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 Tahs squad, another edition of club corner, and lots of comings and goings…


And then there was one…

KMP-G&G-SR-Waratahs-Brumbies-3349

One week there were five Aussie teams playing, the next, only one…

With the Rebels, Reds and Brumbies all out of contention and no World Series Rugby fixture over in an increasingly rainy Perth (every single Force fixture I’ve seen this year looks like it’s been played in the middle of a deluge), the Waratahs will be the flying the flag this weekend as the Super Rugby quarter finals commence.

The Tahs will come out on Saturday night against a Highlanders side who barely scraped past the Rebels last week. But this is a very different side coming to Sydney.  With Ben Smith, Aaron Smith, Luke Whitelock, Elliot Dixon, Rob Thompson and Ash Dixon all back into the starting lineup, the men from Dunedin will be close to full-strength.

Meanwhile, the Tahs have made just one change, with Alex Newsome replacing Cam Clark on the wing, with Clark dropping to the bench.

Waratahs Squad: Israel Folau, Alex Newsome, Curtis Rona, Kurtley Beale, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Bernard Foley (c), Nick Phipps, Michael Wells, Will Miller, Ned Hanigan, Rob Simmons, Jed Holloway, Sekope Kepu, Damien Fitzpatrick, Tom Robertson. Reserves: Tolu Latu, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Paddy Ryan, Tom Staniforth, Brad Wilkin, Jake Gordon, Bryce Hegarty, Cam Clark.

If the Tahs win, it’ll be the first time since 2015 that an Aussie team has made it to the semi-finals (when both the Brumbies and the Tahs were knocked out by Kiwi sides).

The last time the Highlanders arrived in Sydney, they left with their tail between their legs, having become the Kiwi team who ended an impressive winning streak against Aussie sides. If there was any chance to get revenge, it is now. And with so many stars coming back, they might just do it.

Last week might have been a wake-up call the Tahs needed. Either that, or it showed us that they are still mighty inconsistent, like previous years. This squad has shown a lot of potential and growth this year, and to see it all fall apart and same hurtle yet again would genuinely suck. It really depends on which Tahs side turns up to play – the side to walloped the Highlanders… or the side that was held scoreless at home by the Lions. 

The lads at Fox are backing the Highlanders to take this one. I feel like I have to agree. Highlanders by 5.

The other matches sees the Hurricanes facing the Chiefs in a rematch from last weeks (backing the Canes), the Crusaders will host the Sharks (Crusaders), and the Lions will host the Jaguares in the Argentineans’ first ever quarter final series.

Outside of Super Rugby, the other big news was the in the aftermath of the Mafi – Timani biff in Dunedin, it was reveal that Mafi had done up another member of the squad earlier in the season, with The Australian reporting that Wallaby Marika Koroibete also came to blows with Mafi while on tour in South Africa.  The two however patched things up, and the Rebels dealt with it internally. The same can hardly be said for this second indiscretion.

In other big news (and a purely shameless bit of podcast cross-promotion), the Rugby Report Card lads officially said, in their latest podcast, on the record, that they’re going to put in an effort and go to an NRC game this year. This is momentous news at GAGR HQ, and so to spice your Friday up, get yourself riled up for the NRC and listen to the latest Dropped Kick-Off podcast.  Both podcasts are very enjoyable on the ears, especially when you’re listening to them.

Club Corner

Reds celebrate Sam Edwards first try

Reds celebrate Sam Edwards first try

Here we are again, ladies and gentleman. Time to dish out some club results.

This weeks club corner starts, like last week,  in beautiful WA. Shoutout to bob, one of our commentors from last week, who informed me of how the WA system works after the end of the regular season. The top six teams in the Fortescue Metals Grade Premier Grade split with the bottom seven team into two competitions, which allows all teams to continue playing first grade. With that in mind, I’ll focus on the results of the top six, which saw Nedlands, Associates, Cottlesloe, Joondalup, Wests Scarborough and Kalamunda all qualify.

In Round Fourteen, the Premiership Divison saw Kalamunda pick up a big 21-29 away win against Associates, Cottlesloe went down at home 12-18 to Wests Scarborough, and Nedlands accounted for Joondalup 31-21. The result sees Nedlands take the top spot on the table.

Round Fifteen Fixtures:

Wests Scarborough v Kalamunda
Nedlands v Cottesloe 
Joondalup v Associates

Next up, we head to Sydney for the Intrust Super Shute Shield. Round Fourteen saw the Pirates keeping their season alive with a 33-26 win over Eastwood, Eastern Suburbs went down at home to Southern Districts, 30-36, Randwick picked up a surprise draw against Manly, 36-36, Parramatta went down 8-29 to Sydney University and Gordon got completely walloped 14-83 by the Rats.

