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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News sees the Wallabies Squad named, rumours around the Reds, a Super Rugby triumph and the Aussie Steelers on a recruitment drive. 

 

 

 


Wallabies Squad named

Jordan Petaia Credit: Brendan Hertel, QRU.

Young Star

After Friday nights trial match, Michael Cheika has finally named his squad for the upcoming Rugby Championship.

England-based stars Tatafu Polota-Nau and soon to be Melbourne Rebel Matt Toomua were named, along with six uncapped players in Australia’s extended 36-man training squad.

Both Tatafu Polota-Nau give Cheika some much needed depth in both the hooking and playmaking stocks, something Australia has been lacking over the last few years.

Outstanding young prospect Jordan Petaia was one of the six rookies named in Cheika’s squad on Sunday after lighting up Leichhardt Oval on Friday night in a dazzling trial display.

Petaia is only 18 years of age and this time last year was tearing it up for Brisbane State High School and his rise to stardom has been swift.

It remains to be seen whether his selection will help him continue his development or hinder it with many suggesting that it could be too early.

However Petaia has handled every step up so far, so it will be interesting to see how he takes on this one.

Billy Meakes also add cover to the midfield after injuries ruled out regulars Tevita Kuridrani and Samu Kerevi.

The other rookies include Tom Banks, who had a great finish to his season, Folau Faingaa, the young Brumbies hooker, Jack Maddocks, the electric fullback and Jermaine Ainsley, the Rebels front rower.

All of these rookies bar Petaia and Ainsley have been previously included in Wallabies squads and will be familiar with the systems in place.

The squad will be cut down after the camp in Cessnock this week with the Wallabies to then have a fan day in Blacktown next Sunday.

As usual, the All Blacks opener in Sydney doubles as the first game of the annual Bledisloe Cup series contested between the nations.

It’s a fairly stable squad, bar the midfield, so Cheika will be expecting team cohesion to rise again, something that has lacked under his reign due to the high amount of debutants he has selected.

I have a good feeling about the upcoming Tests (touchwood). I feel as though the Wallabies can smell All Black blood and are ready to pounce.

Training squad:

Forwards – Jermaine Ainsley*, Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Folau Faingaa*, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (captain), Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, David Pocock, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Pete Samu, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Caleb Timu, Lukhan Tui, Taniela Tupou.

Backs – Tom Banks*, Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Jack Maddocks*, Billy Meakes*, Sefa Naivalu, Jordan Petaia*, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell, Curtis Rona, Matt Toomua.

* denotes uncapped player

Thorn in the side

Brad Thorn and Darryl Gibson share a laugh after the game. hmmmmm

Brad Thorn and Darryl Gibson share a laugh after the game. hmmmmm

All does not seem well at Ballymore (hasn’t seemed well since 2011 really) as rumours continue to swirl over the futures of many of the Reds big name stars.

Added to the thought of star players leaving, the Israel Folau train is reaching its station and that’s in Sydney with the Wallaby now set to sign and extension with the Waratahs, according to rugby.com.au

Supposedly Folau’s camp are fighting for a four year extension and that remains a the main issue with Rugby Australia (is it really?) but either way, Tahs fans can rest easy – for now.

The Reds however, have even bigger concern.

The latest rumour to hit the ground is that Lukhan Tui is unhappy in Brisbane and wants to return to Sydney with his family and join the Waratahs to ply his trade.

It’s understood the Reds are reluctant to let the 21 year old walk away from a contract he is locked into until the end of 2020.

It would be a huge loss for Queensland after giving Tui and opportunity and probably only see the rewards for developing him in 2-3 years time.

Funny that’s when he’s off contract huh?

Outside back Izaia Perese is in a similar boat with the Brisbane Broncos circling the young gun – though he will be free to walk at the end of next season.

The noise around him is that he has already signed a contract with Brisbane for 2020, and will see out his deal with the Reds before shifting his kit over to Red hill.

Perese was heavily recruited by the Broncos when he was contracted to the Cowboys as a kid, even before his killer schoolboy days at Churchie. It’s understood Perese has grown frustrated this year after a partial ACL tear cruelled his season.

This would be another huge loss for Queensland Rugby after spending money, time and effort to get Perese and to give him his shot.

But when things aren’t going to plan, players want to leave.

That apparently includes Samu Kerevi, who has been silent around his future and the supposed undercut deal the Reds have offered him for 2019 and beyond.

The Brumbies are circling the star centre but Queensland are quietly confident they will retain the 24-year-old in what would be a huge loss for the Franchise, not just on a rugby front, but on a community and PR basis too.

Massive off season coming up for Thorn.

Insanse ‘Saders

Huddle for warmth

Huddle for warmth

The Crusaders sealed back to back Super Rugby titles after keeping the Lions in the cage for a second straight year, coming up trumps with a 37-18 victory.

A year after travelling to Johannesburg to become the first team to cross the Indian Ocean and take the title, the Crusaders sealed their first at home since Robbie Deans’ side defeated the Waratahs in 2008.

The victory was the Crusaders 21st straight finals win in Christchurch.

Like, who even does that?

The poor Lions fell for their 3rd consecutive grand final loss after previously losing to the Hurricanes and the Crusaders.

Elton Jantjies continued his big match struggles with a patchy performance.

On the other side of the coin was Richie Mo’unga, the Crusaders playmaker who has dominated, and I mean dominated Super Rugby for two years.

Mo’unga was the star of the show and claimed man of the match honours.

The victory was also  the perfect send off for Wallaby Peter Samu, who will join the Brumbies in 2019. Yay.

In winning, Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock paid tribute to his coach and hip hop dance legend, Scott Robertson, who became the first person to win back to back titles as a coach (2017-2018) and a player (1998-2000) as well as the 100000th coach who thinks he’s cool but isn’t.

According to news.com.au, Whitelock had this to say following the match.

“Razor really pulled back the training and the boys freshened up,”

“We knew that we just had to come down here in front of our family and friends.”

“It’s amazing when the fans come out.”

“Thanks to the Lions. You guys were absolutely outstanding.”

“Three years in a row in the final — well deserved.”

Lions captain Warren Whiteley said his team could be proud of their effort, which they should be,  despite coming up short again.

“Obviously gutted,” Whiteley said.

“A bit emotional, to be honest.”

“But just immensely proud of each and every individual.”

“Credit must go to the Crusaders.”

“To Sam and his team they were unbelievable.”

“Everything that we threw at them they stopped. We tried everything.”

“Threw the kitchen sink at them and they deserved this win.”

