Monday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby
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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News sees a review of our hot and cold super rugby performances, the Irish squad for the upcoming series, illicit drug policy changes and nipples. 


THE COMEBACK CONTINUES (sort of)

Marika Koroibete

Big Boy’s got to eat some meat pies over the weekend

After last weekend’s historic victory over the Highlanders, the light has shone through a little more in our Super Rugby results from this round. First up it was the Rebels who dusted up a Sunwolves side (albeit understrength) in a 40-13 win.

In a typical Sunwolves encounter, the points margins were high and they game was free flowing, with the flying Fijian Marika Koroibete dotting down for three tries and Jack Maddocks crossing for two of his own. It was an important win for the boys from Melbourne as they keep in touch with Waratahs while trying to remain in Michael Cheika’s sights for the upcoming June series. In particular, Koroibete and the young Maddocks are starting to put together a nice little case to put forward for Judge Cheika and his juror’s Larkham, Grey, Byrne and recently appointed Raiwalui.

 

The Waratahs were next for Australian super sides but went down fighting in a 39-27 loss to the Chiefs. After leading the game 14 nil inside 13 minutes, the Tahs lost momentum and struggled to reclaim it despite a Kurtley Beale try midway through the second half.

This really felt like a game the Waratahs could’ve, should’ve and would’ve but ultimately walked away with nothing, conceding a try after the bell taking away a bonus point.

As reported in the SMH, Daryl Gibson revealed both his satisfaction and disappointment at getting so close once again to beating those darn Kiwi’s. “We’re close … we’re competing,” Gibson said. “To come so close and yet still be not where we want to be [is pleasing]. There’s plenty there to work on. We had no problems scoring tries, we’ve got to really work on preventing them.”

 

The Reds followed suit with a narrow 18-15 loss to the Highlander’s at home on Saturday night. A lack of discipline which has plagued the Queenslander’s in previous years returned, with a 77 minute penalty goal sealing the 3 point loss.

Statistically, Brad Thorn’s men were dominant over his mates across the ditch in all categories except one; penalties.

Courtesy of Rugby Australia stats, the Reds conceded 10 penalties to the Highlanders 6 and against quality opposition you can’t allow them any extra opportunities to tick the scoreboard over.

 

Finally it was the Brumbies who finished off the fixture list with a hard fought victory over the Bulls, 38-28. Playing at Loftus, the Brumbies didn’t have it all their own way, conceding two tries in the first half as well as a 61st minute red card for Folau Fainga’a.

Yet the Canberrans (surely they don’t call themselves this) found a way to win, something Australian sides have struggled to do in the past.

Kyle Godwin looked like his 2013 self while Tom Banks continued his stunning tour of South Africa with a brilliant solo effort to grab a meat pie. Yum.

IRE (LAND) WE READY?

Joe Schmidt marshaling the troops

Joe Schmidt marshaling the troops

After many predicted Joe Schmidt to leave Ireland’s big-name players at home for the upcoming June series down under, the selectors have named a full strength squad to face the Wallabies.

According to The Independent, the move has been seen as a sign of intent following the 6 Nations triumph to secure a Southern Hemisphere tour victory for the first time since 1979.

Privately, the squad are quietly confident they can repeat the clean sweep achieved by the Eddie Jones coached England team in 2016 and have brought Sexton and co to make it a reality.

Coupled with England starting to look less and less like the challengers to take on New Zealand in next year’s world cup, if Ireland can beat us on our home soil, they shape up as the main rivals for the Kiwis. (Besides Australia of course)

The side will join up for camp after the end of their club seasons this weekend the make their way to the Gold Coast to acclimatise before the first test in Brisbane on 23rd of June.

The Wallabies squad for the series will be named sometime this week.

The full 32-man Irish squad:

Forwards: Tadhg Beirne, Rory Best (captain), Jack Conan, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Dan Leavy, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, Peter O’Mahony, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, James Ryan, John Ryan, CJ Stander, Devin Toner.

Backs: Bundee Aki, Ross Byrne, Joey Carbery, Andrew Conway, John Cooney, Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Rob Kearney, Jordan Larmour, Kieran Marmion, Conor Murray, Garry Ringrose, Johnny Sexton, Jacob Stockdale.

ILLICIT DRUG POLICY CHANGES

Raelene Castle pondering changes to the illicit drug policy

Raelene Castle pondering changes to the illicit drug policy

After James Slipper failed his 2nd drug test for cocaine inside 4 months, rugby.com.au reports that the illicit drug policy is coming under review.

Under the current policy, only the national body’s integrity unit and chief medical officer and Queensland’s chief medical officer were told of the first positive test, with the rest of the club completely unaware until a second positive test in May.

QRU chairman Jeff Miller on Thursday asked for a review of the policy, with the Reds left upset after being unaware of Slipper’s drug-related issues on top of some personal issues he has been dealing with.

