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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News sees our squad to take on the Azzurri, universal frustration, great news for Force fans and another double header announced.


Penultimate Peril

Italian half-back Edoardo Gori launches Jack Dempsey into the second row of the stands

Italian half-back Edoardo Gori launches Jack Dempsey into the second row of the stands

Week two of the November Internationals are upon us, and this week the Wallabies are on their way to Padua to play the Azzurri.

It’s fair to say that confidence in the Wallabies have hit the bottom of the barrel, but let’s face it, for all the pain of this year, if we lose to the currently 13th ranked Italy (as South Africa did last year), it’ll be the equivalent of going straight through the cellar floor.

Surely? Of all the records we’ve broken this year in terms of badness, SURELY we won’t hand Italy their first ever victory against us.

Michael Cheika has made several changes to the squad (again) from the side that lost to Wales last week. With the likes of Adam Ashley-Cooper coming back alongside Jordan Petaia, Cheik looks to be trying something new.

Wallabies Squad: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Samu Kerevi, Bernard Foley, Jordan Petaia, Matt Toomua, Jake Gordon, David Pocock, Michael Hooper (c), Jack Dempsey, Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Folau Fainga’a, Scott Sio. Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Jermaine Ainsley, Sekope Kepu, Rory Arnold, Pete Samu, Will Genia, Kurtley Beale, Dane Haylett-Petty

Italy Squad: Jayden Hayward, Tommaso Benvenuti, Michele Campagnaro, Tommaso Castello, Mattia Bellini, Tommaso Allan, Tito Tebaldi, Braam Steyn, Jake Polledri, Sebastian Negri, Dean Budd, Alessandro Zanni, Simone Ferrari, Leonardo Ghiraldini (c), Andrea Lovotti. Reserves: Luca Bigi, Cherif Traore, Tiziano Pasquali, Marco Fuser, Johan Meyer, Guglielmo Palazzani, Carlo Canna, Luca Morisi.

So, what do we reckon? Could we be about to witness history, yet again? Italy have, statistically, been more successful this November than we have, having grabbed a win over Georgia.

Part of me, in a really pessimistic way, wants to say I hope we lose so that Rugby Australia finally gets their heads out of their arses and realise that, despite the honest efforts of Cheika (I honestly think he’s trying), this is a team that is not heading in the right direction.

But I think that we will win. But only by 7. Come on lads, you guys desperately need some confidence, and I know that everyone here at GAGR, for all our complaints, honestly want you guys to play well. Go out there and give us something to smile about.

Enough of talking rubbish, because the rest of the weekend looks infinitely more better.

The first match of the round kicks off between Romania and the USA. This is a 15 vs. 16 clash, so this has the potentially to be a really interesting one. If the US win, they could potentially leapfrog Georgia in the World Rankings.

Uruguay will also have their first match of the November season, coming up against a Fiji side that got slaughtered by Scotland last week. A lot of investment (especially by the Argentine Rugby Union) has been made into Uruguayan Rugby, so there is potential for the Flying Fijians to get surprised here.

Following the Azzurri-Wallabies match, Georgia will host Samoa in what is set to be a fiery encounter, before Wales host Tonga in Cardiff. The Dragons are currently on a seven match winning streak (remember those days), so good luck to Tonga there.

Spain then host rising stars Namibia in Madrid, which will be followed by England hosting Japan at Twickenham.

Next, come the best matches of the round, the first being Scotland hosting South Africa. Both sides have been the big improvers on the World atage this year, with the Saffas currently 6/12 (including a win over the All Blacks), and the Scots 5/8 (including a win over England).

Next up is the match of the mother-f&#king year, when Ireland host the All Blacks in Dublin. Ireland are looking unbelievable at the moment under Joe Schmidt, so if there’s any team to topple the All Blacks this month, this is it. *touch wood* They’ve only lost one game the whole year, ironically, against us.

And lastly, the final match sees the Pumas head to Paris for their second match of November against France.

Despite only having two wins out of seven to his name, the stats aren’t reflective of how much this Pumas side has come under Mario Ledesma. Add to the fact they went down swinging 28-17 to Ireland. I think they are legit shot to knock over France here, who have had their moments this year but haven’t won since defeating England in the Six Nations.

Enjoy your footy this weekend, folks.

“Universal Frustration”

raelene smiling

Happier Times

The cracks are opening up, yet Raelene Castle and Co. still stand firm.

This comes even after Castle told Michael Cheika that she expected three wins from three in the upcoming spring tour. That of course, went really well.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald following the Australia’s failed Women’s Rugby World Cup bid, Castle still spoke out in support of Cheik, but finally admitted for the first time that she’s not happy.

“[There is] universal frustration,” Castle said.

“You know the effort is there, you know the focus is there and it was a tremendous arm wrestle that could have gone either way, so I think it certainly wasn’t a game where we were far away.

“We could have ended up with a win. I know no one is more frustrated than the players themselves and they will be looking to turn that around this weekend.”

Cheika will meet with Rugby Australia at the end of the tour to conduct a review in regards to whether change in the form of coaching staff will occur.

In regards to Cheika’s position itself, Castle stuck to script.

“At the end of the day, Michael’s contract goes through to the World Cup,” Castle said.

“We’ve said that publicly and we’re continuing to support that stance. There is a review at the end of every year.

“There is no doubt that that’s become even more important because of our performances but the review will identify the areas that we need to focus on as we move on to that very important World Cup next year.”

This weekend, Cheika and the lads will be focussed on grabbing our fourth win of the year against Italy, and Matt Toomua admitted that the team is well aware of what is on the line this weekend.

“We’ve got to win, don’t we,” Toomua said to The Sydney Morning Herald.

“We’ve got to give respect to Italy as a team who we know can upset a lot of teams. We struggled against them a few years ago back in Australia, so I don’t think going out with wholesale changes would be the smartest tactic.

“We’ve lost a few on the trot now. There might be selections that are enforced because of form rather than just giving guys a go. It’ll be imperative that we win the game and win well and get some momentum going into England.”

“No one wants to be a part of that team that loses the first game to Wales in a long, long time,” he added.

“The nature of the game, it being so tight and being literally on a knife’s edge, particularly in that last 20 to 30 [minutes] … it’s probably tougher to take.

“We’ve been on the back of quite a few losses obviously this year so it makes it even a bit more frustrating.”

Fingers crossed they provide a more positive performance come the weekend.

Stamp of Approval

ForceSamoa5

Outside of the Womens Rugby World Cup announcement, there was plenty of other news that came out of World Rugby’s meeting in Dublin.

The first big news was that Fiji and Samoa were officially accepted into the World Rugby Council, following them meeting guidelines to improve their governance.

They follow the likes of other rising rugby nations in Georgia, the USA and Romania as new additions to the council.

“This is an historic day for World Rugby and the Pacific Islands, and a reflection of the importance and success of the transformational governance reforms made by this organisation and the unions,” said World Rugby Chairman, Bill Beaumont in the officially press release.

“We are delighted to be welcoming Fiji and Samoa to council, two unions who have contributed so much to the game. The Pacific Islands are unique, immersed in rugby heritage, and I know that the unions will bring excellent insights and make strong contributions on council.

“This shows that the model is in place, the pathway is in place and the door is open to other unions who aspire to have a seat on Council. We encourage all unions to take inspiration from Fiji and Samoa, review their governance and strive to achieve the required criteria.

“World Rugby is committed to the sustainable growth of the sport set against a backdrop of strong governance, and we will continue to work with our unions to ensure that they have all the support to achieve and maintain the necessary criteria.”

The other big news on the Australian front out of the event was that Andrew Forrest’s revamped comp Global Rapid Rugby was also given conditional support for 2019, all but signalling it’s imminent arrival on the Aussie rugby calendar (subject to the approval of participating countries).

Twiggy and his disciples of the game in WA unveiled further details of the competition as well, announcing (finally) the teams that will battle next year.

Along with shorter halves and rule changes galore, the Force will be battling teams from Japan, Fiji, Samoa, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia for a $1 million prize.

Check out the many rule changes here, as there is a hell of a lot.

Twiggy was positively chuffed when he spoke to the media yesterday.

“It has not been a simple road,” he said.

“I’d like to thank everyone that has been bold and brave enough to support this brand-new competition.

“Like all sports, rugby needs to evolve. The modern sports public is spoilt for choice and demands easily digestible, fast-paced action.”

