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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News sees two Aussies make the Super Final, the Waratahs size issues, the Sio siblings and a new Aussie 7’s player from an unlikely place.

 


Referee in the Spotlight

Angus Gardner

Angus Gardner

It’s only taken almost every game of the season, but Angus Gardner has finally cracked the code.

That we all want to be able to remember a game of rugby for what it is, a game of rugby. (And to not notice that there was even a referee there at all).

Along with the G.O.A.T Pete Samu (The legendary Wallabies flanker), our Aussie representation will be sadly be a team of two for the Crusaders v Lions decider in Christchurch.

With 15 Tests under his whistle, Gardner has progressed past his former status as rising star of the officiating ranks and now is one of the finest in the world.

The last Aussie to handle the Super Rugby decider was Wayne Erickson in the competition’s inaugural season of 1996, when the Blues beat the Sharks.

SANZAR’s use of neutral referees clearly has worked against more Aussies having blown the whistle in Super Finals, but since 2008 it’s been a merit based system and there still hasn’t been any representation.

“To do these games is a massive honour really,” Gardner told NEWS.com.au.

“You just pinch yourself and think wow, I am involved at the important part of the tournament with great players and it’s just a massive honour really. It’s very humbling.

Gardner, like us all, had a bit of a tough time in June and came under the spotlight for issuing a red card to Frenchman Benjamin Fall in the second test. A decision that World Rugby then deemed “wrong”.

“I think when people are aware we are independent of each other and we do different jobs, it makes it easier to put in perspective,” Gardner said of the controversial incident.

“We have to make a decision out there with five or six camera angles, in the heat of the moment, and the judiciary have 30-plus camera angles in a completely different environment to review it.

“To be fair, the challenge in the air in that Test match, it’s an area of the game that is so dynamic and there are so many factors and mitigating factors that go into those things.

“Sometimes as referees we just have to make a call on the field with what we see and we can’t worry about if the judiciary will have a different opinion.”

With further issues surrounding the excessive use of TMO, Gardner’s management-like style allows him to keep the game free flowing, something that has been a clear frustration for many fans.

SANZAAR boss Andy Marinos issued a release saying the TMO protocol was “clearly not working” and in need of official change by World Rugby.

Gardner says referees were pleased to get the public support of SANZAAR that the TMO should be only called upon “for the big ticket items”.

“The influence of the TMOs, it is kind of driven on a case-by-case basis, and it is really the responsibility of the on-field referee to lead in terms of the referral process and what we actually want to have a look at,” he said.

“It was good having SANZAAR come out and support that we are really only looking for the big ticket items. To be fair, at finals time the fans and people watching the game, we don’t want the game slowed down.

“They have come to see a flowing game and I suppose that’s where us as referees want to fit in, really; making sure we are getting the things that matter in the game and not bogging the game down unneccesarily for minor things that happen as part of the game, and that people accept as part of the game.”

Facilitate is a key word for Gardner, and all referees for that matter as they try to keep the game fair to allow both the players and the fans to enjoy it instead of searching for a level of perfection that doesn’t exist.

“People are coming to see the players and to see the teams play. I suppose you see your role as a facilitator and hopefully the teams play in a manner that enables you to do just do that,” Gardner said.

“Obviously, there are games and have been games in the past where the teams haven’t necessarily come to play so you do have to get in there and make some calls.

“But mate, for me to not be in the spotlight at all and no-one mention my name, that’d be ideal.”

Congratulations Angus and well done.

Super-size Me

Checkpoint Maccas

Checkpoint Maccas

Former Wallaby and long time opinion giver Rod Kafer thinks that the Waratahs should head to the golden arches in search of some burgers, particularly beef ones, in order for them to go out a pants size and be a chance for next seasons Super Rugby silverware.

NSW were the big movers in 2018 but in their semi-final clash against the Lions they were out muscled in the 44-26 loss at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park.

2017 represented a dismal campaign and Daryl Gibson only just kept his job by the skin of his teeth with the Tahs finishing with a 4-11 record and 16th of 18 sides.

