Monday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby
Rugby

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News sees the Wallabies squad selected, an Alan Jones outburst, Sydney University claiming the Shut Shield and SA Rugby in financial trouble. 


Wallabies Chosen

Brandon Paenga-Amosa

Brandon Paenga-Amosa

Michael Cheika has recalled June series debutants Caleb Timu and Brandon Paenga-Amosa to his 31-man squad for Tests against South Africa and Argentina.

Paenga-Amosa was a strange omission from the squad which travelled across New Zealand for the Bledisloe, with Folau Faingaa being thrown into the deep end for his first cap.

The Reds hooker had a decent enough hit out for Brisbane City on Sunday afternoon and headed straight to Wallabies camp and Timu is already on his way to the Gold Coast, with him and his ridiculously high knees staring for Queensland Country in their win over Canberra at Viking Park on Saturday.

Rory Arnold has also been recalled to the squad to add some grunt up the middle.

These tests come as must wins for the Wallabies as we need to learn how to turn positive moments into a winning game. Fast.

The two biggest inclusions come in the form of injured duo Israel Folau (ankle) and Taniela Tupou (hamstring), who have both been named but will be racing the clock to prove their fitness in time for Saturday’s clash with the Springboks.

The full squad is listed below:

SQUAD

Forwards

Allan Alaalatoa (25 Tests, Brumbies, 24)

Rory Arnold (15 Tests , Brumbies, 28)

Adam Coleman (25 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)

Folau Fainga’a (1 Test, Brumbies, 23)

Ned Hanigan (13 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 23)

Michael Hooper (c) (84 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)

Sekope Kepu (96 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 32)

Tolu Latu (8 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 25)

Brandon Paenga-Amosa (3 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)

David Pocock (71 Tests, Brumbies, 30)

Tatafu Polota-Nau (84 Tests, Leicester, 33)

Tom Robertson (23 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 24)

Izack Rodda (9 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)

Pete Samu (5 Tests, Brumbies, 26)

Rob Simmons (87 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Scott Sio (47 Tests, Brumbies, 26)

Caleb Timu (2 Tests, Queensland Reds, 24)

Lukhan Tui (9 Tests, Queensland Reds, 21)

Taniela Tupou (4 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)

Backs

Tom Banks (1 Test, Brumbies, 24)

Kurtley Beale (76 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Israel Folau (66 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Bernard Foley (60 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 28)

Will Genia (92 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 30)

Dane Haylett-Petty (23 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 29)

Reece Hodge (29 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 23)

Marika Koroibete (13 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)

Jack Maddocks (2 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 21)

Nick Phipps (66 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Joe Powell (4 Tests, Brumbies, 24)

Matt Toomua (35 Tests, Leicester/Melbourne Rebels, 28)

Jones under Fire

alan jones

Rugby identity and well known loud mouth Alan Jones has come under fire for a stunning, unprovoked attack on a female journalist according to news.com.au.

The former Wallabies coach took the extraordinary step of singling out rugby.com.au reporter Beth Newman in a seething column for The Australian, where he did not back at the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and its chief executive Raelene Castle.

Jones’ personal attack on the ARU website reporter has attracted an angry backlash from rugby commentators.

The 75-year-old 2GB radio host labelled Newman a “hack” and claimed she was unqualified to be commenting on the Wallabies after reading her reports in the official program of the Wallabies’ 40-12 loss to the All Blacks at Eden Park on Saturday night.

On a personal level, these comments disgust me. Jones is a character which many love and many hate however these types of actions aren’t positive for our game. I’m all for constructive criticism, but this is not that.

Jones’ bizarre comments about Newman came after he also gunned Castle with accusations that the Kiwi administrator “knows nothing about the game”. Righto Alan.

The shock jock appeared to link his view — that Castle’s administration doesn’t understand the real issues Australian rugby is facing — with the copy Newman produced for the official match-day magazine, a bizarre link that makes little snse.

Other commentators believe Jones’ attack on Newman was motivated by other motives.

Jones wrote in his regular column for The Australian that Newman was a “paid mouthpiece” of the ARU.

“I picked up the rugby program for the Test match last Saturday in New Zealand,” Jones wrote.

“The world of rugby was present at the game. They would read the program. And some hack, Beth Newman, is writing on Australian Rugby. You guessed it — she’s a paid mouthpiece for Australian Rugby.

“How the hell would her utterly irrelevant musings represent an appropriate evaluation to the world of the state of the Wallabies? And what on earth must the rest of the world think about us when such drivel passes for authoritative comment.”

Moving on.

Shute Shield Final

Sydney University vs. Parramatta (Image Credit - AJF Photography).

Sydney University vs. Parramatta (Image Credit – AJF Photography).

Sydney University have broken a five-year Shute Shield drought with a cruisey 45-12 victory over Warringah in front of a passionate crowd of 15,500 at North Sydney Oval.

Wallaby and Waratah Jake Gordon spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald before the final, speaking about the pain of the 2016 grand final defeat to Norths and the mission his teammates were on.

“To get this reward is really pleasing,” Gordon said. “I got given the ball, lucky enough. No one was watching me so I’d thought I’ll take a quick tap and see how we go. I was lucky enough to get that and the other one goes to the forwards.”

Australian Rugby Veteran Mark Gerrard was pulling on a jumper for the last time, and was bitterly dissapointed not to get the win for Warringah.

“We knew were in the game at half-time,” said Warringah reserve and former Wallaby Mark Gerrard. “We wanted that. You live and learn. Don’t take away that we were poor, they were bloody good. That’s the end of the story.”

University were led by a number of Super Rugby players in Paddy Ryan, Tolu Latu and Dave McDuling up front, setting a platform for the side.

“It was one of those finals performances you dream of but it’s probably the last one in your mind,” said University coach Rob Taylor. “That was the dream scenario – to run in comfortably towards the end. We were hoping for 50 scrums today. The boys delivered there.”

It was University’s first Shute Shield win since 2013 and one they deserved after a season in which they finished minor premiers.

“It’d be pretty close to the most special that one,” said Ryan. “When you’ve got a side with good preparation and prepared well and is led well, it’s about turning up on the day.”

What would have really stung Rats fans was Nick Phipps’ pass to Latu, from one Wallabies representative to another, late in the match to put the icing on the cake.

