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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News sees the Bledisloe Being Played On a Field, Who Will Play on Said Field?,  Club Finals Fever  and South Africa Out of Rugby Championship

IT IS JUST A PITCH

geoff parling lions profile

In this week’s edition of mind games we see the Wallabies again trying to mix it with the Kiwis on the psychological warfare front.

This time it is the appalling record of the Wallabies when playing at Eden Park, where we haven’t won since 1986. In case you forget that stat, fear not as I am certain you will hear it several hundred times between now and kick off.

Anyway, instead of dwelling on the rather large elephant in the room, newly minted Wallabies forward coach (and part time Same Whitelock impersonator if the picture above is anything to go by) has tried to go the traditional route, telling all and sundry that it is all a load of guff, and to add further fuel to the fire, that Beauden Barrett is just another player.

When asked by reporters about the likelihood of a Barrett return after being a late out last week, Parling told them, “He’s obviously a good player but the other guys that are in there are obviously good players again,” Parling said. “I wouldn’t make more of it than what it is if he comes back in — he’d be replacing someone else who is a very good player.”

When asked about Eden Park, he added: “It’s certainly not (scary), no. It’s just a rugby pitch.”
Through the presser Parling gave some quite contrasting comments, rating the performance as only a six out of ten but then telling the assembled media pack how proud he was of the performance last Sunday.
It is interesting to consider, given that Australia managed a draw to only consider it a six. Sure, the lineout was iffy and we were killed at the breakdown (partly via the whistle) but certainly the heart cannot be questioned. Wallabies teams of the past would have folded at a couple of points in the game, in particular the early try in the second half or given away a silly penalty under the sticks in time added on but fought on and nearly (should have?) won.
I’m interested in hearing the views of the reader on this- were we a six? And despite the words of Parling, do you think the venue and record there gets into the heads of the players?

TEAM GUESSING TIME

New Zealand Fan

With less than 24 hours until the teams are named, there is all sorts of speculation from both sides about what they will look like when they run out onto Eden Park, but for very different reasons.

For Australia, speculation seems to be around who will and won’t be dropped as all are apparently fit, while the All Blacks have been playing ducks and drakes all week with their injury list, with a late twist on Thursday throwing a further spanner into their works.

Late Thursday, the NewsCorp press published a purported Wallaby team that contained a few changes, with some expected and some from left field. The team published here showed stability to the starting backline, but the forward pack and the bench is where all the shenanigans appear to be happening. In the forward pack, it is suggested that Folau Fainga’a has been dumped and replaced by Brandon Paenga-Amosa, and Pete Samu making way for Ned Hanigan. Both are rumoured to be out of the 23 altogether.

On the bench, the story has Liam Wright replacing Rob Valentini and Jordan Petaia coming in for Noah Lolesio. I think a lot of people saw Petaia coming in and perhaps Wright but BPA and Hanigan seem to be the big shocks.

For the All Blacks, there has been speculation all week about the fitness of a few different players. Richie Mo’unga was under a cloud as was Beauden Barrett, resulting in Josh Ioane being called in early in the week. Add to that the story of Sam Whitelock being under a concussion cloud and things were up in the air in a few spots.

Things seemed to get worse on Thursday with George Bridge hurting himself in the gym, putting him out for around six months. Sydney Morning Herald reports that Bridge tore his pectoral muscle in the gym, with Caleb Clarke, who looked dangerous off the bench last Sunday the likely replacement, although Jordie Barrett is also an option.

Oh to have Jordie Barrett as a squad option….

CLUB FINALS FEVER

QLD Premier Rugby - Ben Mowen - Wests v Easts

Finals fever has hit the eastern seaboard after it swept through WA last week, so let’s pop off to the chemist and stock up on the good stuff and take a peek.

Firstly we are in the ACT, where it is time for the big dance. The grand final features Royals facing Eagles after the cut-throat semis played last week. Royals will be looking to go back to back after capturing the John I Dent Cup last year.

They face a Gungahlin Eagles outfit in their first GF since 2007 and have become a more cohesive outfit since the addition of former Wallaby Matt Giteau. The game kicks off at 215PM local time Saturday and there is a nifty little preview of both clubs on Rugby.com.au here

Off to Sydney now and the Shute Shield. With a six team finals series this week sees 1v6, 2v5 and 3v4. This pits Gordon and Randwick, Uni and Norths, and Easts and Eastwood. Easts and Eastwood is the televised game on Sunday at 3PM local on 7TWO. After getting belted by 60 points last week Randwick will be looking to spring what would amount to an amazing form turnaround against the minor premiers.

