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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News sees Wallabies Back In Action,  Argentinian Double? , Europe Wrap, and A Trans-Tasman Draft?

WALLABIES BACK IN ACTION

Nic White during warm-up

Following on from last week’s mega upset of the All Blacks, it is Australia’s turn to face the Pumas in this weeks round of the Tri-Nations.

The game is being played in the not so happy hunting ground of Newcastle but with both teams in the unusual position of having the wind in their sails following wins over the All Blacks each side will be looking to stamp their claims to the Tri Nations trophy.

With that in mind coach Dave Rennie has named a relatively settled side for the match, rewarding players who won the game against New Zealand, while having to juggle to cover for the loss of suspended Lachie Swinton and the injury to centurion James Slipper.

Up front, Scott Sio comes in for Slipper and Ned Hanigan comes in for Swinton, and Taniela Tupou earns the start at tighthead. Reece Hodge remains at flyhalf, a decision made easier by he continued injury woes of James O’Connor.

On the bench, Jake Gordon comes in for Tate McDermott and Rob Valentini is added, meaning there is no specialist reserve lock in the 23.

Coach Rennie has not left anything to chance and has rewarded the previous games effort with close to his most settled squad of the season. When asked by rugby.com.au about the makeup of the team, Rennie paid respect to the Pumas, saying, “As a group, we know respect is earned daily and understand the importance of backing up our last performance with another quality effort on Saturday night,” Rennie said. “The tournament is evenly poised and our fate is in our own hands. We saw how much passion Argentina play with in their performance last weekend and we’re excited by the challenge in Newcastle.”

Many people will recall the dreadful weather (and performance) in 2012 at this ground against Scotland and Newcastle has not been a very happy hunting ground for the Waratahs either so it is time for the Wallabies to turn that around if they are to go another step towards claiming the Tri-Nations titile

WALLABIES (1-15): Scott Sio, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Matt Philip, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (c), Harry Wilson, Nic White, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Tom Wright, Tom Banks

RESERVES: Folau Fainga’a, Angus Bell, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Valetini, Liam Wright, Jake Gordon, Noah Lolesio, Filipo Daugunu

ARGENTINIAN DOUBLE?

Michael Cheika, Mario Ledesma

After their monster effort and win over New Zealand last week, Argentina will be looking to make it back to back wins in Newcastle on Saturday.

In a similar vein to the Wallabies, coach Mario Ledesma has rewarded the players that did the job last week and named an unchanged starting side for the encounter. With only two changes to the bench, Ledesma clearly believes he has got the winning formula to take down Australia to lay claim to the Tri Nations.

To aid him in that, the bench sees the inclusion of backroweer Facundo Isa and the relatively familiar name of Emiliano Boffelli.

From the Argentine perspective this game is all about keeping up the momentum of last week and keeping the team fit and fresh given it was their first Test in over a year and for most their first proper match in some nine months. Coach Ledesma is also wary of the threat posed by the Wallabies across the park, saying he noticed the, “improving set-piece – lineout, driving maul, scrum – and obviously offensive threats in the likes of (Hunter) Paisami or (Jordan) Petaia or Marika Koroibete. The treats are coming from many different places and we’ve got to be spot on with our game plan and our kicking game and control the tempo of the game.”

From the Australian side the narrative this week has all been about the return of Michael Cheika to face his old team but coach Dave Rennie has been keen to try and play down he role that inside knowledge has might play, telling the media pack, “I know he’s come in as some form of specialist. Certainly, there was a really impressive defensive effort so if he’s had anything to do with that he’s done a good job. They kicked the leather off the ball – I would assume he didn’t have a lot of influence with that.”

PUMAS (1-15): Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Julian Montoya, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Guido Petti, Matias Alemanni, Pablo Matera (c), Marcos Kremer, Rodrigo Bruni, Tomas Cubelli, Nicolas Sanchez, Juan Imhoff, Santiago Chocobares, Matias Orlando, Bautista Delguy, Santiago Carreras

RESERVES: Santiago Socino, Mayco Vivas, Santiago Medrano, Santiago Grondona, Facundo Isa, Gonzalo Bertranou, Emiliano Boffelli, Santiago Cordero

 

EUROPE WRAP

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With last weeks first round of games being let down by the COVID cancellation of Fiji’s game, we head into this weeks round in a similar situation with 29 positive tests ruling out the island nation once again. This leaves us with three games in the Autumn Nations Cup. the pick of which is the England and Ireland clash on Saturday night Australian time.

Fresh of their 40-0 win over Georgia, the English have made five changes for this game including Mario Itoje, Tom Curry and Sam Underhill as well as props Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler as the English clearly expect a more rugged performance against the Irish this week.

On the Irish side of the equation, they have made four changes to the team that took Wales apart 32-9 last week, with experienced players Bundee Aki, CJ Stander, Robbie Hensahaw and Keith Earls all part of the incoming group. Players to drop out include the injured Johnny Sexton.

Other games this weekend sees Wales take on Georgia and France playing Scotland. The Welsh game should be interesting given the results last week and for one other reason. Making his debut for Wales this week is flanker James Botham, the grandson of the great cricket tormentor (to Australian fans) Ian Botham. Botham comes straight into the starting side depsite only being called into the squad this week. This is among 13 changes made by coach Wayne Pivac as he seeks to arrest a worrying slide in form that has seen significant criticism from some sections of the peanut gallery.

In other European news, the English Premiership gets underway this week after only finishing a month ago. The Premiership opens with defending champions Exeter taking on Harelquins in what should be a great game. Other games this weekend see Sale play Northampton, Bath host Newcastle, Leicester home to Gloucester, Worcester and London Irish, and Bristol travelling to Wasps.

 

TRANS-TASMAN DRAFT?

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With a trans-Tasman competition locked in for 2021 and some sort of equivalent likely beyond that, some elements of the media have been pondering ways to make it more appealing to certain sections of the public.

