Monday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News sees the June Test Series come to an end, problems with officiating, World Series Rugby gets a big tick of approval and Chance Peni is well, Chance Peni.


Photo courtesy of Keith McInnes

Photo courtesy of Keith McInnes

Well the June Test Series have been finished off, with some varying results across the nations.

For Australia, unfortunately we lost the series decider to Ireland 20-16 in Sydney.

Once again the Wallabies showed promise in patches, but lacked the tactical nous in both recognizing when we can’t make reach the gain line and in being able to manage our discipline (despite the fact some decisions were poor from the officials).

Australia made 178 passes to the Irish’s 122 for less metres gained in contact, highlighting our ability to stretch the field without any real gain in territory, as well as making 24 kicks in play (all rather ineffectual) compared to Ireland’s 15 (the majority of which were effective).

Dave Pocock assumed the captaincy after Michael Hooper went off early with a hamstring injury and led from the front as usual.

Without focussing too much on specific individuals, Lukhan Tui and Tolu Latu were very impressive with some great carries and work in defence while Bernard Foley showed why he is the ultimate enigma of Australian Rugby.

Across the dutch, New Zealand beat the French 49-14 in a free-flowing affair.

The talented French team showed why many pundits believe they might get their act together just in time for the World Cup, keeping in touch with the kiwi’s in the first half with two impressive tries.

Yet the New Zealanders, who had made multiple changes to their line-up, made France pay for their errors, with Reiko Ioane wreaking havoc once again, scoring 3 tries.

At Newlands, England finally got one up over South Africa in a relieving win for Eddie Jones.

Much has been said about Eddie’s side and his coaching style specifically after suffering a number of defeats.

Captain for the tour Owen Farrell stood up, scoring 20 points as England won 25-10.

South Africa struggled to hold onto the ball despite their set piece dominance, conceding 8 more penalties compared to England as well as conceding 19 turnovers, allowing Farrell to nail 6/7 penalty shots.

Eddie Jones pointed to the World Cup, believing the rut the side found themselves in could be beneficial in hindsight.

Jones was quoted by the BBC saying “We want to be the best team in the world and you have to go through these periods to find out things about yourself, we have done that. Now we want to kick on.”.

Optimism is key.

Elsewhere Scotland thumped the living daylights out of Argentina 44-15 in what looks like worrying signs for the South American’s as they head towards the Rugby Championship later on this year.

2019 RWC hosts Japan thrashed Georgia 28-0 in a nice win after splitting their two test series with Italy.

The Flying Fijians went down in another close Pacific Islands match 27-19 while the USA got up over close rivals Canada 42-17.


Photo courtesy of Keith McInnes

Photo courtesy of Keith McInnes

Much has been made of the officiating of Australia’s test against Ireland on Saturday with several decisions being not understood by basically every person everywhere.

In fact, in both New Zealand and Australia, the whole June series has been overshadowed by decisions from officials on the field and by the TMO which have removed the focus away from the game and to the referees.

Rugby needs to find a solution for this because it’s unfair on the referees, it’s unfair on the players, it’s unfair on the coaches but most importantly it’s unfair on the spectators.

People already turn away from our great game because it can lack in speed and we don’t need to give them more reasons to watch something else.

Personally, I found the ridiculous amount of stoppages the most frustrating thing, with the game constantly being played at a snail’s pace for no apparent reason.

The referee should control the pace of the game so there is more play then stoppages, and this was particularly annoying for Australia on Saturday, who wanted to build fatigue in the Irish by stretching them with our passing game.

Kiwi coach Steve Hansen weighed in on the issue of rugby changing at a speed that is making parts of the law book less relevant.

“It’s an area of the game that World Rugby needs to take some ownership of and lead,” Hansen said in the New Zealand Herald.

“You’ve got Cheiks not happy with how his game is reffed too. It’s got faster, it’s got really fluid but we haven’t really changed the way we ref.”

“It has got to a point where we have got to do something because it is starting to affect the game.”

Jim Tucker from The Daily Telegraph also writes a story about how the video review system is killing our game.

As a fan of the sport, something needs to be done to address the search for a level of perfection that doesn’t exist in our game.



Break dancing legend and part time Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has given Andrew Forrest a wrap only Andrew Forrest could give himself, labelling the mining magnate as a great man for saving the Western Force.

After facing extinction from rugby altogether after being culled from Super Rugby, Forrest has done incredibly well to launch a modified version of World Series Rugby in such a short space of time to keep the Western Force in professional rugby.

The Super Rugby champions the Crusaders got their first taste of the WSR action on Friday night when they put the Force to the sword in a resounding 44-8 win in front of 14,259 fans at NIB Stadium.

Robertson, who was their by coincidence due to a dance competition, was blown away by the support the Force are receiving locally, with crowd size and entertainment spectacle as good as any in the game.

According to Sydney Morning Herald, Robertson said “Great men always step up when needed, and he has,”

“Rugby is really strong here still. I think this concept is great.

“You saw the amount of people who turned up and how passionate they were when the turmoil happened and the decision was being made [to axe the Force].”

“So for them to stay alive, you’ve got to give it to Andrew Forrest.”

Tell him how you really feel Scott.

Robertson was hesistant to give his ideas on what he believes is in store for the future of Super Rugby.

He does think that the competition misses the Force though.

“It is such a strong grassroots community of rugby here,” Robertson said.

“I didn’t really realise it until I was driving around all the beaches and seeing all the rugby clubs on the way to a surf.”

The Force next face a Samoa representative side on July 14.


Chance Peni offloads for Brumbies v Fiji

Chance Peni offloads for Brumbies v Fiji

Chance Peni has again landed himself in hot water again after another tackle of his went horribly wrong while playing club rugby in Canberra, reports.

The supremely talented Brumbies winger Peni played just 17 minutes in his rugby return following his 5 week lay off from his previous tackling suspension.

That Super Rugby suspension was his 3rd in the space of 12 months and what makes this story just that little bit funnier is that he told Fairfax Media’s Canberra Times only two days ago that he had remedied his tackling technique.

Maybe he accidentally made it worse somehow?

Luckily, the powers that be have placed him on a two year deal so he can join the 80000 players being paid to do nothing in Australia.

Peni may not even turn out for the Brumbies for the rest of the year, with his suspension to be handed down later this week.

  • Gottsy

    Disappointing not to get the win against Ireland but overall was a great series. Only giving up 3 tries over the 3 games was a great sign going forward, fingers crossed we can keep this up going into the bledisloe

    • Kokonutcreme

      Agree Gottsy it was a great series and you’ve illustrated a key aspect to the Wallabies play that proved to be their downfall – discipline.

      In such a tight series where they only conceded three tries but many more penalties, they could have controlled their destiny.

      I don’t know where Tolo Latu has been hiding for most of this season but he’s clearly been working on his technique at the breakdown – he’s as immovable as Pocock and Malcolm Marx.

      Overall I thought the Wallaby pack played very well throughout the series against a pack expected to dominate them. Wallabies proved to be the toughest competition Ireland has faced this year.

      • Gottsy

        Yeah mate you’re absolutely right. I thought our discipline overall was ok, just need to do everything we can to stamp out the dumb stuff. A few of the penalties, like the last one against Latu, were extremely harsh, so I’m not too concerned about those kind of things- the late tackles and slap downs etc will definitely not fly against the AB’s though

        • Garry

          Ruck laws have changed in relation to poaching, Have a look at Spiros article on the other site. Most are unaware of the changes. Our coaches, on the other hand, should be across them.

        • John Miller

          Ah, Spiro. Don’t believe the hype. The single change to the breakdown that has material effect is the tackler coming through the gate. WR even clarified a few weeks ago that a ruck requires an attacker and a defender to “form a ruck”. It is only the offside line that is formed with one player.

          What Spiro wrote:

          “A player has to go for the ball when the ruck is formed. He has to come through the gate at the back. He must not have his hands touching the ground in front of the ball to impede a release. He must not have arms or knees support contact on other players. He can only have one grab at the ball.”

          I’m assuming the first line is a typo. The player must, of course, go for the ball BEFORE the ruck is formed.

          As second man in, always had to come through the gate (it is only the tackler that could previously get up an pilfer from any position).

          Players were never allowed to have a hands touching the ground – that has always been “bridging”.

          Players were never allowed to use arms or knees to support contact – that has always been “not supporting weight”. And this is what Latu did wrong – there is no physical way he can have straight legs positioned a metre from his centre of gravity and reasonably be assessed to hold up his own bodyweight.

          Players couldn’t have a second grab once the first was unsuccessful – usually because the ruck had then formed.

          Spiro has just listed a pile of incumbent rules and proclaimed them new. The whole fantasy has been parroted endlessly all season but the turnovers just keep happening. It’s the biggest beat up since Y2K.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Spot on mate and we’ll written. The only other change was that a ruck was at least one player from each side over the ball, now as soon as a single player is there it’s a ruck. So if a defender is there first you can’t pilfer no matter how good you are.

        • John Miller

          Cheers Kiwi. Actually, there was a clarification / amendment to the law recently (in May) because of the confusion that has been created by the wording of the original ruck law (and the misinformation being propagated by supposed rugby gurus such as Spiro). WR never intended for the contest for possession at the breakdown to be changed (which is why – excluding the tackler through the gate – little has changed in the 6 Nations, Super Rugby and June Internationals refereeing interpretations). A “ruck” still requires both a defender and an attacker, but it is the “offside line” which is created with only one defender (the key intention being to stop the England/Italy non-offside debacle that occurred in the 6 Nations a season ago). The amendment is as follows:

          Tackle law 14.10

          MAY 2018 LAW AMEND

          Offside lines are created at a tackle when at least one player is on their feet and over the ball, which is on the ground. Each team’s offside line runs parallel to the goal line through the hindmost point of any player in the tackle or on their feet over the ball. If that point is on or behind the goal line, the offside line for that team is the goal line.