This year however they have re-emerged as one super rugby’s most dangerous sides with a mobile forward pack playing a up-tempo, width based game.

Saturday’s final features both the Lions and the Crusaders though, two forward packs who’s 8 forwards, particularly their tight 5’s, are features of their games.

NSW’s only Super Rugby title came back in 2014, and featured some crazy forward dominance with the likes of mad man Jacques Potgieter, giant Will Skelton, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Kane Douglas dominating the physical war.

Fox Sports’ Nick McArdle asked Kafer if it was possible to win a championship with a lightweight pack.

“The answer to that is typically no,” Kafer said.

“Look at the teams who are dominating now — it’s the teams who have got that hard working, big forward pack that just dominates at the set piece.

“That’s what you need and the Waratahs will look at how they recruit now and look at the players that they might need to put into the mix.

“But they’re a good side, a massively improved side.

“Given where they were last year, the changes that they’ve made, the way that they’ve developed as a team — I know they’ve just lost but this team has massively improved from where they were.

“It sets a great platform for them to continue to build and grow going into next year.”

With great weight comes great respoinsibility and Drew Mitchell warned that the Tahs didn’t want to cancel out all the good work they have done this year by getting ‘too big’.

“I thought they did tremendously well with the team they’ve got,” Mitchell said.

“I think you’ve got to have a balance — you don’t want a pack of eight big, bullocking ball runners.

“I like the hard work, the width, the speed at which the Waratahs forward pack can play with.

“Having that balance of guys who you know are going to get you over the advantage line and set piece is almost a lock every time.

“I think it’s more about getting that balance right.”

Gibson is off contract at the end of this season but is almost certain to sign a new deal and stay on for looks like another 2 seasons.

Mitchell said the Waratahs were now getting reward for the faith shown in Gibson by NSW chief executive Andrew Hore.

“It takes a number of seasons to instil the direction you want to take your team and have them buy into it, have that trust between player and coach,” Mitchell said.

“It takes a period of time and I think they’re starting to benefit from that, this year and if Daryl stays on.”

Stephen Hoiles also chirped in with a few cheeky comments.

“The Tahs can be really proud of how far they’ve come — from 16th, almost last, last year — to top four this year,” Hoiles said.

“Their shape looks very good, their attack is very threatening and they’re not going to lose many players next year.

“So I think it’s positive signs.”

Sibling rivalry reignited

Scott Sio can't believe his luck as he sets of for the tryline. Neither can the referee Nigel Owens

Scott Sio v Pat Sio

An old school rivalry will be resumed this Friday night when the Wallabies take on a Super Rugby XV team at Leichardt Oval.

The sibling rivalry of the Sio’s will come to the fore.

Pat Sio, younger brother of Wallaby prop Scott Sio, is set to line up for the Super XV in the backrow according to rugby.com.au.

The 24-year-old no.8 is back in Australia after spending a few years in France, drinking wine, eating cheese and oh, he also played a match or two for Stade Francais.

Sio will be one of a few Eastwood call-ups named when the Super squad is finalised on Monday afternoon after medicals.

The team, which will be coached by John Manenti and Tim Walsh, was put together by Rugby Australia’s high performance department, with input from Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

The team is aimed to be as strong as possible to provide meaningful opposition and is likely to feature players from all over the country.

Pat Sio is a no-brainer, in his mind.

The former Aussie under 20s backrower was a star for Eastwood and the Rams as a young pup but was never given the opportunity to be part of a Super Rugby franchise.

Instead, the 108kg wrecking ball was poached by Stade Francais instead and many good judges deemed him ‘the one that got away’.

Now he’s back and ready to rumble with the big fellas.

“He is the closest thing to Cliffy Palu we’ve got,” Manenti said in 2015.

“He was player of the year in the team that won the grand final, but obviously other people aren’t seeing what I am seeing.”

Sio will play for Sydney in this year’s NRC, and while there has been some Super interest, Friday night will be a great chance for him to put himself back in the shop window for any interested buyers.