It’s almost like the shouldn’t be playing at that level.

“I work on that with Tolu, he runs a super line like that,” Phipps said. “The least I could do was put it on his chest. It was good for him to get over the stripe, he did so much in that game.

“It’s good for the soul. I started with this club in 2007 and this is the club that gave me everything. I came to the club as an average first XV player from school and they gave me the opportunity to be where I am today.”

Well done University.

Financial Trouble

Giteau to Ashley-Cooper Australia v South Africa 2015

Cash-strapped SA Rugby told the Portfolio Committee of Sport and Recreation in parliament on Tuesday that it had suffered a net loss of R62million in 2017.

EWN Sport reported that this was due to the failed 2023 World Cup bid, which resulted in a loss of sponsorships money of about R38.5million, while the the costs involved in getting the Cheetahs and Kings into the Pro14 is said to be R33million.

In November last year, South Africa lost to France for the right to host the 2023 World Cup.

It’s a double whammy for the Union, having dealt with Super Rugby changes in a different way to Australia.

A whole heap of money must have been pumped into administrative costs, player contracts, entry fees, transport and legal support as they moved two teams across the globe to a different competition.

A brave move from the Union and one which could pay off in the long term, but a costly one at that.

The negativity continues around South African rugby and a result this weekend would provide a much needed shot in the arm.

Likewise, Australian Rugby is in a similar position, making this weeks clash a must win for both teams.

SA Rugby’s cash reserves are now R15.7million, having once stood at R68million.

 

  • Who?

    Interesting line about Phipps passing to Latu… What’s the eligibility requirement for Shute Shield finals? Is it just that you need to be nominated as available through the season..? Just wondering, given Hunt was ineligible for Souths in Brisbane due to a lack of games. But I can’t imagine that Phipps and Latu have played many more games for Uni than the four Hunt played for Souths.

    • IIPA

      Don’t know exactly but Latu couldn’t get a game with the Tahs until well into mid season of Super Rugby so had been indeed playing with Uni the whole time.

      Phipps and Gordon are Uni colts…and have played “once or twice” this year prior to the semis. I don’t have a problem with it.

      • Who?

        I’m not debating whether or not they’re club men. And it’s great for the Wallabies that they were able to get game time, given they weren’t starting the other week. I’m just surprised that it seems there isn’t a minimum number of games to have been played in order to be eligible for finals. It’s quite rough on the guys who got out and slogged their guts out through the season for the club to be in that game.
        Now, if Latu did play a greater number of club games, that’s great. I’ve no argument against that. I’m just amazed that it seems you can nominate a heap of players as being club members, but they aren’t required to play for the club in order to play the finals.

    • Dud Roodt

      In Shute Shield there is a rep clause apparently that allows rep players to play down.

      • Who?

        Thanks for clarifying it. Makes sense with a historical perspective – it would’ve been horrible if your gun player was picked to play for Sydney and then the Tahs through the Shute season, then maybe picked up an injury and wasn’t fit until the finals started.
        But in this day and age, where we play Super Rugby at the same time as Shute Shield, it’s really rough on the guys who’ve worked their guts out to get their team into the finals, and then they’re dumped for the rep guys. And also rough that teams may be dominant in Shute Shield, only to see a team that scraped into the finals receive a heap of rep players, making them unbeatable.

        • onlinesideline

          Agree mate – its absurd and totally wrong. We talk about pathways but allow this.

        • Charcoal

          I can recall in a Shute Shield grand final several years ago (2012 or 2013 I think) between Sydney University and Eastwood, the University team was stacked with contracted Super Rugby players, who basically only came into the team in the final weeks of the competition after the finish of Super Rugby. The Eastwood team, although Minor Premiers, was mostly made up of club players with just a smattering of Super Rugby experience. University smashed Eastwood 50 odd points to something (I can’t remember the final score) in one of the most lop sided grand finals in years. It was a mismatch of fully professional Super Rugby and amateur club players. Incidentally, Eastwood went on to win back to back premierships in 2014 and 2015.

          A points system was introduced as a pseudo salary cap, to even out the competition, in an attempt to create a more level playing field, but I question whether it actually works in practice when Sydney University continues to dominate the Club Championship year after year. It’s not a healthy outcome for the continuing viability of the Premier club competition.

          The only ray of hope is that for the first time in over a decade or more, Sydney University did not take out the Colts’ Championship (Randwick being successful) or not have one Colts’ team in a grand final. The big improvers in Colts this year were Randwick and Gordon, which augers well for their future.

  • OnTheBurst

    Jones’ diatribe about the RA journo was bizarre.

    What was he looking for in a match program?

    I think he has a good rugby brain, only problem it’s in there somewhere amongst a paranoiac mush of misogyny and climate denial.

    • Bakkies

      In a match program teams and officials aside it should have the history of the fixture at Eden Park, pieces about previous matches (even tour games against Auckland), piece about the team has performed in the build up.

      I have seen some excellent match programs in Britain and Ireland.

  • Missing Link

    There was a whole furore surrounding Alan Jones comments because the media single one sentence where he called ARU journo Beth Newman a hack, which I agree was out of line and unjust, however the media dismissed everything else he said, which I presume is because they don’t give a shit about rugby, but it was bang on the money. I know a lot of people hate Jones and publicly deride him but he seems passionate and willing to hold RA to account, while others keep skirting around the issues.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Mate the media are only looking for their bit of outrage.
      the media only exist to be outraged these days generally on minority issues.
      Where is the real fourth estate hard hitting journalism gone.
      I dont have a problem with AJ calling the lady a hack, as they are all hacks these days pretty much.
      I have a problem with him singling her out.

      • GO THE Q REDS

        But I spose he singled her out because that was his run in with a journo with something he related too in the real world. Otherwise he’d be up in arms every day if he was expected to police and rage on all topics flamable… . .

        • Brisneyland Local

          You are probably right there.

    • GO THE Q REDS

      100% typical journo garbage… ….jump on the story and ignore the real story. … …which is actually the survival of Rugby in Australia. But as usual they get every Tom sick n harry believing the story because they’re too lazy to think about it themselves.. ….Sheep if you will.

