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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News sees us lose… again, the NRC Grand Final results, us apparently now having a plan and more on the shove incident.


*Bangs head against keyboard*

Dejected Wallabies after loss to Argentina

Dejected Wallabies lose, again.

Well folks, here we are again. Another week, another Wallabies loss.

Granted, most of us thought it was coming, but the fact that the 20-37 loss to the All Blacks had moments where we could’ve turned the tide of the game was even more disappointing. It’s the literal engagement for Aussie fans right now: there’s so much potential, an occasional flash of brilliance, and the rest of the time it’s crap.

It’s clear this fact is not lost on Michael Cheika, who cut a dejected figure in the press conference after the game on the weekend.

“I think that’s why we are very flat,” Cheika said.

“There is a lot of stuff to work with there I suppose.

“Just too many turnovers in key moments and too many turnovers in general.

“I think it’s a bit of a reason why we are feeling like that.

“But there are some things we can work with for sure going forward.”

The game did have it’s positives, with David Pocock and company creating more turnovers. Attack wise, the team looked a lot more threatening than throughout the entire Rugby Championship. But then they’d force passes, and the Kiwis would counteract. FFS, the PTSD is kicking in again, let’s move on.

“Through the middle we were quite good there,” captain Michael Hooper said.

“Our forwards were working really hard and our eight forwards through the middle were getting some nice movement.

“There were three turnovers out wide when we finally made the decision to go out wide.

“You look at the game at 17-7 turnovers and that’s a heap of ball you are giving to New Zealand.

“We all see what they can do with that.”

It was especially disappointing for Sekope Kepu, who notched up his 100th Wallaby cap.

“I’ve got a new additon to the family and having them (the kids) here with my wife makes it extra special,” Kepu said to rugby.com.au.

“Obviously we played New Zealand tonight, though it was a loss, we’ll have a learnt a lot from this whole week a year out from the World Cup.

“I’m disappointed for the result but we’ve got to move on to next week. It’s cliched but we keep working.

“Off the field I’ve got the kids and family so it’s not all rugby… they are the ones – regardless of how you feel or a disappointing result – they’ll be there.”

The less said about this result, the better. I’m pretty numb to it now, and I can only take so much. If you want more match details I defer to more experienced heads, Sully’s match report from the weekend, as well as Brian Smith’s ever poignant in-depth analysis. 

Stupid Sh*t

All Blacks post match press conference - Steve Hansen and Kieran Read

All Blacks post match press conference – Steve Hansen and Kieran Read

Once again, the topic of the TMO and the influence on the game came into question, and this time it revolved around the fact that it took the match official over five minutes to come to a decision after a blatant push to the face. As Mr. Cavill so eloquently tweeted, you could hear the TVs turning off around the nation. 

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is not a popular figure with anyone outside of NZ. Neither is Michael Cheika outside of Australia, (although that’s becoming increasingly debatable) but against the odds, on Saturday night, they did something incredible. They actually agreed on something the ref did.

What about? The fact that Tolu Latu‘s decision to overreact and palm someone in the face was stupid, and the fact it took so long to arrive at a conclusion that stupid.

“You aren’t allowed to strike someone in the face so it was pretty clear wasn’t it,” he said, as reported in rugby.com.au. 

“You do dumb things you get dumb reactions and the ref had no other option.

“If he hadn’t done it he probably would have been hearing from his bosses.

“He did what he should do and give the guy 10 minutes

“Sport brings out moments where you overreact and their young hooker overreacted to something Codie did.

“It was a whole lot about nothing really.”

“He shouldn’t do it,” Cheika admitted further.

“You know that if they push us and he pushes back he should know that it is going to come back and get us.

“That’s the nature of where we are at at the moment.

“It’s pretty simple but at the same time as a footballer you don’t want to get pushed.

“I don’t think the referee was going to do anything about it as he kept coming towards him.

“Maybe that’s the expectation on us. He definitely shouldn’t do it.

“I understand that he wants to stand up for himself and look after himself and that’s part of the game.

“But not in that manner because it cost us 10 minutes and didn’t achieve anything anyway.”

Latu was also sin-binned the previous game against the Pumas for elbowing an opposition player in the face. Again, literal engagement for Aussie fans right now: the bloke has clearly got loads of talent and potential, but low and behold, he goes and does stupid shit again.

Spin Doctor

Will Genia clears, watched by Agustin Creevy

Will Genia clears, watched by Agustin Creevy

Low and behold, straight after the loss, Will Genia appears, cap-in-hand, with another statement to attempt to get fans excited for the international tour.

In all honesty, I can’t be too critical of Genia. The bloke honestly tries in a team that is low in confidence and not heading in the right direction. But, interestingly, his statement admitted that the squad had thrown out the playbook that they attempted to use this year to beat the Irish, instead opting to try and play a new style.

