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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

In our 250th edition of Friday’s Rugby News, we discuss our squad to take on the Welsh, more spin, a review under lock and key and more complaints about the lineout.


Squadin’

Image courtesy of World Rugby

Image courtesy of World Rugby

The November Internationals continue this weekend, with the Wallabies entering the dragon pit to take on Wales. 

While we’ve stacked up a thirteen match winning streak against the Welsh over the last decade, many folks are convinced that given our poor form, that record is looking more likely than ever to come to an end this week.

It’s a weird record to have as well, as so many times the match has been decided by less than seven points.

Michael Cheika has made a couple of surprising changes to the squad, including dropping Marika Koroibete out of the team entirely to make way for Samu Kerevi, Jack Dempsey comes into the side and relates Ned Hanigan to the bench, while the Leicester contingent in Tatafu Polota-Nau and Matt Toomua come into the reserves.

However, the most controversial move is the decision to retain Tolu Latu in the squad, despite the fact that in the last two tests for the Wallabies, he’s been sin-binned for losing his temper. Add to that, during this season he wasn’t even the Waratahs starting hooker.

The Scarlets meanwhile have made three changes of their own to the squad that defeated Scotland last weekend, with Tomas Francis, Adam Beard and Josh Adams coming into the side. These guys were instrumental in Wales’ clean sweep of the Pumas during the June series, so expect them to have a big impact on the squad.

Wallabies Squad: Dane Haylett-Petty, Israel Folau, Samu Kerevi, Kurtley Beale, Sefa Naivalu, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, David Pocock, Michael Hooper (c), Jack Dempsey, Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda, Allan Alaalatoa, Tolu Latu, Scott Sio. Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sekope Kepu, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Ned Hanigan, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua, Jack Maddocks.

Wales Squad: Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Gareth Anscombe, Gareth Davies, Ross Moriarty, Justin Tipuric, Dan Lydiate, Alun Wyn Jones (c), Adam Beard, Tomas Francis, Ken Owens, Nicky Smith. Reserves: Elliot Dee, Rob Evans, Dillon Lewis, Cory Hill, Ellis Jenkins, Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar, Liam Williams.

This is going to be a difficult match, and god help us for the rest of the year if we start this with a loss. Raelene Castle has said that 3/3 will be a ‘pass’ for the Wallabies, so this not only has to be a win, but a more positive performance to give the players the belief that they can string those performances together.

I’m still going to back the Wallabies though. Wales are a genuine threat, but it was a hardly convincing performance against Scotland last week. Wallabies by 4 or less, because that’s how all these games go.

There are many other games this weekend, so we’ll start in Florence, where the Azzuri will kick off their November season against the rising European power of Georgia. The teams have only ever met once, with the Italians prevailing. However, Georgia are currently ranked higher in the world than the Italians, so anything is possible with that one.

Next up, Scotland will be hosting Fiji at Murrayfield, their second game of the season after their loss in Cardiff last week. Following that will arguably be the biggest drawcard of the round, when England host the All Blacks at Twickenham. It’s a pity this match didn’t happen eighteen months ago when England were in unbelievable form, but hey, this one should still be interesting.

After the Wales-Australia match, the USA will be hosting Samoa, Ireland will play their second match of the Internationals when they host the Pumas in Dublin, and finally, the last match sees the Springboks head to Paris for a fixture against France. And that one kicks off at 7am in the morning, so quite a respectable time actually.

Enjoy your rugby this weekend folks, and remember, if you get angry and feel the urge to put your foot through the telly, remember it’s only a game…

Searching for the Holy Grail

Nathan Grey

Nathan Grey

It’s test time once again, and beforehand comes the spin.

The lads have been at camp in Cardiff for the last few days, and have welcomed the return of veteran hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau to the squad.

Polota-Nau’s return comes at a great time for the squad, according to Folau Fainga’a, with the veteran imparted some much-needed knowledge on his younger counterparts.

“He’s a lot (of help) for us, especially for myself and Tolu,” he said to rugby.com.au.

“The experience he has playing over here as well and just for us, helping us heaps with our set piece when he comes back.”

With plenty of questions around Australia’s hookers, Folau admitted that it’s time for both him and Tolu Latu (who was selected as the run-on hooker) to step up.

“I think from us hookers we’ve got to take more ownership of that as well.

“It’s just doing more extras and hitting those spots during the week so we can take it into the game really.”

Fainga’a has admitted as well that he has become increasingly driven to play for the Wallabies, particularly considering the family support behind him. Among the folks who get up to regularly watch him play is his 94-year-old great grandmother Palolo.

“Obviously my family back home is my motivation,” he admitted.

“I’ve got a great-grandmother still alive, she’s always crying every time she sees me on television.

