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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News sees Super Rugby AU Finals Time, Fraser McReight the New National Pest, The Weekend Ahead in Club Land and Changes to Wallaby Eligibility Rules

SUPER RUGBY AU FINALS TIME

Matt Toomua looks for space Waratahs v Rebels Super Rugby 2020 (Credit - Keith McInnes Photography)

Just one game of Super RugbyAU this week as we have the qualifying final to decide who will meet the Brumbies next week in Canberra.

The Reds take on the Rebels at Suncorp Stadium (Saturday 1915EST, Fox Sports and Kayo) in what is hoped to be a crowd of around 20,000. This would be double the game against the Brumbies last week and a record crowd post-COVID restrictions.

Given their hot run of form of late the Reds have not tinkered with the team too much, making only two changes to the bench. Alex Mafi and Jack Straker come onto the bench as front-row subs replacing Josh Nasser and Ruan Smith. Mafi, along with lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto are in line for their 5oth caps this weekend.

After scraping into the qualifier after edging the Force on the back of known pants man Cabous Eloff the Rebels have made a couple of changes in an effort to overcome the Reds. Brad Wilkin, Frank Lomani and Andrew Kellaway come into the starting side with Theo Strang, Rob Leota and Campbell Magnay coming onto the bench.

The Reds have the weight of expectation on their shoulders and go into the match as heavy favourites, having won their last three matches while only conceding three tries in the same period. The Rebels have been underestimated by most through this tournament and will be looking to continue that this week.

On the previous encounter, the Reds put on what was hailed as one of the all time defensive performances as they held a Rebels team that had close to 80% possession tryless. The flipside as I see it was not the Reds effort, but the lack of quality in the Rebels finishing and lack of imagination in attack.

One of the key clashes will be at flyhalf, with James O’Connor taking on Matt Toomua. O’Connor is now the absolute hot favourite to be the Wallabies flyhalf in the next squad, while Toomua is also likely to be there, but possibly at 12, which in the view of some, suits him more.

Teamlists for the game courtesy of rugby.com.au here

Tips: Reds by 12

 

FRASER MCREIGHT DECLARED A PEST

James O'Connor gets the one-handed carry and offload away for Fraser McReight to score

Forget the prickly pear, the cane toad, or Barnaby Joyce. The latest national pest has been identified and he is a Reds player.

Boom flanker Fraser McReight is the new target and his stats in Super RugbyAU show him to be the standout pilferer in the abbreviated competition.

Since the restart McReight has been responsible for 17 turnover wins, six ahead of his nearest competition, teammate Liam Wright, and more than double previous pest-in-chief Michael Hooper.

This combination and form with Wright is what has forced Reds coach Brad Thorn to adopt the twin openside model as clearly both of them were demanding selection.

Despite this form, McReight has told ESPN Rugby that he isn’t really thinking about Wallaby selection yet, saying, “I’ve had conversations with Dave and the staff there, but haven’t spoken for a few weeks,” McReight said of his international prospects. “I didn’t think I was even going to be in the conversation, so it’s a bit of fantasy, not my reality. If that does pop up later down the track it’d be great, but in the current climate you don’t know what’s going to happen, so my expectations are pretty low.”

It’s not just his ball hunting skills that are making him an asset. He is a strong ball runner and is a key part of a defensive structure that has allowed only three tries in the last 280 minutes of rugby.

McReight credits coach Brad Thorn with having the faith in him to do the job that has seen the results come, saying, “(Coach Brad Thorn) sort of gives you a bit of confidence in his own rugged terms, a license to be energetic, be a pest,” he said. “My big growth was picking and choosing my battles against quality opposition, who can clean you out really easily.”

With a number of class backrowers both here and overseas at the current time, it is a big ask to think he McReight will be there but clearly there is some scientific to say he is in with a real shout.

CLUB RUGBY WEEKEND PREVIEW

QLD Premier Rugby QLD (Photo Credit: Brendan Hertel/QRU)

This is the weekly opportunity to throw some herbs in the pot and smell the aroma that is clubland.

WA has the top two continuing to pace the rest, with a logjam from third to sixth on the table. Second placed Associates notched 104 points last week but will face stiffer competition in the form of fourth placed Wests-Scarborough, while top side Cottesloe take on fifth placed Nedlands. Bottom side ARKs came close to grabbing their first win of the season last week against Cavaliers but will be hard pressed this week against a mid table Wanneroo side.

