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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News sees the squad for this weekend, another edition of club corner, Cheika being disappointed and a contrast of grassroots.


Back in the ring (rose)!

Lansdowne Trophy
Lansdowne Trophy

Let’s get ready to rumble! Ladies and gents, it’s that time of the week again, so let’s see what the go is for the weekend.

The Wallabies head into round two with the Irish, and Michael Cheika has named an unchanged squad for the first time in his forty-six games in charge of the green and gold.

The lads will be up against an Irish squad full of their strongest players, with Johnny Sexton, Rob Henshaw and Garry RRRRingrose (actual spelling) back into the mix.

The Wallabies however did hold many of these players off when they came on the field mid-way through the game last week. Either way, we’re in for something special here.

Wallabies squad:

1 Scott Sio
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa
3. Sekope Kepu
4. Izack Rodda
5. Adam Coleman
6. David Pocock
7. Michael Hooper (c)
8. Caleb Timu
9. Will Genia
10. Bernard Foley
11. Marika Koroibete
12. Kurtley Beale
13. Samu Kerevi
14. Dane Haylett-Petty
15. Israel Folau

Reserves
16. Tolu Latu
17. Tom Robertson
18. Taniela Tupou
19. Rob Simmons
20. Lukhan Tui
21. Pete Samu
22. Nick Phipps
23. Reece Hodge

The forecast is for heavy rain, so expect an old-school arm wrestle that’ll go down to the wire. The Irish are a good chance here to take it, with their big guns ready to go after a week off. But I’m going for the Wallabies. That performance last week showed the potential we all know is there in this team, and I reckon if they channel that again it’ll be enough to get them home. Wallabies by 2.

Check out our match details here, as well as Ireland’s squad as well.

The Western Force have the weekend off, as they host the Crusaders on June 22nd. The men from the west will have a lot of homework to brush up on, after they went down to the Rebels 12-28 in a emotional clash at NIB last week.

The other matches on the international front see Tonga host against arch-rivals Samoa, while Fiji will come up against a dangerous Georgia outfit. Japan will look to win their second game in a row against the Azzuri, while New Zealand host France in what is set to be a fiery clash after incendiary comments earlier this week. 

Finishing up, the Springboks will look to wrap up their series against an underperforming England, while the Pumas will look to make up for their god-awful performance last week when they host Wales again in Santa Fe. Finishing off, Canada will host Russia while the USA will have their work cut out against the Scots.

Keep these fixtures comin.’

Club Corner

Gordon vs. Parramatta (Image Credit - Gordon Highlanders Rugby Club)

Gordon vs. Parramatta (Image Credit – Gordon Highlanders Rugby Club)

The Shute Shield, South Australia’s Coopers Premier Grade and the Dewar Shield all enjoyed a bye last week, however the rugby gets back underway this weekend in all of those three states with the following fixtures:

Intrust Super Shute Shield Round Ten Fixtures:

Gordon v Eastwood
Manly v Parramatta
Northern Suburbs v Eastern Suburbs
Randwick v Southern Districts
Warringah v Sydney University

Coopers Premier Grade Round Seven Fixtures:

Onkaparinga v Souths Suburbs
Old Collegians v Burnside
Brighton v Woodville

BLK Dewar Shield Round Eight Fixtures:

Box Hill v Melbourne Uni
Harlequin v Footscray
Melbourne v Endeavour Hills
Power House v Moorabbin

The rugby did however continue in the other three major club competitions, and we’ll start in the nation’s capital this week.

Round Ten of the John I Dent Cup saw Queanbeyan, Gungahlin and Tuggeranong all enjoy a weekend off. However, Easts fell at home to a resurgent Uni-Norths 26-41, while Royals hammered the living daylights out of Wests, 43-0.

Round Eleven Fixtures:

Gungahlin v Royals
Queanbeyan v Wests
Tuggeranong  v Uni-Norths

Easts have the bye.

In Brisvegas, the Hospital Challenge Cup continued into round eleven last week, with a solid round serving as the perfect prelude to the first Wallaby test of the year. Uni of Queensland inflicted a 45-24 win over Brothers, Easts got pumped 7-41 at home by Souths, Bond University overcame a strong GPS outfit 46-31, and Sunnybank went down 24-55 to Wests.

Round Twelve Fixtures:

Brothers v Easts
Souths v Norths
Bond University v University of Queensland
GPS v Sunnybank

Wests will have the bye.

And finally, we head over to beautiful WA for the Fortescue Metals Group Premier Grade, which had round nine last weekend. Kalamunda travelled to Palmyra and thumped them 13-52, West Scarborough went down in a 10-16 thriller to Cottesloe, Nedlands grabbed an important 17-14 win over Associates, the Cavaliers could only manage one shot on goal in their 3-46 loss to UWA, the Southern Lions went down 19-36 to Perth Bayswater, and ARKs got the job done in their 58-27 win over Wanneroo.