The Sios themselves are without a doubt, an incredible rugby family.

Father David Sio played for Samoa, Scott is already a 76-Test Wallaby and daughters Ana-Lise and Tina both play for NSW in the Super W.

Talk about handy genetics.

Sevens signature

 (Photo Credit Delphy)

Josh Turner looks for space Perth Spirit v Sydney Rays 2017 NRC

Now here’s one for us.

Manly and Sydney Rays dancing winger Josh Turner has come across from the Dutch (all be it a while ago) and has signed for our Aussie Sevens program, rugby.com.au reports.

Turner, a former New Zealand Heartland U19s captain, was last week signed by Tim Walsh for the Aussie men’s Sevens program.

Anyone who has seen Turner’s form and speed in the Shute Shield and NRC will know why Walsh has picked a guy who has only been involved with the 7’s pathway for 10 months.

Rugby.com.au asked how his family home might take to the idea of him in the glowing green and gold of Australia.

“They’ll be super proud,” Turner said.

Will they Josh? Will they?

“It’s all good. The family don’t care. It is funny, because as a kid growing up in NZ that’s just how NZ works. You want to be an All Black.

“So if someone said it when you’re younger that’d you end up playing for Australia, you’d laugh.

“But I am loving it, it’s a great opportunity. It’s awesome. I am living in Australia now and I am stoked to represent the country.”

Turner moved to Australia to play for Manly in 2015 and was spotted by Walsh at an NRC game last year and invited to trial for the Aussie sevens program.

He will be eligible via residency.

  • Xaviera

    Gus’s development as a referee of the highest order is a wonderful good news story for rugby in Australia. Barring misadventure, he’ll be at RWC19 and a genuine contender for the big matches. Well done!

    • Dave P

      I hope not as that will mean the Wallabies are out of contention.

      • Xaviera

        Fair point. Should that occur and he’s top ranked, then a RWC semi-final and/or 3v4 playoff would most likely be the reward. Still a good outcome, especially if we happen to bring home Bill too.

  • Keith Butler

    I remember watching some of Gardner’s earlier SR games and they weren’t pretty. Clearly a lot better now and fully deserves the final.

    • Xaviera

      He’s worked incredibly hard to improve his game, so very satisfying to see him reap the benefits of all that effort.

  • Dave P

    Waratahs needing to bulk up because they are too small, where have I heard that before? that’s right after the 2010 semis when they were playing a slightly similar style to now, they were deemed to be too small and tgen coaches Hickey and Foley spent the summer bulking them up to the point they lost their dynamism. Hopefully this time they have learnt to have the individuals weights regime designed to enhance their natural game and go out and find another Potgeiter-like player (preferably uncapped) or two to bring the mongrel that is needed.

    • 22DropOut

      Surely the June test series has proven that excessive bulk is counter-productive in the modern game?

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I’m not sure if the players need to bulk up per se, or if there just needs to be a change in the strategy of recruitment towards some guys with bigger frames/play a more direct and powerful game.

      Holloway should move back into the back-row, the Tahs should seek out a power lock to partner set-piece orientated Simmons and Latu should get the nod ahead of Fitzpatrick to start with. At present of the 1-8 only Kepu (and to a lesser extent Robertson) is the guy that excels at the tight stuff. The rest of them are better in the wider channels, and playing looser.

      • onlinesideline

        Yeah totally agree, its about natural frame. Bulk is just protein shakes which you can crap out over a week or lose from a good bout of the flu. Its superficial, mainly water and means squat on the footy field.

  • 22DropOut

    As disappointed as I am to see the Waratahs miss out on the final, in a way I am happy that they haven’t as it would vindicate the decision to cull the Force in the eyes of a lot of the public and certainly would be spun that way even if that premise would fall apart under the slightest bit of scrutiny.

    Also it could fool people into thinking that Super Rugby might be OK at this critical juncture.

