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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News looks at the results from Super Rugby Australia and Aotearoa, Steve Hansen’s criticism of Australian rugby and Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forest’s pledge to Rugby Australia


Something old, something blue

Karmichael Hunt Waratahs v Reds 2019 (Credit Keith McInnes)

Round two of the Super Rugby Australia competition welcomed the introduction of the Super Time format and the return of the Force.

The round started in the neutral venue of Brookvale Oval, where the Rebels looked to get their first points on the board against the Reds.

In wet conditions, they looked set to secure the all-important win when Billy Meakes latched onto an intercept pass to put the Melbourne side up 18-8 in the 68th minute.

However, James O’Connor would keep his side in the contest, slotting the penalty goal before putting Chris Feauai-Sautia into a hole with seconds remaining, producing the perfect pop-up pass for Alex Mafi to cross under the posts to send the game into extra time.

Unfortunately, neither side could manage to break the deadlock, with the game ending in an 18-all draw.

Rebels coach Dave Wessels was disappointed after the match, lamenting his side’s final five-minute collapse.

“We should’ve had the game in the bag,” he said post-match.

“To have a lead like that and then blow it in the last few minutes, credit to the Reds for fighting but we didn’t control the game well at that point and it’s disappointing.”

The action then headed down the M1 with the Waratahs welcoming the return of the Force, however, they would be in for a rude shock as the boys from the West dominated the opening half.

With the Force leading 14-0 after 30 minutes, the home side would find another gear, scoring 23 unanswered points of their own thanks to tries to Angus Bell and Tom Staniforth.

Despite the loss, Force coach Tim Sampson was pleased with the effort put in by his side, believing that they made the organisation and the state proud.

“We didn’t come into about wanting to prove a point, we know where we’re heading as a club and we’re in a really good position and we’re rapt to be playing in this competition,” he said.

“I think people within our organisation knew what we were going to deliver tonight and it’s one to be proud of.

“I’m sure here’s a lot of people back home that were rapt to see us out there playing but happy with that performance.”

Aoeroera action

Crusaders' fans 2017

The Crusaders have cemented their status as the premier team in New Zealand (and the world IMO), securing a 26-15 win over the Blues.

The Blues took it to the defending champions, racing out to a 15-9 lead thanks to a Rieko Ioane try and a pair of penalty goals to Otere Black.

However, in true Crusaders fashion, they would find another gear when it mattered and secured the win thanks to converted tries to Mitchell Drummond and Will Jordan, plus another penalty from Mo’unga.

The intense contest was just what both sides needed, with Crusaders captain Codie Taylor likening the atmosphere to a test match.

“We saw it as a Test match,” said Crusaders captain and All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor.

“That was hard-fought. They were on top for most of the game, really, but we knew if we came out in the second half and won those little moments we would get the job done.”

In the Sunday game, the Hurricanes would hold off a fast-finishing Highlanders outfit to record a 17-11 victory.

The home side raced out to a 12-0 lead thanks to tries to TJ Perenara and Cobus van Wyk during the opening half.

The Otago-based side would mount a mini-comeback, with Mitchell Hunt slotting a 51st-minute penalty before Aaron Smith crossed the line to reduce the margin.

However, the Hurricanes would manage to hold off their attack, securing the win to ensure that they maintained pace with the second-place Blues.

Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara was pleased with the result, although stressed that they need to work on their discipline if they want to compete with the top sides.

“That was massive for us,” Perenara said post-match.

“What we will look at is we are giving away a lot of penalties that are getting teams up to our end of the field which is hurting us.”

Stubborn Steve

steve-hansen-listens

As Australia and New Zealand attempt to work out a viable domestic competition, former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has urged NZ to ‘stand up for themselves’ and limit the presence/influence of Australian teams.

Throughout the week, Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan made it clear that Australia would not be bullied by its trans-Tasman neighbour throughout negotiations for future competitions.

This came after an internal report revealed that a trans-Tasman league could contain as few as two or three Australian sides, five New Zealand teams and at least one side from the Pacific Islands.

Hansen, who is the former owner of the cushiest jobs in sport, believes that they don’t owe Australia anything, suggesting that NZ buckles too much to their Tasman neighbours.

“Without being controversial, we have been looking after the Aussies for years,” Hansen told Stuff.

“And every time we have required something from them, particularly at a high level, sometimes they have gone missing.

“Do we owe them something? No. But because we are the nation we are, and we care about the game more than just ourselves, we bend and buckle a bit.

