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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s rugby news has Toutai Kefu backing Lopeti Timani, Western Force implement new financial strategy, Kyle Godwin inspired by Stephen Larkham and Eddie Jones meets with England clubs.


Kefu Backs Timani

Former Wallaby number 8 Toutai Kefu has claimed that Lopeti Timani has the ability to claim the number 8 position for the Wallabies.

Timani was recently promoted to the Wallabies starting side following injuries to David Pocock and Sean McMahon.

Kefu says Timani could be the best number 8 since Wycliff Palu.

“The way that they played the other night (against New Zealand), they tried to go through him and that suits him. That’s his identity,” Kefu said.

“I think he is the best since Cliffy, and they’re both very a similar profile. Run hard, get over the advantage line. Also in defence he stings a bit too.

“When the All Blacks look at our pack, Cliffy is probably the last person to put a little bit of fear into them. I definitely think this bloke will do the same thing.”

Force New Survival Strategy

The Western Force have introduced a new financial strategy which gives fans the option of owning part of the club.

The Force will use a strategy used by NFL team, the Green Bay Packers, and international football giant FC Barcelona.

They will be offering 5000 $1000 ownership certificates, that will be valid for a year, a move that could raise $5 million for the franchise.

Rugby WA President Hans Sauder  said they wanted to engage the grassroots in order to keep the franchise alive.

“The introduction of the Western Force into the Super Rugby competition took the profile and interest in the code in Western Australia to a whole other level. We hope that Western Australians will join us once again as we fight to save the Western Force,” he said.

“It’s a good option to have there.”

Godwin Inspired by Larkham

Uncapped Wallaby and newly signed Brumby Kyle Godwin says he was inspired by Stephen Larkham growing up.

Larkham will have the opportunity to mentor Godwin as the Wallabies attack coach and next year as head coach of the Brumbies.

“He was actually my most admired player when I was growing up,” Godwin said.

“I really looked up to Bernie and he didn’t really goal kick much when he was a Wallaby and that pretty much stopped me from goal kicking.

“He was an unbelievable flyhalf and I love watching him. To learn off him, I’m just so looking forward to this opportunity [playing at the Brumbies].”

Jones Meets with Clubs

England coach Eddie Jones has met with English Premiership clubs after concerns were raised when three serious injuries occurred in Jones’ training camps.

Wingers Anthony Watson and Jack Nowell and flanker Sam Jones were all ruled out of the autumn series after picking up injuries during a three-day England training camp at the start of October.

“I had a good meeting with the directors of rugby,” Jones said.

“We had two unfortunate injuries at the camp — that is part of rugby — and out of that meeting came a couple of things that need to happen.

“We need to communicate better with the clubs and we have taken that on board.

“We also need to have a better and more rigorous medical communication in and out of the clubs and in and out of the international side. We are both committed to that which I think will help the player welfare.

“It was a very positive meeting. We are always going to have our ups and downs, but I think generally there is a commitment from everyone to want to make the players better.”

  • Nutta

    We need a No8. We don’t need to be playing the worlds best open side at 8. And I agree with Kefu that Timani brings an element of clean-cut brutality in his play as opposed to funny-bugger AFL pushy-shovey bullshite.

    And love or hate him you have to applaud EJ’s work. He’s dragging the undraggable.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Absolutely agree mate. I can see the original rational for the Pooper but it’s well past its used by date now. Just like the Cooper /Foley 10/12. A couple of good ideas that were right for the initial bit but were well overused. I did like McMahon there as well but either way I think the starting combination (now that Pocock is off for a year) should be Hooper, Timani and McMahon. Don’t really care if McMahon or Timani are 6 or 8 but whichever it is they need to play there constantly and develop in that position.
      I love that Jones is trying to pay mind games with the All Blacks knowing that he can say what he wants because he doesn’t actually have to front up and prove any of it for a couple of years. I’m not sure his honeymoon with the team will last that long but you’ve got to love the way he winds people up.