    • Missing Link

      Everyone knows the 5 into 4 routine was not about on field performance, I think if the tahs made the final and anyone mentioned that “were in good shape” they’d be blowing hot air. Sure we beat a couple more kiwi teams but I think that would have happened regardless. We all know the main driver for getting rid of a team was a simplistic cost cutting exercise.

      I guess the real test will be in a few weeks :) I had a dream on Saturday night that I was watching the Bledisloe cup at Eden Park and we went into half time leading 11-0. I’m not sure how the dream ended but, but the sheets were dry, so I was neither sweating or enjoying it too much, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        On field performance improved across at least 3 of the 4 teams (sorry, Reds).

        Personally, as much as I wish the Force hadn’t been cut, I think that the injection of quality players from the Force to the other teams has had a direct impact on the improved performance of the franchise.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          The Rebels yes, but unmeasurable impact on the others. Overall not worth the damage done.

        • Missing Link

          I bet you a Bledisloe Cup and a Rugby Championship that it was worth it :P In all seriousness that will be the yardstick. XV vs. XV against the worlds number 1 team 3 times. If we can pull off 2 wins against them then it was worth losing a team (sorry Force people)

        • Perth girl

          And what will happen next year when squads and salary caps have to return to normal levels?. We obviously have had a great pathway set up here with so many ex Force players doing so well in other teams which will not be available to the Eastern States now!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I’m really not convinced salary caps will return to normal levels. What evidence is there of this?

          Cut any of the teams and the others would have gotten a lot stronger. It is just the realities of 5 teams into 4. I don’t think many people were claiming that the Force didn’t produce any good players, just that Australia didn’t have the depth for five teams.

        • Perth girl

          Well of course there is no evidence apart from RA saying the inflated salary cap would only last one season but that is no evidence is it as RA are smooth liars! As for 5 into four why dont RA go the whole hog and just have the one team, they will be stronger then!. Why did they cut the Force and not the Rebels as the Force were the better team with better players as evidenced by the “improvement” in the Rebels?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I don’t know why the Force was cut, but I was told two theories: first, that the Force were the only team that they were legally able to be cut and, second, that they wanted a team in Melbourne as the second biggest city in Australia.

          I also heard that NZ and SA were pushing for us to cut a team due to being uncompetitive.

          We can argue for days whether the right team was cut, or even whether the improvement in results was worth cutting a team, but we need to face this reality: regardless of all other external factors, all Australian teams (bar the Reds, who got the fewest Force players) were improved in 2018.

      • Brisneyland Local

        ML pure gold!

      • Perth girl

        If it was a simplistic cost cutting exercise why didn’t they just cull the Rebels then ML. Rebels had alot more money poured into them than any other franchise

        • Missing Link

          OK let me rephrase that, it was an intricate cost cutting exercise.

          I guess it’s really hard to understand this when you are emotionally charged and you have lost your team. I really feel for you guys in this regard but it’s clear that RA forecast a better ROI in sticking with the Rebels.

  • Funk

    Taufua is out with a broken arm so Pete Samu might even start in the final.
    Sorry Ned, it should be a contingent of 3 aussies in the final…we haven’t completely lost 6As just yet.

    • Ned Stevens

      My apologies. May have lost faith on him coming home with that new contract

      • Funk

        I’m hopping for a Pete Samu like swoop for him at some point!

    • Xaviera

      Good chance we’ll have at least one other match official on the team too. I’m hearing those rumours, but nothing yet confirmed, so stay tuned. We have a couple of outstanding ARs and probably the best TMO, so we may yet get an all Aussie dream team of officials.

  • onlinesideline

    Kafer – “Look at the teams who are dominating now — it’s the teams who have got that hard working, big forward pack that just dominates at the set piece”
    Has it really ever been anything different? Name an era when set piece wasnt important and I’ll run down the main boulevard in Budapest tommorrow screaming the Russians are back, the Russians are back !
    Bit of a Claytons comment really to use a 90s expression.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I don’t even know if Kafer is correct though. Two of the four semi-finalists had powerful forward packs who dominated set piece and the breakdown, but the Canes and Waratahs made the semis despite that not being the case.