    • Patrick

      Yes but he’s old enough and ugly enough to know how to make a point and how to make a shitshow. If he was serious about RA he’d make a proper point and stick to it instead of throwing every piece of crap he poops out at every wall.

      • onlinesideline

        He uses facts AND out of line drama. Thats his MO. He never full talks / thinks purely as a supporter. He always has clicks or ears in mind as well and out of line comments are a tool to get ppls attentions. Then when presssed he will reign it in. Has been doing it for 30 years.

        • Patrick

          Indeed, I am aware. As I said he knew what he was doing and fully deserves to have his “message” overlooked in favor of dumping a bucket of shit on him for the gratuitous misogyny.

        • onlinesideline

          Im not sure why you call this misogyny though. It may be a bit much to call her a “hack” and a mouthpiece for RA but did he ever have a crack at her gender ? – isnt that what misogyny is ?

        • Patrick

          Yes and maybe that is overstating it (edited accordingly). But it seems very odd to focus on her, of all people, and even to call out Raelene Castle when to my mind there is a small Bayside Sydney suburb phone book’s worth of men who’ve been useless at best for RA.

        • onlinesideline

          I think he read her work on the programme leaflet at the game and thought that this was the premiere event with all and sundry attending and the quality of writing could be better. He wasnt really blaming her for RAs failings and Wallaby failings though. If on the other hand Jones is taking Wallaby failings out on Beth, venting through her, when he normally wouldnt say anything if we were winning, then thats pretty damn unfair on her. Who knows what it really is. I suspect its scapegoating her out of frustration which is low. Maybe she is an easy target that he wont cross paths with at luncheons.

        • Bakkies

          He said on his radio program that no international attendee at the match would believe what she had written in the program. You would expect an independent and honest contribution not fluff pieces written by a person who works for the RA’s mouthpiece.

          Newman wrote that the Wallabies are fitter and the prepared the best since 2015 along with the Wallabies being in the up since the win over Ireland in Brisbane. We all know that is bs.

        • onlinesideline

          yeah but in fairness to her, every little pre-game leaflet ever written has the same tone, where the stage is set for 2 combatants raring to go. It has always been cheesey and inaccurate.

          What is she supposed to write?

          “With the wallabies coming off another test series loss to a northern hemisphere side and with the coaches win-loss rate approaching the worst on record, the pressure is really on both coach and my employer as the rugby publc have just had enough of a very poor showing by Michael Cheika and team – stay tuned”

          Its a bit much to vent on her. Have a crack at RA by all means.

        • Patrick

          I agree you can’t blame her for that. Like onlinesideline says what exactly is she supposed to write?

        • Bakkies

          The Wallabies are going in to tonight’s test against the All Blacks on the back of a three game losing streak. They have prepared really hard this week to try and turn their fortunes around with some additions to the squad who may get their first cap.

          Fresh faces and voices is a positive thing for the side. If they perform tonight it will create a selection headache for head coach Michael Cheika.

          A win tonight will take it in to a decider and will generate a lot of interest within Australian Rugby.

        • Hoss

          I’ve been to Misoogyny once. The beaches were shit and don’t even get me started on the women there.

        • I met miss Oogyny just last week on a beach in Nice. Lovely woman. But I agree, the stone beaches are pretty shite.

      • He managed to make a point and a shitshow, and a shitshow baits many clicks.

  • Missing Link

    By the way, we are going to smash the Springboks this weekend! :)

    • Brisneyland Local

      I dont want to go there.
      No getting my hopes up. every time I do get them up pain follows.

      • Missing Link

        part and parcel of being a Wallabies fan. I can’t help myself. After the last game a kiwi mate said “really hard watching this with a Wallabies fan, you build yourself up with belief that you can win, even after game 1″. They weren’t being a smart ass either, and my response was “I know, I can’t help myself”. It’s hurts like hell when we lose, but when we win, victory is sweet!

        • Brisneyland Local

          Mate when we win it is a sugar hit. Great high, but really bad low afterwards!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        You’ll win mate. Saffa’s don’t know if they’re coming or going but you do need to stop them getting on a roll. I must admit I’m not 100% comfortable with the way the Wallabies are playing but get Arnold in, have the backline running straight and you’ll do ok

        • Brisneyland Local

          I want to believe, I do!

    • idiot savant

      I dont think we will smash them but I think we will win. The Pumas/ Saffas game was noticeably slower than the Bledisloe games. Given that we were in both games for 55 minutes at that intensity, I think we will easily have enough class and petrol to get on top of the Boks. Hooper and TPN should now be much better. I hope Cheika doesn’t play anyone who is short of a gallop or not fully fit. We can win without Folau and Tupou.

      • Alister Smith

        TPN (and Toomua) had to fly to England and play 55 minutes of a premiership game before returning for this week. Hope he got a bit of rest in there somewhere.

        • onlinesideline

          TPN should be given a rest. Madness.
          From Latu, Amerosa and Fainga there is plenty

      • onlinesideline

        “The Pumas/ Saffas game was noticeably slower than the Bledisloe games”
        And we were slower than the ABs – thats the problem.
        Just like I didnt think we could pull off another Dunedin this year, I also dont think we can pull of another Brisvegas escape this year as well. Its different. Both D and attack are very questionable and we are making losing a habit. Brisbane is our Eden Park for the saffas, they are pumped and hurting big time from Argies and they have the new infusion of self belief from a new coach. This is dangerous. We are ripeeeee for the picking.

        Its heads down at 80 mins again this week and all cameras panning in on 1 Mssrs Cheika for the close up. Cue Greg Growden – the saga of Aussie rugby continues.

        • idiot savant

          I also thought both the SAffas and the Pumas were weak defensively out wide. If we use the Tahs go wide quickly strategy I think there will be some serious points on offer. Both teams have big not very quick forwards so we only need to play away from them to open them up. I think we will won comfortably.

    • onlinesideline

      We are going to get the biggest wakeup call in years. I sense a cave in ML and sadly I aint joking. We have some frailities and after the Bled, you can add mental in there now too. I really and sadly think we are going to get pansed.