      • PeterK

        McMahon and Hooper is just another variation on Pooper with the same issues.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          The difference I see is that while both Hooper and Pocock were good 7’s no-one actually picked up the 8 role properly and this has been compounded by Mumm’s ineffectiveness at 6. McMahon can play both 6 and 8 and that will allow Hooper to concentrate on being a 7. I think he needs to lift his work at the ruck as Pocock is yards ahead of him there but he can at least concentrate on just this while McMahon and Timani take the other roles

        • PeterK

          McMahon still weakness the lineout a lot.
          Also he has little impact against top teams, he is not big enough for a genuine 6 or 8.
          In all his starts against england and sa he just did not have very good games. IMO he is one of the most over hyped players.
          He is vying with Hooper for the starting 7 spot IMO next year and that is all he should be considered for long term.

        • ozrugbynut

          Agreed. As good as mcmahon is (and i rate him a lot) we lose a bit in the lineouts if hes playing 8 or 6. He suits a bench role at 7 if hooper is injured (never!), but i have to empathise with aru hes a guy you just have to have in the setup (so many strong points) otherwise he’s potentially off overseas. Isnt this the story of oz rugby?! – a lot of depth in some postitions, almost none in others and guys that have the best attitude/work ethic just not quite the right shape and size…We need to stop this pooper-brand bandaid stuff.

        • Peter Morse

          I agree completely. This playing of undersized back rows has very little merit and has a much broader impact on the overall effectiveness of the pack. At international level McMahon is a 7.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think he has done enough this year to be a long term 6. I don’t think he’s a natural 8 although he had some good games there, I just think Timani is better at 8.

        • PeterK

          What has McMahon actually done at test level? He never dominated a game he started in, never gave a performance that says you must pick me. Depending on team balance I would pick McMahon starting ahead of Hooper next year and Hooper on the bench.

        • Missing Link

          he had a cracker against ARG this year when he came off the bench

        • PeterK

          He has been a good impact player. Mind you he does go well against smaller packs.
          I repeat in starts against England and SA he has had little impact.

        • mikado

          To be honest, “He never dominated a game he started in” describes most of the current pack. Hooper and Pocock are the only one’s I’d call dominant (in their different ways).

        • Will

          I don’t agree. the bloke is still quite young and has the biggest heart/engine of any of the wallabies. He can put on size, develop better skills, add more value to the lineout options – what you can’t train is the mongrel in the dog. I think we need him, and I think we need more blokes like him.

        • Peter Morse

          As a 7, brilliant – as an 8 or 6, only in emergencies.

        • PeterK

          Totally agree

        • jamie

          Peter, have you watched McMahon at all? He might only be a little bugga, but the momentum he carries and the power he hits with means he’s hitting harder than most locks.

        • Peter Morse

          This Peter loves watching him. GREAT player and if Hooper was injured I’d be excited to see him step up as the next 7.

        • PeterK

          agree, no issue with him as a 7

        • PeterK

          I have watched every one of his games.

          In none of his starts against England or SA did he perform close to the hype.
          Against big forward packs he is nullified.

        • mikado

          I thought that McMahon did well against England. He was the one player that consistently made yards every time he had the ball.

      • Thoms

        In my opinion, Cooper/Foley was picked because we didn’t really have a choice with injuries etc.
        Pooper was a way of shoe-horning our best players into the same team.

        If we picked the best regular position specialists we would be also-rans. We don’t have strength in depth, we need to be creative.

        • PeterK

          there certainly was a choice.
          Cooper 10 and Hodge 12 and Kerevi 13
          or
          Cooper 10 and Kerevi 12 and Kuridrani at 13.
          I mean Hodge was good enough to try at 12 against NZ when Foley is 10.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I’m not so sure. I think the coaches believed that there were no options as they took forever to bring in Hodge and Kerevi and yet both of them produced the goods when they did come in. I think it was being over loyal to people in the team and not trusting enough to bring in new players. NZ has been caught ion the same place a number of times and while it can sometimes work playing people out of position because they think they should be in there it rarely works well. NZ has got over this with a really smart plan to introduce new players gradually and not wait until someone fails before bringing them in. I think the Wallabies would benefit from a similar process.

        • Braveheart81

          Kerevi debuted in the first test of the year. Hodge in the 4th after only playing about 12 Super Rugby games.

          I’m not sure how much earlier those guys could have debuted.

          If last year wasn’t a RWC year I’d say that Kerevi would have almost certainly debuted in 2015.

