Monday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News looks at the Wallabies win, the first shots fired by Michael Cheika along with a wrap of the latest rounds of the NRC and Women’s Sevens

Wallabies inflict Lelos on Georgia

Samu Kerevi

Samu Kerevi

The Wallabies have secured their place in the quarter-finals with a 27-8 win over Georgia.

Both teams struggled in the testing conditions at Shizuoka Stadium, however, it would be the Aussies that crossed first, with halfback Nic White darting over after 25 minutes.

From here, the game would turn into a grinding affair, with the Wallabies choosing Isi Naisarani to give away their customary yellow card for high contact just before the break.

However, they would kick clear in the final 20 minutes, with tries to Korobiete, Dempsey and Genia securing the bonus point victory.

Coach Michael Cheika praised his forward pack after the contest, believing that the way they matched the physicality of the Georgian forwards was positive heading into the knockout stages.

“I thought it was a good challenge and I thought our forwards stepped right up to it to be honest,” he said.

“We know how effective the Georgian scrum can be and we handled that pretty well.

“We scored a maul try probably could’ve done a little bit better on those with a bit more discipline,

“It was always going to be one of those types of nights with he conditions. It was a good hit-out for the forwards, they got a good shift in.”

The main concern for the Aussies heading into their likely quarter-final clash against England is the fitness of fullback Kurtley Beale, who was forced off after 15 minutes due to a head injury.

Beale was forced from the field in the first half after Georgia centre Davit Kacharava collected the Australian with his forearm as he was entering the ruck.

Coach Cheika was confident that he could recover in time for next Saturday’s match, revealing that he wasn’t feeling any side effects of the injury in the dressing room after the match.

“We’ll go through the return to play protocols, we’ve got an eight-day turnaround so plenty of time for all that,” Cheika said regarding his fitness.

“He’s feeling good in the dressing room right now so that’s good, we’ll just take it as it comes.”

Cheika fires first shot

Michael Chieka at post-match press conference

Michael Chieka at post-match press conference

With the pool stages over, Michael Cheika has turned his attention to his next opponent, England, led by former Randwick teammate and Australian coach Eddie Jones.

England has cruised through the tournament, seemingly unchallenged throughout the first three games before their match against France was called off due to the typhoon.

The cancellation means that England will have had a two week break between games heading into the Australia clash, which Jones believes has provided them with the perfect preparation.

“Of course, everyone is disappointed not to play against France. We put a lot of work, tactical, physical and emotional work, into it,” Jones told a news conference.

“We are disappointed, but the situation is a situation that we don’t control. World Rugby has made a decision, so we have just got to get on with it now.

“We’re not concerned at all, we’re excited, absolutely excited. [It’s a] great opportunity. Who would have thought we’d have had two relatively easy games, one tough game and then two weeks to prepare for a quarter-final, so someone is smiling on us.

“The typhoon gods, maybe.”

These comments haven’t escaped his old sparring partner Cheika, who believes that this makes them near morals to win.

“I saw he was saying that that would be an advantage and that the typhoon gods were smiling on them so I suppose they better win,” Cheika said post-match.

“They’ve had the best preparation according to the coach so they better go out there and win if that’s the best possible preparation.

“We’ll see how we go.”

He also rejected any talk about England’s recent dominance over Australia, which now stretches to 6 straight wins, believing that it means nothing when it comes to Saturday.

“Well, mate, I don’t know what relevance it’ll have,” he said.

“I don’t know if it’ll have any, don’t really care to be honest if it’s got any relevance, because the only relevance is Saturday so that’s pretty much about it.

“Doesn’t matter all the different things, who’s had a week off, who’s had a week on, who’s been resting, who hasn’t.

“It’ll all come down to what happens on kick-off.”

Sydney Uni thrive in Adelaide

Grace Hamilton of University of Sydney is tackled

Grace Hamilton of University of Sydney is tackled

Sydney University has defeated Queensland Uni 19-5 at Graduates Oval in Adelaide to claim round three of the 2019 Aon University Sevens Series.

Sydney Uni left the round one champions scoreless in the first half, crossing twice with Wallaroos Iliseva Batibasaga and Emily Chancellor giving their Sydney side a 14-0 lead.

However, Pleuni Kievit struck first in the second half for Queensland Uni seeing them back in the game before Jakiya Whitfeld broke through the Queensland defence to secure Sydney’s victory.

Griffith University claimed the bronze medal following their 17-14 victory of the University of Canberra, capitalising on two yellow cards after losing both Rachel Crothers and Skye Churchill late in the second half.

