Friday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby
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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s rugby news sees the WA inquiry examining that $1, the Brums and Rebels organising trials, Wessels talking up next year, and the goss for the next round of the NRC.


That One Angry Dollar

ForceRally2a

The Senate inquiry in WA has seen everything, from CEOs refusing to answer any questions to verbal boxing matches between different members. However, the inquiry today focused on one particular event: the ARU selling the Melbourne Rebels to Andrew Cox, and Cox selling  the Melbourne Rebels back to the VRU for $1. And what a controversial dollar it has turned out to be.

The inquiry has seemingly entered into a game of ‘follow-the-money’, examining why so many millions of dollars were handed to the Rebels.

Senator Linda Reynolds raised a potential technical insolvency when she grilled Rob Clarke in the chair. What did Clarke do? None other than say he wasn’t really involved in the dealings with Cox, instead saying that ARU chief executive Bill Pulver, legal counsel Richard Hawkins and chief financial officer Todd Day carried out the deal.

“He (Hawkins) conducted all of that process,” said Clarke, as reported by the West Australian.

“At management meetings all we would see is that he was satisfied with the due diligence process he was undertaking.

“The chief counsel was leading it, but I am sure Bill (Pulver) was across it.

“I would have been very surprised if the deal had gone ahead if there were issues. I can’t recall any issues being raised.”

Reynolds however was not done with Clarke, examining the $1 of the Rebels to Cox by the ARU. This deal included “a $13 million write-off, $1.8 million cleared with creditors, $6 million in incremental payments between 2016-2020 and $750,000 in working capital grants.”

The $6 million in incremental payments has become of particular issue to Reynolds, as there is apparently no record of what those payments were actually for.

“Do you know if there were any clauses in there?” Reynolds asked.

Mr Clarke said: “I’m not aware. I didn’t negotiate the agreement and I’m not aware of any clauses.”

Trial By Combat

Rebels v Brumbies-4

While many have been looking at the many crazy events of this year, some are looking forward to next year. And none more so than the Rebels and the Brumbies, who will officially meet for a trial match in the ‘neutral’ town of Queanbeyan next year.

The Super Rugby draw for next year was released nearly a fortnight ago, and it comes as the first preseason fixture announced for both sides.

The match will kick off at 6pm AEDT at Seiffort Oval on February 3rd 2018 and serve as the first hit out for both clubs, with the Brisbane Tens following a week later.

It will be new Brumbies coach Dan McKellar’s first match at the helm, and he hopes to use the match as a solid indicator as to where his new Brumbies side will be at when he chatted to rugby.com.au.

“This will be the squads first game of the year and will provide a good litmus test of where we are at coming out of our pre-season,” he said.

“The Rebels have recruited strongly and we are looking forward to a quality hit-out. We are looking forward to playing at Queanbeyan and engaging with our local supporters.”

It is an encouraging sign that pre-season games are already being announced. Nearly every Super Rugby club will have their work cut out to regain their following, as many folks have become disinterested in Super Rugby after this year.

This match could very well serve as a barometer for Brumby supporters in general in 2018.

Speaking of which…

Misfits Who Fit…

David Wessels has been appointed head coach for the rest of the Force season

New Rebels coach Dave Wessels had huge success building up a team culture at the Western Force. Trying to replicate that in Melbourne may be seen by many as a difficult task, but to Wessels it will be one that he relishes for one simple reason: for the majority of this year, both the Rebels and the Force were both heavily considered to be on the chopping block.

Wessels had made it no secret that he related to the Rebels, even before the Force were cut.

“I felt a real affinity with them, I think they’ve been through a lot of the things we’ve been through the last couple of months, their fans and families and things have felt the uncertainty that we have,” he said to rugby.com.au. 

“I think there was kind of a natural fit there.

“Probably being the two newer teams in Super Rugby, us and the Rebels, I think in some ways we’re a little bit like the outsiders in the traditional rugby circles in Australia and that’s also appealing to me here.”

In the next few days, it is to be expected what Wessels squad will look like for next year. Turns out it’ll have a lot of Force players, with many reportedly considering joining their old coach at the Rebels. Adam Coleman and Dane Haylett-Petty are of particular interest to the Melbourne side, as many Force players wanted to work with Wessels again.

