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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News looks at a World Cup-winning flyhalf’s take on the Wallabies current situation, a pair of All Blacks question Cheika’s feng shui, the Rebels continue to stockpile forwards and the young guns set to take it to the Kiwis



Use the force, Christian

Lilo

Lilo

Former England flyhalf and winner of ‘most likely to be crashed tackle in public by a Wallabies fan’ Jonny Wilkinson has called on Star Wars to describe the Wallabies flyhalf situation, believes that Christian Lealiifano has “the force at the moment” to lead the side into the rest of the tournament.

The Wallabies flyhalf situation has resembled the original trilogy of Star Wars movies; with A New Hope in Lealiifano snatching the jersey at the start of the World Cup, before The Empire Strikes Back with the selection of the former number ten Bernard Foley for the clash against Wales.

Now that we have seen The Return Of The Jedi with the re-selection of Lealiifano for the clash against Uruguay, Wilkinson has urged the selectors to keep faith in him.

“I think To’omua is a really strong individual, looks like he’s calm and composed on the field,” Wilkinson told Drew Mitchell on the Fox Rugby Podcast.

“Lealiifano, in terms of just presence, I think he might be the force at the moment.

“It really depends on what type of game you’re trying to play,

“It depends upon how the rest of the players are connecting with that player at that time.

“And that’s not something that always stays constant just because you’ve done well in the past, or because you’re the most in-form player.”

Wilkinson stressed the importance of being able to adapt your play style as a flyhalf, admitting that his inability to change ultimately cost him his England career.

“As generations changed throughout my career, around me, that connection (was) massively different, because I wasn’t able to move with my identity and how I saw the game,” he believes.

“I ended up sometimes feeling like I worked in the team and sometimes feeling like I didn’t.

“And I always, kind of, blamed the team, which is completely the wrong way around, it was up to me to move and become a new player. I really like that in a 10. Moving, changing and adapting.”

Wallabies cursed by poor feng shui

Andy Ellis Reds v Crusaders 140511_321

A pair of former All Blacks have piped up about the “negative environment” that Michael Cheika has created, believing that it will ultimately influence the players and cause their downfall.

Cheika has seemed to take inspiration from his rugby league counterparts in Des Hasler and Wayne Bennett, often attracting attention to himself through a variety of antics and complaints.

This may be controversial but I’m a fan of them, when you compare the attention that he has received to some of the underperforming players from the pair of average/below average performances, it’s a landslide to the last (hot)air bender (next time you see him, compaire the pair).

However, this has angered former All Blacks and 2011 World Cup winners Richard Kahui and Andy Ellis, who believe that his constant complaining has created a negative vibe and spirit within the group.

“I see Cheik and I feel for him because he’s obviously a man under pressure. It’s not just this World Cup, it’s been building the last 2-3 years,” Kahui said on The Breakdown television show.

“(But) the way that he’s going about talking about referees and things, I just wonder how much that influences the players.

“It creates a negative environment and it’s like a snowball. It starts to build.”

Ellis backs Cheika’s claims that the Aussies have copes some shocking calls, however, insisted that it isn’t healthy for the squad.

“I’ve heard the language being used — oh, it’s them against us — and I don’t think that’s healthy in a camp,” he believed.

Specialist finisher and second-best athlete in his relationship Matt Toomua rejected these claims, believing that the loss last week was simply down to the team not being good enough (what a novel concept).

“I wouldn’t say that’s the feeling within camp in the sense that we’re thinking everyone is against us,” he said.

“I don’t think (poor officiating) has had a direct impact or effect on the result of the game which is the main thing.

“If it was a last-minute thing we might have felt hard-done-by but we lost on the weekend because we were the worst of the two teams.”

Going back to the Wells

Michael Wells palms Isi Naisarani Waratahs v Rebels 2019 (Credit Keith McInnes)

The Melbourne Rebels have continued to boost their pack with the signing of NSW Waratahs number eight Michael Wells.

Just a day after they secured the signing of props Cameron Orr and Ruan Smith, Wells heads south of the border, down Mexico way to Victoria, joining up with the Rebels for next year.

The most interesting thing about this deal is that Wells has completely committed himself to the 15-a-side game, forgoing a shot at the 2020 Olympics to focus on securing his spot in the stacked Rebels forward pack.

“I feel as though I’m better suited to the game of XV’s and for the purposes of longevity and overall performance, I felt XV’s was the right choice,” admitted Wells in a press release.