In a round of tight finishes, Adelaide Uni also defeated the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) 24-21 in one of the days closest matches while a try was the only difference between Bond University and Western Australia Uni in their 24-19 win during the seventh play playoff.

“We are happy for the girls, they worked really hard to get to this point, and they deserved the win,” Sydney Uni coach Manuel Posades said post-match.

“Sevens is a game that you never know, we have been in similar positions in previous rounds, and we’ve lost games by two points and been out of the finals.

“Heading into Canberra we won’t be preparing anything new. Instead, we will look for consistency from the girls, and play our style of footy each match.”

Sydney Uni captain Olivia White was proud of the effort that the team put in, with the win marking their first series victory in the three-year history of the sevens series.

“We went through undefeated which I think speaks to the quality and depth of our team,” White said.

“We’ve got some fantastic skill with Jakiya Whitfield, one of our young, up and coming talents, we’ve got some Wallaroos players, which we’re very lucky to have.

“But I think those young girls that don’t really have a name to them stood up and played a pivotal role in our team. We’re a team of 12.”

NRC Wrap

William Lewesi

William Lewesi

The final round of the regular season for the NRC has finished up, throwing up some incredible last-minute thrillers.

We start in Canberra where the Vikings secured a home-final with a narrow 27-19 win over NSW Country.

The Vikings dominated the opening half, racing out to a 27-7 lead thanks to tries from a pair of axed Wallabies in Tom Banks and Pete Samu.

Whilst the Eagles would put a spirited fight up in the second half, the Vikings would hold on to the win to secure second place on the ladder.

This was followed by a trip up the Hume where the Western Force secured top spot after a 57-33 victory over Sydney.

The Force controlled the contest, with doubles to Pama Fou and Byron Ralston securing the convincing win and the minor premiership for the first time in the franchise’s history.

The action then headed overseas where the Fijian Drua kept their hopes of back-to-back titles alive with a heart-stopping 26-24 win over Queensland Country.

Country looked certain to win where they were awarded a penalty try after it was deemed that a high tackle on halfback Tate McDermott prevented a certain try.

However, Fiji would score an unbelievable 80th minute try to steal victory and cement their place in the finals.

The regular season was wrapped up with a trip to Brisbane where City held off a rapidly finishing Melbourne Rising 24-21.

Brisbane City looked certain to secure a spot in the finals, marching out to a 24-0 lead after 39 minutes.

However, the Rising would peg back City’s lead but the Brisbane boys stood firm, helped by three yellow cards to Brisbane, however they were unable to break the line when it mattered, with a late Hunter Paisami try-saving tackle icing the game.

The crazy finish to the NRC has ensured two tantalising semi-finals next week, with all four teams capable of winning the tournament if they play their best football.

They are as followed:
Saturday 19 October: Western Force v Brisbane City, UWA Rugby Park, Perth, 12.00pm (local time)
Sunday 20 October: Canberra Vikings v Fijian Drua, Viking Park, Canberra, 3.00pm (local time)

  • Steve

    As an aside, what a wonderful match Japan just put on in beating Scotland 28-21.

    So fast, aggressive and skilful – everything the Wallabies would love to be but aren’t.

    Above all they are accurate – one thing I just can’t believe is the rapid recycle from every single ruck, and the incredibly low error rate on passing.

    Random thought: is there an advantage having a halfback who’s only 5’5”?? Speed of getting to the rucks and passing it on seems otherworldly.

    • Patrick

      Fully agree, they are great rugby players and make a really excellent
      rugby team (especially to watch) – Jamie Joseph for Wallaby coach!

      • Andy

        He’s a really good coach isn’t he. Would love to see him at the helm

        • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

          It should not be overlooked that a key ingredient in Josephs’ success with Japan is that he had a significant playing career there, including playing for Japan at the 1999 RWC, and has clearly taken time to understand the strengths and weaknesses of his own players, and also the Japan rugby ‘culture’. He hasn’t asked them to imitate any other side, but to be the best versions of themselves.

          Can we say the same thing about Michael Cheika’s demonstrated ability to understand how to get the best out of our players on a regular basis?

        • Seb V

          Well said Dingo, no we cannot say the same for Cheika. He has one style play that he wants his players to fit into, he doesn’t seem to look to build a strategy around the strengths and weaknesses of our squad.