A fitting end to the season where the Crusaders were by far, far and away the best team in the Competition.

Congratulations.

McKinnon Signing?

Steeler in action

Steeler in action

Changing pace, Australia’s men’s wheelchair rugby team, who are the reigning Paralympic and world champions, have made a huge cross code offer to sign former Newcastle Knights back-rower Alex McKinnon according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Andrew Edmondson, 28, one of the star players who claimed gold at the Paralympics in Rio in 2016, says he has been trying to lure McKinnon across to rugby.

Edmonson is praising McKinnon and is keen for them to join sides.

“He would be so good at it,” Edmondson said ahead of the world championships, which is currently being held at Sydney Olympic Park.

“He’s got the perfect function for it, being a professional athlete before he had his accident. It would be great for the profile of our sport. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get him into a rugby chair yet. Hopefully, one day, he will have a crack.”

McKinnon says “you would never say never” but seems content with the way his life is currently, with rehab, public speaking and foxsports appearances filling the time when he’s not with his wife Teigan, who is expecting their first child.

“To be honest, playing wheelchair rugby is something people ask me about at every presentation I do,” said McKinnon, who suffered a serious spinal injury four years ago while playing for the Knights in an NRL match against Melbourne.

“Throughout my rugby league career, I was quite selfish with the amount of time and dedication I had to put in because of how good I wanted to be. That’s all I could see in the world. Even my rehab, it was all about me.”

“Since my injury, I’ve challenged myself to look beyond those realms. Down the track, I’d love to focus on something. I’m not sure if wheelchair rugby is that. I’d probably like to coach rugby league. But I’ve got a good balance going on now.”

Edmondson’s life has also gone down a different path to what he was expecting.

On Friday afternoon 15 years ago he went down to Coogee Beach for a leisurely swim, caught a wave in the famous beach’s shore break, and broke his neck. He was left a quadriplegic after breaking his C4 and C5 vertebrae.

“I’d been to that beach thousands of times before,” Edmondson said. “I was just bodysurfing and went head first into the sandbank and that was it. There are probably at least four to eight major spinal injuries on Australian beaches a year. I’ve been mentoring a guy who broke his neck at the same beach, in the same area on a Friday afternoon.”

Until that moment, Edmondson life goal had been to one day become a Wallaby. He had just accepted a rugby scholarship to attend Scots.

“I was a nutcase back in the day,” Edmondson said. “Just an aggressive young sportsman. My dad would take me to Wallabies games and it was my dream to play for my country. I do now – but it’s just a different sport.”

When Edmondson was in hospital days after his accident, his grandmother, Judy McMaster, looked him in the eye and told him he would one day represent Australia at the Paralympics.

In 2016, the 86-year-old grandmother from Narrabri, who had never left the country before, sat in the stands in Rio as the Steelers claimed the gold medal.

An inspirational story as we hear a string of horrible news regarding young kids serious neck injuries.

As the reigning Paralympic gold medallists, Australia expect some fierce competition at these world champs.

“The US are the team to beat,” he said. “Every time we play against them, it’s close. Japan have really stepped up. So has Great Britain.”

The Steelers are attempted to defend their world title against 11 other nations this week. After that, Edmondson might try to convince McKinnon one last time to cross codes.

“He was one guy I wanted to reach out to after he had his accident,” Edmondson said. “Being so high profile, and with his injury being so high profile, it was tough to get in contact with him. But I eventually got in contact and told him my story.”

Both of have incredible stories.

Go the Steelers!

 

 

  • onlinesideline

    Im curious what ppl think about Hardwick. With Pocock still our only specialist pilferer could the Wallabies do with another like this guy. With Hoops being Hoops and Tui being the big hitter and clean out merchant, do we have have enough pace on the ball come breakdown time to rattle the darkness. Dempsey is / was a good but still out of team. Harwick looks tough, strong, fast, low centre of gravity. Cheika really likes Tui and so do I but to have a guy like Hardwick in the pack would round out our breakdown work. I actually was tipping a shock call up. Any takers ?

    • Ned Stevens

      He was outstanding in the trial

      • Brumby Runner

        Would have to be in competition with Pete Samu for a spot I think. His time might come post RWC.

        • onlinesideline

          But if Cheika was so enammered with Sean Macmahon’s workrate previously I would have thought he would have been trying to replace that in his absence. Is Tui that replacement ?

          Makes you think, does Cheika select the player first and then build around the player or have a concept for the pack and then select the player second ? Someone like Hardwick is more of a replacement for Macmahon than Tui but still I really like Tui.

    • Dud Roodt

      Speaking of Dempsey – what on earth is going on with his injury? Why haven’t we heard a thing about when he’s coming back?
      It must have been a real doozy of an injury to keep him out this long with no sign of a return yet.

      • Braveheart81

        He has had a few setbacks. He has been training harder now and there is some chance he will return in the NRC.

      • onlinesideline

        Having your hammy torn off the bone is as bad as it sounds. I actually doubt he will be as good an athlete as prior to injury. We may not be able to see it and only he will know. Its not good to be totally fearless ad Pocock learned. Taking a backward step of a few centimeteres can sometimes save your body alot of pain.

        • idiot savant

          Im with you on the perils of fearlessness. Toomua and Barnes concussions a case in point. However I think Dempsey’s injury was sustained by an opposition forward cleaning him out at a ruck by bending his leg but I could be wrong.

        • onlinesideline

          it was indeed a cleanout but …. theres way to take the hit if you know what I mean

    • idiot savant

      He had a great game but I’d have Colby Fainga and Will Miller before him in a 7 jersey.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s! coffee sorted. EA appeased. Work can wait there is rugby to talk about. Here are BL’s ramblings of a mad man:
    – By jeepers those Crusaders are clinical. Ruthlessly efficient, I think is what I said to my Fijian neighbour, he replied “farking brilliant!” Congrats to them well deserved.
    – Wallabies are farked if the a majority of the Saders are the All black group.
    – The trial match was intersting, really enjoyed it.
    – Genia looked brilliant, like he hadnt missed a beat which is good news.
    – Toomua looked good, infact good enought o be wearing a 10 starting jersey. But I doubt that would happen.
    – Sorovi for the supers looked pretty good too.
    – Pocock was legendary.
    – James Slipper was impressive.
    – Young Hardwick is definitely worth keeping an eye on.
    – the young ten for the supers (forgotten his name) is definitely worth investing in.
    So lets see who Cheika picks in his squad. If its more of the same, I think there will be a lot of baying for blood on this and others sites.
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Braveheart81

      Toomua looked good? I thought he looked like he hadn’t played for a couple of months and had only just met the guys playing outside him (which is all true). I think there’s a very strong chance he’ll wear the 22 jersey for the first Bledisloe since Hodge will start at 13 but I don’t know how you could think he’s ready to start at 10.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Well I thought his defence and kicking in play were significantly better than the incumbent. Especially that kick from inside the 22 that made over 60m.The rest will improve with more time in the squad. For a man who got off the plane less than 72 hours before the game he looked good. Also considering they rotated two no. 9’s when he was on, made it harder for rythmn. But I still thought he looked above the line.