“The Rebels as a province are an exciting fit for myself.

“The team has been on the cusp of making its first finals in franchise history for the past couple of years and I want to be a genuine contributor in being able to help the team achieve that feat and more.”

Melbourne Rebels GM of Rugby & Pathways Nick Ryan believes that the addition of Wells will be the perfect complement to their back-row stocks, with his experience across all levels of rugby vital to their push towards an initial finals berth.

“The arrival of Michael will see the competition for spots in the pack only intensify,” Ryan believes.

“As well as current Wallabies Isi Naisarani, Luke Jones and Richard Hardwick, we also have the likes of Angus Cottrell, Rob Leota, Boyd Killingworth and Brad Wilkin challenging for back-row spots in the matchday 23.

“Michael comes to Melbourne with a lot of experience having played with the Brumbies, Waratahs and Aussie 7s.

“His exposure to many professional environments and many different styles of play means he’ll be well placed to adapt and drive the standards we set here in Melbourne.”

Under 18’s ready to break hoodoo

Nick Frost (5) one of schoolboys best Photo credit: ARU Media

Nick Frost (5) one of schoolboys best
Photo credit: ARU Media

The Australian Schoolboys/Under 18 side is brimming with confident that they can inflict a rare defeat on their Trans-Tasman rivals as they get set to take on their New Zealand counterparts on Friday.

Australia has not beaten New Zealand at the schoolboy level since 2012, however, wins over Fiji and NZ Barbarians has coach Peter Hewitt optimistic of an upset.

“We’ve got some good players in the backs that we want to be able to get the ball to and we need to get on the front foot in the forwards to be able to do that,” Hewat said.

“We’re really looking forward to this final match. There is a lot of tradition and a fierce rivalry between the two sides and we will look to harness this emotion ahead of our final clash

“As a coaching group, we’ve been really proud of the work that the team has put in so far and we have full confidence that this is the side that can get the job done.”

Hewitt has praised the overhaul of the system, which has seen all players under 18 finally available for selection, with the previous system excluding those who had already left/graduated from school.

Junior Wallabies coach Jason Gilmore has overseen the program, which Hewitt believes has been essentially in creating a seamless pathway through the junior ranks.

“It’s a benefit to the boys, him seeing them but also them getting used to the (coaching) systems that are in place,” Hewat said.

“That might not have been the case in the past but now we’re not having to teach them new ways of doing things every time they come into the team environment.

“I think Jason being here is a good thing going forward.”

The Australian Schools and U18s side will take on New Zealand Schools on Friday, October 4, at St Pauls Collegiate, Hamilton, which will available to those with Foxtel (channel 507)/Kayo (for those sneaking a watch at work) at 12:05 pm.

The squad is as follows (15-1, academy in bracket): Dion Samuela (Reds), Joseph Suallii (Waratahs), Josh Flook (c)(Reds), Nick Chan (Waratahs), Tolu Koula (Waratahs), Reesjan Pasitoa, (Brumbies), Lachie Albert (Brumbies), Alex Masibaka (RugbyWA), Will Roach (Reds), Zeph Tuinona (Brumbies), Tom Hooper (Brumbies), Hugh Bockenham (Waratahs), Zane Nonggorr (Reds), Billy Pollard (Waratahs), Harry Vella (Reds)

Reserves: Hamish Moore (Waratahs), George Blake (Reds), Daniel Botha (Waratahs), Joe Brial (Waratahs), Keynan Tauakipulu (Reds), Kalani Thomas (Reds), Anthony Alofipo (Brumbies), Glen Vaihu (Reds)

  • Bobas

    The Wells news is strange, an underweight guy who has out performed his expectations due to a but of extra zip and longevity. I fully expected him to have Hoiles like success.

    • Nutta

      He’s a good footballer. I reckon he is a bit under-rated. And I always got the feel the Rebs were well served by a back5 of backrowers anyway. Interesting.

      • Missing Link

        yes it was interesting but the Rebels seemed to play their best footy when they played Jones and Timani as locks to accomodate, McMahon and Higginbotham in the backrow. Maybe it was simply because McMahon and Higginbotham we’re beasts though

      • Keith Butler

        Luke Jones back to lock, where he should be, to replace Coleman.

