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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News outlines the World Cup squad, looks at past Wallaby captains throwing their support behind the team, recaps the rugby home and abroad and explores a strange career change for a former international


World Cup squad confirmed

WAL001

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has announced the 31 men that will represent Australia at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Eighteen players will be playing in their first World Cup, which will contain 1406 combined appearances for the Wallabies, 399 more than the side that went to England in 2015.

The squad is highlighted by the mix of youth and experience, with Adam Ashley-Cooper, at 35, becoming the oldest Wallaby selected for a World Cup and Petaia, at 19, the youngest.

Ashely-Cooper edged out boom Brumbies fullback Tom Banks, who is joined by the likes of Luke Jones, Liam Wright and Joe Powell in an extended training squad, who will remain with the squad until next week’s clash with Samoa.

“We’ve become a really tight group and it was a very difficult process in picking only 31 players, but I know each player selected will travel to Japan with the full support of those teammates who won’t board the flight,” Cheika said.

“We have worked really hard at building each week and each game so far this season, and play a brand of rugby that Australia would be proud of and get every player contributing towards the outcome.

“It’s also important that we select a squad that will handle the tournament play and our draw in particular at the Rugby World Cup, as well as maintain a strong competition for places in the team.”

The Wallabies will head to New Caledonia for a ten-day training camp before they return to play Samoa on September 7 at Bankwest Stadium as their farewell match before they (hopefully) reclaim the William Webb Ellis Trophy.

Backs: Kurtley Beale, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Jordan Petaia, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, James O’Connor, Samu Kerevi, Matt Toomua, Christian Lealiifano, Bernard Foley, Nic White, Will Genia

Forwards: Isi Naisarani, Jack Dempsey, Michael Hooper (c), David Pocock, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda, Adam Coleman, Rob Simmons, Allan Alaalatoa, Taniela Tupou, Sekope Kepu, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Tolu Latu, Folau Fainga’a, Jordan Uelese

Extended Wallabies squad members
Joe Powell, Tom Banks, Liam Wright, Luke Jones, Tatafu Polota-Nau

Past World Cup captains back current generation

452800-1999-wallabies

Several past Wallaby captains have thrown their support behind the current squad, believing that they have a chance if they can repeat the form shown in Perth.

The announcement of the squad doubled as a celebration for the nine ex-captains that have led the Wallabies at the World Cup since it was introduced in 1987.

1987 World Cup captain Andrew Slack referred to this year’s edition as ‘the toughest’, believing the side needs to repeat the performance shown against the All Blacks over several weeks if they want to win the World Cup.

“It’s not easy and I think this is the toughest World Cup,” Slack said.

“There are five or six teams with real chances, so to do it three weeks in a row would be special. We are going to have to step up to be able to do it.

“Beating the All Blacks in Perth showed they can do it once. The key to winning World Cups is (winning) week-in, week-out.

“The confidence they got out of that, despite the fact they didn’t go particularly well the following week, they know there is something there they can work on. It is not as if they’re bashing their head against a brick wall.

“The trick in a World Cup is to do it three weeks in a row.”

1995 World Cup captain Michael Lynagh shared this belief, calling for consistency from the side in order to conquer what he believed was one of the easiest pools in the World Cup.

“I like their Perth form, I thought that was pretty good. If they can re-create that, we’re in good shape,” he said.

“That was a really important result. As the guys know, and the public and the fans know, they are capable of putting on a performance like that. It just needs to become a bit more consistent.

“I think our pool is probably one of the easiest ones. There’s Wales – number one side in the world – and Fiji, who are dangerous, but if you get through that, which you’d think we should, whether it’s one or two, you have three games to win the thing after that.

“And if they reproduce that Perth form, then they can do that.”

Rugby Recap

Dewar Shield 2018 Melbourne Champions

With the Northern Hemisphere nations finalising their warm-up fixtures for the World Cup, England have sent a timely reminder of their class to the competition, thumping Ireland 57-15.

The English ran in eight tries to two to record both their highest points total and largest winning margin against their neighbour from the west.

In other results, Scotland has registered their first win in six Tests as they beat France 17-14 at Murrayfield, with a converted try from Chris Harris securing the result.

With the Wallabies having the week off, all focus in Australian rugby went to club rugby, where three competitions across the country holding their grand finals.

We start in Sydney for the Shute Shield where Sydney Uni has won back-to-back premierships with a 21-16 win over Warringah at Bankwest Stadium.

The Students were dominated and outplayed in the first 60 minutes, with the Rats racing out a 16-0 lead.

However, the turning point of the game would come with the introduction of Nick Phipps into the contest, replacing Jake Gordon in the 52nd minute.