        • PeterK

          agree re Hodge but both Timani and Kerevi could have debuted (not as starters) last year in the RC

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah but both were played and the dropped without really giving them a chance. Everyone struggles initially at test level and you need to give them a bit of time to settle. I don’t think either of those two had enough

        • Braveheart81

          Kerevi has played all but two tests this season and Hodge has played every test since his debut (Hodge debuted in the fifth test of the year as opposed to my post above that says 4th). I don’t think either of them are lacking opportunity.

          This string of comments was in relation to them debuting in 2015 with an eye to them going to the RWC. I think that is far-fetched.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Sorry mate I got mixed up. I was referring to Hodge playing at 12 rather than as a wing. He’s played well but I would have loved to have seen him at 12 all year and developed in that position. Kerevi yes and I was wrong

        • mikado

          In fairness to the coaches, they tried Kerevi + TK against England and Foley struggled without a “playmaking 12″. So they brought in some good playmaking 12’s and had a horrible run of injuries that would have disrupted any team. They clearly don’t trust Cooper to hold down the 10 role without a “playmaking 12″ (ie Foley) – presumably Cooper’s goal kicking must be awful.

          With the benefit of hindsight then yes, they might as well have put Hodge at 12 from the get-go. But at the time, Lealiifano, Giteau and Toomua all seemed like good choices and the two Bledisloe games would have been risky opportunities to introduce Hodge.

          I like Hodge as a player, but for me he lacks X-factor with ball in hand. Beale, when fit, will surely be first choice at 12.

          I agree with you about introducing players in a planned fashion. However NZ have the luxury of an outstanding team that can compensate for an individual struggling. I think most other coaches must worry mo9re about defeat.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah it’s hard when you are judged on immediate results. I must admit I still don’t get this “playmaker” thing. I certainly don’t understand why Cooper needs another one outside him. I would think that a solid steady player is more of a requirement to counter his play. I may cop some crap for this but I really don’t see Beale as a solution to anything. I don’t rate him at all. He can’t tackle so having two weak tacklers in 10 & 12 isn’t a good thing, and while he does do some incredibly good things sometimes, he doesn’t take the ball up to challenge the line and his passing under pressure is suspect. I hope he’s on the field every time we play you as his weaknesses more than outweigh anything good he brings.

        • SuckerForRed

          Agree with you re Beale.
          Re the second playmaker – I think that it is always a good idea to have a second play maker other wise all the opposition’s attention can be applied to one player and then the team will struggle. I don’t care who is in the 10 jersey there has to be someone else on the ground who can run the play if the 10 is at the bottom of a ruck, injured, or just plain attracting the attention of 14 on the defenders. Weather this player is 9, 12, 13, 15 is entirely dependant on the “cattle” available. With Australia at the moment realisticly it won’t be 15 (unless Folau is moved and someone such as DHP goes in there), and Genia is probably the only 9 in contention who could fill the roll, so that leaves 12 & 13. Our history of having hard running 13’s sort of plays against us here so then there was 12………….. And at the moment I think that I would prefer to see Genia-Cooper 9 & 10 then Hodge running at 12. People get caught up in the “two playmakers” meaning “two flyhalves” when it is not necessary or practicle. Plays can be run from anywhere, just need the person to have the skills & the responsibility.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          But doesn’t naming another playmaker mean that person is the next target? Why aren’t all players playmakers when something happens in front of them that allows it? I think it’s just mumbo jumbo that hides a lack of skills and commitment from the players and tactics from the coaching team. In my mind the roles are; 10 guides the play, 12 crashes up to and through the line, 13 distributes to the try scorer, 11& 14 finish off, 15 provides the extra man in the line to overpower a defence. Very generalised but that’s their core role and then on top of that take any opportunity that comes their way

        • SuckerForRed

          And I agree to a certain extent…. but not all of us are blessed with the rugby talent that is in NZ that would allow for all players in the back line and most in the forwards being capable of directing play. ;-)

    • Pearcewreck

      Nice comment,
      Re EJ & Eng.
      There seems to be a feeling on GAGR that we should all hate Eddie.
      I disagree, the ARU didn’t want him, so good on him.
      Also I hope Eng keep going well, cause at this stage no-one else has a hope of beating NZ.
      Shane they don’t play each other for about another year or so.