        • Nutta

          You think? I always thought Lock held back Jones. I’ve always thought he played a much better/impacting game when playing 6 – without the grunt-work & fatigue of Lock. He certainly seems to get more lineout steals and doesn’t have the knock-ons in his game when playing loose as opposed to tight. I put it down to better skills when not fatigued so-much. That said I have no data to back that up – only observation from afar.

        • Keith Butler

          Went to a good number of Rebs games during his first stint there. I don’t recall him playing many games at 6. Paired up with Hugh Pyle most of the time or Cadyrn Neville. All three very mobile but possibly a bit light weight. We always seemed to struggle up front. I think he spent most of his time in France at lock as well. Bit of a toss up where he plays with Coleman and Jeffries going. Just leaves RHP and Matt Phillip but they do have a couple of young locks in the wings, I think.

        • Nutta

          You are correct about his first stint. He was stuck at 4&5. They had a pack of fronties plus loosies – no locks at all. Last year with Coleman and Matt Phillip playing so well I thought he had a few runs at 6 and lately when he got a few trots with the Wobblies it was at 6. Dunno. We will see.

        • Brumby Runner

          Haangana and Hosea. Hosea really stood out at U20s, but both have great potential.

  • Bobas

    Cheika is on his way out and now the journalists have finally joined the ruck, it’s pathetic, too little too late, hands away, roll away. The one guy (Nick M) that called out his coaching last year got suspended.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Pretty crap isn’t it? I thought it would always happen but still pretty disgusting

  • Ian Rodger

    I get the feeling the Waratahs won’t have many players left next year. Have they signed anybody yet or is it going to be all youth and shute shield talent?

    • onlinesideline

      I hope its youth and shute talent. “Signing” players is borrringg. Footy is all about climbing the ranks with familiar faces, riding the teething problems together and forming a strong era of a few years once everything starts to click Just signing blokes from wherever is the modern day plague that rots tribalsim of modern sport. Its great to see all the reds re-sign and stick together for example. Makes following teams much more fun, instead of being yearly aberations of him in / him out.

      • laurence king

        Totally agree, the Reds have been doing this and the Tahs need to do it as well. Other franchises have been benefiting from the NSW talent pool, especially the Brumbies, hopefully this new coach can start the process

      • Ian Rodger

        I agree. Any ideas of who this might be? Hard to really follow the youth and shute shield from here.

    • Huw Tindall

      Penny said in his first interview he is in rebuilding mode so hopefully it’s bottom up rebuilding with a focus on youth along with some old heads.

      Some good young talent in the halves with Short and Gordon at 9 and Mason and Harrison (U20s flyhalf) at 10. Foketi in the centres and Mark ‘impossible to pronounce second name’ who was as star on the wing for U20s and is doing well in NRC. K Hunt at 13 and Beale at 15 are the old heads in the backs. Clark and Newsome as well experienced campaigners now. Would like some size a la Naiyaravoro in the backs however.

      The pack however is continuing to look poor. Apparently Latu has signed in France so that’s a huge loss. HJH is promising in the front row but still starting out. Shambeckler Vui has gone to the Brums so another promising player (check his NRC highlights) gone. Second row is Simmons and 2nd raters like Staniforth. Backrow is decent with Dempsey, Holloway, Hanigan and Hooper there although depth is tested with Wells and Miller going south.

      All in all it looks like a tough year ahead.

  • Patrick

    So now it gets interesting: we have our first “triangle”: Georgia beats Uruguay beats Fiji beats Georgia.

    What will be the next:
    France beats Argentina beats England beats France?
    Japan beats Ireland beats/wallops Scotland beats Japan?
    Wales beats Australia beats Fiji beats Wales?

    Is this the most competitive pools we’ve ever had?

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I don’t think Argentina have a hope in hell of beating England. They might give them a scare but I don’t think they have the players to beat them

      • Custard Taht

        And Japan had no hope in hell in besting Ireland……………………..

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Hahahaha yeah good point

        • adastra32

          Voyons – as Poite, Gauzere, Farces might say. All I’ll say is that England now have all 30-plus squad members fit….and Eddie has said very little this week.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          A quiet Eddie is ominous. Like not hearing from little kids, you know they’re up to no good

      • Keith Butler

        Hope you’re right. It will all start with a dominant performance from our forwards. Looks a solid unit. Our version of the Pooper with Curry and Underhill seems to be working well at the moment. And we have a back three with afterburners.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah well your 7 & 6 actually do the 7 & 6 role so that’s a start in itself

        • They don’t quite, they’re both genuine 7’s. But with Itoje in the pack, they’ve got someone to cover the ball carrying that a 6 would do, and their lineout functions well enough that they can get away without 4 options.

