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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s rugby news has the Wallabies avoiding the media circus, more scrum talk, the haka questioned and Japan talking up their chances.


Wallabies wary of media

A scrum of media

Stephen Larkham has commented that players within the 2011 World Cup effort in New Zealand cited media distraction as one of the biggest issues that faced the squad. Wallabies management has vowed that the type of distraction which clearly hampered Quade Cooper’s performance would not be allowed into the squad this time around.

“I think we will have learned a lot from that and make sure we get those distractions out of the way,” Larkham said. The Wallabies have appointed former Test hooker Adam Freier as the head of media management while Stephen Moore has taken the bulk of responsibility in dealing with the media since his return to the captaincy.

Scrum questions persist

KMP-WAL-AB-47181wallabies scrum all blacks

Sir Clive Woodward has questioned Australia’s scrimmaging and goalkicking just before the World Cup, saying that these facets of the game will prevent the team from unlocking their potential at the tournament. “If the scrum goes backwards, the Wallabies’ whole game will fall apart,” he said, adding “I see three or four sets of props in England who’d get into the Wallabies squad.”

Woodward, who was the beneficiary of Jonny Wilkinson’s consistency during the 2003 World Cup win, also said that the uncertainty of the Wallaby kickers could very well cost the team in key matches. “A world-class goalkicker is the other element you need to win a World Cup, an 85-90 per cent man,” Woodward said.

Haka questioned

all blacks haka

The benefits of New Zealand’s haka have been brought into question, with the pre-match ritual being blamed for the team’s reputation as slow starters. The theory is that the adrenalin of the haka emotionally drains the All-Blacks before kick-off. Of their past 20 Tests, the All Blacks were behind on the board in 11 of them before a second half revival to win 17.

Scrum-half TJ Perenara admits the adrenalin from the haka often causes him problems in the early stages of a game. “I was making mistakes. Trying to do too much. Trying to make too many tackles, and in my position, you don’t make a lot of tackles,” he said.

Japan to show improvement

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Eddie Jones has said that his team is sick of being patronized as part of their World Cup experience, as he constantly has to hear about his team’s ‘brave’ losses. “I haven’t spent the last four years so we can be treated like a joke,” he said. “We are not here to be a joke side, we are here to win games.”

Japan has not a match at the sport’s showcase event for 24 years, but have vastly improved recently. Japan will host the next Rugby World Cup in 2019 and national captain Michael Leitch has emphasized that it was important they put on a strong showing this time to get the Japanese public behind the team.

  • Adrian

    The scrum’s ok.
    Cooper will be ok.
    The coach knows Cooper has class.
    The team will ever so slightly evolve from the 23 that play Fiji.
    It’s effectively 14 half games from now until the final (including final). Given that the second half changes everyone except the starting back 3 of the scrum, and the 4 outside backs, the halves combinations (starting and finishing) will repeatedly change.
    This is what Cheika wants, irrespective of whether it’s “normal”.
    Same applies to the locks.
    In most games, the second half “finishers” will look better than the first half starters, who have soaked up the pressure.
    He’ll be seeking lineout parity, not necessarily dominance, and will achieve that in most of the 14 half games, assuming be get that far, …. and I’m assuming we will.
    The “extra” outside backs will be protecting Falau, AAC, Kurandrani from injury v Uruguay, just as McMahon and McCalman will be protecting Pocock and Hooper.
    Barring injury, post Uruguay, the only guys not needed will be Smith and one winger, …. but assume some injury, so they’ll all be used.
    There is a real plan

    • Nutta

      Your thinking is logical. Get off this site.

      • Sape

        More like get out of the internet

    • onlinesideline

      yeah, what he said

    • muffy

      Yes but there are too many New South Welshmen in the squad
      Normality has returned, you may thank me now..

      • TB

        Haha Touché

    • idiot savant

      So Cliffy’s gonna play 80 minutes?

      • Adrian

        20 min is my guess, coming on to replace Skelton, with Fardy moving to lock, and Pocock to No6

        • idiot savant

          Radical idea. Very Cheik. I think Cliffy lacks the pace to be of value as a finisher. He will only be running at the same pace as the tired forwards. I think his only value is trying to hurt someone in the first 30.