To the City of Churches, both top sides notched massive wins against underpowered opposition and with three rounds left, stiffer tests await. This weekend sees the four of the top five battling in what will be a likely preview of the finals. Top side Brighton take on fifth placed Southern Suburbs and second placed Old Collegians play third side Onkaparinga. The top four teams have put some distance on the others though an upset win by Souths will see this tighten to fourth placed Burnside.

In the ACT, there are three rounds left and things tightened a little with top side Owls going down last week. Only Whites look to be out of the finals mix at this point although an Eagles loss this week to Owls would probably be the end of their season. Royals also play Whites and Vikings take on Wests.

New South Wales has Gordon cementing their Premiership credentials with a big win over Randwick last week while Two Blues grabbed their first win in a while over Penrith. The table continues to throw up odd results with sixth placed Souths being taken apart by Eastern Suburbs. The game of the week on SevenTwo this week has third placed Randwick looking to bounce back from their loss with a tussle over fourth placed Norths. Several other games look to shape up the top half of the table.

In Tassie, Devonport march on, although the last game against Harelquins was closer than may have been expected. They faced third placed Stags this week while second placed Taroona play fourth team Lions.

Finally to Queensland and the Hospital Cup where University, GPS, Easts and Bond are the top four. Fifth placed Brothers hang onto fifth but will risk losing touch when they play arch rival and top team Uni in the game of the round this weekend. Wests host Bond, Souths host Easts and Norths host GPS in the other rounds this weekend.

As I say weekly, have a look at rugby.com.au and the handsome and gifted Nick Wasiliev’s column for more colour and all the links to watch games being streamed.

CHANGES TO WALLABY ELIGIBILITY

Will we see this man back in Gold soon?

Will we see this man back in Gold soon?

In some late breaking news on Thursday, RugbyAU have announced some changes to the Wallaby selection policy, one short term and one longer term.

In the most interesting one, for 2020 only at this stage, RugbyAU have decreed that the Coach Dave Rennie will be able to select two players who do not meet the tradition 60 cap or 7 year service limit for the 2020 international window. The other change involves players returning from overseas, where a two year commitment has previously meant automatic eligibility once more for national selection. The change to this policy means there will be a “consultation phase” prior to their selection.

Interim CEO Rob Clarke explained the changes thusly, “This is a prudent and measured step in response to the unprecedented impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Australian Rugby and the broader Rugby community.”

Coach Dave Rennie was less corporate in his enthusiasm when he said, “First and foremost, it is crucial that we recognise those players who are currently making a daily contribution to Rugby in Australia, and that will be reflected in the squad we name for this year’s Test season. We now have the chance to select one or two players based overseas who don’t meet the current criteria and they’ll not only add some experience to our group but be able to guide our young players to help their development.”

The change around consultation is a bit of a noodle scratcher, as it isn’t really clear what it achieves. Is it perhaps a signal to some of the more recent departures (*cough* Izack Rodda *cough*) that they won’t necessarily be welcomed back with open arms if they choose to return?

Other news bundled up with this announcement is that due to the “bubble” that must operate for the Tests to go ahead, 46 players will be allowed to be brought into camp for the duration.

Given the criteria has only been relaxed for two players, the question is this- If you could bring back any two players for the Test window, who would they be?

 

  • Custardtaht

    If I could bring back any two players it would be ;

    Bernard Foley to play at 12 outside JOC for one game, then step in to 10 for the rest.

    &
    Kurtley Beale, because I love world’s deadliest catch and the Alaskan king Crabs. By having Beale in the team, crabbing season is all year long and I can scratch my itch of watching crabs get caught.

    • Yowie

      Also, Cheika was a brilliant coach for the Wallabies and The Beatles were over-rated (apart from Ringo who was a great drummer).

      • Geoffro

        There you go .(but for every person who will tell you Nard and KB were great players you will find someone who will tell you Ringo WAS a great drummer.Im not the former but am in the latter)

        • Max Graham

          I think most actual drummers say Ringo was a great drummer.

        • Yowie

          Most actual drummers also put their drumsticks on the dashboard so they can park in the handicapped spots.

        • Hoss

          Brilliant mate, just briliiant. Snorted my carbonated phenylketonutrics everywhere

        • Yowie

          Cheers, but not one of mine. It’s on a long list of old jokes about drummers. “Back in the day” when I played bass in bands it was good fun antagonising our drummer with that sort of thing.

        • RedAnt

          What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend?
          Homeless.

        • Yowie

          How can you tell if there’s a drummer at your front door?
          The knocking keeps speeding-up.

        • Reds Revival

          What do you call someone who constantly hangs around a band? The drummer.