Round Fifteen Fixtures:

Randwick v Warringah 
Northern Suburbs v Southern Districts 
Eastwood v Gordon 
Parramatta v Eastern Suburbs 
Manly v West Harbour

Sydney University have the bye.

In Brisbane Club Rugby, Round Sixteen of the Hospital Challenge Cup saw Norths go down to Easts 23-29, Bond University make light work of Easts 17-48,  University of Queensland came home with the chocolates against Wests 40-53 and GPS picked up a surprise away win against Souths, 27-34. As we head into the penultimate round of the regular season, University of Queensland hold the lead at the top of the table with 48 points, with GPS only one point behind. That makes this weekend’s clash super exciting for Brizzy club rugby fans.

Round Seventeen Fixtures:

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

Bond University has the bye.

We’re also heading into the penultimate round of the John I Dent Cup in Canberra, with Tuggeranong holding a seven point lead at the top of the table over last years champions, Royals. After that, it’s effectively daylight.  In Round Fifteen, Uni-Norths picked up a big 26-25 win over Royals, Queanbeyan and Easts couldn’t be separated in a 46-46 draw, and Tuggeranong demolished Wests 55-19.

Round Sixteen Fixtures:

Easts v Gungahlin
Royals v Queanbeyan 
Wests v Uni-Norths

Tuggeranong has the bye.

The Coopers Premier Grade in South Australia enjoyed a week off, so no fixtures were played over the last weekend.

Round Eleven Fixtures:

Old Collegians v Onkaparinga 
Woodville v Souths Suburbs
Burnside v Brighton 

And finally, down in Melbourne, the BLK Dewar Shield saw a couple of thrilling matches in round twelve last week. Box Hill went down at home 17-25 to Power House,  Footscray knocked over Endeavour Hills 43-28, Harlequins went down at home to Melbourne 21-27, and Moorabbin grabbed a thrilling 27-26 win against Melbourne Uni. The Dewar Shield is also heading into it’s penultimate round this weekend: with their defeat of the second-placed Quins (52 points), Melbourne (57 points) are currently holding a five point advantage at the top of the leader board. A win this weekend will effectively wrap up the Minor Premiership for them.

Round Thirteen Fixtures:

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

Hope to see plenty of folks down at their club rugby games this weekend as we approach the business end of the season. But, as the club season draws to a close, all eyes will soon turn to the NRC on the horizon…

Comings…

Naisarani would look good in Wallaby gold

Isi Naisarani dominating for the Spirit

Speaking of the NRC, there’s been a bit of transfer news around the latter half of this week, with the big one being the announcement of Isi Naisarani signing with the Melbourne Rebels next year.

As much as I wish the big man all the best, this one hurts me a little bit, as I’d really got used to seeing this bloke thundering around in a Brumbies jersey. Naisarani though has been looking good ever since his breakthrough season playing for the Brisbane City in the NRC in 2016, and with a stint in the Western Force and the Perth Spirit in 2017 that saw him get better and better, he came onto the radar of Michael Cheika.

It’s no secret that Cheik is keen to involve Naisarani in the Wallaby set up when he becomes eligible in April next year, and Dave Wessels made it no secret to rugby.com.au that he’d found himself a good nut here.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Isi to Melbourne and it’s a testament to the high performance program we’re creating here at the Rebels to attract a player of Isi’s quality,” he said.

“It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to work with Isi again.

“He made a real impression straight away at the Western Force in his first year of Super Rugby, which is no easy feat to step straight into one of the toughest provincial rugby competitions in the world.

“Isi brings professionalism and work ethic on and off-the-track to everything he does.

“He adds a real touch of X-factor and versatility in the backrow and we think he’ll compliment the strength of our forward pack.”

“It’s been a big two years for me. I’m really excited to get down to Melbourne and team up with Dave at the Rebels,” Naisarani added about his move.

“He’s had a big impact on me, and helping me to improve as a player.

“It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was playing for Brisbane City in the National Rugby Championship but I know that I have to keep on working hard to improve myself as a player.

“The World Cup in Japan is a big dream of mine and obviously to pull on that gold jersey would be something very special.”

And from a future Wallaby to the return of a legend, Tatafu Polota-Nau will be rejoining the Wallabies squad next month in preparation for the Rugby Championship. 

With the loss of Tevita Kuridrani to injury for three months, Cheik was quick to get on the phone to the 82 cap veteran.

“At this stage we are planning for him to be good to go in the first Bledisloe,” Cheika said to rugby.com.au. 

