Friday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News has the Bledisloe squads, the start of the club corner grand finals, the Womens Bledisloe Squads and the final match of World Series Rugby… yeah, this is a bumper edition.

It’s Time…

Photo by Keith McInnes

Photo by Keith McInnes

Normally I’d do a small preview for all the matches this weekend, but I’ve been feeling really strange in the lead up to this match. So I thought I’d get this off my chest, as a rugby fan.

This is the best time of the year for rugby fans here in Australia. It’s that match. It’s that time again, for us to have a crack against the mighty All Blacks. For all the endless digs back and forth, and all the banter we get from Kiwis about how we lose time after time, at least at my work, all the Kiwis know that this is the match that matters. And honestly, it’s great. It’s great that this match is important to both sides, even despite the fact that it’s been so one-sided for so long.

I was nine years old the last time the Wallabies won the Bledisloe Cup. I don’t even have that many memories of it, it was that long ago. And I’ll be honest, I’m in a weird head space about this match this weekend.

In the past, like many of us, I’ve been guilty of going into this yearly fixture with a feeling of blind optimism, thinking that this is the year that we’d finally win back Lord Bledisloe, only to have it thrown back in our face by the darkness. Once again, being shown up. Once again, being outplayed.

But I also am a part of that generation that was lucky enough to catch the tail end of that great Wallaby era of the Nineties and early Noughties. I remember a cold night at ANZ Stadium in 2004, when I went to my first rugby match with my dad, that I watched the Wallabies come back from a halftime deficit to beat the All Blacks 23-18. George Gregan fist-pumping the air as he booted the ball into touch was etched into my brain.

Or that match in Brisbane in 2011, when Radike Samo palmed off Adam Thomson and ran the length of the field to score under the posts.

I’ll be honest, I have no idea what’s going to happen this weekend, but I know I’m not blindly optimistic like in years gone by. It’s been such a rough ride since the last World Cup.  Yes, Ireland and England have been playing some amazing rugby the last few years, but the All Blacks are the best team in the world. You know that’s the case because everyone is always trying to compare themselves to them.

But here’s what I do know. I do know that we have a good team, that has the potential to do great things.

That match in Dunedin last year was unbelievable. That match in Brisbane was even more so. And dare I say it, even though we lost the Ireland series, it was so refreshing to see us play some great, smart, attacking rugby, push a legitimately great side in Ireland and (almost) pulling it off. It said to me: yeah, this Wallabies team can do great things. From reading all the comments, chatting to folks on this website and doing the podcasts, I feel like I’m not the only one that’s feeling this. This is a team that can beat the All Blacks.

So yeah, we’ll have a crack. Maybe this will be the year, maybe not. But win, lose or draw, I reckon this is a Wallabies side that can do great things.

Wallabies Squad: Tom Robertson, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sekope Kepu, Izack Rodda, Adam Coleman, Lukhan Tui, Michael Hooper, David Pocock, Will Genia, Bernard Foley, Marika Koroibete, Kurtley Beale, Reece Hodge, Dane Haylett-Petty, Israel Folau. Reserves: Tolu Latu, Allan Alaalatoa, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Peter Samu, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua, Jack Maddocks

All Blacks Squad: Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Liam Squire, Sam Cane, Kieran Read, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Waisake Naholo, Ben Smith. Reserves: Nathan Harris, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Tim Perry, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Damian McKenzie, Anton Lienert-Brown

Go the Wallabies! 

In the other big match of  the Rugby Championship this weekend, the Springboks will kick off against the Pumas. Many would see the Boks as heavy favourites here. The Pumas didn’t win a single match during the June series, losing two matches convincingly to Wales and one match against Scotland. The performances were so bad, it cost head coach Daniel Hourcade his job.

But surprisingly, Saffa media is wary of the men from South America, for two big reasons. One, not a single South African team was able to beat the Jaguares in Buenos Aires during the Super Rugby season. And two, that was because they were coached by former Wallaby forwards coach and Puma legend Mario Ledesma, who has now taken Hourcade’s job as the Pumas head coach.

I’m still backing the Boks on this one, but that will throw a spanner in the works.

Club Corner

Westharbour 1st Grade v Manly Shute Shield 2014 Rnd 5

The preliminaries are done and dusted. Here we are ladies and gents for a special edition of club corner:

in three club competitions, it’s Grand Final week!

We’ll start in Sunny Queensland, last week’s preliminary final saw GPS hammer the crap out of Easts, winning 52-14 to book a rematch with University of Queensland this weekend. Uni of Queensland have had a well-earned week off, so GPS might have the momentum to spring a surprise win. That being said, Uni of Queensland have been playing like freaks all season, and the prelim result would wake them up even more to the potential threats of that GPS side. Either way, it’s going to be a thriller for the Hospital Challenge Cup at Ballymore.

Grand Final Fixture:

University of Queensland v GPS 

In the other big news out of Queensland, Fox Sports will broadcast the final for the first time ever, with Greg Martin leading the coverage and totally prepared to swoon all over Queensland rugby for an afternoon.

“The code in Queensland can only benefit from this further initiative between our two organisations, which will carry Queensland Premier Rugby’s biggest game of the year into the lounge-rooms of rugby fans across Australia,” he said to

Down in Canberra, the Preliminary Final of the John I Dent Cup at Viking Park last week saw another demolition, with Tuggeranong hammering Gungahlin Eagles 58-7 to book their spot in the grand final this weekend against Royals. Tuggeranong have been the team to beat all season until they went down to Royals in the semis a fortnight ago, so a win this weekend would exactly some sweet revenge on last years Cup winners. Should the Royals win this weekend, they’ll win their first back-to-back titles in 26 years.

