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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News sees wallaby selection news, low acts, Super W and Paddy-come-latelies.

 

 


 

 

Shocking Pocock News!

Photo by Keith McInnes

Here it is… David Pocock will be considered for the Wallabies Openside flanker role! I know right! Imagine considering a world-class openside flanker for a position like, openside flanker!

This is the type of thinking Michael O’Connor is bringing to the table in his new role as Wallaby selector. O’Connor goes on to discuss the problematic areas of Quade Coopers game, and while he doesn’t come out and say it I’m guessing he means the tackling, and whether Australia actually needs to replace Bernie Larkham in the Wallabies set-up.

MOC will join Cheika and Scott Johnson on a three-man selectors panel that has personality written all over it. Oh to be a fly on the wall at a couple of those meetings eh? Anyone know a guy who can bug a room?

“There may be a different perspective I put on the table and I’m sure Johnno will do the same,” O’Connor told the Sydney Morning Herald. “The most important thing is we have a healthy discussion and debate about combinations. It’s helpful just to have another set of eyes and perspective.

 “Ultimately Michael [Cheika] is responsible for the side and he will pick the players he wants and that is the way it should be but there will be a healthy discussion.”
“You’d like to have a discussion about David Pocock playing No 7,” O’Connor said. “If [Cheika] has got strong reasons to keep things the way he has, well that’s fine, but I think we should have the discussion and we will have the discussion. It’ll be interesting.

So… How do you pick an all NSW Wallabies selection committee without pissing off the Qlders?

Find a Sydney boy who lives in Queensland!

I think some of O’Connor’s ideas have merit. We should look at balancing our back row instead of cramming our two best players in there and hoping for the best. Someone should pull Quade Cooper aside and get him to tackle a bit lower. Even his try saver against Tevita Kuridrani, while a great tackle, was up there. But going into a world cup without an attack coach? What do you think?

Watch Out For The Boogey Man

Embed from Getty Images

When you grow up playing Rugby union and league in western Queensland you get to see more than your fair share of dirty work on a rugby field. But Cheetahs player Nico Lee has just taken first prize for the lowest thing I’ve seen on the pitch.

In the Cheetahs Pro 14 game against Connacht in Galway, last Saturday Lee “cleared the contents of his nose” onto Australian Colby Fa’aingaa face while he was stuck at the bottom of a ruck. That’s pretty sick stuff! Lee, in my opinion, got off very lightly with a 13-week ban! Toyota, the Cheetahs major sponsor, must wonder what they’ve got themselves into with their name being used every time Cheetahs is used in most articles.

Lee was cited following the incident, which happened during South Africa-based Cheetahs’ Guinness PRO14 game against Connacht in Galway last Saturday.

He was reported under Law 9.27 – a player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship. A three-man disciplinary committee concluded that Lee had committed an intentional act of foul play.

In a statement, Pro14 organisers said: “With regard to the offence, the player accepted that he had cleared the contents of his nose on to the face of an opposing player, thereby committing an act of foul play.”

Super W Starts

Embed from Getty Images

Super W starts this weekend with debutants crawling out of the woodwork everywhere! 

NSW Waratahs Women have named 10 debutants as part of their side for the opening clash of the Buildcorp Super W, as they prepare to travel to Canberra to take on rivals the Brumbies.

NSW Waratahs Women’s Head Coach Matt Evrard, said the number of Wallaroos joining the squad will benefit the younger players coming through the ranks.
  
“It will be great experience for them (younger players). Before the last Super W season, we didn’t have a great deal of Wallaroos in our squad so to have up to 15 in the squad now, who have represented their country, is a real positive.
 
“It will be good to be able to share that load of leadership and a lot of young girls we’ve got coming through will be able to learn from their experience and push forward,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Brumbies have new players of their own snaring the services of school swim star Brooke Gilroy. Gilroy is still in grade 12 but is keen as mustard. 

“I wanted to do rugby ever since I was little,” Gilroy said.

“Since the first game, I’ve known that I loved it and I’ve wanted to pursue what can come.”

