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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Fridays Rugby News sees Kafer on the Wallabies, Will Skelton, Wales and the pop gun and a Pocock gamble.


 

Kafer: Wallabies need playmaker at 13

Kurtley Beale and Rod Kafer

Kurtley Beale and Rod Kafer

Personally, I’ve been calling for it for years but, it’s great to Kaf has finally caught up.

For Australia’s first two tests this year the Wallabies went with two power runners in the midfield. But for the last two, they played the more skilful James O’Connor at out centre. And for the most part, it seemed to work.

Back in the Wallabies fold after almost six years out, O’Connor shone in the upset win over New Zealand in Perth, but like his teammates found the going much tougher in the return bout with the All Blacks in the wet in Auckland last weekend.

Kafer favours a big ball-carrier at inside centre and a second playmaker at outside-centre because of the variety it offers.

He was delighted to see O’Connor given the opportunity to perform that role

“It was a brilliant selection from the coaching staff and the selection committee,” said rugby tv analyst Kafer.

“I hope it continues, whatever the model is, a ball player at 13.

“We saw the All Blacks do it with Mils Muliaina into Conrad Smith, their selection has always been a ball player at 13 for 10 years and I’ve liked it.”

“I think you need to have a combination of both specialists in certain positions and other players who can play a variety of positions,” he said.

“You only get to take so many players to the World Cup, so you’ve got to have guys who can play a variety of positions.”

No One told Saracens

Michael Cheika let slip that he was making a last-ditch play to get Will Skelton back in the Wallabies fold for the World Cup. Frankly, I’m not a fan of Cheika’s plan. I’m happy for Skelton to play but only if he qualifies in a legitimate way. Having a Super Rugby contract in the distant future ala Nic White doesn’t sit well with me.

But in all Cheika’s machinations, he forgot to let Skelton’s club management at Saracens of his plans.

Mark McCall, the Saracens director of rugby, made it clear when Skelton signed a new contract with the club at the end of last season that it was on the basis that he would be able to cover the gaps in the club’s squad while Maro Itoje and George Kruis were on finals duty with England. 

RugbyPass understands that Saracens have not as yet received any calls from RA about Skelton and expect him to continue at the club as they prepare for the new season.

Cheika, who names his 31-man squad for Japan on Friday, said in the wake of last weekend’s loss to the All Blacks that he planned to call Skelton. He confirmed at Fox Sports’ Rugby World Cup launch: “The team gets picked soon, so if he wants to come home he needs to get on the phone pretty quick. 

“I have coached him here at the Waratahs and he was selected in the last World Cup team, so he knows what it’s about, he knows what it means and he will make the call that will best reflect how he is feeling.

“(We will make some) realistic phone calls over there to get a final opinion and see if he wants to be involved or not. It’s not just a decision based on the World Cup, it’s also the long-term about where he plays his footy. It’s a big decision for him as well.

Wales Has Pop Gun Attack

Through some unintelligible maths, Wales has become world number one without ever beating the team they took over from. In fact, Wales last beat New Zealand in 1953. But who’s counting?

Despite that Wallabies legend George Gregan say they don’t score enough points to win the world cup.

But Fox Sports Lab statistics back up Gregan’s assertion that Wales may not have the firepower to win the World Cup for the first time.

Since 2017, Wales rank only seventh in the world for both points per game (21) and tries per game (2.1).

New Zealand (33 and 4.5) top both charts, with Wales’ group rivals Australia clocking in at fifth (22) and third (3.1) respectively.

Wales scored the equal-fewest number of tries (10) in their Six Nations Grand Slam this year but will have goalkicking aces Dan Biggar and Leigh Halfpenny to keep the scoreboard ticking over in Japan.

“They’re pretty comfortable with how they play, Wales,” Gregan said at the Fox Sports World Cup launch.

 “I just have my doubts whether the way they play is going to be conducive to scoring a lot of points in a World Cup, and the conditions in Japan will be very conducive to keeping the ball in hand and playing.”

Fox Sports Lab found that the lowest scoring team to win a World Cup was Australia in 1991 with 21 points per game.

On average, World Cup winners have scored 38 points per game.

Wales are the favourites to top pool A ahead of Australia, with the heavyweight pair to square off in their second group game in Tokyo on September 29.

 

 

To Pocock Or Not To Pocock?

david pocock

 

Question: you have an aging, but legendary, openside flanker with a long history of injuries who hasn’t played a second of rugby since about round 5 of Super Rugby. Do you pick him in your world cup squad tomorrow?

For me, the answer was no, but my choice means nothing in the greater scheme of things. the word on the street is the guys that matter a ready to include him in the squad.

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia coach Michael Cheika is expected to roll the dice and include David Pocock in his World Cup squad to be released on Friday despite growing concerns over the loose forward’s lack of match fitness ahead of the global showpiece in Japan.