Round Ten Fixtures:

Joondalup v Cottesloe
Perth Bayswater v Nedlands
Associates v UWA
ARKs v Kalamunda
Southern Lions v Palmyra
Wanneroo Districts v Wests Scarborough

Coastal Cavaliers will have the bye.

I never get sick of hearing about club rugby. Get down to your local club this weekend and remember: hugs not drugs.

Not very nice

Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika

Neil Francis has pissed off some folks again.

Writing for The Independent, the former Ireland international unloaded on David Pocock.

“I think David Pocock is a cancer on the game,” he wrote.

“Yes, I do have grudging admiration for all his abilities and it is great when you have a player like that in your side… he had six legal turnovers and three illegal turnovers, and he and his buddy Michael Hooper managed to slow the ball down more than enough to stop any rhythm that Ireland looked like they were beginning to achieve.

“You have to make special preparations to counter Pocock.”

Regardless of the grudging respect, Michael Cheika played a straight bat when asked about the comments by rugby.com.au. 

“That guy needs to choose his words a little better I think, to be honest,” he said.

“It’s not a very nice thing to say.

“I’m not worried about what he thinks about Poey’s footy, I just think that’s not a very nice term to use.

“There’s people who are really sick out there. I’m not into that.

“He used to say a lot of stuff about us when I coached Leinster as well. Some unflattering words he would use for his own publicity. That’s fine.

“[Poey] He’ll wear it, he’s a tough guy. I think it’s been a bit overblown.

“He’s just going to rucks and trying to make tackles and get up. That’s football, that’s rugby.

“I don’t know why it’s such a big deal. He’s working real hard, he’s got great work ethic, he’s tough, he can take a battering and he can keep getting up.

“He’s doing what he does, that’s his contribution to the footy team.”

Francis took aim at Poey for his role at the ruck at slowing the game down, but Cheika pointed out that Poey is watched closely at the ruck by the ref (especially since the rules changed last year), and that his skills go beyond just causing headaches for the opposition in the ruck.

“It’s usually the combination of how the opposition team plays and how that lets him get into the game sometimes and sometimes it’s not as open for him,” he said.

“But he’s got a lot of other skills apart from just the ruck.

“That’s good, everyone should just keep watching him at the ruck and they’ll forget about the other good stuff he does on the field.”

A tale of two grassroots

ForceRally3a

The Sydney Morning Herald took the time to have a chat to Twiggy ahead of the Force‘s game against the Rebels, to examine why he took it upon himself to save the game in the west.

“I was not a great rugby tragic, I was just a supporter of rugby,” he said.

“But when I saw kids weeping on television and kids weeping at games that they’d lost the side they hoped to play for, I though ‘oh I’ve got to step in here’.”

The article tread over many of the points that we already know, that Twiggy put $50 million on the table to keep the Force in the competition, the ARU turned it down, and that the senate inquiry found the whole thing a bit dodgy.

However, despite the Force’s loss things are looking up for rugby in WA. World Series Rugby is proving a smash with the WA rugby public, the Rugby Roos program is being rolled out across the state, and Twiggy is working on the IPRC for next year.

“Out of every setback comes the seed for success,” he said.

“If you love Western Australia, you love the Western Force.

“I was saying to Tim [Sampson] right after the match that you’ve got the start of something special here.

“The Force boys are playing for each other.”

However, he admitted he still has unfinished business with many in the east.

“I think there needs to be a reopening of that [Senate] inquiry – they were major allegations, which Rugby Australia has been silent on,” he said.

“They have been silent, and I ask why?

“Now that a respectable media organisation has illuminated that what I was told by the very chairman of Rugby Australia – have illuminated in that media’s view was allegedly false – the Senate needs to get to the bottom of that.

“I was assured by the chairman of Rugby Australia that he knew nothing about the switch between [Andrew] Cox and the VRU, that it surprised him, it took him off guard, but now that it was done, it couldn’t unwind it.

“If those articles are true then senior members of Rugby Australia allegedly knew about the switch and the Senate should get to the bottom of it.”

The Force clearly are onto something with what they are doing now, especially considering their attracting the Crusaders to come over next week and play a game.

“What a wicked opportunity to come up against a champion franchise in the Crusaders, obviously we’ve got a few things we can work on, but it’s an unbelievable opportunity,” Twiggy finished.

Meanwhile, the contrast couldn’t be more different in Western Sydney.

In a damning article from The Daily Telegraph, rugby is reportedly at a crisis point as new data shows AFL junior numbers have risen dramatically across all of Sydney, including in rugby’s traditional heartlands.