The NSW Waratahs Women will take on the Brumbies side at GIO Stadium, Canberra at 5:00 pm on Saturday 23 February. 

Meanwhile Queensland have also named ten debutants for their game against the Rebels women at Box Hill Rugby Club in Melbourne on Sunday, kicking off at 2:00 pm AEST. 

‘Paddy-come-latelies’

Bundee Aki

This ones here purely on the headline. Paddy-come-latelies is the perfect description for player with the loosest affiliations turning out for their vaguely adopted countries.

Former Irish and BIL flyhalf Tony Ward has let off with both barrels at the state of the current eligibility laws.

The former British and Irish Lions first five-eighth – writing in the Irish Independent – said the “glut of inter-country transfers” was “a blight” on rugby and the move to a five-year residency qualification criterion ‘could not come quick enough.

Ward – who won 19 Irish caps between 1978 and 1987 – said Ireland was not the only nation at fault. Former Scotland and Lions No 8 Johnny Beattie told him before the Scotland-Ireland test in Edinburgh that “14 of the squad of [Scotland’s] squad of 23 … did not learn their rugby in Scotland”.

“Make of that what you will, but the bottom line is that this false patriotism [not in every case, I might add] is endemic in every nation in the northern hemisphere.

Ward – who won 19 Irish caps between 1978 and 1987 – said Ireland were not the only nation at fault. Former Scotland and Lions No 8 Johnny Beattie told him before the Scotland-Ireland test in Edinburgh that “14 of the squad of [Scotland’s] squad of 23 … did not learn their rugby in Scotland”.

“Make of that what you will, but the bottom line is that this false patriotism [not in every case, I might add] is endemic in every nation in the northern hemisphere.

“I am sure there are others, but they are very few and far between as the southern hemisphere has been much more protective of the worth of home-produced players.

World Rugby plans to extend international residency qualification from three years to five.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Morning Sully, thanks for this.

    What a bloody grub. I hope Lee gets smashed for this disgusting act. I know I did some things on the field that wouldn’t be accepted now – different era, different rules, but I’d never have considered anything like that. What a f*cken wanker.

    Not too surprising that O’Connor, like most of the Australian rugby fraternity, see Pocock as a better 7 than Hooper. It’s only Cheika and his muppet mates who see what we all don’t. Although the way Gibson is stuffing things up You’d wonder what he’d do at the Tahs if Pocock was there, probably play him at lock. I do tend to agree with O’Connor’s statement “Ultimately Michael [Cheika] is responsible for the side and he will pick the players he wants and that is the way it should be” I firmly believe that a coach picks his/her players and then lives or dies by them. The issue here is that for some reason Cheika is not being held accountable for the worst Wallaby run in forever and that’s what bugs me. Sure pick who you want, but when it constantly fails FFS be accountable for the decisions you make.

    The SuperW teams seem a bit one sided and I’d like to see the talent spread around a bit. I think if it doesn’t then the competition may struggle to grow. Looking forward to it though as I love the way Woman’s rugby is growing so strongly over here.

    The trouble with Tony Ward’s statement is that if Ireland followed his preference they’d be down there with Italy instead of up with us. He needs to pull his head out of his arse and accept reality.

    • Monk EyBoy

      I’m with you KRL, i was a self professed grub on the rugby field but bush mans hanky in blokes face never would’ve crossed my mind. His statement that “thats not the sort of player he is” is a load of bollocks who in their right mind does that when the red mist descends…

      • Yes it is the type of player he is!

        • Happyman

          Agreed it is the type of player he is.

    • Happyman

      Following your points KRL

      I have to agree what a grub if he were in my squad I would sack him. That sort of behaviour just has no place in society let alone the game.

      I wonder if Pocock will make the RWC his body just has city miles on the clock. I imagine that there will be robust debate about the entire team going forward and MC might find it difficult to justify some of his decisions. In this type of environment it sometimes requires tension to make the most creative decisions.

      The Super W is just fantastic I agree on the players with QLD and NSW being clearly the strongest. There might be good options going forward. One Split NSW and QLD into two teams from each state. OR two let the other teams pick players from QLD and NSW after they have picked a squad of say 30. Cost would always be an issue to keep an eye on.