In that vein, I present to you the reader, this piece from ESPN’s Sam Bruce for discussion. To distill it down to it’s most central idea, it proposes a draft based system not unlike the AFL or some of the European sports, wheereby the teams select their squads from a pool of players that make up the team for that period, primarily for the new talent coming through but also to set up the purported extra teams for 2022, whomever they end up being.

I would really like to hear the view of the reader on this and suspect it will be quite divisive depending on your region. Those more ‘traditional” union areas will be aghast at the thought, thinking that a draft will lessen the tribal nature of the game and water down concepts like trans-Tasman rivalries and the like. Would a Reds v Crusaders game really be the same if there were two or three Aussies pulling on the red and black?

Other teams that lack a real domestic talent pool to make up the bulk of their teams like the Force and the Rebels might view it differently. It might be that knowing they can bring in young players without having to pay over the odds to entice them would be a good thing, helping to boost their stocks and rely less on those players traditionally overlooked that often make up their squads, especially on the fringes where depth can be the issue.

My personal view is one of horror, but maybe I am too blinkered. I still shake my head when a young Qld kids signs elsewhere, especially when they excel. On the other hand I also realise there are only so many squad spots to go around so if they want to make a go of it then a move has to happen, and this is magnified if the NRC is as dead as it appears to be.

 

 

 

 

  • Huw Tindall

    How good is it to have a the Wallabies back this weekend. Rhetorical question. It’s bloody brilliant. With TRC silverware live and a Puma’s team off the back of a famous win I’m actually more excited this weekend than I was heading into Bled 4. Sure Bled 4 was a great result but I wasn’t excited going into the match. More hopeful of an improved performance. Looks like Rennie is pretty much going with a similar team and setup as against the ABs, injury and suspension aside, so hope to see them build on the last performance and with a couple of tricks up their sleeve to get around the Puma’s D. I can’t believe how dumb the ABs played last week. Like they didn’t have a plan B and thought they’d win by trucking it up and getting offloads on the tackle. When that didn’t work they just tried harder. Not a judicious kicking game or wide passing game. Baffled why they didn’t vary their attack as we know they’ve got it in them. Roll on Saturday! Will be watching from lockdown London at 845am in my jersey ready to wake up the neighbours with our anthem.

    • Steve

      So excited for us NH-dwellers – no reason to leave the couch all Saturday.

      Clearly I am no selector but struggle to see what Samu and Naisarani do that pisses off selectors so much (and what Hanigan does so well). Apart from that the team looks good although as we were discussing earlier it looks like Rennie has bought into the Argie game plan hook line and sinker by adding all the extra back rowers.

      Fingers crossed although I am ready for an Argie sucker punch and for us to look as stunned as the ABs were last week.

      • Huw Tindall

        Agree re Ned. Good bench given his flexibility but starting yet to be convinced. Still, trust the coaches know what they’re doing. We should be favourites I think, but not by a lot. Last week was a wake up call if the Wallabies were even getting a bit complacent.

        • laurence king

          It suggests to me that Ned’s aerial skills at lineout time are felt as crucial as he’s behind the other contenders in everything else. So it indicates that the lineout is still a cause for concern and to shore it up they lose a little bit elsewhere.

        • Brumby Runner

          LK, can you tell me how many lineouts Hanigan took in Bled4 and how many steals? Honest question as I really don’t know but have no recollection of him dominating at lineout time.

        • laurence king

          Merely making the point that he is better than the other 6s at the lineout. Personally I’d rather see Wright, Valentini or Samu playing.

        • I think that’s a fair question, and I don’t know the number. I think he is a lineout option whereas the alternatives aren’t – you don’t have to use him necessarily for that to be an issue at lineout time, the opposition have to put a defensive system on him as well as the locks, which theoretically makes their jumping and maul defensive a bit weaker, at least initially.

          I’m not Rennie but I’m not sure I’m convinced by this argument. That said, he’s under my 3 disagreements rule, so I’m going to let it ride. (I have some issues about his inside backs as well but I accept he’s got a bucket full of injury concerns there plus he’s going to continuity with a winning side.)

      • Missing Link

        The only explanation I have for Samu and Naisirani is Rennie has put this year down to development and he knows what he’s dealing with when it comes to those two, he knows their capacity and he knows they’re up to test rugby, but with the young Reds backrowers and Hanigan, he needs them to establish themselves as solid test players. I think Simmons is only there to cover for LSL’s injury as Rennie feels Hosea isn’t quite ready yet.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I am so looking forward to this game. Wallabies by 9

      • Huw Tindall

        You a neutral spectator these days or get pre match nerves as an honorary Wallaby supporter? I often enjoy a big game where I don’t have a side…can fully relax and enjoy it!

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Not neutral at all. I want the Wallabies to win. While I back the ABs against everyone, I back the Wallabies against everyone except NZ. I may even wear a Wallaby jersey soon

        • Yowie

          I may even wear a Wallaby jersey soon

          Leaving aside some typical Kiwi arrogance there, are you even eligible for selection?

        • Reds Revival

          Since he can referee and play, he can do both in the 7 jersey – just like Richie used to do.

        • Yowie

          May as well be captain then. It’s about time there was a good, respectful relationship between the Aussie captain and the ref.

          (assuming no complex mental issues on KARL’s part there).

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Big assumption BIG, BIG assumption

        • Yowie

          Gordon Bray:

          “Well there you have it in this already-extraordinary game. Now the Player-Referee has given himself a yellow card and he’s not happy about it. He’s still arguing the point!”

        • Alister Smith

          It has just occurred to me that, with a surname like Bray, Gordon really should have been a NZ caller rather than an Aussie one.

        • Alister Smith

          self correction. Bray is apparently what donkeys do, not sheep (they are bleaters apparently).

        • Yowie

          they are bleaters apparently

          …he said, innocently.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          a skill yet to be learnt over here

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          hahahahaha fuck snorted my coffee on that one

        • Mica

          I think that you are a truly unique Kiwi in this aspect!

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Not really mate. A lot of the guys I served with feel the same way

        • onlinesideline

          Considering kiwis speak as though they have lockjaw with cramped throat muscles on par with a good ventriloquist, before you thrown on the Green and Gold jersey you are advised to take a couple of lessons on how to speak ‘Straylin, so as not to rouse any suspicions. You could get a couple of funny looks …. from kiwis.