      The Canes haven’t had a weak forward pack, but it has been more akin to the Waratahs’ in terms of dynamism and speed, and yet they won in 2016, and the Highlanders won in 2015 with a similar forward pack.

      • onlinesideline

        We made the semis courtesy of the conference system though. Lets be honest here. And while Kafers comment is always true it was the breakdown speed and just good old fashioned enthusiasm ( what Michel Hooper refers to as the “centimeters”) which won the Lions the match. Yes the scrums werent good but they werent a total disaster in terms of points.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I personally would prefer a round robin, but you can only win with the system that exists. The fairest system is that of the EPL which forgoes finals, which means that any team that wins in after a finals series after not finishing first in the regular season can arguably be criticised as not having earned it either. You have to play with the system as it is, and for the third year in a row the system has delivered who are probably the two best teams at this point of the system to the finals.

          I thought that the Tahs lost it at the breakdown, in the scrum and at line out time. Lions’ forwards just too clinical.

      • Bakkies

        The Lions don’t have a big back five in the pack. Mostert is not a giant in SA lock terms I don’t think he is 2 metres tall, Kwagga Smith is 93kgs, Whiteley and Jaco Kriel are tall but not heavy. Cyle Brink is solid but no Schalk Burger style behemoth.

        In the front row they lost key prop Julian Redlinghuys to a neck injury. They wanted to build their front row around Redlinghuys and Marx for years.

        Their backs are light without injured Sale bound 100kg centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg punching holes in the midfield at pace. The Tahs’ porous midfield defence were lucky he wasn’t playing.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think the Lions have been better with Vorster at 12 than Rohan. He takes a lot of pressure off Jantjies.

          The Lions’ pack may not be huge, but they have excellent breakdown technique, are good in the set piece and have Marx as the big behemoth to create the go forward. Very balanced team/pack.

        • Bakkies

          Against the Kiwi teams they have struggled without Rohan. As the Kiwis don’t have big 12s SBW aside he creates space and looks for the offload for their 2-4-2 diamond support system to click.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The Lions have struggled against Kiwi teams all year since blowing that big lead against the Blues early on. I don’t think Rohan has recaptured his 2016 form these last few years either, while he’s been struggling with injuries.

  • Nutta

    I enjoy chat of big v small forwards resurfacing every few years.

    Dave P’s comment below is spot on – don’t take incumbents and tell them to come back 10kg heavier. It kills agility. Rather, look where your gaps are and import a couple of Thumpers to fit them if you don’t have them already. Front row is fairly stable with Latte. Back-row has room to grow with Hannigan maybe growing a natural 5kg (not more than 10kg) as he matures but Wells and Hooper are about capped out. Holloway is not slight. So that leaves proper Locks. With the talent that Qld are trying to build i wouldn’t be surprised if Douglas came south. Stanniforth is maturing into a grunter but isn’t what is needed as-yet. What is Simmons doing? Retiring or going to a French playground? Is there another monster about we haven’t seen? Or is this the door-ajar for Big Willy to wear blue again given there are plenty of other lineout options?

    • Bakkies

      Douglas is off to Bordeaux.

      • Perth girl

        And Ritchie Arnold to Japan. Another example of shrinking to greatness!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I heard the Japanese Top League is taking a year off next year. If true, it would just indicate he would rather earn more money in Japan than he would at NRC level, which would have been the same if the Force were around.

    • Missing Link

      If they spend all summer bulking up existing players, the Tahs will spend next year managing soft tissue injuries.

    • onlinesideline

      dont forget Dempsey is coming back

    • Hoss

      Any talk on the big unit coming back next season and maybe be in contention for the RWC ? A few seasons learning the dark arts up north cant of hurt and last i saw he looked fit. Nothing better than a Big Willy pushing hard from behind, our scrum wont budge.

      • Nutta

        I have to admit that a tight side combination of Kepu and then Tupou in-front of Willy and a heavier-set blind-side leaves little doubt as to the stability of the scrum or the boat-race thereafter.