      I honestly don’t havre an issue with the residency rule as it is. My view is that a player say from the islands can sit out for say two years and then represent the country of birth. This would help Fiji, Tonga and Samoa immeasurably. All countries have been guilty of warehousing players in the past and the modern game has thrown up some interesting cases. I know of a couple of young players who have been recruited overseas with a view to them being developed and being eligible when 23 for the country.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I’d love to see the rules changed so players who have represented one country can go back to the country of their ancestors. This would certainly help the tier 2&3 countries

        • laurence king

          When they have a bit of money in their pockets and have been able to help their families. Like it

      • John Tynan

        “City miles”!

    • Had a very long day and by the time I got to the news I was dozing off at the keyboard. So I forgot to mention that women’s rugby is the fastest growing sport in the world.

  • Pedro

    It makes you wonder how many times Lee did that before he got caught.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    If Pocock is to play 7, then we have a considerable number of tall back-rowers competing for the 6 and 8 spots. Hopefully some of them kick on this year:

    – Timu, average line out jumper, 6 & 8
    – Dempsey, good line out jumper, 6 & 8
    – Jones, fantastic jumper, 6
    – McCaffrey, good line out jumper, 6 & 8
    – Holloway, v. good line out jumper, 6 & 8
    – Higgers, fantastic jumper, 6 & 8
    – Naisarani, average(?) jumper, 6 & 8
    – Valetini, average jumper, 6 & 8
    – Cottrell, average jumper, 6.

    If Holloway gets to play 8 and kicks on, that would be great, as he looked fantastic last week.

    Add to him 2016 Dempsey, in-form Higgers or if Naisarani or Jones plays well, then that is a back-row.

    McCaffrey looked like genuine international class last week.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      it just opens up so many more options to get a balanced loose trio

      • Ed

        Balanced against Cheika saying ‘Hoops in my man!”

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah I think it’ll be a fine discussion but I can’t see it happening.

      • AllyOz

        There is no real stand out No.8 for me yet. Not to say that a number wouldn’t form a better combination than the two open side approach at the moment.

    • Pedro

      I’ve always been a Holloway fan but it would be a shock if Cheika lets him anywhere near the Wallabies squad.

      • Hoss

        I have been a fan of big Jethro Holoway for some time, to be fair to Segall though, Holoway was in the Wallabies EOYT Squad, but came home injured from Japan i believe. So did Blair Cottrill from memory

        • Dud Roodt

          Didn’t know Cheika took the well known racist and all round utter fucking loser Blair Cottrell on the EOYT??

        • Hoss

          Yes, there is that. But he is good in the loose, loves the mongrel stuff, has a good engine and i like him. We each have our own foibles..

        • Who?

          Isn’t it Angus Cottrell..? Not Blair? Think that’s where DR’s going…
          For what it’s worth, and clearly I don’t think Cheika should be Wallabies coach (so I’m not one to be expected to defend him), I can’t see him as having racial biases or tolerating it. I can’t see a man with Lebanese roots who speaks 5 languages and has lived through Europe as being a proponent of, “It’s alright to be white.” Even if a bloke with similar roots from FNQ might occasionally dabble with such concepts…

        • Hoss

          ‘Blair’ is my nickname for Gus.

          Now if you dont mind i would like to let the tattooist finish my Pauline Hanson tattoo please.

        • Adrian

          I’d think of another name Hoss. Something to do with cough medicine if you say it fast

        • Who?

          I hadn’t picked that up. We haven’t had enough references to him… Or Blair (who I don’t know, because I don’t watch Sky News).
          It’s alright to like Pauline (or be white, or black, or a bigot). I’m far less concerned about that than your position on whether or not soccer is a sport (clearly, it’s not), whether it’s ok to like League (again, clearly not acceptable)… :-P

        • Hoss

          All good mate & Adrian is right – in the interest of good taste (i am loosely aware of the concept) i will find another nickname for Mr Cotrill. far be it from me to promote the politics of hate & exclusion. Although reading Sherbert’s piece above i reckon Gus is about as close a chance to the Ellis festival selection as i am so it may all be whispers in the wind. We are spoiled for choice at present in the loosies.

