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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s rugby news wraps up the weekend locally and internationally, SA look to shake up eligibility rules and maybe rugby isn’t for all shapes and sizes.


Super Rugby Round Two

Both starting props for the Reds impressed with their ball handling

Both starting props for the Reds impressed with their ball handling

With the Reds playing Friday night, super Rugby has officially started.

Do I make that statement in response to ALL 15 teams have now taken the field or is it a reference to the fact they my team has finally played?  I’ll let you decide.

Reds vs Highlanders-Much has been made of the Red renewal (Rednewal?) we’re to witness and this was the first time we got a look at it.

Things got off to a shaky start with the ‘Landers crossing within the first 7 minutes to take an early lead, the Reds fought their way back into the contest, even leading with less than 10 minutes to go courtesy of a try to off-season hard work story, Feao Fotuaika.

Alas, the Reds have a solitary bonus point to show their efforts even if there were a lot of positives.

Sucker for Red went into a bunch more detail in their full review.

A mountain of matches, well, four were played on Saturday.  The Waratahs scraped past the Sunwolves by the narrowest margin, Matt Dunning’s biggest fan watched it closely and you can read their thoughts here.  The win was soured by Tolu Latu’s citing.

Up next was the defending champion Crusaders at home to their cousins from the capital, the former extending their winning streak to 17 with a 38-22 win over the Hurricanes.

Closer to home, the Brumbies relegated the Chiefs to their second loss of the season.  While early in the year, a defeat of a NZ team is always welcomed and the expansive, daring attack of the Brums was a sight to behold.  Don’t take my word for it, read it from the only GAGR who likes living in CBR.  (I have no way to back that up, but I don’t think I could handle the cold)

Natal hosted the last match of the day and despite dominating nearly every statistic the Blues fell 26-7 thanks to the Shorks.

Two more matches Sunday, the Jaguares were too good for the Bulls and the Stormers took 87 minutes to dispatch the Lions in an all-time (over-time?) classic in Cape Town.

Super W kicked off this weekend as well, the Tahs defeated the Brumbies and the Reds crushed the Rebels.  We have far more comprehensive discussion already up the site for you.

Six Nations Starts to get Serious, like, Proper Serious

Wales undid England in the final quarter of the match

Wales undid England in the final quarter of the match

After a week’s hiatus the opposite hemisphere’s heavyweights resumed their antics.

France, searching for their first win welcomed Scotland, who had managed one victory and one loss in the opening two weeks.

The hosts were first on the board.  Their sole first half try and successful penalty all coming within the first twenty minutes being their only points in the opening stanza, luckily for them the visitors could only register a paltry penalty leaving it 10-3 at oranges.

France scored almost immediately after the break and as the match was coming to a close, they crossed again giving them unassailable lead and a sniff of bonus point.  The late try seemed to spark something of a frenzy as Scotland replied with their own try in the 77th minute before France controlled possession well after the final siren to score their fourth try in the 87th minute, earning them the bonus point.

Final score- France 27 Scotland 10

To Principality Stadium and Wales rolled out the red carpet for the in-form England who must have mistaken the Welsh jerseys for the red carpet as they seemed intent on run over the top of their opponents, although, try as they may, neither team could really gain any ascendancy for long periods of play.

A brutal, and aside from a try to Englishman Tom Curry, extremely tight first half again saw the score at the half 10-3.

After a quick break, hostilities, big hits and the tactical kicking duel restarted neither team seemed to gain any real edge.  Wales did close the gap to 1 point thanks to Anscombe’s accuracy but it was soon back out to four as Farrell slotted his chance.  Cue Dan Biggar coming onto the field and Wales lay on two tries within ten minutes to run out winners, extend their test-match winning streak to 12 and are the only undefeated team remaining in the Six Nations.

Final score- Wales 21 England 13

Obviously no-one told Italy and Ireland that it’s supposed to be 10-3 at half time as they went off script and courtesy of two meaties each, a couple of conversions and a penalty it was instead, surprisingly, 16-12 to Italy after 40 minutes.

Whatever was behind Italy’s strong first half gave way in the second term as Ireland piled on another two touchdowns and kept the home side scoreless, ensuring that Italy languish at the bottom of the ladder without a point and keeping themselves in contact with the top of the ladder and a potential tilt at the championship.

Final score-Italy 16 Ireland 26

Bokke Giteau-law Changes

Rassie Erasmus coach/manager/writer/actor

Rassie Erasmus coach/manager/writer/actor

The drain on local (read: SANZAAR) talent from the cashed-up northern hemisphere competitions has been an issue for governing bodies since the game turned professional.