The future already looks bright for GRR, with Twiggy noting that a the Kiwis were “seriously interested” in fielding a team, and that he hopes to up the number of teams from eight to twelve within the first five years.

Regardless of what you think of Twiggyball, it is great that rugby looks to be finally guaranteed a future in the West.

Double Header Across the Ditch

Black ferns anthem (Credit Keith McInnes)

Following the announcement of the now-sold out double header in Perth that will take place on August 10 next year between the Wallabies/Wallaroos and All Blacks/Black Ferns, the NZRU have responded in kind, announcing earlier this week that the same fixture will take place at Eden Park the following week.

The two matches will form part of a shortened Rugby Championship next year, as it makes way for the World Cup which will kick off in September.

New Zealand also announced that they will host the Springboks in Wellington as well, following on from their match earlier this year which saw the Springboks clinch a rare win in the land of the long white cloud.

The Wallabies will draw the rough end of the stick in this shortened version, with them also having to travel to South Africa for a one-off match with the Boks.

This will give them only one home game during the entire campaign, being a home game against the Pumas. The venue is still to be confirmed, however most folks expect it to be Suncorp Stadium in BrisVegas.

The last time the tournament was shortened, the Wallabies had a more favourable draw with two home games and were able to win the tournament, a feat we haven’t achieved since.

Check out the current fixtures here, though keep in mind a lot of these are still to be confirmed.

And finally, the last bit of news out of New Zealand sees Tana Umaga has being demoted to the defence assistant role at the Blues, with Leon MacDonald taking charge as head coach.

Umaga has been at the Blues for the last few years, and despite his efforts the team has been on the slippery slope when it comes to results, especially against other Kiwi sides. Umaga accepted the board’s decision and released a statement to the public.

“I signalled that my passion lies with my new responsibility as defence coach and I believe that is where I can make the greatest contribution and difference at the Blues,” Umaga said to the Herald Sun. 

“I believe that the coaching team of Leon, Tom and myself is the best that we could have at the Blues for the 2019 season and beyond.”

MacDonald also spoke to the media.

“This opportunity has arisen and I am honoured to have been considered for the role. I will give it my heart and soul,” he said.

“I’ve also talked to Tana and Tom and both of them are both hugely supportive and also very committed to our combined desire to continue to move this club forward.”

  • Mart

    This isn’t rugby league.
    Just play people in their positions is all i ask… a 10 at 12, 2 13’s on the wings….2 7’s still. Arguably a 12 at 13…
    ah mix it up what the hell

  • metalisticpain

    Great for WA that someone cares enough to provide the 3rd largest state a professional rugby comp. I’m not a fan of changing the rules, but it’s better than what RugbyAU plan was, nothing.

  • metalisticpain

    Also that backline is all kinds of rubbish. Clutching at straws? How they hope to build better performances with that much change and out of position.

    I think he’s a terrible coach. Along with his assistance at this point. Try your hardest mate but seriously it looks like he has no idea and fluked all wins under his belt.

  • Bobas

    Grey: ‘Outside centre is the hardest position defensively’
    Cheik: ‘Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you will have plenty of your precocious outside centres’

  • Bobas

    Does anyone like the selection on AAC ahead of Banks or Maddocks?

    • Huw Tindall

      AAC’s mum?

      • Brisneyland Local

        Tip of the hat Huw! Tip of the hat!

      • Greg

        No, I had an email. She is concerned he will be hurt and anyway thinks Cheika needs to bring on young talent.

    • laurence king

      Clearly doesn’t think much of Banks

    • Brumby Runner

      No, definitely not. But does not surprise. Remember Cheika said before the tour began that AAC wasn’t going for the holiday. Surprisingly, quite a few GAGRs didn’t take notice and were expressing the opinion that he was just there to hold the tackle bags.

      Lesson #1 for today. Listen to and accept what Cheika says. Don’t put your own interpretation on his words just because you might think they are incredibly non-sensical. And note, especially, that he has said on at least a couple of occasions that he will choose whether to go or stay as coach after the RWC.

    • Patrick

      anyone? still no takers?

      • Ed

        I’d want Banks ahead of AAC.

        • Patrick

          No shit! [in a friendly tone]

          I’m just wondering if anyone on this site will put their hand up for this move or if we really have hit 100% disapproval. FFS some people are still defending Foley and Hanigan so you never know, but I think this might be it.

    • Ed

      If I was Banks, I would be having enquiries about a possible short-term contract in Europe like CLL and Speight when the RWC is on. From what we have seen this year, Cheika obviously does not rate him enough for game time. Good enough to hold the tackle pads and wear the number ones, but no more it seems.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Good morning GAGR’s! Three mornings in a row (No EA) I feel blessed! But then I read the team sheet and completely lose my fucking shit:
    – What the fuck is this ass clown thinking. Christ he knows less about rugby than me and I am an imbecile! But he is our national coach!
    – I hope the Italians flog us.
    – AAC fuck me.
    – Folau back to fullback. Useless.
    – Kerevi to 13 where he should be 12.
    – Spanners fucking Foley to 12. I swear this guy could hang a giant turd on Cheika’s desk and still wouldn’t get dropped from the team. Seriously. How much can a person still fuck up and still get picked. Now he is going to sabotage Toomua like he did QC.
    – Petaia to wing when he is a centre.
    – Still playing the Pooper. Fuck me!
    – Happy to see Gorodn get a run, but still would have played Genia for the first 40 then Gordon for the second.
    – Cant believe Beale gets a bench spot.
    – Mark my words Spanners will fuck up the attack, Toomua will get dragged and he will throw Beale on at 10. We lose the game and the Ass Clown will hang the blame around Toomua’s neck.
    – This is just utter madness.
    GAGR’s I am really fucking annoyed over this stupidity. It is just embarrassing now. We look like third rate ass clowns, because we are coached by a third rate ass clown.
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Custard Taht

      Close, Foley will indeed fuck up the attack, Toomua will get benched, Beale will come on but he will go to 12 and Foley to 10, where he would have been all game cramping Toomua.

      Cheika is fucking crazy stupid…….#CHEIKAMUSTGO

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yeah you are probably right there. Remember I am an imbecile! ;-)

        • Custard Taht

          A high functioning one though

        • Brisneyland Local

          My EA calls me “Sheldon Cooper with a sense of humour!”

      • Singapore Sling

        It’s reached the point where I wouldn’t be satisfied with just sacking Cheika. I want some form of corporal punishment administered in a public place. Maybe it could be the curtain raiser to the Twickenham test. I bet I could fill a charter flight with expats from Singapore to watch that.

        • laurence king

          You would have more Wallaby fans paying to watch that than wanting to watch the game.

        • st saens

          SACK CHEIKA NOW
          BRING BACK THE STOCKS

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          A public whipping or tied down to be used as a urinal seems fair

    • onlinesideline

      Agree mate, this really is beyond. This has to be on Larkhams head as well. You pick a backline as a trial for a REAL backline. Its time to experiment for new but realistic options that you may use in the future. Everyone in that backline bar Toomua is out of postion and even he is unsure what he is – a 10 or 12.

      Why not

      09 – Gordan
      10 – Toomua
      11 – Izzy
      12 – Kerevi
      13 – AAC (Jordan second half in position)
      14 – Sefa
      15 – Banks

      Are we going to play Foley at 12 long term ? – of course not. So why now ? This is absolute madness.

      • Brisneyland Local

        He only plays Foley so he stays in the team. He cant be dropped. Your back line is way better than Cheika’s. I promote you to head coach!

        • onlinesideline

          Oh how I would love that – just for 1 week – 1 test.
          I would have the forwards surgically attached to each other, counter rucking in defense together, positioned deeper and linking in offense, the half back told to get to the base almost instantly, and passing it instantly (in most cases not all), a balanced back row, with lineout practise and mauling 4 hours a day. All backline players in their specialist positions, strict rules of who kicks, where they kick, who chases – I could on and on. All I see them do is stretch with those green bands.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep! It is so disheartening!

        • Greg

          ticket is on the way… you have the England test!

          Perhaps take care of Brexit while you are there.

        • onlinesideline

          Dont count Boris out quite yet. Stay tuned. My bet by end of next week its all over red rover for May.

        • onlinesideline

          And any money Foley wil be back at 10 againt the Poms. Cheika has to go.

        • Brisneyland Local

          They are unbackable odds!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        absolutely mate. I don’t know what the fuck it is with Foley but it’s embarrassing

        • voodoo economics

          We are besieged by mediocrity by those in power. And it seems that power is all that matters. Success as a matter is not of any consequence judging by the actions of the powerful.