        • Yowie

          ‘Straylin but not Strine or you’ll sound like a Loig fan and be out of place at the rugby.

        • onlinesideline

          Yeah, just ya everyday, Mosman no Woolies Straylin. Proud, patriotic with just a dash of provincial. and a dolop of country. Chuckle chuckle, hahah, hoho, rah rah.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          That’s gold

        • Hoss

          Flirt.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          You love it big boy

        • Keith Butler

          Huw, KARL is a true blue Aussie just like me. Go the G&G.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Ben,
    Looking forward to the boys stepping up this week and knocking the Argies off. I’m thinking the Argies will be like England at RWC, build up for a bog game against the ABs and then struggle to maintain the intensity. For me what won it for them last week was more the intensity and passion rather than any special tactics and I think they’ll find that hard to sustain. The rush defence and slowing the ball release down is key to their game and the Wallabies need to counter that with aggressive and committed support and driving the Argies off and then have a very varied attack plan. Kicking is good but FFS have some chasers or it’s a waste of time.

    Not a huge fan of the draft system myself although it’d depend on how it was done and what the rules were about releasing people for internationals. I think Australian teams have been hard done in the past by getting players from NZ who weren’t p9icked for a NZ team for some pretty good reasons and never really helped the growth over here.

    • Crescent

      I think the FISMs would be going into this week with some confidence – I agree with your statement that the Wallabies need to counter with aggressive and committed support to drive the Argies off – and it is a key area the Wallabies have been lacking. I am not seeing much in the selections that tells me we are picking a team to address the issue either.

      Looking to see Argentina pull plenty of turnovers and spread it to their fairly fast back line, who will apply the pressure on our backs to number up and make their tackles count. I will love to be wrong – but our lack of consistent punch in the piggies is a real concern.

      I rate Ledesma as a coach that can harness the passion – he certainly appears to have been working hard on their technical skills – and we take Argentina lightly at our peril.

    • Brendan Hume

      Daniel Braid and Adam Thompson being two exceptions imo.

  • Missing Link

    I’ll give Rennie the benefit of the doubt here and assume he’s not a spud. He watched the game last week and we have a plan – don’t get sucked into the niggle, don’t give away silly penalties especially within range and play a forward oriented game, scrums, lineouts, rucks and mauls

    • Reds Revival

      I would suggest that he wants the Argies to believe that he is going to play a forwards oriented game, but is in fact aiming to turn them around regularly with box kick and chase.

  • Yowie

    Dave Rennie … “I know he’s come in as some form of specialist. Certainly, there was a really impressive defensive effort so if he’s had anything to do with that he’s done a good job.”

    Love it.

    • Who?

      That was good, but this was exceptional:
      “They kicked the leather off the ball – I would assume he didn’t have a lot of influence with that.””

      Can’t conceive of the last time two teams faced each other with their last games both being a win against the ABs. It wasn’t 2011 (SA and Australia didn’t meet immediately after they both beat NZ in 2011).

      • Yowie

        That’s a vintage sledge. I can’t believe I overlooked it in my mirth at the first bit.

  • Yowie

    Would a Reds v Crusaders game really be the same if there were two or three Aussies pulling on the red and black?

    Statistically the sheep around Christchurch would be 13% safer.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Maaate, but baaaabara would be lonely

  • JJ

    As a Force fan, I am not in favour of the a draft system. The Force and club rugby in WA were growing nicely until the Force were axed in 2017 and all their best WA nurtured talent was transferred to the Rebels or went elsewhere.

    Twiggy is on a mission to make WA a power house in Australian rugby . In the short term, he has boosted the Force with a bunch of quality imports and started the return of WA developed players like Godwin and MacDonald from the Tahs and others from elsewhere.
    But in the background he is putting money into the growth of grassroots rugby in WA and the talent development programs.

    • Gun

      So you’re only keen on imports if they benefit the Farce but not via a draft. Is that Wastestralian logic.

    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      JJ I agree. We need to first undo the damage the axing of the Force did to WA club rugby and then raise the quality and participation level of club rugby to a level where we produce a large enough pipeline of top quality talent. Once the local competition delivers a consistent and growing stream of quality local talent (we were set back by at least 5 years when the Force were axed) we would be less dependent on imports and Australia rugby overall will be better off. The “Godwins and MacDonalds” should be able to play for the Wallabies without having to relocate to the other side of the continent, we lost a generation of players and it will take time to get the next generation ready. Imports should not become a substitute for local talent but a temporary measure to cover gaps in the playing roster. A draft system may be counter productive in the long run as it could prioritise imports and take the focus away from growing the local competition. Players should be able to stay with their families and at the end of the year have the opportunity to give back to their community.

      Gun I am afraid that you have the wrong end of the stick… Is that Eastralian logic?

      • JJ

        There is a world of difference between an AFL type draft system and imports. All rugby sides bring in mature players from elsewhere, when they they lack suitable homegrown players in those positions. No problem there,
        But the AFL draft up to 80 eighteen year old boys every year and take many of them to the other side of the country, away from family and their friends. Many of the draftees, never make it into actually playing AFL. I would not like to see that in rugby.

  • Alister Smith

    I would be open to a system where squad players not getting games for their home clubs can be loaned for a specific period with some rules but would limit it to within each “conference”. However, a draft is not so appealing. I think, in an ideal situation, we see further domestic development around both the new and the more established teams and we have already seen some juniors from both WA and Vic come into the system and are retained but need to look at how we encourage it more. My ideal would be a fully professional NRC sustainably funded with some cross over with NZ and the Pacific and Asia but I suspect that is a long way off.