  • skip

    The Pooper is now where the Waugh/Smith combo was a few years back. The opposition have worked it out and we need to go back to what has become something of a heresy in Australian rugby and pick players in their positions. I do really fear what will happen if the pooper is played with Mumm at 6.

    I forget when Bam is off on sabbatical so it may be some time before this is an issue but Timani has the ability to be the beast we need. Let’s at least see how a quality super rugby no.8 runs at test level as a no.8. It works for other teams. Could be worth a shot.

    • Patrick

      I had never actually contemplated that scenario, but happily I have three kids – I can dress them up tonight as Mumm, Hooper and Pocock with their Wallaby guernsies and put 6, 7 and 8 on their backs !!!

      I’m a big fan of Fardy at 6, Pocock at 7 and Timani at 8. Holloway and Hooper make a very handy and hard-running bench to come on at 55 minutes.

      • Keith Butler

        Hooper will always be in the run on team. But McMahon, Timani and Hooper would get my vote.

      • ozrugbynut

        They would be my starting loose forwards too. Hooper would be handy as a finisher but the other guys on the pine would need some size otherwise we could get run over.

    • Thoms

      Have they worked it out? We’ve played terribly in a couple of games. I don’t think scapegoating Pooper holds up.

      • PeterK

        It worked out when Timani was the 8 i.e last 2 games.

        Before that McMahon instead of Pocock was used and guess what the same issues as using Pooper.

      • skip

        We lose a lot of line bending ball carrying, the opposition heavily commit to the breakdown and they know if they are ever in trouble they can put it into touch and double up on our jumpers, regardless of how bad Moore’s throwing is.

      • McWarren

        Since the RWC final the pooper has been ineffective. What’s more it goes against Cheika’s natural coached game. The pooper was a panicked patch job that thankfully is coming to a forced end.

  • Keith Butler

    Read in one of the U.K. papers that Saracens are after Skelton to shore up their pack with Kruis and Itoje injured. They only have one full time lock fit atm. Looking at the period after the Autumn internationals and the 6Ns but can’t see it happening myself as the Tahs would want him back for pre season. Mind you Sarries might offer a lot of cash for a short term deal.

    • Bay35Pablo

      Money for old rope. Where do we sign up to offload him?

    • Missing Link

      That would be like an early Christmas present. I like Skelton as a person but he’s failed to live up to expectation as a test player, I think we can all agree on that.

    • PeterK

      seriously why would they go for him when the players they replaced are both so good in the lineout and Skelton is so poor in that area.
      Is there no one else available?
      Tahs should let him go, it will get him fitter.

    • SuckerForRed

      Wonder they aren’t looking at McDuling….. Might be a better fit for them. He went quite well in the Mitre10 cup.

    • ozrugbynut

      Would probably be a good move for Will. Hes not front line for the wbs at the moment so go away, pick up some experience in a more forward oriented NH setup and bring it back.

      • McWarren

        good idea oz, I’d like to see Will running around at about 125-130kg after a good season of NH rugby. I could make or break him.

        • Keith Butler

          I reckon that’s his ideal playing weight. If it came off, time at the Sarries would improve his scrum/lineout no end. Could be better for it.

        • ozrugbynut

          Might even be able to jump!

        • PeterK

          exactly if skelton started getting off the ground quickly then he would be worth having in the team

        • McWarren

          That should have read “It could make or break him”, “I” am no chance of either making or breaking him.

  • Tim

    6 sean, 7 Pocock, 8 Timani. With Hooper off the bench would be awesome!

    • PeterK

      Lineout still an issue

      Fardy, Pocock, Timani is more balanced.
      When Higgs is back next year
      Timani, Hooper / McMahon, Higgs

      • ozrugbynut

        Looking forward to having higgers back too. Hopefully will play to his potential after a bit of experience outside the bubble.

      • jamie

        Can’t agree on Higgers. He needs to prove himself first: he’s never shone in gold.

        • McWarren

          You mean Higgers with the 65% win rate as opposed to, say, Michael Hoopers 52%. I’d say one outshines the other.