Phipps would spark Uni into action, with the premiers running in three tries in ten minutes to secure the victory.

Heading down to Victoria, Melbourne Unicorns have taken out the Dewar Shield with a 37-15 win over Box Hill.

Melbourne and fierce rivals Harlequins have had a stranglehold on the trophy for the better part of the last decade but Box Hill was a fairy-tale contender in 2019.

However, there would be no dream ending with the Unicorns backing up their impressive regular season where they won the minor premiership, running in four tries to two.

James Sooialo’s lethal boot was the main difference in the game, contributing 17 points to secure back-to-back titles for the first time since 2015.

Finally, in Western Australia, Cottesloe has knocked off minor premiers 17-10 in a thrilling contest at Kingsway Sports Complex.

The contest looked like heading for extra time, with both sides locked at 10-all with eight minutes to go.

However, front-rower and former Samoa U20s captain Ivan Fepule’ai would barge over the line to break the deadlock, gifting Cottesloe the title for the first time since 2009.

From Twickenham to Takedowns

England v Georgia - IRB RWC 2011 Match 18

In one of the craziest stories of the year, former English international James Haskell has signed a deal to fight for British MMA company Bellator.

Haskell represented England in 77 occasions across his 17-year career, playing in two World Cups and playing a crucial role in their Grand Slam in 2016.

He retired from rugby union in May after struggling with toe and ankle problems at the back-end of his career.

Haskell hinted at his desire to switch over to MMA during his rugby career, revealing that he adopted training methods from various disciplines of the sport to improve his fitness and strength.

“It’s a fantastic form of training, it builds strength and endurance and has helped me to manipulate and move people on the rugby pitch. It has definitely benefitted my game.” Haskell told JOE.

His debut fight is expected to take place during the first half of next year.

“Known as one of sports great characters, Haskell is sure to bring his livewire, quick-witted and at times no-nonsense personality to the sport of MMA – along with genuine, knockout power,” Bellator said in a statement.

“Standing at 6ft 4in and weighing in during his rugby career at 260lbs, Haskell will compete in Bellator’s heavyweight division which features the likes of current champion Ryan Bader, challenger Cheik Kongo, MMA veteran Josh Barnett and Fedor Emelianenko.”

This transition got us at Green and Gold thinking about the perfect trainers for Haskell, with many in the rugby community well versed in various martial arts.

Judo coach Dane Coles: Showed perfect technique during his hip toss of Nic White last week.

Striking coach Manu Tuilagi: Pretty self-explanatory

Strength and Conditioning coach Eben Etzebeth: Also pretty self-explanatory, he has arms bigger than my future

Wrestling coach Joe Moody: Multi-time national wrestling champion growing up, also used to throwing guys onto their head

  • From NooZealand

    Thank you Nathan and good morning G&GRs, The results for the NH are very telling; even if they are all keeping something under their sleeves. I agree with the former Wallabies leaders. Australia does have the personnel to go a long way at the RWC so let’s hope that it does happen. Greeting to all from Middle Earth.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      We have the playing personnel (except for 3+ guys that should probably be in the starting 15 who aren’t even in the squad), but we lack the coaching nous.

      If we go far in this tournament then it is down to luck and a testament to the ability and mental fortitude of our players, not the coaching or the way the team has been building.

      • Max Graham

        Which 3 players? I agree that Banks is a strong shout for the First XV but who are the other 2?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I’m not the biggest fan of the Pooper, but despite this I’m willing to accept that Pocock should be at 6 assuming he is fit and assuming one likes the Pooper.

          However, McCaffrey was the Aussie form 8. If Pocock is either not fit or one opts against the Pooper for line out reasons he should be at 6 (I know you don’t think he’s a “beast”, but Aussies get too enamoured with big guys that look mean, rather than guys who can do the basics well.

          Speight was the best wing in Australia this season. Is our best wing defender and is our best back at the breakdown. He should certainly be starting.

          I also think it is the height of foolishness to only take two halfbacks, but that is a slightly different point, as it is only an issue if injuries are to happen.

        • Fatflanker

          I just can’t understand Speight not making the squad. Him on the wing, Banks at FB. Beale subbing from the pine…how does this not make sense?

          I think we have to bite the bullet and accept Pooper degrades the line-out just a bit too much. One of them has to come off the bench and, given his injuries, lack of game time and the fact he has a big target painted on his neck, that probably has to be Pocock.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The question is whether the Pooper makes up how it degrades the line out with how better output at the breakdown and around the field?

          And yeah, I would have thought anyone who knew the slightest thing about rugby would have 14. Speight, 15. Banks, 23. Beale. But…

        • Hoss

          Wouldn’t surprise to see Dempsey start at 6 with FKA from the bench as cover for 4,5 & 6.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          FKA?

