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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News recaps the final round of Super Rugby’s regular season, a look around the various competitions in Australia, the efforts of the Women’s Sevens side in securing their qualification for the Toyko Olympics and an update on the fitness of a key Wallaby.


Super Rugby Final Round

Taniela Tupou dives for the corner

Taniela Tupou dives for the corner

The final round of the Super Rugby has thrown up plenty of twists and disappointments (mainly for Australian fans) as teams looked to confirm their spot in the finals.

The first match of the round took us down to Invercargill, where the Highlanders dominated an under-strength Waratahs side 49-12. The home side raced away with the win, scoring six tries in the first half to ensure the bonus point victory that would ultimately secure the last spot in the finals.

The disastrous day for Australian rugby fans continued with the Chiefs routing the Rebels 59-8 in Melbourne. The contest was one-sided throughout the match, with the Chiefs running in nine tries on the back off an inspired performance by exiled Rebel Jack Debreczeni, showing the pay-off of playing in a strong third tier competition.

They say all bad things come in three, and this was reinforced for Australian rugby fans through the Jaguares domination of the Sunwolves 52-10. The Jaguares raced away with the victory during the second half to secure 2nd position on the table, denying the Brumbies the opportunity to secure a home semi-final (unless the Jaguares lose in the Quarter Finals).

The first match on a stacked Saturday afternoon witnessed an inspired Hurricanes team fight back and defeat the Blues 29-24. The boys from Wellington overcame a 24-5 deficit at half time, with tries from Fletcher Smith and Isaia Walker-Leawere completing the comeback to record their 8th win in 9 matches.

This was followed by the all-Australian clash between the Brumbies and Reds, which saw the Brumbies triumph in cold Canberra 40-27. The Brumbies would run in six tries to commemorate their sixth straight win, with the Reds failing to send off captain Samu Kerevi on a high note.

This led on to a doubleheader of sudden death South African contests, which started with the Sharks stealing a victory over the Stormers 12-9. In a match dominated by defence, it was the Sharks who were able to crack through via Lukhanyo Am and Rhyno Smith and secure a finals date with the Brumbies.

The final match of the regular season saw the Bulls break the hearts of Lions fans, running out 48-27 in a contest in which both teams came out throwing the ball, with the Bulls ultimately coming up on top.

So with the regular season wrapped up, here’s how the first week of the finals looks:

Crusaders v Highlanders in Christchurch, Friday 5.35pm AEST
Jaguares v Chiefs in Buenos Aires, Saturday 8.05am AEST
Hurricanes v Bulls in Wellington, Saturday 6:05 pm AEST
Brumbies v Sharks in Canberra, Saturday 8:05 pm AEST

Around the grounds

Force maintained their unbeaten state to the Global Rapid Rugby Series

Force maintained their unbeaten state to the Global Rapid Rugby Series

The start the wrap up of the various provincial (and rapid) competitions around the country starts in Ballymore, where the Force managed to overcome a valiant Kagifa Samoa 44-28 in the first match played on the eastern coast. Samoa would get the best of the opening encounters of the match, racing out to a 14-7 lead after twenty minutes.

However, the Force would make full advantage of the unique Rapid Rugby rules, recording two power tries (try-scoring play that starts inside their own 22) to race away with the match to maintain their unbeaten start to the competition.

Whilst in the sunshine state, round 12 of the Hospital Challenge Cup saw Sunnybank hold off Norths 32-31, Queensland Uni compounded Souths misery to win 42-14, Brothers overcome a gallant Wests 36-31 to maintain first spot and Bond Uni successfully challenge for the Bunter Bowl, pulling off the upset victory over GPS 37-26.

In the 11th round of the FMG Premier in Western Australia, Coastal caused a boilover against Wests 34-33, Cottesloe dominate Bayswater 52-5, ARKs outgun Joondalup 51-26, Nedlands cruise to a 59-17 win over Southern Lions, Wanneroo hold off Associates 16-15, Palmyra molly whop Curtin Uni 88-3 and finally UWA dent Kalamunda’s finals push with a 49-25 win.

In Victora’s Dewer Shield, Round 7 saw Box Hill pull off a statement victory over Harlequins 40-14, Melbourne overcome Powerhouse 36-17, Melbourne Uni defeat Moorabbin 38-20 and Endeavour Hills finally got their first win of the year, beating fellow cellar dwellers Footscray 46-12.

The Cooper’s Premier returned for round 7 with Brighton thrashing Woodville 81-24, Onkaparinga shut out Adelaide Uni 62-0, Burnside dominates Port Adelaide 90-24, Souths blow out Barossa 85-7 and Old Collegians scrap home a 164-0 win over Elizabeth.

In the John I Dent Cup, Round 11 saw Royals outclass Wests 54-14, Vikings hold off Norths 29-20 and Gungahlin account for Queanbeyan 40-24.

Finally in the Shute Shield, Round 11 witnessed Easts hold off a gallant Souths 34-26, Gordon rally at home for a 19-17 win over Randwick, Manly record 17 straight points to upset Sydney Uni 27-21, Warringah showed their class in a 49-24 win over Western Sydney and West Harbour caused the upset of the round, with a late drop goal giving them the 40-37 win.