Grand Final Fixture:

Royals v Tuggeranong 

Also, shout out to GAGR favourite Brett McKay, who has been working on the live stream down there in national’s capital all season. He should be on hand down at Viking Park this weekend, so be sure to say hello.

It was a similar story last week down in Melbourne. Favourites Melbourne Rugby Club have been dominating all season, but went down to Harlequins in the BLK Dewar Shield semi final a fortnight ago. However, there was to be no repeat last weekend, as they brushed aside Moorabbin 34-7. This sees them have the chance to get some much needed revenge over the Quins. The Harlequins meanwhile will be looking to go back-to-back this year. Considering the two clubs have been the strongest of the last decade, it’s almost no surprise that another final will involve both teams.

Grand Final Fixture:

Harlequins v Melbourne 

Away from Grand Finals, things are heating up in the other club competitions around the land. In WA, the FMG Premiership Division is over and it’s Semi-Finals week, with the winners meeting up in the Grand Final next weekend. Nedlands, Associates, Wests Scarborough and Kalamunda will be throwing their hats in the ring to decide who is the best in the west, so be sure to get along to those two matches this weekend before heading over to NIB Stadium to watch the Force.

Semi-Final Fixtures:

Nedlands v Kalamunda
Associates v Wests Scarborough

It’s qualifying finals week over in Sydney, following the last regular round of the Intrust Super Shute Shield. I found myself down at North Sydney Oval last week on a beautiful day, and watched the Randwick and Norths grades beat the crap out of each other for several hours, before the first grades took to the paddock, with Northern Suburbs cleaning up Randwick 36-19. In other results, West Harbour beat Parramatta 62-7, Southern Districts went down 39-40 to the Rats, Manly and Eastwood drew 27-27, and Sydney University beat Gordon 66-21. 

The result sees the Students, Shoreman, Marlins, Rats, Woodies and Beasties qualify for the top six. With the business end of the season now in full swing, get down to support your team in Sydney.

Qualifying Finals Fixtures:

Sydney University v Eastern Suburbs 
Warringah v Manly 
Northern Suburbs v Eastwood 

And lastly, the final regular round of club rugby this season will be played out in beautiful Adelaide, with the last regular season round of the Coopers Premier Grade. Last week, Burnside defeated Onkaparinga away from home 27-32, Old Collegians defeated Woodville 57-10 and Souths Suburbs went down 19-65 to Brighton. 

This results this weekend won’t make any impact on the final standings of the competition going into the semis next week, with Old Collegians, Brighton, Onkaparinga and Burnside all guaranteed a spot. 

Round Fifteen Fixtures:

Old Collegians v Souths Suburbs 
Woodville  v Burnside 
Brighton v Onkaparinga 

With us on the home stretch for club rugby this year and the NRC only just two weekends away, be sure to get along and support your club rugby teams this weekend. 

The Gals are up

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

It’s a back-to-back Bledisloe this weekend, and the Wallaroos are out to look to grab their first win against the Black Ferns ever. 

The last time there were fixtures like this, our gals got beaten 67-3 in test one, but showed huge signs of improvement in test two, going down 29-3. The girls have had other successes too since then, including defeated Ireland during the Women’s World Cup last year. 

But, much like the Mens Game, the Black Ferns are the team to beat in Women’s Rugby, with England being the only team that comes close to regularly competing against them. 

These are exciting times for the Women’s Game in Australia though. With an outstanding Sevens program, a successful and growing Uni-Sevens competition, a brand new Super W competition, and calls from Raelene Castle to have every test series be back to back affairs for the boys and girls, the Wallaroos could soon be playing a lot more tests. 

Even more so, this weekend’s match will be the first time ever the Wallaroos will be paid to play! 

“We’ve had a really excellent build up to our first match of 2018 and the team is chomping at the bit to get out there and play some rugby,” Coach Dwayne Nestor said to

“I’ve been really impressed with how this team has taken on the detail of the way we want to play and physically worked hard over the last few months – it’s all come together in camp quite well.

“This match is going to be incredibly tough, but it’s a challenge we are really looking forward to.”

The Wallaroos have named five debutantes in the run-on side, with another four off the bench. The Black Ferns are also going for youth, naming five debutantes of their own in their squad.

Wallaroos Squad: Emily Robinson, Liz Patu, Evelyn Horomia, Michelle Milward, Rebecca Clough, Emily Chancellor, Georgia O’Neill, Grace Hamilton, Cobie-Jane Morgan, Trileen Pomare, Sammie Treherne, Crystal Maguire, Atasi Lafai, Mhicca Carter, Mahalia Murphy. Reserves: Darryl Wickliffe, Melissa Fatu, Hana Ngaha, Alisha Hewett, Kiri Lingman, Alice Tonumaivao, Fenella Hake, Shanice Parker.

Black Ferns Squad: Pip Love, Fiao’o Faamausili, Aldora Itunu, Eloise Blackwell, Charmaine Smith, Charmaine McMenamin, Lesley Elder, Aroha Savage, Kendra Cocksedge, Ruahei Demant, Alena Saili, Theresa Fitzpatrick, Stacey Waaka, Renee Wickliffe, Selica Winiata. Reserves: Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, Cristo Tofa, Leilani Perese, Jackie Patea-Fereti, Linda Itunu, Kristina Sue, Krysten Cottrell, Chelsea Alley

 Best of luck this weekend girls! Go the Wallaroos! 

Yar a wizard, Berrick!

Image Credit - Delphy

Image Credit – Delphy

Sorry rugby fans in WA to push you to the fourth news story of the day, but it’s been a big one!

The final match of World Series Rugby kicks off this weekend, and there’s been a lot of fanfare since former Wallabies coach and current Panasonic Wild Knights coach Robbie Deans showed up in Perth. 