“I think a lot’s been made of the fact we’re going to take some Force players and some Force staff, and that was a big deal because I felt like we were on a journey and we haven’t finished that journey yet,” Wessels said.

“At the same time, I think what hasn’t been really said is how exciting the Melbourne list is. Being there yesterday and seeing some of those young guys in particular, they’ve got some really really good players and I think I’m just excited to work with those guys and the combination of the two groups will be really special.

“It’s like the misfits who fit. We’re just excited about that challenge.”

“To be honest, at a point during the decision making process I was really conscious to say I’m really choosing to go to Melbourne for the merits of Melbourne and being there yesterday again, I was just really excited about it,” he said.

“There’s some really fantastic people involved and I’ve known Baden Stephenson the CEO for quite a while and long before all of this happened and he’s a guy that really excites me.

“He’s got a great energy, I just think the club’s at an exciting time now and it’s been an infant for the last couple of years but it’s time to grow up a little bit and I think to be a part of that journey and process will be exciting.”

By a Country Mile

Tayler Adams inspired a second half comeback for the NSW Country Eagles

Tayler Adams inspired a second half comeback for the NSW Country Eagles

Finally, we turn our focus to the only rugby that is on this weekend, the NRC. This year has been a solid one so far for the competition, with record crowds, increased interest, and a current four-way dogfight for the top of the table.

However, as was the case in early seasons, many of the NSW teams have been struggling against the opposition. And none have been more difficult than the NSW Country Eagles, who have gone from being grand finalists last year to effectively playing for their season this weekend at Scully Park in Tamworth. Ironically, it will be against the same team, Perth Spirit.

In an honest article for rugby.com.au, Eagles coach Darren Coleman believed that this slump in form has come off the back of a misfiring attack, which has certainly been looking off colour compared to last year.

“There is still an air of frustration around our performances at the moment. It’s tricky,” he said.

“There is plenty of spirit in that team, they defend well. I’m just trying how to unlock a bit of that attacking flare that we are missing.”

If you had the answer [to fix the misfiring attack] I would kindly take it. It’s similar personnel in many positions from last year, and for some of the ones we don’t have, we have replaced with equally quality players.

“We were just finishing our line breaks better last year. Dave Horwitz and Kyle Godwin, feeding Kellaway and [Reece] Robinson, Newsome… it was generally ending in tries, but this year it’s not quite there.

“Kyle, you’d like to think is still a bit off his best, with his speed and agility to break tackles. Jake Gordon, still hasn’t quite got the same zip coming back from a reasonable ankle injury. Kellaway is on the up, no doubting that; Newsome has made a really good fist of 13; Tommy Hill has a lot of punch when we bring him on at centre, and Seb Wileman, he was the form 13 of the Shute Shield as well.

“It’s not fire power; it’s trying to unlock it, and that is why that victory over the Rays [in Round 5] didn’t feel like a great one because I am generally puzzled and worried how we unlock it.”

Coleman has had a crazy year, enduring many highs and lows as coach for Warringah in the Shute Shield. He has been the coach of the Country Eagles since their inception, and while last year brought a huge pressure of expectation, Coleman believes his team can still deliver the goods.

“It’s definitely been the most challenging thing I have done as a coach, and I said to the boys after the win in Goulburn that I have to take a bit of blame for our start to the NRC,” he says.

“I have definitely taken some short cuts and I don’t feel that I’m as emotionally invested as I should be.”

“We need it to come now. We have had five games now where we haven’t quite clicked, and you can’t go through a whole season and expect to be there at the end without clicking.

“So, it’ll have to click from this week for us.”

On a side note, the NRC teams were released yesterday and there’s plenty of big names coming back to play for their respective NRC clubs, including Nick Phipps (Rams), Rory Arnold (Vikings), and Tom Robertson (Eagles). Check out the team lists here. 

Last weeks Pasifika Round separated the men from the boys, with Queensland Country, Fijian Drua, Canberra Vikings and Brisbane City all getting up. It also saw some of the biggest crowds in NRC history (particularly at TG Millner), showing that the competition is really starting to come into it’s own and begin to build a following.

This weekend sees the Drua take the bye, so all the Australian teams will be in action. And effectively, this round will serve as a last roll of the dice for all the NSW teams. First off, the Greater Sydney Rams will take on the might of Queensland Country at TG Millner after falling short in a brave performance to the Drua last week.