        • jamie

          Well that’s a bullshit statistic and you know it. Are you saying Higgers is the point of difference? Actually laughed at loud at that.
          He’s always been a great super player but he’s never stepped up: ESPECIALLY at 8.

        • McWarren

          What I am saying Jamie is this claim that Higgers has never delivered in Wallabies colours doesn’t hold true. The guy has played 30 something tests and we’ve won 20 of them. I think that bodes well for him and should at least be taken into consideration when we are looking for real quality 6’s and 8’s. Higgers has never been given a good solid run at cementing a spot. He has always been dropped the minute Palu or McCalman were fit. So no I’m not saying he is the point of difference, although I think he could be, I am saying your claim that he hasn’t proved himself is bullshit. When he plays we win 60% of our tests, which is better than Hoopers but you don’t claim Hooper hasn’t proved himself.

        • jamie

          How many John Eales medals has Higgers won?

        • McWarren

          What a silly question.

        • jamie

          It’s my point though. Just because Higgers had a better performing team around him (or was facing worse opposition), doesn’t mean he’s a better player.

          Is Michael Lyngaugh (71%) better than Bernie Larkham? (66%)
          Is Higgers better than Mark Ella (52% win rate)?

  • Hitcho

    In the first half of the last test we were actually getting over the advantage line. I credit alot of this to Timani and Coleman.
    Poey is off for a year so Hooper will stay at 7 but on his return, Poey should start at 7, after all he is the world’s best 7 atm.

  • Bay35Pablo

    The ARU seriously couldn’t organise a piss up at a World Rugby buffet.
    Their press release says the members buying a share in the team is “valid for a year”.
    The Force press release says payable over 12 months.
    HUGE difference. You spend $1,000 for a say in the team for only 12 months. versus you have 12 months to pay $1,000 off.
    Seriously, do these marketing people even understand how to express themselves in the English language ….?

    • harro

      OK, that makes more sense. $1000/year to own part of a club didn’t seem very attractive

    • Joe King

      Oh dear! That’s a terrible mistake to make.

    • ozrugbynut

      Another reason all the back office should be centralised. All of it.

  • PeterK

    IMO Timani could end up being a lot better than Palu just by staying fit. Palu was cursed with so many injuries.

    He outplayed Read after all in the NZ game.

    • Missing Link

      Welcome PeterK. are you PeterK from The Roar? If so, you’ll enjoy it much better here.

      • PeterK

        yes I am he.

        I do think I will enjoy it a lot more, I am also on the forums.

        I copped so much hate and abuse from the kiwi’s yet the moderators blamed me.

        • Missing Link

          Yeah me too. I was banned about 3 years ago. It seems like posting “All Blacks by 50+” is OK but if you dare say “Wallabies will win” you are trolling. A kiwi must be a majority share holder in The Roar, that’s the only explanation.

        • PeterK

          I am surprised you remembered me from 3 years ago then. Has it been that long since your posts, I enjoyed them.
          I did push back at some kiwis but it seems they can dish it but can’t take it. They emailed the moderator about me as a group , complaining, they were so precious. They tried reporting my comments but that didn’t work since my comments were not abusive just objective and critical about some aspects of NZ rugby and the posters on roar.

        • Missing Link

          I still read the articles because they are mostly of decent quality and occasionally flick through the comments. Well I’m glad they had nothing to pin on you because my comments started dissapearing after a while then I got a reply from one of the head honchos saying “enough is enough, you are banned”. I guess that’s how politics work, I suppose.

          These are the same group of people who constantly get away with discrediting Spiro and David Lord in the comments when they write something which gets under their skin (not hard to do either).

          I remember you because you are one of the few who aren’t afraid to stand up to the bullies and make comments you believe in, instead of comments which tip toe around the giant sleeping black monster.

          Anyhow, stuff them, onto bigger and better things

        • Muzz

          Don’t they have their own sports websites in NZ? Or maybe these are flying monkeys.

        • Pearcewreck

          Hi Peter K & Missinglink,
          I haven’t looked at the Roar, but the same thing happens at Planet Rugby.
          That place is full of low-life Kiwi trolls, who are bad losers and even worse winners.
          What really gets me is that most of them live in Aus, support every NZ team (which I can handle), but then they always make pathetic gloating comments about how much better NZ is than Aus. They always put the boot into the Wallabies, 7’s and our Super Ruby teams.
          Yet they live here.

