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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News sees results from the weekend, Thorn furious at his team, Hooper disappointed at discipline and the latest from the Sevens.


The weekend that was

Dale Haylett-Petty offloads in a Bernard Foley tackle.

Dale Haylett-Petty offloads in a Bernard Foley tackle.

All up, it was a pretty good weekend for Aussie rugby fans, with two of the better matches we’ve had so far this year played out in Canberra and Tokyo.

First up, the Brumbies put a smile back on this news writers face against the Reds, coming from 0-15 inside the first fifteen minutes to run out 45-21 winners in front of the Canberra faithful.

The second half was where shit went sideways for the visitors, with the Brumbies outscoring the Reds 33-3. The night was capped off with a try to David Pocock, who looks to have finally reignited the Brums forward dominance with a couple of awesome driving maul tries.

As for the Reds, well, I’ll let Brad Thorn explain in a minute.

Secondly, the Waratahs put the Moon Dogs to the sword, running out 29-50 victors. It’s the second time in their last three matches that the Tahs have crossed the half-century, which suggests that there attack is finally starting to find some form. They’re going to need it against the Kiwis.

Discipline however remains a bit of an issue, with Michael Hooper having a bit of a disappointing game that saw him be sent to the sin bin.

The results sees the Tahs close the gap on the Rebels in the conference and move up to sixth overall, while the Ponies move into the top eight, overtaking the Reds.

In other results from the weekend, the Hurricanes got a scare against the Sharks, scoring a try after the bell to win 38-37. The boys from Durban look to have really found some form in New Zealand, which could make things interesting back in the Saffa conference.

All the other results were pretty predictable: the Chiefs downed the Blues 21-19, the Lions knocked over the Stormers 52-31, and the Jags continued their inconsistent form with a 14-40 loss against the Crusaders.

In the final regular round of the Super W, the Melbourne Women lost 0-57 to NSW Women in Melbourne. While it was a pretty one-sided game, the Rebels girls actually put in a good performance against a really superior opponent, and kept at it till the end.

The big win came for the Western Force Women, who knocked over the Brumbies Women in Canberra 10-29 to take the bronze position. The WA girls were the big X-Factor performers in the competition this year, and their efforts goes to show that rugby in the West is certainly not dying anytime soon.

The NSW Women will play out the final next week against Queensland Women.

You guys are so immature!

Brad Thorn and James Slipper post match press conference

Brad Thorn and James Slipper post match press conference

Brad Thorn is not happy. After his side had a 0-15 lead against the Brumbies, he was furious that they took their foot off the throat and allowed the Ponies to trample all over them.

So disappointed that he was with their performance, he slammed in the post-game press conference.

“I thought it was an immature performance from our team,” Thorn said. 

“Coming off the bye, I felt we were a little bit flat in the warmup perhaps – sometimes you just see how it goes.

“We started the game well, but when you get in those strong positions that’s when you need to keep putting the pressure on and, I guess, keeping your foot on the throat.

“Credit to the Brumbies, they chipped their way back into the game and the momentum swung which it does in professional footy.”

So where did things go wrong? Well, discipline for a start.

“I think we were called offside three or four times,” Thorn added.

“Little things like that where they got a penalty, kicked downfield and had field position.

“Losing Chris (Feauai-Sautia) for 10 minutes is always tough against a good side at that time of the game.

“I think we had a few tries against us in that period but that’s Super Rugby – it’s tough to win games of Super Rugby.

“You’re not always going to feel fizzing as a team.

“We had a big trip, we had a bye  we prepped well this week  but I’ve played plenty of games where I felt flat, that’s fine, but you’ve still got to get the job done.

“Perhaps early on things came reasonably comfortably, but it’s definitely a learning curve.”

By comparison, Ponies coach Dan McKellar was all smiles.

“Tonight was a step forward, it was excellent,” McKellar said to rugby.com.au.

“In the second half we managed to create space and have the confidence to and the belief to play footy, to back ourselves.

“In this game you have to have pretty thick skin and just believe in what you’re doing.

“I’ll give it to the players – at no stage over the last few weeks have they come and said they don’t think this is working.

“They believe in the change we are trying to make and we just have to stick at it.”

“We speak a lot about resilience, it’s one of our pillars within our group, within our club, and I thought the boys showed a lot of that tonight – we had to.”

They’ll need all the confidence they can get when they head to Dunedin next week.

Speaking of discipline…

Michael Hooper with a black eye at the post-match press conference

Michael Hooper

Michael Hooper was not happy too.