Some unions have responded to this by implementing things like Australia’s “Giteau’s Law”, allowing players who have paid their dues to chase some retirement savings and still be eligible for test rugby.

The Springboks have their version of it which allows selection of foreign-based players if they’ve racked up 30 caps, however, in a bold new plan, this might all fall away as the Springboks look to protect their strong international team and (they say) look after their players better financially.

Two key parts of the plan are World Rugby’s regulation 9, which sets mandatory windows where players must be made available for test duties. South Africa will be strictly enforcing the availability of its players from overseas clubs and those that continue to play in South Africa will have top-up payments added to their salary.  The second part will be a merit list of players with incentives tied to rankings.  This should give SARU a wider group of players to select for tests and spread out the payments to higher-ranked players should they choose to stay.

Director of Rugby at Rugby SA Rassie Erasmus explained their idea, “We’ve got to deal with the practical realities and stay focused on our objective, which is to field the best available 23 players who really want to play for the Springboks, and who are prepared to make sacrifices, whether they are playing here or overseas.

“We only have a limited budget to do that, but we have many players who have the potential to become Springboks. This way, we can give them that message in a practical way.

“They will know that there is a future for them with the Springboks, and that they can move up the succession ladder if their play merits it.”

What impact will this have on Super Rugby, Currie Cup and the Springboks remains to be seen.

 

All Shapes and Sizes

Genia-more piano player

Genia-more piano player

There are tens, nay, hundreds of sayings about the game we all love.

“A game for all shapes and sizes” is a popular one, or as someone once described it (Simon Poidevin maybe?) “in rugby, you need piano movers and piano players”.

There’s another saying that sort of goes with that, “A good big man will beat a good small man”.

Rugby is a contact sport, scrap that, rugby is a collision sport and whether we like it or not, size plays a roll.  For professional players this is just part of their job.  A 75kg scrum half attempting to tackle a 120kg prop is just part of the job description.  For the clubs around the nation, built upon generations of players, who are looking to grow their juniors a 45kg weight difference with inexperienced, less skilful players could spell danger.  In fact, the mandatory assessment guidelines for under 15s have a weight differential of 46kg.  (If player A is below 45kg and 158cm and player B is above 91kg and 188cm they both will be further assessed)

A year after the program launched it’s being hailed a success allowing players to play the game against others of a similar size and more importantly, skill level.

Now, please hold comments decrying “rugby going soft” or that one time the Narrabri Blue Bulls substituted a John Deere tractor on at tight head, only a handful of players have been moved.

Out of 246 thousand registered rugby players, 65 were moved down and 126 were moved up.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Rugby Australia’s community rugby general manager, James Selby-

“Australia is a big country, regardless of where you live, we want to make the rugby experience is as good as possible”

It might not be George Gregan tackling Jonah Lomu, but that sounds pretty good to me.

 

  • Andrew H

    What I’m keen to hear is-
    Super Rugby, what do we think of the Aussie teams’ performances over the weekend? What does this mean with the world cup looming?
    Six Nations, what did you make of the results? How good was Biggar!?
    Do you think Aus will change its overseas eligibility laws?
    Size/weight. Are any of you junior coaches or similar, what are your experiences with the system?

    • nmpcart

      Involved in coaching juniors – the size/weight thing has always been an issue for some and it does put some people off. Unfortunately the great variance in weight that is allowed, as the article notes, means that it is largely irrelevant. It just means that really small kids can be allowed to go down an age group but I have had teams that have come up against kids who would outweigh me and they are under 12’s. As it is up to the clubs to enforce it a coach with a really big unit in their team who can make an impact on the field and therefore win them games is unlikely to say that the kid is too big and should move up. To enforce it should be simple – scales at the field, but the weight range needs to be narrower if they are going to make it work.

      • PJ

        it can just as easily turn kids away, i coach an under 10 side i have a bigger kid (non islander) who is extremely tall and heavy for his age and would easily be able to pay up an age or two. He doesnt want to he wants to play in his own age group with his own mates. His parents have said that if he is forced to play up he will leave.

        • Greg

          @pj I completely understand that…. the other side of the story is the potentially injured kids on the other team.

      • Who?