        • Yowie

          A drummer decided to be a guitarist one morning. Deciding he needed all the cool guitar gear he went to the shop and asked the assistant for a “Fender Stratoblaster” guitar and a Mesa Boogie “Triple Rectumfrier” amp.

          “You’re a drummer aren’t you” said the shop assistant.
          “How did you know?” said the drummer.
          “This is a fish & chip shop”.

        • Alister Smith

          bass players make jokes about drummers….pot….kettle???

        • Hoss

          dont finish that metaphor for gods sake

          #metaphorsmatertoo

      • Custardtaht

        Honestly, I thought the Beetles were Monkees….I’ll show myself the Doors.

    • Geoffro

      Nard and Kurtley qualify under the Gits rule anyway (and I know you are kidding) but please dont mention them again as being in any sort of consideration. going forward,it just depresses me.TBH,I’m pretty happy with what we have onshore and dont see the need to bring anyone back from OS.Am even over Kerevi,the bloke is a damaging runner but another liabilty in defense . lets develop the next gen and there is still a number of older blokes here to act as mentors.

      • UTG

        Agree we have plenty of talent onshore but Arnold and Skelton would be very nice to have to in the row.

        • Geoffro

          Yeh,they’re the usual suspects along with Rodda and Coleman Im sure.Haven’t seen Skelton in action for years,he’d have had to improved his deficiencies a lot to get my vote.Rory went off the boil whan it counted most and Coleman is a 1 good game in five I reckon.Rodda , yeah, if we can get over the bitterness.We do have good raw lock material along with a great lineout mentor in Simmo

        • Agree

        • Max Graham

          Rodda would not make the current Reds’ side. He doesn’t have the accuracy at the breakdown of Blyth and he’s nowhere near the player LSL is.

        • Geoffro

          After their lineout woes of recent times you may be surprised

        • Bernie Chan

          I think the Reds lineout woes start with a pair of hookers that can’t throw straight…That seems to be an issue for all Super Rugby AU sides…

        • Geoffro

          True that.Something you’d think could be rectified without too much grief eh

        • Bernie Chan

          I’d have thought so..but I’m obviously a lineout numpty as we’ve had crook lineout throwers for years…aaargh! Like a scrumhalf with a poor pass, a flyhalf that can’t kick…you’d think there are certain prerequisites for positions that are non-negotiable. Hope Rennie fixes that…

        • Max Graham

          Sure, but Rodda is no line-out wizz. I’ll take Blyth and LSL any day of the week.

        • Geoffro

          Yeah,I like it,especially Loto playing where he should be.Just a bit skinny on the bench I reckon,but seems to be that way across most teams

        • idiot savant

          Hes a much better jumper than Blythe tho. Agree he’s not a patch on LSL.

        • Adrian

          Very true Max. He wasn’t a first choice for the last game or two before he left either

        • Max Graham

          LSL is better than both of them. Blyth is looking better by the week. Which of Skelton and Arnold do you put on the bench and which do you fly over to watch from the stands?

        • UTG

          LSL, Arnold, and Skelton are my 3 locks. Blyth will be there in time.

        • Alister Smith

          I would agree that I don’t think Skelton particularly would fix any lineout issues – it wasn’t his strongest suit before he left and, while he has trimmed down, I still don’t think it is a strength.

        • Damo

          He’s currently on the La Rochelle roster in Top 14. I saw some brief highlights of their first game back against Toulon on the weekend and I have to say he is looking more like the Tah’s version than the trimmed down Sarries lock. Might have been an optical illusion.

        • idiot savant

          Yeah you’d want some confirmation on his fitness before bringing him back. He’s a proven failure at test level when he’s unfit. Fully fit though he could add to a brutal heavy running pack with Naisarani, LSL, and Tupou. That could seriously tire and bruise some AB forwards.

        • Reds Revival

          Great point IS. That’s a fearsome foursome to have charging at you! It would have to wear any team down over 80 minutes.

        • Timbo

          add Naiyaravoro to that list too for a full bruise fest.

        • Steve

          RoryArnoldRoryArnoldRoryArnoldRoryArnold

      • idiot savant

        You’d seriously have to think twice about selecting Kerevi in the Reds side now. He cant ever go back to 12. The backline never functioned for the 2 seasons he played there. So maybe he’s 13 but then you’d want Petaia to have the ball before Kerevi. Wing possibly but he’s a suspect defender so a risk there. I really think the Wallabies have better options in all the positions that Kerevi can play.