      • Custard Taht

        The point of Foley at 12 is to make sure Toomua doesn’t look good. Then Cheika can say I tried Toomua at 10, it didn’t work, so Foley is our best 10. Toomua is getting the same shafting Cooper did.

        • Singapore Sling

          As cynical as that sounds I think it’s spot on. This has to be the nadir of Australian rugby.

        • Brumby Runner

          And it all feeds into the ongoing story line of so many Tahs fans that Foley is the best and only No 10 in the country.

        • Geoffro

          Sky blue blood in my veins but I can confirm that Foley is mud.Darryl Gibson as a former inside back I’m surprised he hasn’t been busting his nuts to find an alternative,surely he’s aware a bit better than most of his deficiencies.

        • voodoo economics

          That is the narrative they want to project. The point they surely miss is that no one is accepting that narrative as reality anymore. To persist with it is folly. But it seems they cannot admit their failure. Maybe it is to unbearable a thought to realise they are average and not super coaches as they must themselves believe.

        • Andy

          Such an overstatement. Most tahs fans acknowledge Foleys limitations. It’s just at SR, no one is putting their hand up (or not being played).

      • Singapore Sling

        Foley at 12…..FFS, I hope they get pumped.

      • Mart

        How good. A backline with people in their positions. The stand out fullback in australia and currently our best finisher in Sefa on the wing.
        Genia gets a rest. Man o man i wish we saw this in action

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I’m not sure we can blame just Larkham for this bullshit. In my mind the entire coaching team needs to go. If Larkham has got any sense whatsoever he’ll be looking at how he can leave this setup as soon as possible. He has put back his coaching career by 10 years being part of this and if he has long term goals as a rugby coach he needs to get out and start again.

        • laurence king

          Yes, even if it’s just guilt by association

        • nmpcart

          Let’s face it KRL, Larkham didn’t get his coaching gigs based on a fantastic coaching track record, he was parachuted in based on his connections and his playing record. I had heard during the Brumbies playing days that Kafer ran the Brumbies backline, not Larkham, he just had great running and passing skills, not necessarily tactical. And the Brumbies in those days were very planned in their moves, spending days walking through the moves, before building up to running, which leads to great, practiced moves when they work but doesn’t help when someone needs to go off script.

          Cheika is a rev em up coach and as seen in those comments from the Irish player the other day, he wasn’t bothered about skill errors as long as the attitude was there. In juniors that’s fine, but these are professional players so the skills should be there and be expected by their coach, not excused. To me the Italy selection is a wasted opportunity to really try something different and give players a go. One more game against England – are you going to throw Banks into that? We all know what Pocock and Hooper can deliver, so why not start Samu, put Pocock back to 7 and give Hooper a rest? If you need AAC in the s

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate with you all the way. The decision making in this side is stuffed from the coaches down.

        • Adrian

          I’ve heard that thing about Kafer’s too, nmpcart.

          Somehow the other players thought of him as an intellectual, and let him “design” the backline, organise a coup, and get a gig with Fox as their resident intellectual. That’s when he isn’t being some sort of coach coordinator for RA, and somehow employing Byrne.
          My guess is that he still pulls Larkham’s strings, and therefore by osmosis, Cheika’s strings….without Cheika even knowing what is happening.

          End of rant

        • Alister Smith

          It must be difficult for Kafer to maintain the intellectual high ground on a fox team that includes Phil Kearns and Greg Martin.

        • Geoffro

          Maybe that’s why he appears intellectual but he irritates me just as much as the rest of the fox crew

        • Brumby Runner

          Adrian, my comment is directed at you but applies to quite a few other posters as well.

          I just do not agree with the contention that Cheika is an innocent, manipulated bystander in the coaching woes that are so obvious in the Wallabies. He is the Head Coach FFS, and the Asst Coaches answer to him, not the other way round.

          There is no chance that Larkham, either alone or in concert with Kafer, is running Cheika. Cheika makes the big calls re strategy and player selections and the Assistants need to muck in as best they can.

        • Adrian

          I agree 100%, it’s totally Cheika’s responsibility.
          I’m simply musing about how it got that way, not making excuses

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Maaaaaaate. I agree Kafer is a twat.

        • Adrian

          I’ve heard that thing about Kafer’s too, nmpcart.

          Somehow the other players thought of him as an intellectual, and let him “design” the backline, organise a coup, and get a gig with Fox as their resident intellectual. That’s when he isn’t being some sort of coach coordinator for RA, and somehow employing Byrne.
          My guess is that he still pulls Larkham’s strings, and therefore by osmosis, Cheika’s strings….without Cheika even knowing what is happening.

          End of rant

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I didn’t know that about Larkham but looking at the results he had it sort of makes sense. Bang on with the second point mate

        • Sorry, I disagree about “attitude only” in juniors.

          You need to make it fun, so attitude first maybe, but kids like to feel like they’re getting better, doing things well too. Teaching them how to pass, catch, tackle safely when they move out of touch rugby and kick well… then as they start to do the grunt stuff when you add in scrums and line outs helps them have fun too.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate I think the expectation is they know that already. Interestingly the ABs spend a lot of time on these “basics” as part of their training. Fuck all on set piece drills or any fancy stuff. It’s all about doing the basics well

        • I was talking about working with kids, not the spoilt brats (and the others) that currently wear the GAG.

          However, your comment about the AB training reminds me of an old adage from when I was in education and training. Everyone did all these SWOT analyses and said “train your weaknesses” and “train to minimise the threats” which is sound advice of course. My mentor said to make sure you spend 20% of your time working on strengths and opportunities too, so your strengths remain your strengths and you’re ready to take advantage of your opportunities.

          While I appreciate lessons from the classroom don’t always transfer directly to the rugby field, one of the things every analyst and every fan can agree on is that the AB take advantage of their opportunities… the parallel in the phrasing resonated.

          It also made me wonder. I spent a long time training and teaching adults rather than teaching kids. Less prison officer/day care duties. Most of the adults were there through choice and were engaged and easy to work with, even the ones with dyslexia, autism and the like — it requires patience to go over the same thing 25 times, but you have the time to do it. But I also had classes where some or all of the students were there under pressure. They were a nightmare. You can’t make a student learn, just like you can’t make a horse drink.

          I wonder how much Mick the Kick is regretting moving back to Australia. I’m pretty sure the team culture in the AB camp is “do this, learn this, practise this, get better” but my impression of the Wallabies camp is that quite a few think they’re the bee’s knees and they don’t need to practise the basics any more. Skills on the pitch tend to suggest the opposite is true.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think you are 100% correct. If you ever get a chance to read Dean’s book you’ll see how he saw this and with the way Cheika has protected some players it’s got worse.

        • I might try it. As a rule I hate biographies, but I might give it a go.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Eloise, I 100% agree. Teaching adults who wont to be there and want to improve is great fun, and is actually enjoyable. In the military I used to work for an organsiation that only took people from the top 5% of the whole defence force. They put them through an exhaustive selection process. They wanted to be there, they spent their whole life getting to that point. Then you taught them a whole new bunch of skills. But they were like sponges.
          I am sure that coaching the All Blacks is like that, getting in is the easy bit bit, staying there when there are 20 other players across the country that want your spot keeps you lean and hungry.
          Our boys are not that way. I dont think it is Mick the kick, I think he is struggling to operate in an evironment where the head coach doesnt think that specialist skills, the number on your back, or skills deficincies are important factors.
          Very very dissapointing!

        • Agreed it’s very disappointing. It kind of makes you wonder how he keeps on getting the jobs. Or kept on I should say. I can’t imagine there will be a queue of people after 2019.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I think there will be. Always better to pick something up when it is rock bottom. Then the expectations are always lower!

        • nmpcart

          Agreed you need to teach skills – what I meant is that while those skills are being developed you want the kids to want to have a go especially as some may be a lot less skilful than others.

        • 100% agree with that. Bring them all along and make sure they’re having fun. It just sounded like there wasn’t any skills training in your plan at all!

        • Adrian

          I think Larkham should grab a head coach job in UK or even Italy whilst he is there

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate I doubt he’d get a head coach job now. I think he has to face up to being tainted by this last job and he needs to get his credibility back with an assistant job somewhere. But yes he should be looking now

        • Brumby Runner

          What I’d like to see instead of the usual talking head player sprouting garbage, is for Larkham to front the media and explain just what they will be looking for out of this mishmash of a backline. What are the strategies to get this never before used backline functional?