        • Hoss

          Just googled the large one and he signed a 2 year contract with Saracens in 2017 specifically designed around allowing him time to come back and push for RWC 19. Anyone know how he’s been going ?

        • Adrian

          Skeleton broke an arm last English season, and returned around the semis. He was getting some lineout ball by the way.
          Should be right for upcoming season, which is his last at Sarosens.
          Was in great form in his last Tah season, but signed to go OS then injured

        • Missing Link

          This is very good to hear, at his best Skelton was a weapon, drawing in multiple defenders before offloading, but we know he had his deficiencies in the lineout and scrum. Also questions about his fitness. I really hope he comes back a more complete player.

        • Who?

          That’s only valid if they’ve actually taught him how to scrum up there. He was a massive liability in our scrum when he was last in Gold. I’m not saying they haven’t taught him to scrum – they’ve taught him to jump, and when he was here last year they’d clearly worked a LOT on his fitness. I’m just saying that having that massive weight there wasn’t a guarantee of stability before.

        • Nutta

          I’m sort of assuming he would not have lasted this long up there if he didn’t shape up in that department.

        • Who?

          Given he’s only bench cover for their two English locks (Itoje and Kruis), and their other two locks (Dominic Day, Wales and Nick Isiekwe, England) also have 3 international caps each, there’s no guarantee he’s learned all their secrets yet, or that they’re too stressed (given he’s bench cover at best).
          It’s easy to flog someone in the gym, it’s not that hard to tell someone to jump (it’s arguably harder to convince people to lift him, but hey, they’ve got Juan Figalla, Vincent Koch, Mako Vunipola in the team to lift him, once he gets moving vertically). But mentality and technique in the scrum, you’re far better placed than I to know how hard it is to teach that. But given that some Wallaby locks never really mastered it through long careers, I’m guessing it can be a tough one?

        • Keith Butler

          Scrummaging is down to technique mostly imo. If you have that a bit of bulk then great. Technique is something I think Skelton lacked hopefully Sarries will have taught him something.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          But 120kg man with good technique will beat a 105kg man with good technique.

        • Keith Butler

          Agreed. But a 120kg man with good technique will beat a 140 kg Skelton with bad technique any day of the week.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yep, you need both. I actually think 140kg is too big full stop though. There are ideal weight ranges for positions, I think.

        • Keith Butler

          Too right. My ideal size for a lock a bit over 2m and between 120 – 125kg. Power with athleticism and mobility.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yep, it’s Brodie Retallick! I mean, ideally being the height of Rory Arnold and as athletic as Retallick would be nice… But we’re yet to see someone quite like that :P! Most of the top locks are in the 202-204cm range, eh?

        • Keith Butler

          Retallick is the man, saying it through gritted teeth. I played at lock (or 2nd row as it was called then) in the UK back in the 70s and 80s. 1.96m and never more that 105kg. What I lost in weight I gained through fitness and technique. Came across plenty of ‘lumps’ who we could run off their feet and a tight five that rarely went backwards.

        • Fatflanker

          I reckon Skelton was/is just too big. Love to see him binding to another 140kg, 7 foot monster.

        • Nutta

          Nah we can’t say that – simply go back and have a look at the weights and development of players throughout the last 4-5 decades. Locks from the ’70’s would be outweighed by most centres these days.

      • Keith Butler

        But the props might squeal a bit.

        • Nutta

          Gents I need a lesson on etiquette. I played in an early-morning invitational team last weekend in the far far west of Sydney (Moore Park types would need an atlas) against a team from a well-heeled, affluent suburb on the lower North Shore of Sydney. Bloody good game, full-frontal and no prisoners but with no silliness which was just Grand. Anyways, the home club (us) and the official visiting club got on with the days schedule whilst we Breakfast Clubbers retired to the far side of the field as a group for philosophical, book-club type elevated conversation and port and rum sampling (always good before 11am).