          I suspect that if Pocock is fit, he’s starting. I can’t argue against that. Not the biggest fan of the Pooper, but since we don’t have Fardy there is no clear 6. Hard to argue against it as a result.

        • Hoss

          I reckon they will stick with some height to start games, but will go with a ‘horses for courses’ selection policy.

          Formerly Known As (FKA) Lukhan Tui.

        • Max Graham

          I agree about Speight and would even like McCaffery in the squad. If I was coach they’d both be there.

  • sambo6

    And now we enter a 2 week ‘twilight zone’ for rugby journalism in Australia (so good luck to the GAGR daily news compilers!) where absolutely nothing of any consequence will actually happen, but editors need to tap into interest ahead of the rugby World Cup. So get ready for plenty of puff pieces….I’m banking on at least the following ‘headlines’….

    “Newfound determination in walllaby camp”
    “Beale backs Foley to bounce back”
    “Genia eyes a world beating farewell”
    “Wallabies to Berne opposition with new tactics”
    “Lukhan to answer the call”
    “Chieka to go out fighting”
    “Hooper humbled to lead”

    And many more……

    • I Should be Coach

      “Team trained really well today – great intensity”

    • Max Graham

      Except of course for the rugby test this weekend.

      • sambo6

        Which test is that?

        • Max Graham

          There’s actually a few. Wales v Ireland and Fiji v Tonga are the ones that might be most interesting to Wallaby supporters.

        • sambo6

          Okay, sure. If you find any of those tests written up in the mainstream aussie press, be sure and let me know….

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I don’t think any attention should be heeded to the World Cup warm up matches. I can virtually guarantee you that England wouldn’t be Ireland by 50 points in the World Cup.

        • Max Graham

          Gotcha. Sorry….

    • Howard

      The NRC starts this week

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        Yes, time to look at the new talent. The Force played Tonga this weekend and lost 19-15. I do not expect Tonga to go far in this RWC, however a couple of local RA rugby players got a good run. With Folau an Rugby Australia dramas on the side line, hopefully local players will get some media coverage

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hahahaha so true

    • Custard Taht

      “Cheika’s back with another one of those dune busting beats”

      Quickly followed by

      “Pocock and 3 other Wallabies in doubt for the RWC, after injury during a Cheika Sunday Session”

      And

      “GAGR forum up in flames after Wallabies RWC left in ashes after training session”

      • Damo

        “Serious Wallaby Calf Damage”. At yesterdays team BBQ Taniela Toupo consumed 25 veal burgers in a single sitting…

    • joy

      A couple of months later – the great Australian dream:
      “Aussies snag World Cup”
      “Cheika to coach All Blacks”
      “Kiwi exodus to the relative safety of White Island”
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fa057ef2ea86bb044a0328eded76302f293cdd10bc3c724850e4115e7ff0f6c1.jpg

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan. Always hard to generate news at this time of the year and even with the lead up to RWC there’s not too much happening.
    By hell I hope Ireland we’re holding something back. They were crap in so many areas against England. No penetration, crap defence and very poor option taking. If they haven’t got anything hidden they could be looking at a very short tournament.
    TBH I’m just hanging out for RWC now. We all know that on their day any of the top 5 or 6 teams can beat any other team and it all depends on the odd bounce of the ball, decision making, ability to change tactics, referee’s call and the mental toughness to get over the line when needed. Any games between now and then is just noise and I’m not sure means anything. The biggest issue for me is managing the inevitable injuries that will occur as they could define things.
    Interesting that some people think the pool is the easiest one. I guess we’ll see how that pans out

    • I’m so not sure with Ireland. If they’d had a good 6N I’d say there were a side that were really putting out their first choice side for the first time and early in the build up to the RWC, nothing to worry about here. And that could be the truth still.

      But after their 6N campaign, when they looked like a shadow of their 2018 selves this looked like the rot that set in this year has carried on. Losing or winning wasn’t vital in this match, but the biggest ever defeat, looking totally out of sorts and outplayed in every facet of the game – that was a disaster. The only, slight, bright spot was that when Sexton retires, they’ve got a 10 who doesn’t look like a complete idiot. He’s not the finished article but for his first test with everyone else not performing, he looked ok to me.

      Not sure how Pool D is the easiest one. Pool A please… Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Russia, Samoa. Poor as Ireland look, it’s going to be a shock if it’s not Ireland and Scotland. Pool B is pretty easy if you’re a big beast. I’m pretty sure that’s going to end up NZ, SA and the other three in that order. The top two could be the other way round. Pools C and D I’ve got a top three and an other two, and a guess at a top two for each of them, but it’s a guess, nothing more. The likely third placed team in each pool could beat one of the two “big beasts” and go through in second.

