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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Fridays Rugby News sees Latu revived, Kolesi in, the nationality of the next Wallaby coach, and Foley handling selection snub.


 

 

Tolu Latu Clears The Air

Tolo Latu offloading to David Pocock.

Tolu Latu tends to polarise peoples opinions. What not in doubt is his talent as a footballer. What put people off was the penalties and off-field partying that came with it. It all came to a head about four months ago when Latu was found drunk, groggy and unlicensed behind the wheel of his still-running car at a set of traffic lights on a busy Sydney road.

The moment news broke of the incident — two days later as Latu and the Waratahs hopped onto the team bus to play the Reds in Brisbane — it appeared the hooker had run his Rugby World Cup race.

His teammates and coaches — already dealing with the one of the biggest controversies in Australian sporting history in Israel Folau’s sacking — were livid, particularly as they were kept in the dark by Latu.

Already considered a ticking time bomb on the field, Latu’s troubling off-field incident looked like killing off not just his “dream” of playing at a World Cup but also his career in Australian rugby.

This cat had had his nine lives at the tender age of 26.

Latu was fined $1300 for the incident and lost his licence for a further three months after pleading guilty to drink driving and driving on a suspended licence.

Rugby Australia’s Integrity Unit later fined him another $5000 and suspended him for four matches.

His selection completed a remarkable return that not even Latu could foresee a few short months ago.

“To be honest, no I didn’t (think this moment would come),” Latu told foxsports.com.au.

“It’s been a disappointing year with the Waratahs.

“Not getting much game time because of on-field and off-field incidents that I regret, and definitely have learnt from.

“If you asked me earlier if I thought I was going to be here, no I definitely did not.

“It was always a dream and a goal of mine since I was a young kid.

“To get the opportunity to go there to a World Cup and achieve that and hopefully do great things at a World Cup is exciting.”

Latu said his family, particularly his mother, helped him come out of the darkest chapter in his life.

“My mum was definitely a big part of that and my cousins and my immediate family,” Latu said.

“My teammates at the Waratahs were reaching out to me and I had all sorts of help, and I’m thankful for that and grateful for their help and helping me through those dark times.

“I’m glad now that I’m on the other side.”

Siya Kolisi is In!

Siya Kolisi

In bad news for everyone but South Africa, their captain Siya Kolisi has won his race to be fit after being named in their world cup squad.

Kolisi had been a doubt since injuring his knee in May, missing the Springboks’ triumphant Rugby Championship campaign. However, he returned to play 53 minutes in their last Test, a 24-18 win over Argentina in Pretoria on August 17.

The Boks are among a small handful of teams with a realistic chance of being crowned world champions on November 2 and Kolisi, their first ever black Test captain, is seen as an important figure on and off the pitch.

“I’m nervous, but also excited because I know who is in my corner,” Kolisi said as the squad was unveiled.

“I have guys with a lot of leadership skills. We have been working hard the last two years to make sure we gain some respect back, but our work is not done yet.”

South African squad for the Rugby World Cup:

Forwards (17): Schalk Brits, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Frans Malherbe, Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert, RG Snyman, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Francois Louw, Siya Kolisi (capt), Kwagga Smith, Duane Vermeulen

Backs (14): Faf de Klerk, Herschel Jantjies, Cobus Reinach, Elton Jantjies, Handre Pollard, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Jesse Kriel, Frans Steyn, Makazole Mapimpi, Sbu Nkosi, Cheslin Kolbe, Warrick Gelant, Willie le Roux.

Local Coach For Wallabies Gig?

Michael Cheika

Here’s a tough one, do you want the next Wallaby coach to be an Aussie or not?

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle insists her organisation is committed to developing and promoting local coaches despite suggestions three of the nation’s plum posts could next year be occupied by New Zealanders.

Former All Blacks lock Brad Thorn will coach Queensland for a third straight Super Rugby campaign, media speculation suggests Kiwis Dave Rennie and Rob Penney are favoured to take over at Wallabies and Waratahs respectively.

Daryl Gibson, a former All Black, resigned after four years as the Waratahs coach to open up a vacancy while Wallabies incumbent Michael Cheika has already indicated he will leave if Australia don’t win the World Cup in Japan.

Castle said there wouldn’t be discussions concerning the Wallabies top job until after the World Cup final on November 2, but admitted more had to be done to foster Australian-born coaching talent.

 “I think you always want Australian talent, there’s no doubt,” Castle said.

“Rugby Australia has held it’s hand up and said it hasn’t done enough in the past to focus on developing young Australian coaches to make sure they can come through.

“That’s the work that we’re doing to make sure that we have identified that talent.

“We’re putting the support networks around them and next time those contracts roll through we’ll have Australian coaches in those roles.”

 

Foley Says Snubbing Has Been Difficult.

Bernard Foley

Bernard Foley

The man with the least deserved nickname in Australian Rugby, Bernard ‘Iceman’ Foley is finding it a little difficult being on the selection outer with the World Cup looming.

Foley finds himself behind Christian Lealiifano and Matt Toomua in the pecking order. A fact I find a little strange because I’d put him neck and neck with Lealiifano and well ahead of Toomua but what would I know.

“It has been tough but I’ve actually really enjoyed being a part of the squad,” Foley said. “It’s always difficult not playing but it allows you the luxury of seeing the game a little bit differently and working on my own game, my body and all components of my game.”