          Tackler through the gate aside, the breakdown contest remains exactly the same as it has for several seasons. And actually, the definition of the “ruck” hasn’t even changed the pilfer contest. Jackals who beat the formation of the ruck (i.e. first cleaner), are on their feet, support their own weight and survive the cleanout have full rights. Same as always.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I hadn’t got that one thanks. Bit of a worry seeing as I’ve been refereeing all year in Sydney and not doing that. Mind you regardless of what I say there’s always one or two in the crowd that think I’m wrong Lol

        • John Miller

          Toughest gig in the world being a ref, Kiwi. Thankless task and you’ll never please everyone. Good on you for fronting up to the Great Unwashed every weekend!

    • Happyman

      Agree mate congratulations to the Irish the series restored why I prefer Rugby. Both teams played hard and fair. It was a closely fought contest with both teams scoring the same amount of points over the three games and it being in the balance until the last play.

      By contrast the AB French series never seemed to get out of first gear and while I now the AB fans will be as happy as an AB fan can be it never felt like it was a compelling series with the French holding on and ultimately not getting he rub of the green.

    • McWarren

      Yeah agree mate. Our defence was outstanding and provides us with a good springboard to develop our attack and tactical nous. I was really pleased with the defence of the inside backs in this series.

      My only concern with our defence is it is still a little hot and cold. Game 1 we were really aggressive at the gain line, game 2 we were passive, game 3 was good but not game 1 standard. When we can achieve game 1 standard consistently then we’ll start knocking off the big guys regularly.

      • Gottsy

        That inconsistency was a little disappointing wasn’t it- we do look a hell of a lot better than we did last year though. As you said, if we can work out how to fit all the pieces together we’ll be dangerous

  • Kokonutcreme

    Regarding the officiating.

    There will always be complaints about decisions that didn’t go your team’s way and it’s easy to single them out as the defining reason to explain a loss, which is over simplistic.

    The influence of the TMO this series on refereeing decisions is one area that I’d like World Rugby to review ahead of the RWC.

    It used to be the TMO was only referred to for try scoring assistance, only travelling back in time for two phases. Now they can also intervene for any acts of foul play or outside their remit in the case of the Lions series last year to adjudicate on a penalty decision.

    As a referee you would require strong conviction of your ability to reject a recommendation from a TMO that opposes your original decision and yet we grow up understanding the referee is the sole arbiter and time keeper.

    Referees, like players will make mistakes in a game governed by as many rules that require interpretation like rugby.

    Referees like players have to make split second decisions in real time and at ground level, don’t always have the clear visibility an eye in the sky camera provides or access to as many as the TMO does.

    Slo-mo replays make any action look worse.

    Rugby is a contact sport and sometimes people get hurt – not intentionally, which you cannot legislate against and this fear of potential liability and litigation is forgotten in the wake of decisions that ignore the spirit of the game.

    It used to be intervention of the linesman that incurred the wrath of commentators and fans, but now it’s the TMO and with the technology at his disposal the Orwellian concept of “Big Brother” watching you has never been more relevant.

    Combine that with the red card thresholds and there’s a genuine fear that next years RWC will be remembered more for controversy and the refereeing than the actual rugby itself, especially with the instant connectivity that social media and the internet provides.

    Remember the controversy the Wallabies benefited from against Scotland in their quarterfinal? At the time opposition and neutral fans were up in arms at Craig Joubert’s decision and screaming that the TMO should have been consulted to review his decision.

    Multiply that exponentially – is that what we want for the game?

    • Happyman

      Totally agree K it is too easy to get bogged down in individual decisions when discussing this aspect of the game. Overall the TMO needs to be wound back. For mine he has the easiest job in the entire game If he makes a poor decision the poor bloke in the middle running around gets the blame.

      The influence of the TMO also varies widely between people and there style. Ben Skeen for example seems to look at every situation as how can I not award the try and have an impact and George Ayoub just seems to be on drugs. I would suggest it is hard to blame them as they have a big rule book to enforce and like all players a review on Monday and like all players they want to be selected for the world cup next ear.

      For mine the style needs to be the guy in the middle makes the call and unless there is complete compelling and irrefutable evidence that he made a mistake then the decision stands. The NFL model is a fantastic example.

    • Richard Patterson

      Well written.

    • Bobas

      And yet when the almost identicle penalty is awarded the tmo doesn’t intervene to show an Irish knock back instead of an Australian knock on.

    • Sevenwithasixonmyback

      Let’s hope the day never comes where we don’t get to hurl suggestions at the Touchie…

      • John Tynan

        hehe “suggestions”…

  • onlinesideline

    “Rugbyitis” – Websters dictionary – “An Australian condition the Monday following a rugby union test series loss” – cure for rugbyitis
    Essential Oils – eucalyptus, tea tree (anything of Australian origin) topically applied to the areas needing treatment, periodically until symptoms resolve. For severe cases, see your local rugby club to be 100% cured.

  • Zuriel

    Maybe they need to issue post game cards/warnings and if a play reaches a threshold they miss games (like sad to say football). Maybe people only get sent off for Red Cards. Yellows stay on field. 2 Yellows sent off & miss next gaem. x2Yellows in 2games = miss a game. Something like that. As Yellow Cards can be very debatable let them decide after the game with no in game TMO pressure . It will help the games flow with out multiple reviews and the momentum won’t be stopped & affected so much.

  • Richard Patterson

    Like many of you, it saddens me that such a disproportionately large amount of time is now devoted to a disproportionately small number of officiating decisions. I believe, it is deflecting important attention away from the action on the field which in my opinion has never been better. The Australia vs Ireland series was a magnificent 3 match series which did wonders for Rugby in Australia. The rugby was intense, skilful and played in great spirit. Not every officiating decision was correct — but I sense it largely balanced out. This continual search for refereeing perfection is flawed, and of little value.

    The France vs All Blacks series featured some outstanding rugby – by both teams. There were 4-5 incidents of question over the 3 tests which feels a disproportionately small % relative to the total number of officiating decisions made over the 3 matches. Is it perfect? No. Has it ever been perfect? No. Will it ever be perfect? Doubtful. If we accept the latter, then can’t we devote attention back to the quality of the 46 players involved in each match? Isn’t that better publicity for the sport than serving up a whole lot of content focused on contentious officiating decisions. It sure feels a whole lot more interesting to me than dredging over officiating decisions.

    Over the weekend All Black coach Steve Hansen did offer the suggestion of a Coaches Challenge Flag system which mirrors the one used in the NFL.
    – Each coach gets 2 challenges.
    – If a challenge flag is thrown and judged successful then no challenge is used.
    – A coach can run out of challenges if both are used and both are unsuccessful.

    The concept has merit for the following reasons.
    – It puts the onus on a coach to think carefully about every decision he deems incorrect. (Are some actually wrong, or is his interpretation inaccurate?)
    – Fancy being out of challenges late in the game when a very contestable decision gets handed down?

    Thoughts anyone…

    • Missing Link

      I agree, and for once I agree with Steve Hansen. Bring on the challenge system. The TMO should only be involved if the ref ask for it or the challenge flag is raised by a coach.

    • Alister Smith

      I would prefer that we didn’t have the 2/coach challenge system for a few reasons.
      1. unless there is another official introduced the TMO would be the one reviewing the challenge and he is or may have already made a decision on the ground
      2. cricket and tennis etc have some technologies (snicko, heat maps, audio) that can be brought into play so there can be some objectivity brought to the decision making. In rugby we only have the video footage and, at least in my mind, slow motion video footage cane sometimes (or perhaps quite often) confuse the issue – a light brush with a hand in real time becomes a hold or grab
      3. one of the biggest problems with the game in comparison to others is its stop start nature and the lack of actual playing minutes (some games the ball is in play for as little as 30-40 minutes of an 80 minute game – might be an exaggeration but I thought I have seen figures like that) – in WSR they are limiting scrum times to one minute to keep the game flowing but if you introduce a challenge system then you may have at least 4 further hold ups
      4. there may be a temptation for coaches to use the challenges for a strategic purposes – 3 minutes before the end of the first half, your team is out on its feet and gives away a penalty 20 metres out, they are looking fragile and the attacking team wants to take a quick tap – you challenge the decision and it gives the team the opportunity to get the line reset and have a bit of a breather.
      5. I would rather the players play the game as much as possible. Certainly the coach has the opportunity to influence a game with messages run out and half time talks and the decisions around subs but I think the coach’s influence should be limited to that. The player’s on the field should be the ones tasked with the on-field decision making (in the same way that a coach shouldn’t decide if you run on a penalty or take the kick).
      6. I think we need to go back to just respecting the refs decision – yes i know it is a professional game, i know that people are betting on it and I understand that people make their livelihood out of it but it is a GAME – just live with the on-field refs decision and move on – deal with it after the game if he has it wrong. I don’t think the game as a spectacle has improved with the introduction of the TMO and certainly not with the extension of te TMO’s role. I think we are sacrificing the good for a perfect that we are never going to achieve.
      Certainly something needs to be done though about the challenges in the air, particularly when teams are supporting their players. I think CJ Stander contributed more to the potential injury than Folau did (not saying Folau didn’t contribute at all but lifting a bloke from a standing start changes the whole physics and dynamics of the in air contact.

      • Gun

        I think 30-40 minutes is actually at the upper. end of actual play time in most matches.

    • Sevenwithasixonmyback

      Would prefer a flag system to be managed by the captain over coach. Whilst coaches generally have a birds-eye view, the skipper is in the thick of it and possibly a better concept of circumstances. Gives them another level of decision making and accountability.

    • John Tynan

      I agree that they are a portion of the game that reflects a minority of decisions – it’s the disproportionate time they remove from the game and the disproportionate impact they have on the game as a spectacle that are the problematic aspects.

      I’m not a fan of introducing another stoppage and video review system and I’m not a fan of introducing a higher level of coaches influence into the periods when time is on – it’s bad enough with assistant coaches dressed up as water boys and relaying coaching instruction.