The 31-year-old had been expected to feature in at least one match during the Rugby Championship and two Bledisloe Cup tests against New Zealand, but selectors kept him wrapped in cotton wool throughout.

Pocock has not featured in Wallabies gold since a test against Italy last November and he barely played Super Rugby this year while struggling with a problematic calf injury.

If selected, he would have only one warmup before the World Cup, a farewell test against Samoa on Sept. 7, to prove his body is still up to the rigours of test rugby.

Pocock returned to full training before the Wallabies’ last test against the All Blacks but ended up playing no part in the 36-0 humiliation at Eden Park.

Concern over the no-show has been compounded by the caginess of the Wallabies’ selectors over Pocock’s fitness.

“There’s no clarity off the field nor on it, especially after Australia’s near record loss to the All Blacks on Saturday,” the Canberra Times complained earlier this week.

As a masterful ball-poacher and one of the world’s most fierce combatants at the breakdown, Pocock is arguably worth waiting for, even if his return might mean change to a back row that appeared set after victory over the All Blacks in Perth.

 The back three of captain and openside flanker Michael Hooper, blindside Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and rookie number eight Isi Naisarani performed well in the 47-26 defeat of the world champions at Perth Stadium, so Pocock’s eventual resumption may end up launched from the bench.

 

  • Gottsy

    I would definitely have pocock in Tokyo, if not as a player, then I would create a coaching role as a breakdown specialist. I would then make every member of the squad do ruck involvement drills every single fucking day

    • Brisneyland Local

      And make Hooper take lessons off him twice a day!

    • Max Graham

      George Smith would be my breakdown guru. If Pocock has a heartbeat he can play.

      • Gottsy

        I’d have both

  • sambo6

    Looking forward to today’s announcement of the best trainers, plus the guys who enjoy their rugby the most, and also a smattering those who are ‘obsessed’ with winning….if there’s a few skilful and thoughtful rugby players amongst them, that would be advantageous, but is not a requirement im lead to believe….

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hahahaha gold mate

    • Jason

      You left out loyalty.

  • Hoss

    Yep, he’s let himself go alright.

    View this post on Instagram A post shared by David
    Pocock (@davidpocock)
    on Aug 21, 2019 at 4:57am PDT

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Sully,
    I must admit I agree that JOC probably is the best 13 at the moment, certainly streets ahead of AAC. I hope it’s JOC and Kuridrani ai the centres. Lot of talk about Patiai but I think after no rugby this season he misses out.
    I’m with you on Pocock. No rugby should mean no trip but I guess even the selectors couldn’t handle the flack on that. He’s going to need some serious game time to get back in the zone.
    So Skelton’s club doesn’t know about Cheika’s plans. Not surprising and I think confirms it as a distraction rather than anything real.
    I think Wales will struggle as much as they always have at the RWC. Perennial chokers like Ireland and while both might step up and get to the Semis, personally I don’t think Ireland will, I think they’ll struggle to get further

    • IIPA

      Won’t be surprises in the 9am announcement. I’d love to see guys like Philip, McCaffrey, Clarke, Speight, Meakes suddenly parachuted in…. you know actual smart, well-rounded footballers but ain’t gonna happen.

      I think one of Petaia or Valentini will get in.

      There’ll be no farewell for DHP but I’ll be filthy if Banks gets the chop as well.

      I think they’ll select Poey. I think they should. Also they’ve been playing silly buggers with the Oz rugby public and his fitness for 5 months so why stop now.

      • The Jackal

        DHP is in Banks is not.

      • Custard Taht

        I am Procock, if he is fit, he goes. He is the only forward who can really stiffen the ruck and has a history of standing up and rising to the occasion.

    • Jason

      I must admit I agree that JOC probably is the best 13 at the moment, certainly streets ahead of AAC. I hope it’s JOC and Kuridrani ai the centres. Lot of talk about Patiai but I think after no rugby this season he misses out.

      I’d agree JO’C is our best 13, as for Petiai Cheika didn’t let heaps of poor form stop him from selecting AAC… I think it’s a bit worrying that Cheika wasn’t ‘looking at guys’ like Jordan in the RC, I suppose he’s had too much pressure to win to give him that freedom but that’s a rod of his own making, and most fans can deal with losing if they can see you heading somewhere — think the Reds.

      So Skelton’s club doesn’t know about Cheika’s plans. Not surprising and I think confirms it as a distraction rather than anything real.

      I’d still say there is a 50/50 chance he’ll pick him regardless, it’s a very Cheika thing to do. He likes breaking all the rules and being special.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        On what basis is JOC our best 13? He was part of one demolition against 14 men – the best match the Wallabies have played in a decade – showing some nice touches, but making some defensive errors.

        In his his only other test there, the team was annihilated.