Despite the fact that the Tahs got a big win in Tokyo, Hoops was furious at his own lack of discipline throughout the match – which included getting a yellow card.

“I obviously had 10 minutes on the sideline there and I was disappointed in that decision that I made there,” he said to rugby.com.au.

“I put the team under pressure, allowed the Sunwolves to get some good attacking ball and score a try inevitably around the scrum, where I would have been on the field

“ I’ve got to work with my relationship there with the referee and get those decisions right.”

Discipline really is the Achilles heel of the Tahs at the moment. Despite dominating the game, they got pinged fifteen times compared to the Moon Dogs three times.

“Particularly in that first half a lot of penalties put us under pressure and probably allowed the Sunwolves to really play their game and get in our field against the wind,” he said.

“We wanted to try and slow the Sunwolves down.

“We know that they play a fast game and that was evidenced tonight by a few of their tries, which were excellent.

“Unfortunately, the referee saw things differently at the breakdown. Penalty count of 15-3.

“We did try and get on the ball, I was pleased with that.”

The Tahs head home to host the Reds next round in Sydney.

And finally, in Hong Kong…

Sydney Sevens 2017 Hutchison runs v Scotland

A weakened Aussie Sevens team has had a bit of a shocker at the Hong Kong Sevens, finishing last in their pool.

With most of the Sevens players competing on the Gold Coast, the Aussie team fielded eight debutants, so it was going to be a tough ask for the boys.

But it wasn’t all bad news for the young-uns.

They started the day in line to the Challenge Cup (the second lowest tier stage of the knockout side to the competition), they’ve had a bit more success.

The boys snapped a losing streak to England, winning 17-14, and then headed into the semi-finals to face France.

Despite a valiant effort, they went down 24-12. France went on to win the Challenge Cup, while Fiji picked the major honours by winning the whole tournament. Our boys finished in 11th.

Check out more of the details here. 

  • Thomas English

    Couple of things: attack has never been the Tahs’ problem.
    It’s more about go forward, against the Sunwolves, no one would struggle that much considering their forward size.

    It must be hard to whinge about lack of discipline as a skipper, if you were sent off aye?

    • Parker

      He wasn’t whingeing, just calling a spade a spade and identifying what’s a priority for remediation.

    • Jack Mallick

      That’s why he’s having a crack at himself I’d say

  • Custard Taht

    The second half was a bit disappointing for the Reds. They are a young team and sometimes you get growing pains. I am sure the lads will learn from this and be better for it. But Thorne is certainly starting to build something good at the Reds.
    Thorne is definitely going to be a good one. RA should be looking at bringing him into the Wallabies set-up during the international tests for exposure and development.

    The Tahs going better than people think, and will win 2 of their games against kiwi teams. They played down a little bit on the weekend. Hooper needs to work on his discipline, he is a yellow card magnet. He is so important to the Tahs, that losing him for 10mins magnifies the impact his time out has on the team and game.

    The Brumbies played well and Pocock is an absolute weapon. This game is a false dawn though, the Highlanders will bring them crashing to earth.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Personally mate while I agree with everything you say about Thorn, I think in his first year it is far too early to bring him into the Wallaby fold. Thorn is on a pretty steep learning curve himself so why rush him into an environment where he would be taken away from the learning he’s doing with the Reds.?

      • Custard Taht

        It is more about ongoing future development and gaining exposure to different ideas and thoughts. I also think he could inject some fresh ideas and energy into the squad. Not advocating him for him to be the next wallaby coach, but just helping his development, like how we take future prospects on spring tour.

        • Xaviera

          I’m not averse to the idea of BT being in the Wallaby tent – I would like to think that some of his mindset may straighten up some of Cheika’s faults. A new, improved, 2.0 Cheika instilled with some of BT’s better traits would be a VERY good coach.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Thats only on the basis that Cheika would actually listen to BT. It has been clearly demonstrated previously that the guy is incapable of listening!

        • Xaviera

          True that. However, I’d like to think that if they wanted BT in the fold, they may actually take note of what he says, and perhaps more importantly, what he does. I reckon in the small confines of the coaching space, BT would be hard to ignore. Call it culture by osmosis….

        • Brisneyland Local

          you would hope! If I were Thorn, I wouldnt go in there at all.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I agree. Besides taking him in to the Cheika environment might undo some of the good that he is developing.

        • onlinesideline

          I dont think Thorn would accept an invo from Cheika anyhow.
          Thorn wouldnt tolerate the Pooper for one second
          they would clash within a week
          (be a good stare down between those 2)

        • Brisneyland Local

          Fuck Yeah!