        • Braveheart81

          He’s a class player and I think he is needed in the 23 with Hodge starting.

          Foley finished the season in great form though. He’ll be right up there for Australian Super Rugby player of the year (along with Beale in my opinion). I know you think he is terrible but his form is good and he’s not about to lose his spot in the Wallabies 10 jersey.

          He needs more competition though and it is great that Toomua can provide some.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I dont think he is terrible. I think parts of his game are. His defence is bad, his kicking in free play is bad. His distribution is good. And when on song his place kicking is pretty good too. I just think he is not the overall package we need to beat the Kiwi’s. But you are right, so really good pressure on his spot will eaither make him rise to the challenge or be shown up.

        • onlinesideline

          yeah competition is just what Dr ordered.
          Foley actually has 87% kicking accuracy
          pretty bloody good
          Im a massive fan of Hodge, in fact he is my preferred run on over BOTH TK and Kerevi. He is super quick off mark (great for defense), great counter attack vision, great rugby brain, big game player, long range kicker, can defend like a Mack truck. Im pumped to see him start.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Foley’s kicking percentage is the main argument to retain him.

          Mind you, in the past he has had this fantastic ability to make all his kicks I tim there is a pressure international, then he misses the easy ones. The ice man he is not.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Rebels can keep Hodge… I’d rather Kerevi :D

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Foley finished the season in great form? Was it doing nothing against the Brumbies or the Lions that makes you say that?

          He was very good against the Highlanders but I doubt that many would agree with you about how he finished the season. He started the season much better.

        • IIPA

          Nothing against the Lions…

          People love to exaggerate dont they

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, he was great in the match after that the Tahs were belted after the first 10 mins.

          It has been so long since Australia has had a guy wearing 10 in great form we can’t even remember what it looks like.

          Beale looks like the 10 in the best form in Aus, despite wearing 12

        • IIPA

          Yeah Foley was terrible giving up all those turnovers to Marx and Kwagga and failing to defend those rolling mauls adequately. And I thought his work at scrum time was really sub-par.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Does any of that change the fact that he did nothing against them? The original comment was stating that he had great form at the end of the season. He was horrific against the Brumbies, very good against the Landers in the QF and did nothing in the SF.

          The Waratahs got some decent ball over the next 70 mins. They just often never did anything with it, which at least partially comes down to Foley.

        • disqus_NMX

          Toomua had some great kicks for touch, but he also got charged down twice, and failed to find touch once, just in the first half (I haven’t got to the second half yet). If that was Foley there’d be people raving about how hopeless he was. If it was QC, they’d be saying how unreliably flakey he was.

          I didn’t see anything in that first half that had me thinking Toomua is the Messiah. I think everyone has a bit of those rose coloured glasses on at the moment hoping Toomua is the answer at 10 we’ve been waiting for.

        • Adrian

          Exactly

        • disqus_NMX

          Don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing him off yet. As BL said, he was still jetlagged, and hasn’t had time to gel with the squad. Waiting to see.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He hadn’t played in months. Anyone thinking he would be in good form coming back from an injury and jet lagged were idiots. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t find good form in the rugby championship.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Dont think he is the answer. He is a better kicking option. Who is rusty. with game time and squad time who knows!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          One of the charge downs was a pointless chip on the advantage line with his wrong boot. He looked like he had been told it was a Barbarians game.

          Toomua is as much of a 12 as a 10, but so is Foley – especially with Beale playing at 10 most of the time except of first phase ball. He doesn’t need to be the messiah, just better than Foley.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate my kicking is bette4 than the incumbent. Did you see in the final Moanga kicked a ball from 8nside his 22 that stopped just short of the goal line? Haven’t seen that from Foley ever

        • Brisneyland Local

          Nope. But there are other players in Aus that can do better than Foley. Dont think they are better than Moanga. He is just very very talented. He now presents a selection dilema for you guys.

    • Keith Butler

      Don’t mind where Toomua starts as long as it’s 10 for the Rebels. Him and WG nice half back pairing.

      • Brisneyland Local

        YEp.

    • onlinesideline

      “if crusaders are majority……”
      C’mon now BL thats not the spirit mate
      Tahs put 30 points on these fuckers in 20 mins
      Our national side are well, well capable of beating the darkness

      • Brisneyland Local

        Mate I think you have been hanging out with Adrian for too long! ;-)
        I was very impresse with the Dark Saders. Just efficient. They gained yardage in defence.

        • onlinesideline

          Well 10 of them just go picked for Bled squad.
          We shall see.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep! I think our impormance will be improved. But I dont think we are ready yet!

        • From NooZealand

          Yeap! 10 of them and according to the NZ Herald (and this is not fake news): All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has named a formidable and near full-strength squad​. It can only be good for the Wallabies.

        • Simon

          Their defence in general was outstanding but I was particularly impressed with their maul defence, especially since that’s one of the Lions’ great strengths. By the time the Lions were set for the drive they’d lost ten metres and there was no getting it back. It was incredible stuff.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Gaining yards in any form of defence is just brilliant. And I think if they bring that to the AB’s we are in trouble.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Love your passion and positive thoughts mate. I think it’s a step too far yet but on the day if they want it more it could happen.

        • onlinesideline

          :) kiwwwwiiiiiiiiiiiii
          we shall see mate we shall see

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          See you at the game mate

    • Hoss

      Morning Briz,

      I thought Toomua just purred like a well oiled engine – he oozed class. Imagine with some game time under he belt and the calls down pat – must be in the 23 (cover for 10 or 12). I must admit that 60m clearing kick stirred the loins as well.

      Hardwick was great – but were do you pick / play him (who do you leave out)

      Squad looks good and some genuinely hard calls to make on who do you leave out.

      I will have a stab – for mine. all the uncapped players miss out except Banks (who i thought brained it) and he will only make the bench if its 5/3 split (Phipps, Toomua, Banks).