The Western Force have got back to winning ways the last two matches, dispatching Samoa 33-5 and defeating a strong Hong Kong outfit 45-24. 

This weekend should prove to be a bigger test for the men from the West, with Deans naming a strong squad including the likes of Berrick Barnes, Akihito Yamada, Shota Horie, Daniel Heenan, Craig Millar and Tom Moloney. 

“It’s going to be huge. We are going to treat it as the biggest challenge we’ve had,” said young Force winger Clay Uyen said to the West Australian.

“They look red hot. As far as competition goes this will be right up there.

“They like to look for work, they play an expansive game, they can pop up anywhere and when you inject their speed it becomes very hard to overcome.

“They are aggressive coming off the line, are fast and come out of nowhere. It’s terrifying.

“We are certainly going to have our work cut out in the back three with Berrick Barnes there.

“We are expecting the wizard to cast his spells.”

The Force will bring in some of their more experienced players from the side that won last week, and will also look to cover injuries to Chris Alcock, Tom Sheminant, Masivesi Dakuwaqa and Rod Davies.

Force Squad: Cameron Orr, Heath Tessmann (vc), Chris Heiberg, Leon Power, Jeremy Thrush, Harrison Orr, Tevin Ferris, Brynard Stander, Ian Prior (c), Andrew Deegan, Brad Lacey, Henry Taefu, Marcel Brache, Clay Uyen, Jack McGregor. Reserves: Feleti Kaiut’u, Harrison Lloyd, Kieran Longbottom, Fergus Lee-Warner, Henry Stowers, Issak Fines, Peter Grant, George Pisi

As good as the Wild Knights roster looks, I think the Force will take this one. They’ve picked up a head of steam over the last few games, and a win over this team will be a perfect way to cap off what has been a really interesting set of games. Force by 10. 

On a side note, Aussie rugby fans in general should watch this game with keen interest, as Twiggy and the lads at Force HQ have hinted for a while that, following this last WSR match, there will be a major announcement regarding the forthcoming Indo-Pacific Rugby Championship. Keep your eyes peeled for that one. 

And lastly, the Force will play one more game next week before the start of the NRC, against the Australian Stockman’s Rugby Union team. Nick H and I recently had a chat to them on the most recent edition of The Dropped Kick-Off (which you can listen to at the top of the page, or here).

WA fans, you should seriously get along to this. The Stockman lads announced their squad earlier this week and I reckon they’ll give the Force a run for their money. 

SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT 2018 FORWARD PACK Join with us in congratulating the #ClubAndCountry players selected to head west and play fixtures against @rugby_wa Under 19’s and @westernforce We’re proud of every squad member who has sacrificed time and money for this experience and look forward to going into camp, in Perth on the 18th August. Stockman Rugby has a two fold selection process. The first is to alert rugby unions Australia wide for player recommendations and advertise for any interested players to submit a rugby resume. The second is to directly select players from club and country competitions. This selection process levels the playing field and presents an opportunity for players hungry enough to seize the opportunity. We believe this represents one of the biggest amateur rugby opportunities in recent times. #ForClubAndCountry #ThisOneGoesToTheHungry #WellDoneLads #Stockies4Life #GrassRootsRugby Powered By: BLK Global, Hertz Australia Hyatt Regency Perth, Bayside Physiotherapy and Athletes Gel.

A post shared by Stockman Rugby Union (@stockmanrugby) on pm PDT


SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT 2018 BACK LINE & SUPPORT STAFF Join with us in congratulating the #ClubAndCountry players selected to head west and play fixtures against @rugby_wa Under 19’s and The @westernforce. We’re proud of every squad member who has sacrificed time and money for this experience and look forward to going into camp, in Perth on the 18th August. Stockman Rugby has a two fold selection process. The first is to alert rugby unions Australia wide for player recommendations and advertise for any interested players to submit a rugby resume. The second is to directly select players from club and country competitions. This selection process levels the playing field and presents an opportunity for players hungry enough to seize the opportunity. We believe this represents one of the biggest amateur rugby opportunities in recent times. #ForClubAndCountry #ThisOneGoesToTheHungry #WellDoneLads #Stockies4Life #GrassRootsRugby Powered By: BLK Global, Hertz Australia Hyatt Regency Perth, Bayside Physiotherapy and Athletes Gel.

A post shared by Stockman Rugby Union (@stockmanrugby) on

The Stockman will play the Western Force U/19s on August 20, while playing the Force’s main squad on August 25th. Be there or be square.

  • Archie

    Thanks for the write up Nick, plenty of passion there. Agree… it has the makings of a cracker between two fantastic sides. Can’t wait.

    Best of luck.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Come on, a Wallabies win would be a huge upset. Still, it’s definitely possible I guess!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Yes and yes mate. It’d take both them playing well and the ABs having an off day but it could happen

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        That’s really the main difference. The Wallabies can play their best and still lose, whereas if the All Blacks play their best they will win.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          At the moment I think so mate

  • Alister Smith

    Thanks for the write-up Nick. I think Sio’s injurying weakens us a little but hope Robertson does well. Also, though not a huge Hannigan fan (think he is improving with age and maturity) I wonder if the selection of Samu and Simmons gives us much coverage if there is an injury to Tui (198) then we limit our lineout (and scrum weights) a fair bit with three shorter flankers (Hooper 182, Pocock 183, Samu 185). I am sure we have a plan to allow for it but a little unbalanced I think.

    • Fatflanker

      This’ll be the acid test for Tom Robertson. The Kiwis know we’re starting to regard our scrum as a potential weapon and in true AB style they’ll have prepared to knock us down a peg or two. If he can stand his ground in this game, he’ll have made a big statement.