    • Reds Revival

      I recall a really good interview that the Rugby Ruckus boys did with Former NSW CEO, Fraser Neill. He was involved with the initial set up of Super Rugby in NZ.
      The way they did it was each province put forward who they thought was of a good enough standard to play in the new competition. Obviously, some provinces (e.g. Auckland), had more players than their squad were allowed. The All Blacks selectors were more interested in the top level of players getting consistent game time, rather than setting up dynasties, so they transferred several Auckland players to Wellington and Otago.
      If our goal is to just have NSW and Qld strong, then our current arrangement is fine. If our goal is to have the Wallabies strong, then the plan should be to spread the available talent.
      Having said that, the NZ system was designed to get each province up and running. It was then up to each franchise to develop their own academies and future players (which is where the NRC was so good).

      • Yowie

        If our goal is to just have NSW and Qld strong,…

        I thought the goal was to keep WA down?

        • Reds Revival

          I know it’s semantics, but the goal is to keep WA West.

      • Alister Smith

        Yeah I don’t know to be honest. I can see pluses and minuses in different arrangements and I suspect all are flawed. I don’t know whether I fully agree that the current system prevents growth outside Qld and NSW. I think there is plenty of evidence in the past (and perhaps more so currently) that neither state has been able to ringfence their own talent. Particularly looking at NSW at the moment.

    • Andrew Luscombe

      I agree a draft is not so appealing. Drafts are very draconian on young players, ordering them to shift hundreds or thousands of kilometers.

      Salary caps can be as effective in equalising teams, particularly if they are actively set for each team with equalisation in mind, similar to setting priority in draft picks. Salary caps let players and teams negotiate outcomes better.

      • JJ

        The salary cap has its merits. But in Australian rugby the RA “tops up” on top of the Super salaries of the Wallaby squad members . Traditionally the Tahs and the Reds got the lion share of those “top ups”. This is not counted in the salary cap.

        At the moment the new Force squad does not have a single player in the Wallaby squad, so I imagine they will be getting zero RA top-up dollars in 2021. So lucky they have Twiggy to “top-up”” and equalise things

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Yes, a combined NZ AU salary cap aimed at equalising teams across the two countries would have quite different rules about what is included compared to the current RA salary cap. The current one is aimed at stopping teams ftom spending too much, and, as you point out, in the presence of top ups, it works more as an unequalisation measure. This partly undermines it’s purpose as a protection on spending because teams still have an incentive to ‘catch up’ with the RA topped up teams by spending in non-player areas. A well designed cap and free player movement is essential to a successful competition in the long term.

      • Alister Smith

        Perhaps what might make a salary cap less effective in our system is that the biggest competition we face is not within the domestic teams but outside it and this competition has the advantage in terms of capacity to pay. The salary cap works very well in both NRL and AFL but neither have competition for players (perhaps with the exception of European Rugby for a few NRL players) with a greater capacity to pay then them. I think the NRL draft is also designed to stop their teams going broke (however the NRL effectively pays the wages of all players as the have an annual distribution to the clubs of 13.5 million and the salary cap is slightly below that, so they shouldn’t really go broke because of player payments (yet i think only 1 or 2 – Broncos and at times the Storm) have ever really made money as a going concern). Most rely very heavily on the NRL grants and grants from their registered clubs like Panthers etc.). Vikings did this early on, they had a big club and pokies etc.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          All teams in a competition have to have a reasonable chance of winning or losing every match. If there are teams winning or losing more than 75% of the time, something needs to be done about it. If something effective is done about it, then the competition will be maximising its revenue as far as vompetitiveness is concerned. Maximising revenue helps provide the capacity to retain players.

          You might say that while the overall standard of player would be good under a cap, the top players wouldn’t be accomodated within the cap, But the top players can be paid by the national bodies, or even by the league. They can by paid whatever rugby in Au and NZ can afford. Including their mega pay in the cap just means that SR teams would contribute less to their pay than they would if the player didn’t have a national contract because they wouldn’t want to blow 15% of their ability to attract other players due to having a mega star. There may be cases in which SR teams don’t want to pay a million dollar player at all due to the effect on their cap. So Michael Hooper runs around for the Waratahs without them paying him, but RA will be paying him, and the Waratahs will have given up some other players to have him, and the teams are balanced and the top players are paid.

          It’s even possible for SR teams to bid a partial cap exemption to take a top player paid way too much by a national body. From the cap point of view it’d be like negative pay for the player. As long as it’s open to all teams to bid, then it won’t unbalance the league. From the player’s point of view it’s just a side effect of the three way contract – they still get paid to play, and need to play for both teams.

          What matters is that all teams have the same capacity to attract talent, and provided it is run reasonably well it won’t stop the top talent from being retained.

        • Alister Smith

          Thanks Andrew, you make some really good points but I still don’t fully agree. I don’t think you are ever going to “make things equal”. Look at sides like the Brumbies in SR or the Melbourne Storm in NRL. They take players that other teams have rejected or have been average at other clubs and make champion teams out of them. Some of them then leave the Brumbies/Storm and go to other systems and go back to being average.

          Also cap with exemptions etc that you have spoken about it’s not even anymore and you will get people playing the system and it will come down to the club with the best accountants and lawyers not the best players.

          Someone below talks about the NZ system where the franchises get the top picks of a certain number of players from their regions and then the rest of the players go into a pool and the other teams can then access them with NZR managing things so that, if there are two or three players who are likely to compete for an All Blacks position, they are all playing at different clubs. I think that works better than a salary cap. Actually, I think a salary cap is mainly about ensuring clubs don’t send themselves broke.

          I believe that, for rugby to grow, all areas need to be encouraged to grow (from juniors) or develop (from a slightly higher age) their own players and I think that is happening to some degree.

          You have, however, introduced into the lexicon the word “vompetitiveness”…

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Yeah. Teams can’t be made exactly equal, but that’s not the point. Just avoiding teams winning or losing more than 75% of games is the aim. The Brumbies picking up players that were ignored by others is exactly what you want. There are all sorts of ways teams can become unequal, and you just need to take the edge off to keep things in bounds.

          The NZ system is proven not to keep thing within bounds. The Crusaders have won about a third of all SR titles, and they have been the top team within NZ more often than that. That’s as unbalanced as it comes.