“She just sees my face and she just bawls out crying and even when I FaceTime her, it’s the same thing.

“They’re my motivation for the Spring Tour.”

Fainga’a’s enthusiasm has also not been lost on the more senior players, with David Pocock singling him out for praise.

“I was very impressed with his growth and his form through the Brumbies season, (where he) obviously earned the opportunity here (in Wallabies camp) and step up how he has,” he said.

“There’s plenty to learn and I guess he’s shown just how much he wanted to learn and we’re starting to see that in his game.

“The young hookers we’ve got coming through can be around for a long time, it’s very exciting.”

While the young guns are coming through, there has been one issue around Latu: that he continues to have brain snaps (see last match in Yokohama). However, Nathan Grey admitted that the team have proven to be an important factor in managing Latu.

“It’s all about realising how that impacts the team and it’s crucial,” he said to rugby.com.au. 

“Tolu’s certainly aware around how to deal with those situations and keep himself under control but from him personally it’s a matter of understanding, ‘How does that impact my team?’ and that’s got to come into your decision-making, when you get into those heated moments and being able to control yourself.

“Because there’s heaps of them in the game, so it’s a matter of understanding how that impacts the team.

“He certainly understands how things went with that yellow card (against the All Blacks) that it was pretty costly for us.”

It’s clear though the team still have faith in Latu, with him being named as our starting hooker. For Grey, he hopes that this match will see some defensive consistency, which he views as the “holy grail” for the team.

“There’s snippets of all the matches that we’ve played this year that we can really hang our hat on that defensive performance and say, ‘Okay, that period we’re really good,’,” Grey elabourated. 

“But we all know at this level, you have to get that consistency and that’s something we’re working towards and the players and the coaching staff are really driven to achieving that.

“Having the players believe in the system and just go out and execute it is something we’re searching for and when the guys get that, that consistency’s going to be delivered on the park,” he said.

“That’s the holy grail of coaching trying to get that consistency and that belief amongst the players, so they go out, execute, no inhibitions and really back themselves and when you’ve got 15, 23 players doing that, you become a really dangerous proposition.”

Under Lock and Key

Cheika cracks a joke about holding hands and signing kumbaya

Back in Different Times…

Well I’ll be damned. Earlier this week, Cricket Australia released a damning cultural review, exposing a toxic environment and a “win at all costs” mentality that has led to the resignations of chairman David Peever and board member Mark Taylor.

The review was conducted by Simon Longstaff of the Ethics Centre, and interestingly enough, he was also behind a similar review that the Australian Rugby Union had back in 2015.

So what were the results of that commission? Delusional praise? Controversies so bad that several board members should resign?

Unfortunately, we’ll never know because the governing body has elected to keep it under lock and key, and has never released it to the general public.

There are some indications of what is contained within the review. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, while it didn’t turn up anything as bad as what has happened with our national cricket team, there was plenty of mention of “disconnect in certain values and objectives within the code.”

The review at the time was hardly a secret, as it was revealed that it would feature interviews from over 400 stakeholders. However, with World Cup fever in full swing, it managed to keep a low profile until Fairfax highlighted that such a review existed earlier this week.

However, a Rugby Australia spokesperson made mention of the fact that the report was never intended to be released to the public.

“The review was intended to inform the strategic planning process that was undertaken in 2015,” they elaborated earlier this week.

While many would demand that the findings at that time should be made public, it’s easy to forget that the report (which was being compiled while Ewen McKenzie was still coach) is mostly focused on many of the ARU’s governing body, most of whom have since left the organisation. Any dirt on Cameron Clyne though?

But on the other hand, it was also mentioned that the findings of the review we’re used as a foundational part of the five-year strategic plan the ARU unveiled in 2016.

Rugby Australia have announced they have no intention to revisit the findings from the 2015 report, now or in the future.

Considering the shit that’s going on now though, I reckon we’d be better served by having a brand new cultural review for what’s going on at the moment.

Not Big Enough?

Ned Hanigan

Ned Hanigan

The Wallabies lineout has been very disappointing this year, and questions have only continued to grow following the result against the All Blacks in Yokohama.

So the question now? According to Fox Sports, does it come down to the fact that we haven’t really got any giraffes in our squad?

You know, that’s what they think of? Instead of the fact that both Tolu Latu and Folau Fainga’a are still quite inexperienced by hooker standards? But I digress.

Ned Hanigan is the tallest of the Wallaby back three at 1.94m, but with Michael Hooper and David Pocock alongside him at (at 1.82m and 1.84m respectively) the rest of the back three look set to be dwarfed by their Welsh counterparts, at least in terms of height.

David Pocock however played the question with a straight bat when he was asked it on Thursday, with folks asking if it comes down to one of the ‘Poopers’ going off the park.