        He played mostly 15 or 12 for Sale and has very limited experience at 13.

        I think he should stay as the incumbent, just because he combines better with Kerevi, but based on form at international and super level, there is no doubt that Kuridrani is our best 13.

        • Custard Taht

          I would much prefer JOC at 15, I think it is his best position.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He says he’s more comfortable at 12, and bulked up to play that position. The reason he stopped playing 15 at Sale is because he has lost speed and isn’t very strong under the high ball.

          I think he is and always has been a centre. He’s a player with silky ball skills, who can step, run, kick and pass. I personally really like him in the centres. I think he will be an excellent addition over the next few seasons.

        • Dud Roodt

          I’m starting to get the inkling that you’d just take the Brumbies wider squad, perhaps with a sprinkle of Brumby Runners and UC 2nd graders to the cup?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Actually, I’d have JOC as a starter in the centres, whether at 12 with TK outside him or at 13 with Kerevi inside him.

        • Dud Roodt

          Very magnanimous of you DBTB

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I just question the ‘one swallow makes a summer’ attitude that Aussies often have. Often either setting the player up to fail given unreasonable expectations, or the team is hamstrung for years through the selectors being unwilling to acknowledge mistakes.

        • Custard Taht

          That is definitely the way to go post kerevi, 12 Joc and Tk 13.

          I would have put joc at 15 instead of 13 since his return, as he is a better option at 15 than Beale.

          But it is too late now, so would leave the 12 and 13 as they are.

        • Brumby Runner

          This is just the sort of BS that spoils any discussion on these threads.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, it was a terrible and pointless comment. But no point in rising to it.

        • Dud Roodt

          What’s that Runner?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think he was referring to the imbecilic and pointless nature of your initial comment, designed to achieve nothing but squabbling.

        • Dud Roodt

          Ah right, thanks for clearing that up DBTB!
          I look forward to reading more of your comments about how many brumbies should be in the wallabies but aren’t. Always riveting stuff, definitely without even a tinge of bias.

        • Jason

          TK wasn’t offering very much — not his fault when we are playing with Kerevi at 12. TK doesn’t offer a passing or kicking threat. O’Connor forces defences to honour the players outside of him and allows a passing and kicking option as well as being a decent ball runner.

          In short he’s only slightly worse than TK in his ball running, marginally worse than TK in his defence but fits the backline much better if we are set playing Kerevi at 12. If we were playing Beale or a more traditional 12 then TK is clearly second to Kerevi but TK didn’t show anything against South Africa or Argentina.

  • Jason

    The Skeleton thing is just making Cheika look more and more like an idiot! It reeks of distraction tactics but I fear there is a very real chance Cheika will name Skelton in the squad either ignoring the selection rules or modifying them for one player (who isn’t even THAT good).

    • onlinesideline

      to what – a commitment by BIg willy to play in OZ year after next ?

      • Jason

        It’s very tough to force a player to stay if they don’t want to — they’ll just play poorly.

  • Hoss
    • Brisneyland Local

      Nard Spanners Foley 45% hahahahahahahahahahaha

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        But you know one of those votes was Cheika.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep and one foley’s!

    • Dud Roodt

      Very interesting.
      It really proves that for the most part the squad Cheika takes is the one we would all pick. With some exceptions of course.

      • Hoss

        Interestingly 6 of the RC squad miss out – Simmons, Valentini, Uleses,TPN, Maddocks, Dempsey entirely

        • Dud Roodt

          Really I can see why they all do too. As in, if those 6 are left out, I won’t be hugely surprised

        • Hoss

          For quiet a while Speight was the 14th back voted for here, but a late surge (coinciding with lunch time in the West) for DHP saw him comfortably win the 14th spot. Mc Caffrey also made up ground on Wright, but the forward 17 were very clear cut from early on in the piece. At one stage with 50-odd votes there were 10 forwards with 100% each of the vote.

        • Dud Roodt

          I think that shows that the forwards (for the most part) have performed very well – particularly at set piece, so we (the unclean masses on GAGR) are happy to stick with it. The backs are a little less set and I think the issue of not having an out and out winger on one of the wings is causing selection issues for us

        • Brisneyland Local

          DR agree. I think the only forward most of us have concerns with is LSL. The backs, hmmmmm different story!

        • Dud Roodt

          Yeah I agree. To me LSL always looks like he only ever gives 75%.
          But I’m pretty much happy with the rest of the pack.
          I’d love Dempsey to come back in the form of that Brisbane Bled a few years back – but he’s been very unlucky with injuries.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Agree. There are a couple of minor changes I would make but as a whole it is what it is. Lets hope what Cheika announces is similar to that!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I only have concerns with LSL if he is still seen as a 6 rather than a lock.

        • onlinesideline

          feel really sorry for Uleses whole trajectory / imjury path. Has had no luck.