Women secure Olympic berth

Charlotte Caslick

Charlotte Caslick

The Australian Women’s Sevens team has secured automatic qualification for the 2020 Toyko Olympics despite a slip-up at the Biarritz Sevens.

The Aussies went into the competition in 4th position in the World Sevens Rankings, leaving them in a dog fight with 5th placed France to secure the final automatic spot for the 2020 Toyko Olympics.

They would get off to the perfect start to the competition, with doubles to Emma Tonegato and Evania Pelite powering the side to a 27-5 win over Ireland.

The hot run continued into their second match of the day, with the red hot Tonegato delivering another double for the side, which was completmented by strong performances from Charlotte Caslick and Sariah Paki to secure the 31-14 victory over Spain.

Their impressive performances were capped off in the final match of day one with a 27-14 win over Canada, with a hat-trick from Caslick and a double from Ellia Green ensuring top spot and that they only needing a win against day one opponents, Spain, to secure their spot in Toyko.

However, the Aussies failed to match their level of execution from day one, falling to Spain 15-14 in a sloppy encounter, meaning that they were be forced to wait for the result of the quarter final between France-Canada to determine their fate.

Fortunately, Canada were able to do the job in their quarter final, defeating France 12-5 to ensure fourth position for Australia and their berth in Toyko.

With qualification secured, the women bounced back from their underwheliming performance to dominant Russia 31-21, with Tonegato and Pelite once again scoring doubles to ensure their position in the 5th/6th final against France in the early hours of Monday morning.

UPDATE: The Aussies wrapped up 5th place overnight with a 24-10 win over France thanks to a double from Green, along with tries to Caslick and Sharni Williams.

He has risen

Captain David Pocock

Captain David Pocock

The efforts of two of Australian Super Rugby teams in sacrificing their season on Friday night has seemed to pleased the injury gods, who have blessed Australian rugby with the resurrection of flanker David Pocock.

After wandering the benches of the Brumbies for 100 days and 100 nights, Pocock is reportedly ahead of schedule in his recovery from a rare calf injury, with his return expected to come during the Rugby Championship, according to the book of Cheik.

“First of all, I think David is going to be in good shape when it comes to even the earlier series, not just the World Cup but the Rugby Championship that is coming beforehand,” Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said at Randwick Rugby Club’s annual luncheon in Sydney on Friday.

The Wallabies would be foolish to rush Pocock back into full training immediately, with the injury hampering the fitness of Pocock since their initial day of Wallaby camp in January.

Cheika was planning to meet with Pocock during the week in order to gauge his recovery status and carefully plan his return to the Wallaby set up since many suspecting Pocock to be racing the clock to be fit for the World Cup in September.

His return to full fitness gives the selectors a significant selection dilemma heading into the start of the international season, with incumbent and Waratahs captain Michael Hooper producing a strong series of performances to end to Super Rugby season.

Whilst Cheika has experimented with playing both openside flankers in the past, he indicated that the selection panel was leaning towards playing a more traditionally back row during the luncheon.

“(It’s tough) when you’ve got two guys that are so damn good, which they are,” he said. “You’ve only had to watch Hooper play this year. There’s not a player pound for pound who plays like him in the game because he’s not the biggest guy of all time but he is as tough as they come and will put his body on the line for anything.”

“Pocock will put himself in front of a truck if it’s coming front of him to steal a ball.” (In that scenairo, I’m putting my money on Pocock since the truck isn’t able to grab/twist his neck)

  • Steve

    Great news for Poey on a personal level – but in some ways has me worried for the team.

    At least if he was injured Cheika would have been forced to play a proper 6/8.
    This reopens the window for the Frankenstein back row which has served us so well until now.

    Like Trump and Twitter (or me texting my exes at 2am), the opportunity to make an arse of himself might be too delicious to resist.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Everyone knows 2 am is for texting ex’s

    • Brisneyland Local

      Drinking and texting is a national sport is Aus!

  • sambo6

    Thank God super rugby is now largely over for the Aussie franchises. This allows us to all now get back to our comfort zone of hanging shit on Cheika’s tactics and selections…..

    • John Miller

      Of course, Cheika has the power to temper the criticism this test season by actually employing more than 2 discernible tactics and selecting a game day teamsheet marginally better than Stevie Wonder plays topless darts.

      • RF

        Ironically our issue was that our tactics (especially in the backline) were far too complicated for our players and we just looked inept when the opposition was able to dictate a game. It’s why we lost Larkham. I’m fully expecting a much more basic (or less structured) style of play this year.

        • Max Graham

          Agree with this. Expecting better results; albeit with fewer cool first phase tries.

        • John Miller

          Thanks RF. A slightly tongue in cheek take on the 1) Michael Cheika/Finding Nemo “just keep swimming” 2) just be fitter strategic approach to winning / losing / applause / criticism / life.

    • Kevino

      Allow Cheika to assemble is Wallabies squad 3 weeks early, Would assemble them today if I was him, they all need a good kick in the ass anyway.

      • John Miller

        Peronsally, I’d give MC as little time as possible to ruin Brumbies player’s strong form, confidence and momentum. That said, Cheiks could overcome the form reversal effect by simply selecting the bulk of the Wallabies squad from one of the other disastrously underperforming sides. But then, which Australian team to chose? Hmmmm…

        • Kevino

          I was referring to all the Tahs, Reds, and Rebels players he will pick who don’t deserve to be in the squad. Right now I would take 31 Brumbies and none of the Rest.