“I think New Zealand Rugby are in the mood for having strong discussions … because they only get one shot at it.”

Hansen urged NZR to consider what works best for their young players, with the fear that the competition could be watered down by too many teams.

“You have got to start with, ‘what do you want out of it?’ rather than, ‘OK, we are going to have this competition’,” Hansen said.

“It has to be really competitive and produce world-class players. If you allow it to become watered down, there is too big a gap between Super Rugby and Test rugby.

“You don’t want to be diluting the talent pool. And then you have to ask, ‘Do we want our athletes travelling all around the world as much as they have been?’

“What was most important was to ensure Super Rugby was still a tough battleground for young men aiming to play for the All Blacks.”

Twiggy turn of heart

matt hodgson andrew twiggy forrest dave wessels

In a sign that tensions between Western Australia and Rugby Australia are beginning to mend, Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forest is reportedly open to making a large-scale financial investment in Australia’s Super Rugby replacement if the code makes massive changes to its state administrations.

Speaking with the Herald, Forest has revealed that he would be willing to pump the major financial resources of Tattarang, the private equity arm of his $14 billion empire, into rugby if they continue down the path that they are going.

“The administration of Rugby Australia needs to stay on the trajectory that Hamish has it on. In a practical sense, aiming firstly for best practice and then for world’s best,” Forrest said.

“I’ve been clear to Hamish that we are supporting the trajectory and that we’d like him to be unreasonable in his own expectations of the administration’s performance. That’s what the game in Australia deserves.

“We’re not going to give an unconditional guarantee but what we will give is that encouragement and we will continue to support the administration while the administration strongly supports the entire game in Australia.”

Forest holds the belief of most sane people, recognising rugby is one of the best sports out there.

However, he believes that the current structure gets in its way, urging each state organisation to come together and work towards a common goal.

“Rugby should be the premier sport in the world, it caters for all shapes and sizes, for boys and girls, for young and old, and it builds up communities. It just has governing bodies that get in the road,” Forrest said.

“We know that Hamish McLennan knows that the structure of the administration has to change.

“The dreadful situation we have now is that the administrations between all the states are as competitive as the teams when they run on to the field.

“When one competes against the other they’re making the game poorer. We simply have to have them all pulling in the same direction.”

  • Geoffro

    Sounds like Hansen is carrying a bit of a chip on his shoulder after his failed WC swansong.As for Twiggy,if he wants to pump more cash into Aussie rugby,I want to let him !

    • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

      Especially if he can have President Winnie the Pooh installed as RA supreme overlord commander in chief.

  • Gun

    It’s probably just me but I don’t give a rats arse about NZ’s domestic rugby comp.

    • onlinesideline

      its not just you. I would much rather watch North Queensland v the Force, or NSW country v the Rebels than Waratahs v The Highlanders anyday. I couldnt care about the standard, as long as its a game. Come test time Im sure we will put a decent side together and it wlll be the unknown and interesting again.

    • JJ

      I must admit, I fell asleep during the Hurricanes vs Highlanders game. Awful lot of kicking for Kiwis.
      But I can see why they rave about Jordie Barrett.

  • onlinesideline

    Im curious what exactly are the examples Hansen is referring to where at certain “high level times” we have denied the kiwis certain “things”.

    I’d say overall they have done pretty bloody well off us – without all our losses to them, how else would they have achieved such a mythical status. I say we counter claim some financial compensation for the emotional pain, national trauma and spikes in domestic violence situations arising out of all the past losses since 2004 and future losses as well. I tally that up to be around $100 000 000 ( that’s Australian dollars thank you, not that paper money ! )

    What a sooky way to start your negotiations Hansen.

    • Nutta

      I like your argument. It’s like the Washington Generals justification for a payrise.

      • onlinesideline

        lol – you crazy fucker Nutta

        • Nutta

          But seriously though, you and I have similar logic and underlying observations – population, spectacle, alternate markets etc – but just surprisingly different outcomes in how to react to them.

    • Missing Link

      I think Hansen is referring to us losing to England in the World Cup. If we had beaten England, then NZ would have beaten us in the semi and SA in the final. Hansen might actually believe that we denied them back to back to back world cups.

    • Dally M

      I’d also love to hear how they have been looking after us for years….how? By giving us regular beatings? Why thankyou Shagger!