        • Geoffro

          Tend to agree.If the reds didnt have such dynamic young guys now in the outside backs he may have a role to fill as he did before he left.Their backline (Reds) and the new ? Wallabies backline seems less of a fit for his talents

        • Alister Smith

          I wonder if JOC’s influence would make it a little different. Kerevi was the team and the backline leader at 12, probably meaning that he took more on his shoulders than he otherwise would have. With JOC making the decisions about who to play too etc then SK wouldn’t be some one dimensional and could work at introducing other elements to his game. Also, I think the current attack/backs coach is probably getting a bit more out of them. Hamish Stewart brings a lot in defence and as a distributor, but Kerevi would bring something different.

        • Adrian

          A genuine game breaker on the bench, or Nayovoro type winger, or #6.
          These are all genuine proposals, not tongue in cheek

        • Max Graham

          That’s ridiculous.

        • idiot savant

          Yep can see all of this. If his defence was better he could make the Radeke Samo transition to 8.

        • Michael Hassall

          I think he would still add value to the Reds, or any of the Australian teams. Remember the Reds didn’t have a 10 in his time there, and not much other backline coaching. His distribution was more about the offload like SBW, and could have been improved. Gee his running and ability to beat the first and second players was really quite something.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Bahahawahaha

    • Damo

      No, I believe KB will now be caught by RA’s latest, but not published, changes to the Gits Law. Basically it says “no matter how many games the player has completed previously they will not be eligible for selection if they are a complete Git”. It will also ensure Owen Farrell is never eligible for the Wallabies.

    • Hoppy

      Hilarious. Best humour of the year

  • Tomthusiasm

    This new short-term exemption, the Kerevi Clause, is a bit silly. You might as well relax the eligibility criteria altogether. It rewards players who have flown the coop while disadvantages the players who have chosen to stay.

    • True Tom.

      Also rewards players who had no options left in Australia due to what I’ll just call “reasons beyond their control”.

    • Hoss

      I’d bet its for a couple of Locks mate. Barring injury i cant see SK coming back at present.

      • Alister Smith

        SK is actually in the country at the moment isn’t he?

        • Hoss

          You’d reckon so – no footy in Nippon at present is there ?

        • Reds Revival

          Apparently all the Japanese rugby boys flew back last week to start pre season training, so Samu has left the building…

        • Damo

          Yeah, SK had been running the water at Yoku Rd (Ashgrove not Tokyo) until last week.

        • Max Graham

          Flew out the other day I think.

      • Tomthusiasm

        My kingdom for a lock

      • Nutta

        We also have to realise the logistics and $$ realities. Don’t forget that any offshore player firstly needs to get here and then integrate. Thats cost and time. RA can’t really afford that. There will be no Douglas style splurge again. It will be recently departed players (who know patterns, people etc and not long out of the system) who arent on massive coin (RA cant afford the salaries or the insurance).

  • Hoss

    Well Howdy partners.

    Sorry for being late. Me and Johnny Barilaro snuck in some early morning Koala shootin – pesky little fuckers playing havoc with the environment, plus they make some good eating – very chicken-like taste and with all that eucalypt your skin just glows for days and heads off the common cold – so its a win-win-win. Full credit to John, hes a terrific shot – always hits his target………

    Now to rugby. Dontcha just hate when serial under-performers get lippy !

    First it was there skipper ‘the Soufle’, now its the moustachioed muggle Wessells. Shut up and put up you wannabe contenders.

    For mine its reds by plenty.

    Now for some fun – based on the GAGR Wallaby 46 here is a fresh link for you to vote on a Wallaby 23. You select 8 starting forwards, 7 reserve forwards, 7 starting backs, 3 back reserves from the GAGR list of 46.

    Some massive head t heads coming this week could sway your votes especially JOC2.0 v Two Cows. I’ll release the results Monday morning.

    Happy voting

    .https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdYLh_sh1rpEGq8hnHzd9TLLxVbh_VEiaYvhji49tdXtwtLZg/viewform

    Now – google search ‘best way to skin a drop bear’ – enter……

    • Timbo

      I think your list is broken. There are two Folau Faingas and if i chose him, it doesnt let me submit…

      • Hoss

        Cheers Timbo,

        I should have known better. You take this kids from lives of squalor and suffering. Of shitty townships, with no running water or electricity, of destitution and generations of unemployment and inbreeding. You pay em $5-6 / hour and show them a better life, of happiness and goals, a life of possibility and this is the thanks you get. Basic errors and shit end-user experiences.

        Last farging time i hire Kiwi’s.

        Being addressed now.