        • John Miller

          Makes sense.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        he’ll have them running up hills with their mouths taped up in no time. A few minor injuries to take people out of contention and help his selection work and all will be good

        • Custard Taht

          If Gibson is to be the new attack coach, we will see the Wallabies sprinting up sand dunes and running up hills with their mouths taped whilst carrying a rope!

        • Custard Taht

          Fark me, I can be daft. I just realised why Cheika had the players mouths taped shut…..it was to stop Folau from saying stupid shit, and everyone else had their’s taped for inclusiveness.

        • Keith Butler

          Like that’s working.

        • Custard Taht

          It was until they stopped using the tape! Now I realise why it is called Gaffa Tape, used over the mouth it prevents people making Gafs!

    • Missing Link

      “Hooper is not a 7″ hahahahhahaha

      • John Miller

        He is. And so is Pocock. And so is Wright. The Wallabies just need to choose one for the starting openside flanker jersey.

        With Naisarani putting to bed, and tucking in the sheets, of the tired “but we don’t have any 8’s” myth and the gaggle of: McCaffrey, Jones, Valetini, Cottrell, a virtuoso Higgers (or even bolters like Lachie Swinton or Rob Leota) in a non-subtle, set piece capable, up front collisions conversant, ruck and maul equipped collective backrow, the dual 7’s abomination much now surely be consigned to the crowded (“patently failed”) Cheika History file.

        • You’re assuming he’s watched any SR matches… Or knows who Naisarani is…

  • Hoss

    Blessed be Brian.

    • Geoffro

      Blessed be the guy who can step up to make the no 8 role his own so we don’t have to play the pooper. (cmon Lachie)

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah mate, That to me is almost more critical than having Poey playing. FFS pick and 8 to do the 8 job, a 6 to do the 6 job and a 7 to do the 7 job.

        • Yowie

          You should see Cheika’s golf bag.

          He carries three 7 irons (but no 6 or 8 iron).

        • Who?

          But a real Cheika game plan would be nothing but drivers. :-P
          Given he was always said to love his big ball carriers…

        • Yowie

          hahaha I’ve seen someone play with three drivers in their bag, but 14?

          “Driver from everywhere” is quite a gutsy “all out” strategy to a game of golf. Arguably the game is more nuanced than that and international competitive golf would need more of an appreciation of different shots & strategies. One’s matchplay opponents would probably find such a player predictable and be able to adapt in order to defeat them.

          But all that is a bit of a tangent that has nothing to do with rugby…

        • Who?

          But wouldn’t the Rugby equivalent of 14 drivers be to ‘Run from everywhere’..? ;-)

        • Yowie

          Good heavens Watson. Through my pondering and your analogy we may have solved The Mystery of the Wallabies post-RWC2015 Slump.

          Send word to Scotland Yard forthwith!

        • Keith Butler

          Nice one.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Gold mate

        • Hoss

          You and your revolutionist theories.

          Instigator.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I know weird isn’t it?

        • Geoffro

          And that’s just the forwards

        • Keith Butler

          I’d like to give more upticks. My personal choice would be for Pocock to start at 7 and for Hooper to take over later in the game depending on how it’s going.

        • Max Graham

          Why bring Pocock off? I would start with one and finish with both. Just need the other 3 to be excellent lineout options and good carriers (I.e. not Ned Hanigan).

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan,

    Well done on the girls getting up for the Olympics. Lots of work to do if they want to take this but bloody well done in getting there.
    Great to see Poey get back into it and I hope he is ok and gets some game time in. It’ll be interesting to see how Cheika plays this, and can he resist the need to play them both at the same time. I guess with the results over the weekend at least he can be sure that the majority of his usual love children can be rested before the RC, although if he goes on form I’m not sure how many will actually make it.

    • Geoffro

      The latter is the 64000 question.I wonder if either of these senior players (Brian and Hoops) would be having a word in Cheiks ear to pursuade him either way ?

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Would he listen?

        • Geoffro

          He’d listen more to Hoops who’d maybe be the more likely of the two to put his interests in front of the team

  • Yowie

    “Pocock will put himself in front of a truck if it’s coming front of him to steal a ball.” (In that scenario, I’m putting my money on Pocock since the truck isn’t able to grab/twist his neck)

    Exclusive footage of Pocock vs an object of similar momentum:-

    https://youtu.be/amVfFRNmDE4?t=49

    • AllyOz

      I hope Cheika is not going to replace his hill running training with truck tackling.

  • AllyOz

    Rugby for breakfast on Saturday morning – excellent way to start the weekend proper

  • AllyOz

    Started to read an article from Mark Ella on the weekend that the Wallaby side should be picked with a heavy contingent of Brumbies and I think its very difficult to argue with that logic. They are far and away the most successful side in Super Rugby and they have a game that is flexible enough to adapt to situations and conditions.