          And if he hasn’t got the answers because he doesn’t agree with the selections, then have the guts to say that it is all down to Cheika and that he is as much in the dark as all the fans.

        • Adrian

          ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Be nice, especially if the second option was actually true

        • Andy

          I’m in on cleaning the decks. I wasn’t last year as I always saw value in time and team building and I thought we were getting better. But this season has been the biggest regression I’ve ever seen by an Australian team and it really started from the England loss last year, 2nd half.

          The decisions and selections have been appalling. Just thinking about this weekend and what we need in the backline. Banks was probably the best Australian back in this years Super Rugby. Big call I know but by the end of the season he was skinning every team he played. He can also defend, has serious pace and has a very effective boot. It just makes sense that he gets a chance this weekend. But no…. we pick a fullback who can’t defend or kick and 2 OC’s on the Wing. I mean, fuck me. It’s just not cricket….

      • Damo

        Mate, I’ve looked at your backline and Cheik’s. You win.
        Let’s assume for a moment that he is not a complete idiot. The only possible reason I can see for keeping Foley at 12 is that he doesn’t trust the management / leadership skills of Toomua. Possibly the same with the AAC selection. Putting aside that Foley is a doubtful game manager anyway one of the great opportunities in this game would have been to test the Toomua/ Kerevi 10/12 pairing and their potential to bring new attacking threats and unleash whoever are the outside 4. I’ve got a feeling he is not comfortable about Toomua and I reckon he’s wrong.
        We will likely win the game but again it looks like a selection that will be musical chairs and once more nothing will be learnt.

        • Lets pretend for a second this was a normal year for the Wobs, that is a normal year under a coach other than Cheika. A so-so record against the Darkness but good against everyone else. Since all streaks eventually come to an end, we’ll even say the Welsh won last weekend. But the Wobs have won say 2 in June, 3 or 4 in TRC, one of 3 Bledisloes. So that’s won 7 and lost 4. Not the best year – normally there’d be an extra win vs. Wales in there.

          They’d experiment and give youngsters experience against Italy. Toomua, check. You might look at AAC and say, ok, an old head playing at 13 to give some stability and experience and a defensive captain out there.

          But in the current situation, well to coin a phrase it’s Assclowning of the highest levels of nepotism. Folau’s future is not at 15, it’s on the wing for me. You can argue there’s a need to give a youngster a try at 15, but not move Izzy back there, bed him in on the wing, or sling him out for whoever going forward.

          I feared the Azzuri, in a nebulous “The Wobs aren’t playing well” well. With those inside backs… I’m really thinking this could be a W for those in blue.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Absofriggenlutely mate

      • Andy

        That’s the long term backline imo. Whomever the next coach is they need to stick it out. I’d even give Muirhead a crack on th flank. He’s an old school winger but very effective. He has those smarts and deception we are sadly missing.

    • disqus_NMX

      Come on Italy! You can do it, win and get Ass Clown ditched! Go Italy!!!

      • Brisneyland Local

        Go the Azzuri

        • juswal

          Azzurri vs Assurri

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure gold!

    • Keith Butler

      Likely scenario the G&G will win at a canter. Cheika is vindicated for his selections and then it’s back to same ol, same ol.

      • laurence king

        If Cheika pulls the players off that I think that he will, then we’ll pretty much have the same old side.
        Toomua off, Beale on, DHP on, Petaia off, Gordon off, Genia on, Folau Fainga’a off, TPN on. Samu’s and Arnold’s presence give me the impression that they’ll be on the bench next week instead of Hanigan and Simmons so they’re getting a run.
        It’s clear that Cheika is running scared and he does what he always does, he goes back to what makes him feel safe. The psychologists out there should surely be able to put some sort of label on this type of behaviour.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          stupidity comes to mind

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep! I hear you!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate if we lose against Italy we are well fucked. A decent school 2nd XV would give them a run for their money.

        • Geoffro

          O’shea and his happy go lucky charges are known to resorting to a bit of trickery to try and mask their deficiencies.Since the Wobs have so far this year shown their uselessness in adapting to the op’s game plan I don’t expect them to win by a cricket score.They’ll probably cotton on in the final quarter and get over the top same as last year.

    • Happyman

      Good Morning BL
      Got up this morning in the land of the Gods Beautiful one day etc.
      – Then I read the team sheet and thought fuck me I did not even get out of bed and the WB’s have already made my day rubbish.
      – Very little in the way of clarity of thought from the coaching team.
      – Foley at 12 will stifle a back line and make Eddie Jones really worry next week LOL
      – It think it just shows how regular contributors have not come off the long run that we are just resigned to the train wreck that is coming in next years RWC.

      • Brisneyland Local

        The train wreck that comes every week.

        • voodoo economics

          As in Dantes inferno, all who enter are damned.

          Our resolve is all we are left with, all else is lost.

          Prey and prey again for salvation.

          Our souls fading to nothing as does the light at the end of the day.

          Once gone we have nothing.
          And no choice but to wait for a new way.

    • Greg

      @BLL Good to hear you are still enjoying God’s country and that your EA is managing the business so you have time for more important activities.

      I think that you have missed a key part of the strategy!

      You seem to think naming spanners at 12 means there will be back line issues. Don’t you get it? He will defend at 2 and in attack will be at (say) 3! What is the back line issue? We might have a set-piece issue but we have been going OK there.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Pure Gold!

    • Richard Patterson

      Hi BL. I sense the Wallabies win this comfortably and will play some good footy doing so. Then suddenly it will get intersting for the really big match of the tour the following week at Twickenham.
      Who then becomes the starting 10 & 12?
      Where does Folau get selected?
      Will there be a place in the 23 for Ashley-Cooper?
      Does Gordon replace the ineffective Phipps on the bench?
      Does Dempsey stay as the starting 6 to join Hooper & Pocock?
      Does Tupou shift to the starting 3 jersey?

      Feels a lot of questions to conclude a season that had 12 test matches before Twickenham.

      • Brisneyland Local

        A lot of good questions, but with Cheika’s random shit, we have no idea.

        • Richard Patterson

          I think you are possibly being a little harsh here BL. That England game has only been on the agenda for less than 2 years. The Australia vs England rivalry only really emerged in the last 100 years and Cheika et al have only had 12 test matches this year to determine who their best starting 23 should be. Sorry – just trying to see both sides. Good weekend mate.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Gold mate

        • Brisneyland Local

          Thanks mate! ;-)

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Richard, a big win against Italy after Cheika’s changes all the players in the 2nd half to his love children will be all he needs to start the same shit dribbling players he’s had all year against the Poms. Hanigan and Simmons will be back because they are now “rested”, AAC will be in the team or on the bench having “proved” himself against the Italians, Dempsey will get smashed for not being able to cover all the shortfalls the friggen Pooper brings to the game. Then he’ll be back to blaming the referee, the weather, the disconnect from the Super teams and a lack of intensity at crucial times

        • Richard Patterson

          Unfortunately sad but true KRL. You overlooked “turnovers” too. There seems a lot of reference to turnovers – as if when the turnovers stop, the wins will come. Those same turnovers many though fear are the result of poor accuracy, poor concentration and poor conditioning. Perhaps they are wrong.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Hahaha how can I forget the turnovers

      • Damo

        Richard, your last sentence is the most damning issue of all. These selections are not an end season investigative tweak. They look like just another random roll of the dice.
        Some strategic serious injuries during Super Rugby next year could turn the Wallabies world cup into a shit storm.

    • I concur, my good man.

      • Brisneyland Local

        BTW what is your ride there in the photo?

        • 2014 GSXR600. gone but not forgotten since the birth of my first wallaroo… been 12 long months…

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate, I feel your pain. Had to get rid of mine last year but already planning for a replacement with the XDiavel

        • Brisneyland Local

          Ah. Got it. I have 3. A ZX-14R is my day to day ride. I have a 1943 BMW R75 with side car (WW2 model) and I am also in the middle of rebuilding a 1980 GSXR1100 Katana! It is still in pieces but I am getting there. My little Wallabies (girls 9 & 11) both got leathers and helmets for their 8 birthdays. They ride with me most places. One at a time. Mrs BL rides too!

        • juswal

          I’m guessing that the Katana was your dream machine when you were in high school. In 1980 they looked like nothing else on the road . . . a bike from the future.