“It will help a lot, and help with our depth, although to be honest I was really happy with our three hookers – Brandon, Tolu and Folau – over the June period.”

Experience, along with improved fitness, is what Cheika is hoping will have the Wallabies fighting fit and ready to go when Bledisloe I comes around.

“That’s going to hold us in good stead leading into game one of the Rugby Championships and right through to the end of the international season at Twickenham,” he said.

“We go into every series with optimism. Authentic optimism.”

… and Goings.

Last year's champs

Cheers Sam

Starting off on the goings front, Daryl Gibson admitted to Fox Sports that he might not have signed up for the Tahs top job, knowing now what he was getting himself into.

“They backed me last season off two pretty average, mediocre years,” Gibson admitted.

“I don’t know whether I would have taken the job when I look back.

“As much as it was a winning team, it was very much a team in transition in terms of the roster, the playing list.

“To put that back in place and to really, truly own it and do it the way I wanted to do it — it’s taken to this point just to get here.”

Gibson admitted that, had he done his time again, he would have prepared things differently.

“If I had my time again, I probably would have been a little bit more patient.

“I’ve learnt how important it is that the head coach is supported from an organisational view.

“Having incredible stability and direction — the CEO, the chairman, the captain, your support staff — all in place and being really stable and all aligned towards one direction and a firm direction.

“When I look back to 2015, when Cheik left to take on the Wallabies, he took six staff with him, which is a big hole to fill.

“When I reflect on that, I would have probably taken my time a little bit more and been far more considered with my moves.”

Well, at least this year has been all right on the performance front… so far.

The other big news is that Welsh legend Sam Warburton has stunned many folks and announced his retirement from international rugby at the age of 29.

Warburton admitted that his body was finding it increasingly difficult to keep with the demands of professional rugby, especially after returning from injury. His loss will be a big one for Wales, particularly as they head into a World Cup year.

“Unfortunately after a long period of rest and rehabilitation the decision to retire from rugby has been made with my health and wellbeing as a priority,” Warburton said to The Guardian. 

“My body is unable to give me back what I had hoped for on my return to training. I cannot thank the Welsh Rugby Union and Cardiff Blues enough. They have gone beyond the call of duty in providing the support I received to help me get back on the field. I will be forever grateful.

“I always dreamed of playing for my home town club the Cardiff Blues, Wales and the British & Irish Lions. I’m extremely proud of what I managed to achieve. There are so many people who helped me along the way from school teachers, coaches, friends and family.

I thank you so much for supporting my dreams and aspirations. I hope they too can take some pride from my career.

“I would like to make special mention of Warren Gatland. Without the faith he had in me and his unwavering support, I would never have had the career I was able to pursue.”

Despite an ‘early’ retirement, Warburton finishes his career as one of the best players ever to strap on the boots for the Scarletts.

He represented Wales on 74 occasions, including a record 49 as captain, as well earning five caps for the British & Irish Lions. He captained the Welsh at the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups, won two Six Nations trophies, a Grand Slam, a Triple Crown, and also captained the B&I Lions to their first series win (against the Wallabies) in sixteen years in 2013, in addition to captaining the Lions in their series last year that saw them draw 1-1 against New Zealand. Add to that, he also made 175 appearances for the Cardiff Blues. 

Now that is some career. Cheers for the memories mate.

And finally, to finish off the news on a more sombre note, the Crusaders will be running out onto the paddock this weekend with extra motivation to win, following the passing of a legendary super fan Doreen Searle. The most die-hard ‘Saders fan you will ever come across (seriously, I’m not joking), Searle was renowned in Canterbury for her support of the game and the Crusaders, and was highly respected by the team.

Following her tragic death at the age of 96, her funeral was packed out with family and rugby fans, along with two of her favourite Crusaders players, Sam Whitelock and Matt Todd.

The Crusaders will be paying tribute to Searle this weekend ahead of their match against the Sharks. Rest in Peace, Doreen.

  • John R

    Morning GAGR’s more Mafi watch coming in hot:

    “AN insult flung at a female relative of Amanaki Mafi was behind the alleged assault of his Melbourne Rebels teammate Lopeti Timani.

    It can be revealed that while drinking at the house of Mafi’s brother in Dunedin last weekend, Timani made an allegedly derogatory remark about a woman who was present.

    An argument broke out and Timani ran out of the house.

    He was allegedly chased, tackled onto the ground and assaulted in the street by Mafi, who has been charged by New Zealand police over the incident.”