Foley has played more Tests (42) than any other Australian back since the last World Cup and sits second on the overall list of games played for the Wallabies behind captain Michael Hooper (44) in that period.

The Wallabies have won 38 per cent of games that Foley has played since the 2015 tournament.

Lealiifano’s excellent Super Rugby form was irresistible and while he hasn’t mounted a watertight case to wear the Australian No.10 jersey against Fiji on September 21, he is certainly favoured to do so.

 Meanwhile Toomua, who started at five-eighth in Australia’s final two Tests of 2018 against Italy and England, is viewed as having a little more versatility than Foley given his history of also lining up in the midfield.

There are similarities to four years ago when Foley and Quade Cooper were going head-to-head for the No.10 Wallabies jersey. Eventually Foley won out, leading Australia to that famous victory over Scotland and then to a World Cup final.

Three weeks out from the 2015 tournament few pundits could declare with certainty whether Foley or Cooper was going to get the nod as the side’s chief playmaker.

Cheika and selectors may factor in Foley’s performances at the last World Cup and if so, the 69-Test veteran is ready to go.

 “When you get that opportunity – if you get that opportunity – you have to be 100 per cent prepared and make sure you’ve done the work,” Foley said. “You want to make sure you make the most of that opportunity. The guys have been building extremely well and to be apart of something that is brewing, it hasn’t been too difficult to do those extra sessions and the hard work that you do when you’re not playing.”

 

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Sully,
    boy that Boks team is looking good isn’t it. Lacks a bit of depth out wide but if they stay injury free they have some very good players.
    I hope Latu has woken up and put the shit behind him. Not sure he’s the best option in the scrum but certainly played well in the last couple of games.
    While I have never rated Foley that high, that’s a pretty good response to what must be some difficult questions. I tend to agree that there’s not that much between him and Lialiifano and he’s a better option than Toomua. My biggest issue with him is the lack of development in his game since he’s been a professional which I find unacceptable.
    Personally I think the nationality of the coach should be less of an issue than the capability of the person (and his/her team). What it really shows is the lack of development in place from RA and that is the real issue. I think people should take their frustrations with this off the poor guy doing the job and put it on RA where it belongs. Castle and her team need to stop spouting shit about what they are going to do and actually demonstrate that they have plans in place. It’s not just about coaches either, they need something in place for players, referees, administrators and coaches. Until they do this luck will always play a big part in getting someone good in the job.

    • onlinesideline

      I think CL is far better than Foley – there, just had to get that out there. Thanks KRL.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Yeah Lealiifano not as flashy, but better in every aspect of 10 play other than his running and support games, in my opinion.

      • Geoffro

        If CLL had the time around the WBs and opportunities Spanners has had I reckon hed be miles ahead

    • Dud Roodt

      Yeah that Saffa team looks the goods. If Etzebeth can just not shoot any homeless men in the next few weeks, and a few of their players avoid the piss test, they should be in with a shout at the pointy end.
      I wouldn’t want to chuck my life savings (as small as they may be) on anyone to win this tournament really. NZ still the faves, but not far back are SA and England. As Habana said (and I think he just copied what you’ve said on here before), any one of 6 teams can win it.

      I think the distance between Foley and CLL isn’t that great either. Foley gets shit on a lot, but he’s not terrible. Not great either though. But it’s also not a coincidence that CLL’s best game (by a country mile) was when he had a forward pack completely dominating – a week later they were custard and he was woeful. When was the last time Foley had a dominant forward pack? Probably 2015.

      Having said all that, I still think CLL is the man for the job.

      • Geoffro

        The Saffas look good though dont know why they were sweating on Kolisi-hes average in my books. SH teams hookers that play more like loose forwards than traditional rakes interesting trend

        • Dud Roodt

          Who would you have in his place?

        • Geoffro

          Elstadt and Van Staden would be worthy replacements (and certainly Marcel Coetzee if not injured) but I can only go on the limited times I’ve seen these guys play -( apart from Coetzee).I just don’t reckon Kolisi is as vital to the playing squad as say Retallick is with the AB’s or Pocock with us.No doubt he is highly valued for his leadership

        • Dud Roodt

          Yeah I can’t really comment on the potential replacements (hence my question). I’ve never seen Kolisi as a world beater, but he appears a solid player with strong leadership qualities

      • juswal

        Dud, you have spelt out something that I believe is a rugby fundamental. No five-eighth can do his thing unless his forwards are giving him time and space — half a second, half a metre — to use the ball.

        It’s pointless trying to judge their respective abilities, form and potential without seeing them given the chance to operate with opportunities.

        • Dud Roodt

          Exactly. While I certainly agree Foley has his myriad of limitations, it’s not like he has had the English pack in front of him the past 4 years.
          A forward pack getting bitched cramps the space the 10 has to use, it changes the pace of the rest of the backs running onto the ball and limits your ability to create anything. The opposition backs also feed of their forward domination in defence.
          Foley isn’t the only one – we have all seen Quade crumble under similar circumstances. And it happened to CLL 2 weeks ago too.
          It even happens to the best of the best.

        • Custard Taht

          The biggest difference between Quade and Foley, is the post game dissection.

          When Quade has a bad game behind a beaten pack and the Wallabies lose, it is all Quades fault.