          Anyways, we were doing a fire-side presso and points session in the morning mist so we were skolling from cans as opposed to open-topped receptacles. And one young chap from our opponents was awarded their 3pts and herein began the dilemma. The young chap came forth full of bravado and with great gusto and swirling of cloaks (their bus-trip was a Game of Thrones theme and credit to them they were fair in spirit of it) and then proceeded to SHAKE the can and bash it on his head until it split and then slurped up the remains that weren’t on his head/cloak/ground. Now if he had then sucked the sheepskin folds over his shoulders then dropped to his knees and sucked the nectar from the ground then i would say fair play.

          But given he did not do so, I say that is not a proper skoll. Shot-gunning? Ok. Tube-Skolling? Ok. Even Funnel-skolling is passable. But I saw that was NOT a fair skoll. Or am I wrong?

        • Greg

          @disqus_vjuclDn4w7:disqus Has the port-sampling worn off?

        • Nutta

          Given it’s now midday on Monday I should think so.

        • Fatflanker

          Intentional spillage….so not a legitimate skol. More a travesty worthy only of condemnation.

        • Nutta

          Open disregard for formalities? Dare I say a cynical infringement not in the spirit of the pursuit?

          Now I made no protest at the time for I did not consider such an intrusion to be good manners given the circumstances. And I don’t think the young chap was willfully disrespectful, rather perhaps a little misguided. But when one of his Elder Statesmen did not intercede to smite him down, sic one of the accompanying dragons on his arse and correct him at the time, I doth confess it has consumed me a little since.

        • Fatflanker

          Can we blame Rugby Australia’s high performance department for this grass-roots erosion of standards?…I think so.

        • Keith Butler

          Sounds like a waste of good beer to me. As to your dilemma, in any such ‘games’ full consumption of golden liquid would be required, therefore not a proper skoll. If Ben O’Keefe had been officiating he would have got away with it. Wayne Barnes and he would have seen red.

        • Hoss

          I can think of a number of treaties, the 1976 Helsinki Treaty for example, United Nations accords and conventions, unwritten codes that this action flaunts, nay violates.

          Kids today – soft.

        • Xaviera
        • Nutta

          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UmzsWxPLIOo

          Given the subject is currently under consideration by the court I can neither confirm nor deny the obvious…

    • onlinesideline

      The concept of being heavier is stupid anyhow, well that much anyhow. Sure do some deadlifts and squats, but to be heavier, well alot of its water anyhow. Its very hard to put on actual muscle. You either have the strength for the position when you start out or you dont. Everyone does weights but to depend on them to change your size profile alot, by many kilos, especially re the front 5 is a fail in my book. Like you say agility is comprimised. You can grow muscle a little bit but your tendons and ligaments stay the same. We are all born with the optimal structual profile. Weights and eating big has to be in context. When I saw for instance James Slipper say after his rest, he had a chance to put on some bulk, like 12-15 kilos, I just said nahhhh. Just my opinion, some will definitely disagree. New Zealand is full of heavy props, does that make them good props ? Of course not. And besides, its about more than proping, or locking, its about being impactful in the loose, at teh breakdown, which involes strength more than bulk, and technique too.

      • Nutta

        There is certainly truth in what you say. The body must be able to handle it. That said, all things being equal, 110kg does beat 100kg (but to your point, the extra 10kg may have inadvertently made all things not equal).

  • onlinesideline

    On a side not, massive hat tip to Gibson. I really like this bloke. Think he is absolute class. Really like the way he holds himself and how he has handled himself in adversity. People talk about BT and culture, well for mine Gibson is the bloke that gets the blue ribbon this season. Namely for where he has come from. Thrown in at deep end after Cheika left. If he was honest, he wasnt ready. And two for the work ethic and culture he has built. There isnt one ounch of entitlement (that I can detect) in this Tahs team presently and Im talking about attitude on the field and obviously at training. This is the first time I can honestly say I like the Waratahs. (2014 team was close) Big statement I know but its true. They always had a smugness about them, for lack of a better word, maybe a bit harsh but anyway…..I like what I see.