        • Geoffro

          A few mature age volunteers from the jobstart scrapheap will probably serve you better and cost nothing.Just ordain yourself as Rev Hoss,register the coy as a charity and – bingo

        • Hoss

          Love where your heads at mate. How would you feel about a seriously overpaid consultancy gig for said ‘Church of the Holy Hosspice’?

        • Geoffro

          Sorry. I’d have to give up my job as technical advisor to “The Righteous Gemstones”

        • Alister Smith

          can you employ a new employee and start collecting JobKeeper straight away?? Serious question actually.

        • Hoss

          NO. Had to be with the company by certain date cut-off’s.

        • Alister Smith

          bugger….still worth a try (can you use an old employees name….like when I played under someone else’s name to qualify them for the finals?)

        • Frosty morning

          I’ve played cricket with several blokes called F. Cotton over the years…

        • Alister Smith

          maybe I was referring to the new Job Frauder scheme

        • Nutta

          It’s called fraud. We need to talk.

        • Geoffro

          Dont think so.Believe 1 July was the cutoff date for eligible employees

        • Your GeoBlock aint working either.
          Bloody amateurs

        • Hoss

          They quarantined for weeks in the shipping containers they arrived in derr.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Luxury!

        • Alister Smith

          You’ve geoblocked WA – RA are keen to talk to you Hoss

        • Hoss

          Ive said before Al, all my PC Software filters are set to ‘Clyne’ mode – blocks everything from WA…..

        • Alister Smith

          You employ staff from Ipswich???

        • Hoss

          Cheaper to get em for NZ, least i can get em across the border.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      My pics are in.

      Mate I’m with you on the Rebels just shutting the fuck up and demonstrating what they can do on the field. They obviously have the same shit PR manager that Cheika employed as it sounds like the same shit messages.

      • Hoss

        Yep – speak softly but carry a big stick.

      • Huw Tindall

        Did your pics before the game this weekend? No match ups to potentially change your mind?

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          No not really. I’m happy that I know hoe the players go and while you always get the odd one-off it doesn’t change the overall picture. In fact I see it as a negative a bit. If a player has a blinder I sort of wonder why he’s not playing at that level more consistently

    • donktec

      “Access to disq.us is blocked because of a known risk.”
      Hmmm, i wonder what risk this is referring to…

      • Hoss

        What – the link ???

        • donktec

          yes, i might have to try later from my non-work pc!

        • Hoss

          Phew, if its a TI issue i am no help.I can barely spell it…..

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Ben, not sure on the changes for the Rebels but I’ve been wrong so much this year that means nothing. Personally I’m not a fan of 2 7’s. I think the 6 & 7 roles are different and when you have 2 7’s the 8 has to do so much more and I think loses impact. I’m also not a fan of Hodge at 13, I don’t think that’s his best position and I think he struggles there. I’m backing Reds by 12+
    I’m a big fan of McReight and I think him and Wright make a great team with Wright playing the 6 role not another 7. For me they should be the Wallaby 6&7 this year.
    TBH if I was looking overseas I’d look at maybe Arnold or Coleman and McMahon also maybe. I actually think that there’s enough good players here and we don’t need anyone coming back. Lots of talk about Skelton but he’s failed too many times in the past for me to look at him. I also think JOC or Toomua at 12 provide more than Kerevi ever did and with Pataia 13 is well covered. Keep it local for me

    • Geoffro

      Samu probably knew as well as anyone that with the likes of Petaia,JOC,Paisami etc breathing down his neck he probably wasn’t even a lock in the Reds starting side

      • Reds Revival

        In all fairness, when he left JOC and Paisami weren’t even on the radar. They were recruited partly as a result of Samu’s departure, but I agree that he would struggle to make the Reds starting team at the moment.
        Not that he’s not good enough, he just provides a different dynamic. They have a well balanced collection of individuals. He would probably replace Hamish Stewart, but they would then miss HS’s ball distribution and solid defence.

        • Geoffro

          I think Hunter and JOC were on the horizon before Samu signed out,but you’re right,they probably weren’t solid candidates to replace him.The Reds have progressed so far beyond the “give it to Kerevi” mindset of breaking the gainline now though.

        • Hoss

          Jeez you pair are harsh. I am on the record as a Tah’s disciple but a reds trio of JOC2.0. Peatai & SK that makes me drool a bit.

        • Geoffro

          Eh. I’d give Samu a run at 12 if he was a bit less flaky in the d and looked to distribute a wee bit more-he can bend the line though :)

        • Reds Revival

          Who would drop out to make room for SK? I assume that it would be Hamish, but he seems to be the glue that holds that backline together. Stiff in defence, and slick hands in attack, but doesn’t break tackles like Samu.