        • Adrian

          You could well be right, idiot savant.
          My thinking is that Cheika will want to start and finish big games with Pocock, Hooper, and Fardy, so no spot for Palu at the start. I think he’ll want to finish with Mumm, but will still want heavy runners (Sio, TPN and Palu) so he can do the up-the-guts running, alternating with spreading to guts like Falau, AAC and hopefully Kurandrani. Palu does make ground, whatever his faults, and has the defence back -pedaling for a quick distribution from a quick maul.

          BTW, Fiji team may not quite be the England team (but close to it) and he might well use Palu up front

    • Mitch T Gray

      Well, I was excited about the rugby world cup… Thanks for ruining it for me with your ‘spot-on’ logic… haha *’Spoiler Alert’ should have been added to the start of your comment.

  • dane

    Lets just take a minute to remember that Clive said Australia’s provinces weren’t strong enough to play the British and Irish lions. The next week qld nearly beat them and then the brumbies did beat them.

  • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

    It’s incredible that after all these years, that I still allow Woodward to get under my skin. I find him a very annoying Pommy git and my guess is that’s his intention.

    • Nutta

      Bingo. Wales have Gatts, NZ have Hando, we have George Smith lobbing grenades and England has Woody. It’s a shame PDV isn’t around with the Bokkys anymore.

      • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

        Ha, ha. I’d forgotten about those other Gents offering their 5c worth on behalf of their national favourites.
        On PDV – TBH I found him so confusing to listen to at press conferences, that at times I wondered if he forgotten to take his meds.

      • ols

        he is still there!

        “I believe the Boks’ problems started in the build-up to the Test, when Heyneke Meyer underestimated the intelligence of black people with a dishonest selection,” De Villiers wrote last week.

        http://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/Springboks/Div-Meyer-has-taken-SA-rugby-into-the-gutters-20150819

    • Simon

      If there’s any natural justice in this world, the first scrum in England vs Australia will see the Poms pushed back on their heels for a penalty.
      Time to start praying to the Big Fella upstairs for some divine intervention.
      Mario, I mean.

      • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

        Stop it will ya? You’re getting me all excited.

      • That’s Super-Mario to you and me. Plumb the scrum.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Got it in one mate. That’s why he does it. Can’t wait for you to prove him wrong

    • Spank

      Agree BUT I wouldn’t mind having him as a coach IF we ever had to go down the foreign road again. Likewise ‘prune face’. Both ‘Super Coaches’. Remember the year – may have been 2002 – England beat the AB’s in New Zealand despite having two players sent off. Woodward the coach.

      Here’s hoping though he gets a big surprise this time.

  • Nutta

    Re the Haka – So what’s the story? What’s the alternate proposal? No Haka? A 15min interlude after the Haka so the AIB’s can recover from their modern interpretive dance exertions? Are we seriously suggesting that the reason they will lose in the semi-final is because of the over-exertion of the Haka?

    Don’t get me wrong, the Haka has long stood as a great thing the AIB’s did pre-game. But ever since the Mungo’s and then the Basket-ballers and then the Chess players also started doing it, for me it has lost impact. I’m almost waiting for the cricketers to start it up each morning of a 5-day test or for the Netballers to pull out one of their own. We now see even our own indigenous mobs coming up with counter-dances so they don’t get left out. I fear it’s getting perilously close to the 80’s when sporting teams were doing their own rap song. I get that it’s a fantastic bit of theatre and that the crowds just devour it, and FTA TV guys love it because you can fit in an extra ad after the Haka before kick-off (because the performers need time to recover). But ever since guys started making up their own dance it has lost a little value for me as it moved away from a true cultural expression to something else.

    So now, if it is impacting performances like they say, then what is the alternative suggestion because I’ll bet various pieces of my anatomy that the marketers will not let this sell-point be fkd about with. So is this positioning to allow MORE time to recover pre-kick-off? And I wonder who else besides advertisers benefit from 10min standing around before kick-off getting cold and losing momentum?

    • Chinese Dave

      Don’t forget the Auckland Philharmonic, though their Haka is a bit brutal for my taste…

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate I agree. It gets overdone at times. I like it but sometimes I think we try to force it on everyone and that dilutes it. Interesting read on the effects and the problems it can cause, I think we should be like the 7’s and do it at the end of the game rather than beginning, but too many conservatives would oppose that. I don’t think there should be any extra time given to recover. If any side wants to do a challenge before a game then they should be allowed to but any effects of that are on them, not the opposition.