You know what they’ve resorted to? You’ll never guess! It’s going to blow your mind. They’ve decided to instead start going back to what had previously been working.

Yep. It took them eight f*#king matches to realise that the strategy that clearly wasn’t working wasn’t working.

“It’s no secret that we changed the way we played a lot in the June series against Ireland,” Genia said to Fox Sports. 

“We played with width from the get go.

“Off set piece, always going with width off unstructured play.

“And then it’s probably just adjusting back to how we played before, which has always been playing through the middle, getting the forwards going through the middle and then playing off the back of that.

“It probably took us a little time to adjust, but we are here now and the boys are doing it well.”

The Wallabies (at least attack wise), did look improved over the weekend, and the decision to play a more direct up-the-middle approach was made by both the playing group and the coaching staff. It took them eight matches, but they got there. Eventually.

“Guys like Bernard (Foley), Kurtley (Beale) and the leaders in terms of the strategy part of the game (led the decision to revert back to how they attacked in years gone by,” Genia said.

“Then the coaches as well.

“We want to get the best out of the best players we have and our tight forwards in particular — that’s our biggest strength.”

Genia also argued that defensively, things looked a lot better too.

“I thought defensively we were really good, particularly in that first half,” Genia said.

“There were a couple of opportunities where they scored off the intercept and I missed Rieko on the short side, but you take those 14 points out of it and I thought we defended really well.

“The scoreboard doesn’t reflect that, but guys were getting up out of the line and putting shots on.

“I definitely think that was a huge area of growth for us.”

Bula! Bula!

Fiji Drua pre-game v Melbourne Rising NRC 2018 (Credit Rugby Australia)

Long rant coming up…

If I could have filled up this news segment with NRC news and the amazing match that took place on the weekend, I would’ve have. Alas, the Wallabies were playing and I have to talk about them, which was a real dampener on the weekend’s rugby.

But if you haven’t seen this game this weekend, do yourself a favour. Here’s the link to the Fox Sports Live Stream of the NRC.  It’s there. It’s downloadable. It’s completely free. If any of you guys didn’t watch this match, for the love of god, plan an night to sit down and watch this.

In an amazing display, the Fijian Drua finally shook a monkey off their back, defeating Queensland Country for the first time ever to claim their first ever national rugby championship title.

Conditions made the first half an old-school grind, but (in front of a capacity crowd and probably what looked like is the largest crowd in NRC history) the Drua clicked into  gear in the second half to win 36-26, and scored some disgustingly good tries.

For a more detail description, check out our review of the final here. 

It is the first time a team has ever finished with both the Horan-Little Shield and the Toast Rack in their possession, and with the passion around the team it just goes to show what an absolute shot in the arm the Drua have been for this competition, and how good it is for them to have won it.

But not just that. Australian rugby has much to benefit from having a team like this in our third-tier competition, a fact not lost on QLD Country coach Rod Seib. 

“Today’s match was always going to be tough in the wet and, with their sizeable forward pack, the Drua played to the conditions and came out on top,” Seib said to Fox Sports.

“Momentum shifted throughout the match and our boys were in the contest for the full 80 minutes, but credit to the Fijians — they fed off their home crowd and played a great game.

“I’m really proud of the way our team has performed throughout the season.

“Today, they showed a lot of character to stay in the match until the very end.

“They’ve shown a lot of maturity and progression throughout the season, and were deserving of a place in the grand final.

“We have a lot of young talent within this side, which will bode well for Queensland rugby moving forward.

“We have players who will be heading into their first and second seasons of Super Rugby with the Reds, who will have benefited from being part of our campaign in 2018.”

Rugby Australia high performance general manager Ben Whitaker was also present, and congratulated the Drua on their victory.

“Over the course of the NRC season, the Drua played enterprising, exciting rugby that enthralled and entertained fans in Fiji, around Australia and across the world.

“We offer our commiserations to Queensland Country who fought hard today.

“They have a very young, talented squad and it will be exciting to see how these players develop over the coming years.

“Their consistency over the past two seasons in reaching back to back NRC finals will no doubt positively impact the Queensland Reds and Wallabies over the next few years.”

But in my opinion, the best comments came from the Drua coach Senirusi Seruvakula. With so many young faces in the crowd, Seruvakula added that this famous win for Fiji will live long in the memory of many on the Island nation.

“It’s been massive, it’s been an enjoyable competition and we are lucky the Australian Rugby Union have given us this opportunity to play in this level so that our local players can showcase their talent,” he said.

“Full credit to Australian rugby for allowing us and if we were not allowed, we would keep on playing our domestic rugby and these guys will be shocked to go into international rugby to play rugby.

“[For the kids], these guys playing for the Drua will be their heroes.