Newly free man Jim Tucker gets to freelance for rugby.com.au this week and brings the story of the mateship pushed to one side this week for the Darren Coleman and Ben McCormack, the coaches of Gordon and Randwick respectively.

Tasmania is onto their grand finals this weekend and as predicted it will be a battle of 1v2 on the table with the all conquering Devonport Bulls taking on the Taroona Penguins. The game is set down for 3PM local Saturday and will be a bit of an uphill battle for Taroona against the perennial powerhouse Bulls. Rugby.com.au has their preview here

It is semi final weekend in Queensland with the traditional four team final format in play. This weekend we have the major semi final with minor premiers Easts taking on second placed Uni, and third placed playing GPS for the right to take on the loser of that game next week. The rather busy Jim Tucker has a piece here previewing the weekend and also profiling Bond Uni’s Dan Boardman and his key role as a carer and what it all meant for him during the Qld lockdown amidst COVID.

And finally South Australia with their second week of finals this week. Last weekend Port Adelaide and Onkaparinga were knocked out of contention, with Brighton and Southern Suburbs picking up home semi finals. In what is set to be an intense weekend of footy, current champions Burnside will face up against Old Collegians, while Woodville will host Adelaide Uni. Brighton and Souths have earned the week off and will be looking forward to seeing who their opponents are.

SOUTH AFRICA OUT OF RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP

SANZAAR logo

 

After days of rumour and conflicting stories, news broke late yesterday that South Africa had officially pulled out of The Rugby Championship, scheduled to be played in November and December, throwing not only the competition schedule but the future of Southern Hemisphere rugby alliances into turmoil.

The NZ Herald reported that RugbyAU and SANZAAR are expected to announce the withdrawal today, meaning the advertised series of double header games, already weakened by New Zealand intransigence is now completely obliterated.

It is expected that the withdrawal will be based on two concerns; the lack of competition and build up for South African teams (their domestic comp only started last week), and issues around travel and governmental decisions, despite these largely being resolved.

Already egg heads on social media are throwing up all sorts of replacement options into the mix to ensure the double headers are retained and any TV rights hit is minimised. Suggestions I have seen so far include Fiji (already committed to the Eight Nations northern competition), Japan (who withdrew from the Eight Nations and announced they were shutting their international program down for the year), and some sort of ANZAC team made up of players not involved in the NZ/AUS squads.

Of those, I suspect only the ANZAC team is even close to feasible and even then it would only be the NZ players who would still be playing Mitre 10 Cup that would be close to match fit. On that basis it would appear that it will be reduced to a three team comp, but money can be a great motivator so anything is possible.

While there is the short term question of what this does to the competition and the TV rights that presumably were based on a full schedule, the much bigger question is what does this mean for the future of SANZAAR as a body and the participation of South Africa in rugby this side of the equator.

It has been blindingly obvious to all and sundry for a while that South Africa (or at least a chunk of their rugby administration) see the North as the pathway for their future. They sent their lesser provinces there to play in the PRO14 a couple of seasons ago, and the recent news that the traditional Super Rugby Franchises would go there instead clearly shows their intent as a sport to head in that geographical direction.

So while there is some tradition of playing South Africa regularly since their return to the international fold in the 1990’s, the long term question is do we need or want them as a partner into the future?

Is it better to rip the bandaid off now, and jettison them and perhaps Argentina too (despite them being nothing but good partners) and really put genuine effort into the Pacific and Asia? Money wise the South Pacific is not particularly appealing but certainly Japan would be, as would any sort of serious play into the broader Asian market. And as many have often pointed out, isn’t it about time the “big cousins” of Australia and NZ do more to assist the Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga of the world and help them as opposed to pinching players of descent and giving relatively little back to player development in those nations?

 

 

 

 

  • Dally M

    Giddyup boys!

    The All Blacks team for the second Bledisloe Cup test:

    All Blacks: Beauden Barrett, Jordie Barrett, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jack Goodhue, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith; Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (c), Shannon Frizell, Tupou Vaa’i, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ofa Tuungafasi, Dane Coles, Joe Moody. Reserves: Codie Taylor, Alex Hodgman (debut), Nepo Laulala, Scott Barrett, Hoskins Sotutu, TJ Perenara, Rieko Ioane, Damian McKenzie.

    Beauden back in is a boost for them, plus Clarke starting, but other than that it’s the same mob we had the wood on last week.