        I had a team (a couple of years ago) that ranged from the 3rd percentile to the 97th percentile on the growth charts. Part of the problem is that the smaller kids often don’t want to play down. The kids I had in that team who would’ve been eligible wouldn’t play down – one would’ve damaged his rep chances (which happened down the track), another (smaller kid) was ‘too tough’ for that. Lots of fight in that dog, so to speak.
        With regards to the bigger kids, that’s down to strong competition management. As much as we all hope that we do the right thing, it’d be naïve to think that coaches out there wouldn’t be thinking, “But I’ve developed this kid since he was 6, he’s a key part of our team, all his mates are in this age group…” The only fair excuse for not having a bigger kid play up is skill, which is where it’s fair that a Level 2 coach is required to assess them. Then, it’s just got to be managed in such a way that the Level 2 coach is club-blind. As in, he doesn’t know the kids, he doesn’t know where they come from, and he just makes an assessment on skills (i.e. whether they’re competent to play up in age group).
        An example of that ‘not skilled enough’ bit? The team below mine had a kid come along late in U10’s who’d been banned from League because of parental fear. He was 90kg. In U10’s. He was the only Tongan in the region, a great kid, very respectful lad and always a clean player. Every other team in the comp was immediately intimidated (well, more intimidated – that team lost a game in U8’s, drew the last game in U9’s, think they lost a game in U10’s, undefeated U11’s… They were a special team, until the GPS system started ripping out their players). But within a couple of games, everyone – even the little kids – realized that he wasn’t going to hit you with a head of steam, he was going to trundle along until you tripped him over, then go for a spell on the bench as he was exhausted. He needed to play for fitness, but he needed to gain that fitness playing – he wasn’t near capable of playing up one age group, let alone two. He’d still have been a big kid in our age group – towards the end of the next year, he started helping out when we lost kids to rep teams. He could hold the scrum (though I thought he shouldn’t have been propping), he could tackle anyone who ran at him, but our opponents had no issues tackling him, or running around him. He was, by that point, getting to a point where he COULD play up, but it took over 12 months of playing in a very well coached team (as evidenced by their dominance of the comp) to get him to that point.
        Oh, and that 3rd to 97th percentile team? In Under 10’s, that meant we ranged from 20kg (wringing wet) through to 57kg. Almost triple the weight…
        I’m not saying I’m opposed to the system – I had an Under 15’s player who would’ve been JUST ineligible to play down, who wanted to play with his classmates in U14’s. That was denied (that was before this system was brought in). My son would’ve been around the cut off, maybe a bit above (not much, he was generally 3rd smallest in his team), and he was barely over a week off being in the age group down. I can absolutely see justification for flexibility there, and, whilst involved in the club game (I’ve been pushed out by scheduling), I pushed hard for the adoption of the model the Sydney JRU was using (the new RA system is an evolution of that, the SJRU was told not to use it, but they told the then ARU where they could go!). I’d love a little more flexibility for smaller kids. But this is a great step in the right direction. We want variations in size, and we need to allow for variations in skill (i.e. don’t move players when their skill sets are too differently developed to their destination), but this is a good start, considering it’s not long ago that most regions (if not most players) had no access to these options.

        • Happyman

          Well Written Who

          Every one who has ever been involved at junior level has the same story.

          I have had the monster team and had the team of minions. Many peoples views differ dependant on where their team sits on the spectrum. Most parents always think it is funny when their team is the hammer and the other team is the nail, but views quickly change when they become the nail.

        • Who?

          The team of minions is an interesting one. There was one team in our region who always (in juniors) had minions, but they played like the Japanese – fast and skilful in attack, fast off the line in defence. And they won more than they lost, in all ages. There were other clubs who’d regularly end up with lumbering teams, the little guys would shred them on the scoreboard, but concede the odd try through lack of size. My team, we were lucky – as implied by our percentile chart spread, we had both, so we tried to play a fairly complete game. Maul the little guys, spread the big guys, use every player to their natural skillset. Which was the most enjoyable part of coaching for me.

          But you never, ever want to see a team consistently thrashed. It’s bad for the kids, bad for the sport. You can’t have clubs that are consistently ‘the nail’ – you lose the kids, and the club. :-(

          I was always very impressed by the attitude of the other clubs in our comp towards the big kid the age group down from my team. The parents were initially frightened, but the coaches were calm, kept the kids calm, focused on technique, and there weren’t any significant injuries related to the young fellow. In fact, opposition players improved as they faced a new challenge.

          My son was small. In his last year playing, we played one club seven times, and every time that club’s biggest player would run straight at him. My son wasn’t a great tackler – never liked the contact much – and he was small. But to his credit, he never shirked his role, always grabbed on for dear life (even one game where we were short and he’d copped a knock to the ribs the night before at training – I hadn’t forced him to play). He later told me that 7 years of Rugby taught him that he (my son) was a wimp. I told the boy in response that through 7 years of Rugby he did his best for his team mates, even when it was things he didn’t want to do, like tackling that big kid. Which doesn’t make him a wimp – it shows character and courage. :-) It’s a physical challenge you hope they don’t encounter anywhere else (i.e. the playground), but if they do, you know they’ve had to face those challenges AND maintain discipline. That’s something you don’t find many places these days.