      The piggies – TPN back at 2, but who is the pine rider (Latu for mine – for sheer brutality and on ball presence) ?

      The Piggies are pretty clear.

      The locks – Coleman, Rodda,

      The loosies – starting Tui 6, Hooper 7 & Pocock 8.

      Fairies – Sanchez, Spanners, Eldrick, Hodge, Sauce, Special K & Dusty.

      The bench – Robertson, Latu, Toupu, Hanigan (i would go Arnold, but Ned can cover a couple of possies i guess) Simmons, Samu, Phipps, Toomua.

      Would love Banks in there, but only chance is DHP doesn’t recover from injury in time or if Samu misses out on a spot to Hannigan

      Anyone else have a crack ??

      • onlinesideline

        Timu ?

        • Hoss

          Yeah thought long and hard mate – couldnt fit him in, hence Hannigan on the pine who can cover lock, 6 and 8. You need two lock reserves. I would love a 5/3 to get Banks in, but i couldnt make the numbers work.

          Genuinely a good problem at present – who do you leave out ?

        • onlinesideline

          Samu did have limited time in Irish series and he does look like a measured and inteligent player on the field. Classy would be the word and I like it. And same time Timu looks like a beast while Samu looks more slippery, and deceptively hard to tackle. I would tend to go Samu for starters but Caleb is dead set close.

          But itching to see Banks have a crack against the ABs.
          Odds for scoring a try on debut ?

      • Braveheart81

        I don’t think we can play a 6:2 bench with Hodge starting. The replacement options just leave too many reshuffles.

        I think we will play 5:3.

        Forwards: Sio, TPN, Kepu, Coleman, Rodda/Arnold, Tui, Hooper, Pocock
        Backs: Genia, Foley, Koroibete, Beale, Hodge, DHP, Folau

        Reserves: Latu/Fainga’a/BPA, Robertson, Tupou, Simmons, Samu/Timu, Phipps, Toomua, Banks/Rona

        From the above I think there are only question marks over a few positions.

        Banks is the form reserve back choice but selecting him for his impact would mean Folau is the reserve 13. I am happy to do that and that’s what I would select.

        I would personally select Arnold but I think Rodda will keep his spot. I would go with Latu and Samu in the other bracketed spots.

        • Hoss

          I think we are on same page. Only variable is if Hooper doesn’t recover in time – Tui 6, Poey 7, Timu 8

        • Alister Smith

          If Hodge is in the squad (and not the injured player) you still have the same number of options don’t you – he just shifts around to cover.

        • Braveheart81

          That’s why I think it won’t happen. It’s too much of a shuffle.

          So with that lineup above (which I think is odds on most likely), your two bench options are 1. Phipps/Toomua, 2. Phipps/Rona, 3. Phipps/Banks.

          1. Toomua covers 10 and 12, Folau covers 13, Beale covers 15, Folau or Beale covers 14. So if Hodge gets injured, Folau goes to 13, Beale goes to fullback and Toomua goes to 12. That’s the worst case scenario shuffle. Beale going to 15, Toomua to 12 and Folau to the wing is also a big shuffle.

          2. Rona covers 13 and 14, Hodge covers 10 and 12, DHP covers fullback. Worst shuffle here is Hodge moving to 10 or 12 and Rona coming on at 13. It’s not too bad but I think Rona is the least likely to get picked out of Toomua, Banks and Rona.

          3. Hodge covers 10 and 12, Folau covers 13, Banks covers 14 and 15. If Hodge has to move that’s a huge reshuffle.

          This is why I don’t think the Wallabies will go for a 6:2 bench. I think the risk of a huge reshuffle is too great to make carrying one more forward worthwhile.

        • Alister Smith

          Yes that sounds logical and having that extra forward might suit in what could be a derive battle up front

      • Brisneyland Local

        Mate I am recieving what you are transmitting.
        That seems like the selection. I actually enjoyed watching the trial game. I found it enjoyable viewing. Especially when Gordon changed teams twice. It was like club rugby all over again.

        • onlinesideline

          Hes my no 3 half back.

        • Huw Tindall

          Also The Gordon’s finishing for his try playing for the Super XV was legitimately class like he played wing his whole career. Anything but a simple run to the line. If he stats fit and keeps developing he could be a great successor to Genia.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah I noticed that. Mate great that at that level he scored for both teams! What a trip!

        • Huw Tindall

          If it was a lower grade game on tour he’d be a legend immediately

        • Brisneyland Local

          True. I up grade him to legend for doing it at that level in a Wallabies trial game. Just great to see. The commentators on Rugby.com.au were having a field day with it.

      • Maulalltheway

        i like lots of that squad.However i cant understand why were persisting with 3 players to cover the second and back rows. Especially when one is Simmons.
        for what its worth my 23 for week 1 would be.
        Sio
        TPN
        Toupu
        coleman
        rodda
        tui
        hooper (however is there a guarantee he is going to be fit)
        Pocock
        genia
        foley
        DHP
        Beale
        Hodge
        Koribete
        Folau
        Latu
        A’AAAAAtoa
        Kepu
        Arnold
        Samu
        Gordon (but it’ll be Phipps)
        Toomua
        Banks

        • Hoss

          Don’t disagree in principal mate, but only one tall timber on the pine means two of Coleman, Rodda or Tui have to play 80 minutes and with the Dothraki bringing fresh locks on at 55 minutes we lose a fair bit in the attrition / grunt battle for the last 25.

        • Maulalltheway

          ideally only one of Hooper and Pocock start. but that’ll never happen either. Carrying an additional lock (has been simmons) is not ideal. The major issue here is we don’t have a true 8(carry, bash, lineout option).

          I still feel that is we cant cover 5 positions with 8 players its more likely we are selecting the wrong players. A well functioning lineout should succeed with 3 jumping options and a part time option (pocock).

    • Mica

      10 was Deegan. First I’ve really seen of him and he looked good. I noticed how effortless and accurate his passing was both left to right and vice versa. Kicking was good too. Definitely looked like a prospect.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Deegan, yep that is it. I think he has some really good potential and would be worth bringing into the squad just for development. To run with the big dogs and pick up a few new tricks.
        Not to be played for a year or so. But real potential.

        • Perth girl

          Andrew’s playing alongside Peter Grant and Ian Prior so I think he’s getting some good development from them. Having said that I think he should have been chosen in the squad. Maybe in the Squad for the Spring tour games I hope

        • Brisneyland Local

          Definitely should be in the Spring tour squad!

      • Adrian

        He’s a 5/8.

