney bring that gets him another crack with the Reds though..?? Or McGahan for that matter..? The Reds finished 14th, 12th and 13th under Mooney and the Rebels finished 15th, 10th, 12th and dead last under McGahan. Hardly glowing records. Did Brad Thorn get any say in who assists him..?

    • Hoss

      All good points Jack. There’s a saying in my industry that ‘you cant sack your way to success’ – besides whats the message they are sending Thorn ?? His predecessor got 12 months………..hardly make feel Thorn feel safe.

      Any organisation can get instant short term success, but it comes at a cost and is usually not sustainable, doesn’t instil a good culture and does little to grow the business long term.

      How refreshing would it be to say – what resources do you need, what is you plan, how can i help, what time-frames are realistic and how can we make ‘it’ sustainable ? these are the parameters we shall then measure you on !!

      Always remember a business mentor of mine – hire slow, resource them, mentor them, give them the room and patience to get a result, be available to guide when needed – but understand sustainable success and overall oranisational strength takes time – be prepared to invest long term.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Afternoon Hoss. Great advice, and totally against everything rugby in Australia stands for.

        • Hoss

          I get the need to want success today, twice as much tomorrow and the same again yesterday mate, but its short sighted and ultimately ends in tears.

          Align the individual to the organisation goals – do what i mentioned above and enjoy success.

          I would suggest the QRU issues sit at the top levels and a fish always rots from the head down

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Oh yes

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Great questions that would be good to have answered by the QRU. I wouldn’t mind betting it’s all about money with a pay out due to Stiles and no money to pay out the others.

    • first time long time

      It was Mooney who assembled that title winning team that Link inherited which to his credit Mckenzie has acknowledged.
      I think he will be a great assistant, esp with almost 10 years more experience.
      Look at the difference between early 2000’s E Jones and now.
      I also think Mcgahan will work well as a sounding board for Thorn.
      these guys might be better suited to assistant roles whether they like it or not.

  • Bernie Chan

    Hot surprised or displeased to hear talk that Thorn is in line to replace Stiles…but as noted by others…what a bloody shambles! The QRU is like ”ARU Lite”. Hope Thorn is given a bit of time, but with the way the QRU has acted in recent years the players had better fire from the opening game…Some people are best suited to “assistant” roles, so Mooney and McGahan may turn out to be useful additions…Mooney did bring on a lot of players that Link used to win the title.
    On the Wallas front…I see Hanigan has kept a bench spot for our Wallas…

Rugby
@Nick_Wasiliev

Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician, second rower. Still trying to make sense of the 21st century. Dropped a debut novel last year...

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