Rugby AU’s policy is the exact same as the NRL’s and more rigorous than the AFL policy, which allows two tests to be kept private from even the club doctor. (‘Such is life’ hey?)

Raelene Castle made probably the most cliché comment you’ll ever hear from a CEO on whether it needed to be changed, saying “we need to have a good honest conversation about it and make sure it’s really delivering to what we need it to with the facts and figures in front of us.”

Wow. Thanks for that.

It’s an interesting issue with a few differing opinions as to whether the use of illicit drugs should be examined at all. Former wallaby and journalist Peter FitzSimons, who never has an opinion on anything, offered up his opinion to the WWOS.

“I don’t do drugs, I don’t like drugs, any kids watching, don’t do them.”

“But if James Slipper chooses to take cocaine on a Saturday night it is none of my damn business.”

“I wish he wouldn’t do it but it’s none of my damn business.”

The WWOS also reported that Slipper himself will come under some serious scrutiny and may lose his job due to Brad Thorn’s hard lined (not white may I add) approach. Thorn himself had this to say.

“It’s a tough one because obviously Slips has been struggling and there’s some compassion around that and caring for that and supporting that,”

“The other side is, cocaine – you can’t have that.”

“As a head coach of the club, I’ve got all my young guys in here, Queensland Rugby, watching my sons play rugby at school.”

NIPPLES IN THE SPOTLIGHT

High tackle 1

Get your hands off my neck and below my nipples!

Yep. Nipples I said.

According to Radio Sport in NZ, World Rugby is trialing a change to Law 9.13, which focuses on the acceptable tackling contact height. Basically the big change is that now contact must be below the nipples (still funny to mention) instead of the armpits and has introduced a new directive for the tackler to make a greater emphasis on the tackler to bend at the waist instead of being in an upright position.

Dr Martin Raftery, World Rugby’s chief medical officer said that “This trial is designed to remove the tackler’s head from a high-risk situation through a deterrent based on a combination of law amendment, sanction and technique change,”

The change is causing plenty of talk amongst all rugby lovers with former player Drew Mitchell twittering away his displeasure along with a funny little one from James ‘Chibba’ Hanson.

 

  • onlinesideline

    CARRRRRRRRRRRNNNNNNNNNNN’ THE WALLABIES
    whens the team announced ?
    teach these bloody Irish dreamers a thing or two about what country they’re about to land in.
    You are about to land in the greatest sporting nation per capita that ever existed in the history of bloody everything, infinity,

    Regards from Budapest
    bhahahahahahahhaa

    • Ed

      Squad is announced on Kick and Chase this Wednesday onside.

    • 22DropOut

      I’ll always remember in Auckland in 2011 that the Wallabies supporters in the stands were shocked to be behind in the Irish game and felt that Australia had a divine right to win because it’s Australia versus Ireland, oblivious to the reality. The gap appears significantly larger now.

      However, talk of a 0-3 is fanciful.

      • onlinesideline

        fair enough though, we had beaten them enough times to be smart arses about it :) – but yeah they are looking good. Should be a close series. All I know is that we better get off to a good start in 1st match as Im worried we will be under cooked.How may proper training sessions can we get in – 2 if we are lucky. Stupid time to have these series, such bad planning.

        • Ed

          Probably two sessions before the first test. Combinations and those who know Cheika’s tactics will most likely to be picked. That would be why I think Tevita will get the nod for Brisbane as he knows the defensive tango that takes place.

      • Kevino

        0-3 is not fanciful.

        Ireland have won 12 straight with 2 of those being a side Australia has lost the last 4 against.

        Ireland are currently ranked second in the world for a reason. The Irish back row will destroy Cheika current set up as they have the balance and the tactics. Australia don’t have a 6 or 8 to compete with Ireland. Ireland has two of the best jumpers in World Rugby. Has a stronger front row, has a better halfs combo and main thing is they have in form teams performing domestically. I struggle to name three Wallabies who would currently start for Ireland. Pocock at 7 and Falou at Full Back would be it.

        Also Ireland has a nice set up going, 3-0 will make 15 straight. First two tests in November are Italy and Argentina which hopefully has them at 17 straight. Who do they play in Dublin for the record? New Zealand.

        • Mica

          I can’t argue with anything you’ve said, but you’re still wrong….. :)
          In all seriousness though, if both teams play to their potential it will be close and will be a cracking series.
          If this happens I will be one happy rugby fan regardless of the result. (psssst at least 2 wins to Aus.)

        • 22DropOut

          Ireland are deservedly the favourites to win the series but a clean sweep is extremely difficult to achieve. New Zealand has rarely won 3 on the bounce in Australia (I think 2010 is the most recent)

          Ireland traditionally do not tour well and are travelling a long way after a gruelling season and the Australian players will be fresher. The favourites tag generally doesn’t sit well with Ireland either

          On a side-note, if a combined team was being picked right now I think that Leavy would edge Pocock out at 7.