        • idiot savant

          Stewart has proven the importance of great distribution skills at 12. Last season the Reds backs played under Thorn’s instruction and threatened no one even with Kerevi. This season Thorn has finally allowed McKay to dictate selection and strategy. The results are clear for all to see. Its a team game. A great team will always beat a team of great individuals, the ball scores the try not the man, blah blah. The Reds backline needs distribution skills at 12 not a number 8 playing out of position. Id pick Stewart over Kerevi every time even in gold. Lets not forget the lesson of McCabe.

        • Max Graham

          Whoever the hell has his 12 jersey.

        • Hoss

          Heck of a decoy too when required. Just his threat would command opposing D interest. No loss with SK in a side.

        • Geoffro

          yeah,when required,but you know every time he gets the pill he’s going to try the short route

        • idiot savant

          Ah the old double bluff from the Tahs disciple. I see what youre up to. The Reds tried Samu at 12 for 2 seasons. They came last both times and averaged less than 2 tries a game. Wingers got frost bite. The Presbyterian has a weakness for Kerevi at12 too. Needs to lift more weights, recite the rosary, say three Hail Marys and resist the Hoss temptation.

        • Max Graham

          Exactly. There is a lot of sh*t being dribbled around here.

        • Geoffro

          Hehe,thats what the site is for.Opinions are like arseholes as they say ,everyones got one

        • Max Graham

          I know :)
          But I get cranky without coffee and my phone lets me post snarky comments regardless.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Yeah maybe. I think the issue with Kerevi is that he was never forced to develop beyond the crash up. He reminds me of Nonu in his early years but has never developed the way Nonu did

        • Max Graham

          How old is he? How old was Nonu when he became the best 12 that ever walked?

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Not sure to be honest mate but I know Frank Bunce killed it at 36

    • Damo

      I reckon the biggest selection favour Wessels has done the Reds is to continue picking Billy Meakes at 12. He is a tough bastard and always gives 100% but he doesn’t really have the field vision for 12 and he doesn’t seem to know when to run or pass. I reckon he was one of the worst culprits when the Rebs failed to score against the Reds when they were camped inside their 22 forever in the last game. BM at 12 and the Rebs leave points out there I reckon.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Yeah Meakes has had a pretty shit year to date. Not sure what the issue is but I think it’s probably struggling to cope with all the time away and it’s got to him

  • I query the value in bringing back Will Skelton. His high-water mark was when he played for NSW v. The British Lions.

    • Bernie Chan

      Surely Will Skelton is not one of the ‘two most valuable players’ who are OS…?

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I agree mate. Apparently he was playing well overseas but he was crap when he was here. Lazy, couldn’t jump, can’t pass, gave away penalties and was pretty ineffective unless he took on a 10 one on one

      • Timbo

        cant pass? I recall on more than on occasion where Big Willy was great in hand(pun intended). Some really silky passes that set up more than one try.
        Try this highlight reel for a big second rower who can pass when needed.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81eAcXbhOpw

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Not wearing a Waratahs Jersey their though

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Fair enough. Always over rated to me

    • UTG

      Have you watched him play for Saracens?

  • Hoss
    • Geoffro

      That one came out of left field ! Hope it eventuates

      • Bernie Chan

        Amen to that…but it will be interesting to see how various gov’ts approach the vexing border issues? International arrivals alone are a problem, even for our Kiwi cousins let alone the Saffers and Argies (both countries still have very high COVID-19 rates…) though I’m sure an isolated ‘resort’ type venue could be found where they could isolate and train for 14 days. The QLD-NSW border will hopefully open in time to allow teams to move between states…if we get a semblance of local control over this pandemic

        • Michael Hassall

          It is after the Qld election, so I think that the borders will be open in time, unless there are loads more cases in Qld ad NSW.

          Keeping the border closed and the hard line against NSW is just playing to the parochialism of Queenslanders and is the current “get re-elected strategy”.

        • Alister Smith

          I wonder if she has pushed it a little too far though…the last couple of days have been ugly – people like tough but not sure about cruel and the comment from the CMO about entertainers being OK because they bring in money for the economy seemed a bit tone deaf.

        • Michael Hassall

          I agree, I think it has turned and has become a liability. She has made it binary, and took the credit for closing the borders, now is trying to say that the exemptions are down to the CMO.

          I think it is about to become a millstone for her and her government.

    • Yowie

      The ABC understands all the matches will be played in New South Wales, apart from one double-header, which will be played in Brisbane.https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b5998fd20a408a1440fb2f58330375973424adcbe31e377534cf5fde05083b11.gif

      • Geoffro

        if the squads have to stay for some time you can only imagine they would expect first world acommodations most of the time

        • Yowie

          Exactly. NSW quarantine hotels haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory cleaned the place before guests arrived.