          When Foley and the Wallabies find themselves in this position, it is rarely Foleys fault and he never cops the same criticism or level of blame as Quade.

          Foley is teflon and poor Quade has been appointed as the shit magnet.

          The problem for Cheika and Foley is, the appointed shit magnet was dropped, yet the shit kept flowing.

        • Dud Roodt

          Are you talking about from a fan perspective or a Cheika perspective?

          I certainly think Quade has copped a bum rap for a lot of his career, I don’t think in the past couple of years he has put his hand up and demanded to be selected at 10 based on his performances. I wish he had, as I think his upside is far higher than Foley’s. But that upside comes with considerable risk too. He has had complete brain farts on numerous occasions.

          And I think most coaches would have a preference for certain players and their styles if they believe they suit their game plan more.

        • Funk

          “..complete brain farts on numerous occasions” and Foley hasn’t?
          I’m not disagreeing with you, i just think that Foley’s down side is easily on par with QCs downside.

        • Dud Roodt

          By brain farts I’m talking a behind the back pass to the opposition when we’re trailing and a simple pass through the hands would have sufficed; or not going to ground when tackled and trying to offload unnecessarily. I’m not talking merely “played badly”.

          Foley doesn’t take many risks as a player, especially compared to Quade, so his propensity to brain farts is much lower.

          As I said, having a poor performance is not a “brain fart”.

        • Funk

          charged down kicks and the opposition scores, intercept passes where the opposition scores equal very poor options/brain farts, and Foley has be guilty of these a number of times.

        • Dud Roodt

          Yep, Foley has played badly on numerous occasions.
          But those are not brain farts. They are poorly executed staples of the game.
          If charged down kicks were enough to get you dropped we’d not have seen Will Genia get past 5 tests.

        • Custard Taht

          Probably more in relation to the media and certain elements of the fan base.
          Cheika has turned a blind eye to Foley’s failings for essentially 4 years, and from my view, he appeared to have different standards towards the two players.
          Whether or not he did, the perception was that he pretty much set Quade up to fail when he gave him chances to be the Wallaby 10.
          I am of the belief that if not for the selection panel, Foley would still be 10, and CLL would have either not got a chance, or got the Quade chance.
          I am not really arguing the merits of each player, generally, that argument is divided along state lines and is now a pretty pointless exercise. But more to do the double standards applied to their performances.

          Despite missing kicks for touch, poor exit kicks, charge downs, easy kicks at goal, passing to no one, and defensive frailties, somehow there is still a thinking out there that Foley is the best 10, because he plays mistake free rugby.

          Quade is also guilty of those things, and in my opinion, neither more or less. The difference he is regarded as fragile, flaky, error prone etc.

        • Dud Roodt

          I agree that the opportunity Quade was given was ridiculous (and not an opportunity at all, other than one set to fail as you say).

          Regarding CLL’s selection – I guess we won’t ever know if that was the case, but my feeling is this was the first year where someone categorically put their hand up and said they had to be picked over Foley. And I said to elsewhere, I still don’t think there was a huge gap in class between CLL and Foley – but certainly enough to remove the incumbent from the Gold 10 jersey.

          Leading into this season I really hoped Quade was going to knock the house down at the Rebels and force his selection, but unfortunately that didn’t happen, and also unfortunately, in the two times they played each other, Foley outplayed Quade.

          Perhaps perception of the situation goes both ways (i.e. some people perceive Foley to be less error-prone, when he’s not, and some perceive him to be much worse than he is).

        • Funk

          Foley cops a fair bit of deserved criticism on here, unfortunately SMH/Fux (georgie, cully, Christie, et al) all think the sun shines out of his bum and they don’t give an accurate account of his poor play in the media (whether this is on directive of RA and Cheika, who knows???), but they are all happy to pile the crap onto QC when he has a poor game.

        • Dud Roodt

          To be honest I think that might be a little bit of confirmation bias.
          It might seem like Foley isn’t being shit on, while Quade is, but I dare say that’s often not the case.
          For eg, if you google match reviews of the past games when Quade has played, he doesn’t get shit on that much, and certainly not more than might be deserving.

          Also, the style of game they both play is starkly different, with Quade’s a much more risk/reward game – which when it comes off is great and he has always been praised for it, but when it doesn’t, he gets shit on.

        • Max Graham

          Yep!! Foley has great press. His mum couldn’t do better than those clowns at fox sports.

        • Brumby Runner

          And yet now we have Latu, Kepu, Simmons, Hooper and Dempsey from the bitched forward pack in the Wallabies pack and expect it to perform?

        • Keith Butler

          Amateur or professional it has always been that way. To quote that well used phrase ‘ forwards win matches the back determine by how much’. Protect your half backs like they are an endangered species.As an ex donkey I say ‘ Go the Donkeys’.

        • Max Graham

          You can see plenty with backfoot ball. Rugby is only 50% attack. Dan Carter played games with backfoot ball – still made key tackles, made good decisions and kicked well to get wins.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          When did the All Blacks or Crusaders ever really back backfoot ball, and yet Carter still won games, during the Carter era?

        • Custard Taht

          and kicked field goals to keep the score board ticking and help change the momentum and regain the initiative.

        • juswal

          Fantasy. He did nowhere near as well as his fans would like to believe.