          Exemption was a poor word for what I was refering to, because it is open to all teams. It is strictly speaking just the SR component of a players pay, but going negative. It’s negotiated exactly the same as any other player pay.

  • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

    Ned Hanigan – not quite a lock, not quite a six either.

    Reminds me of an old piece of cricket commentary by the late great John Arlott of the BBC…

    Years ago, NZ had a borderline all-rounder, who went by the name of Bob Cunis. Renowned for bowling too fast to be a spinner but too slow to be a medium pacer.

    After a well-lubricated lunch, Arlott described Cunis’s bowling spell thus:
    “And, as for Cunis, his bowling, like his name, was neither one thing nor the other.”

    • Damo

      Dingo, thanks so much for reminding me of the late great John Arlott. I still remember sneaking the family transistor to bed to listen to the Ashes commentary in the UK (1968 I think). With Arlott and our Alan McGilvray commentating you were there.

    • laurence king

      Lol, I remember that one. Yes sort of describes Ned

  • Hoss

    Good morning sports fans.

    Coming to you live from Wallaby Central in the bosom of the Hunter Valley. Through ability, my relentless dedication and pursuit of excellence, my sacrifice and unwavering support of gold, I scored an invite to today’s Wallaby Captains Run and then and hour, as part of a group of 10 with Moses himself in an honest, insightful and completely engaging Q&A

    Firstly, fuck me we are in good hands folks. What ever you’ve read about Moses being a good man and a good coach – double it. The man is impressive on every measure. He spoke at length regarding culture, identity, history and representation. He allowed us an insite into a wallaby inner sanctum the the team internal warrior mascot and all the elements that went into designing that and the final product with its heart-felt subliminal images and it’s significance to all in hold – regardless of nation of birth.he spoke about the deliberate choice of a boomerang shape when facing the haka and the science amd sports psychology behind it. He poked fun at the Komate Haka – as a Haka of a chief who runs from a battle and hides and is rescued by another – as he said, lead by TJ Peranoia who then runs off and sits in the stands…….

    He spoke of where the wallabies are currently at – ‘our catching and passing is nowhere near good enough, we are fitter than two months ago, but not fit enough, our decision making is still not to speed, speed to breakdowns a fraction off’ – most heartening he said several times ‘this side is nowhere near where it could be’ and to that ‘we showed them the replay of Bledisloe 4 and how we really could have belted them if we were more clinical’.

    I could post for hours on Dave’s talk and insights – but summit up as such – I walked into the room already a fan, I left a disciple.

    As for the captains run, no video allowed at the request of Moses as the moves, calls and plays where those to be used Saturday. Quick hands from the piggies at the line to shift point of attack, some flat second man plays, a lot of line out drills – attack designed to move the contact point of the FISMS D.

    In all of this – and as a caveat, man was it hot this morning – the Wallabies were sharp-ish, a few poor passes and dropped pill and Weismantle made them reset every time but they looked very very good. Look for footwork from the piggies just before contact and quick hands.

    The whole squad looked lean and fit – they always look big on tv, but they look very chiselled, but also athletic.

    One last point – you forget what a good decent bunch of young men they are. I was first there in my bag-I-fruit and waiting and they all said gday, a few stopped to talk and asked why I was there and hoped I enjoyed the day. They interacted with the half dozen kids there, posed for photos, joked with the ball boys about slowing down any ball for FISM line outs and speeding up there own and are a genuinely good group of people.

    I am entirely invigorated . We are in good hands from top to bottom. Moses said senior players – leadership group of 8 – all say it’s the tightest squad they have ever experienced and from my eye they seem exactly that. Hoops didn’t say a lot on the paddock, but Phillips, Flanders, Hodge and White were barking big time and Hooper would often run over and congratulate individuals after a special showing – they are a good unit.

    All that’s left is to attend tomorrow – corporate box included – cheer till I am horse and say go gold, go.

    We are in safe hands.

    • Yowie

      So “they trained well”?

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Yeah but you can believe it this time and also they trained well to a good plan. Didn’t matter how well they trained under Cheika, the plan was always fucked

        • Yowie

          That sand hill is not going to run up itself all afternoon know-what-I-mean

        • Bobas

          Suncorp is pretty sandy, might be why our recent record there is better than other places…

        • Yowie

          I think the “Fortress Lang Park” phenomenon pre-dates Cheika, so he can’t claim credit for that as well as the Argies in the one week.

        • moaning expat

          I refused to believe Cheika didn’t have much of a game plan to get where he did. Time after time i thought he must be setting something up for the future or something that just couldn’t see. I was wrong. I do think his major ability was simple motivation and the odd play here and there. that’s why he probably will make a good 2IC.

        • Yowie

          The “run everything, attack always, never kick, be really fit” thing had that surprise factor when it first arrived on the scene.

          The trouble is that international opposition coaches can adapt.

        • moaning expat

          I fail to see how “being really fit” is any sort of new game plan or a big focus to any professional coach. Youd think ‘being really fcking fit” would be a BOG standard minimum for a professional athlete. Sort of like walking into the doctors and having the bloke point out his degree and say ‘yeah i got this medical degree- its this new thing that i thought I’d try to help me practice medicine”
          Personally if was a prof coach and I thought any player wasnt super fit id tell them to fuck off and come back when they were. A signal that the bare minimum to even be anywhere near the team was a certain level.

        • I think being really fit is a minimum standard but, to look over at the ABs a minute, Ardie Savea looked like a fine SR player and was, at first “not fit enough” for test rugby. It took him something like two seasons to add that extra fitness to be up to the standards the AB required of him to be a starter.

          Now, of course, he’s right there and generally looks might impressive in most games he plays and has for a number of years.

          I never played anywhere near this level, but too many who have talk about how much faster it is because the worst player you face now is pretty much the best you see week to week. They’re faster to the breakdown, they’re faster up in the defensive line, they’re faster to the tackle, they’re hitting harder in the tackle, they’re pushing harder in the scrum, they’re jumping higher in the lineout and so on. It’s unrelenting for the full 80 minutes because they’re used to this and they never need a slow down or a breather. (That’s clearly not true, but the ones with 25+ caps have learnt the times when to recover as well as having the fitness to recover and exert themselves at a high level more quickly. You’re an offside forward after the fullback starts kick tennis? You’re required to retire, you can walk back though… that kind of thing.)