Add to that, that firstly the Penrith Emus and then the Greater Sydney Rams were cut from the Shute Shield and NRC respectively, it looks like some hope (like what is in abundance over in WA) could sure come in handy for those die hard fans in Sydney’s west.

  • Caeliv Donnelly

    Let it be said in case it requires any clarification – that the Irish rugby public has nothing but admiration for Pocock- both on and off the ‘paddock’ . One of the best ever.

    • Patrick

      Nice to know, thanks! Just in case, we do think a lot of Tadgh Furlong and Sexton, even if that isn’t clear on Saturday :)

      • Caeliv Donnelly

        Best of luck with Tadhg. I hear he is angry.

        • Kevino

          Read a good article today about the penalty in the scrum, why would he wheel a defensive scrum on his 5 meter line? The answer is he didn’t and the evidence shows Robertson first three steps were all to the left to wheel the scrum. Ref was on the other side and touchy did not call it.

          Same article said the CJ and Folau calls were correct, as well as the call on Murray but showed that there should have been an Irish penalty a couple of seconds later for Hooper holding a player back off the ball.

        • Fatflanker

          You could ask why would the Wallaby scrum want to wheel and risk a reset after getting a good straight shove on towards the Irish line. It’s not clear at all that Robertson stepped to the left. TBH I felt the Irish scrum was under pressure on their own feed throughout the game. Getting shaded in the first game is no big deal – Ireland has strong set piece pedigree and I suspect will have a better showing this time around.

        • Kevino

          1) To win a penalty
          2) Because it’s the only way Robertson will survive against Furlong
          3) Because your a loose head and that’s what you do when the Ref is on the tighthead side. ( And I am a loosie and would do the excat same, collapsed many scrums to win a pen when I know the Ref can’t see clearly.)

          And it was very clean that Robertson stepped left

        • Fatflanker

          To my eyes not very clear at all but I’ll defer to you on that one. Frankly, fully expected to see Robertson ploughed into the ground so, wheeling or otherwise, he has over-achieved already. Looking forward to the next round!

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          You’re on drugs mate! Robertson’s first three steps were to drive Furlong backwards and hand his arse to him. I’d be willing to accept jetlag as an excuse, but not this lame bullcrap you’ve come up with. I think we will all be curious to see if the dominance that Oz showed in the scrums all game continues for the rest of the series, or if that was a one off that will be rectified.

        • Who?

          What a great game from my fellow Wexfordman!!! Can’t remember the last time I saw a tight head prop top the run metres. Spoke well on FTA TV about how you had to keep a lid on the aggression, too.

    • mikado

      well said

    • Greg

      It is hard not to admire the man. Well said.

      We all have dropkick commentators to endure.

    • Happyman

      Well said and this looks like it could be a classic series.

    • Richard Patterson

      Well said. Always intrigued by these folks who never marvel at the great loose forwards, but instead choose to find ways to criticize them or disrespect their achievements in the sport. Especially the truly great one’s who are leaders, role models and classy in their approach to rugby, their career and to life.

  • IIPA

    What a flog this Francis bloke is. Never mind he fails to realise that in the modern game, ruck turnovers often offer the best opportunity for some daring, arm-chancing, spontaneous open play.

    Poey is really in their heads I reckon.

    • Adrian

      A lot of it tongue in cheek I suspect.

      Imagine it be said with an Irish accent,…but still…na

      • Timbo

        He’s Irish, so a fair chance he was drunk.

        • onlinesideline

          Fair chance their national rugby team just got man handled too.

      • Huw Tindall

        yer man pockock is a feckin cancer on the game to be sure

    • Archie

      To be honest, this attitude reminds me of people’s ‘hatred’ of Richie McCaw over the years. Including many punters and some journalists from Aus.

      He needs to get over himself. Players like Pocock are great for the game

      • IIPA

        True that… Fitzsimons had plenty of both humorous and cringe-worthy things to say about McCaw over the years. Sir Richie was definitely in our heads at different times.

        • onlinesideline

          Yeah but no-one ever said something like hes the cancer of the game. What a thing to say. Revolting human.

      • Missing Link

        The things mentioned about McCaw weren’t ever to the level of suggesting he is a cancer on the game. McCaw frustrated me in particular, not because of his desire and ability to play outside the laws of the game but his ability to often go undetected by the ref when his actions were blatant and obvious, furthermore on the occasions where he was penalised, he would look at the ref in a puzzled manner with his hands in the air as if to say “I’m inocent, what did I do?”

        This is a really old video, but if you keep an eye on black 7, he simply has no regard for the laws, is not playing within the spirit of the game, which is the root of opposition frustration.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qv-RkRr0HtE

        McCaw as a person is no doubt a stand up bloke

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          They even made a movie about him… “Cheating is Great”.