    • juswal

      All right, kiwi rubber glover — that’s this week’s broken record worn out. You’ve had your say about RA’s administrative failings three times this week, on top of a dozen repetitions over recent months.

      It’s time for a fresh anti-Australian whinge. Please spend the weekend working on some new material.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        You seem to often be looking for an argument:

        https://youtu.be/OTPJYZLD6L8

      • Patrick

        Geez Jussie, lucky you are not reading my regular, strident and repetitive comments on RA’s failings… !

        • juswal

          Are you an Australian rugby fan? Those of us who are invested in Australian teams and the game’s fortunes in this country are entitled to be critical. Non-Australian fans have limited privileges to criticise our players, coaches and administrators.

          That distinction aside, everyone needs to be careful that they’re not vomiting the same negative shit, post after post. Once you’ve had your say a few times, change the fucking record.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Please, keep your odd identity politics away. Anyone can comment on Australian rugby, any way they like.

        • Patrick

          Actually I’ll keep going until they fix the things I’m complaining about :)

        • Brumby Runner

          Pot calling the kettle black J. I must have counted at least twenty posts from you telling NZers to shut up or fuck off over the past couple of months. How about you get a new message?

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Excellent

    • HK Red

      Totally agree. I have no problem with the coach being non-Australian, if that person is clearly better suited than the Australian coaches on offer and has a proven track record of getting the most out of the players.
      This anti-kiwi bias in rugby coaching in Australia that I keep seeing, is total bullshit. If NZ coaches are clearly better, then bloody employ them and get them to also start looking at pathways to improve the homegrown talent.
      FFS no one complains about Australian cricket coaches dominating overseas postings. Or Australian rugby league coaches dominating the UK Superleague. Or previously, Australian swimming coaches turning around British swimming. We all know Cheika is a very limited coach and no one in Australia is knocking down the door. If Rennie is the best, then let’s get him.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate I understand the sentiment and if the ABs had to go off shore I probably wouldn’t be completely happy. However the issue is the management of rugby here not the lack of good people

    • Max Graham

      Great post!

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Foley and Quade were never ‘head-to-head’ in the race for the 10 jersey, at any point in their careers. It was evident Quade was the preferred 10 of Link (a very good coach). Under Cheika it was always Foley. Even in 2016-17 when Foley was in abysmal form and constantly being outplayed by Quade at international level, Foley was shifted to 12 and then Quade was dropped entirely, after outplaying Foley in June 2017. Ugh, that made me mad.

    As to whether we want an Aussie or foreign coach… The time for chest thumping is over. Our coaches suck at the present time. The Northern Hemisphere teams have all improved hugely in recent years by hiring top coaches from the Southern Hemisphere (particularly New Zealand). We need to improve our coaching pathways (by bringing in Kiwi IP), but until they improve, we need top Kiwi coaches (of which I do not count Thorn) in charge of most teams, with Aussie assistants learning from them.

    • onlinesideline

      just curious how much Quade had to enjoy his football to get picked ?

      • Geoffro

        A lot.Its fairly obvious hes suited to running his own race, something most coaches egos could never accept.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Not sure that’s true. Quade adopted Cheika’s game plan when given a chance in 2016. He also certainly adopted Wessels’ game plan (for better or worse) all this season. Under Link he often played differently week to week. Even in the 2011 World Cup, he adopted Deans’ pathetic game plan until the team lost in the semis. For the first 20 mins against Wales until he popped his knee he played great instinctive rugby. Wayne Smith wrote a great article when Thorn fired him from the Reds saying that Quade sent a text message reading ‘now I’m doing it my way’ after the semi final loss. Then we got the Wales performance.

          Obviously, he’s an instinctual player and I think he’s at his best when playing instinctively. However, I would say he’s actually shown a great willingness to follow game plans, even when they’re terrible. Except at the Reds between 2015-17, who had a game plan that was a whole new level of bad.

        • Geoffro

          wasnt saying he didnt follow their gameplans.The suggestion from OS was how happy does he have to be

        • onlinesideline

          I think even if Quade ran on to the field blowing birthday trumpets he was never going to be picked.

        • Greg

          @onlinesideline:disqus …. needs to take his game a bit more seriously….

        • Max Graham

          Reckon that’s it. Link’s strategy was far less structured than most coaches. Cooper does what he thinks his best in the circumstances- he always will. Maybe most of the time he’s even right! But coaches don’t like that and many players won’t either.

          I have a hunch that Cooper will make a good coach. That’s my prediction!

        • Who?

          Link basically agrees with that, having pointed out that Cooper usually had a better idea of where everyone was on the training field than Link ever did. :-)
          Though vision like Cooper’s is something that you either have or don’t. And most of us don’t. We can improve what we have, but it’s like speed. You can only reach your own natural ceiling. That being the case, I’m not sure Cooper wouldn’t end up like Larkham – trying really hard to explain things to guys who aren’t seeing near as much as they are. I think he’d be a great mentor, and would work really well with guys around him, and a great analyst, but I think he’d have a lot of learning to do.
          .
          I disagree on Link’s strategy being less structured though. He was always looking for an edge. I recall Genia, in an interview in 2015, saying how refreshing it was to have a consistent game plan, as the previous coach would always adjust things week to week depending on the opposition. He would ask anyone and everyone around Ballymore what they thought of tactics and innovations. His 2011 backline was a backline full of players who arguably failed to truly show their strengths at the next level up (Chambers went back to League, Ant Fainga’a never played 12, only 13 – he’d have been a much better 12 at the RWC than McCabe, Davies had one Test thanks to Alesana Tuilagi), but they were all used running their own natural lines to hold the defensive drift and find holes. 10 would drift, 12 would run slight unders, 13 would run out, 15 would run straight, 11 would cut in, 14 would look for width….

