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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News has Smith on the pooper, Foketi signing, another O’Connor late and, what to do with fringe Wallabies.


One of Smith’s finest moments

King George Poops on the Pooper

Hot on the heals of Phill Kearns’ ‘insights’ yesterday comes a missive from his royal awesomness King George Smith. While Kearns is happy to give up size and height to have two opensides on the park George isn’t so sure.

Smith started alongside Phil Waugh in the 2003 Rugby World Cup but the 111-Test great said while there were ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ to the dual open side tactic, he would stick with status quo and have Pocock coming off the bench against Fiji.

“They work well together and I think they have worked well in the past,” Smith said at the KAYO Rugby World Cup launch in Sydney.

“(But) I like the combination they have at the moment with Lukhan and Isi there, and obviously with Hooper being the incumbent and the captain of Australia. I think that combination is working well and persisting with that would be great.

“It’s hard. They’re both starting no.7s and they’re fantastic to the team and add to it, not only on the field but off the field as well.

“Obviously Pocock has done a lot to get back to where he is now, to get selected and to be in the touring squad.

“They’re two quality players but I would like to see them persist with the combination they have now.

“Consistency is quite a big thing. Leading into this match Lukhan has played the majority of matches and he has performed well in those games, and allowing that momentum to carry on is a good thing.”

Lalakai Foketi

Lalakai Foketi Extends Tah’s Contract!

Sometimes the road less travelled gets you where you’re supposed to be. Hopefully, that’s what’s happened for Lalakai Foketi after a run in the U20 national set up and a stint at the Rebels Foketi decided to jump ship and have a run for BoP in the Mitre 10 cup. Three years later he picked up a contract with Bayonne in France.

NSWRU General Manager of Rugby, Tim Rapp said that Foketi’s experience abroad has been beneficial during his time with the Waratahs.

“Lalakai has really taken his opportunity to return to Super Rugby with both hands, he returned a more mature and complete player and performed really strongly when called upon [in 2019],” Rapp said.

“He hit the ground running in pre-season after an extended injury lay off, scoring a hat-trick in our trial against the Highlanders which gives you an idea of what he’s capable of with ball in hand.

“He’s got a real willingness to improve as a player and leads through his actions, his desire to represent New South Wales is something that will only help him in what will be a competitive [2020] pre-season.

“Given the trajectory of his development since arriving [in 2018], we’re excited about Lalakai’s potential over the coming years.”

“After coming back from a stress fracture, I was just looking forward to getting back to playing after a really good pre-season [in 2019],” Foketi said.

“I’m stoked to be here at the Waratahs for the next few seasons and feel there’s plenty more to accomplish in the sky blue jersey.

“I want to reach my potential as a player and I’d love to do that here in New South Wales, I’m really thankful for this contract extension and the support of the entire organisation.

“It’s been an honour to represent the Waratahs [since returning to Super Rugby] and I can only speak positively about how the coaches, support staff and my teammates have impacted my game – it’s a great environment.

“The NRC is an opportunity to get some more game time before pre-season and continue to make improvements ahead of 2020.

“It was a nice surprise when Whits [Chris Whitaker] asked me to captain the side, it’s a role I’m keen to embrace and a challenge I’m looking forward to.”

 

Qld Fires Delay O’Connor

Wallaby selector and dual international Michael O’Connor had a little trouble getting to Japan and it had nothing to do with a typhoon. O’Connor managed to get caught up in another natural disaster when he was evacuated from his Sunshine Coast home because of fires near his Peregian Beach home.

It’s a lot of years since I’ve been to Peregian beach but I do remember a great surf break and some nice houses.

The Wallabies were supposed to fly to Japan on Sunday following their 34-15 victory over Samoa at Bankwest Stadium but were forced to spend another night Sydney’s west at the team hotel due to a typhoon that swept through Tokyo, causing winds of over 200km/h and thousands of power outages.