  • Jason

    While I’m far from supporting Alan Jones, I do have to agree most of those articles on Rugby.com.au are pretty much just puff pieces and they lack that integrity and courage to call out the ARU / Rugby Australia / Wallabies / Cheika (Rugby.com.au is owned by the ARU I might add). Not just Beth Newman but Sam Phillips as well, to be fair you pay peanuts you get monkeys and I can’t imagine the ARU are paying the two young journo’s. Haven’t seen the Jones article (or anything else associated with Jones), nor intend to, but if you’re expecting ‘quality journalism’ out of Rugby.com.au you really ought to think again.
    Newman and Phillips do a good enough job for what they are.

    On Castle she hasn’t really done much so it’s tough to comment. Not sure even her involvement with Rugby Union per se but she has a back ground in sports admin (in both NRL and Netball) not sure it’s fair to be making any assessments of her at this point. I don’t think we can even really say anything until after the 2019 RWC until we see her first real test, who will replace Cheika, because anything short of winning the RWC and he’s likely parting ways.

    • onlinesideline

      Thing that mystifies me with Castle and RA generally is that why is it so hard to be open and transparent with the community by updating plans and decisions made.Why not connect and update. Castle has said she has listened but WHAT ARE HER CONCLUSIONS – tell us, respect us, inform us.

  • Greg

    Thanks for the write-up Ned.

    The Shute shield final was a pretty good spectacle. Lots of dropsy form both teams early on. Once they settle the uni scrum was devastating. The rats held their own a few times but other than that… a penalty or a penalty advantage.

    The ref seemed to assess advantage had accrued on almost all occasions when uni kicked downfield. Personally, I like that interpretation. If you decide to kick the ball away, clearly, you would only do this for the advantage it gives you.

    @KRL: did you see the game? Any thought on the advantage interpretation?

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hey Greg, I didn’t mate as I was travelling to Adelaide. The way they teach us to interpret advantage is if the ball is played as though the set piece had been played. So if a 10 is free to pass or kick with no more pressure than they would get from a scrum then advantage over. The only time you’d go back would be for a penalty as kicking it out then would give you the throw in.
      I did see the scrum video on roar, that was a smashing

  • Alister Smith

    I think Ned has summed up the Jones attack on the young lady from Rugby.com.au pretty well. I read the Jones’ article and I couldn’t really understand what he was getting at personally. In any case, I personally think there is too much opinion and too little news reporting in rugby media anyway. I go to rugby.com.au all the time and I go to see what is new, not for detailed analysis or criticism or opinion. I haven’t seen anything particularly wrong with their writing – it’s generally pretty balanced in my view. In any case, it was a rugby programme, not a news editorial or opinion piece so why would it not be a RA mouthpiece – that is exactly what it should be.
    I don’t mind a lot of Jones criticisms. Some of them are very relevant. But when he starts to criticise EVERY SINGLE element of RA I think he risks losing relevance himself. Better to concentrate on the key aspects of where he thinks the administration and coaching of rugby is falling down.
    One of the key points he has raised is the poor performance of age teams particularly the U20s in recent years. It prompted me to look up the results for the last 10 years or so in the annual U20’s rugby championship team. Since 2008 our best placing was 2nd in 2010 and a 3rd in 2011. Over the 11 year period we have been 5th four times, 6th twice, 7th once and 8th once (2012 – strangely after our two best performances). The All Blacks have finished 1st 6 times in 11 years and never worse than 5th. England have been first 3 times and 2nd 6 times. So we could argue (as I think Jones does) that part of the reason for our current place is that we don’t have the juniors coming through. As an aside, the 10 at our best recent performance in 2010 was Toomua and Jono Lance was also in that team. We are, in the case of our junior performance, around 4-5th and that is where we are currently ranked.
    However, there is a BUT and it is a big BUT. Ireland’s best performance was 2nd in 2016. During the 11 years they have a 4th and a 5th, 3 x 8th, 3 x 9th and one at 7th and one at 11th. That tells me that Ireland have even less junior talent than us but are able to compensate and ensure that the best of that talent is utilised and as a result they are the best team in the Nth Hemisphere and no.2 in the world. Like Australia they have much greater competition from other sports, in their case its hurling, gaelic football and soccer rather than AFL, soccer and NRL. Like us they only have four teams competing in an pan-regional competition though they don’t have our travel. However, they don’t risk losing players as much to Europe as they are already there (though I am not sure what their selection policy is with regards to players in the Top 14 and EPR).

    I would argue that, rather than trying to necessarily copy the All Blacks system there might be more sense in looking a little more at the Irish system and why they have been able to perform so well with relatively less resources under the past two/three coaches and 10 or so years. Ironically, there are a lot of Australian names in Irish coaching and administration and one of the Irish players recently suggested Cheika’s achievements over there were a significant part of their rejuvenation.

    And I think we should also look at our junior systems, why at the U20 level we aren’t able to match it with SA, England and NZ regularly. Is it just a numbers game or is there something more to it?
    Coaching and player selection is certainly worth considering when trying to improve the Wallaby performance but as Alan Jones rightly points out in his recent articles, we can also get a lot more improvement in our game by looking at our development structures for players and coaches.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Nicely raised points mate, I agree Ireland may be a better model but I think you’ll find they have a very strong central union that dictates to the clubs and unions in a way that RA can’t do here to the states. I believe this should be the way forward here but I don’t think you’ll see it as the people running the states won’t relinquish their current control and that’s what is needed to achieve it.

      • Bakkies

        KRL it will never happen in Australia particularly after the RA sent one of the under the bus.

      • Alister Smith

        Unfortunately you’re probably right but for all the current pain to be worth it in the long run something needs to happen. Australian Rugby was extremely weak in the late 60s early 70s but out of that weakness and the humiliation of being beaten by 2nd tier nations we developed the first national coaching plan that saw us return to a competitive position in the 80s (we also had the greatest schoolboys team we’ve ever had featuring half a dozen kids from state schools begin to feed into the senior grades which helped).

    • Bakkies

      Foreign based Irish players can’t be called up. E.g. Ian Madigan, Donnacha Ryan and Simon Zebo.

      The IRFU know that the under 20s are underpowered compared to their other European opponents who just bully up front so they can’t expect to win often so the focus is working on their skills and looking for professional opportunities for them.

      The Under 18s clubs and schools interprovincial championships have just been completed. As far as I know an Irish under 18s squad as I know are selected for the European under 18s tournament.