          Fight Fight Fight! ;-)

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Has Brad Thorn really done much to earn the praise he is receiving?

      If he is the one behind the Reds’ scrum then it certainly seem that he knows his scrummaging, but beyond that what have we really seen from the Reds?

      We’ve seen a team that can defend well, in patches, but who are often not able to put points on the board.

      You can draw parallels with Mooney, but when Mooney was bringing through his young team you could see a really proactive game plan and a team with the capacity to win the comp in the future. With Thorn you see a bunch of Brad Thorn clones who are high on physicality but not hugely intelligent and creative.

      Maybe Thorn will be a future great coach, I don’t know, but he hasn’t achieved anything to date to suggest he should be anywhere near the Wallabies set up.

      • juswal

        On a foundering ship, if there’s a big bloke who picks up the lifeboat and says “Come on!”, everyone will follow. And they’ll believe in him all the way, they’ll trust him to do anything and see them to safety . . . right up until a shark takes him.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I’m not writing Thorn off, but he needs to display more than he currently has before we declare him as future international coach.

      • Gallagher

        To still be the WORST attacking team in the comp, and to have one of the best defenses (albiet this is sliding as we are now only 6th best), doesn’t tell me anything more than he should be using ALL his resources to get results, having hope and muscles will only get you so far until injuries inevitably occur and team losses that are occuring lose the trust the new Coach has insitilled via a ‘fake it till you make it’ mantra. To see Quade go two from two for Souths in their second match on the weekend, performing at near MOM quality and showing far more creativity and leadership than Lance or any other ten we have (and not defending at fullback) is just rediculous to not have him involved at all! Not to say the other Wallaby back in the squad in Hunt should be seriously looked at as well…

        • Gallagher
        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          And with one of the best attacking players in the comp in Samu Kerevi.

          Cheers for that, I personally still hope that Quade shifts to the Brumbies so we can do away with Hawera and Godin.

        • onlinesideline

          you honestly think brumbies or Rebs would take him at this stage of the season ? – I think there is absolute buckleys – those articles in paper recently dont think mirrored thoughts of coaches whatsoever

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I heard that the Brumbies DID try and get him but that QRU wouldn’t release him for only 50% of his contract. Unsure of truth of this.

          But realistically I think there is a good chance that the Brumbies would take him if they could. One of the Brumbies’ biggest issues is that they have a good 10/12 in Lealiifano, but that the other options are Hawera and Godwin, who just aren’t very good at this level, and Dargaville and I guess Verity-Amm, who are more like Nathan Grey type 12s rather than distributors.

        • onlinesideline

          oh ok – interesting. The soap opera that is Australian rugby just keeps on giving.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Doesn’t it? And with Folau too now…

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah but getting Quade won’t solve the issue of slow distribution from the half which is their biggest issue.

        • Gallagher

          It’s not the same argument, we have a choice at 10, but at 9 we didn’t sign Genia back, and behind the excellent pack (that we had prior to thorn I might add), he will do wonders like he did in 2011, and like he’s doing behind the souths good pack.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Sorry mate talking about him going to the Ponies, not back into the Reds. I think both Powell and Lucas are slow distributors of the ball and that’s one reason why the 10 and 12 are struggling

        • Adrian

          I think Cooper could be best used by Rebs, at 5/8, next to his old mate.

          I agree about slow halfbacks at Reds.

          Though I’m quite sure no-one here would agree, I’d try Cooper at 9 for Reds. Best passer in the game, still fast. At halfback he wouldn’t be able to effect the overall game plan as much as at 5/8, which could suit BT.

          I know it won’t happen, just musing about what I would do

      • HK Red

        Haven’t the Reds had a pretty solid scrum for quite a while? It fell off last year as Styles spent more time on overall duties, rather than solely looking after the forwards. However, I think Thorn would have been handed a relatively solid, knowledgeable base to start with. Just needed a good kick up the bum.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Which ones do you think they’ll win?