After a 16-hour delay, the squad finally left for Asia on Monday but there was one team official who had to attend to a serious situation up north.

 O’Connor, who has come on board this year as a third selector alongside coach Michael Cheika and director of rugby Scott Johnson, was forced to help family rush out of their home at Peregian Beach.
Luckily the fire bypassed the O’connor’s but others weren’t so fortunate. Anyone wanting to help victims of the fires can donate on the Vinnie’s website. All money donated will go directly to those affected.

Jordan Petaia bundels Cameron Clark into touch

NRC game time crucial now for fringe Wallabies

It’s hard to argue with GaGr’s own Brett McKay when he calls for fringe Wallabies to be playing in the NRC instead of training separately to the squad in Japan. Tom Banks, Jack Maddocks and, Luke Jones are currently training with the Wallabies in Odawara but, once the tournament officially starts they can’t stay with the team.

Brett suggests that;

Banks, Maddocks, and Jones are allowed to train with the ‘main’ squad until Saturday, though I’ve also heard suggestions that they can remain in Japan training after this, but just detached from the 31-man squad.

How detached that actually is – is it the hotel down the road and the training field next door, or is it a different city altogether? – I’m not so sure, and I’ll happily stand corrected.

What this highlights is how crucial it is to ensure the players on the fringe of the squad maintain some semblance of match fitness.

At this time of year, the obvious, best, and only real option is for them to be pulling on jerseys in the National Rugby Championship.

The third round of the NRC is this weekend, and the remaining five rounds will coincide with the pool games of the World Cup.

The NRC semi-finals are on the same weekend as the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals, while the NRC final is the same weekend as the Rugby World Cup semis.

 So, from a game-time perspective, the timing is good.

I mentioned above the possibility of the three fringe players remaining Japan, but just to contradict myself within the space of five paragraphs, I also understand that Banks and Jones will be made available for Canberra and Melbourne, respectively, in the coming weeks.

The final three rounds of the NRC was the suggestion, which would seem to marry up with the prospect of them remaining Japan for another week yet.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Sully,
    I think regardless of anything else the fact that Pocock has played so little rugby this year it would be unwise for him to have to play a full game from the start. He can cover a couple of positions so would make a good bench player. I personally prefer specialist to start and have reserves that can cover a few positions.

    I agree with Brett, having the standby players get game time in the NRC is a great idea. It will help them more than gym work and also raise the NRC awareness which is a good thing.

  • Yowie

    Hmmm
    1. Cheika’s style cramped by selectors.
    2. Selector Michael O’Connor delayed by Peregian Beach fires.
    3. news reports suggesting Peregian Beach fires deliberately lit…

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Love a good conspiracy

      • Yowie

        cui bono?

        • Geoffro

          I’d never believe such a thing….. “here Scotty,try some of this puffer fish”

        • Yowie

          haha. Then 30 minutes later after no symptoms:-

          “Hey Scotty, can you go over to that group of heavily tattoo’d locals with the missing digits in that alleyway and tell them to kuso kurae

        • RahRah

          Kutabare

      • Hoss

        News from the land of the rising sun. Jacobson out of the tournament, delayed concussion, Frizell in

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Where did you hear that mate

        • Who?

          Think I saw it on Fox Sports? They also mentioned that a couple of other blokes weren’t considered as replacement as they’re injured (Fifita and someone else).

        • Hoss

          Yep and Papilii (both ‘nursing injuries’)

        • Hoss

          Rugby.com.au shagger

        • Delayed onset concussion symptoms apparently.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Bugga. Good to see them looking after him though

    • Bobas

      “I’m as innocent as that Billy Joel song, you-know-what-i-mean?”

    • John Tynan

      Gold!