NSW Country Eagles will then host the Perth Spirit in a rematch of the grand final last year at Scully Park in Tamworth, with the result effectively sealing the Eagles fate if they lose. However, the Spirit will want to win this one to get to the top of the table, so expect a great match in the Country.

Sunday sees the Vikings back in Canberra hosting the Sydney Rays in a match that will effectively decide the fate of this season for the men in the Harlequin jersey. And, finally Brisbane City will be looking to leap into the top four when they host  the Melbourne Rising at Wests Bulldogs in Brisbane. The Rising will pretty much be playing for pride, but they do have the talent to spring an upset on the Queenslanders.

Get out there and support your rugby this weekend!

  • jay-c

    I don’t know Dan McKellar and all the best to him.
    But, I do not understand how the aru can continue to allow the super rugby boards to hand out ‘jobs for the boys’ while our results suffer.
    Behind the wallabies coaching position, these are the most important coaching roles in the country and yet year after year these roles and entrusted to rookies while they learn on the job.
    I would argue that the far majority of the blame for our woes in recent years has come from poor super rugby coaching. A look across the teams now and the only high standard coach I see is at the rebels (and aren’t they lucky to have him).
    Super rugby is not the place to give rookies time to gain experience on the job, a look at the credentials of the coaches during the successful periods of the Reds, brumbies and waratahs not that long ago tells us all we need to know about what good coaching can do.

    • Hitcho

      I’m not sure we have to coaching depth in Australia to give us an option

      • Alister Smith

        I think we have some Australian coaching depth that is spread overseas. Whether or not the ARU and Super rugby can sustain the sorts of salaries that they might expect may be another thing.

        • Hitcho

          Informative comment and agree with your points, especially building the game from the ground up starting with 7s with engagement in all schools (city and country).

          It’s a bit of a catch22 with the thinking that if the Wallabies are winning the financial and participation benefits will support the game in Australia. While that’s true to an extent, with minimal investment currently in grassroots both from a player and coaching perspective we aren’t building the homegrown assests to be consistently competitive against the best in the world as a result we have been inconsistent.

          The way I look at it is widespread engagement at a base level across the board builds more players and coaches at all levels getting better due to competition. This competition flows all the way to the top where there’s 5-10 players who are real options for every gold number, and the same number of coaches sniffing around the top coaching job….. to rebuild is a 7 – 10 year process. As you say do we have the $$ to keep our talent here, start that process and support the game for that period of time? I bloody hope so.

        • Alister Smith

          And we then have to have something that retains at least some of those 5-10 options (coaches and players) if they miss out on the top job. Lately as soon as we develop a bit of depth in a position, the others feel they dont have a future with the Wallabies (and also no Wallabies top up) and so they start looking for English/European/Japanese options

        • Alister Smith

          I forgot to include Kurtley Beale in my famous indigenous players list (and technically also Wendell Sailor but he wasn’t a product that Australian rugby had discovered or nurtured or developed – just bought at a relatively high price almost fully developed)

    • Dally M

      That’s why Rod Kafer has been appointed and we are seeing things like the current coaching summit.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Just hope it develops into a national framework that transcends the normal colloquial state scene. It needs a pathway with a clear process to identify the good ones then courses, mentoring, structured movement from level to level and clear KPI’s for the progression. That would be awesome

        • Dally M

          All the right noises are being made at the moment & it certainly sounds like there are some decisions being made in the interest of Australian Rugby as a whole rather than each state/province just doing their own thing.

    • Tommy Brady

      Very good points. I have a belief that coaches are like players. Some can step straight into the top levels and succeed, most though need to do their time learning their craft in lower grades and progress through the system as coaches after all have much greater career longevity than players. Coaching is so much about learning and gaining exposure to successful, experienced coaches who teach and mentor. Coaches who have demonstrated the ability to adapt and evolve – not churn out the same style season after season. On the assumption the ARI cannot fund the return to Australia of talented personnel lost overseas, I believe the ARU need to promote a mentoring system that helps develop younger talent. Dwyer, Connolly, Jones plus Fisher and others have roles to play. Temporarily importing talent does not feel sustainable – recent results prove it.