    One way the coaching panel could start the selection process would be to start with the Brumbies team and just remove players if there was a better alternative. For me, that might mean 1 change in the second row in the run on side – Rodda for Carter, Hooper or Pocock on at 7 (for me its Pocock to start and hooper to finish) and perhaps Naisarani at 8 (I thought he was disappointing the previous weekend but thought he tried very hard last weekend). Higginbotham might also be looked at there. Genia is the only one that could push Powell out and I would be tempted to give Powell the run on start at the moment. Kerevi at 12 then and then pretty happy to leave the rest as is (perhaps a change with one of the wingers).

    I am not that disappointed that none of the other Aussie teams made it because I think, in the Brumbies, we have a side who can actually win it. I think it will be Crusaders, Brumbies or Jaguares.

    I think the Rebels would have only been making up the numbers had managed to win on the weekend. I think it is a bit of a contrast between a champion team at the Brumbies and the team of champions at the Rebels. While the Brumbies seemed to be able to adapt to find a way to win the Rebels over the last two weekends looked to be sticking solidly to a plan in the face of evidence that it wasn’t working.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Team of champions vs champion team says it all mate

      • AllyOz

        someone read all the way to the end of my comment? WTF is happening here?

        • Who?

          I read the whole way.
          I’m not sure I’d say team of champions compared to a champion team (one has a number of stars, but isn’t a full team of champions, and the other hasn’t actually proven anything yet), but it’s a very clear reflection on the strength of the two coaching teams. McKellar and his crew have done very well.

        • AllyOz

          Yes fair point. I guess the Rebs have a greater number of their “stars” in the backline and the pack (outside of some key players) are less well known/experienced.

          I was going to also suggest some potential changes for the Wallabies coaching team too or at least the inclusion of Laurie Fischer in the Wallabies team. However, I think Laurie would ideally need to work with the team long term and not just through to the World Cup.

      • joy

        I think calling the Brumbies a champion team at this point also says it all.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Perhaps a bit early to go that strong but certainly a team rather than a group of good individuals which was the point being made. Mind you they win on Sat, Chiefs beat the Jags for another home game the following week, Canes beat the Crusaders and it’s a home final. Not off the cards

        • Hoss

          Look, i will cheer for 2 NZ teams, but i dont have to like it – ok.

        • Keith Butler

          Go Canes.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yes!

        • Keith Butler

          Always been my favourite NZ team.

        • AllyOz

          I was using the cliche of “champion team vs team of champions” rather than calling the Brumbies champions – just saying that they don’t have as many big names as the rebels but play more as a team but I guess they are Australian conference champions so its not as if they haven’t won anything at all and they were 14 points clear of the nearest Australian team.

    • Keith Butler

      I would not even describe them as a team of champions and i’ve supported them since the get go. Forwards who still need a lot of work to gel together and a back line with too many players who can play in multiple positions. As the saying goes a jack of all trades and masters of none. Time for Wessels to take the hard decisions and pick players in one position and one only.

      • Max Graham

        Wessels couldn’t coach a cow to eat grass.

        • Missing Link

          Apparently he was turning the Western Force into a world class team only a few years ago, but the pesky boffins and their spreadsheets at the ARU got in the way

        • Max Graham

          You’re stretching the definition of world-class a fair bit there. You can’t blame the ARU for him underachieving again this this year, but they make an easy escape goat.

        • Who?

          You’ve missed ML’s sarcasm there Max. :-)

    • Hoss

      Ponies are paying 411 to win the whole shabang – that’s a bit rough, i’d have em at $7-$8. They have the game built for finals and to take on the teams from the Darkness. They beat the Chiefs 1000-0 or something and they ran the Saders early in the season. The main obstacle for mine is a possible trip to FISM-ville. If the Chiefs can roll the Jags, then its Ponies v Chiefs in the ACT, reckon the Ponies might quite like that scenario.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate as mentioned above not outside the realm of possibilities.. They’ll need the Canes to beat the Saders for a home final though and I also think the Chiefs have improved more than they have after that thrashing earlier in the year but it could all happen and RWC year has never been a good year for us.

        • Hoss

          Yep – the Chiefs have claimed a few scalps lately (its late – best i could do), not the same team who were a car wreck early in season, But a trip to Argie, then home, then Canberra and minus 100 degrees – its a big ask, even for them. meanwhile the Ponies are in their own beds at night, normal routines, no injuries, settled AND have a reason to step up with Lilo off – i have put a pineapple on the Ponies already at $11 to win the whole thing – understanding they will need to most likely travel to Christchurch – i mean its not the arsehole of the world, but you can see it from there – to play a likely final.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Not sure why minus 100 degrees is an issue. That’s a normal NZ winter mate. It’s only over here that anything below 15 C is considered cold

        • Keith Butler

          I’ll see your pineapple and raise you a pony. Not confident enough to be a monkey.

      • AllyOz

        money for jam Hoss

    • joy

      If that’s the best Australia can do, look forward to duplicating the Brumbies’ results in Super Rugby right through the RC to the WC. Its odd on that Brumbies (Read Wallabies) will fall to the Haguairies (Read Pumas) in Argentina. It’s, therefore, odds on the Pumas (read Haguaires) will beat the Wallabies (read Brumbies) in the RC. If we get through the pool stages of the WC it could be ground hog day in the quarters. Stop the boat, I wanna get off.

      • Max Graham

        I’m so tired of shit comments like this.

      • Max Graham

        Catch the game today? Maybe get back in the boat for a bit longer.