    • Seaweed

      I think the main advantage of the system would be putting Cheika on the spot. Might calm him down + would give him something to gesticulate about. Flailing arms in the coaches box could be the signal. He might have to control himself lest something is reviewed accidentally.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I still would like to see a TMO, but apart from actual intentional foul play he/she can only rule on what the referee asks for. I do like the idea of the 2 challenges per game but think maybe the captain does it as the delay of it coming from the coaching box could be an issue

  • Bay35Pablo

    ““It’s an area of the game that World Rugby needs to take some ownership of and lead,” Hansen said in the New Zealand Herald.”
    The last time WR took ownership and lead, it involved a buffet cart and insisting on the Beluga not the standard caviar.
    Those oxygen thieves are running the game into the ground, quite happy to destroy SH rugby to keep the TV dollars rolling in for old mates in the 6N.
    Script for this week:
    1. Folau found guilt of dangerous play.
    2. WR issues new edict about contesting ball, which makes it no clearer and requires Steven Hawking to return from the grave to explain the diagrams which look something like the JFK magic bullet theory.
    3. With the “independent” review having slotted Izzy, WR says “Pascal got it right. What’s the issue?”
    4. WR carries on as usual. Heads firmly up own asses.
    5. Pascal eventually appointed to ref RWC19 final in Tokyo. Butchers it worse than the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Ireland beat ABs as a result. WR pat themselves on back for “great result”. NZ invades New Caledonia in retaliation.

    • Missing Link

      If Folau is found guilty of dangerous play and subsequently suspended, it sets an extremely dangerous precedent where every time a bomb is kicked, the opposition will perform a one man lift as WR will be be putting the onus on the jumping player to ensure the lifted player is safe. lifters will simply drop their support and win a penalty and yellow/red card to the jumping player. It will turn rugby into an even bigger joke.

      • McWarren

        Just a few point ML. I don’t want to send you too emergency.

        When Folau missed the ball he then grabs PO just under the chest and by the right wrist. Why does he do that? Was he still going for the ball in the contest?

        Lifting jumpers for kick restarts is commonplace? The only difference I can see on Saturday is Irish had the audacity to move there jumper slightly infield to nullify Folau. I understand the frustration, we finally come up with a good tactic and the dastardly Irish only let it work once.

        For me the bigger issue is they had done it twice already in the game but still we tried again.

        • Missing Link

          Don’t worry i’m not in any danger of self harm :) I cannot explain why Folau grabbed PO other than human instinct when you are in free fall you naturally grab at things. I’m sure you’ve seen footage of people falling from great heights, human instinct kicks in which results in arm flailing to grab at anything within reach in order to protect yourself. It does look bad in slo mo or if you use freeze frames, but when you look at the wide angle in full motion, the ball doesn’t go in the vicinity of PO, so he leans back, but Stander doesn’t move which causes PO to lose balance and Stander thus loses control. If PO had jumped without assist, he probably wouldn’t have landed like he did, Stander creates an artificial pivot point at PO’s hips. Try lifting a barbell above your head, it’s not hard providing you have your hands equally spaced across the bar, now without moving your left hand, move your right hand so it’s adjacent to your left hand…. no actually don’t do that, you might end up hurting yourself, but see the point i’m making, PO is the barbell, Stander was never going to hold him once he went horizontal.

          Agree that lifting for kick offs is common place, but what’s to stop teams from using it in general play now that they know it makes you untouchable? lifting used to be allowed to block penalty kicks, I believe another All Black innovation which was nipped in the bud because it wasn’t in the spirit of the game.

        • McWarren

          Regarding the pivot. I understand the physics of it which is why I believe Stander was capable of dealing with PO’s lean just not the added momentum Folau gave to the pivot. And I’m not sure Folau gets any closer to the ball.

          I for one would like to see lifting restricted to line outs only.

        • Archie

          Yeah mate I was recently wondering what happened to the lifting during penalties

        • There’s no doubt that Folau is in the wrong according to the laws. The point at which he wrapped his arm around O’Mahony is contact in the air and it’s beyond incidental/reaching for the ball.

          I though the YC he got, while to the casual watcher might seem harsh, was spot on given the general way these things are being referred. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard he’d been cited.

          I agree that O’Mahony being lifted contributed to the way he fell, hopefully, if the citing commission seriously consider the case, they’ll take that into consideration, although I won’t hold my breath.

          WR could change the laws to prevent lifting except in the line out, it’s pretty easy but it’s a big change to the laws. The receiving team would be at a big disadvantage because they’re relatively static, the kicking team are running forwards and can jump. It’s the edge that the AB use on those short kick offs with Read usually jumping and either regathering or knocking the ball back. It’s hard to counter because you’ve got to get someone in the air in the right place at the right time with little warning. If you can’t lift the lock to receive, deeper kicks will be chased by a jumping winger with the same result.

          However, if Folau is banned, you could be right, we might see a winger lifted by a loosie or a full back to receive a kick as a tactic. If WR deems this to be a deliberate attempt to milk cards, it can easily stop it under “contrary to the spirit of the game” without changing the laws, while allowing lifting to receive the kick off to continue as a specific item for a set piece.

        • Fatflanker

          To my eyes Folau grabs him instinctively and momentarily after the two actually collide. The grab may have contributed however I can’t see beyond the physics – Stander acting as a pivot was primarily responsible for the bad fall. Technically Folau may be in the wrong however if we want to make a contest of re-starts then we have to do away with lifting. Otherwise, we just kick it long every time – I’m sure any other team without a Folau would be quite happy with that.

          Ah, just saw your comment below…carry on.

    • Brisneyland Local

      NZ dont have sufficient military horsepower to invade NC. Ask KRL!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Hahahaha we’ll invade them with the baaaaaa battalion. 600 angry sheep

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure gold! The NC will be doing too many rude things to the sheep that you will be able to take over with no oone noticing! Cunning deception plan!

        • Archie

          What about our gun… or did we misplace it again

        • Habitual offender

          Bring guitars and sing them to death

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mongrel Mob pinched it bro

    • Archie

      That’s awesome!

      All the talk of Folau… there’s got to be room for a ‘Pascal’s Wager’ joke somewhere

  • Missing Link

    OK I’m going to use this as my one and only rant soapbox for the week. I have steam coming out of my ears and I was almost shopping for a new TV on Sunday if it wasn’t for my bad aim, and I’m sure if you have a gaelic origin name or a surname starting with O’ you wont agree with what I’m about to say but f— me what a joke! Ireland will not get a congratulations from me, they didn’t deserve to win the game or the series, they were a spent force at the 60 minute mark and were getting completely outplayed by us if it wasn’t for a few opportunistic ref calls keeping them in the game.

    Firstly, my defining moment was Latu coming in after Pocock made a tackle, perfectly legal and over the ball on his feet, Ireland holding on, yet the ref interprets this as Latu “not releasing” and Ireland win and penalty and I think they got 3 point from it too.

    Second defining moment, Fooley hooking that penalty kick which would have given us the lead. Just like against NZ in Dunedin last year, cometh the hour, cometh the limp right boot. FFS Fooley if you can’t kick straight, give it to someone else. Fooley’s performance off the tee is further exacerbated by that horrendous effort to score at the end, pushed a pass which was clearly knocked on by the Irish player (not according to the TMO but that’s another story). take the tackle, recycle, start again. Instead it’s game over.

    On the note of the TMO, jeesus where do I start? first the knock on at the end, multiple camera angle show the ball changing line after passing the Irish hand, easy to see it was a penalty at minimum, a stretch to say penalty try but there was intent to illegally foil our attack. Then there is the challenges on Folau. Each of our kick offs that went to Folau were challenged by an Irish forward with lifting assistance, this was clearly a coached tactic, multiple times the ball went beyond the lifted man but their enthusiasm to spoil Folau’s attempt caused them to overbalance and were subsequently dropped by the lifter, I believe this was a strategic move to “win the ball back” in an unwinnable contest against a superior athlete. Folau is in no way responsible here no matter what contact he made. If you are going to lift a team mate the responsibility is to bring them down safely or don’t lift them.

    And finally, the stoppages every 2 minutes towards the end, give me a break. Ireland were cooked like a Christmas dinner there at the end, they were being dominated by a fresher Wallabies team and our subs were making impact, especially Tupou. Feigning an injury is weak as piss, man up and face the music. Again a well coached Irish team, who have adopted many All Black dark arts to get over the line in tight games like these.

    Speaking of the All Blacks, if there was any doubt, they are the worlds most loved team, not even the refs can help themselves anymore. That McKenzie try involved one of the most obvious and blatant obstruction moves by the ref on a French player it wasn’t funny. Furthermore both TMO and Ref watched the replay and pulled out the old “not enough obstruction” card which we as Wallaby fans are familiar with and will never forget.

    We get the shit end of the stick on most ref calls in most games, there is no doubt England, NZ and now Ireland are preferred winners by world rugby, we are always back against the wall against these 3 teams. Call me out for having a whinge, I don’t give a f— but if we were given the same treatment as those 3 teams by the ref, then I dare say we’d be world number 1.

    • Greg

      @ML it seems like your are channeling Mr Cheika this morning.

      As much as I would like to have seen a green knock on at the end … I couldn’t. We had men wide and a good chance to score…. but the pass was not good.

      The Latu call was wrong imo in that he was not the tackler and so could not release the player. That said, I am not sure that he was supporting his own weight either. It could easily have gone either way.

      For me the big issue is the lift to catch a ball in general play. This basically requires that the kick be uncontested and that is not what the game is about. I think it needs to be outlawed.It might have been Nutta that commented, if his 6 dropped him like that he would be looking for his 6 not Folau to have a quiet discussion.

      • Missing Link

        Thanks Greg, I’d get along really well with Cheika, we have many similarities and some differences. One of those differences is the ability to play and coach rugby, but hey we share the same passion for the Wallabies :)

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep! ML! You have more coaching skill than Cheika!

    • Hoss

      Love your passion link – Cheika gets slammed for showing same.

      Should be more of it.