“I love playing alongside Hoops, but that is up to the coaches and what they think is going to be best for us as a team,” he said.

“I will stay out of that one.

“But I really rate Mike as a captain, as a person and as a player and love playing alongside him.

“We have worked hard and trying to get this combination working as best as we can.

“I think we are pretty handy jumpers but I guess that is always going to be talked about.

“That’s up to the coaches and the profile they are looking for.

“What they think are benefits are opposed to the cost of having two shorter players in the backrow.”

Folau Fainga’a at least admitted his two cents worth on the whole matter.

“It’s really up to us hookers to own it,” he said.

“It doesn’t make a difference.

“He (Pocock) has strong lifters behind and around him.

“He gets up to the same height you get from your Rory Arnolds and those kind of players.

“It’s all about where you hit the target and making sure you do.”

Well put. Fingers crossed the lineout gets back to it’s best this weekend…

  • Huw Tindall

    Let’s get straight to the main talking point with the selections. Overall I think people will be pretty happy. Dempsey and Kerevi back to fill two problem positions for the Wallabies this year. Hopefully they aren’t under done with only cameos off the bench in bled 3. Having Ned and Toomua on the bench means we can cover it if they aren’t up to scratch.

    Interestingly Marika is not there and Sefa comes in to take his place. A straight swap and resting Marika? He has started all the games so far so why not. I like DHP at 15 as Wales will kick a lot to us so a more orthodox 15 is prefereble compared to Folau. Speaking of, his role at 14 gives him all the opportunities needed to inject himself

    The biggest gamble I think is Latu. He seems to be a 1 or 0 player. Is either outstanding or a liability. Which you get nobody knows. Still, this is a gamble we’ve got to take now rather than at RWC2019. Fainga and BPA are more standard hookers but Latu brings legitimate on ball presence similar to Marx. If he can show himself to be a genuine test match player with the temperament to go with it then he could be a long term find. He needs to have mindfulness lessons from Taf I think.

    Other than that I don’t think there are any surprises. Personally I would have kept Simmons in the run on after his shift in Bled 3 but I won’t lose sleep over it. Also we need to give Phipps and Gordon much more game time to see if they are up to it. Again a bit of a risk but we need to find out now if they are up to it rather than in September next year.

    Looking toward the match, if our line-out is serviceable and if we can continue to get better front foot ball from a more direct forward running game then we are in with a good shot. Add a bit of discipline to reduce the 3 points gifts for half-penny and less pushing of passes (i.e. less turnover from mistakes) and then, dare I say it, the Wallabies can really deliver over 80 mins. That’s a big if though.

    • Ed

      Big if Huw for this side to play an 80 minute performance.
      Good point on discipline but our recent past is not a good indicator. We have lost the penalty count in nine of our last 15 tests and been ahead in one.
      Our record against Wales in this RWC cycle: lost both penalty counts – 8-5 in 2016 and 15-4 last year.

      • Huw Tindall

        Discipline is a tough one hey. It’s not like our blokes are committing professional fouls all the time. Rather they just seem to be trying too hard at times. Choose your moment to fire into the ruck etc.

        • Geoffro

          AB’s commit professional fouls all day long.They’re just smarter in the way they go about it.Cant wait for the upfront battle between them and the Poms.

        • Greg

          Is there a top-level team that commits professional fouls all the time if under pressure?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I’d ask if there’s any that doesn’t. Play to the referee’s rulings

        • Brisneyland Local

          Spot on. Do what you do til you hear the whistle. Then re-adjust. Repeat.

        • Mica

          Seems so simple doesn’t it yet the Wobs don’t seem to get this at all.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Be brilliant at the basics.

    • IIPA

      Banks and Gordon ( and Powell before him ) must hold tackle bags like no one’s business because that’s all they seem to do on tour.

      That Wales team with Biggar and L.Williams coming off the bench looks more than decent.

      • Geoffro

        Itching to see Gordon and Banks get some real game time but in this scenario its a bit pointless if they’re only getting five minutes at the tail end when the game is either won or lost.I’m a big Liam Williams fan and him sitting back on the pine looking for where he can punch a few holes when he gets on is a worry.

    • Keith Butler

      Koribete gone at last. Any bets on how long Latu (Two Cards – for Hoss) stays on the paddock? Not a bad selection and the game will be a lot closer thatthe SDs v ABs where we will be well and truely shafted by the Nearlies.

    • Geoffro

      Problem with Latu who must be on his final warning is if he is second guessing himself will he produce.With some players their aggressive temperament is what gets them to perform.Would be nice if we had a couple kickers of the calibre of Halpenny and Biggar

    • sambo6

      The most pleasing (and surprising) thing about the side picked….no AAC…..