        Toomou is a 12 who can play 5/8 at a pinch.

        Different beasts.

        For me, Toomoua is a good 12 when there is a creative 10 inside him.
        He’s an ok 10 when there are creative guys oursout of him.

        The Brumbies played both Toomoua and CLL together, and they are very similar, so no creative things happened.

        That didn’t matter under Jake White’s gameplan, but it retarded the development of both….IMO

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Toomua played flyhalf most of his early career and did so during the 6N for Leicester and was in career best form.

          The Brumbies attacked fine with the two of them. Far too much is made of Jake White. The Brumbies made the semifinals in 2015 with a perfectly good attack sight Toomua and Lealiifano. They also attacked fine under Friend with them. Things got back in 2016 after about 1000 injuries to key players.

        • Adrian

          Ok, I’ve mostly seen him at 12, but it doesn’t mean he has been there all the time I guess. I stand corrected as to his main position

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I personally think he’s better as a 12 as he comes across as more of a jack of all trades as opposed to offering the sort of spark I want in my 10. But then again I don’t think you want another player with a lot of spark combining with Beale. You need a jack of all trades and a steady hand and head to compliment Beale’s brilliance I think…

          I’m sorry, by the way, Adrian. I was typing that on the bus and just tried to get it out as quickly as possible. Reading it back it came across as being snarky and rude as opposed to just simple and to the point as . intended. I’m sorry for that, it wasn’t my intention.

        • Huw Tindall

          Such courtesy on GAGR. Is this even the internet!?

        • Who?

          I really reckon jack of all trades is an unintentionally harsh criticism for Toomua. He’s an NH 10. He runs hard and straight, he tackles hard, he kicks well, has a good passing game, and leaves the majority of the steppy flashy stuff to his outside backs. The biggest difference in game style between Toomua and Wilkinson is that Toomua didn’t do all the goal kicking. Other than that, there’s an awful lot of similarities between them. In fact, bearing in mind my memories of Lynagh are from very young days, he’s not entirely dissimilar to him, either (which is fair, given they’re both Queensland-raised 10’s).

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          You know I actually agree. I meant in the sense that a 12 is normally the most complete player in the backline. Rather than being the flashiest playmaker or the fastest they need to have a good kick on them, be a good defender, have a good pass and a good running game. They need to be the most complete footballer on the field virtually. I think Toomua fits that bill.

          Toomua is a good flyhallf too, I think. I hope he can be for the Wallabies too, but I think he is a world class 12. Hopefully he can be a world class 10 for the Wallabies also.

    • 22DropOut

      I wouldn’t be too gloomy about the Wallabies prospects.

      They ran Ireland very close in June and could have even won the series and Ireland is an absolutely outstanding side, head and shoulders the best in Europe and the closest to New Zealand in the game currently.

      The Wallabies will be stronger in the RC than they were in the June series, stronger than last year where they ran NZ very close for the Bledisloe. I don’t think that NZ are better now than they were 12 months ago either.

      • Brisneyland Local

        22. I am not so sure. I think the NZ team are always a slow burner. they start slow in each game, and they start slow each year and build.
        I definitely think we will be more competitive, but I dont thinhk we will win.

        • 22DropOut

          Yes don’t get me wrong, NZ are deserved favourites. I think we have a chance though

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hey BLL. Been a big day for me but time out required. Boy there’s some heat on here today. Love the passion and long may it continue.
      The Crusaders were just magic. Whatever is making them tick needs to come with the players to the RC and beyond. TBH if we lose everything and stuff England at the end of the year I’ll almost be happy.
      I see both Cheika and Hansen have named their teams. Not too many surprises for me and I think at this stage it’ll just be a matter of waiting for the mind games and concentrating on the game in a couple of weeks. I like the look of Banks but think you’ll struggle in the midfield with all the injuries. I don’t agree with Folau moving in there unless it’s against us because I think he’s a crap 13. I sort of like Toomua at 12 and KB at 13 as I think KB will enjoy the space there and could be quite dangerous. I think it gives you a better option too as Toomua can at least pass to the right. I’d still like Folau on the right wing and DHP or Banks at 15 but can’t see that happening.

      Good luck and we’ll see what happens

      • Brisneyland Local

        Mate cant disagree with your view points. You still in Canberra?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          No Sydney mate. I’ll be at ANZ stadium on the 18th

        • Brisneyland Local

          Sweet.

  • Pedro

    While I have no inside track on his own motivations I can’t understand why Perese would want to switch codes. He’s not the type of player that would easily hold his own physically, plus he’s in the running for a Wallaby spot. He just seems better suited to union, with opportunities at his feet that don’t even exist in league. It also seems weird that he might get more money in league.

    • Braveheart81

      Based on the listed stats he’s slightly smaller both in height and weight to James Roberts. Roberts is a pretty small centre with unbelievable speed. I doubt Perese has that same acceleration and speed which will make it tough for him to really excel. I think he’d need to bulk up a fair bit as well which is only going to slow him down.

      • onlinesideline

        Mate the way I look at at ppl like Perese is “let them go”. Not being spiteful towards the bloke but if you dont have a love for Union you aint going to make it at top level. You have to love everything about it, the international element, the complexity etc etc. Union is a game you love deep down in the gut from playing it at school and just loving the whole “thing” about it. When I hear guys jumping ship I just look away in disgust, as in “how could you even think of …. ” – be gone with you son, BE GONE.

        • Pedro

          I agree, especially when the only obvious motivation he could have at this stage of his career would be a genuine preference for league.

        • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

          He’s already gone. Signed with Redcliffe (a Broncos feeder club), which gives him plausible deniability when asked if he’s inked a deal with Brisbane. The only thing to be sorted is an early release, or serving out his final contracted year at Ballymore.

        • Ned Stevens

          I saw him with a couple of young Broncos the other night

  • idiot savant

    Two interesting games on the weekend. There were moments in both that made me ponder Brad Thorn. The first was Ronan Gara talking post match about the ‘care’ factor. Ronan’s only been at the Saders a minute and he is already drinking from the same cup, attributing the Sader’s defence as a product of the way the players care about each other. Congats Saders, your defence was magnificent. Former Crusader BT has preached the care factor all season but the Reds ended up close to the worst defensive side in the entire competition. Is BT getting his message through? Or is it a product of other factors like coaching and strategy?