      • Human

        We make a habit of looking at other coaches and thinking that their success with Crusaders; AB; Munster; Japan; RSA; etc will automatically translate to the Wallabies. Look at Mick Byrne….how many people on here thought that he would automatically translate to AB-like skills in the Wobs? Has it? Look at Robbie Deans…took the Crusaders to countless Super titles; seems to be doing good things in Japan; did not go so well here. We have more fundamental issues than the coach and we need to stop looking for silver bullets. Remember how we all guffawed when Simon Rawalpindi (?) became forwards coach? Now we praise our set-piece. There is no silver bullet.
        Japan Rugby set themselves a goal; devised a strategy to reach it; and are implementing that strategy. The coach is only a part of that.

        • Patrick

          Human I totally agree, and I certainly didn’t mean to give the impression that a new coach can fix all that ails Australian Rugby.

          But I think he has clearly managed to bring his players to a skill level, cohesion and game plan that is better than anything Cheika has shown us.

          I think we would probably still beat Japan, but 1) I’m hardly sure! and 2) it would come down more to the one-on-one superiority of many of our players than anything else.

        • Patrick

          Fwiw I have commented on some of the other points with RA many times, but just recently:
          Development and the AFL example:

        • Human

          Yes mate, I was not having a shot at you…frustration at RA; our rugby culture, or lack thereof; etc

        • Parker

          On current form I can see the Brave Blossoms beating the Wallabies. Sad to say, but the facts are there to see.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          It’ll be interesting to see if the person after Cheika has to take Cheika’s coaching team or will they be able to bring their own. Jamie Joseph is doing well but Tony Browne is a big part of the success just like Forster and the rest are a big part of Hansen’s success

        • From NooZealand

          Always liked Tony Brown as well as J Joseph. Did Joseph play for Japan in the forgettable 1999 world cup?

        • Patrick

          No one even remotely qualified will take on Cheika’s coaching team.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I agree but I wonder how much room there is to move on them

        • Patrick

          I think RA has made good progress. I expect the selection panel to stay. However I expect the new coach to have quite a bit of leeway in setup.

        • Steve

          It would be a great case study Human – I for one was just flummoxed at the skill level on display in terms of pass/catch accuracy.

          How has it been achieved with a ‘weaker’ domestic league?

          I’d love to see that skill level in the Wallabies.

        • Patrick

          We saw a number of these guys in super rugby, and they were good, but not this good.

        • UTG

          It’s been achieved because they spent 240 days in camp this year alone. A lot of their camp days were 8am to 6pm. This has been no fluke from Japan. A military work ethic has resulted in military precision.

        • Patrick

          I did not know that, thanks!

          But I think our guys have a lit of fairly long days too and quite a few of them, even if not that much.

        • UTG

          Oh yes, that’s not to diminish the effort of our guys or say that the only reason we’re not the top ranked team is because we didn’t spend hours training, but Japan have taken training and professionalism to another level as a national team. That’s why their speed of play is faster and more accurate than even NZ.

        • onlinesideline

          thats incredible – but its not surprising. Its also heartening to think that old fashioned off the scale commitment like this still exists.

        • Human

          I do not think it is that simple,,,if it were, all teams would do it and all would have the skills that Japan are showing..
          The AB’s are the only ones close to them in that regard.
          I think that the 240days in camp is a function of the other things that Japan Rugby has done was a part of their strategy and all the stakeholders bought into it.

        • idiot savant

          I think Company rugby in Japan has always been as quick as Super Rugby, but lacked in other areas such as set piece and physicality. Ive seen players over the years come back from Top League and straight into the Boks and not be off the pace. Speed is their natural advantage. What the Japan Rugby strategy and coaching team has delivered is vast improvement at the other elements of the game that are competitive against tier 1 sides.

          The game plan was amazing against Scotland. They rarely went the long side. They kept creating short sides of a certain width and kept bashing away there with fast recycles. I thought it odd given their speed but it worked.

        • AllyOz

          I think Japanese players always had very high individual levels. They had pace and good handling skills but they didn’t always have the set piece or the size to compete. I think they have addressed some of those weaknesses, in some cases with their imports (don’t see that as problem) but they have also developed a game plan that makes the most of strengths that they have always had and, now that their players have had exposure to Super Rugby either through playing with NZ and Australian teams or through the Sunwolves, that has given them additional skills including game management etc and also confidence that they can compete physically with top line opponents.

          I may be dumb, and that isn’t false modesty, there is a real possibility that its true. But i look at the Japanese play and I think OK, I can see what they are doing, at least to a degree, I am sure they are also targeting specific weaknesses of the teams that they are playing but they have a definite style that looks to capitalise on their strengths and make sure their weaknesses aren’t overly exploited. I can see that with England too, and with the All Blacks, etc. But for Australia, honestly, while sometimes I think I know what we’re doing, for the most part I can’t see that a definitive style has been adopted – I thought I could at times but then I get lost. Maybe it’s the error rate, the regular loss of players to yellow cards or the regular personnel changes in key positions that stops it coming through but there are long passages of play where we look a bit lost. Then it all seems to click for a bit and we can be very good.