    • I think this should be made into a GAGR article. It’s the core issue of Australian rugby.

  • Hoss

    Call me ol’ fashioned. But you decide to stick ‘little Elvis’ through a Glory Hole in a well known, (insert the 2018 appropriate word for ‘gay’ ) ……………pub whilst National Coach of an international rugby side then i kinda lose interest in your moral authority on any matter from that point forward, even if your right.

    Now before everyone gets ancy – Its not the fact its same sex pub, (heck, i dont care where mine goes, as long as it disappears) – its just that The Parrott’s turpitude renders him an unreliable source for right and wrong decisions. I would sooner get Lindy Chamberlain to babysit than take guidance from him.

    • Alister Smith

      i thought the incident occured at a public toilets rather than a pub… but he did coach us to our only grand slam

      • Hoss

        As always, i am humbly your servant.

        So if he coached us to a Bledisloe…………….

      • Keith Butler

        I remember the 84 grand slam team very well. Saw their games at Twickenham. Pure class. Didn’t need a coach, just give Farr-Jones and Ella the ball and press the play button. Aussie coach or not Alan Jones beyond contempt.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I agree Hoss, he raises some good points at times but hasn’t got a lot of credibility

    • onlinesideline

      “I would sooner get Lindy Chamberlain to babysit than take guidance from him”
      never heard that – hysterical

    • Missing Link

      He’s lucky he didn’t find himself in a well known masochist’s pub

      • Hoss

        Ahhh Link – you make an ageing Neanderthal laugh.

        • onlinesideline

          Without gettng over techncal here, what are you actually referring to re glory hole. I mean I have an understanding what it is (always a bit confused about the glorious bit) but why was this referrenced in relation to Jones. I was just coming out of school when we won the Bled back then and had my eye on my own Gloria.

  • first time long time

    Here’s some food for thought.
    The Wallabies need to win for rugby to improve in popularity.
    Since Cheika has taken the reins;
    We have played 6 games in Brisbane for 5 wins at 83%.
    In Sydney 7 games for 1 win at 14%.
    Let’s play a few more Bledisloe games in Bris while the series is still alive and see if we can’t get hold of that cup.

  • onlinesideline

    This was just a lazy warm up to what Jones envisages will be an opportunity for some real drama in a few weeks time. He like everyone is expecting the saffas and argies to do a number on us and for Cheika to be sacked and hes just lossening up on an epic takedown of RA. He knows its coming and this is just a littl stretch / release before the big show in about a month, Stay tuned….

  • LBJ

    It is generally hard to be in agreement with Jones, but on the matter of the ARU, (as a body, not the individuals) it is hard to disagree.

    There we were at the showpiece of the game in Sydney – the Shute Shield grand final. A sellout crowd at North Sydney oval, live on TV. Tremendous atmosphere. Brilliant game. Smiles for miles – generations of rugby loving families celebrating the game we love. 20 thousand apparently.

    And where are the ARU? How are they supporting? Are they helping out with funding? Merchandise? Applauding all of the many thousands oh hours put in by the volunteers and players who have made this all come together? Keen to celebrate a rare victory for the game?

    Nope. They are busy. They are busy launching their own competition – the one they own and control. Apparently it’s called the NRC. And the Shute Shield had to be stopped short so their comp could start. Because the NRC could only be launched ON THE SAME DAY as the grand final.

    There should be absolutely no confusion as to why there are no NRC teams left in Sydney. Nor should there be any questions as to why nobody other than relatives will be at the NRC games that do take place.

    It’s is simply quite clear that the ARU are not working for the game – they see the game as working for them, the professionals. We exist simply to pay their wages.

    • John R

      NRC is a far superior level of competition to Shute Shield, Dewar Shield, Premier Grade Rugby, Pindan Cup. You need to accept that.

      There were ~4,000 people at the Brisbane City/Force game.

      • LBJ

        That’s the exact response and logic the ARU used in axing the force from SR. So I have to assume you agree with their decision on that front.

        I do not take the ARUnview because it misses the point – possibly intentionally.

        If it is about the highest standards of rugby – then why is Super Rugby doing so poorly? Why is the Bledisloe / RC doing so poorly? They are clearly the highest standard rugby on the planet.

        Why is European rugby doing so well? Japan?

        – Because quality of competition is only a single factor

        What rugby is really about is community.

        But the NRC is designed specifically to destroy the integrity and relevance of any competition – particularly the Shute Shield and World Series Rugby (go Twiggy!) so that all resources are pointed to providing product that the ARU makes money from – that’s also why they won’t select players from overseas – they are worried that their ‘product’ will lose value.

        The ARU and all professional coaches/ administrators in the game, would love to see the NRC get 4000 to a game (didn’t the WSR average 10k?) – and they don’t care if it costs 100,000 community members to get it. Because they (ARU) will still make more money out of it.

        But Lets be clear- the community is precisely what it will (is) cost… and the evidence of support at super Rugby and wallabies games and across the rest of the game is evidence. Keep doing the same thing, and we will keep becoming more irrelevant.

        (I recon both those SS finalists would do just fine at NRC BTW).

        • John R

          “That’s the exact response and logic the ARU used in axing the force from SR”

          No it’s not. What a daft angle to try and take.

          “So I have to assume you agree with their decision on that front.”

          Your assumption is wrong.

          If you are too obtuse to understand how focusing the talent of the state club competitions into 1 (or 2) state based NRC sides, leads to a higher level of competition. then. well….

        • LBJ

          Please, no need to be rude. What I said – at some length – was that the standard of competition is a single factor. And pursuing that at the cost of all other factors is killing the game.

          I completely agree that consolidation of teams leads to better performance – that’s the ARU logic – cutting the force DID improve performance of the super teams – the force basically joined the rebels and they nearly made the finals….but I think they still made a terrible decision to cut them.

          Rep teams should be better than the teams they are selected from. But that doesn’t make for a good solution for the game necessarily.

        • John R

          Fair, and apologies.

          I guess for me, fundamentally I think the NRC is a vital competition in terms of player development. So long as it doesn’t run at a loss, I don’t think it even really matters if it is popular or not.

          And by that I mean, it’s not designed to be something that draws new fans into the game (school, club, Super and Test rugby should do all that), but prepares them for a higher level of competition.