        • Who?

          Great post.
          I’ll further it by saying one of McKenzie’s great strengths was that he was able to provide attacking structures that gave clarity for his instinctive players. So that, if there was nothing on, everyone knew what the basic shapes and plans were. But that they also had complete freedom to take advantage of the opportunities those structures were designed to create.
          .
          That’s not just relevant to Quade, who learned his balance of structure and seizing opportunity (i.e. playing what’s in front of you) under Link (rather than Deans, who proclaimed ‘play what’s in front of you,’ but didn’t provide default structures that would create anything to exploit), but also to Beale, who almost won a Super title in his debut year playing 10 under Link.
          .
          It’s great to recognise X Factor players, but our weaknesses with them have tended to be that we rely on that X Factor to create opportunities, rather than relying on that X Factor to seize opportunities and maximise them.

        • onlinesideline

          does “something on” mean kicking the ball across your in-goal to your winger ?

        • Who?

          If under penalty advantage, then yes. We too often forget it was under advantage…
          .
          But I really think Beale’s season at 10 in 2008 (and then Link’s willingness to try him there in 2014) was a bigger credit to him than his successes with Quade.

        • Max Graham

          Yes!! If it’s on, why not? Quade deserves stick for making occasional inexplicable errors, such as not grounding a ball in the in-goal and letting the Lions’ score a fluke try. That one mistake was crazy and possibly the moment when he showed he was still prone to flakey shit.
          The unnecessary flick pass against Ireland in 2011, which lost us the game. Killer!! Kicking to wingers in goal – that’s magic! If he did that and didn’t make those inane mistakes I think he’d be a 100 test Wallaby.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          But the thing is, all our 10s make those types of errors (Foley is especially prone to them). But People only seem to remember when Quade makes them.

        • Who?

          See my reply to From NooZealand, it didn’t lose us the game. We were down by 9 points with 2 minutes on the clock. The game was already lost.
          If you want to blame anyone, blame Deans for not taking Hodgson, something many of us criticised on here when the squad was announced.

        • Surely one doesnt coach based on their players abilities and X-factor instincts, its all about the coaches game and how to adhere to it isnt it?

        • Geoffro

          Kerevi being used as a battering ram ??

        • From NooZealand

          Hi, not from me, but another fellow in this forum:. The unnecessary flick pass against Ireland in 2011, which lost us the game. Killer!!
          Also, in that semifinal vs ABs, McCow actually carried QC agood meters back with the ball still with QC.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I never said everything he did during the entire world was perfect? I liked Deans as a coach, but he was disastrous from the World Cup onwards. Lost his nerve.

        • juswal

          Yeah, piss off. Every player makes mistakes. Only a miserable arsewipe kiwi would spend time on an Australian rugby site trying to sledge a former Wallaby whose Test career is sadly over.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          What a nasty thing to say, juswal. I’ve found from noozealand to be entirely reasonable.

        • From NooZealand

          Are you calling me : “miserable arsewipe kiwi”?

        • Who?

          Yep, which is typical of the unfair calls about him. We were 15-6 down with 2 minutes on the clock, with a later than desired pass to him from Genia (slower than ideal, so the ball came to his near hip), which meant the quickest way to get the ball to the next man was to continue the ball’s path behind him rather than dragging it around his body.
          But 15-6 down with 2 minutes on the clock, can’t people do maths? 15-6 = 9. A converted try is 7. We needed to score a try, convert it, AND find another 3+ points in the next 2 minutes. Normally a conversion takes 90 seconds. It was too late.
          .
          Cooper didn’t lose that game for us – Deans did, by not taking Hodgson. Many complained before the RWC that we didn’t have a back up for Pocock, Pocock missed that game, and we lost. It also doesn’t help that we had McCabe at 12. There was a point earlier in the game where Cooper found space. He went for the wrap around with McCabe, looking for McCabe to hold the defensive slide while he got outside. When he called for it back, McCabe instead had turned infield, ran away from all support, and was penalized for not releasing. Giving Ireland 3 points, when we should’ve been well down the other end of the field.
          Instead, we blame Cooper for something that happened after the game was lost.
          .
          It’s the same as Beale’s pass that Hodge dropped – I don’t blame Beale for that pass, I think he did very well to take the ball off his left hip and get it out to the right in the half step he had before being tackled.

        • From NooZealand

          Our hearts (I invited a relative from Melbourne and with a colleague went to watch that game donning our Wallabies stuff) were broken that night. Later on, the three of us, had a great night with a group of Irish fans.

      • Brisneyland Local

        He had to enjoy it sooooo much that there was no other 10 in Australia left playing that Cheika could pick before him!

        • Who?

          Or inside centre (DPA) or utility back (Hodge)…

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep forgot they would be included too!

  • Gottsy

    I don’t mind who the coach is, as long as they get the backing of RA, and can get the state unions to work together.
    If Dave Rennie comes in there’s a small chance Matt Taylor might come with him, and that’s fine by me!