    • Archie

      You do realise (actually I guess you don’t)… that the McKenzie try was 100% within the current rules?! Only if the ball strikes the ref can he call it back. So it was the correct call. Perhaps you’re talking about something else?

      However the denied NZ try at the other end by the TMO – after clear grounding was shown, was just bizarre. Though I get why you wouldn’t mention that, as it would kind of contradict your point.

      And what of the officiating in the Lions series last year?? … I can only guess the Lions must be a little higher up the ‘most liked teams’ list than NZ, according to your theory.

      NZ were the most carded tier one nation in 2017… was that just World Rugby going to extra lengths to try and cover up the conspiracy theory?

      • Mica

        I am guessing the cards were for cynical penalties inside their defensive 22 with the other team hot on attack (and probably after half a dozen final warnings).
        That’d fit SOP. :)

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          If it works, why change?

        • Mica

          Understand the sentiment KRL, but it really depends on what your goals and motivations are. If the only goal is to win and nothing else then sure there are lots of options to achieve this and winning at all costs where you deliberately break the laws in the hope you’ll get away with it is one such approach.

          I guess it depends on your values when you play sport. What’s important when you play the game?

          I can only speak for myself and what I do when I play sport. If I were to knowingly do something that was against the law and got away with it, I would call it a pretty hollow victory. Mind you this is not the 50:50 calls that go your way (where you’re not sure if you are in touch or not etc. before getting the ball down). It’s more the case where you know you have dropped the ball, but appeal for the try anyway, or you are lying on the ground and knock the ball out of the halfbacks hand.

          It can be dressed up anyway you like, but to me it’s just poor form and cheating (I’ve heard all the whatever the ref lets you get away with etc. and it’s part of being a professional outfit excuses).

          Always loved the way Gilchrist walked when he knew he nicked the ball.
          I not saying that this is something that is only perpetrated by the ABs, but there seems to be a culture of do anything to stop or score a try and if that includes deliberately engaging cynical/illegal play, then that seems to be the preferred option to allowing the opposition the circumstance of scoring a try or defending the play .

          The great irony is that NZ really don’t need to do it anymore as they are far and away ahead of everyone else when it comes to skills, ability, depth and anything you care to add. I’d love to watch the ABs and see them the way NZers do and think what an awesome team; The Harlem Globetrotters of rugby. Love them. Whilst I appreciate the skill and precision they can bring to the game I love, I hate what I see as the do anything you can get away with approach. I screwed you over, I fooled the ref, I did something illegal, but I didn’t get caught and the ref let me get away with it so it’s all good bro. To me they must know that this is not in the spirit of the game and the contest and when I see it happening, I just think how are non AB rugby fans supposed to respect that?

          I wouldn’t want the Wallabies to play that way and it turns me off the players who do play this way. I don’t think I have ever heard a Kiwi say nah it’s not on mate. In my experience you just get all the excuses and the everyone is jealous of us because we’re the best.

          That’s why I’d change it – much better to not only be the best, but be the best and fairest.

          Sorry for the long post KRL – I really enjoy your comments on GAGR – Just the Mica Philosophy on Life and Sport…… :)

      • Missing Link

        Hi mate, you don’t have to respond to my posts about the All Blacks with a counter point each time. With all due respect we see things differently based on who we support. You wont change my mind, but I’m not trying to change yours.

        In saying that, you are probably right, McKenzie’s try is completely within the laws of the game, except the footage looks terribly like the ref is putting himself between McKenzie and a defender to allow McKenzie free passage to the try line. Not blaming McKenzie, as a player you player you’re going to look to score trys and play the whistle. If he stopped and let France tackled him because he didn’t think it was morally just to score a try, he would have looked like an idiot.

    • Richard Patterson

      Gosh Missing Link with England beating the Springboks in South Africa, Ireland defeating the Wallabies in Australia and Scotland beating the Pumas in Argentina you must have felt tremendous relief on the weekend that the All Blacks represented the Southern Hemisphere well and defeated the touring French side in New Zealand. Your comments here tend to reflect that.

      • John Tynan

        Quality fishing!

        • Richard Patterson

          The ANZAC spirit never dates pal.

        • Missing Link

          Don’t get me wrong Richard, I don’t hate New Zealand or kiwis, it’s just the rugby team would be so much more digestible if they didn’t win so often. If I could watch an All Blacks game with a level of uncertainty towards the result, I might enjoy watching them. The Wallabies series against Ireland has been great despite the loss as scores were pretty tight in all 3 games. Nobody like a 50 point blowout at that level.

        • Richard Patterson

          I understand pal. People have the same feeling towards the New England Patriots, the Melbourne Storm and the German soccer team. Right now people are expressing similar thoughts about the Golden State Warriors who have single handedly changed the way basketball is being played. For years people had it with Manchester United and the New York Yankees although was that more because they were perceived to buy success? Some people dislike teams because they win too much. Some admire them because despite everyone trying to knock them off, they continue to reinvent themselves, keep raising the bar and keep winning. Glass half full, glass half empty I guess. I skew towards teams and organisations that try to represent good values. They ain’t always perfect — but they get it right more than they get it wrong. For some reason there’s not many out there. The modern world I guess.

        • onlinesideline

          Ha – funny you mention the German soccer team – in the context of the allegation ABs get favoured by the refs – look at this example below just yesterday at the World Cup where the German defender literally pushed the Swedish guy in the back right in the penaly box and not even a second look by the ref using VAR (the new video technology that got Socceroos a goal). This is just absolutely astonishing !! Maybe more evidence top teams get the rub of the green ?

        • Richard Patterson

          They say there was a reason Michael Jordan never got in foul trouble. I wonder why more guys were not like Jordan?

        • Alister Smith

          Yes I think its a little different club versus country. I think some clubs can be dominant by simply spending big and a period of dominance can come from that big spending. NZ don’t really steal players from elsewhere (they are net exporters of players and definitely of coaches). I don’t begrudge the All Blacks their dominance. It makes everyone else chase them and, particularly under World Cup tournament conditions when its a whole campaign, it can be a different story. I think there are 2-3 teams in the world capable of beating the All Blacks if they play to their very best and the All Blacks are sub par, have a couple of injuries or have a couple of dodgy calls against them. I would include Ireland, South Africa and England in that and even we have taken a game from them last year. Having a power team with a long winning history adds the front runner v underdog element to the story. I think it’s great.

        • Richard Patterson

          This year will be the most competitive Bledisloe Cup in a while and I do not rule out the possibility of it being decided on a neutral field in Yokohama on Oct. 27.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think there’s more mate. I think every team in the top 5 can beat any other team in the top 5 on their day. It needs a lot to go right, and more so against the ABs, but a few bounces the right way, some good decisions on the field, a bit of luck with the referee, no crucial mistakes and it can all come good. The thing with the ABs at the moment is that they pounce on the mistakes and then punish you. No one else can do that as well as they do and that’s a huge part of why they win because every team does make mistakes.

        • IIPA

          Couldn’t agree more ML. These days I get shittier watching the ABs win than I do the Wallabies lose.

          Or to crystallize it further, when a call goes against us I’m mildly annoyed and when a call goes to the ABs I’m ropeable.

          Suffice to say I was bloody filthy most of their three games against France.

        • Richard Patterson

          Why do you watch then?

        • IIPA

          I live in hope. That forty game or whatever it was win streak against us cuts deep. Love to see the ABs start having a few losses and questioning their own aura pre RWC.

          Also to answer your question, I love the game and no one plays it better I have to admit.

          You don’t think the French got shafted a few times?

        • Richard Patterson

          I think you are not alone in wishing the All Blacks lose a few games. They set very high standards for themselves though and there’s plenty of guys chasing places in the team. They all know being on a losing AB team is not great for your long-term spot in the team.

          There is no question the French were on the wrong side of some calls – in particular their yellow card in the 1st test which was hastily delivered. Aren’t we all taught though in sport you got to take the good with the bad and keep the focus on the task at hand? They were not an especially gifted side either so my sympathy only stretches so far. They had ineffective leadership, their set piece was well below international standard and their defence lacked shape and accuracy as 16 tries conceded over 3 tests would illustrate. Like a lot of sides, they were good for 40-50 minutes but struggled to lift down the stretch when the All Blacks love to ramp up the pressure. The Wallabies and Springboks will bring a whole different level of intensity in the RC before England at Twickenham and Ireland in Dublin. Stay tuned IIPA – you may very well get your wish before the season is over.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Nah! Another whitewash coming

        • Archie

          I guess that’s a work-on for us :)

      • Missing Link

        Well if NZ is good for something, it’s flying the flag for the southern hemisphere

    • Mica

      No – I’d say number 4 is pretty accurate at the moment.
      We did get a couple of calls go our way too – Latu was unlucky, but Pocock earlier was lucky on a call that I saw.
      To me the difference between 2 and 4 in the world was rugby smarts. When watching the last play I just wanted Kerevi to run straight to Foley, latch onto the ball and drive him over the line. 5 points – job done. To me that was the smart, low risk play. It just didn’t need anything more.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Good rant mate. Don’t agree with it all but loved reading it so go you.

      • Missing Link

        cheers. just one of those times when you need to get it off your chest. a little GAGR therapy never hurt anyone :)

  • Nicholas Wasiliev

    So conflicted about that game on the weekend.

    Shoot me down in flames, but I can’t be disappointed at the Wallabies, even though we lost. I was proud of them. I know we’re only three games in this year, but already they don’t look like the Wallabies that played England and Scotland last year. They turned up to play and they threw everything into this game. Yeah, there were a few moments where they stuffed up, but it would be wrong to say they didn’t play with guts. We can’t ask for more than that. At the same time though, that’s two Home series we’ve lost under Cheika, which is really concerning.

    On the other hand, I can’t fault the Irish. When push came to shove, they wanted it more, played extremely well and deserved the win. It was an absolutely fantastic series played in good spirit. And I won’t deny the Irish we’re a fraction better than us on Saturday night. I won’t argue with the result.