      • Bobas

        McCaw was more ‘scirossis of the liver’ on the game.

        • Archie

          Maybe that was true for his affect on Australian rugby.

  • Gottsy

    A little bit surprising that Hanigan didn’t get a run after the outpouring of public support for him during the week

    • Huw Tindall

      People still want to hold onto the option/grudge that Cheik does everything with blue tinted glasses. He doesn’t. He’s been building depth across the squad, which includes Hanigan’s positions at 4/6, whilst putting faith in blokes he knows can get it done such as the stalwarts in Kepu and Genia.

      • Gareth

        Spot on Huw, I thought Chek’s game plan last week was terrific against what many believe to be the smartest rugby coach in the world. But the one thing you learn after coaching for a while is that – Players win games and Coaches lose them.
        I heard a lot of praise for the wallabies defence last week but Nathan Grey didn’t get mentioned at all. Funny that.

        • Huw Tindall

          Maybe we are seeing the difference of full time Wallabies attack and defence coaches. Remember last year Larkham and Grey were still spending most of the year at Brums and Tahs respectively. For the first time we’ve got a coordinated full time coaching group who are getting around the Super teams and communciating the strategies they are developing. Pity it took this long!

      • I agree but surely Ned is well down the pecking order now? and still no second 10?

        • Huw Tindall

          Yeah I reckon so. Hell he was behind Dempsey when he was fit so I think RWC 2023 could be his gig!

          Re the #10 depth Cheik can only build depth where he had it. After Quade went off the boil (not going to get into that debate) there weren’t any other Aussie 10s standing up. Few young guys like Taylor Adams (at Rebels now), Mack Mason (Tahs), and Hamish Stewart (Reds), but they are still very very young. It’s a big risk with only Foley as the standout 10 but Cheik has backups with Hodge and Beale if he has to use them.

        • Yeah but that was sort of my point. Mal Meninga has expanded his role as national coach into development, of specific players, as far as into grass roots but there doesn’t seem to be the same in Rugby. it may not be Chieka’s fault but there is seemingly no difference to the set up of the structure of Aus rugby now than there was prior to his appointment. Elton Jantes was blocked from playing for an Irish side recently becasue the IRu wanted to develop Irish 10s. that is pretty pro-active albeit a little controversial. There were whispers about him approaching Thorn re:playing Stewart more at 10. why hasnt he insisted; does he have that power? if not, why not? Mack Mason really isn’t the goods is he? Can’t say he’s set the world on fire…. maybe another Gene Fairbanks type?

        • Huw Tindall

          I’m sure Cheik would love to centralise if he could but RA is essentially controlled by the NSWRU and QRU state unions. Got most of the votes on the board etc. It’s bullshit amateur hour protectionism from the state unions holding back a proper centralised approach. A bit like the clubs in England and France making life difficult for the national Unions by ‘owning’ the players.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          100% correct Huw and until this changes Australian Rugby will never be as good as what it could be.

        • Dud Roodt

          “If not, why not?”

          Because rugby isn’t centralised here. They’re separate company’s. It would be like someone from NAB going to Commbank and telling them to promote someone internally as NAB see them as a person they could go after in their future.

          The sooner we get a centralised system, the better

        • Yeah, again, that was sort of my point. Surely Chieka, as head coach of the wallatahs has a decent amount of pull. And I agree with you, the sooner the better but if not yet, why not yet.

        • Twoilms

          Less than you think, i suspect.

        • Then that would mean less than Chieka thinks? His arrogance may suggest he is el surpemo? Does this also mean the fate of Australian Rugby has been thrown in the hands of a Kiwi who was a disaster in her last job, leaving the doggies with a shite roster and massive debts? Surely nothing could possibly go wrong from here, right?

        • McWarren

          Youngs 10’s is a risk, yet a young physically immature 4/6 is smart? Fuck me Huw, dress it up all you like but Cheika’s beligerence to stick with Ned when he wasn’t ready cost another more capable player 8 or 9 tests of development.

          The ironic thing is, now the Tahs are the form team in Oz they have less in the Wallabies than last years car crash Tahs?

  • Did Francis also make the point that the Ref gave two penalties against Po for seemingly fair ball that he pilfered? and if Po’s got stats like those, surely he is doing it right, for the right reasons most of the time… 6 turnovers? hell yeah. I kind of understand how the Kiwis felt about King Ritchie. (but not really, he was a cheat) Playing the game…

    • Happyman

      Mate I used to shout at the screen when RMc played but when you looked at the replays he was just that quick. It is the same with Pocock.
      The thing that used to get on my goat with Richie was his post game and the way he never acknowledged then opposition, particularly when the Kiwis carry on about respect but shit he was a great player.