    • I wouldn’t rule out the Canes from your line-up. I honestly think it’s Saders to lose, but if they do, the Canes become the next team to beat in my opinion. I’m not sure how the stupid conference system plays out, but they’d basically be relying on the Highlanders to be Saders, then get a home SF so it’s only one week of travel, or produce an unlikely result down in Christchurch after a short trip.

      A few weeks ago, I suggested starting with the Brumbies pack and the Rebels backs and replacing players when better alternatives showed up. Now I’d agree with Ella and you. I bet Cheika will still pick a lot of players who play in Brumbie light blue though… it’s their new away strip apparently.

      • Steve

        Think that away jersey might be cursed Eloise – I suggest they change it for next year.

  • Keith Butler

    Ah ha! The penny has dropped – took some time though. The Rebels get 100 comments on their game with some good constructive criticism but because the Tarts play with an understrength team they only attract 10 or so. Maybe if they had better player management they might have gone into the final game with a better chance of qualifying. 42-7 down at half time forget about it.

    • Geoffro

      No Foley or Beale to slag off at cuts down the comments plus there wasn’t much else to say.Walked away at half time mesself

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I think people were so pissed they just couldn’t be bothered

      • Keith Butler

        True. I must admit to being one of the drunkards. But I repented later on so it was ok with the Big Man.

  • RF

    Larkham’s move to Munster has been confirmed

    • Singapore Sling

      So we can officially debunked the myth of RA parking him on the side pending Krusty’s exit!

      • Hoss

        Mandrake is supportive of the move to grow Bernie’s knowledge and skill mate. In coaching terms he’s still young and could be back in support Wallabies gig (read succession plan) as he has signed to end on 2022. At that point the toxins should be out of the Wallabies and Rennie will have us purring.

  • RF

    Purely on the basis of this weekend I’d have Debreczeni in the squad. With Toomua and CL I’d be in two-minds as to whether or not to have Foley in as a 3rd choice and sadly QC would probably miss out

    • Keith Butler

      Debreczeni no. Would he be in the Chiefs side if Duncan ‘spawn of Satan’ McKenzie wasn’t injured? Decidedly underwhelming at the Rebs.

      • Max Graham

        Everyone is underwhelming at the Rebels. It’s a club where good players go to have fun and enjoy themselves. The investment in that shit-show is arguably the biggest mistake Oz rugby has made in a century.

        • Missing Link

          you’re from Perth aren’t you?

        • Keith Butler

          I detect a hint as well.

        • John Miller

          Harsh critique MG. You must have absolutely biting remarks for the two Australian teams and all the players within them that finished below the Rebels on the table this year.

        • Max Graham

          Oh yeah, you mean the states that developed those players? The Rebels are a franchise that has no history, no spirit, few juniors and a losing culture. Other states have paid a huge price to subsidise this failed experiment. Has the pain been worth it? Is there any net gain?

        • Missing Link

          OK that confirms it, you are from Perth!

        • Max Graham

          Townsville.

        • John Miller

          Well, whilst “failure” is subjective. The Super Rugby points table for 2019 isn’t. Look forward to your follow up chainsaw analysis of Australia’s history-making, spirit-fuelled, juniors-rich, winning-cultured, foundation rugby state teams this provincial rugby season MG. If you’re this worked up about 2nd on the conference table, any team south of this should be spicy!

        • Who?

          It’s not the Rebels’ fault that the QRU decided to pay much of Cooper’s wage. :-P
          .
          You’re acting as if the incompetence at the Rebels is unique in Australian Rugby. Every team lives in a glass house, so we need to put down the stones.

        • RF

          On a serious note, the biggest mistake Oz rugby made in a century was signing a participation agreement for Super Rugby and the selection of the franchises.

          If the game was managed well in Australia a professional side in Melbourne could have thrived given the success of the national side and the goodwill it enjoyed in the 1990s

          When the Rebels former all we heard about was assembling the right squad to set the right culture going forward, and that’s why they signed Mortlock etc. But the issue then was they immediately signed Cipriani (who swanned in late and played jack the lad) and then Beale and O’Connor which set in place a terrible culture they are struggling the shed to this day

          This is honestly the perfect job for Cheika. Extremely similar circumstances to Leinster and the Waratahs when he came in

        • Max Graham

          Super Rugby had to create a comp from nothing in a very short time. The resulting comp was excellent and the 3 Oz teams did well on and off the field for many years.

        • RF

          The resulting comp was a farce in fairness, didn’t even remotely resemble a viable professional competition.

          What was it, 5 home games a season for a few years before it evolved into the joke it is now?

        • Max Graham

          Did the big crowds, awesome rugby and good tv ratings seem bad at the time?

        • RF

          How did it work out after our “5 game a season” nonsense?

        • Max Graham

          Go on YouTube and see for yourself. First 5 years of Super Rugby must Shirley be the high watermark in Australian rugby history.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Lol…. Who goes there to have fun? All the big dollar players have performed this year. The let down has been the forward pack and their handling issues with a lack of quality forwards depth being a huge problem.. shown badly in a few games too! Delete that from their game and they’re in the finals easily. Plus they beat the Tahs and the Reds again!

        • Max Graham

          Genia is way out of form. Quade shit the bed at the second half of the season. DHP, Maddocks…… you think they’re playing well? Neither should be near the wallabies on form.