    But, in spite of all this, I have some serious questions about the refereeing. So many terrible calls, against both sides. It took away from the spectacle of the game, and just pissed everyone off. It seemed almost fitting to me that the whole series was decided by the final play of the game, and the TMO called it back and bloody ruined it. It was unbelievably frustrating. Add in what was going on in NZ, and it doesn’t look good. Agree with Hugh now, there needs to be a serious review of the refereeing and the usage of the TMO in the game.

    • Andy

      I share your sentiments Nick. World Rugby need to sort this shit out. And the refs need to be reminded that they are not the spectacle (as hard as it is for some of them to understand this). Give us our rugby back please. I mean, the last international game I went to overseas (uk) there was a section of the match programme on the ref. There was more background on him than the best player or the coach. FFS, he shouldnt even be talked about other than his name only…

  • Kokonutcreme

    Folau’s leaping ability is one of his greatest assets and a real threat to opposition teams, particularly in competing at short restarts.

    Folau is always genuinely competing for the ball in these short restarts, it’s a deliberate tactic from the Wallabies.

    However when an opposition player is lifted in a static position to receive the ball, competing against a charging player attacking the ball, the attacking player is always going to be the player at risk of being penalised and potentially carded.

    The Irish tactic of employing a single lifter to elevate their leaper is going to cause World Rugby all sorts of problems in adjudicating incidents like this in the future due to their guiding principle that the player in the air has to be protected.

    I actually thought the aerial contest from the very first kickoff was worse than the one that occurred later where Folau was sinbinned. Surprised that nothing came of it from the referee, maybe it was influenced by O’Mahony getting quickly back to his feet and taking his place in the defensive line.

    This is the biggest problem as I see it, the referees decision seems to be influenced by the consequence rather than the action itself. Rugby is a contact sport and players will suffer injuries, regardless of the laws of the game.

    If Pascal had taken a firmer line from the start, similar to the second test when Kearney was penalised for his challenge in the air against Folau then maybe the Wallabies/Folau may have been maore circumspect in pursuing this tactic.

    • Greg

      “maybe the Wallabies/Folau may have been maore circumspect in pursuing this tactic.”

      I think this is the problem rather than the solution.

      The single lifter seems like a deliberate and dangerous tactic. the lifted player can only be safe if there is no contest…. but the whole objective of rugby is that there *always* a contest for the ball (well… except mauls).

      @KRL Does Law 9.11 come into play here?

      “Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others.”

      It is the only law I can recall where it mentions “others” rather than “opponent”.

      • Missing Link

        So by lifting a player into the path of an airborne Folau, Ireland commited a reckless and dangerous act to others?

        • Greg

          My point is that the 6 lifting deliberately puts his player in a dangerous position assuming that there will be a contest for the ball.

          In this case the ball did not come down directly where the player was lifted and he reached backwards. At this stage, physics being what it is, he was probably going to land on his head regardless of whether there was a contest as he would pivot on the 6s lift.

          Isn’t that dangerous play?

        • Bakkies

          That’s how O’Connell often caught kick offs he will still come back forward when he got the ball and got to ground safely.

  • Greg

    hopefully this link works…. This is a great story!

    • Brisneyland Local

      Greg, thanks for posting that! Amazing!

    • Missing Link

      Do you think Murray and Pocock swapped jerseys or did they swap with their respective numbers? I’m just wonder how the hell did Pocock fit into a scrum halves jersey without the seams bursting?

      • Timbo

        his own jersey was busting at the seams.

      • Andy

        Murray is a big half back

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    ‘Without focussing too much on specific individuals, Lukhan Tui and Tolu Latu were very impressive with some great carries and work in defence while Bernard Foley showed why he is the ultimate enigma of Australian Rugby’

    Tui could be our answer at 6 if we persist with the Pooper (big ball-runner who is class in the line out) and Latu + Uelese and BPA mean we are really developing some hooking depth. Also, Australian Thor (time to drop the ‘Tongan’) has arrived in a big way. Going up against the best THP in the world at times in Furlong, he was hardly shown up. I doubt Kepu, as great as he is, will keep Tupou on the bench for much longer.

    In my opinion the only enigma with Foley is why some people continue to rate him as being better than he showed this series. I must admit, I was a big believer up until the England series. But after his performance vs England I had to go back an re-think my opinion of him. I rewatched some of the RWC tests, and literally the only matches he stood out in were the England test (although Beale was by far our best player in that match, not Foley) and Argentina. Very poor vs Scotland, did nothing against Wales and was comprehensively outplayed by Carter in the final (absolutely no shame in that).

    Rather like Nick Phipps Foley tries his best. He seems a good time man and to have the respect of the coaches and his teammates, but this is what we get with him.

    I actually thought he had a decent series by his standards and I definitely wouldn’t single him out for playing below his best or anything. He did okay. He always does his best but he is a 7s player who thus knows how to run, support and link very well. He doesn’t have the option taking, game management, kicking or passing of an international 10. Expecting him to be more than that is unfair to him, and people not acknowledging his limitations are unfair to the Wallabies.

    • Missing Link

      Agree, Pocock was outstanding, Latu and Tui were great, Samu did a good job as well considering it was only his second test and came on early for Hooper. Tupou was outstanding when he came on, won a scrum penalty and really lifted to make some big carries towards the end, when we needed players to stand up. Phipps and Foley were shit. I’m not as scathing towards them as some, but really notices Phipps poor looping passes, and passing to flat footed forwards. Foley’s kicking let him and the team down yet again when we needed some long range touch finders and accurate goalkicking!

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I’ve been far too critical of Foley in the past and need to turn it down as he does seem like a good man and a kind person. But I’m just frustrated by our coach and so much of the media turning a blind eye and having continued to spout nonsense about Foley being ‘world class’. For a while I was even questioning my own sanity as I just couldn’t see it.

        • Missing Link

          Totally agree, but who’s the replacement? Last thing we want is Foley to move to 12 again but insist on playing at 1st rec. with the 10 standing 2 feet beside him.

          Hodge – has the boot but not the distribution skills, more of a hard runner, not a 10.
          Beale – possible but has been found to go sideways too often, seems better suited to 12.
          Lance – not bad but not good.
          The kid from the Reds is too young and inexperienced, maybe in a few years?
          Toomua – overseas.
          CLL – still working back to potential after his illness.
          Hawera – shut bro.
          Debreczeni, a better 10 option than Hodge but too casual. in fact if Debreczeni tried to play Cheika’s up tempo tah-like game plan he’d probably be closer to the squad.
          Hegarty – has not played 10 since leaving the Rebels.

          any other options? It seems like Fooley is the only option at the moment, but I’m sure Chieka would try another option if it existed.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Definitely not Hodge, thats for sure.

          I agree Beale is better suited to 12, but as Mark Ella said in his column on Saturday he is playing at 10 most of the time except off of set piece anyway. May as well get him there all of the time and move Kerevi into his best position at 12.

          Other than that, you try and develop Maddocks ASAP, you bring in that lad from the Force or you move heaven and earth to get Toomua back/change eligibility and pick him.

        • Missing Link

          Fair point for both Beale and Kerevi, I don’t think he’s the answer at 13 either. We did try that against Eng 2 years ago and got beaten so I think Cheika has gone back to what he knows and will insist on a playmaker at 12.

          Maddocks is a good player, one thing I notice about him which isn’t a stat is he has that freakish ability to “win a collision” despite his height and weight. It’s a good thing to possess and could be a great 10 in time, but it’s all hypothetical until Wessels starts putting him there for the Rebels.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I really wish Thorn would play Perese at outside centre. Paia’aua or Stewart at 10 and Lance at fullback.

          12. Kerevi, 13. Perese could easily be the Wallabies centre combination for the next 5-6 years after the 2019 RWC.

        • IIPA

          Deegan is a very solid player potentially. Hasn’t put a foot wrong at Force. Maddocks at 10 is pie in the sky stuff. He maybe played there for the 16Bs at Scots or Easts 2nd Colts…

          The smokey is Mack Mason – stuck behind Foley and Hegarty but I reckon most followers of Qld school / junior footy will tell you he’s a better prospect than Stewart.

          Tayler Adams is also very talented but I reckon a couple of years off eligibility.

        • Brumby Runner

          Andrew Deegan.

        • Missing Link

          Would like to see him as a starting 10 in a SR team facing off against kiwi and SA SR teams for at least a whole season first.

        • Andy

          That’s our biggest problem. No depth in the 9/10 channel.

        • Will

          I reckon what you’ve done and then some is probably what Larkham and Cheika have been through several times. As bad as it is – Foley is our guy for the next RWC. We’ve got to get behind the bloke and back him because there’s no one else.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Cheika has largely created this situation though.

          Would Lance be heading overseas if he had been wanted at the Wallabies?

          Cheika dropped Quade from the squad with no backup. It would have been much harder for Thorn to justify dropping him if he was still playing for the Wallabies. Additionally, Quade would have more incentive to move to the Brumbies or Rebels if he knew he was still in with a shot at the Wallabies. As it is, he has no reason to think he would be anywhere near.

          I doubt Toomua would have gone if he was starting for the Wallabies under Cheika as his form deserved.

          So now we’re in a situation, largely of Cheika’s own making, in which Foley is the only choice. It was the same thing last year when Hanigan was the ‘only’ option as Fardy had been essentially let go the year before after being demoted behind Mumm, a player inferior in nearly every facet of the game aside from speed in making cover tackles.

        • Number 12

          there’s a bloke with 70+ tests sitting around (injured – not for ever i presume) who a previous coach lauded as having the best game management & ability to follow a game plan that he has worked with….

    • Andy

      I agree on your points regarding Tui and Latu. Especially Tui. He is the big blockbusting 6 we’ve been crying out for. Latu is just more dynamic than the other hookers in Oz rugby. He is immovable at the breakdown and is tough as nails.