        • Hoss

          I picked him in my selections mate. Interesting that the GAGR faithful have only gone 2 x Hooker & 2 x Halves.

          We are either gurus, or charlatans

          Dont know if you can open this in Budapest, but this is the link to the live stream announcement of the squad.

          https://www.rugby.com.au/news/2019/08/22/rugby-world-cup-wallabies-squad-announcement

        • onlinesideline

          yeah I got it – should be able to (its not fox which restricts anyone west of Paddo)

        • onlinesideline

          Im a big fan of his. I really think he should go. He is in same boat as Patia and Thor – the future and immensely useful as of today.

          I think Dempsey will be picked over Samu.

        • Hoss

          Yeah, at this late point in the cycle i think Pete Samu’s selection would be a shock.

        • disqus_NMX

          9:02 and it’s still not playing…???

        • Hoss
        • OnTheBurst

          What is RA doing. The live stream never happened, but they have posted the squad…

          Piss up in a brewery comes to mind

        • OnTheBurst

          Banks out, AAC in, you have got to be fckn kidding me

        • onlinesideline

          I think Simmons, Demsey, TPN will go

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I’d take Simmons and TPN if fit. Dempsey is crazy. A player who wasn’t that good when in form and who has been injured and out of form for several years. He’s also virtually the same player as McCaffrey, but inferior in all facets.

      • Who?

        I’m guessing that I’m not alone in attempting to predict what Cheika would take, not what I’d take.

      • But a lot of the squad is kind of settled. The core of the forwards say 13/14 of them, picked itself for me before I started to have to think. I bet it was the same for most people, and it was probably the same names. Then it became do I want a 4th lock? 3rd hooker? 6 loose forwards and so on. And picking names. It was tougher in the backs, but there were still a chunk where that happened. And for quite a few of my names, they matched to the selectors too, although for a chunk they didn’t I’m mostly angry to say.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Are you going to post some of the other interesting stats of players that didnt make the squad? It would be interesting to see!

      • Hoss

        Stop stealing my thunder – was just loading now.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Ha ha sorry mate!

    • Hoss
      • Brisneyland Local

        Wow! That really is interesting reading! Thanks for doing that Hoss!

        • Hoss

          Pleasure mate.

      • Frosty morning

        Thanks Hoss. Really excellent.

      • Hoss
        • John Tynan

          HA! Brendan Moon! Gold.

        • Hoss

          Talk about a ‘bolter’

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        That’s fantastic. Thanks mate. Looking forward to seeing how far the selectors get it wrong

      • disqus_NMX

        Out of interest, I’ve been watching a Stanford Uni lecture series on behavioural biology, and this particular lecture (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_ZuWbX-CyE&list=PL848F2368C90DDC3D&index=22) talks a lot about the incredible accuracy of selections based on averaging out the selections of a crowd of experts. (As in, the accuracy of the team a crowd selects in playing well, not the accuracy of the crowd selecting Cheika’s team). Also related – the quality of selections have gone up tremendously since the crowd of Wallabies selectors has grown from 1 person to 3.

        • AllyOz

          “incredible accuracy of selections based on averaging out the selections of a crowd of experts”. That would imply we were experts NMX but I get your drift.

        • John Tynan

          Don’t even have to be experts.
          Just the “Wisdom of the Crowd”. It’s pretty cool.
          Skip the guff till about 1:00min in

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOucwX7Z1HU

        • disqus_NMX

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL848F2368C90DDC3D&v=o_ZuWbX-CyE&t=2742s

          Here’s the video I posted, but starting at the relevant point about Wisdom of the Crowd. Uses the same guess-the-weight-of-the-cow example, amongst others (eg, a bunch of naval experts finding a sunken boat using this wisdom of the crowd), and a bunch of other fascinating related behaviours of humans, ants, and bees etc.

          The whole lecture series is fascinating… I listen to it whilst making dinner and so on.

        • juswal

          Anecdote. I used to dominate Super Rugby tipping comps by this kind of process. This was in the days when the Sydney Morning Herald had money to spend on covering rugby and each Super round got a full-page preview on Thursdays. The SMH expert tipping panel was at least 12-strong. I would just tip the team that the majority of experts had selected. If they were split 50-50, I’d go with the home team. As the season went by I’d drop any ‘expert’ who was falling below 50 per cent. That’s all it took, and I won every year.

        • disqus_NMX

          Brilliant!

        • We might not be “experts” in the sense of people with long playing careers at the elite level, former coaches and so on. But if you listen to what they say when they’re interviewed – I invite you to read back over the utterances of Sir Clive Woodward since he’s not tied to a particular corporate voice so he’s not toeing the party line – it’s stunning how rarely he seems to say something that sounds smart, or even well informed about the state of the game today.