          Who is playing well for the Rebels??

        • Who?

          Genia slowed the play for two reasons. Firstly, he wasn’t getting quick ball for a few games. there. Secondly, because the timing of the flat ball runners was off for half the season (which worsened the issues with slow ball). There’s much complaining about his box kicking, but none of it was from his coach.
          .
          Cooper didn’t do that much wrong in the second half of the season, he just stuck to the coach’s game plan and didn’t see that much quality ball in a backline playing musical chairs. He still topped the season for try assists.
          .
          Maddocks, obviously missed the last round, I didn’t see the Crusaders game, had some nice touches against the Wolves… Though I’d be hoping that a non-specialist like Maddocks wouldn’t be first choice.
          .
          DHP made a few defensive mistakes the last few rounds, and his kicking game was off against the Chiefs. But he’d otherwise been in good form since his return from injury.
          .
          The Rebels’ biggest issues were with the style of attack (which required forward dominance that no team ever has as consistently as the Rebels required it, and there was no plan b) and midfield defence (which was largely acceptable – if not better – when the original starting midfield of Cooper/Meakes/English was on the field).
          I believe the failings through the back half of the season were coaching failings, not necessarily a lack of form.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Agreed….. A sprinkle of objectivity does wonders to reality!
          Hopefully it bumps those on the head who think your last game of the season picks the wallaby team!
          People have allready forgot that 3weks ago when the Rebels had forwards domination Quade Cooper put in the best game of any 10 in the comp with a massive pile of try assists and opportunities, 13/14 tackles or something running out to the Rebels highest Ever score! BARELY a word was said about it!

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          When did they beat the Tahs? Not this year.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          On the ladder….

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Played bloody well in the weekend though. Good decisions, a fantastic boot with well thought out kicks and some great vision for a try and try assists

        • Missing Link

          I called it last week “Chiefs will play Debreczeni at 10 and he’ll have a blinder to rub salt into the wounds”

          Bloody Tony McGahan!!

        • Keith Butler

          Must be something in the water then. Or could it be superior coaching at all levels – surely not.

        • Max Graham

          Culture.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Yep and those things are something another Aussie player has done many times in games this year…. Not just once like Debrecini! And I find it comical Foley’s name is still on the table…… I mean r people really that stupid….. and yes I mean stupid!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I agree on Foley and while I’d pick Quade in a heartbeat I think Cheika will use the excuse of the few things he’s done wrong to discount him

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Yeah agreed but when I express my opinion on who I think earns a spot…. I ignore that clowns incumbents….. So should everyone! Unless where happy with the worst performing team in 50 years……

      • RF

        As I said above purely on the basis of the weekend. It’s the only time I’ve watched him play this year.

        Frankly something needs to change there. I fear it will be more of the same with Foley and Cooper simply isn’t good enough and I feel we would get more with Lealiifano or Toomua, fearing we are going to be going through the usual Foley v Cooper nonsense all year again though

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Well at least Cooper has good stats as a Wallaby….. better than any player since Bernie 10 years ago! He also gets the nod on season form as judged by GnGR!
          What I hate is QUADE hate just for for the sake of it!

        • Max Graham

          I love Quade but he’s done as a Wallaby.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Why? Every stat on the planet says you need lots of experience in every position to win the WC! He’s been the best Aus attacking 10 all season, top 3 in the comp which says ALOT with the abysmal handling skills of their forwards. CL has been the best allround 10 in Aus this season but most question his overall impact at test lvl! Foley for the 3rd year in a row has one of the worst set if season stats of all the comp 10s!
          So…… Foley it is then……

        • Max Graham

          Lilo is the form 10 by a long way. He’s tough. He beat cancer so rugby is easy peezie.

      • GO THE Q REDS

        Truth is he probably still would as McKenzie was Woeful at 10 early this season. Much better at 15!

        • Keith Butler

          I thought that Debs would have been a better 15 than a 10 when he was a Rebel.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Probably but if your squeezing him in the chiefs then McKenzie is 15 and Jack is a10 option! Last season McKenzie tried 10 and was diabolical then too! Back at 15 and instantly AB level……

        • Keith Butler

          Life in NZ has certainly done him some good.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Well on the weekend he played good but he’s had good games before at the Rebels too! Let’s wait until he’s performing consistently throughout a season for the Chiefs! He may have also had a good run in the mitre10cup but who doesn’t! Quade took a wooden spoon team to the finals and then was player of the Comp on the NRC! But Jack won’t have the excuse of poor performing players around him in any NZ team! I’ve always liked him…… love the idea of a big 10 as well!

      • Dud Roodt

        Who’s this bloody Duncan that keeps poking his head up?!

        • Keith Butler

          Sorry should of course be Damian spawn of the devil

      • Brumby Runner

        I’m not sure KB that Jack is taking Damian’s spot. I’m pretty sure that Damian played himself out of the 10 spot early in the season and has been considered primarily as a 15 since. I think the 10 spot hasbecome a choice between Jack and Marty McKenzie.

    • joy

      On the basis that Jack has barely managed 8 tackles out of 12 attempts in 6 games I’d leave out. His others stats aren’t much better. What have you been smoking?