          So it’s great to find flexibility to ensure kids can play, but it’s great to retain the challenge. I don’t believe in pure weight based comps, that’s too far. Currently, the balance isn’t perfect at present, but it’s better than it was.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think that’s why NZ just went for a purely weight based competition. Age didn’t even come into it. I admit I don’t know if this has changed now.

        • Who?

          Pure weight based would be a major mistake. You’d end up with my (then) U10’s forwards playing against U15’s outside backs… Which would discourage kids, who’d leave the game.

    • Human

      I missed the Reds game sadly…it sounded like a good one for long suffering QLD rugby lovers; the Brumbies were outstanding, took me back to the way that Aussie teams used to play before Programmed Rugby became the thing. I am not sold on Peni but he did his job well; Banks is as good as we all know he is and should be the first fullback picked for the Wallabies – there is no defence against genuine pace; LILO had the best game I have seen from him – just quality; the pigs are a necessary evil in any rugby game and as usual they went largely unnoticed in this one, apart from getting in the way of the real rugby players once or twice…Slipper looks to have turned a corner, fit and motivated. The Tahs – sounds like back to the future, again. No sane person watches them unless they are playing the Reds, the Brums or the Rebels…I did not.
      Plenty of pundits are proclaiming a new dawn for Aussie rugby…I am reserving judgement at the moment but at least we are able to make positive comments this year.

      • Andrew H

        The Reds were frustrating but some of that was at least based on them having a chance at winning. If you get a chance to watch it, do so. Some positive aspects to it.

      • laurence king

        I watched the Tahs game, it looked like they were working off the Wallabies game plan from last year. Bodgey scrum, running side to side, no big guys running into gaps, nobody running into gaps in fact, no dominant tackles, everything predictable. Line-out was good. If not for Folau they would have been well beaten. If this keeps going, they will make themselves unpickable for Wallaby selection. If their going to have an off year, this is the year to do it.

        • Custard Taht

          if the Tah’s keep it up, they will have plenty picked for the Wallabies. Cheika will see this and think great, they have my game plan down pat, all I need to do is work on fitness.

        • Greg

          and toughness.

          and same results as last year.

        • laurence king

          Now that’s Cheiky

        • Damo19

          And what has been noticeable Laurence is that the Rebs, Reds & Brumbies, evidenced by just 2 rounds of course, are not playing this way. We are seeing direct attack, passes at the tackle line, straight running, good offloads along with defensive structures that seem pretty simple but executed with energy and good communication. Brumbies actually beat the Chiefs at their own game.
          Begs the question, even if some faces change come test time, what will the game plan be? Cheika’s 16/17/18 plan or one that actually works.

    • Happyman

      Did coach some Juniors and School teams and this is a big rabbit hole to go down.

      Size and Weight divisions are something that I will always believe in as kids develop at much different rates. I have always been an advocate for boys playing in weight bands for different age groups. Here are the issues as I see both for and against a boy playing in a different age group.

      Bigger Boys playing up
      Pros
      Play with someone who is more physically match to his size.
      Has to develop skills to solve the problem when you just cannot run over the opposition.
      Learns to play under duress when he might actually get whacked by someone of his own stature.
      Many kids are big at 12 and don’t work on skills and when they stop growing and the smaller boys catch up get lost to the game when they can’t compete at higher levels.
      Cons
      They might not be mature enough to integrate with team mates and enjoy the experience.
      Many big kids do not have the motor skills to play with boys of there own size.

      Smaller kids playing down
      Pros
      Injury Small kids tend to get whacked around and can be quite badly injured playing against someone who is literally twice there size.
      Gives them a chance to develop skills against kids who have the same physical attributes and when the size equalises they are not lost to the sport.
      Cons
      Developmentally kids often won’t enjoy playing with younger kids as they have little in common or there will be a stigma attached with playing with the babies.

      Just my random thoughts

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate I know in NZ it was pure weight based up to 2nd XV when I started refereeing. There were some of the issues you mention above but overall it was a much better situation and retained more players than it ever lost. I personally think ti’s the only way to go if we want to retain players “of all sizes” in the game.

        • Happyman

          Totally agree mate when my son played Fist XV he played front row against a kid who weighed in at 150kg while he was 85Kg he outplayed the bigger kid over the course of the game with technique and skill and fitness sometimes you just need the horsepower.