    Not cool Lopeti

    https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/rugby/insult-led-to-amanaki-mafis-alleged-assault-of-lopeti-timani/news-story/b320eaa75127e5cf1fbc4779a5ad2f54

    • Dud Roodt

      I find it staggering that the daily teletrash is behind a paywall. The fucking teletrash of all papers, would make people pay to read it?!

      If that’s the case re Lopeti – he’s a very silly man.

      I honestly think if I had Mafi chasing me (and with good reason to do so), I would have the quickest bowel evacuation the world has ever known

      • John R

        Ah yeah the danged paywall. I saw some op-ed the other day showing that the econimics don’t stack up. Like implementing a paywall is a great way to destroy your web traffic.

        And bloody oath, I would immediately be without shit if Mafi looked at me angry.

        Other news from the Tele. Jordan Petaia is in the WB’s squad. Hodge looks most likely at 13 as Rona is only considered a winger at test level.

        • Missing Link

          Petaia? Jeez I know Tom English isn’t the greatest player in the world but he’s the only other experienced 13 in the country, but hey let’s bring in an 18 year old into the Wallabies squad who has played 2 games of Super Rugby, 2 games!!!!

        • John R

          Start him against the All Blacks. What could possibly go wrong….

          English has been around the squad before hasn’t he? Maybe he’ll get another look in, at the very least he’d be another leader around the group.

        • Braveheart81

          He’s not going to be picked though. He’ll be in the extended squad for a couple of weeks (as will some other young players like Stewart and Hockings) until it is whittled down to 30-odd for the first two Bledisloes at which point he’ll drop out.

        • John R

          Ah copy that Braveheart, that certainly makes more sense!

        • Nutta

          Timana Tahu anyone..?

        • Keith Butler

          I remember Matthew Tate being picked for England against Wales at aged 18 being dumped on his arse a few times by the Orange one Gavin Henson. Picked too soon.

        • Dud Roodt

          Not only dumped on his arse but didn’t Henson pick him up and carry him around the shops like a handbag for about an hour?

          All but ended Tate’s international career as he was deemed too light from then on.

          I read an interesting stat many years ago in regards to Tate and his weight – if he had played in England’s first ever test match, he would have been the heaviest player!

        • Keith Butler

          Just checked on Tait’s international record – 38 caps from 2005 to 2010 with quite a few of them being as a replacement. Still a career blighted by several season ending injuries. Still playing decent rugby for Leicester Tigers though.

        • Missing Link

          At least Tait had an excuse, Henson on the other hand, was like the Welsh Amigo, or lone ranger… arguably could have been one of the greatest players in the world but somehow it all went pear shaped, perhaps there’s some ingreadient in fake tan and hair gel that drives people crazy

        • Keith Butler

          Really lousy at links but classic video on you tube of the orange starting an argument in the pub with Bath ‘teammate’ Carl Fearns and being decked with a short right cross to the chin.

        • Missing Link
        • Keith Butler

          Gavin Henson : (thinks) Carl Fearns hard backrow bastard engage brain before opening mouth. Oops too late! Went to Church too much.

        • Missing Link
        • Who?

          That first tackle on Tait would’ve been a YC the last few years, and the other ‘highlight’ tackle would likely have been a penalty because it slipped up after also involving lifting (though not yellow because he brought the player safely to ground). Amazing how the game’s changed due to the emphasis on player safety. That’s not a complaint, just a comment.

        • Missing Link

          I was thinking exactly the same when I watched it, the game has changed so much that a lot of tackles made 10 years ago would now be checked and penalised. Stirling Mortlock made some big tackles which would possibly be questionable today.

          like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9junO9RrNA

        • Nutta

          Mortlocks tackle would be carded now – but i saw it’s fine and play on. Likewise Ryan Cross tackle next would also be penalise-able for over the shoulder but I say play on. But also, how good was Cross’ pilfer? Esp for an ex Mungo converted/returning to Rugby who was always a Back anyway?

        • Patrick

          If we are sharing Mortlock memories (and that clip is excellent for his sheer power on both defence and attack), here is another one:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLHboRNnfBg
          And my personal second-favorite:
          And my all-time favorite, mainly for the context (this was the guy who had cynically taken out Berrick earlier, 26.45) and effect (he left the field): https://youtu.be/exHpJoxTZTc?t=1988

        • Patrick

          I forgot the one where he hit SBW on his first touch of a ball in international rugby :)

        • Nutta

          It’s a complaint from me though. Safety, yep righto roger but it’s a bit like rucking – generally you only copped it when you had it coming (like jumping into a tackler or rolling over the ball-carrier to offside)

        • onlinesideline

          You know what I like about the Welsh besides their singing ? They are even less interested in soccer than us.