        • Brisneyland Local

          You got it. Have already restored a GPZ 900R

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate I agree and I got my rant on this over on the earlier article. Good news – no Hanigan.
      As for the rest what an absolute load of shit dribble.
      I’m just gutted for Australia rugby

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yeah I know! Really hard to swallow.

    • Ed

      I hope Ainsley is up to it when he comes on. My thoughts are not clear but didn’t the Italian scrum cause a few problems in the second half last year?
      Will Samu replace Pocock at some stage of the match as otherwise the backrow in the second half could be Pooperamu? That would be pretty short 6-7-8. Oh, I forgot that Hooper is one of our best lineout jumpers, Cheika said so last week.
      And Foley to cramp Too Cows, like he did to Quade last year.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep and it will be Toomua’s fault. According to Cheika!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Well Samu is more likely to replace Pocock than Hooper. Got to keep the ineffective little love child on the field

    • Andy

      No combinations in that backline. Everyone out of position. Couldn’t be more bemused….

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep we have lost the plot

    • Andrew Luscombe

      Does GAGR = Grumpier And Grumpier Rugby?

      • Brisneyland Local

        Gold

    • Ian Rodger

      Agree with most your points there but i reckon giving Gordon the run on start is not a bad idea. At the moment we have like 1.5 halfback. Genia is the number 1 without question, phipps is only there because he has the experience. Cheika already ruined Powell, he was just training with the wobs but didn’t get any game time. If we can get Gordon some solid game time and experience we might have 2.5 decent halfbacks come rwc.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I am happy either way. I still think Powell should be in the mix as well as Moses Sorovi. I hope cheika doesnt ruin Gordon as well.

  • disqus_NMX

    https://thewest.com.au/sport/western-force/global-rapid-rugby-off-and-running-as-western-force-battle-sides-from-around-asia-ng-b881022362z

    “Forrest said GRR will be governed by Hong Kong Rugby Union to avoid stultifying politics and bureaucracy in Australia that was like walking through honey.”

    That’s gold!

    • Bakkies

      Absolutely but I wouldn’t call it politics just obstructive bullshit and Alan Jones from his hospital bed wrote that de Clyne doesn’t like the travel too much so he sends his subordinates. However he is happy to sit in first class box seats at a test match. Gold and sums up this whole bloody mess.

      A chairman who doesn’t attend SANZAAR and IRB meetings where decisions are made so can’t tell a straight story when questioned but would be happy to go on a corporate box junket where there is Champagne and Caviar.

      • Singapore Sling

        Jones actually backed Cheika in that article WTF. He’s a bit tough on Clyne though who’s been a great serpent to Australian rugby for years. It’s hardly Clynes fault that he’s got a snout for truffles.

        • Bakkies

          Macqueen, Dwyer, etc have all backed Cheika. Coaches stick together much like most refs do.

        • donktec

          the Great Serpent eating Australian rugby?!? Surely some kind of Freudian typo?

    • onlinesideline

      this is unbelievable – had noooo idea this many rule changes. And most of them look good to me – but Im just a spectator – what do I know. No Markers in 22 – some of these changes are mouthwatering. Forrest is one smooth dude isnt he. Got to love this guy.He really is shaping up to be the Packer of Rugby. This will be huge and probably the entry point for the USA too. Once the entrepreneurs get a sniff, they’ll tell US Rugby where to go and will right be on to this. Bacially this is going to be a venegrance platform for all the disenfranchised and they will more than even, they’ll put global rugby powers on notice. Long may it continue. When I read yesterday the Japs are get 13 quid a day to play in England and the Brits keep basically all the gate revenue, I was amazed. Rugby does seems really rotten. The last bastion of unchecked city boys. It has to change.

      • Bakkies

        Only the RFU can afford to give up some of their gate. SRU and WRU are still in debt much like SARU and the RA are. IRFU budgeted for a loss but a Grand Slam got them in to the black.

        Be careful what you wish for in regards to revenue sharing as it will send Union’s further in to the red.

        If the likes of Steve Tew and the media who are pushing this revenue sharing nonsense they will find out that Ireland and England are similar as a lot of the tickets aren’t on public sale so instead they are sold through local clubs to their members. This provides vital revenue to grassroots clubs who rely on this money each year to survive. Depriving these local clubs of their revenue to prop up poorly run unions like the RA is not a good look.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Good points mate. It’s a shame that it takes someone like you to let us know. All those wankers at SMH blowing smoke up Cheika’s arse should actually do their job and investigate this stuff

        • Bakkies

          They rarely do their job just push agendas.

  • Juan_Time

    Sorry to be glass half full here, but.. really excited to see Gordon and Petaia get starts. Would like to have seen Banks at least on the bench, Sure, Foley at 12 is unusual, but surely not too much wrong with the rest. Petaia played some wing for the Reds this year, and its a fairly reasonable way of introducing an outside back.
    C’mon folks, show your teeth, smile. It’s okay.

    • Ads

      Hey mate, there is some good in there, but I think what most people have concern over is it seems doomed to fail by essentially trying to be half pregnant. If you’re going to have a go, have a go! I would have no problem with genia, foley and AAC/DHP on the bench in case the younger guys all turned to mush. I don’t think it will happen, but that at least makes sense. Why wouldn’t you have a go with something like
      09 – Gordon
      10 – Toomua
      11 – Izzy
      12 – Kerevi
      13 – Jordan
      14 – Sefa
      15 – Banks
      to really see what was possible.

      • Human

        Amen to that.

      • disqus_NMX

        Seems so bloody obvious!

    • Alister Smith

      Yes the Foley one is the most concern for me and I though AAC was more a OC option than a wing – would have probably kept him as cover on the bench. But I am hoping, despite my inner forebodings, that we are able to gel and put on a great performance – particularly for the two newbies.

      There have been some brief periods in most games this year (with the exception perhaps of the Argentina game on the Gold Coast) when we have played some really good rugby and I have thought to myself, OK this is what Cheika is trying to get to but they have been all too brief and I think the game he is trying to play is beyond the level that the players are just yet or that some of it works in theory but, when put under the pressure of the heat of the game and superior defences, it is not practical. I think Cheika and RA are hanging their hats on the hope the confidence will click and that these brief 5-10 minute periods can turn themselves into 60-80 minute games. When we play well, which admittedly hasn’t been very often or for very long, it is entertaining.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Except AAC can’t pass so wing’s not a bad option

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Don’t be sorry mate. We need all the positive we can get

  • laurence king

    Good morning GAGR’s and fellow sufferers and thanks Nick, you held it together well in regards Cheika’s selections.
    It seems clear that Banks is not Cheika’s love-child, and equally that Kurtley is. After Kurtley’s bizarre play last week it was obvious that the young man go on an extended holiday, but here he is named to come on against Italy. Cheika’s surely in denial over that one, still seeming to believe that Beale is the key to unlock opposition defenses.
    It seems that Cheika has picked this side so that he will have given the intended players to play England a run or part of a run. So it appears, Hanigan and Simmons will be out of next weeks game.
    The selections for this game are if possible crazier than anything he’s done so far but what can one expect from a man whose boastful antics are defended by, ‘we haven’t done anything to be humble about.’ Lost the plot’ methinks

    • laurence king

      I also think that we’re seeing Folau returning to Fullback for the England game, just a feeling

  • Hoss

    Well Good Morning from the Gold Coast or as far as I can tell Northern Beijing. I have successfully infiltrated the north – so far so good.

    Segall is the gift that just keeps on giving, much like tropical Herpes.

    One must now ask is he suffering some form of mental illness. I mean Spanners was just so good at 12 in 2016 that ‘he’ll yes’ he just demands to be picked their – why the fuck would you pick Kerevi their – piffle cock. And Bastards, he doesn’t have it, nope the answer is a 73 yo with a titanium hip and adult diapers – now THATS an investment in our rugby future – shrewd Mickey C, shrewd.

    I eagerly await the ‘year end review’ RA – ‘how do you think the year ended Mr Segall’ – ‘well everyone said it ends with December, but I think you’ll find by moving August to October and reversing March with November and having two July’s next year looks brighr’

    RA ‘Segall has a ‘plan’ and we are comfortable with that plan’

    Meanwhile my rugby soul cries.

    • Happyman

      I hear you Hoss
      The Koolaid which you normally drink every Friday must be laced with some sort of psychotropic drug this week.
      I now submit that Foley now be known as Koala a protected species that is not endangered.
      The Northerners must be thinking we are taking the piss.