        • Adrian

          Some of the most voracious ones aren’t Kiwis though,..I’d have to say

        • Kokonutcreme

          Hi Pete

          Didn’t know you had been banned from the Roar. I don’t frequent the site as often as I used to.

          Always enjoyed your opinions even if we disagreed at times.

          There are trolls and passive/aggressive posts on any site, which comes with the territory.

          No better moderator than yourself in my opinion.

          Good to see you here.

          SamT

        • PeterK

          no not banned just put on moderation.

          Every comment I make has to go through the moderators.
          Very annoying when I am the one being abused by all the kiwis just because I think the AB’s are the most cynical infringers (aka cheats) out of all teams. I should be allowed to express that opinion. So then a gang of kiwis constantly follow me around and abuse me and report me, I reported them back and I am the one put on moderation not them.

        • Peter Morse

          Right on, his name is Spiro.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Damn. Caught me out

        • Missing Link

          Did you sell a house in Auckland to buy 51% of The Roar? :)

  • PeterK

    I do think the Force initiative is a good one.

    I wonder where there is smoke if there is fire. All the speculation that aust will have to cut a super rugby team.
    Personally I want super rugby to expand not contract, more teams, in more markets, means more broadcast dollars.
    More aussie teams means better depth.

    Brumbies rather than Force could be at risk if a team is cut.

    • Thoms

      I want the exact opposite of that (expand). It has destroyed the game in Australia.

      • PeterK

        When I say expand I mean into new markets like America, 2 USA teams , 2 canadian teams and another Argentinian team, 4 conferences. Keep aust with 5 teams. I do not want aust to have more teams.

        • Thoms

          There is no connection with them culturally, geographically or any other way. Makes no sense having them in this competition (I don’t agree with sharing our elite competition with South Africa, Argentina or Japan either but there is a hemispheric rugby tradition).

          North America is very remote, and also the season would clash with their (hot) summer.

          If North American rugby is going to align with another league it would be in Europe.

        • Pearcewreck

          Peter,

          No, no, no.
          That is the problem with Super Rugby in the first place.
          Too spread out, too complex, people don;t know who the SA teams are.
          Expansion that you speak of will make it worse.
          Split it into 2 new comps, Aus & NZ, and SA & Arg.
          Run those comps for about 18 – 20 weeks max.
          Super Rugby then can still exist in a European Cup type format with 16 to 20 teams from Aus, NZ, SA & Arg, 5 pools of 4 teams, qtrs, semi finals then final.
          All over in 9 weeks.

          So in summary, Super Rugby becomes 3 new, different comps.

        • McWarren

          Just what we need more local derbies to perfect our mediocrity.

  • PeterK

    The issue with Larkham mentoring another 10 is his vision for the game is so much better than most 10’s. Also his skills were sublime. What works for him most others can’t see, understand or execute. What is obvious to Larkham is hard to see to others, it must frustrate Larkham trying to convey his message and coach when they don’t get it and can’t do it.

    • SuckerForRed

      Yeah. Apparently Larkham commentates the game in the coaches box…… only thing is he is generally 2 plays ahead of the action. Can we clone him?

    • Missing Link

      I would love to see Larkham mentor Debreczeni from the Rebels. Debreczeni really needs some guidance from a former world class 10

    • The Slow Eater

      Sounds like Michael Jordan. The all-time best in the business but was unable to translate that into words that others could understand. He could just simply do it himself but couldn’t really explain to others how to do it themselves.

      BTW Peter – I enjoy your posts both here and on the roar. I often learn something so keep it up!