          I can’t understand the NIMBYism from some sectors of Shute Shield. I honestly can’t. NRC isn’t trying to steal SS’s thunder? (since NRC launched, Shute is more popular than ever isn’t it?) I would’ve thought the SS coaches would be very proud to see their players progress from SS to NRC, and then potentially onto SR.

        • LBJ

          You say NIMBY, I call it tribalism – and it’s exactly what we want. Imagine if each of the states/ cities in Aus had the passion and dedication we saw at the SS final. Then we had a national finals series (possibly te following year intertwined with the regular season) this game would be in rude health.

          IMO No game can sustain four completely seperate competitions (AFL, A League and NRL certainly don’t) – in Aus, either Super rugby or NRC has to go.

        • John R

          I use NIMBY to describe people who want to shut down the NRC because they see it as a threat to their backyard. But it isn’t a threat, and should not be perceived that way, it’s is complementary to the existing first grade comps.

          Regarding the overall sustainability, that is a fair point, and I refer back to my prior post. NRC isn’t designed for fan engagement, it’s more or less a development competition, almost like a training program. As long as it is cost neutral (like it is at present), or turns a small profit, then all it needs to do is get our players ready for a faster game against bigger bodies, like they’ll see in Super Rugby, and hopefully through to test Rugby

        • LBJ

          Thanks so much for letting me know what my opinions should be – next time I’ll just go straight to you instead of bothering to form my own…

          The NRC reduces the integrity of the SS by reducing the quality of the players and the standard of the top grade. And it does so while taking money from the SS clubs (who are required to pay the ARU and NSWRU – which is how it is ‘revenue neutral’ for the ARU). These factors in turn, damage the clubs – who run ALL of the junior rugby in Sydney.

          This is just telling you what it is in my neck of the woods – not yours, where it might be a good thing…

          What I want out of rugby is what I have had out of the ss and their junior rugby scene this year – my son playing u8’s for the Manly Roos, then mucking around with his mates and me with mine at the village green – with manly against my old club Eastwood preferably. And if we’re lucky some super rugby or a wallabies game afterwards. It’s great for the kids, it’s welcoming for the whole community and it culminated in The brilliant final last weekend – more of that please! Everything that gets in the way should be pushed aside.

        • John R

          “The NRC reduces the integrity of the SS by reducing the quality of the players and the standard of the top grade”

          I’m calling bullshit on this LBJ. How does NRC reduce the quality of the players?

          Shute Shield has finished. What are all those players going to do now? Oh I know, the better ones will be playing NRC against full time professionals, and increasing their skills and further developing their game.

          “Thanks so much for letting me know what my opinions should be”

          Can you explain how I told you want to think? I’ve offered my reasons why first grade and NRC are complimentary to each other. You argue the opposite but have offered nothing to demonstrate that.

          “which is how it is ‘revenue neutral’ for the ARU”

          Wrong. It is revenue neutral/cost neutral because of the way the commercial agreement was structured with Fox by Pulver.

          I don’t want anything to change for SS, I am a former Coogee Seahorse and think the SS is a wonderful competition. What I do want is for us to follow world wide best practice, and have a development competition that fills the gap between club and professional rugby.

        • LBJ

          First: I love rugby and rugby people- so thanks for engaging.

          Then:
          1. You literally said this is how you should think about the NRC
          2. SS has finished early so that the NRC can start ( not because we have played twice full rounds – we have not)
          3. SS should be the semi-pro comp. as it was in the mid 90’s when the Wobblies were winning…!

        • Who?

          LBJ, why is the quality of players and standard of top grade in SS reduced by the existence of the NRC?
          And the NRC’s costs to RA are covered by the broadcast agreement. The money that RA sucks out of the clubs (which, as I pointed out elsewhere, was imposed on all the other unions before they added Sydney to the list) is supposed to go on ‘community rugby’, which has traditionally included things like the Junior Gold Cup, which RA turned into an RA-funded comp for kids at the elite private schools (because they don’t have to play club to be eligible for JGC, yet it’s funded out of our fees, even though those school kids pay no money to RA). It doesn’t go on the NRC.
          Maintain the rage – it’s good. But maybe pick your targets a bit better?

        • LBJ

          I honestly don’t understand the confusion.

          If you turn first grade into second grade… everything in that grade is reduced. Eg (as valiant as they are) we can’t pretend that WA rugby is not reduced by their removal from super Rugby.

        • Who?

          How was first grade turned into second grade? Are the first grade players for Manly and Eastwood suddenly not playing?! Of course not – they play Shute Shield all season, then look to advance themselves by being picked for NRC. Just as a young Collaroy boy (like Rod Macqueen) would’ve looked to represent Sydney back in the day.
          NRC is a level above Shute Shield, because it’s not all the players from Shute Shield, it’s only the best of those players, against the best of the other regions. If NRC didn’t exist, Shute Shield’s standard wouldn’t magically improve due to its absence. Because those Reds/Brumbies/Rebels/Force players wouldn’t all automatically fall into the Sydney comp.
          In terms of the Force, I agree. RA got it wrong – possibly criminally wrong, but certainly morally wrong. But that’s not the same argument you’re making.
          You’ve (basically) said to John R that the Wallabies were winning in the 90’s and that’s because the Shute Shield was semi-pro. So the Reds being ridiculously strong had nothing to do with it? The Brumbies being strong had nothing to do with it..? I’m not sure the Brisbane comp was semi-pro. And after Macqueen left the Tahs (91-92), their record wasn’t the same. Beyond that, the game’s moved on. The standard required at the top is much higher now. Look at how NZ changed their NPC into a two tier comp.
          And I don’t see that clubs should be stressed financially (or funded by my little region, via RA, given the only way RA can afford to fund it is by taking yet more money from everyone else) to put on a semi-pro comp. It’s much better that they do what they’re currently doing so well – providing a great place for kids to discover Rugby, something to which they might aspire (a club championship), and a pathway to more (a pathway that should receive more focus than the elite schools). Leave semi-pro to the NRC (where RA carries no financial obligations), where it’s a smaller player pool, a shorter competition.

        • Who?