  • joy

    “Ominous England sends cup warning” spruiks Wane Smith in the Australian this morning. And send a warning the Poms did with a clinical 8 tri demolition of former world number 1 and cup contender Ireland.

    • Custard Taht

      Good win indeed. The 2 form sides going in are the Poms and Saffas.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        England lost to Wales last week, right?

        I don’t think you can pay attention to these friendlies. Coaches are holding tactics back, teams are at different stages of their prep, there is no pressure and players and coaches are trying to avoid injuries.

        Think you have to base form off the RC and 6. South Africa and Wales are the two form teams for me (caveat being that Wales don’t have huge depth and have already lost two key players).

        • adastra32

          You are spot on about these warm-ups. Each team is trying out different combinations and tactics.

          In the second Eng v Wales game, it was pretty much the England seconds playing a full-strength and fired-up-at-home Wales – narrow victory for the latter. Against Ireland, England played what could be one of their line-ups (near as dammit) for a WC. Without only Sexton. Ireland were at strength but undercooked: it still looked pretty scary for them from minutes 30 to 80 though.

          This weekend and next Ireland will get the chance to get in gear vs. Wales. England finish off with Italy next w/e. Although practices, the closer we get to the real tourney, the more hands will be shown in them.

    • Keith Butler

      Wouldn’t read too much into this result. Even though I’m a SD and it was a good win, Ireland were underdone and will get better in their remaining matches against the Welsh. England also have the Z factor, Ben Young’s. He had a complete mare of a game, the only mitigating factor being that he’d had a long lay off through injury. Hoping for a really competitive RWC. Any one of 6 or 7 teams could take it. Hopefully all teams remain injury free in the final.

      • onlinesideline

        I’d say 5 max could win it.

        3 SH and 2 NH

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          As strange as it is to say, I think Australia could win it, especially if we manage to top our pool.

        • onlinesideline

          Of course we can win it. Even though we have some deficiencies, who is to say those defiiences will be tested. Maybe we have games where they are rendered less telling than predicted. Some could argue we are as good as out weakest link, other may argue what counts is how much the strengths of the team sets us up for the win. In between those 2 variants are refs, weather, ball bounce, injuries, unexpected results. of other teams. But we are definitely capable whereas IMO Wales for instance arent. So I would say Ireland and Poms v 3 southerners.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I agree with most of that, but think you’re underestimating Wales. They might fly under the radar more than England or Ireland, but I think they play with more poise and maturity. They’re very well coached and well led on the field. England don’t have the same on field leadership and have capitulated in recent matches (eg against Wales and Scotland in the 6N).

          Once any team gets to the knockout rounds, they can win it, regardless of how awful their form is (eg England almost winning in 07, France almost winning in 11).

        • onlinesideline

          I hear you on Wales, but for me 1 important point sets them apart from the other 5 (or 4 actually). And thats they havent beaten the darkness for 70 odd years. All 4 of the 5 teams I mentioned who are not the darkness have in the modern era had their victories again the ABs.(some more than once) That has to be considered a massive mental roadblock. Of course they may not have to play them to win the cup. We shall see. But for me, that woulld be the only way for them to win the whole thing wheres the 5 I emntioned have all beaten each other at vrious times.

        • Hoss

          Spot on and we are the only team to beat the Darkness this year !!

        • From NooZealand

          And it only happens only once a year …he he he – Seriously though, there are players in the Wales team who were pat of the Lions last year.

        • Hoss

          I have limited numeracy skills, but even i know this year its 1-1………..

          Decider in Nipponville ???

        • From NooZealand

          LOL – I don’t think you have limited numeracy skills. Not long ago you replied: “from one math nerd” … Thus I conclude that you do not want to read what your numbers (probabilities?) are telling you.
          Still, it would be good to see three SH battling to the bitter-sweet end.

        • Hoss

          Yes my middle earth cousin.
          It will be interesting. Upsets aside it will be Gold v your lot or Saffas in one semi and same for wales v your mob or Saffas in the other.
          So we are nearly guaranteed 1 SH side at the big show at least.