“Everyone who will be playing from primary school to secondary school, they want to represent the Drua.

“The Drua we bring in a different kind of rugby – entertainment and full of skill they have to be very good and that’s what’s going to be going into everyone, going into the competition next year domestically they have to showcase their talent if they want to be playing in the NRC and especially defending the trophy next year.”

Drua captain Moses Voka was visibly emotional at the awards ceremony.

“I can’t express it in words, it’s a great privilege winning this,” he said.

“I think it’s a big trophy… I don’t know how to express myself, but I’m really happy for the boys.”

The worst part is we now have to wait a year before this great little comp comes round again. Shit.

  • Who?

    Cheik, so close…
    “You know that if they push us and he pushes back he should know that it is going to come back and get us.
    “That’s the nature of where we are at at the moment.”

    So, that reads as though the expectation is that if a team’s going to be penalized, if it’s a 50-50 call, then it’s gonna bite the Wallabies. That there’s some form of bias against us. That’s reinforced with this:
    “I don’t think the referee was going to do anything about it as he kept coming towards him.”
    I’m among the first to call things out when I don’t think a ref’s got it right. I’m not usually a fan of Romain, but that was one of Poite’s better games. He missed plenty (certainly plenty of knock ons, mainly by those in Black early in the game), but he was mostly even handed, and certainly didn’t cost us the game.
    Now, Nick… Where was the rant?! Only one tiny whinge in the whole NRC thing, and that was just to complain that you wanted more (i.e. you don’t want to wait for next year, you want it now). Such a great thing for Rugby for it to be growing stronger each year.

    • Ed

      Cheika has form Who. He implied after the 2017 Dunedin test that the fix was in as it was Read’s 100th test.

      In our last fifteen tests, we have conceded fewer penalties in ONE game – away in RSA, had the same number in five matches and gave away more penalties in nine tests. But I forgot World Rugby has a ref conspiracy against us.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Cheika’s Wallabies are reflective of Cheika – high on emotion, motivation and aggression, low on subtlety and tactics.

        • Gun

          I reckon we add Michael ‘the definition’ Cheika to the nick name list. Doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result.

        • laurence king

          Hey Gun, this is it in latin, now it sounds classy lol. aliter atque idem repetens existimasset.

        • John Miller

          Has there ever been an Australian rugby coach that has enjoyed such incontrovertible immunity from consequence or accountability from Sydney-based sporting media than Michael Cheika? The spiralling, raw sewerage filled toilet of results one might expect of the least successful Australian coach of the professional era, distils down to a 41% post-RWC winning percentage, which then festers to the current 30% stain on the 2018 test rugby landscape.

          Even Wallabies loses seem only to draw the “usual Wallabies errors” refrain from most mainstream paid commentators before a swift leap back into the steadfast “ah, but there were signs of improvement” narrative. Jones, Deans and McKenzie could only have dreamed of the Teflon-coated free pass Cheika currently enjoys. Is there any depth of abject sh!tness this coach can plumb before someone with an elbow patch and chronic gout punts him?

          And the vast and increasing chasm in coaching nous between the ABs and Wallabies is again best exemplified in two set piece plays during this last Bledisloe – detailed by easily the best, least parochial rugby analyst running around at the moment: https://www.rugbypass.com/news/analysis-how-the-all-blacks-set-piece-switch-play-baffled-the-wallabies

        • Singapore Sling

          This is a Pulitzer winning spray.

        • John Miller

          Yep, totally correct about Dempsey rather than Hanigan SS. Smith’s example of All Black coaches analysis of the Wallabies set piece defence, design of the strategy to best capitalise on the deficiencies, selection of the correct players with the required skill sets and then the ability of those players to execute the play are the stand out points.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          “raw sewerage filled toilet of results!” Mate that is gold. That analysis by Smith is good but I feel a bit harsh. If that kick had been 1/2 a meter shorter it would have been on.

        • Mica

          And smart play most of the time.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      The NRC has been a shining light that has kept my interest in Australian rugby during this international season.

      And Petaia has been a shining light in that shining light.

      • Geoffro

        Didn’t catch much (grumbles to oneself no Fox) and even when I go to the club they’ll have eight tellies showing some other sport rather than NRC due to the dire state of the GTPIH amongst the general sporting public here.(may be different in ACT but on the Tweed/Goldie you’re more likely to see beach volleyball televised in the clubs than Rugby).That aside heard glowing reports for Petaia and also that Stewart is showing some promise which has to be encouraging for both Reds and Aus rugby.Any decent locks unearthed ? then I’ll get really excited.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I thought Swain for the Vikings was very good. May well push ahead of Enever for the Brumbies based on NRC form.

        • Brumby Runner

          Petaia has all the skills to make it at the top. Can’t come on too soon.