    • disqus_NMX

      Robertson held his own against the Irish scrum, he shouldn’t be losing much sleep about the All Blacks. I’m looking forward to Tupou taking them apart.

      • Alister Smith

        Tupou’s injury in training cost us.

  • Damo

    KRL, I hope as many people as possible follow your lead and get there for the girl’s test as well. This dual test scheduling is a fantastic idea. Unfortunately distance relegates me to being part of the TV audience. Many, many years ago our club Under 19 grand final was scheduled as the curtain raiser to a test match. Few of us had played in front of a crowd anything like it. An awesome experience.
    Looking forward to 2 x Gold wins.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Absolutely mate. Personally looking for 2 black wins but there you go

      • Missing Link

        The only double black at ANZ stadium will be the bottles of Smirnoff pre-mix at the bar :P

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Not a bad option

        • Fatflanker

          KRL can console himself with two wattle-gold XXXXs.

        • Kiwi rugby lover


  • Bakkies

    Good to see de Clyne’s tenure at the NAB get a kicking at the Royal Commission and Twiggy again outsmarting the RA by appointing Gus Pichot as Fortescue Latin America’s CEO.

    There is a consistent story going around in regards to a Kiwi side being included in WSR rumoured to be North Harbour or Taranaki.

    • Who?

      Twiggy did what?! Man, that bloke’s no mug!

      • Bakkies

        Yeah he named Pichot as his LA CEO. Brett Robinson threw his toys out of the cot asking Pichot to declare his potential conflict of interest (that is considering the RA is full of that) at an IRB ExCom meeting in March. It looks like Fortescue will sponsor the new Latin American competition that is due to start soon.

        In other news in the Terrorgraph they are reporting that Penrith are back in the Shute Shield as they had been discussing with Twiggy about becoming a feeder side for a potential Western Sydney WSR side. Love it.

        • onlinesideline

          lol Penrith – amazing what a bit of comptition does

        • Bakkies

          Amazing what a bit of control does. The SRU don’t want to hand over control of Penrith to Twiggy.

        • disqus_NMX

          lol, unbelievable! Easily fixed though, just start a new club with the same name.

        • Bakkies

          Mate I don’t know if you saw Twiggy’s interview at the Force match against the Wild Knights. He put the boot in to the RA for their lack of being bothered about western Sydney and the injustice going on with the game there. He all but confirmed that he will be putting a side there next year.

          Twiggy doing the RA’s job for them.

    • onlinesideline

      Twiggy will wear down the RA with one good move, after the other, after the other, after the other. His cash reserves are bottomless, his business acumen has been honed in the fiercest of global markets, his experience in the art of war is extensive. RA picked the wrong dude to get abrasive with. They will have to bend extensively eventually, its just a matter of time. And considering SR is a dead man walking, Twiggy has more time than the RA do too.

      • Bakkies

        There is no trust in the RA. Clubs are speaking to Twiggy themselves to help with their future planning and development as they get no assistance from the RA.

        They just don’t get how bad things are.

        Twiggy has them over a barrel and it is beautiful.

        • onlinesideline

          amazing – its rugby’s cricket moment it seems

        • Bakkies

          Absolutely. As Alan Jones said in his destruction of de Clyne ‘$770 million over ten years and what do you have to show for it?’

    • Missing Link

      You really get off on this shit don’t you Bakkies? It seems like great thing now doesn’t it, but I can assure you if all of this results in the destruction of rugby in Aus then Twiggy will be as popular as Clyne is at a WSR game. Be careful what you wish for.

      • Bakkies

        Of course I do. The RA dug their own grave now they have got to lie in it. They destroyed the game in Australia, don’t worry about Twiggy.

        Twiggy is doing what should have been done years ago.

        Most Rugby people outside of Melbourne would like to see the RA get torn up and start from scratch. Start living up to their title. You can’t be parasitical arséholes forever.

        • Missing Link

          I’m only going to correct you on your last sentence, it should read “Most Rugby people in Western Australia…” and by “Most people” I mean just a few like yourself who thrive on negativity.

        • Bakkies

          You just don’t get it do you? There is plenty of resentment in NSW and the ACT towards the RA.

        • Missing Link

          On the contrary Bakkies, you just don’t get it. You want the governing body of rugby in Australia to be destroyed, just think about the consequences of that for a moment. Also, do you have evidence of all this resentment in NSW and ACT?

        • Bakkies

          Nah you are deluded. You just don’t get the resentment the Sydney clubs have towards the RA. The Community Rugby allocations are also atrocious.

          I know of at least two organisations that are in discussion with Twiggy or have plans to talk to him soon. That’s all I can say at this stage.

        • Missing Link

          Fair enough mate, I wish I had as much knowledge and connections as yourself. How is that senate inquiry going by the way? I’m sure they’re busy discussing the indiscretions committed against WA in between racist speeches, tears, group hugs, whale watching and other taxpayer rorts.

        • Perth girl

          Twiggy is Rugby’s Kerry Packer

        • Missing Link

          Aussie rugby is fragile enough without a bolshevik style revolution. We have enough trouble with our market being destroying by the rampaging NZRU we don’t need to eat ourselves to death. If Twiggy truly believes in Aus Rugby, he will successfully negotiate a joint venture with RA and move forward, if he sets out to bankrupt RA and destroy everything else in favour of WA/Force then he’s no Kerry Packer, he’s just Clyne in a different suit. We need to be united and cohesive, win back the Bledisloe, start beating foreign opposition at both provincial and national level and the World Cup (next year would be nice). Over to you Mr. Forrest.

        • Bakkies

          So how can Twiggy have a joint venture with the RA when they stick 50 conditions on him that he has comply and blocked his competition by causing delays?