        • Fatflanker

          I’ll be very interested to see that stronger Irish front row put to the test. Referee selection will be a huge factor in this series.

        • Brumby Runner

          Unfortunately. NH refs if appointed will make it tough for the Wallabies.

    • Callum

      I’m not sure where you are getting your data for greatest sporting nation per capita from, maybe not greatest but certainly the top quarter or so.

      Ireland to have too much depth in the pack and better half backs, 0-3 to Ireland but Australia to improve on the last few years performances

      • onlinesideline

        it was tongue in cheek BUT while we are on it – name me a nation that has 20 million people that comes regularly in top 5 to top 10 in olympic medal count, has won numerous world cups in various sports, dominated in surfing, hawaiian iron man, 500cc bikes, won first amerca cup as a foreigner ….. no nation comes close per capita. I would love to know who you had in mind.

        • Missing Link

          “greatest f’ing country in the world”

      • laurence king

        The man is giving his opinion, and yes in terms of opinion, it’s right out there, it’s opinionated, it’s one-eyed, it’s dreaming …that’s sort of like visionary isn’t it? I like it

        • onlinesideline

          mate Im flattered with the metaphors but Im still waiting for an answer to my question :)

        • Hoss

          No such things as facts anymore mate.

          It’s all opinion that counts, anything that differs from your (spot-on) opinion is Fake news anyway.

          Its a brave new world. A four times bankrupt, misogynistic redneck is the most powerful man in the world, a social media giant sells your personal data for squillions without repercussion and their shares go up (WTF).

          North Korea has nukes, China claims anything it wants as ‘historical territory’ and builds military bases on it.

          meanwhile our 10’s cant kick, our nines are shite – the more things change, the more they stay the same – go figure.

  • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

    First test in Bris is 9 June, not 23 June!

  • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

    Fitzy has a damn good point “When you turn up at work nobody drug tests you”. And if they did, out court systems wouldn’t be able to handle the long long long queue of our work colleagues waiting for their turn.

    • Campo

      Unaware of the type of work you do but in my work we regularly get tested.We don’t know when and we don’t get a second chance either
      1 strike and you are gone.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yep me too. Random drug and alcohol testing is part of my work place requirements.
        Fitzy usually talks common sense but not this time

        • Happyman

          KRL I prefer the view of a guy I listen to on an ESPN podcast regarding professional sportsmen and there responsibilities. A player is paid to do video reviews, training, rehab and all other off field things from Monday to game day. Almost players will play the game for nothing as thousands do in many different codes all over the world because the playing part is the fun part and all of the other elements are work.
          Therefore drugs have no place within this workplace as apart from the poor standards they set for your fanbase they are not conducive to a high performance environment.

        • Deb Brown

          Amen…..day 1 of new contract signing ” sorry player X this means no naughty stuff and were going to monitor you for said to ensure our best brand outcome……
          fast forward some 86 tests over a hundred SR games …whats changed…….and i say this with respect my mums unwell in fact she has the C word.
          Bugger thats rooted…….depression and life unravels ;add injury to insult everything is know public.
          Is this truthful, we are chastised for asking as its part of the “no go zone subjects of the 21st century” that much experience as a professional sportsman and to think that with all those support services…physio, dieticians, strength and conditioning, medic, media counsel etc.
          its terrible about his Mum..how does this scenario help…..how does a son help his mother with that behaviour; my poorly thought no evidence guess would be that the two have no link and its a PR exercise….ooooh just a side note are the police involved to follow up on who’s supplying this shit

        • Happyman

          Mate to be fair I think Slipper is a special case. He is a complete clean skin until this. I have never heard of anything regarding his poor behaviour.

        • Ed

          Do you have a link for that podcast, Happyman? If not, no worries.

        • Happyman

          Mate i drive around a lot so Podcast are my way of not listening to the rubbish on commercial radio. NFL is my second game I just love the structure.
          The Pod in question is Golic and Wingo “Mike Golic is a Ten year NFL player in the interior line” He was a 6th round draft pick and never a star. Think Tight head prop in terms of public profile. He gives an interesting insight into the psyche of a professional sportsman. I could not tell you the episode as it is a daily pod.
          Others I would recommend for Rugby are
          – Eggshasers
          – The Rugby Pod
          – Rugby union Weekly
          – Full Contact
          – The Thistle Rugby Podcast
          – Beau Robinson did a series that I thout was excellent call “A Yarn with Beau Robbo” They were excellent dealing with players who were just out of the game and how they coped with the transition to non playing careers. The Ben Darwin one is worth the listen if nothing else.
          — There is a Kiwi one called the shortball I have only listened to a couple of times and don’t know if I will continue as they seem to come off as wankers from an Australian perspective.
          Enjoy your listening. Let me know if yo know of any good ones.

      • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

        I get your point, and I have worked in the mines before and had regular drug and alcohol tests. This is due to the potential danger, and in that case makes sense. In my current line of work I can’t kill someone if I’m drunk and make a mistake at work, so no drug and alcohol tests apply.

        However, when I worked in the mines, everyone knows that alcohol and amphetamines will clear out of your system within 24hrs, so you can merely take alcohol or ecstasy or coke on your weekend off and know you’ll be clear by the time you’re back at work. You can even take alcohol in the evening after work, and as long as you don’t get completely smashed, you’ll be fine the next day.

        Why am I talking about “taking” alcohol in the same breath as coke or other drugs? Because alcohol is one of the most powerful, addictive, and damaging drugs. It is not commonly seen as such simply because of a few twists and turns in history. The fact that “drugs” are seen as evil and rightfully illegal, and yet alcohol is seen as acceptable and rightfully legal, is a truly bizarre twist in history. Most “drugs”, just like alcohol, when taken occasionally, are fun at the time, but make you feel a bit shit the next day. And most “drugs”, just like alcohol, if you take too much too often, can make a complete mess of your life. But also, with most “drugs”, just like alcohol, some people manage to take too much too often and still function pretty much normally, getting through life with a job and a family just fine. If you tried a little bit of weed, or coke, or ecstasy, or LSD, or ice, or heroine, or etc, then you might discover that most of the horrible things your hear about drugs are a complete pile of crap.

        So as Fitzy says, it is completely none of our business what Slipper or Hunt or any of the other professional sportspeople do on a Saturday night. It shouldn’t be illegal, it shouldn’t be tested, and it shouldn’t be making the news.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Mate in my last 4 jobs we are random drug and alcohol tested regularly. Get caught with drugs or alcohol in your system and your ass wont even touch the door on the way out!

      • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

        What industry is that? I’ve only ever had it working in the mines!

        • Missing Link

          certainly not the “Law Industry” :)

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          And here I was thinking “not the law industry” was full of “not lawyers” snorting all day to keep them awake and performing?! Is that merely a myth?

        • Bakkies

          I have signed contracts recently in white collar roles that include drug and alcohol testing.

        • onlinesideline

          whats the nature of the test ? … what happens if you go to lunch with a client and you both have a drink. Im showing my true colours here. Have been self employed my whole life (been broke alot too)

        • Missing Link

          I’d also be interested in knowing as I’ve been involved in many white collar roles where customer engagement is part of the job and often requires working outside of business hours and may or may not include dinner, and if dinner is on the cards it’s not uncommon to order a beer or wine to wash it all down. I’m sure it would be bad news for you boss to commend you for sealing a deal worth a few mill, but on the other hand, we detected alcohol in your system, so sadly we’re going to have to let you go :)

        • Greg

          Saves paying the bonus?

        • Brisneyland Local

          Defence, Utilities, Public sector, Big 4 Consultancy. the lot of them.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Kyle Godwin heading overseas just as he is starting to find some form and while the Wallabies desperately need a 12 who can defend well (unlike Beale, Kerevi) and playmake (unlike Hodge).

    Like Toomua, another one lost to the Wallabies and to the Brumbies. Maybe I am biased but I feel like the Brumbies have been hit particularly hard by the player drain.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I agree on the need at 12. Interesting to read Coopers comments on bringing Ngatai back from concussion. He brought him in at 15 because at 12 he needs someone to crash the ball up and who makes as many tackles as a loose forward and wanted to manage his injury into that role. It seems as though rugby here sees a completely different role for the 12. I must admit I prefer Coopers version and I see Kerevi as your best player in that role. I’d have Kerevi at 12 and Rona at 13

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        The Wallabies need a playmaking 12 if they play Foley at 10.

        If you have a more complete flyhalf (eg Quade or Lealiifano even) then you go with a 12 who is a top class defender (not really Samu, but not really SBW either) who gets over the advantage line, can tackle, kick, distribute and ruck. In that case you can go with Samu or Hodge, take your pick.

        Our best 12 of recent memory as Toomua though (and Ford called him the best 12 he had ever played with). Difference is, he wasn’t just a flyhalf being played there, but a complete 12.

        Australia also have no distributing 13s, unlike the Kiwis in ALB/Goodhue/C. Smith. Ngati is a playmaker though.

        Godwin is, I believe, statistically the best defending centre in Super Rugby. Attack has just mostly been shite these last few years. Improving again now though. Injuries have been harsh on Godwin.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I’ve never understood this requirement for a so called “playmaker” at 12. Surely every back is a playmaker if the opportunity arises. Your 10 is meant to direct the play and the 12 should be able to hit the ball up, run the 13 into space, feed a 15 or wing coming inside or pass out to a winger and defend in the centre to stop the opposition play from developing. If your 10 can’t direct the play then maybe the problem is in that position and trying to cover it up with a 12 playing a different role is what’s actually preventing the backline from playing as it should.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think playmaker is perhaps the wrong term (although the Kiwi term ‘second five eight’ is a legacy of when they did just put a second flyhalf there).