        • Nutta

          Ahhh… the good old Camperdown Travelodge ain’t what she used to be in Country Week days…

        • Yowie

          To be honest, I felt a bit put-out hearing those quarantined people on Four Corners describing living conditions not far off those in my own house. FFS mate, if you can see flecks of sh!t on the toilet porcelain just wee them off – the greatest (and only) male contribution to housework.

        • Hoss

          Actually mate i think the problem is that its EXACTLY like it was during Country week that’s the problem, it aint been cleaned since.

        • Nutta

          I thought that almost immediately after I hit send! I wonder if the flecks of regurgitated Macca’s pickles are still stuck the fly-screens?

        • Alister Smith

          I only did one Country Week – it was in Scone I think – ’95 or ’96?? Hotel was OK.

        • Nutta

          Ahhh that was the new-age way. Up until ’93 they used to hold them in Sydney and all the country zones would come to the city for a 4day booze under the guise of ‘representative’ footy. Then in ’94 it shifted to country areas. Tamworth I think was the first one.

        • Alister Smith

          Yes – I missed that. We had a bloke in the squad who was originally NTA (Never Tour Again). He jumped on the bus with the blokes in Tamworth. When they got to Sydney and they were counting people into the hotel they couldn’t find him (he had just high tailed it as soon as the bus arrives). They had to play 1 man short for the whole weekend but, just when the bus is about to leave on Sunday night, he turns up outside the hotel and his pissed – has been the whole weekend apparently. Jumps on the bus and falls asleep – wakes up at Tamworth and gets off – doesn’t speak a word to anyone. I probably don’t need to add this but he was a prop. Anyway – three years later – 1996 – the year I went – all was forgiven and he was in the squad again but we only went to Scone.

        • Geoffro

          Haha.Touche.I can’t imagine what running the ol blue light over your average quarantine hotel room would show up

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Mate I did 2 weeks in quarantine in Sydney when I came back from Korea and it was fine apart from the food. Had to get some Uber eats in and my wife brought in some supplies but the hotel living was fine.

        • Yowie

          You’re undermining my NSW sledging with your facts a bit there mate.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I have to be neutral mate it’s the referee influence

        • Geoffro

          Look,we’re not disparaging QLD hotels either.As long as you have enough 10 cent pieces for the vibrating bed and the kettle element has enough wire left to twist together I can handle the B&W tele.

        • Yowie

          Geoffro: “Oooh! Look at me! I can afford to stay in 5-star hotels when I go to Queensland”

        • Custardtaht

          Just accuse him of bullying and intimidating you, start crying and walk off, muttering I’ve had to stay in hotels too.

        • Yowie

          KARL has played the Matt Burke trump card though. Unless I have been in hotel quarantine bla bla bla

        • Custardtaht

          He’s a kiwi, so there are a couple of points;

          1. It would be a ba ba ba
          2. Compared to a sheep pen or manger, any NSW hotel would be 5 stars to him.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Ouch! hahahaha gold but at least the sheep pen would have baaabaaara, the hotel had nothing. I mean even Victoria provided security guards for sex

        • Custardtaht

          NSW, what a bunch of jack c….

      • Hoss

        For mine its one to many games to share with el comandante Balustrade !! If the grieving daughter, from a 60 day COVID safe territory cant get in to farewell family, what chance a bunch of coughing, runny nosed FISMS…….

        No keep all games here i reckon. Qld is now on my shit-list.Well more reasons to be on my shit-list anyway.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Yeah that premier is the Trump of Australia mate. What a c*nt

        • Hoss

          No, i said ‘cant’.

          You remind me of the hearing impaired nurse i had to let go years ago – i remember saying to them to ‘prick his boil’ but………

        • Damo

          Aerolineas Argentinas. “The Flying Petrie Dish”

        • onlinesideline

          why on earth are they letting the Argies partcipate. Head coach and 12 players and no footy all year. Just ban them and make it R3.

        • Nutta

          It all starts with that Queen word at the front and you just know it will go downhill from there.

      • Damo

        Jailers pet. The movie that keeps on giving. I’ve got Always Look on the Bright Side logged in for my funeral.

        • Alister Smith

          I went to a funeral two weeks ago and they played the Mana Mana song from the muppets. I am sure like it sounded like a good idea at the time but…..

    • hmm, is it safe?

      • Hoss

        Not for the other teams – these young Wallabies gonna kick some arse.