    • Hoss

      Reckon GAGR missed great opportunity for click-bait ‘Queensland Fire O’Connor’

      • Yowie

        It was bad enough clickbait with “QLD FIRES DELAY O’CONNOR”

        My first thoughts were “I had no idea his nickname was “Delay O’Connor”, what a sh!t nickname and what a bugger that Queensland Rugby fired him”

    • AllyOz

      I actually got some significant enjoyment this week listening to national ABC radio journalists (no ABC bias it was just that they were the ones reporting) finding innumerable ways to mispronounce Peregian, Taloumbi, and Woolwoweyah. That’s the kind of dickhead I am I suppose.

      • Yowie

        It must be part of their leftie agenda – like calling St Petersburg “Leningrad”.

  • Bobas

    Detached from the squad.

    So running up the next closest hill.

    • Yowie

      They are fine-tuning the segregation with the help of some South African consultants with 1980s-1990s rugby experience.
      Word has it there has been at least one embarrassing stuff-up with some of the wrong players being sent to the B-grade training hill.

    • Brisneyland Local

      With doof doof music. And DJ Ass Clown

      • Geoffro

        DJ Ass Clown is a great moniker,has a nice ring to it-too bad it’s associated to Cheik.

        • Brisneyland Local

          YEp!

    • Who?

      Mt Fuji, Bobas, Mt Fuji! :-P

    • GeorgiaSatellite

      Kate Bush was quite prophetic:

      It doesn’t hurt me
      Do you want to feel how it feels?
      Do you want to know, know that it doesn’t hurt me?
      Do you want to hear about the deal that I’m making?
      You, it’s you and me

      And if I only could
      I’d make a deal with God
      And I’d get him to swap our places
      Be running up that road
      Be running up that hill
      Be running up that building
      See if I only could, oh

      You don’t want to hurt me
      But see how deep the bullet lies
      Unaware I’m tearing you asunder
      Ooh, there is thunder in our hearts

      Is there so much hate for the ones we love?
      Tell me, we both matter, don’t we?
      You, it’s you and me
      It’s you and me, won’t be unhappy

      And if I only could
      I’d make a deal with God
      And I’d get him to swap our places
      Be running up that road
      Be running up that hill
      Be running…

      • Yowie

        That’s beautiful man.

        Reminds me of the poetry of Jeffery Hanneman and Kerry King

        Trapped in purgatory
        A lifeless object, alive
        Awaiting reprisal
        Death will be their acquiescence

        The sky is turning red
        Return to power draws near
        Fall into me, the sky’s crimson tears
        Abolish the rules made of stone

        Pierced from below, souls of my treacherous past
        Betrayed by many, now ornaments dripping above

        Awaiting the hour of reprisal
        Your time slips away

        Raining blood
        From a lacerated sky
        Bleeding its horror
        Creating my structure now I shall reign in blood

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          Well, it’s more an allegory of a Faustian pact, Robert Johnson-style, with a hint of Coleridgian turpiditude, but your allusion to the Apocalypse is not too far off the mark. Good song, though. I can hear it blasting at the top of said hill.

      • AllyOz

        So from that I am getting that Cheika shot Pocock in the calf during the hill runs – and then something about Izzy being swapped out of the tahs _ possibly something to do with the line about have speech??

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          You’re good, dude. Too good :-)

        • AllyOz

          well there are a few options, I could be Michael Cheika, or my comment could just be gibberish, much like the song lyrics (except my comments don’t rhyme and aren’t intended to be sung in an excruciatingly high pitched voice

  • Geoffro

    Stokin’ the fire Georgie.Waiting for Kearnsy to come out and say Waugh was an automatic selection as our best flanker available

    • Yowie

      Well, being a Waratah, Waugh being an automatic selection goes without saying.

      • Geoffro

        Shame Kearns cant go without saying

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure Gold Geoffro

        • Max Graham

          Ha!!

  • Hoss

    Konnichiwa Mofo’s,

    Well, it’s about to get real ladies and gents and those from South Australia.