      On a separate note, it will be of real intrigue to see how Dave Wessels performs next year with the Rebels. He appears an astute thinker of the game, but how much of the Force’s relative success this year came from a galvanizing pent up emotion within the squad to play for their lives (literally!). Emotion as we all know can be powerful – but can only get you so far. I wish him success.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      To be fair McKeller has had a very successful period at the Brumbies.

      During his tenure as forwards coach no one could criticise our defence—aside from matches against the Chiefs and Crusaders last year—or our forwards’ play (it was our backs who often let us down).

      I will reserve judgment until I see Dan’s coaching. He could end up being Nick Stiles, but then again, hopefully he is Dave Wessels.

      • McWarren

        lets hope he gets more leeway than Stiles, or at least more than a season to prove himself and develop the team. For me the reds were terrible this year, frustrating yes but i could see progress and youngsters developing. Stiles was lumped with a lot of baggage and given f’all time to sort it out. It seems we want experienced coaches but aren’t willing to provide that experience or wait long enough to reap the reward of our investment. Nick Stiles had essentially one and half seasons with the reds as a head coach, where has that experience gone now, what good was the investment if we don’t give it time.

        I fear we will do the same thing with Brad Thorn and he will end up out on his arse because we the Reds haven’t won a title by the end of season 2019, if he even gets that far.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Dan has the advantage of being promoted naturally as a part of a functioning set up and has some very good assistant coaches; whereas Stiles was thrown into the deep end, promoted through a dysfunctional set up and given inexperienced assistants.

          Dan also has a fairly settled team with only a few changes, and one in which the senior players and leadership are remaining essentially the same; Stiles had a team that was half Dad’s Army returning from overseas and half super young rookies. There was very limited continuity and limited experienced players who had been part of the team the last few seasons. Then Slipper injured himself almost immediately.

          I think Dan is much better placed to succeed than Stiles was.

        • McWarren

          Agree, which I think validates my reasons for being annoyed at Stiles replacement. Thorn has come through even les development, and maybe discarded even faster.

          I like the appointment of McKellar and think he’ll do well and I think the Brumbies are far more organised and patient club.

        • Bakkies

          Brumbies don’t have a track record of booting a coach after a season.

        • McWarren

          ???

        • McWarren

          My point exactly Bakkies. DBTB seemed to be having a go at Stiles as a coach, when I think he is a good coach in a bad organisation.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I have no idea if he is a good coach or a bad coach (although I didn’t like how often he publicly criticised his players).

          I think he was inexperienced and largely set up to fail due to circumstances outside of his control—seriously, who in god’s name WERE his assistant coaches? I’d never heard of them.

          At the end of the day though, I think Dan has a better chance of having a season like Wessels than like Stiles.

        • McWarren

          agreed. I think Stiles is a good coach and maybe experience would teach him not to publicly criticize his players. But as usual at the Reds we get knee jerk political reaction over and above thought out, patient planning.
          I just wish all clubs were organised like the Brumbies. I know they have financial issues but they can put results on the field.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          That’s a fair point, my comments towards Stiles were probably unfairly harsh on the man, attributing too much personal blame to him for a situation in which it would have been difficult for anyone to succeed.

          I do feel really bad for the guy. I hope he gets another coaching gig and does an Eddie Jones style comeback.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Bakkies, out of interest, do you see Hodge as a longterm 12, 13 or 15? And do you see Kerevi as a longterm 12 or 13?

        • onlinesideline

          Im just chiming in here and havent read the thread in detail but doesnt it seem in aussie rugby as opposed to kiwi rugby that player positions / questions are up for debate when in fact they shouldnt be at all. Doesnt that say alot about WTF we are doing wrong in player development and team blooding. Shouldnt the players best position already be determined well and truly by the time he gets to this level. How did this happen ?

        • Who?