          I wouldn’t write us off this weekend. I think we have 1 good game in us this world cup and if we happen to bring it this weekend then it get’s us too the semi’s and then anything can happen. If we don’t bring it this weekend, we are gone. England have an extremely well prepared coach and have honed their style and they are where they want to be – though I think they do probably wish they had a game last week. Go Australia!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Bang on human, mind you look at the hype over Petaia with one good half. The way some were writing you were sure he would just turn up and the Wallabies only needed to give him the ball to win.

          It’s a team game and a lot of the team that make it work never take the field

        • From NooZealand

          Heroes come in many forms, from the front-lines, to the people working hard to get them there and keep them well-supplied.

        • Seb V

          Although the win record wasn’t that great, Ewen McKenzie seemed to get the attack firing for the wallabies – at least in terms of the backline. I think a coach can have a big impact on the skill and execution of the game. It may not be a ‘silver bullet’ but it will certainly help – right now Cheika’s management of players and game-plans are rightfully criticized.

        • Human

          Seb V, I agree. Australian rugby was robbed by the treatment of Link.
          The coach has a huge impact on the players, and Joseph looks like he is doing a great job with Japan…my point is that we need to change a lot more than just the coach if we are to be successful. Many on here have said that we play dumb rugby…I agree. We do not seem to change our plan to beat the opposition or to address the fact that by chance, the opposition might work out a plan to deal with our normal patterns. Dumb rugby. Dumb selections. Poor performances. These are what irk me about the Cheika era.

        • Patrick

          Agree Human that Link seemed to have things on track. OTOH I have by chance come across a post looking forward to the famous Eden Park Bledisloe and it is rather humbling. We were basically all on a high and excited to see players getting dropped etc and that QC was getting a chance.

          I suspect all of us look back on that match, and those selection decisions, very differently now. I guess it is now apparent that he was actually not a great selector whereas at that time we hadn’t seen enough to know.

          As others have said he really does have only one game plan, and he also seems to have this catastrophic selection policy where he rejects plenty of very good players (McMahon, Fardy, Banks, Higgers, QC, the list goes on) because they are not exactly what he is after, but then just selects “the next Tah” (Hanigan, Foley, Beale, Phipps, arguably Dempsey, arguably AAC at this world cup) until he finds that perfect person.

          And he seems utterly unable to get them to play consistent basic rugby. I personally hated how we played against Uruguay, for example, because you don’t see the ABs or Boks running around trying out fancy things like that, they have a plan A and try and stick to it against any opposition. Then they also have a plan B which is a whole ‘nother discussion…

        • AllyOz

          I am not sure if McKenzie could have done better than Cheika at the 2015 RWC – to do better he would have had to win it effectively. But I am really disappointed that he didn’t get the opportunity to show what he could do.

        • I read your comment below – I’m just curious about what you think is to blame?

          Clearly Australian rugby can’t do 240 days of boot camps in the build up to a RWC. But that’s a litany of successful coaches that, by and large, haven’t translated to success at the Wobs. Some just won’t make the step up of course, but Mick Byrne stepped sideways into the same job and hasn’t made any obvious impact. I doubt he’s mysteriously forgotten how to coach skills.

        • Human

          That is it…why has Mick Byrne not transformed our skills? I do not know the answer, Eloise….but it must be deeper than the coach, otherwise we would have changed the coach and, hey presto. I think we have problems in talent ID; fast tracking the ‘next big thing’; cocooning them into an academy; programming them to play robo-rugby. We have problems in the RA structure which preserves the old-boys network and stifles innovation. We used to be rugby innovators…now we are not. Without innovation there is no real growth.
          I am a long way from the game these days but from that distant vantage point, think that our rugby culture is poor….everyone is too comfortable. Joseph is successful because everyone involved seems to buy into the vision, whatever that may be.
          Personally, I think that we place too much emphasis on the RWC. If we do win, Cheika will be forgiven, yet we have had 4 years of poor performances that have cost us countless fans and future players…I have 3 sons, only one plays rugby at school, and still he has only a passing interest in the Wallabies. The game is dying here, sadly.

        • Patrick

          Selecting Tahs has really handicapped us, frankly.