    Then there was the highly entertaining Friday night game. Which wasn’t a fair fight. The poor Supers were together 2 days and had to play a completely fresh side in the second half! I was amused at Tom English saying in the post match interview that he was impressed with the skills of ‘whatsisname’! Whatsisname was only his centre partner standing a couple of metres away from him all match! Thats how long those boys had to prepare. I too was impressed by Whatsisname’s skills. If there is a better playmaker in heavy traffic in Australia I would be surprised. It led me to reflect that BT had dropped Whatsisname during the season preferring big centres. If CFS hadn’t got injured Whatsisname may not have played much Super Rugby at all. It does make you wonder about BT’s judgement of talent and game strategy, particularly if you look at the competition low try scoring record his preferred centre pairing delivered.

    And BT is in the news again this morning with what could possibly be a breakdown in the care factor at Ballymore. It could also just be hot air. I really do hope BT succeeds and surrounds himself with people who know more than he does.

    • Hoss

      Morning and good points Mr Savant. One of my most important learning’s in the Corporate world was getting good people around you, because you just don’t know what you don’t know.

      Imagine one E McKenzie as Head of Coaching for 12-24 months at the Reds, with BT under him as Head Coach……wow.

      • onlinesideline

        Hoss thats even more unlikely than Quade returning. I thought I was bad with my 2011 nostalgia. Thats picking at a scar that runs even deeper for some.

        • Hoss

          Not meant to incite public disobedience mate – your right, will never happen. What a waste to Aussie Rugby, sheer bloody, unquantifiable loss. I recall watching the presser after the game – heartbreaking.

        • onlinesideline

          Yeah, it definitely was mate, very sad indeed. Especially considering how erudite he appeared in his first interview after becoming coach. Very likeable disposition, clearly a very intelligent bloke with a tonne of passion for brand Wallaby. Saddest thing Ive seen in sport but I must admit rugby is the only sport I follow properly.

          But I have to say just one thing. EVEN though I / we dont know the whole story and it was obvious this was a personal matter of paramount importance, this aside (if thats possible) I did find the notion of resigning somewhat surprising. I say this on the assumption that the loss of the changing room was 95% of the issue, resigning says to me he wasnt 100% cut out for this position. You should be able to weild the stick just enough to achieve the right mix of fear, respect and likeability, as paradoxical as they sound.

          Even with the KB isnstance, would this ever happen under Cheika ? I dont fucking think so.

          Maybe his weakness was exposed. He seems like a nice guy.

        • Brisneyland Local

          OLSL, the issue was, RA wouldnt let him weild the stick. So he left. It blinded sided RA. They never thought he would leave.

        • onlinesideline

          Thats the diff – Even with RA Cheika sets the rules, well he did with Pulver. Castle not so sure.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Well he didnt with DeClyne. During one of the matches Cheika was so pissed with the referumping he threatened to have the team not go back on for the second half. Declyne came and saw him and let him know that if they didnt return to the field, Cheika wouldnt have a job.

        • onlinesideline

          Mate dont remind me of that day. It was just bloody awful. That Beale mistake that lead to Johhny May try …. aghhhh.

          I dont blame Cheik in a way – absolute tear ur hair out game.

          Beating the Poms is higher on my list than beating the darkness. I just cannot stand losing to the English in rugby. That was a shite EOYT.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah. But for a national coach to crack the poo like a five year old and threaten to take his bat and ball and go home. Man that is just an embarrassment of the highest order.

        • Braveheart81

          The disciplinary system is entirely out of Cheika’s hands.

      • idiot savant

        Yes you’re right BT is disadvantaged in not having much of an apprenticeship. Getting good takes time, as in most things. I have been thinking that Cheika has finally matured into a head national coach this season. I thought his insecurity was front and centre for a long time. He seemed to want to pick fights and was short on trust leaving him sticking to the narrower confines of players and coaches from his club. He was a great club coach but a national coach position requires broader skills when you don’t own all the players all season.

        But this year he has admitted to shortcomings, and I thought the Irish squad selection was his best effort as sole selector. He just picked players on form wherever they came from. He also appears to be trusting others skills – giving Bernie more rope, using BT’s forward nouse, and reining in Grey’s excesses. He has risen above his club ties. He even looks more relaxed.

        BT needs time too. He appears too inside himself at the moment wanting to control everything. I thought the best sign he gave this season was to acknowledge Cameron Lillicrap’s contribution to the Reds scrum. He will need much more of that.

  • disqus_NMX

    I’m not at all surprised to hear there’s a queue to abandon the Reds. Thorn wants to create a culture there, but unfortunately, when you throw a highly popular, legendary, 100+ cap guy like QC on the scrapheap, the culture you create is one where loyalty has no value.

    It reminds me how employers talk about how millennials have no loyalty, and yet it’s the employers that created it. Several decades ago, if you had a job, you had it for life. Then employers invented terms like “downsizing”, and now they dump employees at will. Millennials have never experienced being treated with loyalty be employers, so why would they show it themselves. Individual employers (and clubs) can overcome this by showing loyalty themselves. I once worked for a company where it was almost impossible to get fired. Pretty much like it was decades ago. The result was that, although that meant they carried some underperformers, the high performers felt safe to do what they wanted to do without fear, and stuck around and performed at the top of their game. The company thrived. I’ve also worked for a company that had a huge turnover rate. They would dump people at the slightest whim, sometimes based on false assumptions, and this resulted in their highest performers leaving too. The company struggled. Thorn has created the later. QC, Hunt, Slipper, and a few other lower profile guys, all thrown on the scrapheap. There’s no loyalty.

    • onlinesideline

      Is that why I saw QC, KH and James Slipper all walking out of Australia Post yesterday ?

      • disqus_NMX

        Probably picking up their package from the dark web ;)

        • onlinesideline

          maybe a job for life interview ?

        • disqus_NMX

          When did Oz Post set up a shop in Hungary?

        • onlinesideline

          hahaha
          home for my cats 21st

        • disqus_NMX

          Wow, how did your speech go?! If you come anywhere near the GC then stop in for a beer if you like!

    • onlinesideline

      Its actually hard to guage BT at the moment. At the beginning of the season he was the coach the Reds had been waiting for. People were talking about good ole fashioned values, a tough forward pack, good scrummaging, spirited team, work ethic. Fast forward to now and its feels so different. Not sure if its because of the way the seson went downhill from a great start, his stubborness with Quade, his single mindedness with KH and Slipper – hard to say. It doesnt look like a Disney Park up there, who knows.

      • disqus_NMX

        Yeah I agree. I just hate the bastard for ditching QC mostly.