          Stewart was very composed in his games, I thought, and is showing signs of improving the way he manages the backline attack.

          Best two locks over the season were Darcy Swain for the Vikings and Fergus Lee-Warner for the Force. Big futures for both of them I think. Hockings and Blyth bossed the lineout for Qld Country and finished the tournament strongly. But their inability to dominate in open play was really on display against the Drua.

        • mattyjinred

          Agree with Hockingg and Blyth. I dont think either one bent the line majorly with their hit ups. Prediction: Both will go on a diet of 4 roast chooks a day over the summer. Rodda was a similar build coming out of school and ate his way to his size. Give them another two seasons they will be wrecking balls as well.

        • Brumby Runner

          That could well happen, but right now Swain is the same age, and in fact imo outplayed both Blyth and Hockings in the U20s but didn’t get the gig, and Lee-Warner is about the same age, maybe a year older. The way Swain makes ground in contact and hits with real power and intent in tackles really has him well in front on potential.

        • John Tynan

          Young bodies for contact work, should develop.

        • laurence king

          From memory SBW had a problem with injury when he first came on the scene, simply his ability outmatched his body

        • John Tynan

          Shoulder definitely and maybe a knee? Too big too young, I reckon.

    • GeorgiaSatellite

      I didn’t read it that way, Who?. I saw it as saying Latu needed to realise the ref wasn’t going to intervene and needed some self-control. Retaliation will always bring sanction. Where he says, “Maybe that’s the expectation on us. He definitely shouldn’t do it,” I read that the ref expects containment, not retaliation, so he can deal with it. Then again, I didn’t hear Seagal say it, so I may be wrong. But he categorically said more than once that Latu shouldn’t do it.

      • Brumby Runner

        That’s a really big problem with Cheika. He speaks in a rambling, almost illogical fashion. What he says can be interpreted to mean anything or nothing. I’m sure that most fans have no clue about what he means and suspect the players have trouble with his communications as well.

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          Fair call. I’m not a fan (ever since 0-3 against England).

      • Who?

        I didn’t hear the phrasing either, but that’s how it read to me. Regardless, I can’t see it as a positive thing. I agree he said that Latu shouldn’t do it, it just read as though he was walking it back a bit. And he’s been known to do that.

  • onlinesideline

    Man someone needs to speak to Mafi, sorry I mean Latu. This was beyond dumb for 2 reasons.

    1. He already vented by getting that little tap on the face in when they lost that scrum.

    2. Latu had 2-3 seconds to think and say NO DONT DO IT to himself (as opposed to half a second) as the kiwi hooker was wallking towards him. He was quite a way away and Latu’s tap had worked, it did the job. If Latu had any brains he should have waited for the kiwi guy to do what he did. In fight terms he was like 3 meters away. Alot of time and space.

    Clearly Cheika has not got the message through. Being dropped is the only way to deal with this. Great kid but this is where his weakness is.

  • Happyman

    Hi Fellow GAGR’s Happy Monday

    Well the weekend panned out as expected the game in Fiji was exactly why you love Rugby a played with passion and joy. My horse in the race was Qld country and although they lost they played well in pretty tough conditions. So at the end of the day I was pretty happy with the season of both city and Country.

    Then we had the Bled congrats to the AB’s they are just a team that takes it’s chances they won the turnover game and apart from that the game statistically was almost identical. The try from the scrum was sumptuous in it’s concept and execution. Reads try was soft but well taken and the attention to detail shows the difference between the two teams, until we get to that point we will win the occasional game but nothing more.

    Tin foil hat mode on
    Phil Kearns is correct the Kiwi’s are getting the benefit of the refereeing and have done for the past three years. Note the following.
    – The french series the tackle that fractured the french guys head was both a swinging arm (Flanker) and contact with the head with a shoulder (Prop that looks like Lorax) no cards no sanction. (I believe Hansens reaction after that game was it is a contact sport)
    -French red card in second game was pretty soft but fair TBH
    – Folou taken past horizontal in Bled 1 no sanction
    – Joe Moody elbows KB in the head in Crusaders game try scored no card no sanction Try stands.
    – Latu face slap yellow card.
    -Aaron Smith runs a blocking line. result try to AB
    – DHP impedes Saves while behind the play try reversed.
    -Wyatt Crocket I think it was eye gouges an Wallaby in a maul no action taken.

    I always find it interesting the watch the press reaction to the AB’s after the autumn games as our northern hemisphere brethren just get to see the beautiful moves creating tries in a highlights packages. After the Northern tours they generally start talking about how dirty the AB’s are.
    Tin foil hat mode off.

    • Greg

      I think that NZ team does get the rub of the green but to a certain extent you make your own luck.

      Refereeing decisions don’t lead us to make silly offloads, miss tackles or drop the pill.