          I am all for weight limits as some of the islander kids in particular are just massive at younger ages.

        • Mica

          Must have been a catholic school. I’ll show myself out.

        • Andy

          It would be nice if you are shit enough you could play downa weight division.

          I am 96 but play like a 70….

    • Kiwi rugby lover
      • Andrew H

        thanks KRL, some amazing comments and interesting reading.
        I think back to my time as a youngster (8-12 years of age) and look at how awful I was at pretty much all sport. Kept playing them all though, for fun (there’s that word) and with my mates. Then throughout secondary school I started to really get into racing at a high level and now, more 20 years later I’m still competing.
        I doubt I’d make much of an All Black but if you’d tapped me on the shoulder and told me I’m no use in that might have been it.
        Makes you think.

  • adastra32

    Super Rugby – it’s good for Oz but early doors. Sadly, it may have no real influence on RWC 2019, especially if Chubby does it his way…
    6 Nations – at the moment, it is playing out exactly as many predicted – very, very little between 2,3 and 4 in the world rankings.
    Oz should embrace its overseas players plying their trade in foreign fields.

    • Andrew H

      Some of those tries by the Brumbies fill me with hope. If we can get the national team identifying and hitting gaps like that there’ll be points aplenty!

      • juswal

        I have to mention the 2016 season, which opened with the Brumbies thrashing the Hurricanes 52-10 in Canberra. They looked so good, I said they’d just staked their claim for the title and most of the Wallabies slots. Then come July, the Brumbies were eliminated in the first final and the Hurricanes took the flag.

        • Andrew H

          oi, none of that. We’re two weeks into the super season and so far the Aussie teams are 3 from 6, including a derby, we’ve already got one over the cousins…so let us enjoy this while we can. :)

  • Hoss

    Morning Earthlings.

    I am over my Wara-Sulks for the weekend.

    Had a spiritual cleanse, a reflection and my delusion is back in full swing.

    Tah’s aside for the moment. I love we’re Aussie rugby sits at already for 2019. Depth, fitness, talent and real challengers for a spot – I am looking forward to September and if this doesn’t get you smiling and jiving, well then call 000. You may already be dead.

    https://youtu.be/Gs069dndIYk

    • Brisneyland Local

      Concur. Mate you always feel better after an enema! Some may call it a spiritual cleanse! ;-)

      Yes things are looking a fair bit better. The players are appearing, the form is coming, skills are fully there yet but are an improvement on last year for sure. There is apparent pressure on key positions, so competitive tension exists. The question is whether the Ass Clown will deal with that.

      • John Tynan

        Enema = sphinctual cleanse.

        • Hoss

          Should have clarified – liver rinse. Add copious amounts of Sour Mash to blood stream let evolution do its thing.

        • Huw Tindall

          Surely up in God’s country you believe in creationism mate?

        • Hoss

          Huw, as an agnostic insomniac with dyslexic tendandies, I cannot tell you the amount of times I have laid awake at night pondering if there really is a dog.

        • Happyman

          Oldie but a goldie

        • idiot savant

          Just googled tendandies and the following came up. (I’m not kidding try it)

          “… right royal pain in the arse; confirm your suspicions that im a jerk; and ‘come out’ as being a raging homosexual with occaisonal tendandies towards beastiality”

          Have you been following me?

        • Hoss

          It’s the ten dandies that make me an insomniac

        • idiot savant

          Just keep fingering Father Ignatius’s rosary and you’ll get through it.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I was thinking that the enema cleansed all of the spirits out of my system.
          Spirits = single malt.

      • Hoss

        there’s a real sense of excitement around this season that I haven’t had in years and years. Some former warriors with a spring in their step, so up and comers who are sensational and a few unknowns made we go ‘wow’ (that Reds prop who lost about 200 kilos)

        I’ll go one step further. The reds will roll the Saders this week. At home, hurting, hanging to get back on the pitch – they have a real edge this season.

        You heard it here first.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Courageous Call Rugby Minister! But not one with out founding.

        • Happyman

          That is a big call last time the Saders visited they won by a kick after the siren in what is best described as controversial circumstances.

          I am going to let my experience rule over my heart and call it a close Saders victory

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Big call mate. Will take a few things to go their way for this to happen

        • Custard Taht

          yep, like the ref penalising Crusader infringements……..so Crusaders to win by 6.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          As long as he also pings the Reds for theirs then all will be good

        • Greg

          If NZ teams are pinged equally with other teams for cynical play them the world will be a happy place.