      • Hoss

        As a gold fan he drove me nuts, as a rugby fan i could do nothing but (begrudgingly) admire him as a human being i think he is first class, humble and a standout.

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          My summary of Mccaw is that the Kiwis revere him as a god, but the rest of the rugby world have a combination of grudging respect for his skills mixed with disgust at his willingness to blatantly and systemically cheat. As a human, I see no evidence of him being any better or worse than the most of us.

          Pocock, in contrast, seems to revered worldwide as a skilful player and as an outstanding human being who focuses so much time and energy into bettering the world.

        • Missing Link

          I don’t disagree with you, but the two cannot be compared in regard to personality traits. McCaw is a complete introvert, I don’t think he liked facing the press and even now, he’s gone away out of the spotlight just to fly helicopters or whatever he does, not to say he doesn’t contribute to the community, we just don’t hear about it.

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          It’s true of a lot of people that their contribution to the community and in charity is silent, and this may well be the case of McCaw. I’m just saying that when people talk about him being an outstanding human, I don’t see any evidence. If anything, his willingness to blatantly and systemically cheat, and examples of his behaviour such as his feud with QC, would be indicators of his general character.

          Could you possibly imagine Pocock having a feud with someone like the McCaw/QC case? Or systemically training to cheat? I can’t. He’s a complete gentleman, full to the brim with ethics, moral character, and a greater purpose.

        • onlinesideline

          systematically cheat ? – come onnn – you dont think Poey suses out the ref to see what he can get away with ? Thats the art of the flanker, pushing it.

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          Pfft, the whole Kiwi team was obviously training to cheat in that era. A bit of it still seems to go on, but most of it died off when Paddy O’brien stopped running the IRB referees. I’m not talking about “pushing the boundaries” at the breakdown. I’m talking about systemically training to break the laws and the spirit of the game where an opportunity is seen in the blind spots of the refereeing. Eg deliberately standing on the wrong side of the ruck (not engaged with the ruck) to block the opposition from entering the ruck efficiently. Eg 2 deliberately running blocking players in a high ball situation to block the opposition from contesting. Those are the two that stick in my memory off the top of my head.

        • onlinesideline

          Then with respect to those offenses I agree with you. I was going to refer to those but I left it to you and you did a fine job. Specifically slowing play down, falling all over the ruck, trotting back onside Sean Fitzpatrick style, yeah there was an era where they seemed to contrive those things a bit. And Richie did push the boundaries a bit too, not saying he was an angel but won/t say he was a cheat. If you look RWC 15 final, when Genia chip kicks over the defense and ball is regathered by TK ho goes over for a try to bring us within 4 points, just before Genia picks ball up, Macaw is literally falling alllll over the ground sprawling everywhere, a classic example probably.

        • Missing Link

          Yeah that’s the thing, when we say the All Blacks are cheats, we aren’t referring to sand papering a cricket ball, or tying the oppositions shoelaces together, threatening to bash the ref after the game etc. we are simply referring to the coordinated effort to play outside the laws with the intention to gain an edge on your opponent and the stance that “you are only guilty if you get caught”. Example of this is deliberately killing the ball inside your 22 when the opposition are hot on attack. worst case 3 points given up, a stoppage in play so that everyone can have a breather and we can reset our defensive line, possible change in momentum and just a warning from the ref. We can do this multiple times before going down to 14 men, and we might only be down 6 points which we can make up with a converted try. How about you just be a good sport and try to compete legally at the breakdown!

        • onlinesideline

          That why they’re called the darkness ML and will be sweet when we get that big champagne cup back in 3 months time.

          Now if you dont mind I am going back to swiping hrough the sites of St Petersburg on Tinder.

        • Missing Link

          Say G’Day to Nastassia for me please

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          Lol, omg St Petersburg tinder must be pure porn!

        • onlinesideline

          They all look to have great style and stunningly beautiful and thats coming from a dude who lives in Budapest. And there are some beauties here. Looks like an awesome city to visit as opposed to Moscow which looks bloody awful. But while world cup is on its
          “stay awayskis”

        • Georgia Satellite

          Moscow is an amazing city. I’d hazard that very few people who visit come away hating it. I lived there for 9 years and people always said how surprised and impressed they were. St. Petersburg is equally amazing, but incredibly different. Something to do with antiquity vs planning.

        • onlinesideline

          interesting…9 years is along time. You must have a real soft spot for the authenticity of the people. They seem nice, as are the Hungarians here too. Probably a bit more open than the Ruskis. But I loved living in the colder climates up north. Lived in Sweden for a couple of years but cant say I found the culture / people as endearing as central Europe.

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          I am truly jealous! Russia is definitely on my list. As is Hungary!.

        • onlinesideline

          gotta do it …. its the place to be

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          Exactly! Perfectly said!

        • Richard Patterson

          You’re capable of better than that Missing Link.