          You talk about ignited. How can you be ignited sorry united when you are screwed and/or pissed off?

          You can spin it all you want as you sound like a swing voter but really you are an apologist at heart.

        • Missing Link

          Just wait until the Super Rugby contract is up and I’m sure it will happen, RA in bed with Twiggy making sweet Australian Rugby love *wokka wokka bow*

          I’m not a swing voter, nor am I an apologist, however I can tell you my heart says that we don’t need any lynch mobs running around with pitch forks at the ready. I support all Aussie rugby including WSR and the Force, maybe you should follow my lead and lose your prejudice for the good of the game here.

        • Bakkies

          Like I said you can twist it around and be deluded all you want. The ship has sailed and the RA sunk their lot in with the Rabble, back handed board appointments and over paying under achieving players.

          Rugby can’t afford to wait till 2021 SARU have already done the RA over by moving two cut teams to Europe rather than shrinking to greatness, 50 million was turned down, the RA have blocked Twiggy’s comp and de Clyne is still chairman.

          Give it up Twiggy has just wound up. The RA had their chance so they will never be united.

        • John_R


          I can feel the seething rage pouring off this comment. I’m sorry you are so upset, and there’s plenty to be upset about, lord knows it, but I think maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you just took a step back from all this stuff, and just got that stress out of your life for a while, and then come back with a clear mind.

        • Bakkies

          Easy to say when you are celebrating with MRRU and Moore Park mates.

          As Twiggy says you will ‘win the battles but you won’t win the war.’

        • John R

          I thought you might take it that way, that;s all good man.

          Just ask yourself this though:

          How much time do you spend a day, thinking about rugby, reading about rugby, and most importantly, commenting and responding to comments on rugby?

          I don’t expect you to publish an answer of course, but I’m guessing it’s a decent amount, and surely that’s taking precious time away from work and your personal life.

          It’s just a game after all mate, it’s meant to be enjoyed. Don’t take that to mean you can’t take up issues, as there are plenty to be taken up, but it shouldn’t consume your life and send you into fits of rage either.

        • Bakkies

          Quiet frankly John how much time I spend fighting the injustice caused by your mates, talking about the game itself and my personal life is none of your business. It is certainly far less than your mate Cameron aka TWAS spends on defending the clown college.

          You talk about it is only a game well I tell you one thing your mates’ actions and lack of self awareness are taking it away from the game’s future and the present particularly in areas where it needs to grow.

          Don’t get me started on how your mates treat country Rugby. The game needs more Shaun Mackins, Twiggy Forrests rather than Cameron de Clyne and Tim North who are only in it for themselves.

        • John R

          God bless.

        • Parker

          It appears, John, that you are a stranger to passion

        • John R
        • Who?

          RA can’t have a Bolshevik revolution. Our game’s governance isn’t modern enough for us to understand Bolshevism. RA’s run by people who are completely inept in everything bar secret school tie handshakes, who have no connection with the broader game in the country, and who have long preserved power structures that inhibit the game. Look at the power structures in Rugby and compare them to the AFL, the NRL. We live in a feudal state, governed by suzerains who have no capacity to force their vassals into compliance (i.e. RA can’t force the NSWRU or QRU to do anything), and who are completely disengaged from the grassroots (i.e. us serfs!). So we all pull in different directions, and no one is happy.
          The game actually needs a French revolution, rather than a Bolshevik revolution. An overturning of entrenched, disengaged but yet ultimately powerless figureheads. Ideally leading to a true republic, rather than the reign of terror, but that’s down to the leadership currently in place. If the outcome ultimately meant that Twiggy stepped in as Napoleon (I don’t see him as Robespierre), there’s worse outcomes. Like staying as Russia, without a revolution, and with Serfdom for another 70 years, falling further behind the rest of the world.

        • qwasimodo

          Love an extensive historical analogy. Down with Louis XVI! Vive la revolution!

        • Who?

          You would shout that from up in that tower! :-P

        • John_R
        • Perth girl

          That’s completely shit! Anyway I’m over ARU, RA whatever they call themselves. I hope they rot in hell. I’m focusing on Twiggy’s long term plans

        • John_R

          I understand it doesn’t make things any easier to swallow or remove any of the damage. But hopefully this at least is a closure of this ugly chapter, and we can all focus our energy on enlightening our countrymen
          and women about how the game played with the oval ball in a rectangular field with 15 folks on the field, is the one true code.

          All the best.

        • Missing Link

          That’s the spirit!

        • Bakkies

          ASIC can only investigate in to breaches of the Corporation Act.

          On the topic of de Clyne the buffoon hasn’t been sighted since the annual report was released.

        • Missing Link

          told you so, a great big nothingburger

          but apparently Clyne was going to rot in jail

        • disqus_NMX

          There’s resentment in every state in Australia, mate. The old boys clubs of RA, NSWRU, and QLDRU are infuriating to large slabs of the rugby community. The whole lot needs to be torn up and restarted with a decent constitution, and democratic accountability.

        • Bakkies

          Agreed 100% NMX and more importantly with decent hard working people who are in it for the greater good not the Friends of Sydney University Football Club.

          How many of them are at the coalface talking to their main stakeholders fans who put their money in to the game about the state of the game. I doubt they ever think about the children.

      • Perth girl

        What are you complaining about ML, Twiggy just helped Penrith get back into the Shute Shield surely thats a good thing!!

  • juswal

    Welcome to Day 300 of the Wallabies’ dominant streak against the All Blacks. It’s nearly a whole year since they were last able to beat us. Long may our reign continue.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Pure Gold!

    • Bakkies

      Is this like the Waratahs being ten years in to their four year plan?