        • Hoss

          Hi EP. Rennie said similar today that it was a ‘quantum’ leap from SR to Tests and that Oz players were still some distance to NZ. He targeted the French series next year as about the time he sees our conditioning being where it needs to be – working hand in glove with super sides. Side note – he rates the French as the best in Europe and a real threat for 2023 RWC. He rates them highly and reckons they ‘blew’ the 6N this year.

        • Alister Smith

          that might be why Isi hasn’t played a game yet

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Chieka was sorry is an arrogant cock. Good motivation but a complete and utter arrogant cock. I will never forgive him for fucking Australia rugby

        • Alister Smith

          Very strong words KARL. Have you ever met him? I think it is relatively easy to support an argument that his coaching methods weren’t successful in the last 2-3 years of his Wallaby coaching job but, I have know personal knowledge of him or the other people involved in the RA set up and find I am much less able to comment on his character.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I must admit this is based off his refusal to admit he wasn’t up for the job and therefore the continual backward slide of the Wallabies, his appalling behaviour in the coaching box, his bullying of journalists who questioned him and his incomprehensible statements. Maybe outside of that he was a great guy but I never saw it

        • Adrian

          I have followed Cheika for years ME, and he always had a clear gameplan right up until he became Wallaby coach. It was almost consistently heavy runners trailed by one or two who would then feed a flat backline.

          This all ended when he was seduced by an incredibly experienced backline (who coached themselves) playing behind a Ledesma coached pack with Pooper at the back. No strategy beyond that. They did well at WC, but only used Cheika’s one and only game plan about 4 times. About 2 of them were v Wales, where Phipps forced guys to do it against coach instructions to just move the ball laterally, and 2nd half v Argentina in about 2018, when Kepu played a similar role

      • Hoss

        Even that mate. Moses spoke with us before the drills and said it was very specific stuff they identified Thursday and wanted to perfect the detail on the field. It was at pace and sharp, but a few poor passes (sound familiar). Weismantle was screaming different scenarios at them and constantly changing the parameters. For example – the last scenario ‘we are 2 behind and 1 minute left’ and I was impressed by how they all got into position, ran a few plays and – wait for it – Noah slotted a field goal. At this stage I was sideline and said ‘about six weeks too late’ and Parling turns round and had a chuckle with me and we spoke for a few minutes again great guy.

        Today reminded me, after a few years of darkness why I am a ‘fan’ of this side and it was humbling.

        • Yowie

          I’m genuinely very pleased to hear that sort of smart rugby is being workshopped, trained-for, etc.

          My sensitive, artistic-type neighbours will also be pleased to not hear out of my window for a while “Why don’t you set up for a f*****g field goal you f*****g brain-dead *****s!”

        • laurence king

          Yowie, I am of that artistic sensitive type character but over the last 5 years I have been known to roar out something similar.

        • Greg

          @yowie,

          I have learned to close the windows.The neighbours – rugby fans actually – don’t enjoy, or need to hear, my discussions with the ref during the game.

        • Alister Smith

          post game comment…..you still shouted that anyway didn’t you?!?

        • Yowie

          Generally speaking yes.
          More specifically “Why would you work the ball towards the short side when a field goal will win this?” with some salty language for emphasis.

        • onlinesideline

          Great reading Hossman. Nothing like the perspective of real life up close and personal, especially when seeing it 95% of the time through a screen.

          Enjoy the weekend mate. Weather is good and its GO TIME for live international rugby right on your doorstep.

        • Hoss

          He is all over the 1%s mate. He said early in the Q&A that his coaching team were monitoring ‘reload rates’ of players in SRA. They would record and measure the time after a tackle or a hit up it took players to get back to their feet and into the line to ‘support their mates’ and he said it was 4-5 seconds and not acceptable. Interestingly and refreshingly he said he would only ever pick players of ‘good character’ and will always, always pick a dedicated workhorse over a talented but lazy player.

        • onlinesideline

          I like the idea you mentioned above about prepping responses to different scenarios unfolding on the field and the mental processes that need to be followed.

          Its quite amazing just how much a player at this level has to process. It puts the need for fitness in to a whole new perspective. Being that its a game of chess makes it imperative.

          The fact that the game is so physical an expression of this mental war of attrition, is what makes it unque. No other game in sport do players have to make decisions under such fatigue.

          Enjoy mate.

        • Reds Revival

          I don’t think this is the case from what I have seen, but is that why Hanigan is getting selected ahead of Pete Samu?

        • donktec

          interesting, i think it’s working, in Bled 2 (maybe?) looked like Slips was pretty quick getting back up and into the line after a tackle

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          That’s why Naisarini isn’t picked mate and a problem in NZ with Akira, Tuipoluto and Sotutu. The old better people make better All Blacks is so true

    • Brendan Hume

      That’s a wonderful opportunity. Sounds like it was a blast.

    • Frosty morning

      Good on you, Hoss. Well deserved.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      That sounds awesome mate. Rennie has always been a class act. I met him in NZ a couple of times and I was always impressed with him. he certainly is a few mammoth steps above Foster in so many areas. I think the ABs are going to struggle for the next few years as even though Foster will be gone by the end of next year it will take a while for the new coach to then undo some of the bad work.

    • Too Little Too Late

      Loved the write up Hoss and the enthusiasm that comes across.
      Win or lose sounds like they are our best and top blokes to boot.
      I especially liked the psychology of the haka and our response to it, leaving no stone unturned in our pursuit of victory

      • Hoss

        It was a telling insite into the detail Dave & the team have gone too. He said they used to link arms and stand front on when facing the Haka – which in his words was ‘passive’ – meaning someone pushes you in the chest, you fall backwards. Instead our boys all go left foot forward, shoulders straight – in a bracing, aggressive stance. They all pick a Nearly and squarely lock their gaze on him throughout. There was some spiritual aspects to the boomerang as well – not from the team, but by a friend of Moses who floated the boomerang idea in the first place. Something like the boomerang cuts through the energy above the Haka, both weakening it but also returns some of that to our boys as well.