        • AllyOz

          I had read elsewhere (another commenter in a previous forum I think) that Mick Byrnes role in the Wallabies is much broader than what it was at the All Blacks. There he was primarily concerned with kicking and here he covers all skills. I don’t know if that is true or not. I also don’t know that, if you haven’t had direct exposure to some skills that you can effectively coach them. Certainly some of the most skilful players make poor coaches and I know some blokes who have been successful as professional coaches who played 2/3rd club rugby but were able to become great coaches generally and specialist skills coaches. So I don’t think its essential that you need to have perfectly completed every skill to teach it but surely it helps in demonstrating. I personally think if we are waiting until these blokes get into the Wallabies before we start worrying about their skills then its a bit too late.

          The All Blacks and others have a focus on skills but they have it right from the very early age groups so while Byrne might not have lost anything as a coach, it might be a huge difference in polishing a player who has a very high skill level already compared to bringing up the skill level on players who are substantially under that level.

        • If he has dramatically widened the range of skills he has to cover that might well make a difference. You’d think in some ways starting with players at a lower base it would be easier to see improvement, although if he had the same time and more skills to work on, I guess that’s small gains in lots of areas so maybe it’s not so clear.

          I wonder too how much is attitude from the players and the rest of the coaches. In NZ we all know there’s stiff competition for places and skills training is valued by their players from when they’re very young. The coaches too. At the AB level that carries on because their replacement is waiting in the wings. Hansen doesn’t punish players for one or two poor games in a row, but three or four… oops, next please.

          It seems from here that more or less none of those things are true in Australian rugby at the highest level. There are individuals who work hard at their skills, I’m sure, but there is no uniform buy in. Until this year your typical fan would have quite a large number of red lines through Cheika’s inked-in picks. That suggests no pressure to keep practicing and improving. There are on-going, even this year, complaints about individual skills and in the case of Beale, for example, their decline since he came back from Wasps.

          While it’s easy to point fingers at Cheika, and some responsibility for the Wallabies’ culture must lie with him, I think this is probably a wider issue. Look, for a second, at the Crusaders – all that time with Carter, but they produced a stream of back-up 19’s for when he was injured etc who are playing all round the world at a high level. As soon as Carter retired, up steps Mo’unga, and the Saders win three titles in a row…. now look at the Tahs. Over the last 4 years they’ve had the incumbent Wallabies’ 10. They can’t even manage to get their backup onto the pitch in a properly managed way, let alone produce multiple fly halves. That might not be an entirely fair comparison NZ produces more players more regularly after all. But the contrast with how they manage their resources is stark. The psychology of how that impacts on the players and what they do, day-to-day is harder to judge but it must have some effect. And there must be some reason the AB are the most successful sports outfit ever, surely?

    • joy


    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Such a cool result

    • juswal

      The recycling was astonishing. The runners went down with the ball ready to present. The cleaners and the halfback were on the job as soon as the tackle hit the ground.

      • disqus_NMX

        Yep, contrast to the Wallabies – ball “runners” standing still when receiving the ball, and no surprise, going nowhere. Against Georgia for crying out loud. I don’t know what we are training when we “train well”, but it sure isn’t perfect practice makes perfect. I won’t be entirely surprised if England put 50 on us. I will be relieved to finally be rid of that Ass Clown.

        • AllyOz

          For me there were a couple of key differences. Firstly, the Japanese runners run to gaps even if that means trying to slice on a diagonal. Secondly, they don’t wait for the half to tell them to go, they get in position and run, he then chooses to pass or not – that gives them at least a half second extra. I was surprised, like everyone here it seems, at how they were using similar or fewer numbers to us at the breakdown but being much more effective and faster and not letting the defensive line get set which allowed them to get more of a roll on. So that was what I thought they were doing.

      • Seb V

        Wallabies are terrible at this. Even from the basic – place the ball back nicely on the ground, they seem to struggle.

    • disqus_NMX

      SANZAAR would be much better served by becoming JPNZAR. All in the same time zone. Good for viewers, no jet lag for players. Less teams for a full round robin rather than a confusing conference system.

    • andrewM

      The Western Force?? That was years ago mate :)

    • Missing Link

      I’ve got a feeling there’s something in the works we don’t know about yet regarding the future structure of southern hemisphere rugby.

    • Patrick

      Extra plus +1 for the edit

      • Steve

        Ha thanks mate – on reflection it just really makes that decision look more pathetic doesn’t it.

        The atmosphere and support at the Sunwolves games were amazing (unlike every single team in Aus), and you have another national team that can potentially be brought legitimately into the Tier 1 fold.

        On what planet are you not chasing that?

        • Patrick

          Yep, what planet indeed?