  • Braveheart81

    Ned Hanigan starting at 6 and Pete Samu dropped? That’s sure to generate some discussion.

    • onlinesideline

      dont u frickennnnn dare

    • Tah Tragic

      Ned probably seen as a better lineout option. I’d rate Samu above Ned in every other aspect.
      I do like Wilson at 8.

    • Will

      More like gnashing of teeth

  • Dally M

    And our crew:

    WALLABIES (1-15): James Slipper, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Matt Philip, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (c), Harry Wilson, Nic White, James O’Connor, Marika Koroibete, Matt To’omua, Hunter Paisami, Filipo Daugunu, Tom Banks

    Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Scott Sio, Allan Alaalaota, Rob Simmons, Liam Wright, Jake Gordon, Jordan Petaia, Reece Hodge

    Not happy about Paenga-Amosa at hooker or Hanigan starting

    • mortlucky

      Well, let’s give Stimpy (surely Ren?, Ed) the benefit of the doubt. In Robbie Cheika Dave we trust.

  • mortlucky

    With all the talk about the absence of drop goals last week, this week I want to see us channel Jannie De Beer and drop kick every 5 mins. And I want everyone to have a go!

    • Dally M

      Matt Dunning has dropped quite a few kg’s, and could probably play as a utility of the bench.

      He’s solid with the drop goal under pressure…lol

      • Chris

        Bring in Liam Gill too

        • mortlucky

          Please. Arguably the greatest crime of Cheika’s reign.

        • Braveheart81

          He was second or third choice (depending on whether Pocock was healthy) under the previous two coaches then went overseas.

        • Dud Roodt

          No no no no, don’t you come in here with that nonsense. Cheika was the anti-Christ and everything wrong with any decision made between 1964 and today is entirely on his shoulders. And the single most important thing to remember is that our hatred of Cheika must be brought up on this forum every single day. Understood?

        • Yowie

          Big call. It’s a long and damning charge sheet.

  • onlinesideline

    Im shocked Ulesseeees isnt first up – alhough BPA knows his way to the try line close in. We need points.

    Hanigan is clearly rated by coaches. Who knows.
    Glad Paisami kept his place
    Good Banks kept his place

    Im a fan of 7As – in 2 minds over Slipper starting
    The total dropping over 2 players, without benching is a refreshing thing in my book. Its a cut throat selection policy that needs to be re-instated. Coaching softness / loyalty got us nowhere under Cheika.

    Good Whitelock is out – big loss

    • Braveheart81

      It’s Slipper vs Sio (and I think Slipper is clearly a better option). Alaalatoa is cometing with Tupou for the 3 jersey.

      • onlinesideline

        yeah stand corrected….its late here.

    • mortlucky

      Ned had a decent SRAU and that’s the preeminent tournament in town ;)

      At times like these* I’m reminded of Ed Harris in Apollo 11…”this will be our finest hour”

      *or any time, really. Like throwing rubbish into a bin across the room. It’s versatile

    • MichaelA

      I think he may be another Dingo, and that’s a compliment.

      Dingo worked with what he had, and used unconventional means to get the best out of them.

      We may get back to No 2 in the world soon. ;o)

  • Dally M

    And how about those dirty Saffa’s!

    All the nonsense about player welfare & still they pull the plug as late as possible after already agreeing to play.

    I say we replace them in the Rugby Championship with Japan and Fiji, and let them rot in isolation because i doubt the 6 Nations will be taking them in.

  • Reds Revival

    I’m really happy about Liam Wright going to the bench, as I think his skills suit the sort of game that we need to play against The Darkness. If Flanders is flakey, then Liam will be an upgrade replacement. I’m okay with BPA, but would have thought that Uelese was the front runner to start.
    I feel sorry for Samu, as I actually thought that he had a good game. He did plenty of the dirty work that enabled others to look good. While Ned had a better year, I still don’t think that he is up to an Eden Park ABs game.

    • onlinesideline

      I thought Samu had a really good game too.

      • Ian

        He looked to have hurt himself a bit in the last game.

    • Will

      We’re fucked if Ned runs on. He’s not up to it. Going to need even more mongrel in the forward pack than last Sunday if we are going to win.

      • Parker

        They’re sending Flotsam Hanigan in as the sacrificial lamb that will take the sheep shaggers’ minds off rugby.

  • onlinesideline

    Thinking of players we don’t have and just pondering:
    Arnold, Coleman, Kerevi.