          I think in the modern game you need at least one of your centres to be a natural distributor. With Nonu-Smith Smith was a very good distributor, with Crotty-Goodhue Goodhue is a top class distributor who gets the balls out to the outside backs.

          Australia has opted for a distributing 12 for a long time, and a power 13 (opposite of NZ) – this was the case when we had Horan at 12 with Herbert at 13, and then Flatley/Giteau at 12 with Mortlock at 13.

          Flatley was a flyhalf played out of position but Horan and Gits were complete 12s who had very good distribution skills as well as strong running games, kicking games and defensive games.

          Australia has never really seen 13 as a disturbing position so most of the 13s we have developed have been power players (Herbert, Little, Mortlock, AAC, Kuridrani, Rona).

          I think the reason the All Blacks’ attack was relatively stunted in 2017 was because they had two running centres in SBW at 12 (although his offloads are class) and Crotty at 13. It worked better in 2017 with ALB who is more of a distributor at 13.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah mate I agree and I think a distributor at 13 is a better mix for a backline as it can bring in your wingers and 15 better. The trouble with a distributor at 12 and a power runner at 13 is that this often starves your wings and 15 of possession and this has happened a lot in the Wallaby setup in the past.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Hasn’t always been the case though. The All Blacks made that chance in about 2003 from memory. Even then, if Ngati had stayed uninjured he might have been the heir apparent for 12 after Nonu. He’d be performing the distributor role.

          Distributing 13 and running 12 might be the ideal, but this is new territory for Australia and we haven’t yet developed such players. Developing Kerevi as a longterm 12 would be the first time we would go down that route (which I think we should, but if Godwin’s attack improved and he stayed in Aus then he would be the best defensive 12 we could play).

          In reality I would have liked to have seen Godwin as an outside centre, but such is life.

        • Missing Link

          I think NZ ditched it much later. They used to play Mauger and McAlister in that role at 12, I think right up until 2007 or 8.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate Ngati’s not there as a distributor, although in NZ we want all players to be able to pass both ways, hes there as Cooper says; to straighten the attack, crash through and pass if he’s free and tackle to disrupt the opposite.

        • Brumby Runner

          Great role for a 12.

        • Mica

          But he’s not a crash baller – he is way more second 5 (selective passer, evasive runner and tactical kicker) than crash balling centre.
          Anyway you can be a second 5 and straighten the attack – hell good first 5s do this too.

        • Habitual offender

          No doubt many disagree but Id like to see QC return running at 13…Be a whole new ball game

        • Mica

          Is this meant to be funny?
          Can you imagine a 10, 12, 13 of Foley, Beale, Cooper?
          You’d want Superman playing at 15 with the amount of players coming through that eggshell defence.

        • David Creagh

          And Izzy doesn’t count also a shit defender.

        • Habitual offender

          I can imagine many things Mica, some of them amusing.
          I liked seeing Beale at flank once, never laughed so much in my life

        • 2-Beers Blind

          If we had a 10 who could throw a decent cut-out to 13, then we could go with a crash ball 12. Until that day, we get a distributing 12.

        • joy

          Why are we even having this fifty year old argument? Even Australia’s current crop of Neanderthal coaches realise the big guy works best for us at 13 (note the recall of both Gitteau for the last World Cup and Paia’aua for the Red’s).

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The reason it works better is that we have never tried consciously to develop a big Nonuesque 12 and distributing 13.

          This could change if Kerevi is continued to play in his correct position of 12.

        • joy

          Agree but I doubt that Kerevi will fulfil the role of a Beale. Re Nonu, I think Smith did most of the thinking. I don`t see the same Nonu overseas.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He wouldn’t be Beale, no, he would be a very different type of 12.

          Still, I think he would be a better 12.

        • Dorothy Ball

          Genuine question here, as I hardly get to watch any Super Rugby: how is Meakes at 12 for the Rebs? I never see him mentioned in these fora but he’s been in Cheika’s sights before.

        • David Creagh

          Disagree, shit defender at 13. Crash ball 12 is the best role for him IMO.

        • Who?

          Our best ever 12 wasn’t a big guy, but neither was he a wannabe 10. Horan wasn’t huge, but he wasn’t small for his time (it’s just that some 12’s have gained 20kg over the past 20 years). He could run a hard crash line. He could distribute. His overall skillset wasn’t actually that dissimilar to what Nonu contributed towards the end of his career (after he’d developed into the best 12 on the planet). And Kerevi’s got scope to be the same player. Crash when needed (but, like Horan and Nonu, with great footwork, not just size), and great hands.