          Whilst I disagreed with the force decision, I understood the rationale. But I never understood dumping the sun wolves.

  • joy

    Japan are re writing what it takes to excel in rugby just as Australia did during the 1990s. A new tackle rule below the ribs would be a good move. I had as many tears in my eyes as those Japanese dreamers in the stands and I will be over the moon if they take it out. It’s been a great day for rugby.

  • Patrick

    So a few thoughts from the weekend:
    1. Our handling against Georgia was quite good in the conditions. Maybe the balls are different but in the past we would have dropped a lot more pill than we did.
    2. Who? described our game as a “very contested training run”, which is exactly what it was.
    3. Presumably, the 1) long passes to flat-footed one-off runners 2) the refusal to chip the flattest defensive line I’ve ever seen in midfield and 3) refusal to commit more than one man to rucks, were all part of that. But I cannot for the life of me see what we gained from practising those things.
    4. We saw the USA, Wales and in the first half Scotland, do the same. It was not inspiring when they did it either and they didn’t make much ground with it.
    5. Our favourite deep pass behind two screen runners is shite as well, just ask the USA who also tried that and also made near-zero yards with it.
    6. I honestly think that we only even won due to the phsyical superiority of our players but if we had been matched with Uruguay physically they actually might have had a better plan and tactics.
    7. We saw Japan (and less so, Scotland in the second half), hit the ball moving and run with passion and intent. What’s more Japan often used an inside and back out passing move that actually creates options and space.
    8. Their support play was also excellent, and non-stop. This created the opportunities for committing defenders to create space and for offloads.
    9. They cannot really have had more time than us to build combinations but do they ever combine.
    10. Barring a massive lift, we are stuffed.

  • sambo6

    Wow! What a game.

    A country and a language that few people understand or respect.

    A country that receives criticism for what it eats and its strange dress code.

    A population battered by extreme weather conditions.

    A nation not known for its rugby……..

    and now they lose to Japan.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Pure gold

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan,
    Rock on this Saturday. It’s going to be a big week leading up to this. I don’t usually like all the mind games played by the coaches but this week it might be a little more interesting. I watched Cheika in his “they better win” comment. He looks a bit down and maybe the reality of a likely loss and such a poor legacy is becoming a reality for him.
    The NRC is great and showing some good players coming through. I hope RA keep backing this competition as it’s starting to live up to its promises and can only be good for rugby here.

  • juswal

    Thanks for the news, Nathan. But the lowest of lowlights in this RWC is the exchange via the press between Cheika and Jones. Which Jones will win because he’s sharper and nastier.

  • Missing Link

    what a weekend in RWC….games cancelled, Japan top their pool. all happening!

    now for my tips this weekend:
    England (heart says Wallabies, hoping Cheika has been foxing Jones for 4 years but sadly I don’t think that’s the case, England look strong)
    NZ (Ireland were good 2 years ago, they haven’t looked good all tournament)
    France (Wales also look average this RWC and I think they’ve run out of steam. Had we played Wales last night, we wouldn’t have lost)
    South Africa (Brave Blossoms have been great and will have a chance if the Springboks don’t play smart rugby)

    I’d love to see the above flipped and there could be an upset, maybe in the semis, could be a repeat of 2007, or could be a repeat of 2011, who knows?

    • Custard Taht

      The Saffas will want to bring it, because Japan will fancy themselves.
      Looking at the QF draw, all tough battles for the respective opponents, no easy route to the finals. What a cracking finals stage, hopefully the refs let them all duke out.

    • UTG

      Can’t believe we lost to Wales, they’re absolutely turgid. We respected them far to much in the opening half when we should have been steamrolling them. Coming second in the pool has been a blessing for France.

      • disqus_NMX

        Yeah, but we are even more turgid.

        • UTG

          Are we? We make a fuckton of errors but we usually look good doing them.

        • disqus_NMX

          Yep, we are horrifically turgid when our forward runners stand still waiting to receive the ball.

        • UTG

          Well, luckily our forward runners have been our strength this year then.

        • Patrick

          We didn’t look very good in the Foley half against Wales, judging by my stomach…

        • UTG

          I thought that was a perfect summation of Wallaby play. Made breaks and looked dominant with ball in hand but found ourselves 10+ points down because of howling errors (intercept passes) and glaring inaccuracies at the breakdown.

      • Missing Link

        …and to think Foley started at 10!! If Foley plays against England, I’m out guys!

        if KB is out, Koro, Hodge and DHP back 3. CLL @ 10. if we’re going to beat England, we are going to beat them using the game plan they beat us in 1995, 2003 and 2007, Cheika will disagree though

        • UTG

          This Wallaby side usually has one big game in them a year (ABs 2017, Ireland 2018, ABs 2019), looking for one more here.