          Agreed. I think that we’ve forgotten the KPI’s required for each position. I think it all started, which is funny given you’ve talked about Kiwi rugby, but I think it started with Robbie. He took what he considered to be the best 6 backs and then tried to make the jerseys work, rather than taking the best in each position.
          Under Robbie, it was only the backs. Now it’s also the loose forwards. We don’t seem to care that a 10’s role is to run the game, which requires exceptional vision, strong kicking, and a great passing game. And the decision matrix should be pass/kick/run. We don’t seem to consider the natural running lines players have when assigning them positions – if you’ve got a guy who wants the outside line all the time, don’t get him to run in the tram tracks unless he’s on the wing! Because he’s only going to end up squeezing his support into touch. If you’ve got a bloke who is safe under the high ball, strong returning kicks and can also kick the ball, don’t get him to defend in the line to cover for blokes who can’t do that (i.e. leave DHP at the back!). We really have forgotten the priorities of how to position players, and how to develop them into those positions.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The other issue is players playing it different positions in SR to what they should really be playing.

          I personally think that Kerevi looks like more of a 12 than a 13, but Paia’aua is never going to play 13, and so Kerevi gets shifted to 13.

          Seriously, Folau at 13, wtf was that?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The Kiwis do it too to a certain extent—Barrett was a 15, now a 10, no one is really sure where DMac will end up playing, Crotty is playing 12 and 13.

          The problem is that we don’t have the talent that the Kiwis do. They have the luxury of being able to determine a player’s best position and then develop him in it until they’re ready.

          We, on the other hand, need to get all of our talented players on the field at once in order to compete, which means that we don’t get to invest the same amount of time developing the players.

        • Bakkies

          I don’t see Hodge as a 12. Probably a fullback at this stage.

          As for Kerevi not sure, he needs to play with a centre partner who defends in his own position

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I don’t like him at 12. I’d like to see him developed as a fullback or an outside centre.

          His defence is improving, which makes me think he could do fine at 13 after playing a season or two at Super Rugby.

        • onlinesideline

          Can you imagine what an effect he would have with that boot at full back. You could pretty much negate the oppositions willingness to ever kick to us. Maybe that would be a bad thing though :)

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Good point.

          But I don’t think he offers as much on the counter as Tom Banks or Kurtley Beale does. I guess it depends on how we want to play, but I suspect Banks will be our next longterm fullback.

          After the next RWC we will have a lot of players moving on (we have a fairly old team). Of the backs I don’t see many of Folau, Beale, Foley, Lealiifano, Hunt, DHP, Cooper and Genia being around. Maybe Genia as he has already tried living overseas and he didn’t seem to love it.

    • Chinese Dave

      So true! How is it possible for Jake White to go back to SR coaching and not for our best coaches? I reckon it’s not the coaches, it’s the team boards. How is it possible that there aren’t four clubs beating a path down to McKenzie’s house, begging him to get back to coaching again? Same with Laurie Fisher and other talent we’ve lost.

      Best of luck to McKellar. At least he’s an Aussie, but the bloody Tahs have what’s increasingly looking like a dud Kiwi at the helm. If we’re not playing dud Kiwis at 10, we’re letting them coach one of our four remaining teams.

      I’d be laughing if I wasn’t too busy crying. Rugby in Australia is climbing a bloody steep mountainside. There are avalanches and bush fires along the way (bear with me, it’s just a metaphor). It’s a bloody tough climb, and not at all clear we’re going to make it, but we’re intent on constantly shooting ourselves in the foot while we do it.

      • Tommy Brady

        One can only wonder at how much strategic thought went into the back room revolt that saw Ewen McKenzie replaced as the Wallabies coach by Michael Cheika. By undermining McKenzie, did the ARU fully understand the risk that McKenzie could be lost to Australian Rugby forever (at a time when coaching stocks were not deep)? It will be interesting to see how it all pans out but who could blame Ewen McKenzie if he never has anything to do again with Australian Rugby. It certainly appears like the ARU needs him a whole lot more than he needs the ARU. I sense he knows it too.

        • Braveheart81

          Assuming that McKenzie’s exit was entirely other people’s doing is incorrect in my opinion.

        • Tommy Brady

          Very possible. I sense you could ask 4 different insiders and get 4 different interpretations about what went down.

        • Andy

          Exactly. I’ve heard that many versions from people who reckon they know what happened due their “impeccable source”.

        • jay-c

          100%
          I like him and think he’s a fantastic coach.
          But he brought that on himself with the way he carried on.
          You don’t mix business and pleasure.

        • Brumby Runner

          So, it has now been proven that there were shenanigans going on? Or is it still just the Tahs-led deflection of blame away from a number of their own carrying on like knobs?