    Seven more sleeps and the BIG SHOW finally arrives in lounge rooms around the globe. In celebration of turning Japanese, yes, I really think so, I have directed the boffins to relaunch the Hosstravaganza – ‘Select Your Wallaby Side’ page.

    Fresh from our 87% success rate of picking the 31 Man RWC Wallaby squad, click on the link below for your say in who should be in Game one against the dangerous Flying Fijians:

    – Run on XV &
    – ‘The Friendless 8, The Finishers, The Reggies, Pine-Riders’ – call em what you will,

    I recall reading Segall, the Schnozz & Mandrake may release the actual side early next week so, just like Mrs Hoss experiences, I have gone early – just in case

    I will post results just in advance of the official announcement for dissection and lively debate early next week.

    For the sake of the exercise (and because my boffins aren’t that sharp) the bench is based on a 5/3 split.

    Will we see Spanners, does Methuselah get on the pine, are our loosies Naisahoopcock (got that in Bali once – nasty bloody thing), does FKA get a run in your team, who starts at 2, over to you gaggers.

    Happy voting
    Mr Hoss.

    http://yourwallabysquad.com/

    • Geoffro

      Shouldnt it be Hoss San ? , Mr Hoss

      • Hoss

        The tribal name given to my by learned Japanese elders was ‘Hossimoto’

    • AllyOz

      Thanks Hossimoto – I googled “wise japanese sayings” – so I could pretend to be extremely knowledgeable about Japanese customs and wisdom – and it came back with this one.

      負けるが勝ち – Makeru ga kachi
      Translation: To lose means to win

      It is attributed to a 6th century hill runner called Cheika-morie

      • Hoss

        I’ve seen some selections so far mate and i put forward the motion that some on here are breath tested before blogging on GAGR. One of the faithful has picked 3 props and a hooker on the reserves bench – i do love thinking outside the box though.

        • AllyOz

          I think the “actual” selectors might need the breath test requirement – its hard to find a winger in the squad list other than Korobiete who can run the hundred under 13 secs. (my personal best in my playing years was in the low 15’s btw)

        • Hoss

          Yeah i found myself looking at the 14 option and thinking ‘jeez the cupboard is bare – i opted for Hodge, but would love Pataia to be fit again (game 3 of the campaign apparently)

        • AllyOz

          well you left us the capacity to add one from outside so I put Naivalu in but that’s sort of cheating – I would have liked to have put Folau in but he’s doing time in purgatory

        • Hoss

          Yeah the boffins waffled on with some babble re ‘cant remove ‘other’ from the list’. I see them coming and say from the outset – ‘you have a 25 word limit – make them count’

        • Ads

          Easy – Sio is on the bench as the back-up hooker, 2 regular props, and Tolu as the reserve 7.

          Sincerely,
          Cheik.

        • Keith Butler

          I get confused about who’s LH and who’s a TH. Drinks coming later in the day.

        • Hoss

          You bloody propist – i bet ‘they all look the same to you’….dont they

          Tasmanian redneck.

        • Keith Butler

          From where I was locking all I saw was a big arse.

        • Hoss

          I used to joke that from my position at 8 each scrum was looking backwards into evolution of the species.

        • Keith Butler

          Cheers. I’m sure BL will appreciate the comment as well. Used to dread the thought of the front row being out for a curry the evening before a game – no unusual – locked in a no where to go.Phew!

        • Who?

          But that would mean that the scrumhalf could claim the same, including you! :-(

        • Hoss

          Wait,what…

        • Yowie

          A scrumhalf wouldn’t be a smart-arse about that sort of thing, or in general.

        • Ads

          Extrapolating that to it’s obvious conclusion, No 23 is the most evolved and erudite of the entire team. So in the last proper test outing, that makes 2 dads the pinnacle of modern man.

          Sincerely,

          Adam’s Mum

        • Who?