      • GeorgiaSatellite

        Agreed. But for mine the most grievous and dangerous is the neck-rolling on FPM David Pocock. When Justin Marshall says “Thet’s ullegal,” you know it probably deserves suspension. (He added, “[The roller] needs to work on hus tichnique.”) What has to happen for it to be cited? I don’t even care about the outcome of the match compared to that stuff. Plus, they’re still the better team without it.

        • Happyman

          I was going to put that in but forgot was in a rush to hit another work thing. I hate it when work interferes with the ranting lol

        • Archie
        • GeorgiaSatellite

          Not on this site, no. Or any others, presumably because we don’t patrol Kiwi sites looking for the opportunity to post stuff like this. How do you keep them on file, Archie? Alphabetically, by year, by “preferred response when an Aussie complains about the Chosen Ones doing it”…?

          If you can find one player being targeted for an entire match in the same fashion, maybe we’ll be comparing apples with apples.

          For the record, that looks like it should have been sanctioned and I would support it. I love this game, but I don’t want to see anyone put in a wheelchair because of it.

          And where are the commensurate responses to the other points raised by Happyman? Come on! You’re letting the side down.

        • Archie

          Nope… this one has been doing the rounds on twitter since the Brisbane match (when it happened). Frustrated South African fans getting annoyed with the Wallabies getting away with murder I guess.

          As for Happyman’s other points… what’s the point in pointing out transgressions against the ABs? It’ll be like when Hooper stamped on an head AB the RWC final, or Kepu’s numerous unpunished high shots in the same game, or the Lions (OBrian) getting away with a swinging arm to the head without suspension or red card (unlike SBW), or no one caring that Rougerie eye gouged McCaw in 2011.

          Pretty typical… when you dominate, there’s no sympathy or impartiality, as everyone’s trying to bring you down

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          I don’t understand, Archie. You say there’s no point in pointing out transgressions against the ABs, yet can’t resist doing so. You can’t help being a hall monitor, patrolling this site (and I wouldn’t mind betting a few others) pointing out injustices against the birthright of the Chosen Ones.

          The ABs are far and away the best team in the world, and have been for as long as I can recall (despite the odd blip when someone else raises their head, then the ABs raise the bar yet again).

          I can’t figure out why you bother to come here other than to perform this defence of honour rubbish. I’m not against Kiwis (or anyone else) being here. It’s just that guys like KRL, Kokonutkreme and Richard Patterson defend the ABs when they feel it’s necessary, but they also contribute to the comments in other, positive ways.

          And for the record, I don’t agree with HM that all those other things mentioned are one-sided. I just wanted to see if you could resist rebuffing them. You couldn’t. All that was missing was the video library.

          The point I made in my last reply stands – neck-rolling should be punished WHOEVER is doing it.

    • Huw Tindall

      Am I the only one who noticed TJ standing off side practically in front of Ned during Read’s try off the pack of the scrum. The scrum half is meant to be behind the ball in the scrum. TJ didn’t move after feeding it, just stood up and blocked Hanigan’s view. Also D Mac had an accidental shoulder direct contact on Simmon’s head in his held up try. Nothing. Nada. No ‘check check’. Less fussed about Aaron Smith line than these.

  • Mart

    where the hell were all Latu’s mate’s when he was being pushed around by Taylor?
    This team is lacking teamness…. All the Tv shots of Cheika are him on his own. Where’s his team around him?

    • Greg

      He was there and pulling him away…. just a few seconds too slow.

      • Mart

        Yeah pulling him away. They should have mobbed Taylor as he was advancing towards them

        • Tomthusiasm

          Latu slapped Taylor as the scrum broke and then again when Taylor reacted. Latu is a goose, maybe his team mates are sick of his antics?

        • Mart

          yeah maybe

        • Mica

          Yes he is – hopefully this will change, but I won’t hold my breath

  • Missing Link

    Congratulations to NZ for performing yet another lubeless reaming of the Wallabies.

    Now we wait and see what happens. Possible scenarios:
    1. RA goes postal, new head coach, new coaching panel etc.
    2. Cheika dumps Grey and appoints a new defence coach
    3. Nothing changes, more of the same
    4. This is all part of Cheika’s master plan to give absolutely nothing away before the world cup so that no team can prepare for the Wallabies. In the meantime they’ve been working on a completely new strategy behind closed doors ready to unleash a can of whoop ass onto the rest of the rugby world and claim bill in Japan next year

    My personal favourite is option 4 however I believe I’ve got a better chance of owning a Ferrari by the end of next year.

    • Geoffro

      I’ll take box no 3 for the Ferrari sir…….dang, just won tickets to the WC final between AB’s and Ireland.

    • Singapore Sling

      If Steven Bradbury is part of the team for option 4 it just might work.

    • laurence king

      ‘lubeless reaming’, yes, well put.