        • onlinesideline

          yeah me too – but I’ll spare the forum with this topic again

        • disqus_NMX

          Lol, why? I love rehashing it week after week :)

        • onlinesideline

          whats happenin with JOC ?
          haha

        • disqus_NMX

          Lol, don’t really care :D

        • disqus_NMX

          JOC was too much ego, and too little reaching his potential. QC earned it with the Reds trophy win, and by pulling his head in after some early off field mishaps.

        • onlinesideline

          Dunno – I thought JOC was incredible. And in fairness he did play wing and wingers are not usually considered instrumental in steering a team as a 10 is. If by potential you mean someone who would have played 70-80 tests by now, well Im not sure that would have happened as Cheika probably wold have benched him at best. Is he too small for test footy today in 2018 ? – when you look at the guys rolling around they seem another 10% bigger than 2013.

        • disqus_NMX

          As a winger he was great. It was the messing about insisting he was a playmaker that was wasteful. He’s not too small if he can beat his man with guile and pace, and can tackle the big guy in return.

        • Who?

          If JOC were around and uninjured, he’d be the back up option for Beale. They play such a similar game, except JOC can defend. But both have electric feet and pace, and set up the blokes around them.

    • 22DropOut

      Rightly or wrongly, Thorn clearly views QC as part of the cultural problems at the Reds. I’m not slating QC for this as it is prerogative, but he left the Reds to go to Europe, got involved in “pro” boxing when his focus should have been on his rugby development and regularly flirted with a switch to NRL. Not exactly a one-club man. He looked after himself, which is fine. But it makes the “I’ll only play for the Reds” stance seem less principled.

      • disqus_NMX

        Wrongly. The cultural problems at the Reds starts in the boardroom, and now continues to Thorn himself.

        Who, in Oz rugby, hasn’t had their stint in Europe or Japan?! Or thrown the “NRL” word around in his contract negotiations. If you’ve got a problem with that, then line up all the rest too.

        As for boxing, QC has achieved enough at the Reds to earn the right to muck about with beating up overweight, overaged, washed out, ex-amateur fighters in his spare time for a bit of fantasy glory. I consider it to be not much more than cross/fitness training.

        Let’s be real here, Thorns problems with QC have nothing to do with facts.

        • 22DropOut

          “Who, in Oz rugby, hasn’t had their stint in Europe or Japan?! Or thrown the “NRL” word around in his contract negotiations. If you’ve got a problem with that, then line up all the rest too.”

          Plenty haven’t, but I wouldn’t judge them for it either way. You can’t play the “loyalty” card when it works both ways and it is professional sport.

          Thorn will live or die by the decisions he makes as Reds coach and I suspect the QC situation will make or break him.

          One thing I do disagree with you on his about indulging his boxing. This seems to coincide with his career veering off trajectory.

        • Kiap

          All that aside, Cooper is not the player he was in 2011 and he was mercurial even then. His pass might still be there but the zip is gone. Being paid at Wallaby level doesn’t mean you play that level. QC wasn’t up to much in his last soup season.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          What a ridiculous comment. Whether Quade was the best 10 in Australia is one debate, but whether he was the best or even good enough compared to Stewart and Lance is something else entirely.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Thorn it seems to me has created an inflexible culture. I’ll feel terrible for the Reds if these guys leave (although happy as a Brumbies fan), but I generally think in life that you reap what you sow. If players all want to jump ship (after happily staying during Graham and Stiles) then perhaps Thorn needs to take a look at the the culture he has fostered.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Or the players need to realise it’s not about them and grow up. I think he’s fighting a losing battle but if he does manage to change the culture where players bleed for the club not themselves they’ll be hard to beat

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          In a team environment it is about the players, and the coach. Families don’t work when there is a domineering, inflexible person in charge.

          Kerevi is loved by his teammates and was a captain. If he’s unhappy now it’s pretty indicative the culture change doesn’t seem to be working.

          A coach needs to create a happy environment. If Perese, Kerevi and Tui – three established players – want to leave then its hard to see that he’s doing that…

        • Who?

          Exactly. It’s not like the players that are rumoured to be unhappy, plus those who are already publicly on the outer, weren’t proud Queenslanders. Frisby was a one club player, Simmons (pushed out by the club) was a centurion, Cooper’s a centurion, Slipper’s a centurion, Hunt hasn’t even played for a non-Qld club (Broncos/Maroons/Gold Coast/Reds). So these are guys with a record of bleeding for the jersey. It’s one thing to drop a bloke for poor performance, it’s another to drive away large numbers of players with strong records.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, it makes me sad. Guys like Tui and Kerevi are just coming through and should be loving their rugby and excited for their future at the Reds, and apparently they just want to leave? Very sad if these rumours are true.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yep I agree. As mentioned elsewhere I think this reflects the inexperience of BT and the distinction of the board

        • From NooZealand

          Totally agree KRL. May I add the following, since it comes from a player the same club that BT played for. “Former All Blacks and Crusaders hooker Corey Flynn believed the right “attitude” was behind the Crusaders’ success on Saturday night and suggested certain teams were let down by players who were driven solely by the money.”

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate I look at this the other way. BT understands that the main difference at this level is not skills it’s the mental approach. I think he’s trying to set a culture where players support each other so they don’t need to turn to drugs and where they play for each other and the team. I think he sees QC as essentially someone playing for himself and Hunt and Slipper as players who don’t buy into a team culture. Personally I think he’s taken it too far but good culture will win over good individuals every day so I see his point

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        But has he created a culture of the team playing for each other if it is true that all these players want to leave…?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          No maybe not but then again maybe these are the guys who don’t sign up to it. Look I don’t know and it’s probably something completely different but I do think a positive culture can overcome some issues if it’s done right

      • Bernie Chan

        Not sure…but the feeling up here (mentioned by some players when QC was punted..) was that QC was one of the most popular members of the squad. Curious to hear rumblings that Kerevi may leave (does the QRU really want to pay him less?)…after DPA was left on the ‘outer’ earlier. Perese wants to leave as well…(?) jeez that is a lot of discontented talent…As far as “culture” goes, one can’t just transplant what works in one place to another…QLD isn’t the Sth Island…it isn’t necessarily better, but it is different.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate don’t get me wrong I agree that blindly copying what works in NZ won’t work here. I think this is more a reflection of BT’s inexperience combined with no one to mentor him and a did functional board. Not looking good at all

        • Bernie Chan

          I think you’ve hit the nail on the head…IMHO the buck stops with the QRU and their acolytes. Stiles won a NRC title, got the Reds job and was then jettisoned. The QRU repeated the mistake with BT…the lack of experience is difficult to overcome, and the QRUs choice for a mentoring Assistant Coach was highly questionable. Alas, if it becomes true that several top players leave, it will take years for the Reds to recover….I also think BT needs to swallow his pride a tad and acknowledge his inexperience?