          It depends on where the 23 plays. In that test where the son of your two men wore 23, Gilbert stayed at 15, so that would mean he’s the pinnacle..?
          And against Samoa, it wasn’t JOC (who played 13 – AAC moved to the wing), it was Banks.
          Does that mean the current pinnacle of humanity missed the 31?!?! The outrage!!!!
          :-P

        • AllyOz

          can you be at the end of the evolution of the species but bottom of the food chain at the same time?

        • Hoss

          Have you been to Kurri Kurri !

        • bacteria evolve faster than anything, and get attacked by everything, including each other… so easily.

        • Greg

          @hoss What was the joke?

        • Hoss

          Don’t get on my bad side, Folau did once and we all know how that ended up.

        • Greg

          indeed… it went to hell in a rush

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          short round and not very fast. That about covers it

        • Hoss

          Kiwi evolution in one sentence – love it.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Ba-Boom!

        • Greg

          Or Queensland….. let’s not even think about Tassie.

        • Crescent

          After having a crack, I reckon I should knock back a case of something good and go again – then see who is the better selector – sober me or drunk me. Maybe Cheika should do the same – it might make the panel’s job easier….

        • AllyOz

          actually i think i might have forgotten a reserve half – I might need a re-run

        • Hoss

          you’d better check the T&C’s – first selection free – $37.50 each choice thereafter

        • Bobas

          Names? I made some funny teams with Beale leaving himself out and Cheik picking his favs. The latter team may prove right but I think he put a few too many players as a starter and finisher.

      • Yowie

        Cheika-morie’s predecessor, Sun Tz-Ewan once said:-

        “Know your opposition and know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred tests;
        If you do not know your opposition but do know yourself and run the same tactics every bloody game, you will make one World Cup final and be inconsistent afterwards;
        If you do not know your opposition nor yourself, but some extra selectors come onboard to try to stop the bleeding you will give the fans mixed signals right before the next world cup.”

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Thats gold

        • Keith Butler

          Pure class mate.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Farkin hilarious.

    • Keith Butler

      Done and dusted Hossimoto. George Smith, one of the great 7s of all time but I can’t say I support his comment on LSL. Pretty average imo in the games he’s played but Cheika has him inked in as his go to 6 for the tournament. FFS he’s a lock.

      • Hoss

        I get the thinking. If its a 5 – 3 bench you will only get one reserve lock on there, so FKA can shift into lock if needed and give us a loosie set of Brian, Lee Magors & Isi to finish out

        • Who?

          That had me pondering whether or not the 5-3 bench could in fact be 3 front rowers, then Pocock and Dempsey. Because then you could have Dempsey finishing at 8 and LSL moving into lock.

        • Hoss

          Afternoon Doc. As part of my commitment to zero work Fridays i thought i’d reply immediately. I personally would love to find room for JD in my 23, but unless he starts (6) i cant squeeze him in and to have no specialist lock on the bench exposes us to much. One variable though might be to start Brian and then you could carry a specialist lock and FKA as floating cover for 4,5 & 6.

        • Who?

          Totally agree mate. And I’m trying to predict Cheika, so… Yeah, it’s hard! If it were me, with the players we have, I’d be looking at Pocock/Hooper/Naisarani. But I think there’s a really, really strong chance – even a likelihood – that Cheika will go LSL/Hoops/Isi, meaning Pocock’s on the bench, which pushes Dempsey out.

        • Hoss

          Did you see my tips !! I went with exactly that trio to start. Brian, Lee & Isi. You have to fracture the Fijian fruit and slow them down – Poey does that.

        • Who?

          I went the Cheika approach and tipped LSL/Lee/Isi. Because that’s what I think it’ll be. But if I were selecting, you can’t have Pocock available and not start him. He’s just too big a game changer. I’d go your way. But I don’t know that Cheika will see it that way…….

        • Brumby Runner

          I, again, went with my selections, not Cheika’s. I have a backrow of LSL, Pocock, Isi with Hooper on the bench.