        • onlinesideline

          What is Link actually doing these days ?

        • Who?

          Something down in Canberra, last I saw..?

    • Pinstripe

      This is madness. Dan McKellar has basically followed the ideal pathway to becoming a Super Rugby coach, assuming you want to develop talent locally and not just import the nearest off contract kiwi coach you can find.

      – 4 seasons of coaching at club level in Brisbane and Canberra, culminating in head coach for Tuggeranong Vikings in the ACT John I Dent Cup and winning back to back premierships
      – A season overseas in Japan working as a forwards coach in the Top League
      – Back to Canberra as defence & skills coach at the Brumbies
      – Head coach at the UC Vikings in the NRC for a season
      – Forwards coach under Stephen Larkham for 2 years at the Brumbies
      – Appointed as Larkham’s replacement in June 2017 to allow a long lead in and full preseason before his first season as Brumbies head coach assisted by Lord Laurie in 2018

      This is exactly the sort of pathways Australia needs to be providing for it’s coaches.

      • jay-c

        I hope you’re right and as I said, all the best to him.
        My concerns come from the fact that almost every single internal promotion (jobs for the boys) for the last five years across every single one of our super teams has turned out to be an utter dud to date.
        I consider weasels an anomaly and one year really isn’t enough time to judge.
        Hard to judge larkham on the limited time and high turnover his team experienced in his time.

        • Pinstripe

          It sounds like your preference is for Australian super rugby teams to solely appoint coaches with prior success at provincial or test level. Australian coaches that fit that criteria (excluding Link who’s firmly retired) are Rod Macqueen, Bob Dwyer, Alan Jones and David Nucifora.

          Rather than going back to them for some sort of nostalgic hail mary or importing overseas talent I’d much rather have what you call “jobs for the boys” – coaches developed locally in the club system, doing stints overseas exposed to other rugby systems, and then working as assistants within Australian rugby programs before taking the step up to Head Coach. Dan McKellar’s appointment is a good news story for coaching development in Australia, not some crisis to gnash our teeth over.

        • jay-c

          My preference is experienced professionals with a track record of success.
          For example: cheika, white, Mckenzie.
          Like it or not, until he proves himself, McKellar falls into the: styles, Gibson, graham category.

        • FucktardStorm

          How do they get provincial or test level experience, if you’re not willing to give them their first provincial position without provincial or test experience?

        • FucktardStorm

          PS – I agree with you that coaching is a big problem, and guys like Graham at the Reds was definitely in the jobs for the boys category, and was a complete and obvious farce from start to finish. In this case the problem wasn’t that he didn’t have experience, the problem was that he was a proven failure, and yet was still given the job.

        • McWarren

          Apart from Woody G and Foley, who else was a ‘jobs for the boys’ failure?

        • Bakkies

          Andrew Slack. I don’t think he even wanted the job

      • tortfeaser

        And don’t forget Laurie Fisher is in Dan’s job with the forwards at the Brumbies, surely mentoring Dan. Every Vikings home NRC game Dan and Laurie have been standing up one end of the field nattering away.

        • jay-c

          This I feel will be extremly valuable tutelage.
          I really hope he’s a success

      • McWarren

        Well said mate. Far too many people think ‘if I haven’t heard of him then he can’t be any good’. At some point you have to trust our development pathway and McKellar is the perfect example. As was Stiles, i just hope McKellar is given more than 1 year at the Brumbies before people start calling for Fischer to return, or for George Smith to take over.

        What people forget is that Connelly, Macqueen, Jones, Jones, Dwyer and Fischer all came through our system to varying degrees. And they all (bar Fischer) at some stage had to have faith shown in them to make the jump to provincial and interstate roles.

    • Fatflanker

      Absolutely. Coaching has surely been the most significant issue in our Super team performances. Utter respect for blokes like Brad Thorn but, experience-wise, it seems to me we keep throwing these apprentices into a jail-yard knife fight armed with a thong.

    • McWarren

      A question Jay-c, did you know of Wessels before his success at the Force this year?

    • jamie

      Jobs for the boys? He’s been around the block and he’s under the tutelage of Laurie Fisher. The man couldn’t be more qualified if he was already coach!