    Who would have thought Isi Naisarani wouldl be totally out. Wonder how he would go in Rennies team.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Ben, Some interesting changes and not really sure how I feel about them. I’m not a Hanigan fan but a lot of that is more to do with how he was managed under Cheika and I hope he goes well. Nothing from NZ yet and they appear to have more injury issues than the Wallabies so I expect some changes there as well. Should make Sunday interesting and I am sure both teams will start to eliminate some of the mistakes they made last week. I’m still a bit worried about the officiating, not that it will be unfair to either team, just that I don’t think Angus has had a good year and a mistake at this level can be costly for both sides. .

    For me personally I feel for SA. I know they’ve shafted us to an extent but with the financial issues in SA I can see how they needed to let their players go and earn the big money in Europe and then have a way to bring them home so going north does sort of make sense for them. I also feel for them over the whole COVID thing and I just hope they manage to get over this and we can play them again in the future.

    • Tomthusiasm

      The Saffas could’ve bloody well said no from the beginning, what a shit show. At least NZ made their grievances public, annoying as they have been, they made it clear what they were expecting. SA have just gone along agreeing with terms and then pulled out of Super Rugby and now the RC. I’m sure RA would’ve accommodated their every concern, got them games against shute shield teams etc. to get match fit. Hell, even play golden oldies scrums for christ’s sake!

      • Dally M

        Yeah, it makes you wonder what the reasoning is. They are losing out on money they desperately need and all of their so called player welfare requirements were agreed to, so what’s the reason?

        As has been said, the poor Argies are showing up with zero games under their belt, apart from the European players, and there’s no complaints from them.

        • Sam

          I read an hypothesis that SA saw how competitive the Wallabies were last weekend and realised they were looking at 3rd place at best, so decided that discretion was the better part of valour.

          As someone else pointed out, Scott Barrett is back in the ABs team this week having missed the SR Aotearoa season for the Crusaders. He certainly doesn’t have his “500 minutes”…

        • Yowie

          I read an hypothesis that SA saw how competitive the Wallabies were last weekend and realised they were looking at 3rd place at best, so decided that discretion was the better part of valour.

          Perhaps part of the deal to let SA out of their contractual obligations is a regime-style set of video confessions from the Springboks that they are rubbish compared to the almighty Wallabies?

        • Tomthusiasm

          It’s poor form, they’ve lied and denied and basically pulled out at the last minute. Full respect to the Argies, they actually have been the most crippled during this time but have still nutted up.

      • MichaelA

        Warmup games of visiting teams against top club teams is a great idea

    • Crescent

      The whole Saffa bit I find perplexing. Have SANZAAR gone and basically dictated a schedule to SA that they have found unworkable? Did SA agree and then realise they were in the shit and needed an out? So much played out in duelling press releases that I find it difficult to draw a line under.

      SARU politics are a bit like sticking your nose in a beehive. I asked a mate over there for their perspective – he is of the view SA were better off staying in Super Rugby and he would have like to see them contest The Rugby Championship, but the internal politics are holding SA back. That’s one guys view anyway.

      • Dally M

        Well if what has been reported is true… they agreed to the schedule, and were the ones who with Argentina blocked changing the dates for NZ to be home for Christmas.

        The SA government signed off on permission for them to leave and travel. They then realised they would be underdone so threw out needing 500 minutes of game time in order to be ready and this was the wrinkle earlier in the week.

        Reportedly the other 3 agreed to change or modify the schedule to allow them to get the 500 minutes, despite the fact that most of their overseas based players would already have surpassed that, and now we have them pulling the pin anyway.

        Will be interesting to see what excuse the proffer in their official press release and how this affects the SANZAAR alliance going forward.

        • Hambone

          Pretty disappointing when u read the brief history of putting this tournie together. It really sounds like a bunch of ole premadonnas are running our fair game. All walking around like their own shit don’t stink.
          Then you get to the actual player level and you witness beers in the shed together at full time shooting the shit, laughing off heavy hits etc and you really see how administrators are really ruining the game.
          I think its time for a massive reset.
          COVID is turning into a blessing for rugby, the saffas seem to have been planning this move nth for some time now and this period has lifted their skirt early for all to see.
          RA whilst had our own absolute cluster fuck of power struggles and plain factionalism wankery of late seems to have steadied the ship and we are starting to sail smoothly into the deep blue.
          We need a pacific comp + japan, whether it be combined or championship play off. Time zones are significant. The saffas have left the building, this must be the final nail in the coffin surely.
          Can we all raise a beer to the argies, tip of the hat amongst a bunch of hens cuckling.