      • Robson

        The haka should be banned. End of story. As a pre game warm up process it gives the ABs an unfair advantage over their opponents who have to stand in the cold and watch it respectfully from a distance. As a cultural icon it is being badly misused. The haka is a challenge and the only way to respect it is to issue a like challenge right back. You see that happen every time two Maori school 1st XVs play each other like Wesley College (although Wesley isn’t strictly speaking a Maori school) and Te Aute. It would do my head in having to stand meekly by while a team on the other side of the half way line performed a haka at me.

        • Robson

          Actually I thought what the French did in the final of the last RWC was brilliant.

        • Braveheart81

          It’s one of the great spectacles in rugby. Why would you ban it?

        • Nutta

          See – this is what you get when no one else mentions you-know-who so I have to rant about other stuff. It’s all YOUR fault. Just you remember that.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Beale

        • Nutta

          LMAO

        • Funk

          Do you mean Kurtley Beale? That upstanding member of our rugby community, Kurtley Beale?

        • Robson

          For all the reasons I’ve stated. As someone who has done a few haka, it saddens me to see opposition teams having to watch it in such a docile way. It is just not haka tikanga.

        • Nutta

          You raise some interesting points. It can’t be a warm-up as otherwise why the issue over recovery? It can’t be a challenge as opponents aren’t allowed to challenge back (unless you count 23 guys holding hands in a love-heart formation a “challenge” – it was the best anyone was “allowed” to do, but I recall some Kiwi’s were even upset about that as well). So it must be a cultural icon then. If it’s so cultural and its enactment is impacting the professional athletes performance, then get another group of professional athletes to do it for them (they are called Dancers – you can find plenty of them on cereal ads and American reality tv shows)

        • Robson

          Just ban it and be done with it.

        • bad ass

          Yeah, banning the haka would be as stupid as banning Mexican waves at the cricket. Who the xxx would do that?

        • Robson

          Banning the Mexican wave would not only be stupid, it would be highly impractical because it couldn’t be enforced. The Welsh Rugby Union stopped the haka once and the ABs did it in their dressing room. That’s where it should be done if it can’t be responded to by the opposition.

        • teach

          No, that is incorrect.The WRU wanted it performed before the welsh national anthem and the ABs did not, so the they did it in the changing room. The WRU did not stop it. If you watched the game you would recall the boos from the crowd when they realised they were not going to see the haka.

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10412657

        • Robson

          You are right, but I am still of the opinion that if the haka is not going to be responded to, it should be kept in the sheds. And I do recall the crowd’s displeasure because they couldn’t see the haka. But that only reinforces my opinion. I don’t think the haka in that context should be entertainment.

        • Bob

          “The haka is a challenge and the only way to respect it is to issue a like challenge right back. You see that happen every time two Maori school 1st XVs play each other.”

          It’s not exclusive to Maori schools. Far from it.

        • Robson

          No, you’re absolutely right, but the most potent responses to 1st XV haka I’ve seen have come from Maori schools, but clearly I haven’t seen them all.

        • teach

          It’s every school 1st XV, not just Maori schools. Each school has their own Haka.

        • Robson

          Agreed, its just that the best responses I’ve seen have come from Maori schools, but I haven’t seen them all.

        • Whig

          The haka is extraordinary to watch, but find it bizarre that only nz are allowed to perform a cultural element as well as their national anthem. And bizarre that no one is allowed to perform a challenge in return. It should be either banned, or all other teams be allowed to perform a cultural element of their choice. I get angry every time I see the all blacks perform it, knowing that the wallabies have to just stand there and watch it like a pack of pussies. And like a pack of gutless girlie pussies, every test team does just stand there and watch, and wonders why they then get demolished in the game every time. That kiwi paddy Ryan must still be laughing about how he pussy whipped every other test nation by banning a response.

        • Robson

          Agree with a lot you say, but the Samoans, Fijians and Tongans all have their pre game national war dances.

      • bad ass

        No issues with the Haka itself, but the kiwis who had a cry about “disrespecting” it are a disgrace. Forcing teams to refrain from “challenging” it have made the Haka a joke. Not even allowed to walk to half way, really? I agree with Nutta, allow the challenge to be met, or get dancers to do it whilst the players keep warm elsewhere.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate, if my memory is correct, and I do make the odd mistake, I seem to recall it was the RFU who banned the response. Best one I ever saw was the English hooker going face to face with Hika Reid. A real in your face “I accept your challenge” boy. IMO the complete bullsh!t way that teams have to stand 20M away and just watch diminishes the whole thing. It was the All Black phsych who first brought up the bad affect it has on the first part of the game and why the AB’s start slowly.
          If I was in opposition I’d demand it go longer and really get the team wasted, then apply the pressure for the next 20 mins and let them play catch up.