          We have had the discussion many times. It is so ingrained, I can only conclude it is coached.

        • Who?

          Did you see the article by Rattue after the Blues game where he complained that the refs were helping the Crusaders..? Fascinating stuff!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate Rattue is a prize cock who is out to screw NZ rugby. I wouldn’t read anything that tosser writes and certainly would be very wary of taking notice of anything I did read. He’s just a NZ Rugby hating troll.

        • Who?

          I thought that was Mark Reason..?
          Rattue was fairly balanced in his comments. Nothing outrageous. The basic summary was, “Come on refs, the Crusaders are good enough that they don’t need any more help, like not calling the last lineout as ‘not straight’!” It was the biggest pie I’ve ever seen not called…
          Oh, and he asked, “If those PT’s at the scrum were Fiji/All Blacks, would we have been happy about that?” Not saying they’re not technically correct, but that you’ve got to have a feel for the game. Like Canes/Tahs, where the Canes were given a warning for repeated infringements (“Next one someone’s going to the bin”), but the next penalty was for Jordie interfering with Folau on a restart, which would’ve been a horrible YC, so he didn’t pull the cheese. Technically wrong (he’d warned them), but correct in terms of feel for the game.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          It’s both of them. I won’t read their stuff now as I am sick of their hate against Shag, Tew and any past and present AB. They are both wankers

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Of course this is coached. Every player is coached to take the game to the referees interpretation on the day. In my mind this is one of the most critical parts of the captains job. All referees are slightly different in how they interpret the law and it is up to the captain to get his players to that line, and possibly just over it until pinged and then to pull back.

          I know the teams I have refereed over here do exactly the same thing so it’s not just a NZ thing. I also think we are all just a bit biased and see the opposition doing much worse than our team regardless of what the referee rules on. I know I do that and I’m sure I’m not alone.

        • Custard Taht

          He will ping the reds, there is no doubt about that.

        • Hoss

          Sorry mate – your living in the past, your golden age is finished. May as well get the ‘Aztecs’ as your symbol on that Nearlie-All-Black jersey instead of that pine needle thing.

          This is the age of Aquarius mate and yes I will be using song lyrics for the remainder of the day to answer all questions.

          https://youtu.be/kjxSCAalsBE

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          you’re

          Can you at least get the spelling right mate?

        • Hoss

          Yore may be more appropriate – people will tell stories of the Nearlies days of yore, cause the times, they are a changin.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Maybe in 2020 they’ll start changing but one swallow does not make a blow job

        • Hoss

          Well, technically…..

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate, “you’re”. Can you at least get the spelling right? :-)

          Well I guess on Friday night we’ll see which one of us is living in the past. My pick is Crusaders by 9

        • Hoss

          I understand you need to cling to hope. It’s ok, I won’t tell a sole, not even myself.

        • idiot savant

          Fish are hard of hearing anyway.

        • Keith Butler

          Rebs against the Landers and the Reds taking on the Saders. Wots not to like. Hope the Reds scrum does a proper job on the Saders particularly on a prop who must not be named.

        • Hoss

          I’ve ponied up mate. Three Oz victories, head-head and a multi. It’s a lock.

        • Keith Butler

          Could be worth a round or three.

        • idiot savant

          Youre not a buy and hold man then I take it….

        • Hoss
      • John Miller

        I think if your enema results in a cleansed spirit, you’ve gone and stuck the hose in the wrong hole. Of course, given your nickname for Cheika, pretty much any of his holes would probably work as well as the next.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep.

          I wrote a missive on here about the Wallabies a couple of years agao called:
          “This place needs an enema!” I must have been ahead of my time.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Good to see you over your sulks mate. I think there need to be some big changes at the Tahs or the wooden spoon will come calling.

    • Greg

      Now what noone here knows is that in his younger days…. @hoss was actually the lead singer in a certain US band…. no names, no packdrill ^^^^

    • Gun

      Loved it Hoss, you’re a funny bugga! Got me smilin’ and jivin’. I’ve got a motorbike trip across the top end in Sep but it’s inspired me to ensure the itinerary includes suitable viewing venues.

      • Hoss

        There’s no school like the old school. I am in NT in April, keeping my calendar wide open from Sept – October. Not saying we are much chance in Nippon but just loving seeing some good ol fashioned Oz rugby. The teams look fitter, better depth, better coaching, better understanding and shock-horror right players in their right positions – who’d a thunk it! Whilst Segall has grindesd my gears a lot, but credit where credits due with the alignment of the provinces. If Mandrake and the Schnoz can wrestle selections back, well, who knows

        • Gun

          I hope so mate. Good start so far.