    P.S – Did the Tahs miss Hooper as much as one would think or not ?

    • Greg

      I think that they missed him for sure. I think they did not miss him as captain.

      Maybe Foley for next year and let Hooper be a player? Bringing him on for the last 20-30 could be great.

      Leads to an interesting question for August.

      • onlinesideline

        Yeah capataincy seemed to sit well with Foley. I dont think Hooper is a captain personally. Foley seems like a natural. Being the “Iceman” you’d think he was a natural fit. Hooper has a big appetite for risk decision wise in close games. Still unconvinced he knows more than one way.

      • Braveheart81

        The Tahs were rudderless in that loss to the Brumbies. I think Hooper’s leadership would have been hugely beneficial then. There’s no doubt Foley did well in his few games as captain and it certainly seemed to bring out good personal form for him.

    • RugbyM

      We missed Hoops’ 80-min energiser bunny impersonation – he genuinely seems to be the only one who after 80-mins looks like he would and could do it all again (although, Phipps v the Highlighters last week… same thing)

      Foley was good as captain. It suited him. Maybe time to give Hoops a break from that role?

      • onlinesideline

        And from Walla captain too. Tell ya what, if the reality is that Foley is going to be used through RWC 2019, maybe he is worth a try. He’s articulate, obviously he’s an intelligent young bloke, he is very level headed it seems. Hes respected and impoRtantly I dont think it would affect his game. Can you say the same with Hooper on all these counts ? I can’t.

        • IIPA

          I think if Cheika gave Foley the captaincy but in turn, took away his line kicking duties and gave them to Hodge/Beale/DHP most would be ok with that !

        • Brumby Runner

          I can accept that as a general statement IIPA, but against the Lions Foley’s line kicking was the best by far that I’ve seen from him. Just the altitude? Or has he been practising?

        • Greg

          I would give the Waratahs captaincy to Foley and the Wobs to Pocock.

          I am sitting by the phone in case I get a call for my advice :-)

        • Mica

          Can’t argue with that and you gave me a laugh.

        • RugbyM

          I’m all for giving some of the line kicking duties to Hodge’s super-boot, he’ll kick them to the next suburb/city/stadium/country [delete as applicable]

  • Brian Ko

    Aren’t Robinson and Hooper the only small forwards? Hooper has a mortgage on #7 but I thought the forwards performed better with Will Miller on the field.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I don’t know about size/weight but neither Hanigan nor Wells play like big men. Hooper, like McMahon, plays like a bigger mean than he is, whereas I would say that Hanigan and Wells play like smaller than they are. They’re mobile guys (Wells especially), but not big hard bruisers.

      Simmons the same, he’s a good set-piece orientated lock with very good ball skills for a tight 5 forward, but he doesn’t play like a man of his size imo. I think you need a balance in the forwards, and the Tahs need some more bruisers I think.

  • Fatflanker

    We still have a high performance department…who knew? Really hope Pat Sio puts in a blinder for the trial game. Love to see Cheika bite the bullet and bench Hooper or Pocock but it will take an imperious performance from a genuine 8 for that to happen.

    • Bobas

      maybe Hanigan will get injured

    • Xaviera

      Hooper is still injured so doubt he’ll play in the trial, which opens up a few backrow options.

      • Who?

        He was on Sports Tonight last night, pretty sure he said he wasn’t playing in the trial. Also said he was touch and go the last few weeks, that he was maybe a 50% likelihood of the Super Rugby final if they’d made it, but that even if he’d scraped through fitness tests it’s better for fit players to play. Which is a very worthy attitude – whilst Sir Richie was the GOAT, it’s still arrogance to think that anyone playing on one foot is better than the next best player. Fantastic that Hooper showed that understanding and humility. :-)

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Awesome to see Gardner do the final. I really rate him as a ref.
    Pity it took the Tahs all season to work out what everyone on here was saying about their pack at the start of the year. Too small and not enough mongrel.
    Well an extra weeks rest. Should be ready for the RC

Rugby

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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