      I agree on all your points about Foley. Only, from my reading most people don’t rate him at all. His limitations are very clear and I can’t see him improving out of sight in those areas. But he is still worth pursuing with imo because there isn’t anyone challenging him and he isn’t old by any stretch. There is some time for him to improve, like Sexton did at the same point in his career. But key to that is othe players challenging his jumper. Let’s hope the kid from QLD and even maybe Deegan from the Force come through well over the next few seasons.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Yeah, as much as I think Taf is our best hooker it is no longer critical if he goes down. Latu/BPA/Uelese can hold down the fort and perform well. I hope they work on Latu’s jackling technique but I really rate him. Surely the Tahs have to start him after his June series?

        Oh, I think Foley will be the 10 as long as Cheika is in charge. I really hope he improves though.

  • juswal

    Thanks for serving up the hot news, Ned.

    I dislike the idea of coach challenges. The coach ran on the field with us in the Under 7s but since then, he’s not been seen or heard in the field of play. He gives a half-time spray and calls the replacements . . . that’s enough. Something’s got to change with the TMO imbroglio, but that’s not it.

    Speaking of coaching, Bret Harris wrote in the Guardian that ‘Michael Cheika had allowed the senior players to devise the game-plan for the first two Tests, but he re-asserted his authority for the third, reverting to a ball-in-hand style of game in which kicking was a last resort.’

    • Missing Link

      Interesting, why don’t they both devise a game plan for every match and pick the best game plan between Cheika and the players as ‘plan A’. See how it goes and if they’re behind at half time, switch to the other one that we will call ‘plan B’ or better still dynamically alternate between A and B at the captains discretion during the game depending on what’s actually happening.

    • Brumby Runner

      But I think the stats had the Wallabies kicking more than Ireland in the 3rd test, something like 24 to 16 or thereabouts? That’s a lot of last resorts. Actually, I think many of those kicks were on first or second phase, so hardly last resort in any case.

      • Alister Smith

        yes but a good percentage of our kicks were inaccurate and generally just sh*t

  • Hoss

    Two days later and the hurt is still real.

    Your friends knew it wouldn’t work out, but you didn’t want to hear it, you wanted to believe it so much so you tricked yourself into believing as well.

    The bed sheets remain askew, the signs of a desperate attempt to hang on, one more time, i know we can make it – ‘what do my Friends know anyhow’. There’s flashes of hope scattered all round the room, the gold scarf, the stuffed marsupial, the empty bottle of Jack that delivered hope in every mouthful – that lying deceitful nectar.

    Alone with my thoughts, my head swirling, pain, hurt, frustration – hello emptiness.

    I hate it when my cousin leaves – oh and we lost the rugby as well.

    • Archie

      So good! Love it

    • Greg

      Don’t worry about your cousin. He will be back soon.

      • Hoss

        One you knock back is one you never get

    • onlinesideline

      You’ll be please to know only this morning I was sitting on the crapper and actually chuckled out loud rethinking your Shakesparean qoute of last week.

      • Hoss

        errrr thanks, i think……….

        Might hold off on putting that particular reference on my CV.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Pure Gold Hoss. I said Irish by 5-7, and I was pretty close. I am just dissapointed because the same weaknesses are there and not addressed. And whilst Cheika is there they wont be. So we look for a damage minimisation strategy for the RWC, and note we will not develop whilst he is there. And hope for a brave new world come 2020. Unless they appoint one of the deputies where we are likely to get more of the same. I am not negative, just acceptant!

      • Andy

        Mate I think you need to accept that with the resources we have there will be no dynasty in Australian rugby for some time. Simply, if you think changing Cheika will turn this team around you are being optimistic beyond logic.

        Whoever takes this job will have a mighty challenge on his hands. Our kicking game won’t improve overnight, nor our decision making. Main reason, there aren’t any backup 9&10’s available that are performing better. The closet is bare, especially at 10.

        I’m as disappointed at the result as any man. But I will acknowledge, we did a lot better in this series than I thought we would. This Irish team is a great team and stats prove it. They are a genuine chance of winning the WC. If we played them 2 years ago with the same team that got done by England it would be 3-0 and the aggregate score wouldn’t be 55-55. There is some upside in this team which I am excited about, especially in the pack.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I understand the sentiment but dont comletely agree. The tactic to ensure that Foley doesnt kick is easily solved. Other than place kicks dont let him lkick. There are plenty of places in the team that will fix that problem. Re the depth at 9/10. start blooding other players. Blood them now. Phipps was not a good choice. Powell or Gordon, ever the new up and coming 9 in Qld.
          Re 10, the fact that there is no depth is partly of Cheika’s making. There is talent out there we are just not using it. QC we pushed away. Toomua we let go overseas by letting him know he was never a shot at 10 in Gold.
          Changing Cheika, which I dont believe will happen, would change slections and play the tactics with which our game is played. Would it have won us the series? Hypothetical question. But on all three games we were close, within striking distance. Bad umpiring decisions didnt loose us the game, dumb decisions and poor execution did. There is talent in the squad, it just isnt being used to its fullest potential.

        • Andy

          You see, I just don’t buy a lot of the hearsay on the Cheika telling guys they aren’t needed. It’s not really his style. Toomua went on his own accord. And tbh, never performed well at 10 for the Wallabies. He has said as much as well.

          Quade, again. Thorn pushed him away and he wasnt selected on form last year and rightly so, imo. But from what I hear Cheika urged him to change super clubs to get opportunity. He declined. Who’s fault is that?

          And Sorovi looks promising but looks extremely raw. Defence and kicking are massive issues with him. I’m not a Phipps fan but I can’t see how he comes into the equation.

        • Brisneyland Local

          None of us will evel know who said what to who. But Toomua’s form after his concussions was not good. But if you watch the european games he has been playing at lately in the 10 role and he is blitzing! doing very well in deed.
          Re Quade, he has a contract with QRU. He is honouring that contract to the letter of the law. Why should he change when he has a contract?
          Sorovi is raw but worth some extension and potential bench time to Gordon /Powell.

        • Missing Link

          I’d slot Ruru ahead of Sorovi in the pecking order which should not be far off this:

          2. Phipps
          3. Powell
          4. Gordon
          5. Ruru
          6. Sorovi
          8. Goddard
          9. Prior
          10. Lucas 1 and 2
          11. That Bjorn Borg lookalike kid

        • Adrian

          Half back depth ok I think

        • Brisneyland Local

          I agree with all but Phipps. I would put him down the list. Develop the younger ones under Genia whilst he is still here. I give Genia 2 more years, so lets get the apprentices lined up!

        • Mica

          Tate McDermott. What about Tuttle?

        • Andy

          Agree on Toomua. Would love to see him come back and compete for the role and add a layer of experience to the squad.

          On QC, you’re correct he has no obligation to play for another team. But the ARU has no obligation to open doors at other Super clubs so he can fit in. They are trying to work out a solution for both parties which would benefit Australian Rugby. He didn’t want to play ball.

        • Brisneyland Local

          The offer they made him was on half of what he was earning now. I would stay where I am too.

        • Andy

          That’s a shame.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep, that it is. I would love to see him playing in the big league again. I have watched in a few of the club games he has played. Their home ground is just up the road from me. He certainly loks like a man amongst boys!

        • Adrian

          It’s not easy to solve 9/10 issues relating to depth quickly.
          Only last year, 3 of the regular 10s were OS players….thats 60%
          The year before 2 of the 9s were OS (40%)
          It beggars belief that the previous RA administration had a contract with Cooper that allows this season’s situation to occur. It also amazes me that it hasn’t been fixed by the current administration. Equally annoying to me is that Cooper didn’t adjust his style,… but that’s another story.
          I actually think that it’s only slightly about style, and more about something else that isn’t talked about,… which could be that some in Qld just don’t like him, and Cheika tagged along.

          Cooper doesn’t fix this anyway.

          In the short term, Duncan P needs to be tried in RC.

          I hate to say this, but the other contenders aren’t nearly of the class required, though Stewart and Mason might be one day

        • Brisneyland Local

          Concur!It is dissapointing that BT couldnt incorporate him! Surely BT could work with him, unless it is a personal grudge as some on here have suggested.

        • Adrian

          I actually think that there is some sort of grudge, and that some others are in on it too. I reckon we won’t really find out until a book is written. Cooper is one of my all time favourite players, and I think there is more to this. I think that whilst he’s getting good legal advice now, the advice he got about football hasn’t always been in his best interests.
          We still need to create depth though, whether he’s in the mix or not

        • Brisneyland Local

          I sure hope he gets back in the mix. Because every fault people bagged Cooper, Foley is now worse. IMHO

        • Adrian

          I don’t totally agree BL, but I understand where you’re coming from. I see them of having very different styles suited to different playing styles.
          In the thing that overlaps both playing styles (field position, tactical kicking), Cooper is clearly better. However, Cooper can’t/won’t play flat backline football….which is a shame…… Also a shame that Cooper fell out with BT et al

          My issues aren’t about whether Foley is better than Cooper, it’s about someone coming through to back up Foley. Not Foley’s fault, not Cheika’s fault. “Fault” is SR clubs using OS players + SR clubs using old recycled players + SR clubs using not very good players + good young 5/8s going to RL
          Time to put best available (eg Duncan P) in RC squad

        • Brisneyland Local


        • McWarren

          It’s why we should have started 3 years ago not persisted with the chosen one.

        • onlinesideline

          I agree. It has to be a personal thing. It just doesnt add up.
          Why couldnt BT coach out the things he didnt like, he’s perfectly capable and Quade would be perfectly willing. Madness.

        • Brumby Runner

          I suppose that you also feel bewildered by the present RA tying Hooper to a four year deal?

        • Adrian

          Not at all. He’s rated as being in the World’s top 20 players by Planet Rugby.

          The issue is how they word contracts, and don’t cover all bases, including “what if SR coach won’t select?”. Need a fallback position so player can be directed to another SR club as per NZ. Cooper’s contact was obviously prepared by amateurs.

          I was all for Cooper being contracted, but not the wording.

        • Steve

          Toomua has looked a step above the level that he’s playing in here in the UK, which is saying something at a resurgent time for the UK club game (just look how they sorted Beale out in his stint).