          But as a group, we might not be photogenic (except Hoss of course), we might not sound good on the TV, and so on. But we’ve got hundreds, possibly thousands of years of experience as players, referees, fans. Can any of us, individually go and coach a national rugby team? Probably not. But as a crowd, we’re informed and know what we’re watching. We can make smart selections for a national squad. And my duff picks get averaged out but your better ones… (I picked Fardy, even though he’s not eligible. I’d break the Giteau law for him.)

        • AllyOz

          Sorry Eloise. I was really just trying to be funny but I should leave that stuff to Hoss and others with more of a track record.

          I was actually thinking some similar thoughts this week when i disagreed with something that Tim Horan said. I actually played around a similar time as him but at a much much lower standard. But what made him great as a player doesn’t make him any better or more qualified as a selector, or an analyst or a coach. There are people on the blog and elsewhere that have acted as selectors, coaches or watch and analyse as many games as Horan over the years and are just as qualified to understand what a good selection is. I also have a mate who was a third grade standard 10 who has gone on to coach as a head coach in EPR and the Top 14 and coached skills for 2 Super Rugby and a couple of Japanese teams. He has done so because he is a good coach and worked his arse off to make himself better. So, yeah, I agree that we put far too much emphasis on former players etc.

          I would pick Fardy too. The Guitea Law as its currently being applied at them moment with players circumventing it by signed contracts to play in Australia 1 or 2 seasons ahead has become largely meaningless anyway.

        • Sorry, I think it’s one of those red flags for me. There are definitely areas where I’d be more sceptical of the wisdom of the crowds. I used to work in vaccine research for example, and although I’m out of the loop now, I’ll ask to see a PhD or similar before I seriously take someone’s opinion on the subject. There are definitely technical subjects where that’s not the case and there are aspects of vaccine design that could do with wisdom of the crowds on occasion in fairness.

          But rugby? Any sport really. Or good musical performances in a given style? Good works of fiction in a style? Coaching to improve is a skill we would have to learn, but the hours we spend watching it, we can become experts in what makes a good performance, what makes a bad one, who is performing well.

        • AllyOz

          also thought after reading your post, about when you see some actors talk without a script. It becomes obvious with some of them that, beyond a decent enough memory to remember their lines, they aren’t very smart or articulate.

        • Very true. They present their lines and their character but they’re actually quite empty inside so it’s easy to adopt all these other characters. Not all of them, but quite a high proportion.

        • Max Graham

          It’s also how gambling odds work. Judging distances by group average is an accepted method used my the military.

      • disqus_NMX

        Thanks Hoss! Most anticipated by me was how many would pick QC. Pretty much a third, not bad.

        I really wonder if history would be different if QC had played behind the Brumbies forward pack this year instead of for the Rebels (of which some have claimed to be a stacked team of champions, but really, how many are playing for the Wallabies this year).

        • Who?

          I’d have picked QC if I’d picked my squad. QC and Leali’ifano to cover 10, Powell to cover 9 behind White and Genia. We all know that Cheika wrote Cooper off in 2017, and wasn’t ever going to pick him this year even if the Rebels had been the top Aussie team. Cheika likes who Cheika likes.
          But I picked my “Cheika will pick this” squad, which meant Genia/White then Leali’ifano/Toomua/Foley. I suspect I’m not alone in this.

        • disqus_NMX

          Damn, so I remain wondering how many people would actually pick QC!

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          I actually picked you, Quade. I think the unpredictable is what’s been missing for so long (until Perth, but then that became predictable in Auckland). I reckon you could put your mate JOC into space and vice versa. I knew you wouldn’t actually be picked though. Sorry bud.

    • The Jackal

      I can see Uelese, Dempsey, Simmons & AAC making it in at the expense of Samu, Jones, Wright & Banks

      • Brisneyland Local

        Lets hope not!

      • Human

        Sadly, I agree with you.
        Samu is the closest thing we have to an AB style forward, so Cheika will not take him.

      • Hoss

        Announced and you are 100% spot on

    • onlinesideline

      this is brilliant mate – THANKS

      • Hoss

        More than welcome, its been fun !

        • AllyOz

          will you be doing this for other squads, federal, state and local Hunter valley elections, P&C electoral campaigns etc??

        • Hoss

          Putting one together for Brexit as we speak or as its known in the biz – ‘watch a former empire completely fuck itself from inside out.’

        • AllyOz

          Rule Britannia Hoss

        • Keith Butler

          Too bloody true. Glad i’m In this Sceptred Isle.

    • Keith Butler

      Well done mate. Now we wait to see what the selectors do.

      • Hoss

        Pleasure mate and it got a couple of geeks to stop masturbating in their mums basement for a while and lets face it, this is as close to ‘sport’ as they will ever get as well, so its a win,win, win.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Interesting that Beale scores so highly. Last week was the worst performance I’ve ever seen froma Wallaby fullback.