      • juswal

        The numbers are real, Bakkies. Historical facts.

    • Fatflanker

      I almost feel sorry for them!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hahahaha go you mate

    • Hoss

      Now THAT’s what i am talking about !!!

  • Nicholas Wasiliev

    It’s great to see the back-to-back Bledisloe tests becoming a thing, and seeing the boys and girls playing.
    Elaborating further, Raelene suggesting that every June series should be back-to-back tests with the boys and girls is honestly a great idea.
    The big thing that has held the girls back in the past is the lack of game time, and that’s been the case for both teams this weekend.
    During their entire history, the Wallaroos have only played 49 tests. The Black Ferns aren’t much better, with 88 tests. Considering how much their Northern counterparts play, having a regular test schedule should see both sides develop in leaps and bounds.
    Add in all the domestic expansion happening on and off the field, and I reckon we could see the Women’s Game explode in this part of the world in a few years

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Absolutely Nick. This is a great initiative

  • Damo

    It would have been so interesting to be a fly on the wall when the Wallaby coaches and senior players sat down to develop the game plan for this 1st B test- assuming the game does actually change from time to time and such a strategy session takes place. assuming also that this meeting would take place before the 23 is actually selected.
    To my mind the wallabies would have 2 core approaches (keeping in mind of course “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”).
    The first is the one we seem to have seen most often in the past couple of years. Get some initial parity in set pieces and to a lesser extent the breakdown and then move the ball helter skelter left to right, looking to create wide channel opportunities for Izzy, Koroibete et al. It is high risk, high reward rugby. It is also, I think how Cheik & co like to play the game. If we’re honest it hasn’t really been that successful over the last couple of years and has been well managed successively by England, Ireland, Scotland and the AB’s. The opposition apply defensive pressure and our skills fall down. And it is this approach that has drawn the most criticism re us not having a Plan B when it doesn’t work.
    The 2nd approach requires an aggressive fierce mindset. We take on the AB’s in the narrow channels and I don’t mean just in the first few minutes. We have to take ownership of the collisions. Of course the set pieces still need at least parity or better. Also, playing the AB’s, the D line needs to be rock solid. Unlike Scotland or Ireland the All Blacks will always be looking to play with ball in hand.Then, when the opportunities come in the wider channels we take them.
    This should not be rocket science, and in B3 last year and Ireland 1 this year we did this. What I think is important is that using this approach against the All Blacks we are less likely to have the game run away from us – and can stay in the contest until late in the game.
    These are just the musings of an old timer and 3 things come to mind
    Why do we not use this approach more often?
    Getting the ascendancy we need against the All Blacks will be (and always is) bloody difficult.
    Have we picked the right team to play this way? if we have, will they have the controlled aggression required on the day. Michael Hooper is not the guy you need to smash the breakdown, but he is certainly the guy you need to take advantage of the scraps that ensure- and link with a backline that can be lethal. However, is he sufficiently match fit to provide that resource for 80 mins. He will need to. The rest of the forward pack plus reserves can do the job I think.
    We will see. That’s all.

    • Braveheart81

      I absolutely agree we need to get over the gain line in tight through our forwards. It has to be the basis for any game plan. We need our forwards to work hard to re-align in their pods and come round the corner etc. to give Genia quick options. Getting that initial one or two phase punch over the advantage line is key to our chances. After that we can go wider and look to make breaks. Each time we lose our momentum we need to go back to that tactic. Patience is the key here and it is an area where the All Blacks tend to be so clinical. They don’t squander a break by trying to score on the next phase if the opportunity isn’t there. They punch it up again to get the defence on the back foot and create another opportunity.

      I disagree with you on Hooper and smashing the breakdown. I think he is close to our best with 1 on 1 cleanouts to secure our breakdown. His technique is excellent.

      I think we’ve picked the best team we have available (and very few of our best aren’t available). It will take a substantial upset to win but I think we’re better positioned to do it than we have been for a couple of years. This team is definitely on the up.

      • Damo

        I am a Hooper fan. I just think his exceptional speed for a backrower can provide another dimension to the Wallabies attack if used effectively. We also need him firing on all cylinders to shut down Mackenzie in the last 15-20 mins.

    • Happyman

      I expect this game to be pretty chippy if it is as close as I expect. The Wallabies and will pretty fired up and based on the evidence of the last test in Brisbane the AB’s did not respond well to that sort of physical challange. The biggest problem for the Wallabies is the threat posed by the AB second row they provide the space for all of the other things that happen.

      i am pretty happy with the team with the exception of Nick (I have photos of Cheika) Phipps and Maddocks.

      I would have preferred Gordan and Banks

      Bring on Saturday

    • Brisneyland Local

      Damo, some really good points there. My points of concern are as follows:
      1. The AB’s like the Crusaders, can attack whilst defending. They gain ground whilst defending, which leaves the WB’s prone to using clearing kicks by a kicker who cant tonk it more than 30m. This leaves us still under pressure. (this is based on Foley kicking, if Hodge takes those kicks or Toomua which should gain enough yardage).
      2. The AB’s treat possession as a golden object and dont give it away unless they absolutely have to or it is forced by jackling. We seem to kick it away on a whim.
      3. The AB’s counter attack is brutal, they can make something from nothing very quickly. Generally before their opposition can re-orientate. If they run at our weak defenders before they can be hidden, this creates gaps and quick play that we often cant recover from.
      4. Discipline. This is one area where whilst we are improving, still struggle with. If we infringe inside our half, that is three points.
      5. Decision making. Whilst Willy G and David Pocock are on the field they can generally guide Hooper to making correct decisions. Taking the points on offer instead of going for touch etc etc. Heaven forbid, someone taking a quick tap again.