          I’m not so sure that RA (the ARU doesn’t exist anymore) makes significant money out of the NRC. All the financial risk and reward is carried by the franchises. Pulver did some stupid things, and the way the NRC was launched to the stakeholders wasn’t ideal (the QRU AGM reported it as ‘a thought bubble’, only a few months before the inaugural season), but the concept and the way it was set up in order to ensure the competition went ahead was a positive thing. It was set up to be cost neutral to RA – not a revenue stream, but not a financial burden.
          NRC was not designed to spoil WSR (and I also hope Twiggy stays involved and shakes things up!), it predates WSR, and gives the Force more games than they’d otherwise have. It’s very clearly designed to sit between local comps (Shute Shield, which isn’t of any relevance whatsoever to the vast majority of people outside Sydney) and professional Rugby (Super Rugby).
          The only problem with NRC is that it wasn’t in place earlier – that JON dumped the ARC after the one season. Shute Shield’s busy dumping Penrith, they look after their own turf, it’s not in the capacity or interest to help areas outside their own clubs. I don’t see that RA has done too many things right recently (NRC and Women’s Rugby being the primary exceptions), I’ve no great affection for the board right now, but it’s their responsibility to provide opportunities for players to grow, and there’s more opportunity for growth with the NRC than with Shute Shield.
          I get what you’re saying in terms of community. But to say that NRC can’t provide community is missing things. We have more at local NRC games (when we get them) than we have attend our local club finals, and our club finals are successful comparative to other sports in the region. So it’s got as much potential for capacity community building as Super Rugby or the Wallabies. If you want more community than that, you need more games, and that can only really happen with a local club. And the NRC isn’t trying to replace that. It’s effectively the old rep level that we don’t see enough anymore since the game went professional.

        • LBJ

          And so there we have the problem. The NRC builds the game (community) in your area, while it destroys the game (community) in my area – I accept you diagnosis. But you must accept mine – there is ample evidence.

          The question is whether we all have to have a single answer shoved down our throats? Or is there a way we can all win? That must be the challenge for the administration – but I’m not holding my breath.

          And please don’t think rugby is in good health in Sydney- it simply is not. We are fighting back hard for our survival – but we are up against it. And it’s appropriate that we crow about some recent wins after years of being treated poorly and taking so many beatings.

          And while I’m at it, I won’t have that crap about being against western Sydney (where I’m from) or against Penrith – that excellent club was supported for many years by the much hated SYDNEY leather elbow patch crowd – I know a few who traveled from Manly to train and play to prop up the numbers and standards – coaches from Eastwood as well etc etc. at the end of the day, if you don’t win a game for seasons….well your fate is sealed.

        • Who?

          I don’t see that NRC destroys Shute Shield. There’s no evidence. In fact, the Shute Shield revival has happened during the growth of the NRC – after its inception. If crowd sizes were diminishing, then you’d have a much stronger argument. But they’re not.
          And that’s despite the NSWRU absolutely bottling the implementation of the NRC. In Qld, the QRU created and owned the two franchises. They didn’t want clubs carrying the financial risk, so they were banned from being able to enter the NRC. The NSWRU should’ve done the same. They should’ve made the Sydney NRC teams regional rep teams. That would’ve built on the tribalism of the Shute Shield. But the NSWRU missed their chance.
          I get that Rugby’s not in great health anywhere. Sydney did have an advantage when the ARU (as they were then) brought in the revised insurance structure and new fees to RA – they didn’t have to pay them for an extra year or two after every other state. It hurt the other states when they landed (and I’m not confident they’ve recovered), it was always going to hurt Sydney. I’ve said that my region’s rugby Final day is well attended. It’s probably the fourth best attended sporting day in the region, after the League finals, Touch finals, and a school sporting day. But that doesn’t mean the game’s strong up here. It just means attendances are doing ok.
          IN terms of Penrith not winning for seasons… My club hasn’t won in A Grade. In seasons. But that doesn’t mean you dump the club… But, at the same time, I don’t see that the Shute Shield or SRU should be required to grow the game outside its own area (i.e. the greater Sydney basin). They shouldn’t be asked to give games to clubs from Newcastle, or the Illawarra, or Canberra. That’s on the NSWRU, and then RA.
          So how do you have inter-regional competition – a national comp? Do you expand the local comp? No. Because the only way to make that work is to kill off clubs. That’s what happened with the NRL and AFL – South Melbourne, Fitzroy, North Sydney, Glebe, Newtown, they don’t exist at the top level anymore. And the other cities, they generally didn’t get to simply take their championship winning clubs into the upscaled comps – Brisbane created the Broncos, SA created the Crows. Going to something like the NRC is a much better solution, because it doesn’t ruin the Shute Shield (i.e. strengthen some clubs and weaken others), and it doesn’t create a situation where the strongest club comp will automatically win the comp every year (the QRU teams have won three of four, the WARU team the other one, and those teams haven’t exactly dominated Super Rugby in those years).

        • LBJ

          So… you just don’t want it to be true, so therefore it’s not true. I feel like I’m debating with Tony Abbot.

          TheSS has been put in a corner and is fighting back – AGAINST the ARU and NRC which is galvanising support.

          Your comment is precisely the same as saying “look how good cutting the force has been for rugby in WA! They’ve had great support this season” Its a bit insulting for you to create a convenient answer that suits your needs and is the opposite of what is happening (see if you can find someone in Sydney that is not conflicted and agrees with you).

          Besides, how many dead clubs do you want to see? Penrith. Dead. Parramatta. Eastwood. Gordon. On life support.

          How many more lost grades do you need? There is no longer any fifth grade and most don’t have fourth. Colts doesn’t even have a third grade. Is there any number? Or does it not matter?

          I call this approach ‘the whiteboard warrior’ – it’s classic consultant fare (I should know) – you draw up a bunch of boxes on a whiteboard and then make the assumptions fit the outcome you are looking for – like a coach before the game: no coach ever lost a game on the whiteboard. Not even the wallabies… and look how that turned out.

          Anyway I’m tired of infighting the wrong battles. I’ll just turn off. And I’ll just go to the odd local game. And so will everyone else. And then the numbers will solve the problem – and the consultants will come up with a new bunch of assumptions that suit the next ceo. And that won’t be funny either.

        • Who?