        Nice symbolism – and symbolism in general plays a big part in the team – of establishing standards, grounding those in gold and setting a baseline for culture as well.

        • Yowie

          …the boomerang cuts through the energy above the Haka, both weakening it but also returns some of that to our boys as well.

          NZ will complain about the Wallabies breaching the “cultural ritual protocol”. The protocol states that opponents (and/or their mythical spiritual boomerangs) must not cross the halfway line.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          No they won’t mate. They’ll be pleased with the acceptance of the challenge and welcome it

        • Yowie

          …the joke being that nothing physically crosses the halfway line (unlike some Pommy players under Eddie Jones that triggered the last complaint), yet the concept of a spiritual/visualised boomerang crossing the halfway line is enough to trigger…

          Actually never mind.

        • Too Little Too Late

          I noticed the boomerang shape in Bled 1 and thought it was a great piece of tapping into the depth of culture both new and ancient that we have in Australia. Incredible that it took a Kiwi to help bring it to the fore.

          Symbolism works by giving you something to believe in during the tough moments.

          A lot to like from Rennie so far both on and off the field.

    • Greg

      Look Hoss,

      That all sounds fine… and yeah, I would have gone to the captains run **if I was invited**

      but…. did you straighten out the coach on the players real names? We have a lot of confusion when he uses the names they were born with.

      Just imagine how the FISMs would go if all of the calls used Hoss-names!!

      • Hoss

        I will check with my EA mate – entirely unacceptable that your invite went astray. Fucking aussie post busy staring at their expensive watches.

    • Frosty morning

      Hey Hoss, did Moses disclose any of his thoughts regarding selections of the back row? I’d be really interested to know what he’s thinking there.

      • Hoss

        No mate. But at training it was clear that Flanders will play a big role at lineout, hence no reserve locks. Simmo is very much the lineout general and it was interesting to hear the calls and the corresponding moves. He made it clear that training and attitude are key and I guess Flanders offers more versatility at this point and they are also working hard with the piggies for some deception just before the contact zone – like Jack Dempsey for example

    • GeorgiaSatellite

      Nice going, Mr Cartwright. Does Moses get a discount off the “40 years in the wilderness” for the years of his predecessors? I like the cut of his jib. Enjoy tomorrow.

      • Hoss

        We will be to the promised lands early comrade – in all of this lower your heads an murmur these words ‘thank you Raelene’.

        • Yowie

          Raelene, who sacrificed herself so that Australian Rugby may have eternal* life.

          (*or until the next World Cup is over anyway)

    • Huw Tindall

      Get a room already

      • Hoss

        I got a COVID selfie with DR, but if he had of asked………

    • Parker

      Cheer still you are Hoss

    • Alister Smith

      Did you ever attend an open session in the Cheika day’s Hoss. Any points of comparison? What did Dave have on the beat box?

      • Hoss

        No Al, never saw Segals version. I would say though from previous media clips of captains runs under MC, there was no ‘boom box’ – no sic beats pumping out just clinical and final ‘polishing’ of set plays. DR came into the stands as the players warmed up and said the run would be 25-30 long as they finalised detail and run through on specific plays as opposed to a ‘general’ run. It ended up being around 55 minutes, Weismantle changing dynamics and scenarios all the time and players moved into position according. Hoops would yell out at times ‘at 50%’ and the players essentially walked through the play and got the detail right – specifically around ruck work and low body height and staying connected. It was highly professional, organised, disciplined and with real structure and intent. They broke after that for specific drills with and without the pill into forwards, backs and finishers and mixed and matched accordingly.

        Said above look for quick hands from
        Forwards at the gain line to disorientate the FISMS D And ‘shallow’ decoys off a first man. I think the wallabies will bait the Pumas with a forward runner but look for two off his shoulder for quick hands and a hard running flat attack off 9 & 10 to forces the Argies to over commit or make a bad read on D.

        Long story short – Wallabies to play flat at the line and get home by 12

        • Alister Smith

          Hope so. Not sure if it’s an accurate one but my perception is that they are a side that easily disrupts us, I would say drags us down to their level but I don’t know that that is an entirely fair comment. They play a good spoiling game, their defence is generally pretty good, they compete at the breakdown but they don’t necessarily do to many expansive plays in the backs (I often wonder with national sides that have a very strong tradition is soccer/football like Argentina and Italy if the lack of flair is, in part, because the players that are more likely to bring those sorts of skills are playing football/soccer). Another AL-ism – probably best ignored. Anyway, happy to approach the game with vicarious enthusiasm based on your assessment.

    • Adrian

      Excellent piece Hoss, and uniquely informative.
      It’s actually imperative that we win this game I think.
      “Casual” followers will walk away if we lose to Argentina. They probably don’t understand how good Argentina is.

  • Brendan Hume

    I’m hoping for another big showing from the Wallabies. Personally, I’m perplexed at Hooper’s ongoing selection. Given the poor bugger is rarely afforded a break, the mans enthusiasm for the task is really incredible. He must have been a shit of a kid…

  • Mike D

    I’d like to see a limited draft of some sort. It works very well in AFL to ensure the bottom teams don’t just languish there forever. So I’d be happy with just a draft system within the Australian teams. Yes, ok, it doesn’t address the dominance of the Crusaders etc. etc. But I don’t see that as the end game, I’d like to see young talent given a chance at different teams rather than hoarded by QLD because they happened to come up through the QLD system – note that I am a Reds supporter – and then take off O/S because they’re stuck behind two world class flankers, or half backs, etc. when other clubs are screaming for exactly that player.

    The talent then gets nurtured at other clubs, maybe comes back to QLD a better player, maybe becomes a one club man and stays in Perth and goes on to become an awesome 7, then the Head of Rugby when he finishes playing (Ok, I know Hodgson started in NSW, but he’s one of my favourite players). Can you imagine if he’d just stayed East Coast? We’d never have seen him. Now how many people genuinely have the courage to up and move across the country for a possible career in sport. A draft would give them a clearer career pathway and reduce their perceived risk.