    • SuckerForRed

      Sounds like another 10 that we have running around at the moment…

  • Lens Tamanalevu

    What ability should one poses to be a 6? Is lineout jumping and speed a must? Coz if they aren’t, why not try Skelton at 6, Hooper 7 and Timani 8. Lock pairing of Adam Coleman and Rory Arnold. Might be a good combo against nothern Hemisphere teams who try to dominate in the forwards. One of Skeltons best abilities is that he get over the line when he runs and offloads and tackle hard. He isn’t fast though, actually quite slow so he might be a liability coz you need speed in any sports. But the scrums will be way better too if that becomes a line-up. And inject Mumm and MacMahon off the bench at 6 and 8 respectively to beat tiring legs of the oppsositiion no later then the 55th minute mark. Once Dempsey has enough experience, he should definitely replace Mumm as the substitute at 6.

    • PeterK

      Skelton is too slow.
      Ideally a 6 is a reasonable lineout target.
      At the minimum they should be either a fast impact player or a grinder with a high work rate. Skelton is neither of these.
      If Skelton got fit and thus could get off the ground quickly he would become a good lineout option, he has good hands. His mauling is his biggest point of difference IMO. With Arnold, Coleman and Timani I doubt if NH teams can out muscle the wallabies in the forwards anymore.

    • Adrian

      Agree 100% Lens.
      I might have Skelton at 8 and Timani at 6, but that’s irrelevant.
      Apparently Skelton is getting fitter, and had a blinder in last NRC game. His lineout needs to improve too,….abs and apparently he’s taken 1 or 2 a game lately. You are on the right track I think

      • Peter Morse

        I just do not think he is a backrower – EVER. He is simply too slow, too cumbersome and cannot play even a minor role in a lineout outside of being a lifter. His presence as a 6 or an 8 would be very quickly capitalised on by a good coach and it destabilises the pack in another way outside of the lack of balance the popper thing brings. We do have a great cupboard full of excellent loosies coming up, Higgers, Houston, Hollaway, Hannigan, McMahon, Timani, Hooper and a bunch of other 7’s that can’t break into it Liam effing Gill for example. Then there’s all those guys who stood up in the NRC. Skelton is not a backrower.

        • Adrian

          You’re probably right Peter.
          I just get carried away with the idea of a huge pack steam rolling Poms and Kiwis
          You are right too about new backrowers coming through.
          I am however a bit hopeful about Skelton getting fitter and becoming a useful lock who can jump a bit, and run and tackle a lot. He apparently played a blinder in last NRC game

        • Peter Morse

          Adrian I’m a big fan of Skelton’s, I really enjoy watching him play as a body shifting and offloading second rower playing in the tighter channels. His work in the mauls is also world class. People talk about him losing weight but I reckon most the weight he carries is from his hips down and that’s not easy weight to lose and its not easy weight to get off the ground.

        • mikado

          As a Pom, I’d be delighted to see Skelton in the Auusie team.

    • Thoms

      Dropping Hooper would be madness. He’s been our best player for the last couple of years.

      • PeterK

        Pocock has been better when they both played, just that Pocock has been injured more.
        Folau was better than Hooper in 2014 and 2015 up to the rwc where he was injured.

        • Thoms

          You have to be in to win in fairness. Unfortunately Pocock is injury prone. I wonder how many miles he has left on the clock.
          I would have both in the side when fit.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate I think the problem is that Skelton hasn’t really done any of that for a couple of years. Admittedly he was injured this year and that caused him more issues than he expected but to my mind Skelton has only really been a damaging runner a couple of times against lower rated opposition. When you take his lack of mobility around the field and the liability in the lineouts I really don’t see him in the team. Maybe he’ll come right but I think he needs to change a lot before that.

    • jamie

      Skelton doesn’t get over the gain line though… his stats are usually 5 runs for 3m…

      • PeterK

        true but he normally sucks in 2-3 defenders thus creating holes and he is good at offloading in the tackle.

        • ForceFan

          We keep hearing about Skelton’s off loads but we don’t see them – especially in Tests. He averaged 9 carries and ~2 OL/80 min in 2015 and 10 carries and <1 OL/80 min in 2016. He rarely offloaded in the NRC this year.

        • PeterK

          his form has been terrible and he doesn’t deserve to be in the squad

        • Adrian

          Last NRC game excellent. I think he made GAGR team of the week. Also good game v Chiefs. Very inconsistent I’d agree

  • Brisneyland Local

    I am still amazed that is has taken for POcock to walk away from the game to potentially bring some stability in the 6/7/8 combo. Please dont interpret this as me blaming him. I am amazed that we have played him out of position for so long. Oh well, lets see what the next year brings!