        • Keith Butler

          The captain to the pine! ! Hell awaits you young man.

        • Patrick

          I also sacked him of that job except the form didn’t ask me about that

        • Patrick

          Me too. Be interesting to see how many gagrs have exactly the same backrow

        • Patrick

          That is what I did

        • Patrick

          It has to be doesn’t it?

        • Who?

          I mean no locks on the bench. But I doubt that’ll happen – especially given Coleman’s cameo in Perth was excellent (even if he wasn’t necessarily as impressive in Auckland or Sydney).

      • AllyOz

        I can’t wait until next year when the Reds put him back to lock where he belongs. I think this is one area Thorn could have been less helpful to the Australian coach/selectors and kept him at 4/5 for the season.

        • Max Graham

          I reckon he’ll be at 6 for the Reds. Rodda, Hocking and that other new giant kid…. can’t remember.
          I wager Hocking will be first lock picked by the end of 2020.

        • Geoffro

          Big wraps on Hocking.The guy has a bit of mongrel about him too (dont mean his stomping suspension,which was pretty innocuous anyway)

        • Patrick

          I think the lock to watch, unfortunately, is the South African no 5 from the U20s.. he was very impressive

        • Max Graham

          He’s the real deal. His older brother was handy too. Went to the Force though…..

        • AllyOz

          Blyth but it’s touch and go between which of them looks like a giant 8 year old

        • Max Graham

          I think Blyth and Hocking might actually be 8.

      • I ended up picking LSL as a pine-sitter in my squad. I think he’s a poor back-row forward at test level and I don’t know what he’s like as a lock at test level but he’s got that “not quite good enough at either but sort of ok at both” utility forward tag…

        But I think you’re right. I disagree with Smith that LSL has been good enough, even though I’ve said I’d keep him in the squad because whoever you pick as a replacement won’t have the games to get to up to speed. Whether having Hooper/Pocock play as a proper 7 + Naisirani + LSL is better than Pooper + Naisirani… that’s really a question though. Hooper bringing, IMO, not much or LSL bringing some height and not much else… tough call.

        • Keith Butler

          I picked him at 6 even though I disagree with Cheika’s selection. As the saying goes ‘ he’s made his bed and now has to lie in it’. Would have much preferred a genuine 6 but where are they? Maybe Cheika will surprise us with ‘ Return of the Pooper’.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Doneski Hossan.

    • Well, I’ve picked my squad. I imagine the 23 will be close, but starters and pine sitters will be a poorer match-up.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Done mate. Had to wait until I got home

  • Max Graham

    Hooper is captain and has been playing the house down. Of course he should start. Pocock coming on for the last 30 minutes sounds like a nightmare for a tiring opposition. How do you prepare for that?

    • Yowie

      neck-roll training?

      • Max Graham

        Haha! Maybe. But still, what does the Fiji’s coach say?” Okay fellas, most of you haven’t played against their reserve flanker, however for the next few sessions we are going to work on how we negate his GOAT ruck play after we’re already totally rooted. Hopefully we will have some time left for scrum and line out practice.”

        • Patrick

          I would imagine their strategy would be much more based on having tight support runners at pace in tight, targeting any of Hooper, White and (hopefully not!) Simmons and Beale if they are at all in tight, thus guaranteeing getting over the gain line and then looking to offload fast and get it wide to Reece Hodge’s wing.

          And whenever it isn’t on, roost it to Beale and run hard at him.

          That way it might not matter who comes on off the bench :(

        • Max Graham

          Mate, when Australia puts 30 on Fiji I hope you’re going to come back here and show some cheer. The best Fijians on the park don’t even play for Fiji. That Oz pack will bash them.

  • Max Graham

    Emotional hedge – that is interesting!! Did you just make that up?!!

    • Patrick

      Not at all! It is like tipping against your team, at least you’ve got some upside either way :)

  • Alister Smith

    Sorry to disappoint you but you are at least second last

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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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