        • More a question if the url you posted was safe.. I seem jittery and unsure for some reason

        • Hoss

          Once you enter your bank, drivers license and medicare details in its much more reliable.

        • None of that modern stuff here. Got another 24yrs and 6hrs I think it was, from a reliable source

        • Hoss

          touché

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Still not convinced it’ll go ahead with the way Covid has hit the Argies and SA players.

      • Hoss

        Glass half empty mate. What your saying is we are a guaranteed top 2 finish. I’ll take that.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Ever the optimist mate. It must come from years of supporting NSW and the Wallabies under Cheika I guess

        • Hoss

          Its all summed up by our nations respective jerseys. One is the colour of light, of hope, of destiny, of golden rays and endless possibilities. The other colour is traumatic to livestock.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Yeah I hear livestock hate yellow

        • Yowie

          Easier to sneak about the paddock at night in black.

        • Damo

          Impersonating a border collie.

        • Alister Smith

          impersonating a ram

        • Hoss

          Or at least a strong push……

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          True

      • onlinesideline

        mate I agree – I think a large chunk of players will get it. This 2 weeks quarantine is BS. It an be dormant for weeks. I envisage seeing a raft of players getting it, sadly and seeing alot of important people having to miss games. We will probably see blokes get debuts which is always awesome. But I see whole thing panning out i troubled way if at all

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          That is my worst fear. If the teams come here, go into quarantine and then during the games a player test positive that’ll be incredibly tough to manage

  • Max Graham

    Give me Latu and Kerevi.

    • Hoss

      We were just starting to see the best of Latu as well.

      • Nutta

        I suppose it is difficult to keep getting penalised by the Referee when you’re asleep in the car… although it may lead to other penalties from other sources of authority…

        • Alister Smith

          better than the poor bastard in the NRL who got tasered for resisting arrest while asleep in the bushes

        • Nutta

          I know! How ordinary was that?!? Sort of a funny story piss-story to have to tell but bloody ordinary stunt to pull on someone.

        • Geoffro

          he was out there though being a bit of a dickhead before he found a tree to crash underneath.They rousted him on suspicion but yeah,a bit heavyhanded.At least he had a decent lawyer that made the cops look like tools

      • Mica

        By that do you mean the back of him?

  • Alister Smith

    There is an interview with Thorn in the SMH – probably a couple of days old so it might have been reported a earlier here and I have missed it. Anyway, it prompted a couple of thoughts from me.

    He has undertaken his rebuild using players that he had a hand in developing through the NRC and U20s – so what happens now with no NRC – is club footy and U20s good enough to identify and develop talent to the level required to take that next step into Super Rugby – if not – what replaces it?

    Who amongst us thought the Reds would come back stronger after the COVID break after losing 3 of their run on side (not sure if Lucas was in the run on but whatever) over the pay dispute. It seems to have made them stronger when it should have made them weaker – whatever they did during that time-off appears to have made them a more consistent team

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      The closing down of the NRC is a serious mistake for me. I know it wasn’t the best option and needed tweaking to get it right but nothing between Club and Super rugby is a serious deficiency

      • Alister Smith

        It means you probably got to be looking at 20-30 teams plus colts or U20 teams to get a real good idea of whats out there. The talent is a lot wider dispersed.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Yeah I see that but I still think the gaps too big and people will struggle more

        • Max Graham

          Maybe we should have 4 tiers? Or 5!!

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I think we need; International, Super level with 5 clubs, NRC or equivalent where you have at least 2 teams feeding each Super team and then club level.

    • Geoffro

      probably a blessing in disguise as it seemed the catalyst for JOC to get the fulltime 10 gig when Thorne couldnt really decide whether he wanted Lucas there or not.Hockings (who I really rate) had hardly any footy due to suspension and injury pre covid so wasnt missed and I think McReight , who has been excellent hardly had a run either before covid and has value added somewhat…Psychologically,I reckon just playing OZ sides and not getting touched up by the Kiwis or SA sides (not sure what their draw was before cancelled) may have helped.

      • Max Graham

        Lucas had a kick like Kevvie Walters. I liked him, but looking at the current team, he’d have Hegarty’s spot on the bench. He’s better off in Japan. Shame to lose Hocking, but Rodda’s $700k salary can be better spent.

Rugby
@Ben_Marczyk

Passionate about rugby from the grass roots up. Usually found at Brisbane club rugby games, or being involved in the junior and schools system. Love a chat, happy to admit when I'm wrong. I will watch any game of rugby regardless of who is playing, from juniors through to tests

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