    • McWarren

      Agree BL, be it Pocock or Hooper that was chosen at 7, we should have bitten the bullet on picking an 8 last year. Its not like Timani has changed considerably in the last year. He would not have 12 months of test experience under his belt and Pocock and Hooper could have had a good old ding dong battle for the 7 spot. Another example of Australia Rugby coaches and community not being prepared to make hard long term decisions.

      • Braveheart81

        We also made the RWC Final last year which exceeded expectations. Swings and round abouts.

        • PeterK

          sure but Timani should have been included over McCalman who had been tried and found wanting often.
          Timani and Kerevi should have been a chance in the RC to see if they could cut it.

        • Braveheart81

          It was an abbreviated Rugby Championship that we won all three games in. The Pocock and Hooper combination was very successful for RC test against the All Blacks where they both started. We built to the RWC well and performed very well there finishing second. I think it is plainly incorrect to say that we should have been experimenting with brand new players in the lead up to the RWC and that would have somehow put us in a better position to do well.

        • PeterK

          Do not agree, very good performing super rugby players replacing non performing players like McCalman would have been the right thing to do. Cheika did not blood any players last year.
          I am not saying Timani and Kerevi should have started, they should have had a chance off the bench and then would have been included in the rwc. I never stated that Pooper was not successful last year that it should not have been used all year. The point is both Timani and Kerevi would have more experience and perhaps Kerevi would have replaced an underperforming Kuridrani and Timani would have been on the bench.

        • Braveheart81

          McCalman had a pretty solid RWC including an excellent performance against Wales. But sure, Cheika should have spent his RWC preparation experimenting to find out the last few spots in the squad rather than focusing on the preparation of the core team.

          Which teams exactly spent their limited preparation for the RWC trying to blood new players? It’s bizarre to suggest that would have been a sensible approach for the coach to take.

          The year after the RWC and we have blooded a lot of new players and they are getting opportunities now. Pretty much all of them have taken some time to find their feet in test rugby.

        • PeterK

          Only blooded due to injuries (exception Coleman) if not for that Cheika keeps over valuing experience over performance.
          You know what McCalman can and cannot provide so try Timani and if he doesn’t perform fine bring back McCalman for the rwc, it was a win / win.
          I am only talking about 2 new players after all.

        • McWarren

          And perhaps won the RWC final. The Kiwi’s read the Pooper like a book and nullified it. Look we probably wouldn’t have won the thing but I feel we’d be in better shape now. But that’s hindsight for you hey?

        • Braveheart81

          Maybe we’d be in slightly better shape right now with a few of these players having played a few more tests but the repercussions of that could have easily been an inferior RWC. What’s being suggested is akin to saying an Olympic athlete should try and peak the year after the Olympics. It makes no sense.

          We had an excellent RWC year, our key players were all healthy and we performed above expectations.

          Like just about every team, there is substantial turnover after a RWC, new players get their opportunity and we look to build again.

        • McWarren

          Yeah I guess where my thinking is, I didn’t think we had much chance of winning the RWC anyway. I would have liked to see a 5 year plan to win in Japan. With all the upheaval we’d had 18 months prior to the RWC I believe we just needed to take a breath and look further into the future. We panicked a little, had the rules changed for os players etc and now find ourselves in a situation where injuries, sabbaticals and os contracts are really hurting us.
          Using your Olympics analogy, its like a young rower or runner just coming back from injury getting the Olympic experience behind them to make a strong challenge 4 years later.

  • Thoms

    Dropping Hooper is unfathomable but I feel we need to accomodate Pocock in the same team. The guy is a boss. The pros outweigh the cons.

  • Hoss

    ‘The best number 8 since Palu” – he’s been our only bloody 8 since Palu.

    • jamie

      Timani can easily be a better 8 than Palu. All he needs to do is stay fit and perform how he has been consistently.

  • Blue

    The Western Force are offing ownership for Life at a cost of $1000. The Certificate of ownership cannot be sold but the club can buy it back, but it can be bequeathed to another family member. Same set up as Barcelona FC and the Green Bay Packers NFL.

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@Hughadams01

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