    • hippyb9

      We know, and have known for several years, that Phipps is not up to it at test level. Jake Gordon should be given an opportunity.

  • Huw Tindall

    Also @ any London based GAGR fans come down to the Durrell Arms in Fulham on Saturday for the a big sesh of rugby. Will be there with a few mates from the England v ABs then rolling into the main event Wales v Wallabies. Drop a note here if keen.

    • Gottsy

      Will be in Cardiff at the game- if not I would have!

      • Huw Tindall

        Half your luck mate!

    • NickAJW

      Would’ve been keen mate – it’s just up the road, but my Mrs is back in town for the first time in a while, so she will have to put up with me yelling abuse at the telly.

    • sambo6

      Thanks Huw. But Mrs Sambo6 needs me home this weekend. Given I’m travelling next weekend for work. And then out at twickers for the wallaby/England game the following weekend. Does this open th door for GAGR London chapter drinks before the England game?

      • Huw Tindall

        I think it very may well Sambo. Need to find like minded souls in these dark times.

  • Patrick

    I am so much for dumping buckets of shit on RA it isn’t funny, but just to prove that I am open-minded, I also once participated in a function with Simon Longstaff and he struck me as pretty much the proverbial tits on a bull.

    BUT! that was something like 10 years ago and was nothing to do with governance reviews so maybe he has done a bang-up job after all :)

    • Huw Tindall

      I like the chocolate teapot analogy over tits on bull. Needs a little more cerebral effort. Same result though!

      • Patrick

        Too hard for me! :)

        • Alister Smith

          Is “ashtray on a motorbike” up for discussion? “crocheted condom” perhaps? but my favourite has always been “as useless as a one legged man in an arse kicking competition”

        • Brumby Runner

          Two bob watch was also popular pre-decimal currency.

        • Gun

          Couldn’t grab his arse with both hands has always been a favourite of mine. Or a firm grasp of the non-essential.

        • Patrick

          That’s the worst because a one-legged man can kick arse with a bit of training.

      • John Tynan

        Soup fork?
        Hip pocket on a singlet?

        • Huw Tindall

          ashtray on a motorbike

          stephen hawking’s trainers

    • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

      Our current captain reminds me of something my old grandad used to say – “he couldn’t lead a choko vine over an outhouse”.

  • Nutta

    Folk are drawing a lot of comparisons between CA and their report on their ‘win at all costs’ mentality and the shambles with the Wobbs and RA.

    But we are forgetting one basic thing here guys…

    CA were winning.

    Me? I would be sort of happy with a bit of win at all costs mentality being displayed atm. Maybe a bit of mental ‘harden the fk up’ wouldn’t go astray.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Spot on!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Too right Nutta. Far too much “the systems are working”, “we trained well” and other bullshit. Just get out and friggen win

      • Dave P

        on the radio this am it was reported that Cheika said the team had trained well.
        As for the win at all costs strategy, the Wallabies do have one, unfortunately it is aimed at winnung one game – the world cup final.

        • Brumby Runner

          In their pursuit of the holy grail, I suspect they’ll forget that they have to win games in the round robin and then the finals series before they even get to the final.

    • Missing Link

      The All Blacks are a better comparison to CA. RA seem to be more like 2015 FIFA

  • Gottsy

    The realist in me says that we will dish up the same mistake riddled game- and it will once again look like it’s the first time we’ve all played together. This will only get worse in the last 20 when the reserve backs come on and everyone plays musical chairs and forgets where tf they are supposed to defend.
    The optimist in me says that we will start to click now that we are on tour and Dempsey, Kerevi and Coleman will have blinders.

    Either way I’ll be getting on the piss hard in Cardiff this Saturday night!

    • Brisneyland Local

      I think you might be right. BTW Gottsy, good to see you back online.

      • Gottsy

        Haha cheers mate. Fingers crossed I’m wrong so they’ll be celebratory beers instead of drowning my sorrows!

        • Brisneyland Local

          Maybe I have crossed the rubicon, but I am almost wanting to see the Taffs get up!

    • sambo6

      Cardiff is one my favourite places in the world to go to the rugby. Brilliant stadium….close like lang park,…but with singing welshmen. And the stadium basically in the middle of the city’s bars and pubs…..what can go wrong?

      Hint: the answer is ‘plenty’

  • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

    Latu. Again. FFS. And this time, he’s starting. FFS.

    Where’s the accountability for his past two games of ill discipline and brain-dead stupidity?

    And now we’re going to send him out there with a ref who loves the attention and loves to give a ‘spectacular’ penalty or two. Latu needs to STFU when he’s out there and keep his forearms and temper in check (pun intended).

    I fear that he will cost us points, with his deeply suspect and untrusted breakdown technique. And that’s before we get to his apparent inability to resist temptation for foul play.