        • Hoss

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/87f5f9f76a623c38482793215a05389fad0656bec9a98874403630902bdc91d7.jpg

          Here’s my fearless predictions

          Pool finishing spots

          A Ireland, Scotland
          B NZ. South Africa
          C. England France
          D Australia Wales

          QF1 #1C v #2D – Eng v Wales – England to win
          QF2 #1B v #2A – NZ v Scotland – NZ to win
          QF3 #1D v #2C Aust v France – Australia to win
          QF4 #1A v #2B Ireland V SA – South Africa to win

          SF1 #1QF1 v #1QF2 England v NZ
          SF2 #1QF3 v #1QF4 Australia v South Africa

          Final: Hard to say, but i believe a ticket-tape parade is being organised for George Street in Sydney for first week of November and apparently the NZ Military (yes, all 38 members of) are preparing for Marshall Law at the same time………

        • Patrick

          Since the squad announcement I have this gnawing fear that in fact we will be better than several teams but get outcoached :( Hence my predictions:

          A. Ireland, Japan
          B. South Africa, NZ
          C. England, France
          D. Wales, Australia

          QF1 #1C v #2D – Eng v Aus – England to win
          QF2 #1B v #2A – RSA v Japan – RSA to win
          QF3 #1D v #2C Wal v France – France to win
          QF4 #1A v #2B Ireland V NZ – NZ to win

          SF1 #1QF1 v #1QF2 England v RSA – RSA to win
          SF2 #1QF3 v #1QF4 France vs NZ – NZ to win

          RSA to beat the nearlies twice in one tournament and make history :)

        • From NooZealand

          I like that.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, Wales will have self belief that they can beat every single team they come up against, except New Zealand.

          Not impossible of course, but a tough thing to overcome.

        • onlinesideline

          yeah its not impossible and its what makes it exciting. Anything can happen. You can bank on 1 or 2 upsets.

        • Patrick

          Fiji vs Australia?

        • Who?

          We just need Joel Wilson on our side. :-P

        • Hoss

          To be fair mate it was missing leg & off stumps though……..

        • Who?

          Can’t half tell Stokes is a Kiwi – won both that last Test and the Cricket World Cup off questionable umpiring decisions. He clearly has more All Blacks aura than the Black Caps. :-P
          .
          Note to all Kiwis – not suggesting you won a WC off dodgy calls, just going back to the fun old routine of questioning Mr McCaw’s sense of geography and his possession of a cloak of invisibility….. :-P

        • Hoss

          Now you’ve done it.

          I sat up and watched last nite and all you can do is admire a determined athlete at the top of their powers in a what was a once in a generation performance. If your going to lose then let it be like that, he was just awe inspiring. They had no right to win and much like rugby if your going to cede control to a fallible human, they will make mistakes. To appeal that LBW against Lynch, FFS, it would not have hit a 2nd or 3rd leg stump – dumb, just dumb. But to blame the ump is to detract from Stokes and that would be petty – he was just amazing and a privilege to witness. Like the America’s cup, or rumble in the jungle – its up there with the best in sport and incredible theatre.

        • Who?

          I know, it was a ridiculous performance. We’ve never had much luck with 10th wicket partnerships (they get home against us, and we come up just short when it’s us – witness Thommo and AB, witness Adelaide with McDermott and was it Langer against the WIndies in 92/93), and I can’t think of a more one-sided partnership.
          I listened to it on the ABC website. Stupid mistake – poor old Pidge was in the box with Alaistar Cook and Aggers, completely dominated. I didn’t want to listen to happy Poms! It was the Australian network, where was the Aussie ball by ball commentator?!
          But bearing that in mind (that I was listening, not watching), I didn’t see how far wide that review was. I got the impression that Lynch’s LBW must’ve had him shuffled across, until I saw a replay this morning and noticed that I could see his off stump. To go for that LBW, it needed to be on the full (so it couldn’t pitch outside leg). To have it bounce, they needed to have no stumps visible for even the most remote of hopes.
          Plus Harris dropping the catch, Lyon dropping the runout…..
          But that doesn’t mean being hit on the right hand side of the pad sitting in front of leg stump with offstump visible isn’t as plumb as you can get. At least Paine and Cummins (or was it Hazlewood?) can say one had an obstructed view (Paine), and the other didn’t have a great view, not being stable (the bowler). Wilson has no excuse, other than perhaps he fell asleep. But whilst some hate test cricket, I don’t see how anyone could’ve been anything other than wired at that point. So much tension!
          .
          That said, I do think it’s crazy that all these small English fields (that’s how they were all described as I grew up) suddenly now have the fields roped in by 10m. So that Stokes can put in a miscue and it goes for 6.
          And they shouldn’t have been playing at all that first day. At what point is it acceptable to ask a batsman to face a 96mph bowler in the dark? All those complaining about going off for poor light clearly haven’t faced genuine pace, let alone done it in poor light.
          .
          And whilst is was a great performance, it’s still relevant that the two greatest accomplishments in English sport this year have come from by a Kiwi, whilst being helped by the umpires (the extra run in the WC Final, and the not out last night). The bloke would’ve deserved nothing but respect for his efforts, even if he’d come up short (both times).
          But we can’t let those SD’s have anything, Hoss!!! ;-)

        • Birdy

          Well, Stokes moved to England when he was 12, so you’d better hope Pocock doesn’t score the winning try in the RWC final or you won’t be able to cheer, will you?