      • Missing Link

        I thought about it for a while, and yes lubeless reaming was the most accurate adjective I could think of at the time :)

        • laurence king

          Extreme soreness in the nether regions, clearly that sort of behaviour doesn’t worry the ABs

    • Richard Patterson

      Good thoughts ML and certainly a fair idea to build hope around. The concern though has to be the required improvement in the micro-skills takes time and is only achieved with constant practise. Practise conducted with pace, under durress, in confined space and with reduced time. It’s a big project — but possible I guess.

      There was a lot to like about the Wallabies game plan on Saturday. By and large, the construction of the plan went well. But where things came unstuck too often was the execution of the little micro skills. The pass only being in the zone, not on the mark. How many times did this cause timing to just falter a split second, or a pass to be spilled, not caught, or a half gap to close – not open up. Some were glaring, many were just subtle. But isn’t that test match rugby where everything regarding time and space condenses — and speed just accelerates? Oh – and did someone refer to the need for a cool head and soft hands?

      In Bledisloe Cup games I & II this year the Wallabies conceded 12 tries to the All Blacks. 10 came from turnovers.
      On Saturday the Wallabies committed 17 turnovers, the All Blacks 7. I see a pattern.
      After every test match Hooper and Cheika refer to turnovers.
      We both know players don’t intentionally create a turnover. Turnovers often occur becuase the required micro skills to execute a play are insufficent.

      Can the Wallabies advance these skills? Sure! Is that coaching expertise being fed to them right now? Evidence (see points above) suggests not.
      Is there the bone deep desire amongst the playing group to acquire those skills? Maybe.
      Are enough of the leading playing group feeling the white hot competitive pressure for their jersey to go get them? We shall see in Super Rugby next year.

    • Mica

      Clearly option 3

      • laurence king

        The most likely, ‘mutantur nihil’ will be on Cheika’s tomstone

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      That’s the second part of the conspiracy theory mate.

      First part is teams like the Boks and Argies letting Cheika win so they know he won’t be replaced and they can then win at the RWC.

      Second part is that it’s all a long term tactic by Cheika so that all the teams are lulled into a false sense of security and he cleans up at RWC.

      Love both of them

  • Singapore Sling

    Cheika just seems intellectually paralysed. You could bring any warm body in as coach with a mandate to select the form players in their actual positions, simplify the game plan to pick, drive, draw and pass; territorial kicking; shooter-less defensive line moving as one with players sticking to their selected positions and defend but do not over commit to the ruck.

    I’d even be happy if they simplified to ten man rugby and only attack from turnover ball and set piece until the defence settles. The Wallabies need to declutter mentally.

    • Brumby Runner

      Good game plan SS. There would be around 5 or 6 players who would be told to move on, while the improvement immediately in the defence would be impressive.

  • Fatflanker

    A defensive system that never fails to create an overlap within three phases. Nathan Grey really should be the attack coach. I can’t watch this shit anymore.

  • The Jackal

    Good News with both SBS & BEIN Sports locked in for Wallabies Tests and a bulk of the Spring Tour matches. BEIN have RSA v ENG, JPN v NZ, IRL v ITA & WAL v SCO this weekend.

    I don’t know if its just that the Rugby Championship is stale or the Wallabies are so poor but I’m really looking forward to watching a few of these upcoming games as a neutral. I think we play some teams way too much (NZ) and some of these other fixtures have peaked my interest like never before. Love to see us never play a team more than once a year, three Tests series are overrated.

    • Mica

      Thanks for this. Always good to get the broadcast schedule locked in

    • Happyman

      Mate TBH I think the Wallabies are not as bad as we are saying. Lost two one to ireland split it with the Boks and the FISM. I think part of our prob is we are judged by a higher standard. It is also the view of the League media that if we are not number one we are rubbish and it is just not true.
      Can we be better yes, could anyone on this site pick a better team probably.
      The part of our game that is just completely rubbish is the defence honestly I nearly threw my beer at the TV when the Fox guys were saying our defence in the first half was good. Giving up 17 in a half is not good IMHO 10 is about a pass mark.
      IO disagree on the 3 test series I love them and if you remember the Irish series it was awesome.

      • John Miller

        Except, of the current top 10 rugby playing nations, the Wallabies under Cheika only have a positive win % against Argentina, Wales and Fiji. It is a consistent, multi-year, slow motion, coaching train wreck. And we’re every bit as bad as we look.

      • The Jackal

        I guess I am more against the three Tests every year against the All Blacks, two against the Boks, a lot of feeling has gone out of that matchup because we get too much of it. I’d be happy if we only played a three Test series against NZ once a world cup cycle.

        • Happyman

          The whole thing is a little stale but you would probably think differently if we were more competitive. Honestly the next 5 years are going to be interesting with broadcast deals etc.