      • laurence king

        You’re most likely right, but sometimes we buy into NH arrogance. They always say how good they are, their forwards are the best, every world xv some pommy journo picks is always top heavy with bloody english, Welsh, Irish etc. And they always say how shit we are. You may say I’m delusional but it will at the very least help me to watch the quarter final lol

        • Keith Butler

          I am worried. For the first time in ages EJ is able to select from a fully (almost) fit squad. Two comfortable wins to test out options. A strong pack of forwards, a back three with afterburners and a great set of finishers. What could possibly go wrong

          ? My only question marks. Ben Youngs at SH needs to up his game to the next level with quick delivery to Ford. Will Elliott Daly be up to it under the high ball?

        • laurence king

          Just imagine an alternative universe where Cheiks was the English coach and EJ was the Wallabies coach

        • Keith Butler

          Now that would truely scare me.

      • GeorgiaSatellite

        No, but the Frogs could. I’m far from a betting man, but I was thinking about putting a few bucks on them – currently 20-1.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          20-1 for a good reason mate

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          You better than anyone should know they can beat any team on their day. However, I suspect Eddie won’t be underestimating them, like Joe Schmitt with Japan.

        • Much as I’d love England to lose, 20-1 feels about right. France certainly can – they did as recently as the 6N – but those moments are rare now. But if you’ve got a few bucks you don’t mind losing, it’s a good return for that off chance.

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          Thanks Eloise. I won’t be parting with my hard-earned, but gee I’d like to see them get up. My three teams: 1 Australia, 2 Georgia, 3 anyone-but-England. The SDs might be lulled into a false sense of security by the Frogs’ close result against Tonga… :-)

        • I’d love to see them get up too. And you never know. It’s part of the fun of watching France play…

          I think part of the problem is no one is really sure (including the French coach) who is their player in most of the positions… makes for a tense time of it.

    • Missing Link

      I think Japan will be targeting Scotland, there is a lot riding on it. a spot in the finals and a lot to draw on from 2015 if you remember Laidlaw’s knock on which went unchecked and cost Japan a spot in the quarters

      • Patrick

        I’m dead certain they will be! They could finish top in their group (although I don’t see them knocking off this year’s Springboks)

    • Hoss

      I remember my first ‘triangle’ Took me a month to get the taste out of my mouth and 6 weeks to get over the limp.

      • AllyOz

        Tough times in your school band Hoss, by the sound of it.

        I am not sure that they gave you good instruction on how to play it.

        I was better on the maracas myself…less chance of injury

        • From NooZealand

          Maracas, they are OK. Did you know that in some countries in Sth America, Maracas is slang for prostitutes?

      • Parker

        Luck you didn’t get the clapper, which is what they called the castanets in my primary school percussion band.

        • Hoss

          I had the ‘Licorice Stick’………….

      • From NooZealand

        Well that’s because you left it too late to experiment. he he he

  • Crescent

    Wells to Rebels. NSWRU fiddling while Rome burns. At least Penney will have some money to spend on new players after the exodus – question is who is there left to recruit? The Gibson poisoned chalice continues to deliver. Could have looked to the NRC for some new talent ready for the next step…. oh, wait. Crap.

    I guess it’s back to the Shute Shield lottery and some sink or swim moments for promising guys. Maybe Penney can recruit some cast offs from the Kiwi system, allowing our shallow pool to further silt up.

    On another note, nice to hear Toomua talking reality about the teams performance. He will probably find himself exiled for the rest of the tournament for being a realist. The script calls for pointing out where everyone else escaped unpunished whilst the poor innocent boys are being punished for stepping on ants who are showing poor tackling technique. Roll on the post Cheika era.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan,

    Interesting to hear Johnny admit your being able to adapt. I think this has been a fundamental to the continuing dominance of the ABs. They keep adapting their play which makes it hard to counter. I’m looking forward to seeing what they bring in the knockout phase.

    Frank words from Toomua and good to hear some reality. I think the biggest issue with Cheika’s rants isn’t so much the team but how he has probably got every referee off side with him and any chance of a 50/50 going the Wallabies way is remote. As so many are saying; rock on post Cheika

    Good luck with the U18s. Hope you do well but I must admit I do want us to win. Do you know if it’s being broadcast at all on tv?