        • bad ass

          Yes, the world governing body did make the changes. However, they were in response to NZ complaints. Don’t get me wrong, I am not intending to paint all Kiwis with the same brush. Many of them seem to be nice people despite a general lack in a sence of humour. They can make great burgers too. But I am pretty sure the RFU didn’t just change the haka response laws because they felt like it. I don’t recall any objections from the NZRU either.
          I disagree with the psych. NZ have never played better than when they get into their “very scary” version of the haka against Australia. They come out firing.

        • Spank

          IRB also banned John Williamson singing our National Song in Sydney and elsewhere. Used to be great to see guys like Sam Scott Young eye-balling the Kiwis doing the ‘song and dance’ routine and David Campese taking no notice of it at all.

        • Douglas

          The US basketball team gave the perfect response to the Haka, they clapped – then went on to beat them 98-71.

        • bad ass

          What a great idea! The next time the Wallabies front up to the haka, they should all clap (and cheer) at the end of it.

          And then beat them 98-71.

        • MM

          Thets just disrespuctful.

        • bad ass

          Yis, bet it’s fenny.

          Apologies to Saffas and kiwis as my pitiful attempt at a kiwi accent sounds more saffa.

    • Douglas

      Maybe they just need to tone the Haka down a bit, back to how it was in the 70’s – I don’t think adrenaline bothered them too much back then: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emJyEa4z2Ec

      • Chinese Dave

        Man, Rugby has changed so much since then. The bloody ball boys nowadays look bigger and fitter than these guys.

      • bad ass

        I completely agree. The haka needs more guys with skinny arms in long sleeve jerseys and afro’s. Bring back the respect!

    • Hambone

      didnt the all blacks just do a rap song for air new zealand ;)

    • bad ass

      The basketballers do a haka? Good grief…

      Biele.

      • Nutta

        They did a shocking one against the American basket-ball team and all-but got laughed off the court
        Check your spelling. I made a promise. I’m not shifting unless it’s 100% clear to whom you are referring. Until then I’m silent. I already gave BH81 an ear-bashing about it further up the page.

        • bad ass

          Speaking of the haka being turned into a joke, what about this guy? (see figure 1.)

          Figure 1. K Beale https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/128ac4ef999d379e89c6efa3255ca456394593a5bb36b847752ff66f68ee0a58.jpg

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          hahaha snorted my coffee over that one. Go on Nutta bite mate bite

        • Nutta

          Same – The girls in customer service just came in to see what I was snorting about…

          Just get him to do his own Haka out the front of the Wobblies whilst the AIB’s recover from theirs. I believe he may have done it once before on a Qantas flight – or perhaps it was on a bus? That would be just grand I tell you. It would send all the right messages about pride, respect, honour, recognising the spirit and depth of the occasion…

        • bad ass

          Love it! Nutta off the leash.

    • idiot savant

      Man and I thought I was cynical… Please tell me the tooth fairy is real.

  • npivag

    In sport, you’re relevant for an instant unless you’re in the top 0.1% of your profession.
    Even if you’re in that top 0.1% (and arguably World Cup winning Woodward is), then you have to come out with quotable/controversial statements and generally be a media nuisance.
    Good luck to him, but this man probably doesn’t believe half the stuff he’s saying lately.

  • Sir Clive must not have watched a minute of any of our games this year. He’s in for a rude shock.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Clive has come out with some real crap over the last couple of days. I read where someone said he spends his days sitting in a chair with a teddy telling himself he’s the greatest coach ever and trolling everyone else. I can actually picture that. Can’t wait for you guys to destroy the English and then watch them fail to move out of the pool. Would make the whole RWC worth even more

      • Will

        You must be one of those good kiwis!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          nah mate. When we’re playing you guys I am as rabid as anyone else. Just after all my Army service working with Aussies (and marrying one) I can’t get past the ANZAC spirit and when it’s you against anyone else I’m on your side.

    • Nutta

      Unfortunately it will depend on the ref and what his interpretation of “Boring In” and “Walking Around” will be.

      • m0b1us

        Why, have the Aussie front five stopped doing that now?