      • Custard Taht

        Foley is more protected than Koala’s…whilst by law they are protected, Government’s have no problem with clearing their habitat. Foley on the other hand is protected, his habitat is protected and any threats to his existence are dealt with.

        • onlinesideline

          Agree Bush Tucker man

        • st saens

          Could always try a koala at 12…couldn’t do worse than Foley

    • Brisneyland Local

      Mate you should have let me know you were coming up North and I would have provided you an escort. The GC is appalling and unsafe. You should come up to my weekender at Coolum. Much nicer up there.

      • Hoss

        Thanks mate.

        Will take you up on that next time – plus I think it’s schoolies ???

        Bought my little guys up for Sea World weekend, staying at the Seaworld Nara Resort – hereby called the Hoss Barn because much like myself this places best days were 25 years ago – what a dive. Splashed out in a suite with adjoining room for the ruggies (Mrs Hoss is only human and has certain unnatural rituals that must occur) – the accommodation in Syria would be better – I am at the very last building with views of the underside of the monorail and some faux rainforest walk – the place is a shit-hole, but we will be at parks all day I guess.

        Went down the street last nite to get groceries and I note an ugly undertone to the place I don’t recall experiencing before.

        • onlinesideline

          Mate BL did offer you an escort and you are going to Seaworld.

          Maybe its time to Free Willy.

        • Brisneyland Local

          The druggies, bikkies and ex-KGB Rusky mafia run the coast. It really is appalling. Sea world is still fun though. My ruggies still love it.

        • onlinesideline

          Apparantely the Russians control Seaworld too.
          Thats why Trump and Putin get on so well. Trump resorts own about 20 seaworlds. The Russians control the black market in Flippers. Its complicated.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Hilarious!

        • disqus_NMX

          The GC has always had an ugly undertone, hasn’t it? Welcome to my backyard!

          How old are your grommies btw?

        • Andy

          You need to do a midnight Harold and get down to the crazy horse. 5 minutes with Sandy and you’ll forget the decor of your overpriced hotel room in no time.

      • Dud Roodt

        I’m sure Hoss has no trouble finding his way to the escorts up there mate

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure Gold.

        • Greg

          In between his Thai masseur, his cousin and traveling with his spouse…. I suspect not.

        • Hoss

          Ever considered their not one and the same ???? Like Michael and Janet Jackson …..

    • idiot savant

      Playing months out of position? Thats sure to work.

    • Geoffro

      You on the GC for schoolies Hoss :) Don’t throw yourself off a balcony or anything after the Italy game

  • Happyman

    Fellow GAGR’s

    If you have the time I would suggest looking at this for a read.

    It is certainly more interesting than Wallaby team selection.

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/nov/14/rugby-enron-ben-ryan-fiji

    • Huw Tindall

      Yeah that was a great spray from Ben Ryan at World Rugby and the RFU. I agree 100% with everything he said.

  • Alister Smith

    Can’t really add much to the commentary below re: selections other than I could perhaps understand picking AAC at wing outside Petaia at OC but picking one on each wing makes even less sense…anyway

    Not a huge fan of two many rule changes and GRR (like a tiger) rugby has plenty of changes but I think a lot of them have been tried at one time in club or NRC rugby in Australia. I can certainly remember playing a pre-season in Brisbane in the 1990s with the “no kicks on the full from the 22″ rule – as an unfit tight forward it was perhaps my least enjoyable pre-season ever. As I think I have mentioned before, Super League tried to introduce a number of changes to speed up RL and make a point of difference between it and the ARL and it did nothing for me at the time but I am prepared to give it a go. The game that evolves may be more suited to a lighter, smaller “Asian-style” player because of the speed and fitness required but I wouldn’t like to personally see less focus on scrums and lineouts…that’s my only worry.

    Forrest does appear to have one-upped RA by registering the comp with the HKRU. That will mean, while they could still potentially interfere with WA and the Force the whole comp isn’t at risk from RA ineptitude though he seems to point the finger, at least for the lack of a Western Sydney team, more in NSWRU’s court (or SRU perhaps – not sure how much influence they would have). It will be good to see some games anyway and there can’t be anything wrong with some more rugby in a new market in Asia.

    • Happyman

      The only rule I dislike is the rolling subs rule it just leads to bigger players who cannot run out a full game so being smaller with a bigger motor than your opponent os redundant.
      Thus Props are now 135kg and getting bigger.

      • onlinesideline

        NFL – agree

      • Hoss

        So there’s hope for me yet. I knew the investment in Tim-tams and cheeseburgers would yield a result.

        Wallabies here I come, 137kgs and nearly 50 – I am an obvious Cheika Pick.

        • onlinesideline

          You were 135kgs 6 weeks ago. What happened ?

        • Hoss

          Inflation

        • onlinesideline

          lmao

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Bahahahawahaha

        • Brumby Runner

          The actual weight of a kilogram seems to have diminished in the past 6 weeks. Would account for me being a couple of kg heavier in the same period.

        • Brisneyland Local

          MAte with me at 127kgs and almost 50 we will be shoe ins!

      • Alister Smith

        Yes I can see your point but, for the bulk of the changes, the rules are pushing the other way – greater ball in play, fewer rest times, fewer breaks for set play (particularly lineout) – so it will be interesting to see how it balances out.

      • Huw Tindall

        Agree on the size. It’s not a game for everyone anymore. The 16 year old kids and doing heavy weight now. No wonder they don’t have any actual rugby skills! WTF.

    • Geoffro

      We’ve got sevens,Global tens, normal rugby and now rapid rugby,getting to be a bit like cricket .Nothing beats Test rugby (or cricket) though.

  • Woolfe

    Made 2 comments in yesterdays news about the Rapid Rugby comp. Both were disappeared. Same as commenting in the Paywallian. Alan Jones has a good article, playing games as he reckons Cheika should stay but high performance unit should be fired.

    • Woolfe

      Huw just read your email, hey I like conspiracy theories, goes with my tin foil scrum cap.

  • Purce

    I’m going to start by saying I’ve been reasonably supportive of the coaching staff even in the blindingly obvious flaws in their game plans and selections. This team selection has finally broken me. I’m done.

    – I’ve been ok with AAC selected in the squad as a 12/13 option and older head because we have been lacking depth at 13 in particular. Especially given Kerevi has just come back from injury. I am strongly opposed to him getting a starting wing birth over Banks, Maddocks, Niavalu and Koro. This selection further reduces those players development at international stage. It is such a strange selection, I can’t imagine how said players feel.
    – very happy with the 9/10 selections but then he goes and sabotages any 10 except his favorite Foley by playing Foley at fucking 12 just as he did with quade. What the fuck?! Honestly it’s ridiculous. Also given that most people feel Kerevi’s best position is at 12 it affects that selection and well as…….
    – this leads me to Petaia on the wing… why? He has been fantastic at 13. Toomua, kerevi, petaia at 10, 12, 13 is an exciting and balanced combination. As well as players actually in their position! Glad he has a start though.
    – this would then allow you to select Banks at wing or 15! I honestly don’t know what this kid has done to Chieka. How he hasn’t been given more of a go is absolutely mind boggling. A legit fullback, probably the fastest outside back in Australia, strong defense and a huge boot. Honestly WTF?! And not even in the 23???
    – I dont have as many selection issue with the piggies. Front row is fine. The locks have been underwhelming, why has Arnold been snubbed again? Rodda has unfortunately been particularly poor. Backrow is the usual conversation… personally I understand wanting to have both pocock and hoops in the starting 15, with them both there we are stronger than with one out at the moment because we don’t have a standout number 8. Dempsey over hanigan all day every day. I also would have liked Valetini to get a chance off the bench but Samu also needs some game time.

    This is such a missed opportunity to give in form players a chance to shine. And just as importantly, if not more importantly, it gives the coaches the opportunity to DROP UNDERPERFORMING PLAYERS. Give them a kick up the arse and hopefully open the door for others and show that they can actually break into this team but just be there to hold tackle bags.

    • Alister Smith

      Not arguing that the selections are a shambles but just wondering how involved the other coaches are in them. Foley at 12 isn’t something that I thought Larkham would select but they must at least talk about it and he must accept it, otherwise he would have walked out long ago.

      • Purce

        Agreed. I honestly can’t get my head around it. I assume it’s more than just chieka selecting what he wants but as you said I’d like to think it’s a selection Larkham wouldn’t back. Maybe we all thought Larkham would be a brilliant coach and it’s just not working out that way?