        • Braveheart81

          It’s a development opportunity. He’ll spend a bit of time in camp (as will Stewart and Hockings) and then they’ll drop out when the squad is whittled down to 30-odd for the Bledisloe tests.

        • Gareth

          Petaia is the goods. Tim Horan was 18 and had never played for the reds when he was selected. It does happen from time to time.

        • Ed

          I only watched highlights of Rebels matches so how did Hodge go at 13 defensively this year?

        • John R

          I’d have to go back and have a look, But from memory he was all around very quiet when at 13 hey.

        • Ed

          Thanks John.

    • Hoss

      A few concerns:

      – Was there clear release from Mafi once tackle made ?
      – Did he enter mellay through the ‘gate’ ?
      – Has Ben O’Keefe seen the incident – did it look worse in slo-mo ?

      A lot still to be answered for mine.

      • John R

        O’Keefe was standing 1 metre away but missed the incident.

        The TMO Skeen called back an incident from when Timani and Mafi were in highschool together and said it was clear and obvious that Timani should be fined $15k.

      • Brisneyland Local

        As there was clear evidence of violence we know there will not be a suspension from the judiciary. If it was hand bags at 20 paces, then they both would get 3 weeks!

        • Hoss

          Here’s my conspiracy theory

          Initial punishment – 12 weeks
          Show remorse = – 6 weeks
          Clean Record = – 3 weeks
          Mitigating Circumstances = -2 weeks
          Been to New Zealand, have an awareness of and generally favourable leanings towards all things NZ = -8 weeks (now in credit)
          Born in NZ or have NZ heritage = Full state apology, $25k gift card from World Rugby, 2 weeks additional stress leave and a promise to never be penalised again.

          Sound about right ?

        • Brisneyland Local

          Possibly. I was more leaning towards the fact that the TMO;s overlook the obvious, and try adn find the obscure! Like thery (The TMO’s) get a bonus if they find shit!

      • Funk

        Mafi definitely “finished him off”

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Gold mate

    • Nutta

      Look, Mafi always struck me as a bit of a Wayne Kerr. I heard about the Dr stuff and then saw the whole Ben Lucas / Soccer thing and thought “Yeh. Nah. Tool”.

      Then I heard about the Timani blu and thought “Geez he isn’t a Keeper is he?”

      But to be fair, if he has arc’d up over verbals tossed at a woman then to be fair perhaps I should reevaluate my position a wee bit…

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nick, I get the feeling everything is on edge for this week’s games and that prediction must have been hard to stomach. I think we’ll see a big push this weekend from some of the players as it may be their last chance to impress prior to the RC. Rona must be in the hot seat now so a good game from him would be very timely.

    Interesting to hear the troubles Gibson experienced, to me it shows that he may not have been ready to step up when he did but he seems to have learnt a lot in the last few years and looks ready to kick on to the future. I won’t always agree with his selections or plans but good to see him admitting his mistakes and moving forward.

    Shame to see Warburton moving on despite being a bit of a controversial pick at times he always gave 100% to the team. Good luck with the future.

    • Keith Butler

      Looking forward to a great weekend of QF rugby. Hope the Canes turn over the Chiefs tonight (my second team after the Rebs). As to the other games, should be Tahs (just), Lions and Saders to make the semis. Another great player and leader forced into premature retirement due to injury. When will the powers that be particularly in England (at least the other nations seem to have it right) wake up to the fact that top players cannot player 20 to 30 games a season without serious health/safety consequences either now or down the track. The NZRU show great leadership in this imo.

      • Brumby Runner

        Rugby is a tough game whatever the position a player is in. But those who constantly stand over the ruck in an attempt to win or defend possession are so much more exposed. Must take a toll on the body after a while.

        Well played Warburton and good luck for the future.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s Happy Friday! The sun is shining I am back at work and hating it after my holiday, but GAGR is here and it is lessening the pain. BL’s random thoughts whilst sipping freshly brewed kwoffeeeee!
    – Sorry Tahs supporters, but with that level of fire power returning to the Highlanders, it isnt going to be a pretty result.
    – Lopeti seems to have been a bad boy. But Mafi needs to know better than beating the shit out of a team mate. Kick them out of the house, make them apologise, but chase them down the street and beat the shit out of them is evident of immature mindset. Appalling on both of their behalves!
    – Best of luck to Warburton. Loved watching him play, a great servant to the game.
    – Jungle drums from up here in Qld, the rugby business people are being quietly sounded out about funding back end deals to get Izzy on board. I personally wont be supporting it. I removed my corporate sponsorship of the Reds, I dont think I will personally fund their further delinquency in recruiting someone they cant afford, when they are already still paying three players they wont play!
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Keith Butler

      Interesting that the full picture regarding the Mafi/Timani incident is emerging. Seems like Mafi was more sinned against that sinning and you called in right. Judging by some of his reactions in Rebels he has a very short fuse. Sam Warburton great player and leader. Gave us Poms a great lesson in back row player in the 30 -3 drubbing in Cardiff a few years back which we still haven’t learnt from.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yeah I think SW taught a few teams a few lessons. Best of luck to him, where ever he lands and what ever he does. Thanks for the memories.