    The Rebels are seeming to be getting a good pack together. Be interesting to see their backs. I hope Penny’s got some plans for the Tahs as they appear to be behind the eight ball on the recruiting front

    • Custard Taht

      I just hope the Waratahs get their penneysworth!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Ba-Boom!

      • Hoss

        Will there be any forwards left at the Tah’s next year ?? Latu is off to France, Methuselah is headed North, Millers gone to the Ponies, Wells to the Rebels…i might have to dust off the boots.

        • onlinesideline

          do you do brunch ? – thats the first waratah skill

        • Hoss

          is brunch the meal after breakfast #2 and before early lunch #1 ?

        • onlinesideline

          its neither – brunch is not limited to nature or time in anyway. Its an expression of consciousness that only the brunchers can experience.
          Once you past Centennial park you leave the old rules behind. (so they tell me)

        • Hoss

          Brunch is a state of consciousness. I think Buddha said that

        • onlinesideline

          well you have queried more than once how a 600 pound guy went on ad infinitum about self discipline. So maybe your right.

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          As in Chris Handy?

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure Gold!

        • laurence king

          You have been watching too much of the Lord of the Rings

        • Hoss

          2 x little Hoss’ in my place mate. If Peppa Pig or Duggee dont cover it, i dont find out about it.

          I only found out Trump was President 2 weeks ago.

        • Greg

          @HossRugby:disqus
          Hopefully Mr Trump finds out soon as well.

        • Hoss

          Gold.

        • laurence king

          Lord of the rings – ‘second breakfast’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkzvHtjnNOs

        • Yowie

          Check out Stephen Rattigan’s “Peppa for adults” re-dubbed episodes on youtube. P!ss funny.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          It’s ok mate it’ll all be the fault of the Kiwi’s that have been drafted in. For the waratahs this isn’t so much a conspiracy for NZ to destroy the Tahs, it’s a conspiracy by the Tahs management to deflect blame from their incompetence to NZ as that is something every Australian can agree to.

        • Hoss

          Sneaky fuckers.

        • From NooZealand

          Tahs management o NZrs? OK both.

        • Hoss

          It’s all a Steve Hanson conspiracy anyhow.

        • laurence king

          Imo I think that there hasn’t been much attention paid to developing players over the last few years by the Waratahs management. So if this new coach has intentions of addressing this issue and developing some new up and coming coaches, that I think could be a good thing After all, the other states seem to have done OK out of the NSW pool. Queensland have been doing rather well at developing a new crop of players, not always smoothly but they are miles ahead of the Waratahs in this area.

        • Hoss

          With hindsight, Mr Gibson should be drawn & quartered mate. Understand there are things we are not privvy to, but on the surface WTF did he do apart from under-perform for 4 years, cost us our next coach in waiting and set us back years.

          Whatever way you look at the ledger he left NSW Rugby more the poorer for his time here. As for the new guy, i have no opinion on his sheep rooting origins, but his CV is well, ho-humm at best. Me thinks we may get taints handed to us for several years to come.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate, he didn’t get a job in a NZ Super team because he was too good.

        • Who?

          But didn’t he have a stellar coaching career in NZ..?
          Oh, hang on, he was dumped by the only Crusaders coach in the last two decades not to have a single title (whereas the others all have at least three!) for not being good enough!
          You’d think the Tahs’ management (and Cheika, who hired him as attack coach) would’ve been a bit more circumspect….

        • Hoss

          The Kiwi obsession continues. Apparently Sam Neil knocked back the gig and that was after Dame Kiri Te Kanawa was approached, least the Anthem would have been a belter.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Dont Forget Rusty.
          He was too busy punching a durrie outside and missed the call.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Other than Link McKenzie that sounds like the last decade of Qld Coaches. About time you Waratahs caught up.

        • Hoss

          We’re usually innovators…..

        • Huw Tindall

          That’s it. The only real measure of success is simply did you leave the place in a better state than when you arrived. Answer = fuck no.

        • Custard Taht

          Forwards are not necessary, just go wide early and often, and if it doesn’t work, kick it aimlessly to an opposing player.

        • Keith Butler

          Time for you to change horses Hoss. Just say the word and you can join BL in our band of Rebel brothers.