        • Alister Smith

          I the beginning, I saw Larkham’s appointment as purely a political one on Cheika’s part. Part of it to say, look its not all the Wallabies, we’ve got the Brumbies coach involved too (and I think there were overtures to one of the Qld coaches too at the time though not Graham) and also because Larkham was the most likely to be given the job if Cheika didn’t perform – so if he was already involved in the coaching set-up he couldn’t be seen as an alternative to be brought in from outside. Anyway, I hope, against my better judgement, that we have a great game and that it all works and I am especially hopeful that the debutants go well and that Toomua impresses at 10. In previous years, it seemed like players have had poor Super seasons but improved a little once in the Wallabies camp (with the exception of last years last two games) but this year it feels like the longer they are in the Wallabies setup the worse they are performing. Beale, Folau, Foley, Coleman, Hooper and Genia I feel are playing worse now then they did in June – maybe the increased focus on fitness to prepare for the June test series has taken the edge off or maybe they are just getting more and more confused.

        • Adrian

          Spot on Alister about how Larkham got the job.

          Cheika publicly asked the other SR coaches to put their hands up.

          A master political move at the time, but only of short term benefit…like most master political strokes

          PS Cheika and Larkham as as different as Chalk and Cheese.

        • Alister Smith

          One of the SMH writers, either G Rob or Decent Tommy – wrote this week that Cheika was largely an overseer and had already pre-ordained Larkham to be the next coach and let him do most of the strategy and hands on coaching.

          I don’t believe this is the case, I think the decisions we are seeing are Cheika’s first, though supported by the support staff. This read as a thinly veiled attempt to blame the support staff so that Cheika could survive the post season review at their expense.

          I don’t personally feel we got the right person as the Forwards coach. Ledesma to me has been the biggest loss to that coaching staff but no one is to blame there. But the new bloke might have been the best available.

          I personally think that Larkham would have been better getting more direct experience as a head coach when he came in. I doubt he will ever be Wallabies coach now and I certainly would prefer someone else now, although if he had have had a couple more years with the Brumbies then I may have been more open to his selection.

        • Alister Smith

          From Georgina Robinson (or however she spells it)
          “It would also give Cheika, by all evidence a gifted man manager, time to breathe and reflect on his own course of action. More than anyone else he will have been challenged by this season’s turn of events. Once determined to set the team up to lead themselves – he anointed Stephen Larkham his successor early on in the role – results have forced him to dive back in and take control. That’s what happened in the Wallabies now-storied comeback in Salta, Argentina. The master motivator took his team by the scruff of the neck.

          He needs to do the same thing now and over the break. Even if the Wallabies pull off an upset win against England, the opportunity for reflection and change should not be lost. Some of Cheika’s staunchest advocates are urging as much.” Following this quote were supportive statements for Cheika from Bob Dwyer and Morgan Turunui.

          That reads to me like Larkham is being set up as the patsy and, with a stumbling attack, perhaps he should shoulder his part of the blame but at the same time we also had a poor defensive performance and our set piece at both scrum and lineout have deteriorated to since Ledesma left. I think if you think the issue is coaching then the head coach is responsible for all of it so you need to look their first. I wonder if its possible that Cheika stays on and Kafer, already a RA employee pushes himself forward to take on the attack job until the World Cup.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Well with that wanker in the mix a drop out in the pool play is guaranteed

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          What a load of trollop. Cheika is far to much of a power hungry wanker to operate like that. Just another Tah loving dick who can’t see the the wood for the trees

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I bet Larkham’s pissed. He’s put his career back10 years being part of this setup

        • Adrian

          I agree too Alister re the form of players now C/- June and SR.

          I think they’ve been shunted around in style several times, and given different roles. Some were in very good SR form, and this showed v Ireland.

          Then they got coached

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Or uncoached

      • laurence king

        Whatever the situation, they are all tarnished even if it’s just that they have a bad boss

      • Human

        Bernie May be playing the long game…he won’t walk when the chance to be head coach is imminent.

        • laurence king

          He also may have some guarantee

      • idiot savant

        Well there is precedent. Larkham was told by the press that Hunt was playing 12 a couple of days before a game last season. So it would be no surprise if Larkham had no hand in this one.

        Options are thin in the touring party though. Particularly if he wants to send Beale a message. Kerevi would have made the most sense but is short of a run. So if he wants to try Toomua at 10, and leave Beale out, options are limited.

        I expect there will be a bit of swapping around. I wouldn’t mind betting Kerevi goes to 12 when we are in the opposition half.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Kerevi would be fine at 12, certainly better than Foley. FFS he can’t tackle, can’t take a ball up into contact and passes so slowly every one of them is a telegraphed hospital pass. Cheika has lost whatever little bit of the plot he had.
          I almost hope the Italians win this one. F@$k, Fu&$ and double F@&k

      • Andrew Luscombe

        The current coaching staff likes two 10s. The 12 role is an extra 10 – like playing a fly half and a 5/8th. We’ve seen it plenty of times in the last few years. I don’t know how involved Larkham was of course, but it wouldn’t surprise him, and I’m sure he accepted it.

        • Alister Smith

          Well if that is the case, and I agree it is, then this is the major reason above all else that Quade Cooper hasn’t been selected. He is not a traditional 10 but he is to the degree that he plays the role as the key decision maker, play maker.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Didn’t they try QC and Foley together in 2016 maybe once or twice.

        • Ed

          Five tests together, then Quade to the bench.

    • Brendan Hume

      Great points on the backs. Disagree on Rodda – I think he has been pretty good for a very young lock and his development has been excellent. I’d have loved to have seen a more traditional back row for the game though – a genuine ball running eight seems to be what we’ve been missing.

      • Singapore Sling

        If you can’t play the Pooper against a side ranked 13 in the world, when can ya?……it might just work this time?

      • Purce

        I agree with you on Rodda, his development has been great but I feel like his form has dipped a bit over the last half dozen games. I’m a fan, perhaps why I’m a bit tough on him.

        I agree with backrow but I just dont think we have a ball running 8 there. Valetini probably being the best candidate over there. Wouldn’t be against him getting a run.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate every player in this team has gone backwards. Coaching at its worse

      • brendanhume why

  • Human

    Was it Cheika a couple of years ago who said, “…the numbers on their backs don’t matter”? At the time, and in context, one could not disagree, however now the full extent of his madness is becoming clear. He truly believes that there are no specialist positions or players for those positions and that he is revolutionising the game. Stay tuned to see WG Grace play lock against the Dodgers with Coleman at 9.

    • Brisneyland Local

      I think he is going to play Willy G at 4. Said Sanchez has a great jump and is easier to lift!

      • Human

        I believe that he will. Cheika will be desperate to wipe the smirk off Evil’s dial so anything goes.

    • laurence king

      Is it some sort of pheng shui sudoku mysticism thing happening. Numbers being in the right location at certain times. I can imagine Cheika selecting the side of a night, light off except for candle, sitting there in his sumo’s loin cloth chanting and examining animals entrails.

      • Bernie Chan

        Not even our most radical Feng Shui Master could come with the dross Cheika delivers. AAC gets a starting spot…? Petaia is a talent, but hasn’t he been playing #13? Sefa/Banks/Maddocks must have kicked Cheika’s dog….IMHO the most threatening combo would have been Toomua/Kerevi/Petaia, and now Foley will try and occupy Toomua’s space as he did when playing #12 outside QC. Foley can’t defend the #12 channel so the defensive shuffle will continue…AAC to tackle for Foley?

    • Andrew Luscombe

      Cheikas teams apear to have 2 specialists -hooker and half back. The other roles are props, 4-5-6, 7-8, 10-12, 11-13-14-15. So 7 roles.

  • Singapore Sling

    Cheika’s decision making is so flawed it cannot have the backing of his assistants. It just doesn’t make sense that Larkham and Grey would endorse this backline which indicates they are not in a position to fight back or have just given up. You just can’t make this shit up. Is this the nadir of Australian rugby? I fear not!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Or they also are fuckwits. I actually go with that at the moment

  • Perth girl

    Free at last from the stultifying politics of RA! Thank you Twiggy and Minderoo. Looking forward to next season and maybe some travel, Japan, Fiji to start sound good !

    • Woolfe

      Did you see that the comp is run by Rugby Hong Kong as Twiggy said negotiating with EARU was like running in honey!