      • Braveheart81

        I find it interesting that people are suggesting that Mafi chasing someone down and violently assaulting them is justified because the person said something they didn’t like.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah that bit concerned me too! Hence why I wrote what I did!

        • Keith Butler

          No justification for Mafi’s action. If that was what I was suggesting the apologies. I agree BLs initial comment 100%.

    • John R

      Curious on your last point there BL. Curious indeed!

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep a little scary.

    • Hoss

      Pffft how dare you besmirch the consistently inconsistent (therefore consistent) Tah’s !! After reading KB and Spanners releases this week, i am convinced

      ‘Its all about backing ourselves and the process and belief – yeah mainly belief. Because against the Brumbies, we had the process, but not the belief, against the Lions we had the belief, but not the process. It also hurts that Bobby Buchet is injured and pretty much said ‘we suck; and he doesn’t want to be on the field with us as our process and belief are shit, but mainly, if we believe we have the process and that process delivers belief – then, ummm, what was the question again ?’

      Enough said really.

      Tah’s by 12

      • Brisneyland Local

        I love a good besmirching as much as the next person! at least we know they trained well on the paddock!

    • Ed

      BL,
      You’d think if Folau is going to Brisvegas, it would be announced between the Tahs’ departure from SR and the first Bledisloe. Obviously the Reds believe they won’t have Cooper, Hunt and Slipper on their books next year.
      How many players in Australia have these back end deals? Beale with his Range Rover. Any others? Apologies for my ignorance on this matter.

      • Brisneyland Local

        ED. The Reds will definitely still have Cooper, Hunt and Slipper on their books. They cant get rid of them, they can only pay them out. There are no other deals on the table for Cooper or Hunt. And I havnt heard anything about Slipper. So for the forseeable future they are on the books. On top of that the Reds lost one of their major Coroporate sponsors with the Gentleman being indicted on criminal charges. There fore the Reds balance sheet is looking very, very poor. Their membership is really down. Not quite Woody Graham levels but in the carpark to that ball park. The Reds are not communicating with their fan base, which is why most of them have left.
        The Reds require assistance from RA to meet their current cash flow problems, which is hilarious, because RA isnt that much better financially.
        I am not sure how many other players have back end deals, but generally it is most of the marquee players that do. Maybe some of the other GAGR’s can tell us?

      • Braveheart81

        Beale only got the use of a Range Rover when Folau had it taken away from him. It wasn’t related to a back end deal.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I don’t understand how any decent business person with any sort of business knowledge could even look at spending even more money on a marquee player with 3 getting paid to not play. WTF are those idiots riunning the show up there doing? I’m now waiting for the worldwide carpark search for a new attack coach.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep I hear you. The lawyers cant get them out of the current contract mess, and lord knows they have examined every option! trust me on that one, I know who did the review!
        QRU back end has been a shit fight for decades, and will remain amatuer hour for years to come.
        They have to back Thorn, and he will not back down on this issue, so pay Quade and Hunt they will til the end of 2019. Slipper perhaps even longer, as Thorn will refuse to take him back. Slipper maybe rehomed, but that is at least a 6-12 month proposition!

      • Simon

        Easy answer to that one KRL – there are no decent business people at the QRU.

        Since 2014 they’ve been trying to get the crowds back, but they seem to only have had a single idea to do it – overpay marquee signings in the back half of their careers. When it fails they ditch the coach and/or CEO then do exactly the same thing next season.

        Folau at least still is playing at a high level (notably unlike some of the others) but it wouldn’t matter who they are signing. One player simply can’t win a Super Rugby game and overspending on stars leaves the rest of the team underfunded, so the free market does the rest and pinches the best of the up and coming players.

        Cue another disappointing season, bums not on seats, no money coming in, the up-and-comers head interstate or overseas, the QRU pool their meagre pennies to buy another magic bean for next year and the whole thing starts again.

    • Gareth

      Folau would bring back a couple of thousand supporters to the reds.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Their exiled 10 would bring back more!

        • Gareth

          You just wont give that one up BL – i watched him against GPS last week. He was average.