      • onlinesideline

        Cheika by a country mile – Thorn stronger – Cheika unhinged (fight in the dog)
        edit: sorry thought u meant the fight

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well according to ESPN, that makes Mr Hooper the most YC’d player! Just what we want for our Wallabies Captain.

    http://stats.espnscrum.com/scrum/rugby/records/player/most_yellow_cards.html?id=1;type=class

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Morning BLL. Another fine day here is Sydney. TBH I’m not too concerned about a 7 giving away penalties as they tend to live on the edge of the law anyway. The issue I see is that he still hasn’t learned how to read the referee and modify his game appropriately. It’s almost like “I play this way so that’s how it is” and I think that’s a bit naive, certainly for the captain of the team.
      A bit of a wake up call for the Reds and I think with Thorn it’ll be a lesson learnt, not just one of those things, although this week will be even harder for them I think. It’ll come down to tactics more than players if they want to win this week.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Morning KRL, Another day here in paradise in Brissy. Yeah I am happy with the 7 being on the fringe, but Hooper , as you have rightly pointed hasnt learnt yet. McCaw, Smith, Pocock dont give away cards at that rate. This is concerning, particularly for the Ireland match, as we know there will be niggle, adnn we know they will target Hooper. We know that they will target POcock too, but he wont give away the cards!
        Re the Reds, I was always concerned goig in to that match, playing a team that has just taken a shellacking in a match that they would be generally expected to win, is always going to be a big ask. Hopefully the Reds will come at it hard, as I know BT will be riding hard this week. We know the Reds have heart, and fitness, they just need more discipline.

        • Brumby Runner

          Look on the bright side then BLL. The Reds are coming off a shellacking in a match they were expected to win. Absolute certainties now for next weekend.

        • Brisneyland Local

          That is what I am hoping. But as it is the Reds I will not get my expectations up. But there is nothing more that I would like to see than the Baby Reds giving it to the Waratarts, Six of the best , trousers down, old school style!

      • Dally M

        To be fair to Hooper, in this situation he got penalised & carded for the exact same thing the Moondogs had been allowed to get away with all match.

        Bit hard to read the referee in those instances.

    • HK Red

      That’s the Test record.
      I’ve had a scout around, but can’t find a list for Super Rugby.

  • Mart

    In other news, where’s the podcasts?

    • Brisneyland Local

      Yep I hear you! It is driving me insane.

    • Braveheart81

      Whatever the opposite of an Easter Miracle is… that’s where the podcast is.

    • onlinesideline

      you always remind me of the “flight ranger” from Skippy up in the copter for some very weird reason ….. is that a mouth piece in your pic ? Are you commenting on GGR while flying ?

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I need my rugby report card.

      • Mart

        Ha, yeah I fly blackhawks…

        Nah that was the one and only time I’ve been in a helicopter, over whitsundays. Just thought it was a good pic ;)

        • onlinesideline

          ah good – so Im not crazy then
          OK Roger that
          Sonny’s gone for a walk with Skip
          His older sister is back at base and all oiled up

  • Missing Link

    Interesting results from the weekend, the Tahs didn’t beat the Sunwolves by as much as expected, the Brumbies did a job on the Reds which is interesting because McKellar was under siege not that long ago.

    The Hurricanes vs. Sharks was a cracker. brute force won it for the Hurricanes in the end but the Sharks lost the game, not other way around. Notable change was West for B.Barrett and the Hurricanes didn’t look like the same team. Is he really that much of a difference?

    • Braveheart81

      The best player in World Rugby two years running versus a guy who hasn’t been able to lock down a starting position in Super Rugby?

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        The really top teams can usually survive a few injuries to key players.

        Take the Crusaders, they’re lacking Read, Moody, Franks, Mounga and have been without Whitelock and Crotty for key periods, but they’ve still mostly gotten it done. The fact that the Canes were so much worse without Barrett makes me think that the Crusaders are probably still the best team in the comp. Just for a change…

        • Braveheart81

          I agree, I was responding specifically to whether West was that much of a drop from Barrett though.

          Hurricanes are also missing at least Dane Coles, Ardie Savea, Blade Thomson, Nehe Milner-Skudder, and Toby Smith who would be in their best 23 so it’s not like Barrett was the only player missing.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, that’s a fair point, but I think the qualitative difference of those guys are less than the Crusaders who are missing a lot of clear first choice players. A lot of the Canes’ guys out would likely be bench players.

          Would Milner-Skudder even make the first choice 15 at this point? Seems crazy but I’m not sure that he would, but I guess he would probably push Savea out.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Your on for that. Name the place and name the time.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I think the Reds should perhaps be (slight) favourites if Tupou is injury free. The Waratahs excel in a loose game given their highly mobile forwards and their quick, attacking backs.

      But their forwards are not great at the tight stuff (scrum especially) and can be turnstiles in defence. I can literally see the Reds intentionally knocking the ball on in order to be able to scrummage :P

      • Brisneyland Local

        I am hoping the Reds will do well. Considering the Tahs forwards struggled against the Moon Doggies. No Israel certainly helps. Take the scrum.