      • Perth girl

        Yes it is the only way for him to go. I would have said more like walking through shit than honey, nothing sweet about RA

        • Bakkies

          and the RA’s behaviour has nullified job opportunities that would have occurred being based in Perth.

  • Missing Link

    Jeebuz, Foley at 12. Toomua should prepare to come off after 20 minutes with bruised toes!

  • If we are to go back to the future with players as this seems to be the only option after a long and fruitless tenure by our master and commander, then why isn’t Kev named instead of Simmons and/or Hanigan? It seems the forwards need smarts and leadership. His lineout would be more controlled and he is in good form.

    I have said this over and over and over again… Not developing a 10 over his tenure will be Chieka’s legacy and Australia’s Achilles for years to come. AAC has no place in the team when there is so much opportunity to prepare for the next RWC, not the 2019 RWC.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Concur.

    • nmpcart

      Maybe AAC is his new plan for a backup 10! Don’t need to be too quick, strong in defence, passing is an issue but hey.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nick, Apologies because like most here the sheer shit dribble that has been selected for Italy has driven clear thought from my mind. However, on the other news:

    Great to see NZ getting on board with the woman’s double header next year. I went to the game at ANZ early to watch that match and really enjoyed it. The women can only get better with more game time.

    While I’m happy for the GRR to get traction and laughed at Twiggy’s comments reference the administration being removed from RA’s incompetence (not is so many words but the intent was there) I personally think the rule changes are wrong. This is not rugby now and while it may get some interested spectators, especially from the supporters of the teams playing, it will turn off a lot of people and make it harder for players to move both into and out of this competition. It will never supplant rugby in the wider world and as such runs a risk of being confined to a minor attraction for a short period of time. Personally I think the competition needs to be as close to World Rugby rules as possible for it to be relevant and taking this away has been a poor move.

    • Brumby Runner

      With you all the way on the rule changes KRL. Another aspect is that being essentially a different game will make it impossible for any Force players to be selected for the Wallabies (on the probable mistaken assumption that they have been under consideration at all anyway).

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yep it will mate. It also means any Force player hoping to move up will need to get a contract elsewhere. Bit of a shame really and I think it will lead to an unsustainable competition.

  • Adrian

    Thanks Nick, and thanks for telling us about the other matches.

    I think Wales v Tonga and Georgia v Samoa will provide plenty of legalised violence. I’d love to watch, but doubt I can.

    Wallabies?

    Whatever!

    I’m still saying they can click one day, and I’m still saying they have the cattle.

    If the coach coaches to his one and only strength, we can slaughter these guys.

    If we fuck around with lots of lateral passing before the gain line we might suffer the same fate as SA did at this time last year.

    I have no idea what we will do anymore,
    BUT
    I’m banking on as pulling out all stops and playing direct and fast.

    Bookies say Australia by 18.5.

    I’ll go for Australia by 25

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Ever the optimist mate

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    The GRR looks exciting and I am glad that it is more independent of the incompetent RA misadministration. I would like to see of the rule changes makes much of a difference as it did not in WSR. However glad to see that an early red card will not ruin a context like it does today, and the rolling subs will hopefully lead to more play time and less time used by “injured” players to slow the game and catch a breath

  • Funk

    Not sure if i missed it, is 7A’s injured or has he just been rested (dropped) for this one?

    • donktec

      the fuchs news said he was being ‘rested’

  • Happyman

    I note from the comments below that at this stage our national coaches and selectors could walk on water across Sydney Harbour and we would all just think they are dodging the tolls.

    They are just stupefying.

  • Red Block

    Just like Quade before him, Toomua will have Foley at 12 not doing much else but getting in the way.
    Why does Cheika see him as such a vital part of the team?

  • Red Block

    Just like Quade before him, Toomua will have Foley at 12 not doing much else but getting in the way.
    Why does Cheika see him as such a vital part of the team?

  • Happyman

    Will be interesting to see how the Reds fanbase reacts to this game

    Rd 7: Reds vs Rebels (Sat 30/3 @ 6:45pm)

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Looking forward to this already

    • Bernie Chan

      May be the first time ever our household doesn’t barrack for the Reds…At least the Rebels have a QLD bred 9/10/12 triumvirate (assuming Sanchez, QC and Toomua are all fit for the game….) so we’ll be almost cheering for QLD…

  • Brisneyland Local

    No it’s not. It is more important than that

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Wash your mouth out. A game! JUST a game! I a man so disappointed

    • Geoffro

      When he gets to heaven and finds it’s the only game they play there he’ll change his tune

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Oh yes mate

  • NSWelsham in London

    Does anyone in the UK know if the Wallabies game will be on TV at all? Seems like just the home nations is playing on all the channels.

    • GeorgiaSatellite

      Mate, try http://www.cricfree.tv – I don’t know how good your anti-virus software is, how fast your internet is, or if UK ISPs allow access, but it’s a free streaming site. Can be a bit stilted, but it’s better than nothing. And nothing is what I would otherwise get in Tbilisi.

    • NickAJW

      I use reddit to watch the Sky games when I don’t fancy going to the pub.

      r/rugbystreams – they usually have a fair few links for each game, if you can find a link to a twitch stream those are usually best.

  • While it is just a game, it is the game played in Heaven.

    • Adrian

      Now we find out…!

  • laurence king

    These people who are running the show, do they really have any idea how absolutely out of touch they are with the rugby community? Surely they rub shoulders with some people who will speak the truth, or maybe not

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Not

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    To all my fellow GAGR’s and contributing authors. I’ve just read through this and I feel I need to apologise for all my negative posts today. I didn’t realise I was so bad until I looked at them tonight.

    So sorry for being so negative. Good luck on Saturday, as ever I really hope the Wallabies win, they are my 2nd favourite team.

    • Greg

      Tomorrow is another day @krl

      and on Monday we will be talking about the great game!

      Have a good weekend.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate I hope so. I’m just not feeling optimistic

    • Bernie Chan

      Nah…no need. We Oz rugger tragics are also negative about the way our team is going and the state of the game here….but we keep hoping the team goes well as we still support them, if not RA and the coaching inner circle…
      BTW…I thought it was good to hear that the great BOD and Tana Umaga have had a decent chat and put the past behind them. Had to be BOD to take the front position as he was the one who suffered the injury, but a good story that 2 modern rugby greats have ‘buried the hatchet’ and moved on. Hope the lazy rugby press now leaves the subject alone…
      The Darkness better beat the Roses…or Eddie Jones will have that smirk on his dial again!

    • Happyman

      Mate I would not concern yourself to much I was out a the Premier Rugby 7’s in Brisbane today and chatted to a few guys I know the straw pole suggests that many want Australia to lose to move on from MC, they re just mystified at the selections of Foley at 12 and want to lance the boil before the RWC and a possible exit in the pool stages.

      Most just think he has lost it. Although he may have the players he has lost the fans.

      • GO THE Q REDS

        It’s disgusting how much he protects Foley in the Wallaby setup. He’s performd terribly bad over a long period of time now…..and instead of dropping him he moves him over taking another players spot. He is NOT that valuable a player that he demands selection. Other world rugby gurus must absolutely laugh their heads off at him and his weird selections.

  • Ads

    Petaia and Arnold ruled out, replaced by Marika and Simmons. Training injuries. The track wreck continues. Not training so frigging well now are we!

  • voodoo economics

    Some coaches in these modern times are very head strong and very sure of themselves in respect of their visions and judgements. We have seen the national coach include and exclude players along predictable lines of thought for some time now. It seems in the hope to turn the tide which at times pauses its momentum to briefly tease us before returning to its march outward. Such a long time to try and try the same things as before with no turning of that tide. A reds coach sharing the same vision has embarked with the same resolve. His judgements handed down for all to see. His fate tied to his belief in his methods and sense of self. His genius which as yet unproven yearning for acknowledgement. His control undeniable and absolute. But what of chaos and randomness. Their influence unpredictable, everlasting and real. Unable to be eliminated in this world that we exist. Our average traits as humans require us a hero. I will take Batman for now. No need for our coaches to prove they are superhuman by their relentless need to be. Let it go and embrace the chaos and randomness that is all around and grow. Don’t be to hard on yourselves. We are all right and wrong at some and any point in time. Even rugby coaches.

  • sambo6

    I know we all sort of joke about ‘what has banks done wrong’…but seriously, unless he’s injured, there really is something to it. He doesn’t get picked, then Petaia is ruled out and he still can’t get a gig?

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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