      • Hoss

        You’re not very forgiving for a Buddhist……….

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Oh, I forgive the fella. I would probably even take him to wear the no. 23 jersey.

          I’m mostly just surprised that others were so willing to overlook his failings, which were made so clear last week.

        • Custard Taht

          Maybe it is a case of selecting him, due to the inevitable fact Cheika will.

        • disqus_NMX

          We like him because he is one of our very best players, even if he makes some mistakes and didn’t have the greatest game last week. When players like Beale play well, we carve up. I think a lot of the Beale negativity stems from bias due to past off-field mistakes.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Sorry, I just don’t agree that he is one of our best players. He was unbelievably good in the last quarter of Perth, and off the bench against South Africa.

          Against Argentina, he constantly cramped Lealiifano, overplayed his hand and detracted from the team.

          He’s a liability in defence and under the high ball, and plays way too deep behind the advantage line.

          When holes open up he can e devastating. But prior to Perth he hadn’t had a good match at international level for over a year, with constant poor ones, and was average even at super level.

          I think he’s one of our most talented players, and against tired defences can cut them to shreds. But I would never have him start again. I don’t think you can be considered one of our ‘best players’ when he has so many weaknesses. Sure, he has x-factor. But what substance beneath that?

        • disqus_NMX

          I agree he hasn’t played nearly as well as many years back when he was arguably the worlds best fullback. But since then he’s been shuffled around positions and had shit structures and coaches shoved up his arse. Will he ever play that well again? Who knows. But I’d rather have him on the team than not, because if we have shit structures, then we play shit anyway, and if we have good ones, he is highly likely to shine.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He was shuffled around after 2011 because he lost form and didn’t learn to catch high balls. He was only ever a World Class fullback in 2010.

        • AllyOz

          The reliability under the high ball is the biggest worry for me. He looked a bit reluctant under some of those AB kicks and for some of the (unless my memory is wrong) he let them bounce which rarely ends well. For all Israel Folau’s faults (perceived or otherwise) I was rarely concerned when someone put the ball back to him. I think we would be a better side with him on the wing currently held by Hodge (but we would probably need a different solution at Fullback to cover the lack of a decent kicker.

      • Human

        I think we all know that Beale will be there.
        I agree that 23 is his #.

      • I picked Beale. The list didn’t ask me for starting numbers. I’d have him in the 23 shirt, not 15.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      We need a third halfback. It should be Powell but even if it’s Gordon that’s okay. I wouldn’t take all of O’Connor, Petaia, Haylett-Petty and Hodge.

      Third hooker also needed. Think one of Salakaia-Loto or Jones should be dropped for that.

      Realistically, I think Speight needs to be there too.

      • Dud Roodt

        As someone pointed out yesterday – I don’t know if it is integral to take 3 at both those very specialised positions. You wouldn’t have all 3 in a match day 23, so with no injuries you’re just having 2 wasted squad spots for mine. And if there is an injury in a game to one, you have time to call one up from Oz.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          But if you do get an injury, say a training injury (as often happens with Cheika) late in the week or in the morning of a match, you are fucked.

          Not taking a third hooker and halfback is like buying a place in a bushfire region and skimping on the house insurance.

        • Who?

          Exactly. Ideally, you need a Piri Weepu. A 9 who can play 10.

        • Ads

          Do I remember them saying Foley can do the back-up 9 thing (like Gits previously), and wasn’t Sio the 3rd 2 last work cup too? Not saying either are great options, but the odds of the injury the morning of the game thing is relatively small. Maybe not!

      • Human

        Yes, we need another proper winger.

    • Hoss
      • Frosty morning

        Fuck. AAC? Dempsey? Simmons?

      • Hoss

        Well there it is ladies & gents.

        As a whole we were 84% accurate with the GAGR 31 v The Actual 31.

        Of the differences to the sides, based on your votes

        – Jones out 57.70% vote – Simmons in 24.80% of vote
        – Uelese in – we had him at 39.40% of vote
        – Samu out 68.60% vote – Dempsey in @ 29.20% of vote
        – Wright out – 43.80% of vote (i understand this given #3 hookers)
        – Banks out @ a staggering 89.80% of vote & AAC in @ just 10.20% of vote

        Over to you

        • Who?

          Taf’s had a great little holiday, hasn’t he? Cheik dragged him over from the UK for TRC, didn’t give him a minute of game time, and now hasn’t picked him for Bill. That’s gotta make it easier to justify selecting players from the UK – having a track record of dragging guys over and not using them…
          .
          Not saying Taf’s our solution (I was surprised he was brought back, I’m surprised he’s not in the 31), but Uelese’s still done literally nothing on a Rugby field. And usually the more caps, the higher the odds of bringing back Bill.

        • Huw Tindall

          Jones isn’t a second rower. Suffers from Hanigan’s problem of being a 5/6 hybrid – OK at both but not great at either.