          I have no idea if he’s planning on playing in Super rugby next year and making a run at the RWC, but if Cheika has any sense he will keep calling until he says yes.

        • Brisneyland Local

          They would have to resign him to an Aus SR club first wouldnt they? Gee I certainly hope he is in the mix.

        • McWarren

          See I just don’t get the whole Quade wasn’t picked on form argument. If form was the precursor to selection Foley and Phipps would not have got a run. The bullshit comment of he wasn’t enjoying his Rugby was just that, bullshit. Now don’t get me wrong, injuries aside, you can’t justify picking Quade this year. But at a period in time when we were scrapping the barrel for talented 10’s why leave your only other 10 out of squads and tours? It’s plain dumb and gives insight into the lack of foresight of the Australian coaching panel. Regardless of your opinion of Quade v Foley he is at least the next best thing in a poorly stocked position.

          Why didn’t a young 10 go on tour as a development player?

        • Andy

          Listen. I’m a Quade fan. I just wish he went to the rebels or Brumbies when the chance was provided so we had more options. And yes, I hope this Stewart kid gets to stay around the team. I hear he’s training with them…

          I personally think he’s got a way to go, especially his kicking game but he’s clearly got ability.

        • McWarren

          Cheika has had how many years to firstly recognise the deficiencies of Foley and Phipps and has done nothing to develop alternatives, in fact in the case of Foley he has driven away the only other 10 with international experience. At 9 I think our alternatives are bloody good. Both Powell and Gordon should by now have more caps to there name off the bench. We would have more depth at 6 and 8 if Cheika’s belligerence hadn’t insisted on the pooper and Ned. Blokes like Angus Cottrell must be livid seeing the amount of chanc s Hannigan gets. Not too mention Scott Fardy.

          We have the depth we just lack the knowledge and courage to admit it and develop it.

        • Andy

          Who is developing 10’s at provincial level that are capable of being selected? That’s the real question here and where the issues lies. Remember, Larkham one of our greatest players would be heavily advocating for Foley at 10. If there was a better option I have no doubt he would be pushing them.

          I won’t comment on the selection of 6’s. I know the conspiracy theories about players being “driven away” but I’m yet to hear any players say that including Fardy. One of which said the complete opposite when interviewed recently. I get frustrated with Cheika as much as the next man so don’t get me wrong I think a lot of the criticisms are valid I just think a lot of people overstate his influence as all negative and the sole thing responsible for team and player performance.

        • Hoss

          Hamish Stewart has to be an end of year tourist and an investment. The kids got potential writ large. Can kick, pass, run and tackle (he was a loosie as a kid). He has to be in and around all the gold camps between now and RWC – god help us if Hodge is 10, KB at a pinch (1 game) but we are buggered with Spanners at 10 if injured.

        • Alister Smith

          Not saying we should use Hodge but at least he would be able to kick the ball over half way from out of our 22 – personally I would like to see him play a bit more 10 at the Rebels and see how he develops – fingers crossed though that Stewart will be our long term option – he certainly has the skills but where we seem to be lacking st the moment is the ability to read play and to manage a game

        • Brumby Runner

          We need to be developing a 10 who has a bit more maturity than Stewart, can read a game and manage the backline. He exists in the West, Andrew Deegan. He has a much more rounded game than when he played at U20s and with NSW a couple of years ago, can kick well in general play and he is also a very capable defender and able to take the line on himself. At the moment, he is many steps ahead of any other young No 10 going around, and should be brought into the Wallaby environment at the very next opportunity.

        • onlinesideline

          We are buggered with spanners if he ISN’T injured too. We wont win a world cup with him in the team.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Or develop them. FFS they have nothing to do except train and get better and we haven’t seen anything. They certainly haven’t brought into leaving the jersey better than they found it

        • Adrian

          All good points Andy, and I agree

        • I’m not a fan of Cheika and perhaps it’s not entirely his fault but I think you need to compare how Australia have done under his watch with other countries.

          One of those countries, inevitably, has to be New Zealand. They lose promising players overseas on a regular basis, recently young players rather than just senior players towards the end of their career. The loss of Carter to France was not a disaster, the loss of Sopoanga and Piatau was a bit more of a bodyblow. Ok, a decade or so earlier they lost Hayman and Evans but then it was rare, now they’re losing several young players a year, just like the Wobs.

          The biggest difference? What you hear about the fringe players, the hopefuls, is the phone calls from Hansen saying “You need to work on this, that’s why we didn’t pick you this time” along with the public statements that “X was really unlucky this time, there weren’t enough places” and the expectation that they will get rotated in – what the AB did on Saturday with such an experimental side is rare but they give their rising stars a go. Remember Sopoanga’s first test? Ellis Park against the Bokke? Who apart from the AB would do that… but equally who apart from them would win. Compare that to the – true or not – reports of the calls between Cheika and his rising stars and the observably true selection policies. There is some blooding of new players, we all remember Hannigan last year (and his reemergence on Saturday) but there seems to be just a lack of willingness to try anyone else. Hansen has, arguably, the best resources in the world. The RFU and Jones have more, but their quality might not be up there. That gives Hansen a different set of problems, sure, but he manages them very differently and seems to actively develop as many players as he can in all positions rather than trotting out the same faces in key positions and not looking to develop depth to replace them.

          Then look at Wales. Gatland was, rightly or wrongly, criticised for “Warrenball” for years. For a rather similar selection policy to Cheika’s. However, with a swathe of injuries before the 2015 RWC a whole new back line played, and played well in a completely different style. Changes at key positions came and went, perhaps not as fast as the public wanted but at appropriate times, and new players were blooded by bing subs, getting experience off the bench and then taking over when they had some experience. At the same time, Gatland has had to fight with the WRFU and the regions restructuring several times, trying to avoid bankruptcy and the like. He’s also had two years out with being the Lions coach. He’s got far more limited resources than Cheika or Jones, and if you look at his resume, he’s achieved a hell of a lot with it. You could easily draw quite a lot of strong parallels here but, although it’s not always obvious at the time, Gatland always had an eye for the future and although you wouldn’t say it was a smooth conveyor belt, his process worked. With the complete change of players there’s a completely new game plan and while it’s taking a while to bed in, it’s showing signs of really coming together so it should be up and running smoothly before Japan.

          Cheika is not Gatland or Hansen, and the problems in Australia are not the same as Wales and NZ. But changing coaches can have a dramatic impact. Lancaster got sacked. Fast Eddy got appointed as England coach. England went from the first host team to be kicked out before the quarter-finals of the 2015 RWC to winning back-to-back grand slams and whitewashing Australia away. Their woes in 2018 notwithstanding for two years, albeit two years in which they didn’t face the All Blacks, they swept all before them. And while there were changes in personnel, there were a lot of faces carried over too. It’s not optimistic beyond the expectations of history to suggest that:
          a) a new coach might manage and develop younger players better – at least two (there are more but those two are good examples) do;
          b) a new coach can have a dramatic impact on a team, at least in the short-medium term. If a new coach had a 2 year impact on the Wobs, like Jones did on England, that could win the 2019 RWC, thanks very much.

        • Andy

          All very good points.

          I think Hanigan will end up being a solid player. He has already improved this year and it’s clear they are playing the long game with him, rightly or wrongly. And a lot of the forwards that have been introduced by this coaching team are starting to look very good. Latu, Sio, Uelese, Coleman, Rodda, 7 A’s, Tui, PA, Dempsey, Tongan Thor and even Robinson all came in under Cheika.

          But again, that’s not to say a different coach wouldn’t make improvements on this team and agree with the coaches you mentioned. For me, Gatland is the best going around.

          Whomever takes over this team, which I suspect will be after the WC will be very happy with the young forward pack they inherit. If that’s an experienced coach like Gatland you wouldn’t have any complaints

        • Patrick

          Sure Hanigan will end up being a solid player one day. But so many would end up being awesome players if they were given the chances he is.

          Honestly we wonder why McMahon left – but knowing that they seriously saw Hanigan, who he’d break in six in attack or defence, as a replacement must have kicked him in the guts.

        • Andy

          Not sure what there is to wonder about. He has gone on record as saying he went for the money as his career won’t be long (due to the physicality he plays at).

          He was getting picked by Cheika and Cheika desperately wanted him to stay.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Not sure I agree 100%. While there are some clear issues with rugby in Australia, the right coach with better selections, a better tactical appreciation and the guts to admit he was wrong could see a marked improvement. The wallabies have the cattle but they play people out of position, make dumb selections that they won’ change through not wanting to be seen weak, don’t develop the top 10% and have a dumb approach to tactics.
          All of that can be changed with the right coaching group

        • TouchFinderGeneral

          I dunno KRL – are the tactics that bad? The Wallabies got close to the ABs in Xchurch last year, and then got over the line in the next one. They’ve been bloody close against the Grand Slammer’s.

          I am not saying MC is a great coach, though his domestic records stands up, only that the coach has limited influence on the fine margins that influence close games.

          That said – a change may not do any harm. Who would be the ideal coaching team (assuming Schmidt wants to stay in the Emerald Isle. Wouldn’t blame him at the moment. Weather is bloody gorgeous for a change)?

        • TouchFinderGeneral

          Here’s a question – would MacQueen have won a Webb-Ellis with the players Cheika has to work with? Personally I can’t see it – we got lucky 97-01 with a crop of great players, similarly to the cricket team.

          By the time a player gets under the wing of the national coach he will already have most of his rugby habits ingrained. If a guy can’t fire off bullet 10m left-to-right passes into the breadbasket by the time he is 22/23 it’s not realistic to imagine the coach – any coach – can do much about it. Sure you can become a useful kicker,say (O’Driscoll, Nonu), but I can’t recall any instances of folk who can’t kick out of hand reliably when they debut who subsequently develop the consistency of a Wilkinson or Carter.

          My tuppence worth is that our lads don’t get the same consistent standard of rugby education that the NZ kids do. This has been the case for so long now there is little any coach could do. For all that there is so much talent around we will remain competitive, and perhaps even get another jackpot in the generational lucky dip.