      • disqus_NMX

        Totally agree that a culture like that is a good thing. But BT has achieved the opposite. He’s waded in with blazing guns, shooting first and asking questions never. Imposed his moral Christian view, and everyone who thinks different is wrong (and thus not a team player, right?!) You don’t get buy in with that, you get fear, and a feeling of not belonging. And then you get guys wanting to leave, including the ones you want to keep. Nice idea in principle. Epic fail in the execution.

  • Bay35Pablo

    Tui is what the Tahs need, big unit preferably in the locks, which is what we have lacked since 2014 with Kaneo and Pots going.

    However, bit disappointed we have to steal it from Reds if so. Prefer them to be strong too. Better for Aussie rugby.
    Gives me the pip we don’t seem to be able to produce some tall timber mongrels from Shute Shield. We losing them all to AFL or sumfink?

    • Braveheart81

      Tui is from Sydney. He signed with the Reds after playing for Randwick in the Shute Shield.

      The Reds 2018 locks, Tui, Rodda and Douglas are all from NSW.

      • Tah Tragic

        and the Tahs get Simmons from Qld. Not quite a fair trade there.

        • Braveheart81

          Tui managed 6 games this season so I’m pretty happy we had Simmons.

        • Tah Tragic

          I wouldn’t mind Rodda in the team.

      • Ned Stevens

        Jeez calling Rodda from NSW is a bit stiff. Played his high school footy for Ipswich Grammar and has been involved with Queensland Rugby pathways all the way through

        • Braveheart81

          He only went to Ipswich Grammar for his last two years of high school didn’t he (according to Wikipedia anyway). I agree that all his elite rugby has been out of Queensland. Seems to me like the first three quarters of his life were spent in NSW though.

  • onlinesideline

    geezuz – getting spam mail from Dick Smith every night at 3am in the morning while in Budapest is too fucking much. Cant esacpe the bloke.

    • Hoss

      Poor-mans vegemite wont sell itself mate.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yeah, you cant beat the real thing. I must admit every other country I have lived in, or every war zone I have served in. I have always taken my Vegemite with me. The real stuff.

    • disqus_NMX

      Is it for Dick Smith Extensions?

  • Funk

    So it seems the aigs are running scared according to bullfrog Hansen…“We lost to Australia the last time we played them, so no doubt they’ll have a lot of self confidence and are worthy of starting as favourites.”

    I’m quite prepared to call BS on bullfrog!

    • Archie

      Not sure how that’s ‘running scared’… sounds more like healthy respect to me

  • Ed

    This could make the selection of TPN and Toomua interesting after the first two matches of the RC.
    https://www.rugbypass.com/news/leicester-tigers-will-force-toomua-polota-nau-fly-back-rugby-championship

    Also, does anyone know if those two would be available for the Tokyo Bledisloe?

    • onlinesideline

      they arent allowed to play that match

      • Ed

        Thanks online.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Unless they can negotiate with Leicester to let them play.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Shitty thing for Leicester to do, and a good way to piss TPN and Toomua off. It’ll be interesting to see if they follow through.

      Personally, I don’t know how this could be allowed as the rest weekends are still in the international window, right? Are we sure Leicester can do that?

  • formerflanker

    I got the feeling during the SR final that the Crusaders would deliberately give penalties away inside their 22 to stop a Lions try.
    No action by the ref so he was happy with it.
    I hope it’s not going to be an All Blacks tactic.

    • Huw Tindall

      It’s a classic AB tactic. Very disciplined about nit giving away repeat penalties for the yellow though. We have seen ‘professional’ fouls in the 22 lead to immediate yellows though. A gutsy ref would call it early and set the tone.

      • Ed

        We are not immune. The Wallabies gave away a few penalties in our 22 in the second test against Ireland with no yellow.
        Discipline has to be stressed at camp for the next two weeks as we have been on the wrong side of the ref in 18 of our 32 games post-RWC2015, ahead in nine and five tied.

        • Huw Tindall

          No we aren’t. You’re dead right. Offside and playing the ball on the ground at defensive rucks in your own 5m are critical discipline areas. ABs just seem to do it 15m out!

  • Adrian

    All looking as good as it could be in a non-Rugby week,…. notwithstanding good club games.

    Everyone in 36 a contender of some sort.

    Taking 8 out to reduce it to 28 will be a bit sad for those removed.

    It’s also a bit different, because all of next week he’ll have the main team, plus bench plus 5 more. Not the usual opposed training Cheika does in the pre-test week….unless he roped in locals or some discards!

    Possibly something different?

    Probably a couple of injuries in there apart from Hooper and DHP.

    I think that the team is largely predictable except for one lock, one backrower, 13 and 14.

    14 is interesting I think, because I reckon DHP, Maddocks, Hodge, Petata, Banks and possibly Rona and Naivalu are all in the running, whether DHP is fit or not.

    Given Hodge’s Friday game, and given Rona’s early season form, I reckon 13 is 50:50.

    In the backrow, I think Cheika might have gone off Timu, and go for Tui, with Hannigan on the bench. Samu in if Hooper out, and Samu on bench if 6:2 bench.

    At lock I see Coleman and Roda starting, and Simmons on the bench,… though I’d have Arnold.

    I can see Toomua on a 5:3 bench, but not a 6:2 bench.

    Personally, I’d start Tuopo, TPN, Sio and leave Tah front row to finish.

    Even though he hasn’t done it for 3 or 4 years, Cheika does know how to coach monsters ploughing into guys like A.Smith and Barrett, then offloading. Thats why I’d also start Timu, but I don’t think it’ll happen, and it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t

  • Fatflanker

    SMH today: “Steve Hansen claims Australia will start as favourites to win the Bledisloe Cup despite naming a powerful All Blacks side for the Rugby Championship.” He doesn’t mind stirring the pot, does he? Edit – sorry Funk I see you picked that up already.

  • Bernie Chan

    On a side issue…but too bloody serious…the Brisbane GPS comp has had a shocking couple of weeks with 4 major spinal injuries. Hope all the lads (one was injured in training…) make a full recovery and their families get a lot of support. Kudos to Tim Horan and Quade Cooper for visiting one of the lads in hospital to provide moral support. And best wishes to former Wallaby Richard Tombs who got injured playing GK in a football game…best wishes to him, his wife and family.

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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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