        • Brumby Runner

          That description of a 12’s role is just about what Kerevi demonstrated against the Clan. His defense did tighten up, and he off loaded a number of times as well as still being a strong straight runner with the ball. Actually, the best I’ve seen him play for a good long time.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Kerevi understands 12, and can defend there. At 13 he is lost.

        • Habitual offender

          Agreed
          If an extra playmaker was reqd, Id prefer them at OC than C

        • Habitual offender

          Sorry, forgot you kiwi types only use numbers :P

        • onlinesideline

          AGREE – You should trademark, copy and patent that KRL and send it to Cheika on Australia Day, with a message “to our ANZAC brothers – GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER – Regards and Moari kisses – NZ rugby”.

          Maybe Thugby has crept into union in OZ. Who knows.

        • Who?

          Some of Samu’s passing on the weekend… I just don’t get why people don’t think he can play a distributing role. There was one sequence of play late in the first half leading up to BPA’s try where he first set free Perese with a perfectly timed pass and then set free Petaiua (who, unfortunately, spilled the ball in the tackle) with incredibly quick hands. I don’t see how he couldn’t play that more traditional 12 role, of crash or pass, and have any second playmaker further out (13 (like Conrad Smith or BOD), wing (Campo!), fullback (so many others)).
          But Cheika won’t do that.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, I think he’s our best 12 by far. I can see Godwin or Hodge playing outside of him successfully.

        • Who?

          One of our great issues is that we have a coaching team who don’t believe in the numbers on the backs of the jerseys. We’ve got a 10 who plays like an undersized 12 (i.e. he wants to run, or maybe pass, and he’s not a great kicker). We’ve got a 12 who’s best as an outside back (but who needs to work on the high ball). We’re defending our wingers at outside centre. It’s the same in the loose forwards. There’s no consideration that nearly 200 years of developing the game might’ve formed the positions into what they are because they work, no consideration that the evolution of the game saw positions adapt and change to see players selected consistently based on required skillsets to give the best possible outcomes for the team.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Say what you like about Larkahm’s attack coaching (I think we disagree here). He believed in traditional roles for players. The Brumbies’ defence was also water tight under him.

        • Who?

          I think Larkham’s just not proven himself yet. That he was promoted to the Wallabies too soon, and, until last year, I hadn’t actually seen any consistent attack from a backline he’d coached.
          Adrian floated a few years ago that Cheika and Larkham weren’t working well together, that they had very different philosophies and principles of attack. It made sense. So it’s also plausible that they disagree in positional play…

        • Bakkies

          Pretty sure Larkham mentioned last year that he doesn’t know until late in the week in regards to who is in the side.

          If that is true that Larkham finds the selections out when we do that is deeply concerning.

          How can you coach an attack in two days? If it is the same case with Grey no wonder the side is a shambles.

        • 22DropOut

          Beale at 12 will deservedly be one of the first names on the teamsheet I think.

        • Missing Link

          Hooper, Foley, Beale and Folau are all lock in starting spots, the only uncertainty would be Folau at 14 or 15.

        • Kevino

          Bring back Pat McCabe ;)

      • David Creagh

        Rona is a liability in D. He gets caught out making the wrong decision too often for my money. We need to pick players who can attack and defend not one or the other. This is not the NFL where you have a defensive team and a attacking team. All players are asked to do both and swap at a moments notice which is why defensive systems that move players around are flawed.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          English is defending well.

        • Missing Link

          I don’t rate Rona that highly either. I don’t want to turn this into a dig at the Force fans but we heard a lot of noise about Ruru, Lance, Rona, Meakes and Peni last year being Wallaby material, but they have been average at best. On the other hand Cottrell and Philip have worked hard along with Rangi and Hardwick, but still no given for Wallaby selection, only Coleman has really justified a starting spot in the Wallabies this year.

        • onlinesideline

          I agree re Rona and Im dead set worried he will be picked because I just dont think hes up to it at this level. I have noticed that TK starts his seasons slowly and seems to find form around test time, well for last 2-3 years. Who knows, maybe he really is slowing down. Its a problem.

        • Habitual offender

          Not really disagreeing ML, just scratching my head as to how great players (my opinion at least) turn to crud so fast. Back to those “coaching” problems maybe?

        • Perth girl

          Maybe they are not feeling the love in Melbourne HO after all the coaches are the same but the location is not. Here in Perth we look forward to showing them the love when they return on June 9th!

        • Missing Link

          I follow a lot of players on social media including the former Force players currently playing at the Rebels. They are socialising together as a group and building character together on the park. I think it’s an assumption at best to say they’re not accepted in Melbourne as they seem to be enjoying their time. The existing Rebels player would also appreciate having their team reinforced with better talent, there’s no reason to keep the Force guys on the outer down there.