        • Missing Link

          We’re going to need a few things to fall into place for us…. We beat England, Ireland beat NZ, South Africa don’t make it to the final. From my perspective, England, NZ and South Africa look to be the teams to beat. If England go on to play NZ in the Semi, it will be one for the ages.

        • UTG

          If we beat England, I’ll be happy enough with the tournament even if we bow out in the semis (provided we give NZ a good shake). Would probably be a fitting end, Cheika goes off into the sunlight happy that he got the last laugh against Eddie and the players aren’t too dispirited because a semi is a decent result.

        • Who?

          A Semi Final loss means a Bronze match start…

        • UTG

          Ah yes, how could I forget the treasured bronze from our illustrious 2011 campaign.

        • Who?

          Whoever loses the SF from our side of the draw has to be favourite to take home the bronze, as whoever wins that SF will also be favourites to win the tournament.
          Better to have the Bronze than lose it, like 87…
          And it means no one’s campaign ends in an SF loss. They get to play that game (which you rightly demonstrate is always lacking for motivation).

        • UTG

          Of course, if we got there I’d be pissed we couldn’t beat Wales/France/Japan/South Africa (if SA were coming off a loss) but a semi is all I want right now.

        • Neil Pocock

          Itd be funny if we meet Japan in the final…… and loose….

        • Neil Pocock

          Mate I called the loss the second I saw Foley listed on the team sheet! Absolute JOKE! Cost us that game for sure….. too much damage had been done for the real playmakers by the time Foley got the boot!

    • In order of (my) certainty:

      I think Ireland are the only Tier 1 nation (Japan are weirdly not a Tier 1 nation, despite happily topping their pool) to have really put an 80 minute performance together so far in the pool stages. Still can’t see them topping the ABs though. They peaked in 2017/8 and are now past their prime.

      I think, for the first time in a while, the England v Australia match looks like the forward clash of the titans in this round. Cheika can make this pick too easy – Foley, Beale, the Pooper, England will win. CLL or Toomua, DHP, a balanced back row and there’s a chance. I think England win this, and if Cheika falls back into “you’re a ‘Tah, you’re in” the odds just go up for me.

      Wales v France depends on which France shows up. The side that romped out to lead against Argentina… Wales might be in trouble. The side that nearly lost that lead, Wales will win. Recent history, and they have a lot of it, favours Wales. But this is a newer French side and they have a habit of peaking in RWCs. I still think Wales’ A side will soak up the flair and grind out a win.

      SA v Japan could be a compelling match. We know Japan can… And SA had the potential to be sloppy as recently as last year, although that extra year with Erasmus seems to have got them all on the same page. If SA are a little bit off and let Japan impose their speed and accuracy, plus the home advantage, heart says it’s a possibility even as the head says Boks win.

      • Patrick

        I largely agree. I do worry that England will be super motivated and will school us in 80 minute tactical pressure rugby. As you say either Foley or Beale and it’s a steep road, both and we’re rooted.

        France I feel good about, Wales just don’t seem to have it and while they will lift this French team can bring the power and speed when they turn it on, and I expect them to play like there is no tomorrow.

        Japan I can’t help but hope but the Springboks will be another league.

        • I think Wales play in a cohesive style that doesn’t translate well to Australian eyes. But you have to remember they can absorb French flair, English pace and power and they won a grand slam this year with basically the player pool that will be taking the pitch against France on Sunday. I don’t think they win the tournament against NZ but unless the other side plays out of their skins, or injuries play a cruel role, Wales have the beating of the NH sides tucked in recent memory and the self-belief that goes with that.

          My head certainly tips SA. But if Japan start like they did against Scotland and keep the pace feverishly high, cracks could start. I think the Boks are miles better than they were last year when Erasmus’ plans were all new and not integrated, but I just wonder a little, especially with 70,000 home fans too

        • Patrick

          fair points all usual

  • Nutta

    Morning Cobbers

    Outstanding skills and speed on display from both sides last night. Fantastic to watch and simply represented all-round good for rugby in general. Great to see the Refs not being THE talking point either so there is life after ‘The Protocol’. And for Scotland, well, be careful what you hire the lawyers for because you just might get it…

    Speaking of ‘The Protocol’, I get that by The Protocol they were the correct calls but that amazing Irishman Bundee Aki should not have seen a red and the Samoan Hooker should not have had to take a walk either. That’s not rugby. You could actually see poor Nick Berry wincing as he followed the protocol steps to their inevitable conclusion. I sort of felt sorry for him. I know I know I’ll now cop my pasting…

    God I love Fiji. A team of worth at the Bill, God-Knows how many contracted players in how many clubs around the world and still pulling tries like that in NRC. Vinaka vakalevu (I think – hopefully I didn’t tell someone to eat frogs).