        • Hoss

          No chance !! Actually i am sensing a comeback and a real opportunity:

          – Unfit – check
          – Poor skills – check
          – Skirt the ruff stuff – check
          – no understanding of game plan / execution of same – check
          – willingness to accept $800k a year – check
          – Happy with mediocrity – FFS, i have made a career out of it – triple check
          – Low expectations of serious achievement – you know what, they should just make me club captain now, this is getting embarrassing how much they need me.

        • Keith Butler

          A true Tah. Your blood is light blue.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure Gold.

        • Who?

          When did Latu sign for France?! What farce – first he’s picked for the Wallabies off 153 minutes of Rugby all year, then when he’s the #1 choice with barely any tests under his belt, he decides he’s going to France?!

        • Hoss

          I heard it during the coverage against the Samoans – caught me by surprise as well.

        • Hoss
        • Huw Tindall

          Well that’s a kick in the nuts. Is Fitzpatrick still running around? Bloody brumbies locked up the U20s hooker Lonegran didn’t they?

        • Hoss

          Yep just as he is seemingly maturing as a person and a player, poof, he’s gone.

    • Keith Butler

      Have always and will continue to support the Rebels. Have always thought that they never had the depth up front to be a finals contender. That, and letting go players like Pyle and Jones, Alo-Emile, even Phipps. It looks like they are at last addressing the cattle issue and assembling a squad of forwards that will compete. Wells is a very good pick up. With Coleman heading to the Irish I reckon Luke Jones will move back to where he should be, at lock. Never a 6 in my book. A few seasons in the forward grind of the French Top 14 comp looks to have hardened him up.

      • Bernie Chan

        Is the new scrumhalf the Fijian? If it is Lomani then the could do a lot worse…

    • Who?

      Johnny’s statement is fascinating. Never thought he was the most talented flyhalf, always thought he was the hardest working. But admitting errors… That’s the sort of analytical thinking that makes me think he might make a half decent coach one day.

      • Custard Taht

        He did three things exceptionally well;

        1. Kick Goals
        2. Defend Well
        3. Not fuck up

  • Damo

    Where do these ex All Blacks get off – poking their noses into our coaching personnel? Unfortunately, they are also pretty accurate assessments.

    • Custard Taht

      They are just expressing future interest in the next AUS Super Rugby Team coaching vacancy!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Hahahah Gold

  • AllyOz

    G’day Nathan thanks for the write-up
    “Junior Wallabies coach Jason Gilmore has overlooked the program,” I think that should be “has overseen” rather than “overlooked”. Good to see us potentially beating the All Blacks at this level, and when added to the U20s success, hopefully suggests a couple cohorts coming through that should give us a good basis for performance at Super and Test level – i guess the trick is not just making them but keeping them.

  • muppet
    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hahaha that’s great. You are very talented my friend

    • onlinesideline

      brilliant – love it
      you get GGR life membership

  • onlinesideline

    Completely unrelated to news content – but how on earth is this guy not in the squad.
    Its just beyond words.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj5Q75jKbkE

    • Hoss

      Have you learnt nothing Padwan ?

      Since when, in the Segall era do we need a fullback that:

      – can catch
      – has a big boot
      – has toe
      – is dangerous
      – consistent
      – pops up midfield and creates space
      – Score tries
      – good under the high ball

      For fuck sake – pay attention.

      Hoss

      • laurence king

        It’s his haircut?

        • onlinesideline

          didnt stop LSL getting picked ?

        • laurence king

          lol

        • Hoss

          As someone who lost their hair in my early 30’s i am appalled that those that have it could commit such atrocities – should be a department at the Hague who punishes those offenders or changes to the law that make it legal to remove a ‘top knot’ at any opportunity, without the wearers consent.

        • onlinesideline

          nope – Den Haag was the city responsible for the Manbun. Back in 1650 Williem de Brug got his hair caught in a horse carriage and only a little was left on top. Determined to avoid embarassment he announced it as something befitting the monarchy and ……. OK Im off to bed – night all.

        • laurence king

          Is that not akin to scalping? However, considering some of the atrocities about, a case could be made

        • Keith Butler

          Maybe Spanners should have sported a top knot or Chonmage. He could then cut it off and step down.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I reckon it was the POrn moustanhe of his that sapped his mojo.

        • From NooZealand

          I shall refer to you sir, as l’audacieux [and it has nothing to do with audacity he he he.

      • Bernie Chan

        The Clown had better not get anywhere near Dion Samuela…he turn him into “Spanners v.2″…

        • Hoss

          Don’t know young Dion, but i am keen on seeing MAck Mason and especially Will Harrison this year. Also i am gonna keep a close on that batch of U20 kids from this years world cup as they migrate into the grown-up league as well.