          You can’t be fighting against Abbott – he’s SS through and through, and he’s opposed to any and all forms of change. Which would mean he’s opposed to the NRC. :-P
          The NRC isn’t something to be fought. RA is something to be fought, because they’re not managing things well. Witness the debacle with the Force (I remain completely opposed to the logic of shrinking to greatness). I don’t accept that cutting the Force and adding the NRC is the same thing. How can it be?! One is adding opportunities for Rugby in the country, the other is removing them. One is creating a semi-professional level competition where there currently isn’t one (because the Shute Shield isn’t meant to be paid – if it is, especially if it’s funded by RA to be semi-pro, how’s that fair to the QRU, VRU, SARU, WARU, TRU, etc comps?!), the other is taking away paid positions.
          I’m looking and seeing a growth in rugby support in Sydney at the same time I’m seeing the NRC. I’ve also seen people bemoaning the loss of a Sydney NRC team last year. To me, both things are positive (complaining about losing the team, not actually losing the team). I’m not so sure the NRC is the reason why people are supporting the Shute Shield – I believe it’s more about cutting of funding (which just means entering the same level of suffering as the rest of the country), and the sheer incompetence of the NSWRU through recent years (though I get the impression they’re on a slight upswing now). But whatever it is, I’m very pleased to see it. That said, I don’t see it as the pure answer to all the issues with the game in the country – especially not when there is no unity – and barely even an understanding of a need for unity – in the leadership and direction of the game.
          I don’t want to see any clubs die. Or suffer. I don’t want to see clubs losing grades. That said, I don’t think that RA is solely responsible for clubs losing grades. There are clear trends in sport participation which see declines across all codes for high commitment activities (this is info regularly communicated from two mates who work at very high levels in sporting participation, engagement and development, across all sports (i.e. not just Rugby)). People want to be able to turn up on a day, pay their cash, have some fun, and get out. This is borne out by the popularity of Touch Football (now a subsidiary of the NRL). Very little community, low commitment, turn up for an hour a week, have some fun, low cost, done! RA’s requirement for full-season insurance (which pushed registrations up, leading to complaints, and eventually a backflip enabling single game registrations) saw participation and grade numbers drop, especially in the bush. But that’s not the sole problem we’re facing. In my region, the old guard complain that players and families don’t want to commit to their clubs. Commit, as in give their every waking minute to their clubs. Two regional teams just battled out the grand final for the third consecutive year – teams from the biggest town in the comp can’t touch them. Why? Because if you live in those towns, there’s nothing else to do! If you live in the ‘big smoke’, we’ve got a heap of other options. You could spend your Saturday chasing attractive singles (talking both genders here, given we have both a male and female comp), perhaps even drive a couple of hours to the beach, or you could drive 6 hours each way to play Rugby. Some would suggest hopping on the club bus to socialize and reduce the impact of the travel, but our club’s experience was that no one used the bus, so we scrapped it (we couldn’t afford it).
          You’ve talked a lot about community. It’s one of the great things that Rugby can offer. I look at cricket compared to Rugby. The year my son played cricket was the loneliest sporting season we ever had. 20 kids and a dozen parents scratching around a vast area for three hours with no other teams at the same venue. Compared with 400 people crammed around multiple fields, all chatting, arguing about refereeing decisions… Rugby’s an absolute winner there. At the same time, through upper teenage and into seniors, it’s much harder to maintain that community, and we’re living in the most interconnected – yet loneliest – generation of all time. The age of social media (he says, understanding the irony of where he’s writing this). People feel lonely, but they don’t seem to understand the need for connection. They aren’t looking for a club for their social experiences. So perhaps it’s not quite the draw it once was..?
          This is a difficult sporting market, and I think your anger is misdirected. Initiatives like Viva7’s (or whatever the next iteration of it is) and the like are great initiatives by RA, but I agree that the participation numbers spewed out by the state unions are rubbish, and not reflective of the real state of the game. That said, given funding is based on these numbers, having these sorts of numbers out there isn’t bad. But we all know the game needs to be better administered. I genuinely believe we need to dismantle the entire system – I don’t see how it’s right that we have three levels of self-replicating bureaucracy between Castle and your club president. RA has Castle. The NSWRU has Hore. The SRU has its GM. Then your club. Why so many levels? Why can’t it be a national body, with REAL representatives (i.e. not just the narrow clique currently in power), a genuine nomination process (it’s hard enough to get someone nominated to the local sub-union’s board, let alone RA’s board), and competition managers rather than GM’s? Broaden and flatten the structure.
          But don’t kill off the NRC. Change your perspective. In the old days, your Shute players would get selected for the regional teams, then Sydney, then the Tahs. These days, it’s straight from Shute Shield into NRC – and they’re all trying to make it work so that there’s no date clashes (which is why Sydney and the Country Eagles didn’t play last weekend) – and then up to the Tahs. It’s taking the old amateur structure and providing a semi-pro pathway. Which is a good thing.

    • Who?

      You’re right – there’s no confusion as to why there’s only one NRC team left in Sydney. It’s that the SRU are a self-important body who do everything to strengthen their own fiefdom but have no interest in supporting their suzerain. Australian Rugby is stuck in the feudal middle ages, the fact that no one will bend for anyone else so that all can be strengthened – there is no unity of purpose – is a major cause of all the problems in Rugby in this country.
      I’m happy to admit it cuts both ways – RA’s board is completely disengaged from the grassroots, and it needs a complete overhaul. But given every single little region has its own governing body, they all need a complete overhaul, too. You’re complaining about the NRC and SS clashing, well, it’s not the first time. But it’s the first time that RA has shifted ‘Round 1′ for NSW teams – they have Sydney and the Country Eagles playing each other at Leichhardt on a Wednesday in a few weeks’ time. So it’s not as bad as you make out.
      But we seriously need a complete restructure. The SS is run by the SRU, who are nominally under the NSWRU (although they tell the NSWRU what to do as often as the NSWRU manages to get the SRU to comply with demands), and the NSWRU are under RA (and the same issues around direction exist there). That’s too many administrators and layers of bureaucracy, the whole structure should be much flatter. It’s time to burn the structures to the ground (not the clubs, not the competitions, but the governance structures), and build something that works for all involved.

    • Bakkies

      I have read that Castle and de Clyne were at the Final and the first three pages of match day program were dedicated to putting the boot in to the RA.

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

More in Rugby