      • Damo

        BL, momentum in every sport, but particularly collision sports, is everything. The All Blacks are masters at gaining game momentum and just importantly getting momentum back if they have lost. They do it by going back to basics, doing it well and then pouncing on the opportunities when they arise. Regrettably in recent years we have too much been guilty of giving it away by poor skills execution or poor decision making. All of your points, well made, I think go to getting or relinquishing momentum. If we handle each of these to our advantage- for 80mins- we probably win.

        • Brisneyland Local

          The Big Mo!

    • Parker

      Couldn’t agree more about Approach2. We won’t win by picking through their defences. We have to break them in body and resolve. Smash them relentlessly and give no quarter. It will be a test of our commitment, desire and determination.

  • Happyman

    Enjoy KRL I hope the Beer is cold the banter is intelligent and you go home disappointed with both results having watched some tremendous Rugby.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Like it all except the result mate. I’m sure it’ll be fantastic

  • Adrian

    Thanks Nick, thoughtful, measured write-up.

    As mentioned previously this week, a win is possible. Form from previous years (about 7 wins out of 40 matches), form in Sydney (poor last 2 years), NZ stronger in SR etc is irrelevant.

    It’s about THIS game.

    IMO we match kiwis in most areas. We are behind in the locks department, but only just.

    Many would say we are behind in the centres, but I’m not sure. So long as our other areas can hold their own, I think our attack (orchestrates by Beale) will find holes in the NZ centres, especially on the back of forward momentum created by Kepu, TPN, Coleman, Tui, and later Tuopo, Latu, Alaalatoa.

    That’s a lot of go forward.

    I see Folau and Korebette feeding off Beale in set-piece moves, and whenever the defence pauses for a split second because Beale has the ball.
    Hodge is an ideal opportunist for a game like this.
    Foley will get the ball to Beale quickly, and back up breaks and feed Folau and Korebette as well.

    In defence, I think we will play a simplified rotation, with Hooper and/or Pocock driving up quickly from the 10/12 channel to herd herd the NZ centres in tight. Beale will tackle ok, but will steal/intercept ball as well.

    All good:….

    … they go out there with an intense mindset.
    Dig fingernails in with every tackle, and don’t let go.
    Strain extra hard with that run.
    Keep going a bit longer, even if exhausted.
    Get up even if tired.
    Don’t take “easy options”, like knock down or hands in the ruck.

    Remember, we have guys like Tuopo, Latu, TPN, Kepu, Pocock, Hooper, Beale, Folau who can do things their guys can’t do,…. even if they can’t do everything.

    Finally they are all in the team, whereas in previous years we had key missing players because of injury, sabbatical leave or playing OS

    Bring it on!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Love that optimism mate. Personally I think the ABs are much stronger in all round play from 10 out. Some of your players have exceptional specific skills but are weak in other areas and that can be exploited. I agree that this is a very strong Wallabies and while I think it’ll be close I’m going ABs by 12

      • Brisneyland Local

        It pains me to admit, but I think you are right. I also think the AB’s are a far more cohesive unit. They mentally know 10 mins to go on the clock, down by 7 that they can still win the game. We lack that mindset.

    • Ed

      I have been waiting for Mr Optimism and you have not disappointed Adrian.
      Are you saying that Coleman and Rodda are just behind the best locking combo of this decade? Coleman and Rodda have the potential but they have not been doing it for the length of time to back up your statement. Whitelock and Retallick are among the best few in the world. Coleman could make the World 3rd XV.

      You mentioned go-forward, well we are missing the most and third most run metres from last year’s pack on Saturday – McMahon and Sio. Hooper was second of the forwards. So our pack have to play to a standard they have rarely done.

      They have players like Taylor, Retallick, Read, Barrett, Ioane, Naholo, B.Smith, S. Barrett, Savea and McKenzie who do things our guys can’t do.

      We have previously missing players starting this weekend, but the ABs have Moody, Franks, Retallick, Beauden and B.Smith starting in the side after missing Brisbane last year.

      I hope Beale tackles better than he did in SR this year – third worst at 3.3 missed tackles a game.

      There have been improvements in our sides this year – both in SR and the June test series – but I cannot understand this blind optimism my fellow Aussies have about Saturday. If we had been more consistent I could understand. Hopefully the team will prove me wrong by 2200 on Saturday.

      • Adrian

        I don’t see lots of optimism Ed.

        Every article I’ve read tips the ABs, as do the vaste majority in blogs

        Most articles have start of between 4 and 7 to Wallabies.

        Bookmakers give Wallabies 10.5.

        I do think Coleman and Rodda are nearly as good as their NZ counterparts, but obviously not as good. That’s my opinion

        Compared to last year, our go-forward should be much improved, even without McMahon.

        TPN beats Moore hands down.
        Kepu is in form
        Tuopu beats everyone
        Latu is no slouch
        Roda isn’t there for go-forward, but he gives more than Simmons.
        The way our team is picked, there will be at least 3 heavy runners on the field at any one time. IMO these type of runners, all of whom can offload provide an ideal platform for attacking backs

        • Hoss

          And the one thing not getting much air time at all. We are fitter than ever before – certainly since the RWC 15 and we saw what that did (defensive effort v the Northern Kiwi’s anyone), which leads to better skills better mindset, clarity & decision making under duress.

          Wallabies by 6

        • Adrian

          Fitness, form, Pocock, and no Moore are all plusses Hoss

        • disqus_NMX

          The Irish series also showed that we’ve cleaned up our defence and lineouts over last year. Izzy took stealing the re-starts to a new level (sure he got pinged for it, but I’d imagine he’s fixed that part of the technique by now). Our scrums are now dominant. Tupou grows to new levels every month, and I’d be surprised if he isn’t starting tests before this series is done. We have definitely improved in quite a few facets over last year, and have had a much better preparation this year.