        • Bernie Chan

          Dion is the current Oz schools/u18s fullback…can set up a player, step (he beats so many first up tacklers…), tackle and has a booming punt. You know…like a genuine playmaker.

    • Bobas

      That one against the tahs you can see the pace of Wells

    • UTG

      It’s his defence which is the problem, ~65% tackle percentage in 2019 Super. Shame because his cover defence was brilliant in 2018. Definitely will be there next year.

    • Patrick

      A number of people on this site basically called me an idiot for saying that the squad was crap because we had Beale and Foley instead of Banks and Sefa or Speight. I mean that would have meant two FBs, two dedicated wingers and two multi-purpose backups in Hodge and AAC, with still two five-eights, but hell, its all just numbers on their backs isn’t it?

      • Brumby Runner

        Watched Weber, the third NZ No 9 come on for half a game against Canada. ABs were able to give Smith a full game’s rest by having a third No 9 in the squad.

        What does Cheika do? Only takes two No 9s so they have to play every game or Spanners, who is so far out of form and confidence it isn’t funny and has played no more than a handful of minutes his whole career at No 9, gets a run and a chance to stuff up what should be an easy day for the Wallabies.

        Every day seems to bring more evidence of the warped thinking of Cheika as a rugby coach.

  • Nathan Williamson

    Aussies U18 up 12-0 at halftime v NZ, should’ve been 19-0 if not for a late disallowed try

    • laurence king

      Well, that is very positve. We have some great young players coming through

      • From NooZealand

        I heard somewhere that Cheiks was taking the U20? Following his recent training sessions with players at intermediate.

        • laurence king

          I hope for all concerned that Cheiks is not allowed near any young players, not now not ever. He’s a bloody menace

        • Patrick

          You wish!

        • From NooZealand

          Not in a million years. I was trying to be funny; obviously I didn’t succeed.

        • Patrick

          I have no sense of humor on the topic of Cheika anymore :(

        • Patrick

          Seriously I am going to start a petition to RA if I hear any mention of that ever again

    • Hoss

      any replay we can watch Nath ?

      • Bernie Chan

        Kayo has replays you can stream..

        • Hoss

          Cheers Charlie.

        • Bernie Chan

          Haha…that’s so ‘old school’ me old China…

      • Nathan Williamson

        Yeah Kayo is your best beat, would absolutely recommend watching again, particular the first try we scored which was a thing a beauty imo

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Well done

    • Huw Tindall

      That first try was bloody brilliant. Scary to think these guys aren’t allowed to drink yet.

  • UTG

    Aus Schools triumph over NZ 18-14. Final scoreline doesn’t reflect our dominance.

    • Missing Link

      we’ve beaten them twice now in recent times right as opposed to getting hammered by them time and time again. if so, good signs for us

    • Bernie Chan

      A BIG result…the AUS fullback has really good feet and can kick long out of hand (take note wannabe Wallas…).

      • UTG

        The back three are ridiculously talented. Koula on the left wing is lightning (recently ran an electronically timed ~10.5 second hundred), Suaalii on the right is only 16 and is basically a carbon copy of Folau (athletically), and Samuela up the back has the all round game of a fullback. I could easily go on about Chan,Pasitoa, Albert, Hooper, Pollard etc. as well but I’d recommend finding a replay because I doubt i can do them all justice.

        • Human

          The Kiwi 15 is also very talented.

        • Bernie Chan

          Yep…agree with that. The Aussie coaches obviously took note of his talents also. Got to watch a replay and have to say the defensive discipline and first up tackling was impressive. The first try initiated and finished by Koula(?) was Fiji like…went through so many hands (backs and forwards…). Now if only the next level coaches will let these guys play “what’s in front of them…” instead of being risk adverse…then we have hope for the future of the game. Coaches like Cheika shouldn’t be allowed anywhere closer than a drive and a 2-iron from these lads…

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Well done

      • UTG

        Cheers, the academy system seems to be working well up until the 20s. Remains to be seen whether we can stick you guys after that.

    • Huw Tindall

      Shit the pathways are working! First the U20s now the Schools. We give RA a lot of stick but they have got their game together with the youth pathways and have put money behind it with most of the U20s tied up with contracts.

    • Human

      2023 might be a good year.

Rugby
@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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