    I am deeply pessimistic about this match. The 13 in a row streak is over, I fear.

    Go on,. Wallabies – prove my concerns wrong.

    • Brumby Runner

      I agree, Latu should have been stood down for this game due to ill-discipline. And then there is his lineout throwing that has been far from impressive as well. Not sufficient difference between him and Fainga’a to overlook the poor discipline by Latu, but that is Cheika’s way.

    • John Tynan

      BPA started three against world no. 2, did nothing wrong, played with the emotion and passion we all want to see and….get dumped on Saturday like a Friday night curry.
      Latu trains poorly most of the year, needs a rocket to get fit (as a professional sportsman), gets the carpet ride in to the Wobs, gets two yellow cards and….gets to start!
      WT absolute F?

      • Brisneyland Local

        Very well summarised. Makes you wonder doesnt it.

    • John Miller

      I’m glad you mentioned Latu’s breakdown technique Dingo. A Romanian gymnast couldn’t support their own weight with two splayed, non-knees-bent, southern located legs juxtaposed with two splayed, non-elbows-bent, northern located arms. Given enough gym work, you could spin the bloke like a propeller on whichever poor mug is laying prostrate nearest the ball, acting as an unwilling pivot point.

  • Brisneyland Local

    MOrning GAGR’s. I have escaped the clutches of my EA. Am sitting on the balcony at home, writing Ministerial Briefing Notes whilst drinking coffee. But actually I am reading GAGR and starting to get psyched back up again for a fantastic weekend of ruggers. BL’s random thoughts whilst imbibing legally addictive stimulants:
    – Typical Cheika team. Not happy with it, but maybe I am now just used to it.
    – Latu. In his last two games he has been YC’d, so we promote him to starting? WTF. Is Cheika some kind of fucking idiot. Another player got two yellows in a row, the would be sent back to club rugby to learn some discipline. Christ almighty.
    – The bench tight three look good.
    – Sticking with the Pooper is just continuing to re-inforce failure.
    – The Bovine Sprinkler as your your reserve 9 just demonstrates that we are fucked in the last 15 mins as he sprays it like a blunder buss.
    – Fucking Ned H. So he will come on in the last 30 and do 5/8 of fuck all yet again.
    – Wales by 5.
    – The Longstaff review. This needs to be made public. But never will. To many things in there about current players that they would never want to see the light of day.
    – England AB’s is going to be a great match to watch too. I hope the AB’s do things to the Soapdodgers that wouldnt be done to $2 hooker on pay thursday in a mining town.
    – Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Alister Smith

      an interesting simile in your last point the BL

      • Brisneyland Local

        Cant remember what it was?

        • Alister Smith

          $2 hookers etc… maybe simile is not the right term perhaps its an analogy…I think there is the odd English on here who can sort me out.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Got it. Man too much coffee this morning.

    • If Cheika had a different record over the last two years – and I’m willing to forget his record against the Darkness, they’re in a different league at the moment – well we wouldn’t be having this conversation I guess. But, slightly more seriously, we’d be talking about him building experience in the squad, showing loyalty to his players and the like.

      As it is, Cheika’s got a loosie that was unlucky not to be included in the Player of the Year reckoning – I don’t know who you’d knock out for Pocock, they’re all pretty damn impressive, but it must have been a hard call not to have him there. Perhaps he missed too many matches for the judges to consider him? And then he’s got his squad captain. Honestly I know which of the two I’d be dropping, but it’s never popular when you drop your squad captain…

      Then Cheika has to choose from a batch of hookers that can’t throw straight if their life depends on it. Or a relative noob. But he’s fucking awful at bringing new blood in. Except Ned, who he loves for some reason… presumably because all his hookers “train well” so the fact they can’t throw to the two jumpers they got on match day means they’ll magically be able to throw to the tall guy at the back when they’re tired?

      Cheika’s selections haven’t made me want to shoot myself. I think the Wobs have a small chance but, unlike Wales in years gone by, this time it relies on everything going their way. In years gone by it seemed to be the other way round. And while I don’t think O’Keefe is going to be biased, I think the Welsh will feel more comfortable playing with him blowing the whistle than the Wobs will. For all he’s a kiwi, he plays a lot of things more like a NH referee but often lets things run like Nigel Owen, who they’re used to refereeing them during Pro 14 matches. And the Wobs have more people likely to do something stupid and get carded.

      • Happyman

        Shit I forgot about O’Keefe we are screwed.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep that is what I said to Huw yesterday when he mentioned it. O’Keefe, we are screwed!