        • Nutta

          Mate we are more pure then the driven snow. Surely you know that? To be fair though, our scrum has sucked for years. I’ve banged on about how & why often enough but reality is that right now we have a duly-earned reputation for being shite built off the back of YEARS of 3 issues 1. under-emphasis and no focus in development, 2. tolerance of non-committed back5’s and 3. front-rows picked for being fat ball-runners and not scrummagers. One consequence with that reputation is that I believe it influences a ref to not acknowledge shenanigans played out directly in-front of his face because “Oh well, the Oz scrum is shite anyway”. However I believe that with the work & focus of Ledesma and Cheks the Oz scrum will hold up IF it is officiated fairly. A scrum doesn’t hold parity with the likes of Saffa’s, Argy’s and AIB’s (as per this year) if they are indeed shite. I don’t want special treatment and I don’t think it will be a weapon, but I think it will do more than just “get by” provided the basic laws are adhered to.
          Anyway, enough. Facta Non Verba.

        • m0b1us

          Sorry mate, you set it up and I couldn’t resist.

          I’ve only seen a bit of the Wallabies this year. The scrum did look
          much better though I thought you got toweled up by the Argies.

          Angles, height and co-ordination much improved.

          England are a bit patchy so far; the starting pack is pretty mobile
          but was also great in the tight in the 6N. They’ve not looked
          as dominant recently. However, I’m not going to make any rash
          judgments on the back of warm up games (Aus vs. USA being a
          case in point). Morgan and Launchbury have both hardly played for a year and are crucial to way the England want to play.

          The starting props are both pretty strong (they’ve both been way
          too much for you guys the last few times we’ve played) but are the
          lightest in the squad. The other three are all ~125KG and decent
          in the tight – even Mako is a bit better these days. Brookes is the one to watch as he’s fucking massive and can play both sides.

          In any case, I think you guys down under are over focusing on
          England’s forwards. Ignore the backs at your peril.

    • Michael Hassall

      Hope so, it would be great wouldn’t it?

  • Robson

    So the haka has a negative effect on TJ Perenara’s game does it? When was the last time he took the field in a test match straight after the haka?

  • muffy

    What do you think? There are a few good points here, but is it trolling at an academic level
    https://www.forsythbarr.co.nz/yk-files/37ccaa1bc38c79eb6f2a236ada516154/Australia.pdf

    • teach

      Hardly. They analysed every team at the tournament and made their predictions. They have only given the ABs a 41% chance of winning. Just because someone predicts the Wobs coming anywhere but first doesn’t automatically make them a troll.

  • Scrimmaging?

    • Nutta

      It’s either US/English as the default auto-correct or watching too much Hayne-Plane click-bait and it has changed the auto-fill. It does my head in as well when mauling becomes “mailing”

  • Simon

    Sounds like we could do away with all that and just convince them to perform another haka just before kickoff in the second half.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Hahahahaha no worries bro.

  • Robson

    TJ cocked up his first touch of the ball when he came on late in the 1st test at Sydney this year. If he was blaming the haka for that it certainly has got some lasting power because it was performed over an hour before that!

  • Simon

    That would be worth seeing. Although, while it would hamper Nonu, it might actually help McCaw’s game. Make it easier to go off his feet in rucks.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Harsh! hahaha still a better combo than most counties even if their boots were tied together

  • Simon

    That’s actually a very real concern. Showing dominance early is really our only chance. Otherwise we’re likely to get pinged even if they’re angling in, collapsing etc.

  • That’s a comfortable thought, but when we’ve been dominant in the past, we’ve gotten the benefit it that.

    It’s when things are even, or we’re moving backwards, and the ref feels the need to ping someone, that we suffer from our reputation.

    The solution is quite simply to be pushing the other side back.

  • muffy
  • Big Dunc

    the only thing more embarrassing then cricketers performing the Haka is indoor cricketers doing it…

  • Tomthusiasm

    At least he can cross field kick to Folau, he should teach it to your boys!

  • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

    Well to my untrained eye and ear, that Haka by the NZ indoor cricket team – black caps? – seemed to be pretty good. Any Kiwi care to rate it?
    I heard a story that the various haka have to pass muster from the Moari chiefs or board of elders. Any truth in that?

  • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

    Could be. That’s what I heard is all I’m saying.
    Hopefully a NZ person can clarify.

  • Robson

    Strictly speaking that is untrue. The haka “Kamate” belongs to the Ngati Toa people through Te Rauparaha. They sactioned use of it by the ABs and maybe one or two other national sporting teams. But that doesn’t stop uncle Tom Cobbly and all the King’s men from using it if they so desire.

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