    • Adrian

      Good sentiments Hoss.

      The main story by far is how well collectively the Oz sides are going so far.
      I know, a poor game by Tahs, but good by everyone else, and ok by Tahs last week.

      For me, the main points from the first 2 rounds are the emergence of OPTIONS in most positions.

      Because of the new 3 selector set-up, I actually do believe that we will have teams selected to match the gameplan.

      I also actually believe that we will have an actual gameplan.

      NEW OPTIONS:
      5/8: Cooper, Cll, Hegarty
      #12: Kerevi, Hunt, Meakes (and possibly Simone down the track)
      #13:Peteia, Kurandrani
      #9: Sorevi, Powell
      #1: New Qld LHP, Slipper
      #8: McCaffrey, Holloway
      #15: Banks

      Some of the these guys weren’t in the mix at all last year, and some were, but only THEORITICALLY. Kerevi was there in theory for #12, but not in practice, because he didn’t receive quick ball to show his wares. He did on Friday and the rest is history.

      These guys have to keep delivering

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I agree mate, although the options were always there, it’s just that Cheika and co could never see them. While agree and hope that the selection panel has some discussions on this I’m actually wondering if both O’Connor and Johnson will give Cheika almost free reign and actually already be planning for his successor. I think if I was either of those two I’d almost be thinking along those lines as I’m not sure I’d be interested in having big arguments throughout the year. O’Connor’s statement about Cheika getting the team he wants because he’s the coach leads me to these thoughts

        • Adrian

          Time will tell KRL, you could be right.

          My mail is that everyone is happy about the changes so far, including Cheika.

          Again, I could be wrong, but I see both Johnson and O’Connor as people who wouldn’t play games. Oddly enough, from what I have heard, they are amongst a handful of people who could relate to Cheika.

          Related to this is (IMO) O’Connor chucking out ideas to effectively keep everyone interested.

          What is good, (and more or less unrelated) is the appearance of 5/8s in Melbourne, Bris, Canberra,…not just for Wallaby consideration, but to unlock some other underutilized backline tallent

        • idiot savant

          Thats true Adrian. And those 5/8s are getting quicker ball on the back of fitter forwards than last year.

          What I also like so far is that all 4 Aust clubs have game plans. There is some good coaching happening.

        • Adrian

          Yes, idiot, quite a few positives I think so far this season

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Not sure if leaving it until Cheika goes is playing games or just good sense. I think that having three selectors at each other’s throats, or 2 against 1 would be worse for the team going into RWC than just living with what Cheika goes with.

        • idiot savant

          Don’t discount Cheika’s pragmatism. If combinations prove themselves this season that are not his darlings he may well go with them. The Wallabies have a dream draw after all. And he probably has little to lose. He can blame RA for putting people above him if things dont work out or claim the accolades if they do. The irony may end up being that the coaching of others may deliver Cheika a team that can go a long way at the RWC.

        • Andy

          That’s how it should be in a good system as the national coach picks up players and usually has very little lead time to make any effective change.

          Not defending Cheika as I think his choice of staff and his selections have been terrible but if he were coaching the AB’s I reckon they’d still do ok.

        • Adrian

          Agree Andy

        • Adrian

          Agree idiot

        • John Miller

          “Cheika’s pragmatism”. Have these two words ever featured in the same sentence at any point in history? I’m certain this is an oxymoron. Or perhaps just a straight moron, depending upon which stakeholder one asks (ahem, Larkham).

        • Adrian

          Yes well KRL, spooky arguments could happen, but I reckon they won’t.

          I think the 3 of them will get on, select good teams, and just as importantly have a strategy that fits the selected players.

          Some of the reasons include that Cheika’s big sooky rants are for public consumption… to show he is “tough” and pashonate.

          I don’t think he is like that in private. I have only one reason to support my private theory which is that someone I know (who knows him) said the following after his Salta half time outburst.
          “He’d only do that if he knew the cameras were on”

          I also reckon that Cheika is very politically “savvy” and may do as idiot suggests below.

          Who knows?

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Andrew, what a great weekend of rugby. My picks were well off and the only games I got right was the Tahs beating the Sunwolves – like most my margin was waaaaaaay off, and the Blues losing. As much as I hate seeing a NZ team lose to anyone that brumbies game was so good to watch. Lots of passion, skills and some really great dedication. If they keep this up the Aussie conference is going to be up for grabs.