      • Huw Tindall

        Deliberate knock on = yellow card? Is that only for the defensive team?? :D

  • formerflanker

    How is it that Hooper is both a seagull and a penalty magnet at the breakdown?
    Asking for a friend.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      he spends most of his time seagulling around the outside backs and then when he does commit to a ruck or maul he gets it wrong. Just saying for your friend

      • Brisneyland Local

        Gold!

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    Yes the third place finish by the Force woman is a positive however the 30% drop in junior registration shows the long term damage to WA rugby outweigh any short term sugar hit that Rugby Australia claim they are getting. It remains the dumbest and short sighted decision that was executive in the most unprofessional way imaginable in sport in 2017. Thanks to Clyne, Pulver and Eales WA Rugby was set back at least 5 years and it will cost far more than the $6 million “savings” to repair the damage.

    • Perth girl

      Agree Hannes. I’ve also heard that some grade players have either gone over East to try their luck or gone to League because of the lack of pathway for them. Well done to the WF ladies, lets hope RA dont decide to “amalgamate” them with the Rebels ladies!

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        It will take a long time to repair the damage. If you had 37 junior and lost 30% that means that instead of fielding two teams you can only field one. That means that you most likely lose another 20% as they do not get game time. All thanks to Clyne, Pulver and Eales dumb decision! At least Eales and Pulver realised their time is up, Clyne is still to dumb to realise that he is the devisive figure that prevent rugby to move forward.

    • Bakkies

      I see the scumbags have announced a $3.8 million loss and proven liar de Clyne used that as a reason to justify cutting the Force. The arsehole just doesn’t get it.

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        He spend $10.2 million on the Rebels! There is the hole in his pocket!

  • Mica

    Felt for the Sharks on Friday night.
    ‘Canes definitely got a number of home ground calls from the officials.
    As a neutral, I thought it was pretty ordinary, as some were pretty obvious/blatant.
    Still, plenty of teams travelling to South Africa deal with this, so maybe the lads from Durban can appreciate the irony. Botha was all class in his reaction post match, so Kudos to him in showing how a Captain should behave when they get the rough end of the pineapple.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Yeah I was relieved more than happy with that result. Good to see the Sharks finally starting to live up to their team sheet. I can see them kicking on after this leg as they seem to have gained some self belief

      • Mica

        Agreed – Both JLDP and Curwin Bosch could be frighteningly good in years to come.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Curwin Bosch’s kick return that sparked the final Sharks try was sick.

          Betweem him, Willemse and Gelant the Boks won’t be lacking for attacking flair in years to come.

        • Missing Link

          Bosch has incredible pace as well, good enough to burn most wingers.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He burned Tom Banks (albeit already having a bit of speed on him while Banks tried to get him on the angle), which isn’t the easiest thing to do. Because of Willemse I see him perhaps playing more for the Boks as fullback than as flyhalf though.

          He also has a Frans Steyn-esque boot. I remember in the Sharks-Lions QF last year in the final minutes he kept going for drop goals from about 40m out that continually went dead and forced the Lions to keep taking drop outs, thereby trapping them in their half. It was a great tactic and it was only a freaking Lions breakout and then a long range Combrinck penalty that got them out of it.

  • Bakkies

    I believe the RA AGM is today. I am waiting to see the annual report.

    • Ed

      http://issuu.com/australianrugbyunion/docs/rugby_au_2017_annual_report?e=24291087/60015407

      A surplus of $17.8 million, much of it from a rebalance of its future foreign currency contracts.

      Marketing costs were $1.1 million less, which makes sense considering the lack of promoting the domestic tests last year.

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        Pathetic bunch of figures. If Rugby Australia was a business they would be bankrupt! Lots of excuses for a self created crisis and Clyne does not have the maturity to release he had to do what Eales did – he is part of the problem not the solution.

      • Ed

        My bad. I missed the $20.6 million government grant, so there was an operating deficit of $3.8 million.

  • Reinforce

    Interestingly – no commentary on Israel Folau’s “Gays are going to hell” and “I am righteous cause I am being persecuted because of my godly stance”.
    I find his comments upsetting and not where society and certainly not where rugby stands, at least not where I have played for various clubs over 15 years. We loved our gay brethren and should it exist I would be very happy to share beers in heaven/hell with my gay brothers and sisters.

    • formerflanker

      Perhaps there is no commentary because it generates mis-quoting like yours.
      I can understand why you are upset but to inflame the situation with incorrect attributions doesn’t help informed discussion.

  • onlinesideline

    whats happening on the Karmichael Hunt front ?

Rugby
@Nick_Wasiliev

Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician and second-rower trying to kick start a writing career in an increasingly bonkers world...

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