        • Geoffro

          Preferred the tri nations to the current setup and have always felt adding the Puma’s was akin to putting Italy into the five nations.I know its not a reasonable view but ….just my take.That said,I love International rugby and would be stoked if we were in the position of the AB’s where it’s like “c’mon have your best shot” to all comers.Sadly there seems to be too many games when you get beat so frequently.

        • Rob Hill

          That’s not going to solve the problems.

          If this year is anything to go by, it won’t even do a lot to paper over the cracks.

          I assume you’re advocating eight matches a year against Romania and Spain to improve our playing style?

          If we don’t learn from playing the best in the world regularly, I’d say that’s an issue

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Thanks Jackal, looking forward to some of these games

      • Garry

        You’re right. Who are we to get upset at conceding 50 points to the Scots in our back yard. Lower our lofty expectations and take our medicine. Sorry Cheika and co.

  • laurence king

    Congratulations to the ABs, classy, took their chances and pulled away at the end. I felt that the ABs game lacked the intensity of Bleds 1 and 2 and had another gear if they needed it.
    With this in mind, apart from the return of some good players in Kerevi, Naivulu and Dempsey, I don’t think that there has been any improvement over the season. I think that half the reason for the 2nd half revival in Salta was the Argies laying down.
    Our defense system sucks and that’s on Grey. But it’s his solution for Cheika picking poor defenders and it’s part of the reason that we have the Pooper resulting in a number 7 who is swanning out with the backs.
    We really lack thrust coming from the back, and I think that Banks could make the world of difference.
    Etc.

    • John Tynan

      “Our defense system sucks and that’s on Grey. But it’s his solution for Cheika picking poor defenders…”
      This is a pretty good point, actually…

      • Who?

        Except… He had the same system in 2015, when our backs included Giteau, AAC, Horne, Mitchell…

        • laurence king

          Oh, you’re absolutely correct. So it’s mostly his problem then. But therefore, Cheika as chief should dispense with it, or with Grey.

        • Ed
        • Who?

          Yeah, I saw. Just what we need, a bloke who wasn’t good enough to be first choice 13 back then and had to shuffle out to the wing (TK was a better 13 then, and even moreso now), has lost some pace, and is going to fix it all…
          No disrespect to AAC, but if he wasn’t good enough in 2017, why’s he suddenly important now?

        • Singapore Sling

          Cheika taking AAC in tour is so wrong it’s infuriating. What kind of message does it send to Australian domestic players. Tom English would have every right to feel aggrieved. It’s really hard to wish the Wallabies well as that means success for Krusty Cheika.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          AAC was a top player at his peak… about 10 years ago.

        • John Tynan

          Yeah, you’re largely right I guess – I don’t remember the halfback doing all the sweeping though? – ie running to every breakdown for speed of service, then having to do the “pendulum” out the back as well.

        • Geoffro

          He is a bit overworked eh? and shows where missing at the breakdown too often

        • Andy

          Brains, those players had. They were all experienced and smart players which is what we completely lack now.

          If you go across the current backline the individual error rate and missed tackle count would be well above the backline in the 2015 WC. People didn’t see the value in Gits and AAC but I thought they were fantastic. They probably didn’t drop a tackle the whole tournament and kept the rest of the players organised. Something we are desperately lacking right now

        • Who?

          I saw value for Gits in defence, but that value in 2015 wasn’t as great as you could argue last weekend. Because, in 2015, Toomua was available, where he wasn’t last weekend (Beale at 12, falling off Squires, etc). Giteau was always underrated as a defender. On attack, I thought he was a major mistake, didn’t fit the game, and the only time we scored a try on the width was when Giteau himself scored it in the last 10 against England. Otherwise, the ball never found the wingers in space.
          I thought AAC was still locally-based in 2015?
          I’m not sure that AAC was a significant improvement over TK. It wasn’t unusual for TK to be at 13 and AAC at 14. And, at this point in their respective careers, a fit TK would rate higher than a fit AAC for me, because TK’s bigger and faster.
          But if the ABs were exploiting Mitchell’s exhaustion from all his chasing under Grey’s system to blunt his attack (recently reported by Mitchell himself), and that was in the first year of his system being introduced, how much worse is the situation going to be with less experienced players, and with more time for opponents to figure out the system? And some of the guys who are confused in this system are guys who’ve played nigh on every test under it. I can name three tries Foley’s allowed through in the last 2 Tests, purely off a misunderstanding of what he should be doing and a lack of communication in the system.