        • I’m having cognitive dissonance between your username and your reply. You really don’t sound like a happy man. Sorry mate.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Agree fully. We will do stupid things, and we also have a great habit of getting referumps off side pretty quickly.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Morning Eloise, Hooper was never going to be selected as player of the year beause he wears the 8 jersey and as an 8 he’s pretty crap. He’s a brilliant 7 who’s forced to play elsewhere so Cheika’s love shild can embarrass all Wallaby supporters. His selections at hooker are about as poor as is selections for the back 3 and the results have shown this.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Do you mean Pocock?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Fuck! – edited

        • Brisneyland Local

          Thought so. Mate it is Friday you know.

        • I was going to ask if that bulge was your tongue in cheek or an abscess pressing on the brain. The email notification I got says Hooper still and I figured you were trying to wind me up!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          It’s Friday mate. My brain is dead

        • Possibly true, I think the impact he has on the game, even with the wrong number on his back, is pretty huge but he’s not a traditional 8. Guess that does count against him.

          Cheika’s selection policy, if he was winning, like so much else in sport, we might forgive “because it works.” But the mutton dressed as lamb, the odd choices that did work four years ago but haven’t continued to improve since then while everyone else have moved on and… well we all know the rest of the litany.

    • John Tynan

      I reckon the dodgers are on for the lubeless pineapple (credit whoever that was)

      • Brisneyland Local

        I think it was Nutta. And I think the term was lubless reaming!
        But I stand to be corrected!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          well after that there’ll be no sitting mate

        • Brisneyland Local

          Nope they may have to get one of those inflatable rings.

        • laurence king

          You are correct, the term was lubeless reaming. I think that the term could become part of the folklore of this side, somewhat like the 1948 invincibles.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep. Maybe it needs to be on the banner of the site.

        • laurence king

          Butt Cheik’s lubeless reamers?

        • Brisneyland Local

          LK tip of the hat!

        • Huw Tindall

          I think Martin Luther King Jr had something to say about a ream?

        • laurence king

          Fabulous, Cheik’s got things mixed up then hasn’t he, “I have a ream”. No good looking for inspiration and not being able to spell

    • idiot savant

      Tolu’s job will be to head butt Owens in every scrum until his nose fracture deepens.

      • Brisneyland Local

        As long as he doesnt get carded for it, I dont care.
        The moment he gets carded he is an ass clown.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Cheika has stubbornly refused to drop Fainga’a despite him struggling at the international level all season. Against Argentina Latu had his best game ever, an almost perfect performance, and Cheika still refused to start him.

      Last match, against the best team in the world, Fainga’a finally looked at home on the international stage, putting in a very impressive performance; Latu, meanwhile, put on his worst performance ever – atrocious line out throwing with a ridiculous brain explosion.

      Despite this, Latu is promoted and Fainga’a is dropped.

      This is baffling as a fan, but how confusing must it be to be a player under Cheika, for both Fainga’a and Latu. Add Banks to that list.

      It feels like Cheika is acting like an idiot here, or just trying to be a contrarian for the sake of it.

      • Brisneyland Local

        You make it sound like there is actually a plan underpinning all of this.

    • Huw Tindall

      You just wait mate – Ned will secure an attacking lineout 5m out with 79 minutes on the clock and and Brian takes it at the back and mauls it over for the winner.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Huw despite my negativity, I hope he does.
        I just dont think he will.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nick.
    Well small changes and better than I expected. On the good side:
    – No AAC or Koroibete
    – Kerevi in and Folau to wing
    – Maddocks on the bench at least
    – Coleman back
    – Dempsey in
    On the bad side:
    – The Pooper
    – Hannican’t on the bench so no impact
    – No Banks and Gordon (why do they even tour?)

    I’m not hopeful but I admit it could be worse. Fuck that’s sad when the best I can say is it could be worse.

    • Bakkies

      The odds on Coleman getting injured are? He is yet to complete a tour I am worried about his durability at a RWC.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        probably quite high. Just back from an injury, very little game time so not match fit and thrown into the cauldron.

        • Brumby Runner

          Hooper, Kerevi, Dempsey and Coleman are all in the same boat – returned to the side prematurely after injury. Just another set of reasons to ask why others are in the touring squad if not to play when the first options are not yet fit.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yep

    • Happyman

      But the real issue is it could be so much better and it appears that almost everyone in Australian rugby can see it.
      I will be backing Australia but honestly it comes from my heart not my head. The only good news is that Wales beat an undermanned Scotland last week by not very much.
      At this level there has to accountability for your mistakes.Latu, Foley Phillp and Hannigan, Larkham and Nathan Grey must have photos of MC.
      Latu Penalty and YC magnet and cannot hit his mark in the lineout.
      Foley Rubbish passes under pressure and a horrible long kick. Iceman in 2015 Waterman since.
      Phipps Cannot pass reliably
      Hannigan I actually think may develop but he is still not ready. He strikes me a someone who was the big dominant kid at school and is still trying to learn how to be at this level.
      Israel F cannot clean out or pass to one side.
      Hooper not the best 7 in the team.
      Simmons not an impact player he should either start of sit in the stands. He and Rodda should change spots.
      Our attack is Naive
      Our defence is just crazy.