    On reflection, I for one was pretty happy with the Georgian game. Yes the amount of dropped balls was disappointing but against a team like that the big issue was to get the set piece functioning correctly and our kick-off, scrum and lineout were pretty flawless. Our continuity issues were related to the 1-3-3-1 frenetic game plan. That’s a completely different issue I (and others) have waxed lyrical about enough. It is what it is and our whinging about it here will change it about as much as it has in the last 5yrs…

    Cheks v Jones – Randwick & NSWRU must be so proud and indeed we also can be so proud in anticipation of the statesmanship we shall witness for the rest of this week. We know how well they shall represent us. In the meantime the rest of you can just look at the ground and shuffle your feet uncomfortably.

    • As I’ve posted before, the framework is designed to be simple and to (try) to make it fair and straight-forward so everyone is on the same page. But rugby is not simple.

      Aki’s RC was absolutely correct IMO – you can argue about degree of mitigation, according to the protocols. But in a wider context it’s a weird rugby situation and the protocols don’t account for a taller player and shorter player looking for the ball bouncing around on the ground, the taller player losing out and being there to hit the shorter one in the head with his shoulder. Should that be a RC? On one hand yes… shoulder to the head, on the other no… we want both players to be able to chase after the ball when it’s loose like that, and perhaps it should be a rugby incident, same as when you hit your own player, unless you line up to hit the player…

      Likewise the YC… if you go into the tackle correctly and the other player comes down that low, mitigation should be able to dip lower than RC to YC. If the Irish player wasn’t basically running with his knees on the ground, that’s a great tackle but because his legs go out… YC. I mean, it’s right call, but no.

      Hopefully the dreaded framework will be adjusted in light of some of these incidents. Broadly I think it’s a good thing, but it’s in its alpha state. Like the jumping to compete for the ball interpretation it’s got the right core idea but it needs hundreds of applications under pressure to see how it needs tweaking and the rough edges smoothing off.

  • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

    Am I the only one who was bored with the confected, juvenile Cheika vs Jones verbal stoush before it even started? Is there really so little to report on?

    • Keith Butler

      No you are not alone. They’re like a couple of kids and it will only get worse as the week progresses.

    • laurence king

      Can’t listen to the man anymore, just waiting for him to go. Really don’t want to lose against the Poms, but the silver lining would be to see the back of the man. I so tired of brainless footy, it’s almost as bad as league.

    • Who?

      Can’t help but think we’d be less bored with it if it weren’t for the fact that we’re going to lose it, as well as the game…

  • Bobas

    Can’t wait for the team. Not sure who will end up in fullback.

    • Parker


    • Hoss

      Our site now live to pick your XXIII to play the Dodgers this Saturday

    • Custard Taht

      On form DHP, however Beale still has plenty of $$$$ in his Cheikaccount.

  • Hoss

    Interesting press conference by the Scottish coach last nite, post match.

    Admittedly i am on the Fox Platinum Plus package – so some of you may not have seen this. Insightful

  • DLG

    “Doesn’t matter all the different things, who’s had a week off, who’s had a week on, who’s been resting, who hasn’t.

    “It’ll all come down to what happens on kick-off.”

    So begs the question, why does Cheika talk up how well they’ve been training all the time?

  • disqus_NMX

    I feel a bit for Nathan today…. he kindly presents 4 news items for us all, and we ignore them and talk about nothing except Japan v Scotland :P

  • Keith Butler

    Great effort from the Japanese and credit to the Scots for fighting back in the 2nd half. Don’t no if Japan will be able to produce a repeat performance against the Saffas but they will give it a go. And to all those that thought us SDs whinge i’ll see that and raise you Laidlaw and Russell. If it were an Olympic sport they’d get gold and silver.

    • Greg

      I thought the blue 7 needed to pull his head in as well. lots of huffing and puffing and waving arms. He got the rub of the green and just needed to zip it tight.

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    Well done Western Force winning the minor premiership despite an incredible bad injury toll with key players like Prior, Alcock, Stander, Longbottom and many others injured. The finals will be a real test for our depth and many locals will get an opportunity to play – some of the bench. The way the team played made us as supporters very proud. We will be at UWA’ hill this weekend supporting our team


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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