        • Who?

          I think I’ll be fine (we won’t make the final – England are a much better shot at the title).
          And I’d have thought you’d say Naisarani or Koroibete, who came over as adults, or Kerevi, or Genia, all of whom are more likely to score than Pocock. :-)
          .
          It’s just part and parcel of where Rugby is in Australia at present. And, really, just part of being an Aussie – over 25% are foreign born (myself included), just under another 25% have foreign-born parents (my wife’s among that – she’s 2nd and 7th generation Australian). Not many other nations have that sort of immigration record. The UK’s at half that figure, though that’s a recent change.
          .
          The comment wasn’t meant to diminish the result (it still says England won the Test, and the WC), or the efforts of the bloke who didn’t do anything wrong (other than bat far better than I’d have hoped!).
          .
          At least it was a Kiwi doing the damage for England (meaning I can make poor quality jokes about him and umpiring, referring back to McCaw and his invisibility cloak, which works just fine here) – normally it’s South Africans! :-P

        • I don’t really watch cricket, but it was resounding down the road where I live so I turned it on. Ricky Ponting just caught himself before he swore on the UK TV commentary when they reviewed Leach’s LBW appeal because it was so far outside leg.

          The drama of it all was captivating. One of the best spectacles in sport I’ve seen in years.

        • Hoss

          Evening EP,

          Yep. Sport at its finest and also a precursor as to the possibility of a Wallabies RWC win. England had no right to win that game. Only fair or middling form, a record lowest Ashes first innings score and everything against them…….sounds familiar.

          Can’t wait for September Kick-off.

        • Bernie Chan

          The poor buggers has had a “Barry Crocker” of a summer hasn’t he…Our mob didn’t help their own cause (did Cummins really think he could get an LBW bowling over the wicket to a lefty…after pitching some 4 inches outside leg…?) by wasting their last ‘review’ but Wilson really bottled it.

        • Fatflanker

          Very good!

        • Hoss

          Yep – we are opposite side of the Draw to the Nearlies & The DDD’s and odds-on to meet either in a Semi (we would meet the team that finished opposite to us at the end of the pool play in their pool – if we finished #1 in our pool our semi is against #2 from their pool and vice versa)

      • Mica

        England backrow used in this match look great – as good as any in world rugby.
        I’ve been watching Underhill’s progression for a couple of years. Could be one of the greats.
        Vunipola looks like he’s back to his old destructive form too. Then Curry provides the hard graft.
        As long as they all stay fit they will make it difficult for any opposition.

        • Keith Butler

          Yes they did work well as a unit. The interpassing with Sinckler that led to Curry’s try was pretty good. Pack starting to get it together. Tuilagi ran some great decoy lines that set up tries. Getting back to his best. Still have my doubts about Daly at FB but he does offer a real counterattacking threat. Big worry for me is Young’s. Had a complete mare of a game. Coming back from a long layoff though but not sure if he can improve that much. The Irish were underdone but should get better.

        • Mica

          But you have Willy Heinz now as well and he seems to be going great guns.

        • Keith Butler

          Yes, and his service was like greased lightening compared to Young’s. But Young’s is Eddies favourite so unless things dramatically change he will get the big games

    • RedAnt

      Good points, Joy. Interesting that Eddie has said that outright pace will be crucial for the WC, and also interesting he played two open-side flankers (both fast to and effective at the breakdown) and had previously identified the breakdown as the key area they needed to improve. Seems to be two things somewhat lacking in our squad.

      • joy

        Rebirth of Pooper?

  • IIPA

    Shute Shield got approx half the crowd they have had the last few years at NSyd Oval and the SRU president labeled the move to Bank West a success…..

    Can GAGR interview this muppet and find out what KPIs he’s basing that on?

    • Custard Taht

      The only KPI that comes to mind is, that that many people showed up to a game west of Gentrification line.

      • IIPA

        Fully support playing the Samoa test there but moving the Shute Shield GF was daft.

        • Dud Roodt

          Terrible decision. They’ve lost off the build-up and goodwill from the last 3 GF’s.
          From what I understand it was purely a financial decision given incentives offered by Bankwest.
          Sometimes taking the best option this year is the worst decision for years to come. I certainly think this is one of those occasions.