        • Jerry

          Well shit, the AB’s have only won 90% of their tests and another RWC since Paddy left – oh noes, whatever will they do with such a poor return…..

        • Richard Patterson

          Disappointing commentary.

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          Disappointing history.

        • Richard Patterson

          All unsubstantiated.

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          You can search on YouTube for “McCaw cheat” or “McCaw offside” just as well as I can. I’m sure you’ve seen the videos, as we all have.

          Lets get real here, you can’t stand it that your grand hero has left a legacy where a large proportion of the world see him as a serial systemic cheat. The reality is, you wouldn’t be upset about it if there was no truth to it, you’d just laugh it off as ridiculous. Try posting a comment that Pocock or George Smith are seen as cheats by people around the world, and you’d be met by derision and laughter.

        • Richard Patterson

          You are entitled to your opinion, it’s clear it’s not going to change. I tend to direct my attention towards the record number of test matches, the record number of World Rugby Player of the Year Awards and the numerous accolades from many of the true champions of the sport. They tend to carry influence.

        • Jerry

          Pocock cheats all the time, get over yourself FFS.

        • onlinesideline

          Not to split hairs ML but every time I have heard Poey speak, he does come across to me to be very reserved, introrverted and almost meekish in his disposition. Thats all FINE. I would actually say that Ruchie was more forthright and TBH more articulate at press time. This is why I actually dont think Pocock is captain material. You could argue “man of few words” here but a captain has to have the gift of the gab these days, mostly for training and media more than game day.

        • Who?

          I’m pretty sure Pocock’s not exactly the extrovert, either. Think back to the Australian Story pieces on him, and other articles, he’s not exactly your average person. He has some quirks (as we all do, but his aren’t the average ones).
          Perhaps the difference between them is that Pocock’s issues – the things he cares about – are more public, and he’s more visibly active in supporting them.
          But I’m rather confident that both of them in their personal lives are consistent, reliable and likeable people. People you’d love to have as part of your local rugby club, because you could ask them to run the bbq and they’d be there. I don’t think either of them would be on the loudspeaker spruiking the raffle – they’d rather be behind the scenes. You don’t get that number of caps and that level without showing your consistency – not just to the selectors, but to your team mates.

        • Hoss

          Well said.

        • onlinesideline

          I may not win the popularity contest here but just because Pocock tied himself to a tractor doesnt make him friggin Gandi. Hes an outstanding rugby player but geeze lets not get carried away here. We all have our causes and values. People seem to be getting teary eyed about his off field exploits. Know doubt hes a good fella but geeze.

          Take a ticket …..

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          I get it that not everyone agrees with his politics (and possibly this is what’s kept him from being Wallabies captain).

          But now that you point it out, he damn well does have quite a bit in common with Gandhi.

        • onlinesideline

          His politics dont bother me, either way TBH. If he feels x about this and y about that – its all good. I was just simply saying the media does have a tendency to prop people up (and then pull them down) and the media are in it to make dollars. Thats why I am a always a bit cynical (which is probably not good)…anyway….Its the unknown acts of everyday goodness I admire, the nurses, the bloke who helps the older neighbour, just little things. Big causes are nice but ….

        • OnTheBurst

          No, he’s not Ghandi… but by the same token he doesn’t simulate sex with animals, beat up women or attempt to urinate in his own mouth… wait, this is Greenandgoldleague.com, right?

        • John Tynan

          As a former flanker, I can’t come at the cheating stuff. The ref’s there to do a job.

        • Hoss

          Spot on mate. You cant tell me our great 7’s wouldn’t have taken the same liberties if available from the pea-blower.

      • Missing Link

        Yep, on the rare occasion that they lost, he would never acknowledge that the opposition outplayed them, it was always about what they didn’t do well enough. Hansen was also a proponent of this, whereas Graham Henry was a little more respectful to the opposition when they were beaten. I also think Read is more like Henry in acknowledging the opposition, the McCaw/Hansen “smug brothers” partnership was the worst.

        Just to make everyone feel better, here’s a rare pic of sir ruchie, immediately after sucking on a lemon
        https://www.odt.co.nz/sites/default/files/styles/odt_portrait_medium_3_4/public/story/2016/04/richie_mccaw_and_steve_hansen_after_being_beaten_b_50ba666577.jpg

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nick, Really looking forward to this weekend and seeing if some of the questions asked during the week can be answered on the field. By hell the Irish will be hurting, always good to get a dose of reality first up. I think they will step up a lot this week and it will be interesting to see how the Wallabies continue their improvement.