      • RF

        On the basis of the weekend as I opened the post with. Looking at current batch of players we have who can play 10 it is slimpickings.

        I’d be looking between MT and CL and looking at 3rd choice options it would be between JD and BF with QC next in line

        • joy

          Matt Toomua hasn’t done enough to deserve consideration. He has shown us once again that he doesn’t have a kicking game. He’s an inside centre.

          If we are looking for a low risk, low error, strong defensive fly half then Heggarty stands out. 77 tackles for 82% while at 5/8 and full back are good numbers. Even ahead of Christian L. His offensive game isn’t that bad either.

        • Who?

          Also worth noting that JD doesn’t have an RA contract, hasn’t played 60 Tests, and didn’t hold an RA contract for 7 years, so therefore isn’t a Wallaby-eligible player at this point in time.
          .
          And I didn’t think he had a great game. Not a bad game, but not a stand out game. He beat a defender once, and he backed up for a try. Good solid game, but not the sort of game that see anyone shoot into Wallaby contention.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Those facts mean diddly squat….. If your in the team that beats Cooper!
          Next it’ll be Mounga for Wallaby 10….

    • GO THE Q REDS

      I’m not sure picking a team based on 1 game performance is smart….. especially when you have others who over a long season have FAR better stats. Plus it’s a team game… Very rarely should a player be judged because their team lost. LOOK at THEIR stats and go by that!

      • RF

        I’m not picking the team. It’s a comment after a Super Rugby round on the form of our 10’s.

        Nothing worse that posters trawling through selective stats to make a tired case for Foley or Cooper etc either

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Well that’s good because if you picked the team you’d go by 1game performances! Rather flawed I’d say! And I’d love for you to counter the argument with ANY stats that suggest foley should be the Wallaby 10 over other Aus 10s!

        • RF

          Below average comprehension skills on display here.

        • Hoss

          What does that mean…..

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Yep didn’t think you had anything of value to add…..

        • RF

          You’re consistent at least!

  • AllyOz

    The other alternative is that i am starting to make sense when I am writing but I think we can rule that out.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Boys and Girls, I am back. Sorry for the absence. Pesky work and stuff.
    So who the fuck is the new attack coach? Have I missed anything?

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Gibson

      • Brisneyland Local

        That was my bet. But has anything actually been announced?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Fuck! I was being fascitous. Please not him

        • John Tynan

          Thank god I kept reading. It’s so plausible I believed you!!

        • John Miller

          I’ve heard mention of Giteau, Brian Smith, Shaun Berne & Gibson. Cheiks recently said something along the line that he is “waiting for the coach’s current commitments complete” before naming him. That would seem to point towards either Berne or Gibson for the post?

        • Hoss

          No but just announced Lilo is off to Nipponville after this year as well.

        • Brisneyland Local

          YEp the perfect storm. This has been brewing for a while.

        • Hoss

          Sensing an opportunity I have upped the intensity of my training to get fitter quick.

          My passing is shit, my kicking is beyond poor, I cant tackle and my game management is atrocious – i am a shoe-in for 10 at the Tah’s and more than likely the gold.

          Seagal, if your reading this call me 0436 25897 to discuss terms. With the player drain on and cash freeing i reckon $1.25m pa is about right

        • John Miller

          ASIC’s and Landrover have also freed up some cash recently Hoss. Make the Tahs team sheet, stroll into a Gold jersey and I can only imagine you’re looking at doubling that wonga.

        • Hoss

          Let me tell ya JM, Land Rover taking a car off you is no punishment at all. Them giving you a second one, now THAT’s punishment.

          As for ASIC’s reckon they pay me nicely to stay out of promotional shots in their figure hugging gear. People tell me i should get in shape, we fuck them, round is a shape.

          And dont get me started on poofs….

        • John Miller

          Brilliant.

          As an aside, this week I found myself using the words: “I’m not fat, just short for my weight.” Took me a moment or two to work out where I stole it from…

        • Hoss

          Your welcome. My gift to you.

        • John Miller

          Actually Hoss – I believe I used it whilst on a wine tour in your neck of the woods (or not far from): Hunter Valley?

          Was at the Piggs Peake winery at the time. Worth a visit just to review some of the names of the plonk they put out. Notables include: the Pork Sword Cab Merlot, the Bushpig Grenache, a peppery number simply called “Kevin” (the one I saw was an ‘O7 so I thought it might be a political statement for the vintage but was then told it was more of the “Bacon” variety). The most unfortunate effort was a low key dry red call the “Port Hunt” which read fairly innocuously but certainly didn’t sound it when said for the first time out loud – which I duly did this weekend right next to a gaggle of middle aged mothers in the next group.

        • Hoss

          No bad spot up there mate – been there a few times, on Hermitage road.

          Let me now next time and i can give you the $5 Hosstravaganza Tour.

        • Greg

          Sounds pretty good @HossRugby:disqus

          You might be a bit young and I’m not sure when it comes out about cousin Trevor whether that will help or hinder. I will just check in with a recent employee on that.

        • Hoss

          Gets cold up here mate – every bodies gay occasionally.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Bloody hell snorted my coffee on that one. Note to self; Don’t drink coffee while reading Hoss on GAGR!

        • Brisneyland Local

          Oh so true Hoss. Bet you could run over people better than Foley could!