    • Nathan Williamson

      https://www.sportingnews.com/au/rugby/news/shute-shield-final-why-bankwest-stadium-was-the-right-call-for-the-shute-shield-decider/knum2pb63dm91bupslt35d0u1 looks like our friends at Sporting News beat us to it. I understand the reasoning behind moving it and the atmosphere out their was pretty good despite the lacklustre crowd. However I think the right move for the future is to go back to NSO

      • IIPA

        Well he’s addressed it at least in a very specific and detailed way and having been at NSO last year he isnt wrong. It was pointless to try and line up for a beer after about 2.30pm ( we’d had a few beforehand so didnt matter ) and in regards to toilets you did try and hold on til the final whistle. I reckon the figs and palm trees outside got a good hosing post-match.

        But people know that going in ( most do anyway ). And are happy to still go.

        Be interested to hear the player/coach preferences given some of the cited reasons are to do with inadequate dressing sheds and coaches areas.

        And if NS is so bad then why have a double header the week before then….. ?

      • Max Graham

        Thanks for linking that article. This is a good debate and think the bloke did a good job articulating why they made the move.

        • Who?

          The problem for him is that, in spite of doing his job articulating it well… It’s almost the same as playing the NRL Grand Final in Melbourne, when the Storm didn’t make the playoffs (apparently that’s a rarity?), purely because of the other benefits.
          .
          As in, there might be clear benefits, financial and otherwise, but it’s outside the geographical range of the vast majority of the fan base. It’s 23km from the Uni to Bankwest, and 45km from Warringah’s home ground. This is an area that the Rugby establishment has largely ignored since time immemorial (I know the Two Blues are based in the vicinity, and the Emus used to exist, but when did either play a final? Has either ever made finals..?), and so there wasn’t much logic to taking the game there from a supporter base perspective.
          .
          It would be fantastic if there were regular high quality games in that area, and the game tried to establish itself out there, but playing a final there for a competition that is largely irrelevant in the area isn’t necessarily the best way to move forward.
          .
          Not a dig at you, Max, just a major issue in the debate.

        • Geoffro

          Twoblues have a pretty rich rugby history and funny enough won their last title the same year the Eels last won theirs-1986..just sayin.

        • Who?

          So… 33 years ago. More than 75% of my lifespan. How much investment has been put in out there..?
          No sleight on the Two Blues – it’s tough being the only top grade club for 2-3 million people…… How are you supposed to cover them all when the NRL, AFL and Soccer are spending shedloads out there?

        • joy

          It’s not 75% of my lifetime. They won in 1985 1986 and 1977. Runners up in 1945, 1974, 1975, 1979 and 1984. That’s 8 times in 74 years. Their finals record is below average but it’s not bad.

        • Who?

          The Australian median age is 37. So, the (median) average Australian was 4 when the Two Blues last won (or made a final, going off what you’re saying).
          That’s the same drought as last time Australia won at Eden Park
          Since then, the RWC was created, we’ve hosted it twice, won it twice, come second twice, seen the Lions thrice winning once. The game has gone from ‘Boot Money’ to full professionalism, with players now permitted to play overseas and still play for the Wallabies.
          .
          I’m not saying the Two Blues don’t have heritage, I’m saying that the vast majority of Western Sydney doesn’t know about Rugby (I lived there soon after the Two Blues won their last title, I didn’t know about Rugby as a kid back then), I’m saying that the Rugby Establishment hasn’t done much to help them, or to spread Rugby in the west.
          Please don’t take this as an attack on the Two Blues. That’s absolutely not the case. If the Two Blues had been in that final, it would’ve been perfect. But when they’ve not seen success, or support, taking a final out there and expecting good ticket sales from locals (or ticket sales for travelling fans who are travelling further than might be expected) is a big ask.

        • Max Graham

          Fair points!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        That’s a good article and makes a lot of sense. I hope they stick with it

      • Charcoal

        I can understand their reasoning behind the decision to move the Grand Final to Bankwest Stadium, as the facilities at North Sydney Oval are woeful. They might suffice for club games during the regular season, but not for the Grand Final where there have been full houses over the last few years. If the Sydney RU wanted to showcase its premium fixture for the season, particularly for those attending, it had to look at alternative options with vastly improved facilities for players, coaching staff and spectators alike.

        In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Shute Shield Grand Final was played at the now demolished SFS, where crowds of around 25,000 were not uncommon. Going back further when the Grand Final was played at the old Sydney Sports Ground, on the site of the SFS, crowds were consistently around 12,000 to 15,000 for decades.