        • Ed

          Thanks Adrian.
          I hope your prediction is closer for tomorrow than your’s from last year.

          Our MSM – Smith in the Oz, Decent and Robinson at the SMH, Doran at Foxsports (I am unsure about the Terror boys) have been more bullish than not about our chances on Saturday. They have been providing great PR material for RA and the Wallabies.

        • Adrian

          Yes Ed, last year was a bit off in game 1, but in the end I predicted the series 2:1,…much the same % as most in the room.
          What threw me wasn’t the fitness, but the most complicated defence rotation ever seen! It didn’t work, and has never been used again in such a complicated way,.. though simple versions are used by us and others.

          Yes, the media in the tent are sort of pro Australia, but I know it’s their job

        • Who?

          Adrian, you know I’m not the most positive Wallaby fan out there. But I think your level of optimism is about right this year. I’m not confident of a win, but I’m way less pessimistic than this time last year. Last year, I rated us no chance. This year, they’re still favourites, but we’ve got a shot.

    • McWarren

      Nice call of the required tactics Adrian. I don’t quite share your optimism but that might be self defence on my part. My other issue with your tactics is pedantic but important. You don’t herd AB players you shepherd them!! A big hook rather than a stock whip.

  • Hoss

    I cant stands it no more.

    Its like a week of flirting on e-harmony.

    You’ve lied about your weight, your past, your likes and dislikes. You’ve posted photos of yourself from the 80’s, a younger, thinner you, when the world hadn’t taken such a heavy toll on your weary soul.

    You had the entrees, politely eaten a smaller main so you don’t look like a glutton, had the trendy desert which seems like some poor fruit ripped from the tree at age 18 minutes, drowned in some sugary shit and served on a plate the size of Bert Newtons face. You’ve suffered the wine, the stories, fained interest in whimsical tails of yore – its time, its time to get real and get it on.

    Sweaty bodies heaving, pulses racing, unplanned physicality, delights, disasters, planned moves and improvisation.

    Its time to take these mythical Nearly All Blacks down a peg you golden boys and give them a fucking that will leave them with a mental limp, an emotional scar for a long time to come.

    Advance Australia Fair !

    • onlinesideline

      e-harmony ? – WTF is that ??? – Try !

      • Hoss

        where men use love to get sex and women use sex to get love…..

        • Brisneyland Local

          You are on fire!

        • onlinesideline

          Your the dead set Bill Burr of Oz.

        • McWarren

          I’ve just quoted that Mr Hoss. I’ll come clean though I claimed it as my own. Now I know why we don’t use our realish names.

        • Hoss

          I like to walk amongst the common man mate – my gift to you.

        • Greg

          don’t use realish names! What? Oops!

      • Funk

        Old man’s tinder!!!:)

      • Brisneyland Local

        What the hell is that?

        • onlinesideline

          Here in Buda they dont know what box means in Oz.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Hilarious. I didnt think you needed that kind of thing in Buda. Last time I was there beautiful women fell out of tress, and bought you drinks!

        • onlinesideline

          A hungarian girl buying you a drink ???
          I was going to suggest you were here pre-1989 but even then I cant imagine that ever happening. Not because they are tight, they just dont have any money. These poor buggers are stone motherless broke. How these girls survive on 500 Euros a month and still look georgeous, cute, sexy and well mannnered and lady like is beyond me.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Sorry I should have said offering to buy you a drink. They dont have any money you are spot on there. Buda, the only place a 6’8″ shrek look a like has women lining up to have a drink with him! ;-)

        • onlinesideline

          You could always jump on an Air NZ flight. Aside from being No 1 in world rugby, kiwi women are also proud no 1’s in something else too.

        • Hoss

          With their men chasing sheep, they have to find love somewhere mate.

        • McWarren

          Ah the summer of 96!! The memories, the itches, they’re all flooding back

        • Brisneyland Local

          Mate you must have been there. Because it was 96. How scary!

        • Hoss

          i was 93-94, we maybe shared a rash ??

        • Brisneyland Local

          POssibly. It is was Hoss size and strength it probably hung around that long! ;-)

        • McWarren

          Budapest was big enough for the two of us mate.

        • Brisneyland Local

          MAte I do take up a lot of space! ;-)

        • Nutta

          ’97. I now know to blame you bastards all.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Hang on! I resemble that comment!

    • Brisneyland Local

      Just sprayed my cup of tea all over the desk!
      Pure Gold!

    • Parker

      I’ll never again be able to have dessert at one of those restaurants without seeing Moonface leering at me. Pure gold.

    • laurence king

      Bloody brilliant.

    • Gun

      Not really the Black Ferns either, the little shrub is white!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Gold mate. Good luck But………..

  • John_R
    • Greg

      There is a difference between “we are pissed off” and “you broke the law”

  • Mica

    But, but Stevie said we’re favourites. :)

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    I agree mate. Not sure Beale is the threat you think at 12. He needs more space to reach his potential and tends to crab to try and get it at 12. Toupo is good but lacks experience and still makes too many poor decisions. He’ll only get better though.
    Rock on Saturday

  • Adrian

    No Moore
    No unfitness
    No massively complicated defence system
    No players out of form
    No inferiority complex
    No one missing out of Pocock, Genia, Beale, Folau
    No one like Tuopo

    These are the big differences from last year

    • Brisneyland Local

      Same shit coach. Same shit Phipps. same shit Foley. Can you tell I am in an extra positive mood!

      • Adrian

        You were right BL

        • Brisneyland Local

          I hate being right when we lose.


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

More in Rugby