  • Tomthusiasm

    Just saw the first BaaBaas squad announcement, some good names in there!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/255f1b2f2d467995567817d88675e5154a956eededcf27c1c6585e51acc4b0be.jpg

    • Bakkies

      More names to add due to Cheika’s squad and obviously the NRC, Currie Cup and NPC finals are on as well.

      • Tomthusiasm

        I reckon this game’s going to be a cracker, Saturday arvo at the SFS. BaaBaas also have a warm up against the classic Wallabies on the Tuesday beforehand.

    • Who?

      That’s a fantastic squad, given availabilities. Love that Potgeiter’s coming back to face his old coach. Naisarani, Phillip, Cowan, Arnold, very happy! Some serious counterattack with Banks and Nanai-Williams. Impressed that Luke Jones is coming back for a run, and stoked that Hodgo’s on board.
      This could be an absolute cracker….
      Also very telling that Cheika gave Jones permission to grab Cooper before Bledisloe 1. It says to me that he had his mind made up – it didn’t matter whether Quade was having fun or not, Cheika just didn’t want him. Which shows his weird statement about Quade needing to look like he was enjoying his rugby to be the inept diversion it always appeared…

      • Tomthusiasm

        Yeah, it’s probably not a lot of time for them to build combos but should push the Wallabies for the first 60 mins at least!

        Quade has the chance to stick it to Cheika and hopefully enjoy himself at the same time…

      • merle

        It would be nice to see Quade at no. 10 but I think its ridiculous for him to be touring with the Wallabies on the bench. If Foley/Beale got injured he’d be back in the team.

        • Who?

          I think it’d need to be more than one of them for Quade to be called back in… Think Hodge is ahead of him in the pecking order. And with Hunt able to fill for Kurtley, it means Quade would likely need 3 injuries to have a hope of a cap. And no one – no fan, and especially no player – wants that.

        • jamie

          Meh, there’s plenty of us that would still have Cooper at 10 instead of Foley. MC is not one of us.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        ‘Which shows his weird statement about Quade needing to look like he was enjoying his rugby to be the inept diversion it always appeared…’

        Indeed :D .

        I wonder if the two had a personal falling out. While Cheika always preferred Foley he previously was very keen to at least have Quade on the bench. It is baffling to me how quickly he fell out of favour.

        • jamie

          Quade Cooper is not one that toes the company line. If something is amiss, or he has a disagreement, he makes it known. Hence the toxic comments back in 2012. Even on his social media, it’s obvious that he speaks out and says what he likes.

          Cheika, for all his apparent “tell it like it is” demeanor, doesn’t seem to like it when people tell it like it is, when they disagree with him.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I agree with your sentiment generally (and I suspect that is why Fardy is playing in Ireland) I would just be surprised if he had made any comments about Cheika or the team’s atmosphere as I thought Quade had matured a lot after his trip to France.

          Be interesting to know the full story.

        • Who?

          The toxic comments back in 2012 were also after it was already pretty clear that he was gone, that he was marked ‘not for selection’. He’d been the form 10 in world Rugby the year before in July, but had been coached into an empty shell of a player through the next 2 months into the RWC. Then he was scapegoated for the RWC SF (he wasn’t great, but he was hardly the only one). So whilst it might’ve looked on the outside that he was burning his bridges, I reckon there’s a fair chance he thought the bridge was already burnt.
          I do think he tries to get along with everyone. You don’t find team mates coming out complaining about him. But I also think he’d be the type who’d want to ‘help’. And that not everyone would be willing to listen to his ‘help’. I don’t think it’d come from a bad place, but that doesn’t mean it might not occasionally rub people the wrong way, or that everyone wants to accept that help. And if you’re feeling undervalued, maybe you don’t actually enjoy your Rugby so much.
          That ties to something I heard about White (and I’m sure it’s not a secret). That, in SA, if the coach says something, the players say, “Yes, sir.” That’s it. They do it, because they’ve been told to do it. Whereas, in Australia, the response, more often than not, traditionally is, “Why?” A little less kow-towing, and something that SA coaches aren’t used to having. I believe it’s a great question – it shows the players are thinking, and if there’s an impediment to achieving the game plan as directed, at least the players know the ultimate goal of the plan, and can perhaps find a second route to that goal. So it’s not like Quade – or Fards or Higgers – is unusual with that. And a good coach will accept it, and guide the conversation. That’s what Macqueen did. Player power isn’t about players selecting the coach, it’s about empowering players to make decisions on and off the field with the understanding of the goals the coach wants to achieve, under the facilitation and guidance of the coach. With the ultimate understanding that the coach will determine whether or not they’re following the plan, and has the power to remove them (i.e. not the other way around!).