    • phil peake

      how do you think the 10-12 Kiwi combination will go? Both smart players.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Should do all right. My only caveat is they ddn’t make the ABs for a reason so need to remember that

        • phil peake

          Sure. They’ve done well to make the run on team for Wales though. Big opportunity for them to beat us.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Absolutely

  • phil peake

    Why would players put faith in a defensive system that’s had poor results for several seasons now? And one that puts their individual reputations at risk?

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Because if they don’t follow it they’ll be dropped. Nothing wrong with the brilliance of the system just poor execution by lazy players who haven’t got enough enthusiasm.

    • Brisneyland Local

      That Mr Phil is a great question!

  • Alister Smith

    Morning All and thanks Nick.
    1. Selections – I am reasonably happy with the squad. The backline changes suggest there doesn’t need to be as much “movement” in the defensive line and players can defend in the same positions as they attack. I don’t have any major concerns regards Latu’s play – my only concern is he could now get a red card in the first five minutes leaving us a man down for 75 mins. At least as a reserve we limited his potential send off to 20-30 minutes at the end.

    2. I don’t agree with Folau regards Pocock or Hooper getting to the same height. I think the Hoocock is a compromise and I would rather we picked, for the most part, our best player in each position rather than our best 15 players and tried to squeeze them into their positions. I think, as a ploy for the last 30 minutes against tiring defences, the Hoocock has some merit (but not against all sides) but for the most point there is too much of a trade-off elsewhere.

    3. There isn’t probably a lot of point releasing the Longstaff review from 2014/15. It was undertaken under a different board, Chairman (Hawker at the time) and CEO (Pulver). My primary concern is not so much the ethics of the current board and management (though I think some of the questions raised around the removal of the force and RA’s dealings with the Rebels at the time require some further scrutiny). I would rather see a more comprehensive review of the whole game in Australia, structures, state and national administration, what organisations are tasked with particular roles and responsibilities and how funds are earnt, spent or distributed etc. For me, it is more a whole of game, whole of country summit with involvement from all stakeholders that is required and, if necessary, from that summit we then come up with a plan to rip the entire structure down and start again if required. The focus of a Longstaff-style review is a little bit narrow for me.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Morning Al,

      Not so sure on defence. They still need to hide Beale and Foley and will have Genia running from side to side getting knackered in the first 20 mins. I don’t know why they have the wingers coming in and the centres moving out but as sure as hell it’ll happen – mind you I also don’t know how someone who has been such a dismal failure for the last 5 years in each team he’s coached has still got a job so not surprising I don’t understand his system.

      The Hooper is failed experiment that should have been put to rest 3 years ago. It worked for a couple of games but is easily nullified and provides the Wallabies with an unbalanced back row.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Concur.

      • Alister Smith

        yeah your right on defence… they will still be shopping blokes around everywhere to cover the 10 channel. I still see some value in the Hoocock but only under very particular circumstances. If Pocock is playing openside from the start there will be times you might want Hoopers fresh legs and what he can bring to the attack but you want to leave Pocock on. On those occasions, I don’t mind it being used but it’s a 20-30 min per game max. thing for me not the general approach.

    • Brumby Runner

      AS, a lot of good stuff there, but I disagree with your comment about the better defensive focus on this backline. After all, most of the shuffling about is to hide either Foley or Beale on the wing or at the back. And they are still in their respective positions, so I see the need for the same defensive system in this game as has been in all previous.

      • Alister Smith

        yes KRL pulled me up on this earlier but again, fair point

  • Hoss

    Good morning rugby faithful,

    I am the salmon of the site today and swim against the tide.

    Considering some of the dogs breakfasts that have been trotted out by Steven Segal, I actually like this side – its not 100% what i would pick, but its an improvement on previous sides.

    – Glad to see Cant-get-right spelled – he has terrific intent, but SFA skills and rugby brains – tick
    – Glad to see Sour Mash Start – he has a step and acceleration at the contact line like no other forward in Oz and will add starch to our game – tick
    – Kerevi – no brainer he monstered the Nearlies last week – tick
    – Sefa – looked like he’d never left – tick

    In a perfect world

    – Two-cows to 12 and Gilbert to pine
    – Bastards to start and Sauce outside the 23
    – Pooper to be abolished in return for a propper 6 (Sour-mash, Mad-Dog) 7 (Brian, with Lee Magors on the pine) and 8 (Valentini, Naisarini or Holloway)

    With Cheika i am grateful for small mercies. Like Oliver – ‘please sir, may i have some more’

    And dont underestimate 13 wins in a row – look what a similar record v the Nearlies does to our psyche

    Wallabies 33 – Livestock Lotharios of the North 19.