      • Adrian

        You could say ‘a whole congregation of supporters”…

    • Nutta

      Are you making Kwoffee jokes?

      • Brisneyland Local

        no. My EA just calls it Kwoffee in her sms’s and emails to me. So I have just started using that terminology!

  • Dud Roodt

    Vale Doreen. Very nice the Crusaders were there at her funeral.

    I would just say that I’m not sure a death at 96 is “tragic” per se.

  • Bernie Chan

    Not sure that was supposed to read like that…Cheika loses a #13 and quickly calls up…a hooker (though I’m happy to see TPN back…)? On BLs last point…are there that many cashed up supporters of the QRU that are willing to throw money away…? Surely blokes with that much money are smarter…?

    • Brisneyland Local

      A fool and his money are easily parted!

      • JS

        Could Hillsong front up.

        • Brisneyland Local

          No tax deduction in it for them.

    • Hoss

      never underestimate desperation as a motivator

      • Nutta

        I don’t get the problem? Play TPN at 13! YeeHaa Baby! Defensive issues sorted: snap their first ball runner in the channel and the rest will avoid his channel thereafter

        In 1993 I traveled to Hay to play the Haycutters with the Tah’s out of Wagga. We got there for 3rd grade with 18x Forwards and 1x Back including 9x Front-rowers. So we told the Back (who was a 15 who fancied himself at 10) to play 15 in defence and 10 in attack and we split the Pigs into 2 packs (left side & right side) with the openside role covered by the only U21 on the field (me). But it’s relevant because our solitary Back was worried about us defending at 13 so we just applied a simple old man-on approach with ‘up and in’ by the open Winger. Gold tactic. Smashed them. I actually felt sort of sorry for them towards the end of the 2nd half because no-one of them would run out wide because of it. Something about Backs being adverse to getting hit by a Hooker and a lightweight Lock at the same time… Had a great day.

        • Brisneyland Local

          That would have been great to watch!

        • Nutta

          I still recall it as one of my favourite days ever. I had made Country U19’s that year, had played 1st grade at previous clubs and here I was in this new club and apparently lucky to be in 3rds – so I had a fair ego and my nose way out of joint. Then we get there and taking the field alongside me were 3 guys who had played NPC (admittedly a few years prior, but still…), a couple of ex-Shute Shielders (Paul Barker and I forget the other guy) 1 guy who had played for Queensland (Fred Schwank) and 1 guy who had played for NSW (Simon Tooth) all in some bush 3rd grade team!

          I learnt a lot that season – not just about rugby but about being a man.

        • Keith Butler

          Interesting who you come across on the rugby field. I had similar experience in playing clubs games in London. Not unusual to run across ex internationals who could teach young upstarts a thing or two.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Mate you should write a GAGR article about it. I for one would love to read it!

    • Who?

      That’s exactly the way the RA email about TK and Taf read….
      Yeah, makes so much sense.

      • Bernie Chan

        Symptomatic of the dysfunction at RA (and the QRU)…?
        “Rested on the field…” is gold! You blokes are worth more money…
        What’s the consensus re our Wallas backline? Obviously Foley has to break a leg to miss out and Izzy will be fullback while Cheika is still coach, but will Hodge get a start (we need points…from anywhere!)? Who’ll be the #13 now SK and TK are out…? Seems our backline is as weak as it has been for some time….
        No other Aussie side playing…so c’mon Tahs!

        • Andy

          I think you’ll see Rona start at 13 which I’m not against in principle. I think he’s a solid player and at least there will be some consistency from 9-13. If anything, the tahs backline has been there major streangth this year.

          I would also like to see Banks in the mix. If not in the 15, in the 23

      • Braveheart81

        It doesn’t really. The RA story says that the blow of losing Kuridrani has been eased by the confirmation that TPN will be available for the Bledisloe tests. Above it implies that TPN was only called because Kuridrani got injured.

  • Adrian

    Hmm

    Although the bookies have Crucaders, Highlanders, Hurricanes and Lions winning, I think that it’ll be Crucaders, Tahs, and Jaguars winning, and I’m not sure re Chiefs/Hurricanes.

    I’m not measuring things by last week, but over the second half of the season.

    Tahs and Highlanders rested players last week, but the Tahs guys rested on the field!

    Jags also rested players last week, but they have been in red hot form, whereas the Lions have been up and down.

    Even though the Tahs will miss Hooper hugely, both as a player and leader, last week’s bludgers (Simmons, Foley, Beale, Rona, Folau) will be absolutely stinging.

    Expect intensity for 80 minutes

    Expect a bit more go-forward in pigs, an improved lineout, plenty of aeria, and stunning moves by the backs from set-piece play.