    I’m not sure the French have the ability to step up as much but the good thing about the French is that you never know and if they do then anything can happen. Hopefully they’ll come out with an attacking mind, willing to throw the ball around and create some opportunities. I think last week for me the biggest disappointment was their inability to create opportunities as apart from the intercept they didn’t ever really look like they could score any tries. I think England will step up this week, I mean they can’t get worse surely. However, the Boks are also looking very good and that game should be a cracker as well. Not so sure on the Argies, they seem to have biogger internal issues than any of the other SH teams and I’m not confident they can resolve these in a week.

    Team, lets not pander to that jounalistic troll by even arguing his points. he’s obviously in the same mould of those other pathetic little trolls Rattue and Reason and when people argue on line they somehow see it as vindication for their statements. The best option is to say nothing and let them stew in their pathetic self loathing.

    • Happyman

      KRL agree on the last point. We all have our prejudices but it is much more enjoyable when you just try and enjoy it for the spectacle.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Thanks mate. Does that mean you disagree on the rest? : -)

        • Happyman

          Funny KRL
          The Irish will step up and the Australians have struggled to put two together since the last RWC. But Aussies by 5
          The Kiwis will step it up. I could see the French losing badly and going full medieval with there discipline.
          Downfall #2018 to continue The English to get beaten like a drum.
          Argies to beat Wales in a close one.
          Scotland to beat USA
          Canada to beat Russia
          Tonga to beat Romania
          Fiji to beat Georgia (The Fiji backline looks fully sick)
          Japan to beat Italy again

          How is that for a wrap up.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Nice mate

        • OnTheBurst

          Tonga is playing Samoa

  • Hoss

    Good morning all,

    Nothing better than that that tinge of excitement of the day before a ripper of a test.

    Not much between the sides at all. A confident, brash young gold side, against a methodical, precise & experienced bunch of hard-heads. Could be a classic.

    As for Poey, the big difference for me post sabbatical is his link play & reading of the ruck (when to strike). I remember he said one of the reason he went to play for Dingo in Japan was to improve his link play so he wouldnt be a one-trick pony. His passing game and generally ability to read the play is sensational. Not many have pointed out, for all our aerial attack it was Poey that secured the pill from a kick (sure Kearney let it bounce, but Poey was first there to capitalise) that lead to Foley’s try. Also his ability to pick which ruck to attack is brilliant, you see him trail the ball nearly constantly and when the timing is right – bang, he is on it and even if he doesn’t win it, the 2-3 seconds he provides his defence to reset is invaluable.

    He has evolved his game and is better than ever and a pleasure to watch, thank Jehovah he is in gold

    • Braveheart81

      He should try gluing his headgear to his head so he doesn’t have to waste precious energy running back to halfway to pick it up after it gets ripped off.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        He swapped his old pair with a slightly newer one after the match last week. Should hopefully work better.

        • Funk

          Listen, I’m all for getting the most out of your purchases, but surely he could stump up a few sheckles for some new ones…what did he spend his $700K on when when he was staying at his granddads place last year???

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He said that the ones he prefers have to be shipped in from overseas and take a few weeks to arrive.

          Clearly he left it too late to order them.

        • Bobas

          he doesn’t only buy locally sourced carbon negative free range headgear?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Haha, good question! Maybe the foreign ones are more environmentally sustainable?

        • Gareth

          he gets them especially made in Bangladesh, only the good ones are made with tiny children’s fingers

        • Funk

          Do you think he buys online to avoid using our non-enviro friendly plastic notes?

      • onlinesideline

        A head that seems to be balding faster than Prince Williams too.
        Them sabbaticals !

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      This week will be a key test for the Wallabies’ line out and for the future of Pooper.

      This is Ireland’s defensive line out:
      4. Devin Toner, 210cm
      5. James Ryan, 203cm
      6. Peter O’Mahony, 191cm (one of the world’s best defensive line out back-rowers)
      7. Dan Leavy, 191cm
      8. CJ Stander, 185cm

      I am shocked that Simmons wasn’t promoted to the starting line up in order to run the line out as the pressure will really be on Coleman. He will have to be really creative and mix up the calls in order to win the ball.

      Even if we do win our own ball, will we get any quality ball the entire night? We need the line out as an attacking platform.

      Big test for the Wallabies.

      • Hoss

        Thats as big a back 5 i can recall. I am not all over the Irish tall timber, but i dont recall toner as being much more than a ‘plonker’ around the park ?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He isn’t as dynamic as Hendo, so they do lose something in that, but he is virtually unbeatable in the line out when they throw to him, and is good in the line out defensively.

          All Blacks and South Africans could have similarly good defensive line outs.

          – Mostert (198cm and best defensive line out player in the world?) or PSDT (200cm) at blindside flank
          – two of de Jager, (206cm) Snyman (206cm) and Etzebeth (204cm)
          – Vermuelen (193cm) at number 8.