    • Brisneyland Local

      That Perfect World squad is mine too.
      The only swap I would put Cooper at 10. Spanners to the bench

      • Hoss

        I put a little wager or two on for the weekend mate.

        Fiji to win (knew you would like that one)
        Nearlies by 13+
        Aussies by 7.5 or more

        Also threw a few bob for the Fijians to win by 13+ – paying $36 bucks, so i thought ‘what the hell’

        • Brisneyland Local

          Hoss,
          For the Fijians Vinaka vaka levu (Thank you very much).
          Nearlies – yeah that is about right.
          I am going Welsh by 5, unless Latu gets a YC then Welsh by 12.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I admit it is better than I expected. I still see Kerevi as a 12 more than a 13 and I think he’ll struggle there in defence – mind you with the crazy system in place they all will.

  • Damo

    I’m pretty sure this team has been chosen to get the win and not with any development or combination testing in mind- not that you would ever really be sure given MC Hammer’s chocolate wheel selection model.
    So while we will still wonder about the likes of Banks, Jordan P, the back row options etc I think this test has real value in developing some game plan rationale ahead of RWC 19 ( BTW I am not a subscriber to the world cup is everything philosophy. Every test should be treated as a test to be won).
    Wales will have had more than a casual glance at Australia’s recent history against England, Ireland & Scotland (AB games I think are a different kettle of fish). I expect their D line to be very very organised and they will squeeze and choke our attack in expectation of skill errors and decision making failures. Australia will gain a great deal of confidence if the front row, Rodda, Coleman and Dempsey really take the defence on – and I mean seriously smash it- and break up Wales structure and plan.
    Then Foley and Beale must get the ball into 11,13,14 & 15’s hands in space. Tight and tough and take the opportunities when they arise. Minimum errors.
    This will probably win the test- I don’t think Wales will be as good as Ireland & England in execution of the Vs Wallabies plan- however more importantly a bridgehead will be established that says you cant beat us this way anymore.
    Of course if we come out and throw the ball around like drunken sailors then this test will be lost and we won’t learn a f******g thing.

  • Missing Link

    Good afternoon/week GAGRians. Decided to give everyone a break from “unpopular opinions” and at the same time get some important things done at work, I hope I wasn’t missed too badly. Wales will get their first win against us in 10 years this weekend. I have “checked out” of the Wallabies bandwagon this year as watching Cricket Australia eat itself to death is far more entertaining, so I predict the Wallabies chances are slim but nonetheless I’ll be watching and hope they can shock me in a positive way.

    • Habitual Offender

      Least the rebs are looking good for next season ML.
      Missed you? Had nothing handy to throw.

      • Missing Link

        Yes the Rebels are compiling a significant amount of stock for 2019. I really hope with a team like that we can see Wessels full potential and they can shake up the comp.

        • Habitual Offender

          Its made me nearly interested in SR again ML.
          I might even support them, and even buy a Rebels jersey.
          Not brave enough to wear it outside yet though.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Welcome back! You were missed!

    • onlinesideline

      Mate sadly Im in agreeance. This side is not in anyway reflective of our best Australian side (definition of which includes optimal selections and being well coached)

      There are loads of blokes I would have on the radar that have never even got a sniff. A Rod Macqueen coached side would look remarkably different in a parallel rugby universe but alas that is fantasy.

      This is close to optimal selections within the Cheika Matrix and that comes with a whole lot of baggage. I think Saturday will be the ultimate season reality check as to who we are, what we are, what we’re not. Calls for Cheikas head big time come Monday – stay tuned or tune out.

  • Will

    Latu will be targeted I think. The Welsh will know he is a spark short of an explosion and will niggle him until he blows….triggering a yellow or red.

    • Missing Link

      Latu needs to attend conflict resolution training :)

      • laurence king

        It’s on the job training

  • laurence king

    Hi GAGRs, I don’t believe that there is any rational explanation for many of Cheika’s decisions, selection wise or in relation to the implementing of his tactics. I mean, we all discuss the relative merits of this player or that and the problems with the Pooper, musical chair defence etc. but nobody seems to be able to comprehend what he is trying to achieve with this side.
    Imo, its almost as if he’s trying to put a ball and chain in every facet of our play, trying to make it absolutely impossible to win (could he be a closet Pom). If our guys do win, it is definitely not because Cheika had anything to do with it.
    You guys know my limitations in terms of rugby nouse, but I think that I could do a better job. I would at least know where I could get some good advice.

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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