    • I’m not opposed to a draft system, but I think alternatives might be worth considering.

      To look, again, at the Kiwis, they have a pool of all their eligible players, and the SR clubs sign from the pool. It’s why, when they the North v South match you had some weird looking player affiliations, Aaron Smith, lifelong Highlander, ran out for North because his first Mitre 10 (or whatever it was back then) club was on North Island.

      The players sign their contract, and at the end of their contract they theoretically go back in the pool. In practise the stars get signed up by someone, like Beauden Barrett going to the Blues to be with his partner. But lesser players move around and can get the chance at other clubs this way.

      And if you have a club with a good development process it can pick those players, but if the player doesn’t like the way the club works, they’re free to go elsewhere.

      Obviously NZ is smaller than Australia, so just moving around is easier there, but you get a system that avoids moving to a draft and gives them a signed contract to underpin their decision to move.

      • nmpcart

        The way the NZ draft works is that each SR team selects a certain number of players from within their catchment of Mitre 10 teams, and then any players from the catchment who aren’t selected go into the draft for other teams to pick up. NZRU makes sure that one team doesn’t have say 2 All Black hookers in the same SR squad because they want to make sure that the top players are all getting a chance to start. So they don’t start with all players in the draft, most of the top players are already lined up with the province but it is the picking up of the surplus players and turning them into great assets that has made the Crusaders so good over time.

  • Hugh_96

    Just thought I would flag that the women’s rugby World Cup draw occurred yesterday. Unfortunately the Wallaroos are in the NZ pool which makes it tough to get into the finals. Unfortunately the Wallaroos were unable to play any Tests this year, they had 7 lined up. At least a few of the 15s players got to play in the NRLW.

    • Nutta

      Great to see the Build Corp sponsorship going to good use.

      • Hugh_96

        Yep – Thank goodness for Josephine Sukkar and Buildcorp. Not sure what Oz rugby would do without their support for women’s rugby.

  • Alister Smith

    I only looked at the NZ squad list just before they ran on. I think its time to let Hoss loose on their names too.

    I am particularly interested to see what he does with:

    Some of them seem like he will have something “ready made”
    Santiago Carreras (something vehicle related)
    Bautista Delguy (I am getting vibes from Only Fools and Horses)
    Matias Orlando (Miranda’s ex)
    Julian Montoya (the Princess Bride keeps coming into my head)
    Mayco Vivas (all about Elvis to me)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I73sP93-0xA

    Some from the food and beverage section:
    Marcos Kremer
    Santiago Chocobares

    But the one I am really interested to see Hoss work his magic with is

    Juan Imhoff

  • Adrian

    Hmmm…. technical issues here, or something else?

    • Ads

      I’ll have a crack.
      Tupou is dumb and will cost us a game at some point with the niggly shit.
      Jordie is an amazing athlete but is also a dumb footballer.
      Hodge isn’t a 10.
      Simmo and even Ned the Shed played well.
      Hooper – take the damn kick. As the lead grows the defenders will push to come back and you will have more opportunities.

      • Yowie

        I’ll add: Hooper – don’t be petulant to the referee. There are more respectful ways to advance the team’s interests when communicating with the referee.

        The refs are only human and more 50/50 calls might end up going against the team with the captain who gives the ref the sh!ts.

        • Custardtaht

          Agreed, he should have said, “he’s been doin it all night, ya fucking maggot”…..far more nuanced and subtle.

      • Adrian

        My original comment was about this website, but I agree 100% Ads.

        I think coach will be very Angry.

        I think he’ll check out who was or was not making some of the decisions.

        Hooper will be in the firing line, and I say that as someone who has supported him all along.

        The kickers (for field position) might be too.

        Given that this coach is not afraid to change things, I am sure that we will get a proper 5/8 next game. I wouldn’t be surprised if Harrison is in the mix. He controls games better than the others and can set guys up. He is also an excellent goal kicker and field position kicker.

        I think Tuopo back to bench and maybe Naisarini on bench instead or Wright.

        I’d put Hodge to 23 with Lolessio and Gordon also on bench. Maddocks to 15.

        My biggest surprise would be MacReight to 7. He is the future captain, but for this match I suppose I’d have Nick White as captain

  • Mike D

    Rewatching the match this morning, Argentina got the rub of the calls in the set pieces. The lineout steal on Argentina’s line at 22 minute mark for example, Petti tipped it back, ok, but he’s jumped right through the Australian line to do it, he was almost in front of the half back. Then the Pumas’ 14 brings it back and uses their 8 as a shield, actually running into him, surely that’s accidental offside? The scrums seemed a bit of a lottery. Mauls seemed to be able to disintegrate entirely and wound up with blue players coming round the corner with impunity. And it just seemed to go on.

    Overall, I’m happy Australia was able to maintain parity in the face of all that. Forwards were excellent in the scrums. Lineouts need fixing, but not terrible. Backs did ok, I thought some of the kicks through were smart, not a lot of aimless kicking, it was either tactical or strategic. Hodge is not a 10…yet. He will get there I think, with some coaching and time in the position. He also needs to learn a little self-confidence (sometimes comes out as arrogance in some 10s) so he can order the back line around. Once that happens the back line will click better.

    Petaia needs to have a long chat with O’Connor, and do most of the listening. I’m seeing the same need to “do it all himself” that JOC used to have. Then JOC grew up (kudos to him) and started fixing defenders and off-loading. That is where the ability to step becomes really helpful, because he could end up fixing 2 defenders as they try to shut him down, then he just offloads a bit earlier and Koro or Wright or Banks are in space.

    Having BPA floating wide worked a bit, thought maybe bring him in one so the winger is outside him and potentially picking up scraps and going through the holes BPA creates.

    Lots to like – we just beat the ABs, and now drew with a team that also just beat the ABs. And I like that neither Hodge, nor Hooper, were talking this up. They both said they were disappointed and wanted to improve.

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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