        • jamie

          I don’t equate maturity with becoming a yes-man. Keeping your mouth shut sometimes, sure.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, but I think he’s mature enough not to shoot himself in the foot; and I think he’s smart enough to know that calling Cheika out won’t be good for his longterm career as a Wallaby.

          Cheik has apparently said Quade is a chance for the EOYT squad. It’ll be interesting to see if that’s true.

          I really hope he gets in the squad and gets at least a few starts at 10 on the EOYT. Cheika won’t play him against England as Foley is his man, but Foley has played a lot of rugby and I can see Quade getting a go against someone like Wales.

        • jamie

          Foley’s form has been good of late, but even in his best games he still isn’t everything I/we want from a 10.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think Foley is a very good ‘rugby player’ (apart from defence, which is atrocious, just like Beale and Quade).

          He is fit, runs excellent lines, he has a good short passing game and solid under the high ball. He is a good run/pass/kick player (in that order).

          However, is he a 10? Not really, he lacks a long passing game, his kicking out of hand game is really poor and he doesn’t seem to have much playmaking ability. He is also too selfish at times (he bombed a certain try vs Argentina when he ran when he had a 2 man overlap).

          I’ve always thought he plays 10 like an inside centre, and that he would be a very good inside centre if he could defend, but he can’t defend. And so he has been shoehorned into 10.

          I agree he’s playing well but I just think that good is the enemy of great in this instance. There is a natural threshold we can hit with Foley at 10. I just like the thought of guys like Beale, Folau, Koroibete, TK and Kerevi running lines off of Quade’s passes.

          He’s playing much, much better than he did from the England series until the start of the RC though. This is close to his 2014 form, which was the best I’ve seen him.

        • jamie

          I actually posted something like this a month ago:

          Foley, like Hooper, doesn’t have a specific position, but they’re very good “rugby” players. Neither of them nail down the traditional “core” roles of a specific position.
          Hooper is too small to be any other forward except openside, but his pilfering and breakdown skills leave a lot to be desired. He has to be in the side somewhere, and 7 is (apparently) where his deficiencies are least exposed.
          Foley IMO is too much of a runner to be a flyhalf, plus his boot isn’t big enough, but he’s not enough of a runner or defender to be a centre, and like you said, no real triple threat at fullback. Doesn’t have the speed to be a winger (or does he?) I still think Foley’s mindset is run/pass/kick, whereas Carter’s was pass/kick/run, and Cooper’s is probably pass/run/kick.
          Only my 2 cents…

          Great minds think alike ;-)

    • Hoss

      Luv the fowards his picked.

      Luke Jones always seemed like the one who got away.

      Naisarini will be closely watched – when is he avail for National Selection ?

      Pottgeiter going Kamakaize into rucks

      Matt H with 12 months of pent up anger could cross to the dark side

      Ripper of a squad.

      • Tomthusiasm

        I just had a look online, looks like Naisarini has been here since 2015 at least so (assuming old residency requirements) should be eligible next year, if not earlier.

        • Hoss

          Cheers mate.

  • Bakkies

    The ARU has been called back again next Monday to front the Senate Committee in Canberra. Kick off at 7pm AEDT

    Hopefully Clyne gets hauled in as it will be fantastic Dinner entertainment.

    • Moz

      So they didn’t give any names for who will be representing the ARU? And you are right, Clyne needs to be included in this, rather than just letting Pulver fall on the sword since he’s already resigned.

      • Andy

        The whole thing is amazing. To let the facts lay bare. The level of deceit and incompetence is astounding. And the sad part is guys like Eales and co we’re all in on this. Guys, fans like us have looked up to for years.

        I’m no lawyer but If you ran a business like this surely you would be audited for malpractice/breach of ethics. The whole $1 deal smelt of old meat from the start.

      • Bakkies

        They received documentation from the ARU on Wednesday and have questions to ask from that and the other testimonies.

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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