          Samu is injured and hasn’t played so too risky to have him in a squad. Pity he did his hammy in the semi as was in imperious form

          Not carrying Hooper, Poey and Wright. 3 Hookers makes sense with 2 6 day turn arounds and a 7 day concussion return to play protocol.

          Only real quibble is AAC. More versatile than Banks but looks to be too old. Maybe he is the ‘squad’ pick. Seems like popular guy with the players.

    • Brumby Runner

      Great effort Hoss. I think we all got it better than Cheika and his yes-men (aka selectors).

    • GeorgiaSatellite

      Thanks Mr. C. Can’t believe Flanders didn’t get a single vote from the GAGRs. Must be injured.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s. Well happy Friday, and D day it is. Part of me is really hopeful, and then part of me is realistic which equals concerned for what hair brain selections Cheika is going to try and pull. My points in no particular order.
    – If Skelton makes the squad it will prove that the lunatics are back in charge at the asylum. His form doesn’t merit, never has ,a non-jumping and non-scrummaging 2m tall lock? We finally have some balance in our line out and we want to do this to it?
    – Pocock has to be back in. He is the worlds best 7. Even Pocock at 90% is still better than most other 7’s. We need a pilfering breakdown specialist. Because at the moment we are leaving it to our no2. To do our break down work for us. As we know Hooper’s strengths lie in other areas. Mind you I don’t think Pocock ever seems not to be match fit. He took his time off and came back to the game like he hadn’t missed a beat. If only the Ass Clown hadn’t come up with the idea of beach hill sprints with a boom box!
    – JOC seems to be good at 13. At this stage I would leave him there.
    – CLL has to remain starting 10.
    – I cant wait to see the results of Hoss’s survey! I reckon their will be some really interesting results there.
    Over to you GAGR’s!

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Weird comes from Kafer. Neither Conrad Smith, Muliaina or Goodhue were/are playmakers. Muliaina wasn’t even an outside centre. Smith and Goodhue were/are great defensive readers that run good lines and who can throw a pass and kick if needed.

    Nonu, at 12, was actually the closest thing to a second playmaker for years. He was a pass, kick, run threat the way a 12 should be.

    • Who?

      But think back, we’ve been calling Foley a playmaker for almost half a decade. So maybe we need to redefine ‘playmaker’ to “someone who can run good lines, set up their support runners and pass, and sometimes kick”..? :-P
      That would make Conrad a playmaking 13.
      As opposed to someone who directs the play.

  • Hoss

    Jeez he’s let himself go a bit in the time since playing

    https://www.instagram.com/p/B1bNac4lmEJ/?utm_source=ig_embed

    • Frosty morning

      No wonder his calf went… look how top heavy he is!!

      • Hoss

        I’d have to stop licking the screen first………

        That now completes that list from that fullback a few months back, i now meet all criteria !!

    • Brisneyland Local

      Have you watched the videos of what he is doing with that calf. Bugger me that would put me in hospital.

      • Hoss

        Only that one mate – i showed it to Mrs Hoss last nite and it saved me 20 minutes hard work.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Ha ha! Pure gold. It made me wince. By god that man is a machine.

    • Custard Taht

      I think his shorts are too big.

    • laurence king

      Bloody show off

    • Human

      Do we know the time of the announcement or is that an RA secret?

      • Hoss

        Theyve ballsed it up mate – they posted the team online BEFORE the live cross

        Ive posted it at the top

    • Keith Butler

      The Thylacine wants this as a screen saver.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Wallabies squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup

    Forwards

    Allan Alaalatoa (34 Tests, Brumbies, 25)*

    Rory Arnold (22 Tests , Brumbies, 29)*

    Adam Coleman (33 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 28)*

    Jack Dempsey (11 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 25)*

    Folau Fainga’a (11 Tests, Brumbies, 24)*

    Michael Hooper (c) (95 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 27)

    Sekope Kepu (105 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 33)

    Tolu Latu (15 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)*

    Isi Naisarani (4 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 24)*

    David Pocock (77 Tests, Brumbies, 31)

    Izack Rodda (21 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)*

    Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (15 Tests, Queensland Reds, 23)*

    Rob Simmons (97 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 30)

    Scott Sio (58 Tests, Brumbies, 27)

    James Slipper (90 Tests, Brumbies, 30)

    Taniela Tupou (15 Tests, Queensland Reds, 23)*

    Jordan Uelese (3 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 22)*

    Backs

    Adam Ashley-Cooper (118 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 35)

    Kurtley Beale (87 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 30)

    Bernard Foley (69 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

    Will Genia (104 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 31)

    Dane Haylett-Petty (32 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 30)*

    Reece Hodge (37 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 24)*

    Samu Kerevi (29 Tests, Queensland Reds, 25)*

    Marika Koroibete (23 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 27)*

    Tevita Kuridrani (60 Tests, Brumbies, 28)

    Christian Lealiifano (22 Tests, Brumbies, 31)*

    James O’Connor (47 Tests, Queensland Reds, 29)

    Jordan Petaia (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 19)*

    Matt To’omua (46 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 29)

    Nic White (26 Tests, Rugby Australia, 29)*

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Cheika deserves his fate. A lot of players selected there on ‘gut feel’ rather than demonstrated form or ability.