    • Geoffro

      Im sure the guys would prefer some r’n’b to Cheiks boombox……oh…sorry,wrong Matt Taylor.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Not sure of the evidence of that, my friend. The Brumbies’ won a lot of matches this year by grinding for 50-60 mins, even if the scores sometimes blew out in their favour in the last quarter. A lot of that was down to CLL.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      absolutely, but the difference was the forwards were always able to gain parity and in a lot of cases domination for even short periods of time. In Auckland with very little dominating periods by the forwards he did look a bit out of sorts.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Barrett often looks appalling when his forwards get dominated. Such as against Ireland last year, the Lions in 2017 or South Africa last year. All 10s do. I’m not denying he had a had a poor match, but to extrapolate from one match where the entire team was dire is going way too far in my opinion.

        He’s shown himself very capable of grinding victories over the years (including in previous seasons when the Brumbies’ forwards were not so dominant), unlike Foley, who is never a grinding 10.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah that’s true. No 10 looks good going backwards. I always though DC had a great ride with Canterbury and the ABs. Still a great 10 but he did have it easier than some

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I loved that whenever teams started pushing the Saders or All Blacks who could kick for the corners and pin teams in their part of the field. He surely is the GOAT 10.

      • From NooZealand

        Regardless, everybody does at the fortress. ((::))

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Hahaha true mate. Love that record. I was in Bosnia with the Army about 2 months after the last time we lost to the French. The UN headquarters was full of French officers. Played the rugby card and got shit loads off he UN we weren’t really entitled to

        • From NooZealand

          Precious memories for more than one reason. I sincerely salute you.

  • Custard Taht

    I think the name “Iceman” is actually quite apt for Foley…he has demonstrated the abitity to melt when the heat is on.

    Yeah I know, he had those 2 good kicks 4 and 5 years ago….the older he gets the better he was.

    • Geoffro

      Thats about it.Ive seen him do some sensational things in games but the rest is crap and 5 – 10 minutes out of 80 is poor.

      • Max Graham

        If Foley has Lilo’s last game the comments would have hit 10000. Much of the shit we (especially me to be fair) dump on him is unfair.

        • Who?

          To be fair to Leali’ifano… Foley’s had plenty of those games. Where he’s missed critical shots at goal, and his general play kicking has been poor. He’s generally been given higher player ratings in the player reviews after those performances (5’s instead of 4’s).
          .
          And, let’s be honest, that loss wasn’t primarily off Leali’ifano. I blame him for his missed kicks, but he’s hardly Robinson Crusoe for missing clutch kicks for the Wallabies (I’d have been more confident with Cooper taking those kicks than Leali’ifano or Foley – all three have ‘weaker’ sections on the field, those were in Cooper’s stronger area, where if it were right of field, I’d be more confident in Foley). In general play, we were 0-3 down against the ABs at Eden Park and looking ok after 25 minutes, having had a good strong run for at least 10 of those minutes. If I look back at the 2015 Eden Park fixture, by 25 minutes our forwards had been smashed, and we looked ready to be smashed. That wasn’t the case here.
          After that point, we had Hodge’s drop for Mo’unga’s try, Hodge and LSL not managing to corral Bridge leading to Smith’s try, our scrum’s bizarre tactics (led by 7A’s) of attacking too sideways too early leading to Moody dominating, Beale having no capacity to catch anything coming his way (not a problem for Folau)… The ABs got a ‘lucky’ break, took it, took another one, and were suddenly on a roll. It was a momentum win, where once things started going their way, they snowballed. Our heads dropped. But it wasn’t all on our 10. Foley played more poorly in the 2015 (Sydney) win than Leali’ifano played in the 2019 Auckland loss.
          .
          Eden Park’s a place where it would’ve been really, really nice to have a Plan B, rather than relying on Plan A working in different conditions with a few key positional changes against an adapting opposition.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          There was a period a few years ago (pre cancer) where Lealiifano was an 85% goal kicker, but sadly, not anymore. He’s changed his tech nice a bit since then, and tends to slice it more.

        • Brumby Runner

          Darryl, the large majority of Christian’s goal kicks are hooked. ie from right to left. Very rarely does he slice it. When he’s on, he gets it going straight, but that is all too rarely too.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I agree, but I think we define slice differently.

        • Not necessarily true. Everyone had a shit game. Lilo didn’t need to be singled out because he didn’t do anything spectacularly shit in and of himself. That is, he didn’t stand out from the crowd for doing anything extra bad.

  • Custard Taht

    He probably looks worse because he keeps trying….where as Foley just dons the invisibility cloak and goes awol.

  • Custard Taht

    The gif won’t work……

    • Geoffro

      Aesop will tell you thats a winning look :)

  • juswal

    Does anyone remembered Lealiifano being ‘flustered’?

  • andrewM

    Doesnt the NRC kick off tomorrow?