  • Alister Smith

    There were some encouraging signs in the game for the Walabies and I enjoyed watching the game at least which is an improvement on the first half in Argentina, the full games in South Africa and on the Gold Coast and the most of the first SA test.
    We had plenty of opportunities that we didn’t capitalise on and the All Blacks are so quick to pounce on any of our mistakes and punish us to the full extent for any of ours. This is a great All Blacks side and, as much as it pains me from a Wallaby perspective, it is great to watch the ABs play. They aren’t invincible but at the moment we don’t have the game to beat them. I think both Ireland and South Africa have the game to challenge them at the World Cup where it is a one off and both sides will have momentum going into the game. We are yet to see if England can.
    I liked much of what both Dempsey and Kerevi brought to the game. Henigan is an honest toiler with a very high work rate and I think he could be a key forward for the 2023 World Cup but Dempsey, at a year older and a little solider (and a touch shorter) can break a line. I replied in another area that Petaia (or any young player of that age) should only be brought through if they are the best in their position. After watching the QC v Drua game on Saturday I was about to change my mind and say he is the best available in that position. He certainly should be included on the tour, if only to learn how to interact and manage all those other issues so that the World Cup is not all new. However, I think Kerevi is still a better option and Folau wasn’t too bad (though he was involved in setting up one of their tries).
    There were some key lapses in defence though by Genia, Hanigan (late rather than missed) and others. And in the end I think that is what cost us.

    • Brumby Runner

      First up, Alister, that was not the No 1 ABs’ side. Their backline in particular can be improved, and will be with the return of Goodhue, A Smith (to start) and B Smith back to full back and perhaps Naholo on the wing, though most ABs’ fans seem to like the two No 15s model.

      In contrast, we have an unbalanced side with the Pooper in the forwards, and players out of position all over the backline. There is no wonder we can’t take advantage of most of the opportunities that come in a match.

      Folau was not good at 13. He did very little in attack and played most of the game defensively on the wing, leaving the two wingers to try to slot into the 13 spot. This in a position widely regarded as the most important defensive spot on the ground.

      Kerevi was good when he came on, and when we have a decent No 13 (Petaia? until TK is available) available, he should slot straight into 12. He showed in his short time on the ground that he can break the line when he runs straight and he can set up a support runner to go on to score a try. He did more in about 20 minutes than we’ve seen from Beale in the whole TRC.

      Dempsey was strong in attack for about 10 minutes before he seemed to run out of puff and was not effectively involved after that. Hopefully, it is just a matter of match fitness and not a hangover from his terrible injury. Cheika has a poor history of bringing players back from injury too soon, and Dempsey looks to be the latest example.

      And now we have an aged AAC back in the squad. Very likely to see a backline of Foley, Beale, AAC, run out some time in the EOYT. Wines develop and improve with age, rugby players just get slower, more injury prone and lose skills. But it just goes to show us that so long as a player once wore the Tahs’ jersey, he is always in the mix for selection by Cheika,

      • Human

        I must agree BR. My fear is, that with both Kerevi and TK fit, one of them will have to play wing or on the pine so that Chek can play Gilbert somewhere.Please tell me that the AAC returning thing is a joke.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Nope no Joke mate. Except it is a joke that he is picked.

      • The AB “2 full backs” model has really been around for a while. It dates back as least as far as Cory Jane, so they’ve been playing it for a decade or so.

        And while it might seem odd for, I think, all (certainly the vast majority of it) of that decade they’ve been the #1 team in the world, they’re the only tier 1 nation with an undefeated record in a calendar year and so on. This year, their “second 15″ playing on the wing was second for metres gained, first for clean breaks and 5= for defenders beaten in the RC. There must be something good that comes of playing that way…

        I hope, like you, that Dempsey was just short of match fitness. It’s a hard line to judge from just watching the match. The good news is that he made it through the rest of the match without apparently reinjuring himself.

  • Andy

    Reading Genia’s Comments shows we’ve gone fully into delusion mode.

    Being happy with the 1 step forward 3 steps back approach is where this team is at now. Sure, some things went well but we still lost by 17, 5 fries to 1, had 17 turnovers against, had the same guy yellow carded and the same players missing tackles. So the positives are irrelevant at this point.

    On a positive, Petai being selected for the tour is good news. I know we have the 2 Fijians at 13 but I reckon this kid has a much higher sealing than both. He’s faster, he seems to be a solid defender, is intelligent and has really good link up play. I reckon he should be thrown in and Kerevi moved to 12 perminantly.

    • Who?

      Agree it’s good Petaia’s on tour, and I’d love to see Kerevi at 12, but we’ve gotta maintain those backwards steps, hence the selection of legend but yesterday’s man AAC… :-P

      • Andy

        If he can bring some intellect and basic skills/lower error rate into the team then great. Our backs desperately need:
        a) a leader as there isn’t 1
        b) a good communicator
        c) an intelligent player that can defend

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@Nick_Wasiliev

Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician and second-rower trying to kick start a writing career in an increasingly bonkers world...

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