        • Perth girl

          I’m not referring to the players ML but to the general Melbourne public who are not turning up to the games

        • Habitual offender

          Will be good to see them back PG, albeit for a short time.
          Please stop poking ML, hes trying very hard to behave.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think Ruru as backup Wallaby scrumhalf would be entirely justifiable.

        • Missing Link

          I’d prefer someone from somewhere else, even bloody Phipps to be honest. I’m really happy to see the Rebels back on track with 2 wins but there’s a stat about Rebels points scored/conceded while Genia is on the park as opposed to Ruru and Ruru is in the -ve, he’s also an obsessive box kicker. Gets away with it a bit as SR level, but would be put to the sword against NZ – Ioane, both Barretts and McKenzie, possibly Milner-Skudder would all be licking their chops and that’s the last thing we need when we’re 3 points up with 5 minutes to play and Ruru comes on to replace Genia in a Bledisloe decider. I am happy to eat these words later in the year, hope he proves me wrong.

        • David Creagh

          Nope, nope, nope. Disagree had to be Powell or Gordon. Powell is faster to the breakdown and has a better passing game. Gordon has a better running game. I have seen nothing from Ruru that says that he is a test level half back.

        • Perth girl

          Send them back ML if they are so crap! They certainly weren’t at the Force and RA were so keen to send them to the Rebels!

        • Missing Link

          Perth Girl, didn’t say they’re crap, but they aren’t up to Wallaby starting XV standard, apart from Coleman of course.

        • Perth girl

          ML there are many Super Rugby players who are not up to Wallaby standard including some who will be picked for the Wallaby team! If you are not happy with the standard of players you obtained from the Force you can always send a letter of complaint to Tim North or Baden Stephenson!

        • Missing Link

          The Rebels aren’t my team

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah but I wonder how much of that is having a 10& 12 inside him who are suspect on defence and he’s forever trying to decide if he covers in or out.

        • Braveheart81

          I reckon Rona’s defence at 13 has been very good this season. I think he’s a good chance at being selected at 13 for the Wallabies given Kuridrani’s poor form. I’d probably still give TK first crack though as he has always performed well at test level.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think that his defence hasn’t been that great. The Waratahs are conceding a lot of tries, and missing a lot of tackles in the midfield. I’d be concerned about picking a centre combination that isn’t really doing the job at Super level for the internationals. I think English is the best defender on form and Kuridrani is the best defender on past history.

        • Braveheart81

          Rona’s tackling stats this season were better than his Aussie rivals for the 13 jersey when I checked a couple of weeks ago. I don’t think English is likely to be picked.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Alloutrugby confirms he is the second best 13 after English in terms of tackle completion stats, and only slightly worse than English.

          That being said, I have never been one to blindly follow stats given the sort of game rugby is, and I can’t help but shake the feeling that English is a considerably superior defender to Rona. Although I agree he won’t get picked. He is one of those guys that is perennially underrated I feel.

          I think both he and Rona have more claim to the jersey than Kuridrani right now.

        • Missing Link

          English is probably having his best season in a while, and I know he was included in the fringe training group for the Wallabies a few years ago, but I think he’s missed his window of opportunity, much like Godwin.

        • IIPA

          This is true but two years ago halfway through the Super season before he was injured English was leading the comp in line breaks and defenders beaten. This blew me away at the time.

          Just saying he’s good on both sides of the ball and has been for a while. Might be a bit too cerebral for Cheika.

        • Kevino

          English is a strange player to watch, his been using the same move for years and it just seems to work, that spin in contact just as the defender reaches him. I was quite surprised that Timani Ellison said he was his favorite Rebels player to watch with his unique style.

        • Brumby Runner

          Seems funny. The Tahs backline could almost be the starting Wallabies backline but Rona is being dismissed for his poor defense. The Tahs problem defensively lies with the Tahs Nos 10 and 12, not Rona.

    • Missing Link

      Sorry, I have never rated Godwin. Never reached his potential after a lot of hype, at one stage he was “the next Wallaby 10″.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I agree completely with that.

        However, back in 2013-14 he could attack. In 2016 during his one Wallaby appearance he attacked very well. He’s versatile, a top class defender, has a big left boot and his passing is very accurate.

        Injuries (and I suspect coaching) stunted his development. But these last few weeks he has started playing well again, and on the weekend he played a very good match. I think that if he managed to stay injury free and was well coached he could become a very good Super Rugby level player, if not the centre the Wallabies need.

        • Missing Link

          It is unfortunate because he did have potential. I remember I think it was his debut off the bench for the Force and he came on and played pretty well, then he was in the Wallaby squad and then things went a bit down hill. He was also forced to play a role where he simply tackled his guts out and didn’t do much else, perhaps that’s the poor coaching you are referring to because he showed some ability to attack in his early days. Despite that, I feel that playing overseas is a good move for him.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I agree it’s good for him.