    • Andrew Luscombe

      Yep:

      Saturday August 31. All times AEST

      12pm – NSW Country vs Sydney, Apex Oval Dubbo, LIVE on RUGBY.com.au, Kayo and Foxtel

      1:30pm – Melbourne Rising vs Canberra Vikings, Box Hill Rugby Club, Melbourne, LIVE on RUGBY.com.au and Kayo

      3pm – Brisbane City vs Fijian Drua, GPS Rugby Club, Brisbane. LIVE on RUGBY.com.au and Kayo

      5pm – Western Force vs Queensland Country, UWA Rugby Club, Perth, LIVE on RUGBY.com.au and Kayo

  • Ads

    I don’t really get the continued Foley bashing. It’s not like he picked himself or ever really said anything dopey. Did he call himself iceman? He is still probably our 2nd best 10. Just seems pretty poor to be kicking him while he’s down.

    • Geoffro

      He copped plenty of kicking before he went down.The fact he is our second best (No doubt in Cheikas eyes our best) is sad considering he wouldn’t make a squad of our main opponents.We’re just consoling our sorrows

    • Dud Roodt

      It’s like the over the top attacks on Hannigan – nothing he can do about being selected, but he bares the brunt of it.

      • Geoffro

        He could do a Liam Squire

        • Dud Roodt

          And develop a mental illness?

        • Geoffro

          Sorry,was just being flippant.didn’t realise.

        • Dud Roodt

          Mate we’re not all so sensitive around here!

      • Ads

        100%.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I’ve not seen many people attack Hanigan. They’ve critiqued his abilities, but I’ve not seen anyone criticise his person. Same with Foley, I’ve not seen anyone criticise him as a bloke. Both seem like lovely people.

        • Max Graham

          I have. That moustache is awful – no good bloke would deliberately look like that. Looks like a dodgy PE teacher or oz swim coach.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Nothing beats Omar Sharif’s Nic White’s moustache.

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          Are you recalling the old Dustin Hoffman joke?
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KteK6f0Xhs

        • joy

          Critiques! More like sneers and there is miles of evidence still displayed on this site.

    • Brisneyland Local

      True he didnt pick himself. But have we actually seen him work to improve his deficiencies?

      • Ads

        Has he actually improved? Prob not, but hard to say definitively. Has he tried to improve (your question)? I’m not close enough to say. I would imagine yes – he looks like he’s trying. He seems to do his best to implement whatever he’s been told to do, and work behind the forwards that are picked. I’m not even saying he’s good. Just that he must be hurting having been looked over which is fair enough. Continuing to rubbish the guy seems like a bit of a dog act to me.

        • onlinesideline

          hear what you are saying. But I think people are rubbishing his selection, not him as a bloke. Hes obviously a good bloke that tries but he also obviously has his limits. He cant feel miffed in anyway, he has has the priviledge of waering the jumper for 5 odd years. He’s
          experienced everything including a RWC and while he has been 10 the Wallas have 38% record in some of the worst losses to the lowest teams in Wallaby history. Its time for him to move on. And thats directed to the selectors not him.

        • Ads

          Feels like that has basically happened already. Barring injuries, he probably wont feature in a meaningful way moving forward. Which I’m ok with. It just kinda feels like still calling Al Baxter shit. I understand it isn’t quite that simple in that he is in the cup squad etc. Anyway I’m not his mum. Good luck to him!

        • onlinesideline

          He’ll be right in the mix come pointy end – you watch. CLL was a work in development as a back up. He was tested properly in 4 nations. Cheika has a back up now but you watch Foley get the gig about mid tournament. They’ll win and CLL will be no 2 again next match.

        • Ads

          People will lose their mind if that happens lol. CLL is one of the best feel good stories for ages. Another top bloke.

        • onlinesideline

          they’ll lose their mind if Foley is picked and we lose and get knocked out but it’ll will be too late. RWC no second chances.

        • Max Graham

          I hope not. The biggest difference between the two is defence. Lilo is a strong defender and as the oz 10 stands at the fringe in the front line it’s important he is. Big forwards rumble into that channel all day and this is bad for Foley. Personally I think Toomua looks the best fit – he’s looked good in the last couple of tests and is possibly the best tackling 10 in world rugby. He hits harder than most flankers. My bet is on him – Foley or Lilo on the bench to come on with 30 to go and move into first receiver.

        • Brisneyland Local

          And that is what we are all scared of!

        • Max Graham

          Well said. The Al Baxter reference puts this into some context. Baxter was far and away our best THP for many years – this earned him derision. I do believe Foley has been given a rails run by Cheika – why Cooper’s and Toomua’s limited opportunities required Foley’s presence at 12 still irks me, but none of this is the fault of Foley. The Foley/Cooper debate by the fans over the years has been tribal and didn’t always involve evidence or common sense. To some, Foley or Cooper could score 5 tries and cure cancer and it wouldn’t be enough for the other camp.

        • Who?

          I see Foley and Baxter differently. Foley hasn’t progressed much over the past 5 years. He came into the side in his early 20’s, in a position where players can perform at a high level at that age. Put it this way – he was older at the 2015 RWC than Cooper was in 2011. He’s only 17 months younger than Cooper (so Foley in 2014 is older than Cooper at the same point in 2012), he wasn’t the only option in his position, he shouldn’t have been learning his trade at the top level.
          .
          Compare that with Baxter, who debuted very young and was almost immediately the only player apparently suitable for his position. SO he was picked when he wasn’t ready. Props mature in their 30’s, he was playing in his early 20’s (same for Slipper!). So it shouldn’t have been a surprise to see him served his own backside at Twickenham in 2005. However, Baxter progressed. He worked hard, he improved. We saw the Return of Le Fuse in 2008. He dominated Woodcock at Eden Park in 2009, but was incorrectly penalized off the park by Joubert (who apologised). From where I was sitting, he’d finally started to realize his potential. But that Eden Park game was his last in Gold. Deans dropped him. SO we paid all those years of him learning his trade at international level (where most guys learn it then step up), and didn’t reap the benefits in national colours. But he stayed with Aussie Rugby, and the Tahs scrum that had reached consistent strength under Link continued to be strong through until his retirement (and his handing on of the baton to Kepu and co).
          .
          Foley’s off to Japan, not really having improved much beyond his debut. Baxter stuck around and gave his best, showing improvement, his last year in Gold being his best performed.