      • Human

        A lot selected because he loves them…AAC, what a joke.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Hey, don’t knock him. Other than his unwillingness to pass, he was a world class centre in 2010. Obviously, he should be in our 2019 World Cup squad.

      • Dud Roodt

        Then by that same token so do Johnson and O’Connor. Remember we can’t give them all the credit for selections when we like them, then give them none of the criticism when there’s selections we don’t like.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Except all indications in the media, including from quotes from O’Connor and
          Johnson, is that they’re primarily in advisory roles. It isn’t a democratic vote. The evidence supports that Cheika still makes the calls.

        • Dud Roodt

          I haven’t seen this.
          And it certainly was the tone taken when everyone was praising the two of them earlier in the season

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I’m at a meeting and don’t have time to go searching, but plenty of articles like this:

          ‘The coach has to be comfortable with the side, and the players. Having been in that position ad coach, you can’t have a coach who is not comfortable with the players who are in the team. I am very cognisant of that.’

          https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.rugby.com.au/News/2019/02/20/Wallabies-OConnor-select%3famp=1

          The selectors are advisors. They seem to have had some good impacts, but Cheika seems to still make the calls.

        • OnTheBurst

          Agreed. Where is the selection panel’s counsel to Cheika:

          “AAC? Mate the guy is 45 and hasn’t passed since 2014.”
          “What about some pace in the wingers – because that what wingers do, innit?”
          “No Tom Banks? Yeah I know Kurtley said he has a couple of things to fine tune, but he was turd in Auckland”

          etc etc

      • Custard Taht

        I feel as though Cheika and the selectors have gone down the same well used path, as a lot of coaches when the team and coach are under pressure.

        They played it safe, when really, it is the time to take a risks and select players with the most desirable attributes for that position.

        After 4 years, we still haven’t learnt speed kills, despite being killed by it repeatedly.

      • Brisneyland Local

        YEp. I had a right to be scared!

    • Custard Taht

      The lack of speed and specialists in the back 3 could be an issue.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep!

    • Crescent

      With just 4 variations from The Peoples Vote via Hoss (thanks for doing that Hoss, and for publishing all the results!) – we are pretty strongly in accord with the squad.

      Those 4 variations are a concern – but the broader consensus points to some sad observations on the state of Aus rugby. We have all discussed flaws and shortcomings, where improvement is needed – but we can’t collectively get together and identify a radically different team to address those shortcomings. Mind you, I suspect we would also get 100% accord on needing a new head coach at a minimum, as a number of those shortcomings we frequently discuss are originating from the big chair….

      • Brisneyland Local

        Who new coaching panel to start with. The addition of those three or four players there are just nonsensical. But alas it is Cheika, we are used to nonsensical.

        • Crescent

          Agreed – particularly when we see how poorly those 4 players generally rated in The Peoples Vote – with the exception of Uelese who I suspect missed votes in The Peoples Vote due to lack of game time thanks to injury – it is truly farcical. I feel free to say that as a fan of Dempsey, but would also rate him as underdone for a World Cup campaign, and not having done enough to cement a spot in the squad. A World Cup is no time to play favourites – form has to be the best guide.

        • Brisneyland Local

          But Cheika is renowned for playing favourites.

      • Huw Tindall

        Don’t think the 4 differences to Hoss’s people vote are such a crime!

        Jones isn’t a second rower. Suffers from Hanigan’s problem of being a 5/6 hybrid – OK at both but not great at either. If you don’t want Simmons then take Phillip or someone else but honestly our second row depth is sparse after Rodda, Coleman and Arnold. Simmons has all the experience required and we need bodies to play full games against Gerogia and Uruguay. LSL can sub in to second row as well.

        Samu is injured and hasn’t played so too risky to have him in a squad. Pity he did his hammy in the semi as was in imperious form.

        Not carrying Hooper, Poey and Wright. 3 Hookers makes sense with 2 6 day turn arounds and a 7 day concussion return to play protocol.

        Only real quibble is AAC. More versatile than Banks but looks to be too old. Maybe he is the ‘squad’ pick. Seems like popular guy with the players. In saying that I’d rather we took a specialist winger even though we don’t have many stand outs. I’d take Speight or Cam Clark over Banks in that respect. Cam Clark especially good positionally and on defense which is critical for RWC.

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@Only1Sully

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