        • Who?

          All good! I don’t care which politics anyone promotes when I’m talking Rugby (we can be divided about that elsewhere), though I’ll say the concept of you getting a Pauline tatt sounded as tongue-in-cheek as most of your posts. Never took it seriously (but wouldn’t take issue if you did it). But had to twist it to have a dig at that horrible activity we should all hate with passion, soccer.
          We’re definitely spoiled for choice at present in the loosies. But I thought the same last year, too, and by the time we got to TRC, we seemed to have no one to pick. Funny how that happens every other year… And half of it seems to be down to coaching selection predilections…

        • AllyOz

          Idi Amin played rugby apparently and there was a story that Benito Mussolini did too. Maybe that should be part of RA’s diversity programme. If you want to be a fascist or a blood thirsty murderous dictator, our game’s for you.

        • AllyOz

          and both George W Bush and Bill Clinton played just to keep my politics bi-partisan

        • Who?

          Che played, too (think he was an inside centre?). And the Leaguies still whinge about the Vichy government killing their game in France (conveniently ignoring the fact that the French League team was strong for years after WWII, beating the Aussies in the 70’s).
          I’m not saying that I agree with any of those points (i.e. political points), I’m saying this isn’t a place I’m going to debate them. Because we are currently far too divided along political lines, and it’s nice to have a place where we can put that to the side. It’s not an uncommon thing for people to suddenly lose hatred when they realize that the people on the other side of the political spectrum are real humans, too. People with value, just like themselves..
          The fact that the Convicts can talk Rugby has, I’m sure, changed people’s perceptions of the gay community, because suddenly there’s common ground for conversation, there’s humanity, and people who might previously have been homophobic (or, more likely, misohomo/misogay, as in, actively hating them, not ‘just’ in fear of them, because fear is often a passive emotion) can develop friendships that can help them realise the error of their ways, the irrelevance of their opinions, the pointlessness of their fear.

        • AllyOz

          sorry … incorrect use of the term “diversity” by me, I was just making a light hearted sarcastic comment about right wing/left wing dictators and did not mean it as a criticism of diversity. Anyone can play as far as I am concerned, the more the better

        • Adrian

          Well said Who

        • Dud Roodt

          What on earth have I missed?? I drop a comment about Blair Fucking Cottrell, hop on a flight from Manila to Taipei and comments are being deleted, we’re selecting a team of despots, what the fuck happened?!

        • Who?

          Manila? Not sure that Duterte’s got any experience playing Rugby… If we’re talking despots. I don’t know of deleted comments?
          Ok – I’ve just looked at another copy of the page – it was a couple of posts from Hoss where he clarified he was referring to Angus, and that he rates Angus, with a little more tongue in cheek commentary, before saying (in a post that is retained) that he’d find a new nickname for Angus Cottrell. There was nothing in the posts that was anywhere near worthy of their deletion, I can’t imagine for a moment that they were moderated. But I also don’t know why Mr Cartwright would feel the need to remove them. Got me beat!

        • Dud Roodt

          Duterte has experience in whatever Duterte wants to have experience in!

          Oh right – thanks for the explanation!

    • Metootootoo

      You can ad in Rob Leota of the the Rebels who I predict will make big moves this year. same vintage as Valentini out of Victorian rugby. Back this year after some serious injuries. A very good jumper – he is the 21 who steels the Brumbies throw at the 5 m linnet following Cooper’s seatbelt tackle penalty last week

    • Hoss

      A lot to like there Sherbert. Add in the depth in the piggies with:

      – Methuselah
      – Eric Clapton
      – Sio
      – 7A’s
      – The Abattoir
      – The Smith Boys ??? (do they get eligibility this year)
      – Plus Ulese is back in the frame with TAF, Palestine, BPA & Rangi

      All of a sudden the sun shines a bit brighter

      • Keith Butler

        Enlighten me Hoss. Who is Eric Clapton apart from being a lead guitar god?