    Beale will be easily the most influential player after his megga-bludge last week. If he is actually sick (as has been reported), then delete everything I’ve said!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Morning Adrian,

      “Tahs guys rested on the field” Love it mate. I don’t think the Tahs have got the mental ability to change if things start going wrong. This to me is their biggest weakness and they don’t appear to be addressing it. I’m also not sure of Phipps as Captain. I think he’s too fiery to be a good leader and won’t offer a calm front. It appears that these are small issues but in a knockout they can quite easily be the difference.

      • Hoss

        I thought Spanners was Captain ?

        • Brisneyland Local

          Spanners is also a passion fingers!
          Dual effect!

        • Missing Link

          Official Title: Captain Passion Fingers

        • Brisneyland Local

          Heaven help us!

        • Hoss

          i am gonna start working on a Tah’s ‘nickname XV’ right now. Lost my motivation for work around 8.30ish today.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure Gold

        • Patrick

          definitely faded a bit towards the end but some gold in there, especially 6 and 7 and we all love 10.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          5.7 at best for 7

      • Adrian

        I think Foley is captain, but that Kepu, Phipps and Beale will help out.

        Sure the Tahs are mentally fragile, but this season they have consistently come back after the odd dud match.

        But KRL, who knows?….I really rate Gibson as a coach that learns from mistakes

        • Brisneyland Local

          I wouldnt let Phips be Capt or VC. Cant pass, pisses on bars, pushes medics in the back, and throws boots! Just the kind of leadership I would be looking for. Hey but then again I am not a Tahs selector! ;-)

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah I think he is and getting rid of Gray has allowed him to develop a defence that works. I just don’t rate the players as high as you. I think both Foley and Beale need a field 80 m wide to stop their crabbing suffocating the outside backs. I still see KB as a 15 more than a 12 and Folau as a right wing not a 15. Right because he can’t pass to the right

    • Brisneyland Local

      So we are expecting Foley to kick at least 30 metres this week, insteadof last weeks 20 metres! That would be a huge improvement! ;-)

      • Hoss

        a 50% KPI improvement – dont you love stat’s – very pliable.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Well Hoss, as you and I have discussed previously. There was detailed scientific research program conducted that found that 87.99878789% of statistics are actually made up on the spot!

      • Adrian

        Forget last week, he was bludging!

        20m accurate kicks to a leaping Northbound Christian will do me!

        I’m thinking releiving and line kicks will be shared with Beale, Folau (a spy told me) and Hegarty

        • Brisneyland Local

          Lets hope so. Because if I was Gibson, my plan would be anyone else other than Foley kicks. Excepts for place kicking!

        • Patrick

          Place kicking within 30m

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah good point.

  • Adrian

    IMO Mafi is the best #8 in the world.

    Lots of people agreed with me until last week.

    Now we are getting lots of people saying that he actually hampered the Rebs, and is best gone.

    He was good, and is good because of great skills, a great physique, and a full–on nasty, vicious streak.

    What do we expect?

    • Brisneyland Local

      Dont disagree. I would have him, but he would be on a short leash, and a no booze contract.
      infact I would have Beale on the same deal too!

      • Gareth

        make him travel with his wife, saw an interview with him saying he is afraid of no-one except his missus

        • onlinesideline

          she knows a special and ancient Japanese method of controlling husbands by grabbing the nuts in a potentially fatal way. The name of it escapes me …..

    • Brumby Runner

      A lot of rationalising goes on when players jump ship. Some Tahs supporters are now saying that Izzy isn’t so great after all and that he won’t be missed. Similarly, a few Brumbies supporters are saying that Naisarani has gone off the boil and that Samu will be a better fit. And just look at the masses of Reds fans who have been putting the hate on Cooper, Hunt and Slipper.

      Personally, I think that if both Nayaravoro and Folau go, then the Tahs will struggle big time next year.

      I also think the Brumbies will miss Isi big time and am very sorry to see him leave. The Reds would clearly be stronger with all their missing players on the field, but that looks to be no chance of happening under Brad Thorn.

    • Keith Butler

      Just read the article in the Age on the Mafi incident. Does not make good reading and Timani’s face is a mess. Looks like more than a fine could be coming Mafi’s way.

  • Brisneyland Local

    There is some merit there Adrian!

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    The only thing missing from that is the need for common sense for each party and I fear that is severely lacking. It would certainly make sense and offers a good way out. Just not sure of QC and Foley in the same team. It would put pressure on each to actually develop their game but I think it would also cause resentment that could be an issue to manage

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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