        The GF was subsequently moved to Concord Oval, which has better facilities than North Sydney Oval, but in recent years the GF crowds have dwindled to below 10,000. It’s no coincidence that the crowd at Bankwest was similar. There’s a message in that which can’t be ignored. Much as I regret to say it, you can’t afford to desert your supporter base, which is essentially still in Eastern and Northern Sydney. It will be interesting to see what sort of crowd Bankwest Stadium gets for the Wallaby Test against Samoa.

        Having said that, I really can’t see returning to North Sydney Oval as being a viable option, unless North Sydney Council significantly upgrades its facilities. That’s probably unlikely, because they want to maintain its heritage character, including its far from adequate loos.

        Until such time as the NSW and Sydney Rugby Unions establish a significant footprint in Western Sydney, which won’t be easy in competing with the other codes, I regrettably can’t see the point in continuing with Bankwest Stadium as the Grand Final venue, as much as I would like to see it.

        However, the alternative options are fairly slim. Unless someone can come up with something better with superior spectator facilities, the only options I can see is a revamped Brookvale Oval or a return to the new SFS, assuming it ever gets built.

  • Hoss

    I am liking a lot about the Padres mob for next year, Their retention has been sensational.

    https://www.rugby.com.au/news/2019/08/25/super-rugby-reds-signings

    • Tah Tragic

      Very true. I think they will be real title contenders in a couple of years. I hope they can entice SK back into the fold.

      • Hoss

        Yeah mate i reckon the SK story has a few twists and turns yet to come especially as i reckon he will tear up the RWC and be player of tournament. I know Hooper is on along term deal, but if there’s injury or form loss, I could very easily see SK transition to Wallaby skipper and given the Pacifika influence and for the growth of the game in Oz that would be alright with me. That and he is an outstanding human and rugby player.

        • idiot savant

          Looking at the ages of most of them (they’re very young) I would estimate that the premiership window could open in 2022. SK’s Japanese contract will have finished the year before so The Reds have got 2 seasons to put some coins aside.

        • Hoss

          I hear ya, but next year must be finals footy at least. That will give the youngsters some belief and a sense it’s worth hanging around for (fair few have contracts that end in 2020).

          My loyalties are Wallabies, Then all Oz sides (Tah’s first naturally, one must support pedigree and quality at all times) but i have thought the Padre has copped it somewhat unfairly from a fair few at times but i thought he had a plan in place and hes stayed pretty true to that.

        • Tah Tragic

          I’m not looking forward to the Tahs season next year. I think it will be worse that this year…and if I hear anyone talk about rebuilding I’ll vomit.

        • Hoss

          Whisper is Cheika is likely to be coach again. Hence no announcements yet.

        • Brumby Runner

          Wouldn’t that be glorious irony if the new Wallaby coach ignored the Cheika favourites when selection time for the tests came around.

        • Patrick

          Wouldn’t that be glorious irony if the new Wallaby coach ignored the Cheika favourites when selection time for the tests came around.

          That would be the best thing for Aus rugby since John Eales

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          That would be very ironic. Fuck I’d laugh

        • Bernie Chan

          Many wouldn’t…!

        • Hoss

          And Larkham to get Wallabies gig – now there’s a dynamic worth watching.

  • GeorgiaSatellite

    Thanks Nathan. Greetings GAGRs.

    Having previously been asked on these pages how on Earth rugby became so popular in Georgia, of all places, I thought this might be of interest. I’ve seen one or 31 documentaries on Georgia, but this one by World Rugby is actually very good. It’s a long watch (2 half-hour parts), but a pretty comprehensive look at the Wallabies’ Pool rivals. Features my mate Milton. Good bloke….y’know, for a Kiwi.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGGaKiTDlB8&list=WL&index=5&t=0s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jk1rkcEeyM&list=WL&index=5

  • Who?

    Well, after all the hullabaloo last week about selecting Skelton…
    Will Skelton has, according to Planet Rugby, extended his contract with Sarries to the end of the 20/21 season. His wife Kate is settled, playing a little rugby and looking to increase her focus on her game with the certainty she’ll be there for another two seasons. And Will’s genuinely happy. Loves the boys, the coaches are great, and he’s staying because he enjoys his job (paraphrasing his quote in the article).
    And we were talking about giving him a Gold jersey……

  • Grant Parker

    Anyone able to shed any light on whether the Sydney v Melbourne NRC game on 29 September is definitely at Forshaw and not at Woollahra? The 31 July rugby.com.au article has it at Woollahra but the fixtures on rugby.com.au has it at Forshaw. The 31 July nswwaratahs.com.au article has it a Forshaw and says that Sydney will play out of Woollahra and Forshaw. All other Sydney home games show as at Woollahra. I’ve enquired with NSWRU but haven’t had a response

    • Grant Parker

      The fixtures on nswwaratahs.com.au also have it at Forshaw

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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