        • Hoss

          Jimmy Slips mate – she dont lie, she dont lie, she dont lie, cocaine……

        • Keith Butler

          It all makes sense.

    • John Miller

      I wonder if Angus Scott-Young is due a breakout season this year as well? Does all the core duties well, great motor, never shirks the tough stuff, hits a breakdown with venom going both ways. Dark horse, but good pillars to build upon.

      Regardless, the tired “but there’s no one else” refrain is as wrong as it’s ever been, and some.

      • GeorgiaSatellite

        Stay tuned for an AC/DC-themed nickname.

    • How does Angus Scott-Young go?

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Realistically, I don’t think he will be playing for the Wallabies.

        Neither will Valetini.

  • formerflanker

    George Smith played a wonderful half of rugby as a replacement some years ago – that could be replicated with Pocock doing the heavy work in the first 40 and Hooper doing the fast linking stuff in the second half.

    • Keith Butler

      Could be the go but in Cheikaworld unlikely. Might also cause a problem with the selecting the finishers depending on the split 53 or 6/2 with one position taken by an out and out 7.

      • AllyOz

        You wouldn’t pick him for it but I think Hooper could potentially cover a back spot. He has filled in in the centres and on the wing in one particularly heavy injury game. Alan Jones wrote last year he should be picked in the centres (although I think there might have been a gas leak in the room when he was writing that article).

        • Keith Butler

          Wonder what his kicking games like?

        • AllyOz

          some might say better than Folau’s – I think in a pinch we could stick him on a wing and we also used George Smith and Phil Waugh together many times and it didnt seem to impact on the make-up of the bench.

  • laurence king

    Cheika probably knows that he needs to be careful with Johnson and O’Connor, they seem willing to negotiate, but they are strong characters.

  • Happyman

    There are many here and elsewhere myself included who are willing pile in on RA. There are many cases where Reylene Castle has been blamed for everything that is wrong with Rugby since professionalism. I would argue that she is doing a fairly good job. Lets look at some of the facts we know and some we can only surmise about.

    1 She has been on the job for about two years now A large unwieldy and heavily factionalised organisation takes a long time to turn around. The Supertanker theory.

    2 She inherited MC, Larkham and Mick The Kick and there contracts Many would surmise that RA is not in a position to pay it out any or all of them.

    3 She is stuck with Cameron Cline until the next AGM

    4 The Force decision was done and dusted before she came on board.

    5 O’Neil and Pulver have effectively emptied the coffers of RA over the past twenty years and it cost money to cut dead wood and opposed to letting contracts expire and copping the dead money over time.

    6 She is responsible hiring Scott Johnston and Mick O’Conner both of whom will have long term benefits to the team.

    7 She is responsible for letting Kafer and Larkham getting jobs for the boys and in my view this is a worry.

    Would be interested in others view but I think at the moment some of the blame has been unwarranted based on the timeline.

    • Ads

      oh no you mentioned the Force!! :)

      • Hoss

        i did once, but i think i got away with it.

      • Happyman

        I know gents but you have to acknowledge your mistakes to learn from them.

        • Hoss

          ‘True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing’

          On that basis i am an out & out genius.

        • Happyman

          Is that from the Art of War or the Art of Hoss.

          I am also a man who has had many learnings.

        • Hoss

          Father of Western Philosophy himself mate – Socrates

          I’ve never had an original thought in my life.

          I’ve never had an original thought in my life.

      • andrewM

        The Force akin to ‘The Scottish Play’?
        https://youtu.be/h–HR7PWfp0?t=75

    • andrewM

      I don’t hold her in any way responsible for the Force Fiasco but I am not entirely convinced that she has done all she possibly could have to mend bridges, whether that is due to Clyne’s influence or not I don’t know.
      I do however feel she needs to take the heat for the latest Australian Rugby Foundation top up scandal

    • AllyOz

      I think she has performed better than Bill Pulver so far, so from that point of view its an improvement. She probably hasn’t got every decision correct but there are some things emerging now around junior development programmes, her discussions with Forrest and his comments around her performance, the move to include U18s “out of schoolers” in the Schoolboys and some other recent decision that give me some confidence that she is generally working in the games best interest. I think there is an irrational belief that people could come into the role and completely fix things within the first 100 days or even the first year. In some cases the problems she is dealing with have been around for a century and relate to the way the came was originally structured. I am prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt personally. I am not as big a fan of Cameron Clyne.