        • Dally M

          Yep, who’d have thought when COVID hit, and Raelene was ousted, that our administration would be the one one coming out on top in the sensible management stakes!

        • Yowie

          Noting the competition, it’s a bit like being the tallest person at the dwarf convention though.

        • Reds Revival

          As the tallest dwarf, you still get bragging rights!

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          And NZRU has gone to the dogs.. who would have guessed that?

          It is just a question of time for the off field performance to translate to the field

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          I think they were bargaining on getting some of the Japanese and especially European base
          players that are test ready. I read that a sticking point was the liability clauses with the European clubs and that Japan could not start their competition. They could not agree to get these players released and that only transpired late. On top of that most of their domestic based players would only have played two domestic games and the quality of these indicated that they are not ready. The Stormers only played one game. It looks like they tried their best until the last minute to play but things didn’t work out. From the beginning they were clear that it is unlikely that they will be able to play so it is not a surprise that they pulled out.

          For SA rugby that was the right decision but from a NZ and RA perspective it is pretty disappointing. The bigger news for me is that it appears that NZRU leaked the news to their media and undermined SANZAAR again as this is a SANZAAR message to deliver. It becomes pretty obvious that NZRU doesn’t see much value in the SANZAAR partnership anymore.

    • Geoffro

      Ned seems to have benefited from having Penney and Cobain and now with Dave and Parling , who knows , he may be starting to realise his potential.Agree on SA and good on em for putting player welfare a priority

      • Reds Revival

        Geoffro, I think it is naive to believe that SARU are concerned about player welfare. They could be many reasons for not coming, but player safety is not one of them.

        • Geoffro

          maybe not SARU but when they have to contend with other entities like player unions etc,even the players themselves who are pushing the player welfare barrow I reckon they would yield.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          If you assume that they cannot get access to their European players as they could not agree the liability clauses then I think they have a player safety argument as well. To pick a Bok team when the Stormers only played one game and others two would have been madness.

          The B&I Lions tour would be their rugby and commercial priority and rightfully so.

    • laurence king

      18000 deaths thereabouts

  • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

    Looks to me like the Jaapies played a game of chest-beating brinkmanship, thinking we and NZ would cave. They ran out of options/bribes/threats, and they lost.

    So now RSA turns its gaze to the UK, Italy and France, or as I call it, EuroCovid Central. What could possibly go wrong?

    Based on recent experience, dare we consider that the current RA suits are actually… competent?

    *ducks and waits for the incoming missiles from the west*

    • Yowie

      Looks to me like the Jaapies played a game of chest-beating brinkmanship, thinking we and NZ would cave. They ran out of options/bribes/threats, and they lost.

      Reminds me of our kid playing chest-beating brinkmanship (playing a very weak hand) with Mrs Yowie and I.

      “I’ll be sad then!” isn’t much of a threat to force the distribution of icecream.

      • Hambone

        Hahahaha. I know it all to well

      • Larry Jorgensen

        Mrs Yowie and me (you not I) to be grammatically correct.

        • Yowie

          I know, but it’s one of those everyday challenges choosing between accepted (but wrong) “correct grammar & pronunciation” versus actual correct grammar & pronunciation at the risk of looking weird.
          See also the pronunciation of “traits”.

  • Tah Tragic

    I’m wondering (adjusts tinfoil hat) if SA have an eye to the RWC draw. The draw will be based on rankings as of mid-Dec. Wobs are currently 5th and need to get to 4th. Not sure if SA could drop from 1st to 5th or below.

    • John Tynan

      Hadn’t considered that, good observation. Lions tour next year is massive for saffers too.

    • Dally M

      I thought World Rugby had announced the rankings would be based on January 2020 given that they didn’t expect a full slate of tests this year and the unusual matchups.

    • Hambone

      They will be scaled accordingly with/without playing anyway no?

  • Yowie

    I think this incident was just before dinner time FFS.

    • laurence king

      I’m 64 and still get into trouble for eating just before dinner. I think it was a rissole sandwich last night.

      • Yowie

        If your desperate struggle for sustenance is not evidence that dinner should be served up a bit earlier, I don’t know what is.

        • laurence king

          I’ll quote you, but lnow this, it won’t go well for me.

  • Yowie

    What? No! We’re not a pair of c*nts.

    I don’t know what sort of sadistic upbringing you had, but help is probably available.

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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