          But like with Toomua, Barnes, Harris, Tomane and Beale (and Jones, Fardy, White) is it good for Aussie Super Rugby or the Wallabies? How many distributors/playmakers have we lost overseas?

        • David Creagh

          It is his short kicking that shits me. He squanders opportunities for the outside players trying to poke the ball in behind the defence. I have never seen one of these work for him, he is at his best when he commits his body to the contact and keeps driving his legs through the contact zone.

        • Bakkies

          It was his kicking game that was vital against the Bulls. Put the ball out on exits which is a huge problem in Aus Rugby at the moment.

        • David Creagh

          Agreed Bakkies, note I said “short” kicking.

        • Brumby Runner

          Godwin has his future as a good rugby player in his own hands. Stop trying to put grubbers behind the opposition and stop spilling the ball when it’s passed to him. He is more than ok in other aspects of his game.

      • Gipetto

        No one can compete with Bernaaard

    • Pedro

      I agree, always looked like a class player, but he’s never really peaked a bit like Toomua in that respect.

  • Missing Link

    Not a bad weekend in aussie rugby. We could have had 4/4 wins and another 2 kiwi teams put to the sword.

    Great job by the Brumbies to win in the republic. They seem to do that quite often don’t they, unlike the Rebels. We really need at least 2 more wins against Kiwi teams this year so looking at the Rebels this week against the Blues as one of those, but they will need to dig deep as you don’t know which Blues are going to turn up.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      That game in SA by the Brumbies really makes me wonder WTF is happening back here with them

  • bob

    So looks like the Reds are going to be paying another player to not play rugby for the rest of the year.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Who’s this mate

      • Who?

        Slipper. To join Hunt and Cooper. Slightly different situations for all three of them, but still, not ideal for any club to have three highly paid national reps unused or unusable. Even moreso when one is your country’s most capped or second most capped prop, and that capped prop and one of the other guys are two of the seven players ever to notch up 100 caps for your club, and both are under 30.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah didn’t think of that. I would have thought with a drug bust he’d lose pay

        • Who?

          $27.5k fine, 2 month suspension. No mention of being suspended without pay. So, unless his contract is $165k p.a. or less, he’s still costing the QRU money.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Wow. Lots of money being sent down the drain there

  • 22DropOut

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ireland_rugby_union_team#Current_squad

    You could name two separate XVs from that squad that are almost player for player better than the current first choice Wallabies XV.

    • Missing Link

      You’re probably not wrong, but what fun would it be to give the Wallabies a death warrant before the series?

  • Gipetto

    The Ref made some 7’s style decisions penalising the Reds. The off-side-all-night Highlanders got the rub of the green.

    • Happyman

      Mate I was going off my nut at the ref.
      I like to watch the game a second time to see if I am just being a one eyed fan, usually on the second viewing I am a bit more impartial in my view. After watching the game again and looking at the sanzaar website my observations are this.
      -As I said last week QLD made mistakes and have to own them. They should have won but did not deserve to lose.
      _ QLD got penalised 7 to 1 in the second half. I believe this is not reflective of the game
      – Only Qld have been penalised for taking out a player beyond the ruck. (This is against Kiwi opposition who are experts at it but apparently cannot be penalised for it.)
      – It is my view that no NZ team would be penalised for a soft and marginal head high tackle at the 76th minute to decide the game.
      – I also note that the Highlanders for the last two minutes sealed the shit out of the ruck and never got penalised. (I would love to know what Kane Douglas said to the Ref after he got done for taking out the support runner. It might have been simian to my views)
      – I don’t think the refs are corrupt but the ref on the weekend was on the verge of bias with his refereeing of one side of the game against the Reds. Again don’t get me wrong our kicking game was rubbish and we need to find a flyhallf who can set up play. Does anyone know where we could find one. LOL

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Ned, a good write up.

    “Nipples in the spotlight” is such a great headline. Going to be interesting to see how it’s managed as a lot of tackles are made to wrap the ball up and prevent an off load and they look high but aren’t really.
    So close mate for the Reds and the Tahs. Unfortunately I think the issues that held them up are the same that have come up all year and it just seems as though they can switch on but just revert back when the pressure comes on. It still seems more of a head issue to me. Unfortunately no one here seems to want to bring this up and I think it’ll keep causing issues

    • Who?

      The interesting thing with choke tackles is that the most effective ones, to my eye, aren’t even close to high. In fact, they’re made with a bend at the waist, and the aim is for the initial tackler to get under the ribs, under the ball, and hold the player up. The second player comes over the top to wrap up, but that doesn’t have to be high impact contact, or especially high. Ireland are still better at body positioning with this than other nations, who attempt to hold players up from above, where Irish players tend to drive them up from underneath.

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