    • John Miller

      I suspect you are right about a number of these points Happy. I had the opportunity to meet Castle at a rugby function briefly and in (half) jokingly mentioning the “unique challenges” of operating under this RA Board, I was met with a fairly intense wide-eyed stare which spoke volumes in the silence.

      Without any concrete empirical evidence, I suspect Castle has pushed for Cheika’s axing for some time. It is very interesting to me that the post-TRC and Autumn International press frontings were made (disastrously) by Clyne rather than Castle. For how could you ask for accountability in the boardroom and then, 5 minutes later, publicly declare non-accountability to an awaiting press corp in the next room? She was the only rugby official to disclose the acceptable “pass mark” expectation for the AI tour (which fell spectacularly short). I suspect Castle accepted the phone link up with Jake White before an inner sanctum Boys Club leak to RA’s Press Secretary – Georgina Robinson – kiboshed the exploratory chat. If nothing else, she is certainly a less illusive character than several of her predecessors.

      In a position where you are seen as the Head but operate with about as much autonomy as the janitor, Castle appears to be stoically holding her tongue and perhaps influencing where she can. Tug boat VS titanic.

      The laughable Hooper contract is the overwhelming anchor weighing down her tenure thus far.

    • Who?

      Happyman, your first line is very fair. But there’s a couple of things just to correct.
      1. She’s only been on the job 13 months. She was awarded the job in November/December, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t actually take on the role until January/February?
      3. Even then, I don’t know that she’s got the power to even try to oust Clyne. She was hired by him, she doesn’t appoint him. So she’s stuck with the rubbish he provides.
      I don’t know how good Castle is. I don’t think, given the constraints on her (Clyne and money), she’s made any terrible decisions yet. But I’m not sure she’s made many good ones either. She’s only been in the job a year, she still deserves the benefit of the doubt. Unless she kills the NRC. :-P

    • Adrian

      Good points Happy

  • AllyOz

    Thanks Sully. Just seeking clarification on whether Michael O’Connor is a NSWelshman in a rugby sense. While born in Nowra I think he made the Australian Schoolboys from the ACT system and went on to play club rugby for Canberra Royals and then Brisbane club Teachers North. He was a Queensland Rep player for two years and made the Wallabies from there. He is actually named on the bench in the QRU’s team of the century and never played for NSW in rugby.

    • Should have done my research eh? I’ve always thought of him as being from NSW but didn’t check my facts.

      • Who?

        All those NSW Origin caps, and that kick in the pouring rain from the sideline in Sydney to give NSW the win overriding any other memories, hey Sully?
        I’m too young to remember him playing Rugby, but firmly remember that kick from the right sideline…

        • AllyOz

          I only know it because I played in Brisbane and people used to talk about him playing at Norths there. I think he played the Schoolboys and then 2-3 seasons of senior rugby and then he was gone to league.

        • Human

          That is correct. Aust Schools Immortals with Wally Lewis, et al in 1977, Royals, Teachers Norths (with Chris Roche), QLD, Wallabies, then to the dark side…cannot remember if he played in the Grand Slam in 1984, but suspect that he was gone by then.

        • AllyOz

          I think he left at the end of 1983

        • Human

          I did see him. Might even have played against him at club level. He was sometimes called ‘The Prince of Centres’, and for very good reason….he, Mark Ella and Michael Hawker were a devastating combination – all in rugby for too short a time.

      • AllyOz

        Well he was born in NSW and played rugby league for NSW. I actually don’t mind the choice but I think John Connolly would also have made a good choice and it gives a bit more balance across the team in terms of experience – loose forward, tight forward , back, all with previous coaching experience at the Wallabies level and Connolly is a little more “pure” Queenslander. Not sure they would have been able to come to a decision.

Rugby
@Only1Sully

Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to http://www.onesully.com.au

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