          – Retallick (204cm)
          – Whitelock (203cm)
          – Fifita or Squire at blindside flank (196cm)
          – Read (193cm)

          The line out will not become any easier in the RC.

        • mikado

          Yep pretty average around the park. I was surprised that Henderson was dropped – perhaps Scannell was considered a weaker lineout thrower, so they brought Toner in to offer an easy target? Or maybe they’re trying to upset BPA?

          I’m very pleased to see Tadhg Beirne on the bench – he has been great for Scarlets these last couple of years.

        • Who?

          Can’t have too many Tadhgs!

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      I remember watching Richie McCaw playing over the years, and even as an old 14, I reckon I could see his game evolving with his age, experience and the law changes. I’m curious if others reckon Poey is doing likewise, and if he’s doing it at that same level as Richie was.
      As a Wallaby fan I detested Richie when our boys ran out against them. Game over and I was a huge fan again.

      • onlinesideline

        how are ya blinky ? – popping ya head in around test time I see

        • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

          I’m good matey, thanks.
          For better or worse, I’ll be a Tahs, Wallabies and Rolling Stones fan until my dying days. But I just can’t justify FoxSport with the good woman, so only get to see watch’s on FTA. As Mick Jagger would say ‘you can’t always get what you want’…

      • Hoss

        Very much so mate. As the years took there toll on McCaw he transitioned to a link player as opposed to a ruck nuisance. I dont reckon Poey is at that point just yet, but the more skills he has, the better we all are.

      • Brendan Hume

        I think George Smith’s development closely matched that of Richie – albeit out of the international arena. I don’t think Pocock or Hooper are anywhere near that skill level with the pill – although Pocock’s ability over the ball is as good as I’ve ever seen.

      • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

        Yeah, I think people underestimate just how well served we’ve been in Australia for world-class opensides since the late 90s. The vastly underrated David Wilson, then a seamless transition to George Smith, and another to Bam Bam Pocock. Each with slightly different skill-sets, but each a major focus of the opposition’s pre-game planning.

        To have kept players of the calibre of Phil Waugh, David Croft and Liam Gill out of the regular specialist role took some very, very good players. Kind of like the succession of NZ flankers who rarely got a look in while McCaw was around – Marty Holah was always one of my favourite players.

    • onlinesideline

      The path he picks in trailing is good too. Thats actually an old Ruchiee favourite. Who’d a thunk such a brawny game requires such brainy decisions.

    • Brisneyland Local

      yep! Praise to be to all daeties!

      • Hoss

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WboggjN_G-4

        Couldnt help myself – sums up your ‘vibe’ beautifully.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure gold. we are all in a good place this Friday. God I love mid year test season!

        • onlinesideline

          Middle East hasnt changed much in 2000 years mate.

  • Ruggaman

    When does Naisarani become eligible?

  • Tomthusiasm

    If Pocock was a cancer, he’d be testicular cancer. He’s always stealing balls.

    • Parker

      Pure gold

    • Nicholas Wasiliev

      *Drops mic*

      I’m done.

  • Greg

    We have had a very moral week this week!

    There was the discussion on the tackles that severely injured the froggy player. The TMO and call baaaaaaack for foul play. No we have a dick talking about Pocock and we have morphed onto McCaw.

    I am exhausted but looking forward to the weekend when rugby will re-emerge.

  • Moz

    Nick, thanks for putting up the article on the Andrew Forrest interview. I read it yesterday and was going to post the link this morning, but you saved me the trouble! Great stuff, and really positive, and thanks for keeping the love going on the site!

  • first time long time

    The only memorable thing Neil Francis did on the field was eat Willie O’s knuckles in the stink at kick off in the 91 RWC quarter final…. so maybe cut him some slack as a rugby pundit Cheik, every dog deserves his day ; )

  • John R

    In other news, all but official now that Naisarani is heading to Melbourne next year.

    • Missing Link

      Even Blind Freddie could see it happening

  • juswal

    What an odd daily news post. Started out with an item about David Pocock and then it’s all about Richie McCaw’s ruined reputation. Can somebody hose these crying kiwis out of the bar so a man can drink in peace?

    • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

      You’re a funny bastard juswal, crack me up every time!

  • mikado

    No preview thread for the big game today?

    ..

    My prediction – France 3 : Australia 0

    ;)

  • Julesie

    This Francis bloke seems like a Grade A wanker. Let the rugby do the talking. Poey is a champion!

  • Adrian

    Australia ….just

    I’m not that confident, but I won’t pick a draw because I’ve only successfully tipped a draw twice in my life. I’ve unsuccessfully tipped about 5 draws…

    • Fatflanker

      Hard to call, eh. Irish pretty confident they’ll have our measure this time and fair enough. The only certainty: Pocock’s face to finish the game looking like he’s gone the distance with Terence Crawford.

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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