        • Brumby Runner

          TFG I find it hard to agree with anything you’ve said here.

          It has long been said that the difference at top level rugby is in the top 2% (ie the brain). I don’t think we can say that the Wallabies are winning in the brain stakes. The fact we are regularly beaten by the opposition scoring more points through penalty kicks shows we are not playing with smarts. This is one area where coaching really should be able to bring about improvements, but there is no evidence of any improvement in the way the Wallabies have played while under Cheika’s tutelage.

          Individual player skills can be improved. All Black players invariably say they improved their skills when they joined the national squad. And it is obvious in some, like Ma’a Nonu, that they seem to add new skills as well as hone the ones they have. There is no similar evidence in the Wallabies, and to the contrary I recall hearing some say that it’s not the national coaching team’s responsibility to improve the skills of the players. What rubbish.

          The Wallabies setup has it in their own hands to improve their results, but the largest impediment in my eyes is the current head coach with his sometimes unfathomable selections, game plans and tantrums.

        • TouchFinderGeneral

          The latest psychological research tells us that most of our decisions are the result of sub-conscious processes we don’t have conscious access to (“Mindware” by Richard Nisbett is bloody fascinating). This is true even when we have time to think. The point about some rugby skills is that under pressure you want consistent execution with minimal time to execute. This can only come from many hours of execution. A few months in the national squad isn’t enough.

          Of course improvements are possible – look at the scrum. Individuals should obviously get better at some things with experience. And as overlord the coach should take some credit for this, though I’ve never heard an AB coach take credit for Nonu’s developement. But for the more ‘instinctive’ side of the game, the split-second decisions – I’m doubtful the national coach can do much. That said – he can sure make things worse for the game managers, typically 9&10, with over-complicated/inappropriate game plans. For my money the Wallabies game plans aren’t that far wrong given the players available.

          “The fact we are regularly beaten by the opposition scoring more points through penalty kicks shows we are not playing with smarts”

          Well – it could also point to the fact that other teams have more reliable kickers? I guess Farrell & Sexton have better %’s than Foley? Or that the refs have sub-consciously decided the Wallabies are the inferior team and thus more likely to transgress? Or that other teams with better tactical kicking are able to put pressure on the Wallabies for longer periods in the kickable zone, than the Wallabies are able to muster?

          I’d say some stats on penalties conceded in kickable areas would throw some light on this.

  • Jason

    I would love to see the numbers, but I can’t think of a weekend of rugby, where we’ve not averaged a card a game — that’s beyond a joke. You can’t expect players to not/stop making mistakes because they are getting cards, players don’t mean to hurt each other, and they clearly don’t mean to get cards. Moreover there is no major difference in the punishment for a player getting a one week ban (or several week ban) for something and killing the game because you give a player a red card. But by letting the post match review deal with it you keep the game intact. Obviously we should always have a red card for when you get blatant deliberate acts, and yellow cards for when a player is obviously careless, but giving out cards for a ‘high tackle’ when a player is falling to the ground is ridiculous — but IF that is something World Rugby want to penalise then let them after the game.

  • onlinesideline

    Moving forward – Can someone please tell me, TPNs experience aside, what does he offer that Tolu doesnt, skill for skill, which basically includes:

    (with 2019 in mind if Latu can handle himself like he did this series shouldnt we be keeping him as the starter considering his young age and being in OZ as well)

    I see Latu better in a number of these.

    1 scrummaging
    2 lineout throwing
    3 pilfering
    4 tackling technique
    5 speed to breakdown
    6 linking ability
    7 mauling skills
    8 big stage performance

    • Fatflanker

      Absolutely. TPN possibly still an edge in the scrum but we can’t afford not to give the younger blokes as much experience as possible now in the lead-up to RWC. Like Genia, TPN has high-mileage and is a big risk of breaking down.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I don’t think it’s a bad idea to have a rotational policy on the reserve hooker, as well as keeping TPNs minutes down in the RC and Spring Tour.

        Start him against the All Blacks and the Boks (we will need him vs Marx/Beast/Kitshoff/du Toit), rotate the reserve hooker between Uelese/Latu/BPA and then against Argentina either bench Taf or don’t use him in the 23 at all.

    • juswal

      Another thing that Latu offers is that at 178cm (advertised), he’s compatible with the 175cm Tupou.

      At the moment we have a medium-tall starting front row and a stubby (sub-180) replacement front row. Both are doing really well.

      • juswal

        The Stubstitutes

        • Human

          That is the first laugh I have had since the game finished. Thankyou

      • Alister Smith

        yes Robertsons only 180 cm too

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I think I can answer some of these:

      1. Scrummaging – Taf is easily the best scrummaging Australian hooker and up there with Marx as the best in the world

      2. Taf’s line out throwing has massively improved over the last few years. Further, while in the UK he has had an issue in it identified and rectified:

      3. Latu is a better pilferer, no doubt. However, he also concedes an exorbitant number of penalties at the breakdown. I think the penalties he concedes may outweigh those that he win in terms of importance (he was correctly penalised on Saturday)

      4. Latu has better tackling technique, but is less powerful than Taf

      5. I don’t think either excel here

      6. Taf really is a good link-man, so is Latu

      7. Taf easily the better mauler – as you’d expect after playing 80 tests

      8. Big stage performance – have we seriously forgotten that TPN was probably our best forward last year? He was in career best form in 2017.

      I will also add:

      9. TPN is one of the best ball-running forwards in Ausralia.

      I actually wouldn’t pick Latu over Uelese necessarily until Latu fixes his pilfering technique. He often rests his body on the players when jackling and is correctly penalised for it.

      • onlinesideline

        When are we gonna see you pick up the pen offically for GGR mate – there is a second career there in the waiting.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Thank you for the kind words. They’re very much appreciated :)

      • Ed

        Taf was our best forward in 2017. There were games where other forwards would do something well like a big hit/run and the commentators would go nuts.
        The players did not think like you and me as TPN was not in the top 10 vote getters in the 2017 JEM, while four flankers – Hooper, McMahon, Pocock (from 2016 EOYT) and Dempsey were in it.
        That Taf’s lineout throwing was rectified pretty quickly once he was in Leicester said much about the quality of coaching here.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The John Eales medal is a joke. How did Dempsey make it in the top 10 when he played about 5 tests, and at least a couple of them off the bench? It seemingly goes to a back or a loosie every time.

        • Ed

          I agree. No TPN nor Coleman in top 10 last year, really?

      • Perth girl

        Caught up with Taf at the Force game on Friday night. He looked fit and well, enjoying a few beers! He said he enjoyed his time in UK

  • laurence king

    I think that TPN is still number 1, he was our best forward last year imo. But it appears our depth in this position is no longer a problem. Paenga and Tola played great footy over the series. We have now good depth in most positions, Tui looks to have locked in number 6. The only position now appears at 8. I feel Timu should have been given time there and give the Pooper a rest.

    • Missing Link

      I thought he did, Pocock wore 6 in Melbourne to accommodate Timu at 8. I didn’t think Timu had a good series to be honest. Tui has earned a place at 6 though most definitely. And we have a little bit of experience at 2 especially if TPN comes back. I think we have good stock in all positions, except 9 and 10. We turn to jelly without Genia at 9 and Foley is keeping his seat warm at 10, otherwise multiple players vying for starting spots.

  • Human

    I believe that the whole TMO thing is overdone and this is probably a pointless question, however, can anyone explain why the Green winger (11?) was not pinged for trying to knock the ball down in the last play. He may have missed the ball but his intent was clear to pretty much everyone.

    • juswal

      The TMO explained to the ref that ‘I don’t hev clear und compulling uvedunce’ that the green player touched the ball, or that the ball was deflected.

      I guess the TMO concluded that the attempted ullegal ect was unsuccussful and there was no offunce.

      • Missing Link

        Ben Skeen obviously didn’t have these two angles at his disposal which show stockdale clearly touching the ball and causing a direct pass from Foley to Kerevi to go over Kerevi’s head and into touch.

        • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

          Nothing clear and obvious in those still shots. Sure, there’s suspicion, but the current law interpretation says that it has to be clear and obvious. I’d want more reliable “evidence” than that before I hang the TMO out to dry.

        • Missing Link

          no worries Ben :D

        • Habitual offender

          Shows a path of direction from the hands, must have changed direction because of all the flies Stockdale was swatting

      • Fatflanker

        Where was bloody camera 7 when we needed it?!

        • juswal

          That tuchnology was uffline

        • Missing Link

          powered by Optus?

  • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

    At the risk of poking the bear, can I suggest that for the Ireland series, Sekope Kepu pretty much just mailed in his effort, and looked anything but a world-class prop?

    I thought Kepu looked at least a half a yard off the pace, both in the scrum and around the field. Could it be that his time is almost up at the top level?

    Maybe it’s time for a changing of the guard, and promoting Taniela Tupou to start at tight-head. Let’s see what he’s got.

    • Archie

      Good call. Pretty much a penalty magnet with his obligatory high shots too

      • Brumby Runner

        And failing to move from the ruck.

  • Larry Jorgensen

    And a post match interview with a captain who was engaging, smiling and generous towards the opposition

    • Brisneyland Local

      Very much a noticeable change.

  • 22DropOut

    I’ve never really rated Spyro Zavos but I did enjoy this piece and hard to disagree with his thoughts on Foley and Cheika

  • onlinesideline

    Im beginning to think this. Its disgusting and I also think Larkham pressuring QC publicly to join another team is wrong. Its was RA and Reds stuff up, why should QC suffer Walla selection, he has 60 caps.Just wrong. Dont tell me Quade wouldnt have torn these Irish guys up. Look at his last pass to JOC in Hong Kong Bled to win the match. This is meat and potatoes for him. On weekend we would have been series winners with him on fields. Idiot ppl.


A self diagnosed rugby snuff who loves wet weather footy and still can't figure out how to put a photo up of myself

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