        • While I appreciate your comment about not kicking him while he’s down… you can see players improve. Ardie Savea would be one. Look at him when he was first picked for the ABs and then look at him this year. If you want players in the same position as Foley, look at Mo’unga even last year and this year, but certainly 4 years ago and this year. I’m picking those short time frames because they’re frames while they’ve been in contention as AB’s so they’re notionally at or near the top of their games.

          Foley may have worked on things, but I’m not sure he’s improved in a lot of what you’d consider the core elements of being a flyhalf. Which leads one to wonder what he’s been working on.

          While that paragraph is pretty much kicking him while it’s down for which I apologise, it’s something that I could, and frequently do, aim at others of Cheika’s favourites. I think this either flows from the top or it’s an inherent weakness in the systems in Australia. Not 100% sure which.

        • Ads

          I think Cheika liked to have a lot of the playmaking coming from 12 with 10 being a running/kicking/support option. In this model Foley has a lot of the “core skills” of that style of 10. I agree this isn’t a traditional 10, and even agree it was never a really successful or good idea. But he fit the model the coach wanted.

          Has Genia improved? Or hodge, dhp? Not really to me.

        • I think Hodge and DHP would be two of the (all too many) names I’d include under the umbrella of my final category of “Cheika’s favourites” that haven’t shown any improvements once they were selected for the Wallabies’ shirt. They’re what makes me hesitate to say “It’s down to Foley” and seriously consider it’s a failure mode of Australian Rugby.

          The one I would really hold up would be Beale. Playing for Wasps he wasn’t a tackler you’d bet your mortgage on, but he was a reasonable defender. He was a creative attacker who would do a range of things. You’d trust him, in English weather, to defend pretty much anywhere on the pitch, including under the high ball. Two years back in Australia, and while his ardent defenders might say those things against him, I think most people would say he’s an occasional tackler – certainly wouldn’t bet on him making any given tackler, he runs sideways too often and gets the team hit behind the advantage line (although he can have flashes of creativity on attack that work better from 15 as a replacement IMO) and I’m not cruel enough to bet your beer money on him catching a given high ball, let alone any real amount of money. Since he can do all of these things away from Australia, why doesn’t he IN Australia?

          Genia I’m struggling to remember to be honest. Since the last RWC he’s been in an age range where you expect experience to start replacing superb athleticism. Looking around the world game, Ben Smith is another such. He’s definitely lost some pace in the last year or two, but he reads the game so well he’s just never really caught out of position and it’s only if he just can’t reach the player or the ball that it’s an issue. If you go back to the period before that, 2009-2015 say, I’d have to dig out video to see. But since he was picked repeatedly under multiple coaches, I’m going to say he did.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Not at all. He was interviewed about his kicking and asked if he was working with a kicking coach. He talked about his place kicking. Which to be honest is the least of my gripes with Foley. Simple technique work from a kicking coach would certainly improve his ball in hand kicking which we know is Pop gun. Hodge doesnt have a natural cannon, he has worked on it. Tony Lockett didnt kick 50m + goals with out working on it. Foley has done fuck all to improve his ball in hand kicking, because both he, and the teams that he palys for, dont consider it important. If Cheika had considered it important, he wouldnt have let Foley take the kicks when Hodge was also on the paddock. He hasnt worked on improvement because he had need to do so. It comes from being a protected species.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        That’s my main issue with him. It seems that because he was guaranteed a place by Cheika he hasn’t actually done anything over the years to improve his deficiencies. I think that’s unacceptable for a professional player

        • Brisneyland Local

          100% agree!

  • Red Block

    Raelene, didn’t you appoint Rod Kafer to bring about change to our coaching structures and install a pathway for coaches?
    Hmmm..trying to think of one initiative that he implemented,
    Crickets chirping!

  • No Such Thing As A Fish is sort of comedy/weird facts podcast that you may or may not have come across. They have the same format, 4 “interesting” facts, normally from this week’s news but they’re currently on tour so they do something of interest to the place they’re visiting rather than something really up to date.

    This week’s episode, 284: No Such Thing As Salty Yeti Bones does some weird facts, as normal, but their fourth fact is about the early history of rugby. Some little gems, like one of the early matches with 300 people between the two sides, 75 from Rugby School, and 225 from “The Rest”. The outrage when they decided to ban hacking – kicking the shins of your opponent, with specially sharpened boots! And the year they decided to outlaw throttling your opponent. Also the number of early deaths on the pitch… because carrying a dagger onto the pitch was totally normal! Glad I’m not quite that old tbh.

    So you might be interested in a listen. There are three other facts to get through first which will give you a flavour of the normal flavour of the show.

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@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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