    Unlucky Reds but take heart that was a great game and TBH about 3/4 of the way in I was think it was yours all the way. The Highlands played well and for the second time displayed some really good leadership to come through. I think they need to look at some of their players though as they are making life hard for themselves.

    Loved Wales beating England. The game itself was a bit boring with far too much reliance on box kicks that didn’t really provide a lot. England really struggle with no Plan B and the loss of a couple of their big names. With Wales playing Ireland at home this could be theirs for the taking.

    While I think the way the weight and size is managed with junior rugby is overly complicated, I am very happy to see it in place as it provides such a safer environment than an age based competition. We got the same crying in NZ when they went from age based to weight based but after a while it became the norm and there are now no issues with it. I must admit I don’t know all the details of how it works now but when I started refereeing it was pure weight based and for coaches to manage.

    It’s going to be interesting to see how the Boks manage their call up of players, especially if one or two get injured and can’t play for their club. Who then pays their lost wages? Personally I hope NZ never goes down this path and while I acknowledge it is easier for us than Australia or SA, I think it’s crucial for the game. There’s always lots of crying about it but I still think it’s the right decision to only pick ABs from a NZ Super rugby team. I can see some merit in opening that up to other nations Super teams but would rather not.

    • Happyman

      Mate I hope the Reds are this week giving themselves an uppercut over the lack of maturity when they took the lead in that game. At about the 70th minute mark they had a Scrum 40 out from there own line and should have run starter play to get over the gain line utilising the centres who had cut up all game. then kicked the ball out of play to go to set piece line out.
      Instead they kick it to Ben Smith perhaps the finest broken field runner his generation and finally get scored on.
      By contrast the Landers get the lead Reds get offside at the ruck off kick off at about the 73 minute mark and the Landers don’t let them touch the ball again. perfect finishing out of a game. They sealed off at every ruck but that is a different conversation for a different time. That is maturity.

      Still early days for Super Rugby but this year looks like a competitive comp. It willl be interesting how the NZ resting policy holds up if the NZ teams lose a few more and pressure starts to be applied by media and fans on say the Chiefs, Blues and Landers who to be honest look vulnerable.

      • Andrew H

        let us never speak of the Reds’ kicking in general play ever again.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah that was pretty poor, but overall they have stepped up and I’m expecting that they’ll learn from this.

  • Missing Link

    Good to see Aussie rugby with a bit of momentum early on, and the horses getting an early win over a kiwi team. Unfortunate as it could have been two if Foley could kick straight. The Rebels have a crack at the Highlanders at home this week so who knows.

    • Andrew H

      And the Reds might have pulled it off if they were a bit smarter with their kicking.

      • John Tynan

        It was one of those games that if we were good enough, we could have won.
        Probably morally right that we weren’t good enough, but jeez I wouldn’t have cared about any of that if we did actually win it!

        • Andrew H

          I think I can live with that for the time being.

  • juswal

    Also in the press today, the venerable Geerob writes about the soft-tissue injuries sustained by Pocock, Coleman, Haylett-Petty and Phipps in the Wallabies camp:

    ‘Sources told the Herald the players were put through a time trial first up at the nine-day camp in the second week of January. When some players missed their marks the group were forced to do sprints, which is when a number were injured [. . .] No coach or administrator was prepared to go on the record on the issue . . . one club remarking that the most damaging aspect of the issue was the lack of communication between the Wallabies program and the clubs, when players were going down injured . . . the clubs were left wondering why the fittest and most professional of their players – Haylett-Petty, Phipps, Pocock – became collateral damage while Cheika made a point.’

    • Ed

      Dylan may have more to say about that in tomorrow’s rugby news where I hope he puts on his sports scientist cap.

      I tried to post a comment on Geerob’s story but it has been in moderation for over two hours. The article fails to mention who ran that fitness camp – Cheika. I have pointed this out but it is still in moderation.

    • Gun

      This has to be symptomatic of Cheika’s lack of nouse. I wouldn’t have thought they’d do much fitness work in a Wallabies camp. Maybe confirming the data provided by the super rugby conditioning depts in their pre season fitness work but not much else.

      • juswal

        Indeed—symptomatic of bigger problems. One of them being the risk of blowing up the new culture of cooperation.

    • Who?

      Wow – GeeRob ALMOST criticising Cheika! Has that ever happened before?!

      • juswal

        She was pretty careful to relay that it’s understood that certain other unnamed parties have been rumoured to be less than completely satisfied etc.

  • Nutta

    Congratulations Wales. That and the Donkey’s win made my weekend.

Rugby

Turned to writing for GAGR before my over the top rants about rugby landed me in hot water. Hoping this will keep me a little more measured.

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