        • Hoss

          I am deceptively quick over 2-3 yards.

        • Brisneyland Local

          And momentum and mass will do the rest!

        • Who?

          If he doesn’t call, Hosstafa, it’s because you’re one digit short of your full number. ;-P

        • Hoss

          Did I – gosh….

        • Who?

          I guess Cheika needs an excuse for once more failing to pick the right 10. “I didn’t have his number – Hoss missed a digit!”

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I saw that. Fuck me that hurts. Good on him though

        • Hoss

          It’ll be last man standing at 10 next year – which, if smart a Spanners or Sunshine band might re-sign to stay in Oz next year and get first crack at it.

          Having said that Mr Rennie may like a clean slate for his first-up gold XXIII next year, so i will prefer to concentrate on glass half-full

        • Missing Link

          Rennie will be just what the doctor ordered considering the amount of heartburn Wallaby fans have had to endure… OK I’ll show myself out

        • Who?

          Spanners has already signed to go to Japan, hasn’t he? The Brumbies loss was his last in the sky blue? But he may be Giteau-law eligible (can’t imagine he hasn’t played over 60 Tests).
          Similarly, Cooper’s at 70 Tests – he’s been Giteau-law eligible since 2016.
          .
          That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be looking to find the next generation……

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          It does to Cheika

        • Who?

          Hopefully he won’t have any say. ;-(

        • Hoss

          i don’t know that he’s signed mate, but I am willing to chip in if it helps

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    The Force vs Samoa game was entertaining with two excellent power tries scored. When Somoa has more time together they will be a real threat in GRR next year. The Fiji Force game on Friday night will be a cracker. Just after the game I watched the Brumbies vs Reds game… it looked slow and was difficult to watch. It is almost like watching one day cricket match after being used to 20/20.

    • AllyOz

      Yes I agree the GGR game was a cracker. A lot tighter than I expected. Sometimes if I switch from watching rugby to rugby league I will wonder why they aren’t cleaning out at the play the ball – it was almost like that with the contrasting speeds of play. I am keen on the scrummage maintaining its importance in the game but I enjoyed the quick set and move on in the GRR. I also like the absence of kicking duels and the running style of play. The game was a lot more competitive then I imagined it might be, at least until Deegan came on. The Force halfback (Fines??) had a strong game too, he took the line on often and has some genuine pace (they also switched to some female friends of his in the crowd – a popular young bloke and it looked like he was also going to have an enjoyable night out in Brisbane following the game).

  • Missing Link

    Far out, another weekend in Aussie Super rugby to take the wind out of our sails, or should that be bowels. Now is the time to get your asses behind the ponies and make sure they don’t play like asses. We should have 2 teams in, but like almost every other year, we don’t. We need to hope that the kiwi teams eat eachother or suffer from a long trip to the republic or buenos airies.

    On the flip side, Cheika gets to spend more time with most of the squad teaching them the intricate and dynamic game plans of the Wallabies, and having 4 kiwi teams in the finals, makes it extremely difficult for Hansen to teach them to catch and pass in time for the Rugby Championship……

    speaking of the squad, I reckon Cheika will play Beale at 15. Genia, Foley, Kerevi, Kuridrani, Koroibete and another winger. Tempted to say Banks has played himself into position. Maddocks looks to be nursing an injury, DHP and Hodge have played themselves out to be honest.

    • Brisneyland Local

      I am doing up the selection dart board as we speak.

      • Yowie

        Don’t forget that the non-Waratahs player lists go on the back of the dartboard.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Not to be in the dart room in fact

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Gold mate

      • AllyOz

        It has to be one of those ones that someone spins while Cheik, Scotty and Snoz put on the blindfolds and throw willy-nilly

        • Brisneyland Local

          Ally you can see in my mind. That is exactly what I was thinking. It also had most of the non-Waratah players removed by Cheika once snoz and Scotty put their blindfolds on.

        • AllyOz

          there are some frightful little dark corners in your mind Bris – not sure I want to spend too long in here. You have a dart board too but its only got Cheik’s big melon on it from what I can see :)

        • Brisneyland Local

          Oh no. there is a special place there for Raylene, and Cameron Clyne too. But that is the rugby world.
          I am wondering what would be scarier the dark places in my mind, or the fun places in Hoss’s!

    • Andy

      I don’t think we should have had 2 teams in. Simply, only 1 team was decent this year and the rest are filled with overrated talent and poor coaches. We tend to pump up so many of our players over here, especially the new ones but if we were objective and looked from the outside in most of our guys would currently struggle to get starts in most kiwi and saffa teams.

      • Gallagher

        Calm down, final round, we could have had three teams in the top eight… that’s not so dismal to me…not great they didn’t make it, but at least it went down to the final round…

        • Andy

          Just had a spoonful of sugar. Feel much better thanks.

          I think the system helps the Oz sides though as they play each other more. So theoretically if we had more than 1 team performing we would always get 2 teams in regardless under this model. The fact we only got 1 team in very worrying.

        • AllyOz

          You could argue perhaps that the evenness of the Australian conference this year (with 2, 3 and 4 within 6 points of each other) actually costs us a second team. If 3 and 4 had have been worse the 2 probably would have made it through.

Rugby
@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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