    • Ads

      Maybe he means 99 World Cup when if I recall (yes I’m that old) they lost joint hosting due to signage requirements and it was all our fault? Yes it was a long time ago but we still hear about underarm (and Paul Carozza to be fair). Maybe he’s just a twat.

      • onlinesideline

        Hes just positioning because its the future of the game for the next 10 years. Until the Amercans arrive which wont be long. My hope is he keeps on stirring the pot, calls the aussies’ bluff and we actually DO go it alone.

      • Yowie

        The 99 RWC signage thing was something that occurred to me.

        It’s reading a bit like a populist/racist politician’s playbook.

        “Those other group people have been holding us back for generations. It’s time to teach them a lesson” (etc.)

        • Mica

          They took our “jerbs” to quote South Park. Hey little town surrounded by mountains. Resemblence to Cartman. I think I’m onto something here :)

        • Yowie

          It’s a strange place filled with odd people alright.

    • Who?

      I’d expect that Shag’s complaints about ‘high level times’ denying Kiwis certain ‘things’ is a reference to the 2003 RWC, where they were supposed to share hosting rights. But they were apparently not ready, or made the IRB uncertain, so the ARU managed to get NZ’s co-hosting pulled. Kiwis have long, long memories.

      I don’t think either nation can sustain a high level of local professionalism without a high level international provincial competition. Australia can’t go past 5 pro teams. NZ can’t go past 5 (they’re saying that themselves). We shouldn’t go under 5 pro teams. 8 ANZ teams isn’t enough to make a competition long enough to justify paying full time athletes, and without paying them as full timers, they’re going to play elsewhere – overseas or other codes.

      And it’d be hard to develop our own style in isolation to Kiwis when only 2 of our top 6 head coaches (Super + Test) are Aussies, and 3 are Kiwis (Thorn, Penney, Rennie). We’ve not developed our own IP for a long time now. It’s great to have Johnson appointed to do that (well done Raelene). But until we’ve had time to develop that, and develop some momentum, we’re in no position to run a professional domestic comp. Let alone to a standard that would make other club envious of our comp.

      • onlinesideline

        mate this may sound a little vague but i really dont think the style Im talking about comes from the coaches. I know I know. Its sounds weird. There are other factors which contribute. The dryer weather. The NRL influence on aussie footy players generally which is uniquely australian. The style that organically emerges from 20 week seasons playing EACH OTHER ONLY. The less tangable things that just make us aussie and them kiwi. There are many ways to play this game and every country has a different way, look, style. The players actually playing the game, their size, shape, speed, they are the natural factors that contribute to how the game actually looks. Coaches may direct strategy and select players but we are still just different from the kiwis. The only way we will develop IP is forcing to happen. If we are not prepared to suffer a drop in standard, which personally I think is over estimated (look how many times we were down Pocock and Folau, our superstars and the Wallabies played in a completely different way and we won) we will be forever be a comp that misses out on teh best talent. We have the population and country size and variety to grow a 10-12 club comp. Not a problem. Players would come out of no where. How often did we see guys in NRC stick their hand up for Super.

        • Who?

          Don’t stress sounding vague – I’m ok with that. You’re right – there’s definitely things we do that are inherently different to Kiwis. Kiwis really do love playing on turnover ball, and we’re still more likely to try and hold possession and work for territory, in spite of Kiwi coaches. But I don’t think we have the IP to even consider playing amongst ourselves for 20 weeks in a year, unless you’re planning to play 5 provinces against each other 4 times. Which would get horribly repetitive.

          We’re I’m concerned about a lack of IP, I don’t think the best way is to throw people in at the deep end, as has been the case during most of the Cheika era (and seemingly for a while before that, given the dearth of coaching stocks coming through). The best solution is to give training, support, THEN throw the coaches in, but continue to support them. The NRC has been a great thing for our coaching stocks; I’m disappointed to see it’s not continuing this year.

          Beyond all that, though… You’ve talked about the Wallabies playing without Folau and Pocock. Honestly, I don’t have many memories of the Wallabies winning much at all lately, so…… :-(

          We need to keep our game professional locally, and that won’t happen with a domestic-only comp at this time. One day, maybe. I’d love to see the NRC reinstated and developed into that competition, but I’m know it’s extraordinarily unlikely. At this point in time, with our current governance and money woes, we’re far more likely to succeed retaining (some) of our best talent local by having a truly professional game, and that’s by retaining an international provincial competition of some description.

  • Nutta

    Morning All

    Thanks Nathan.

    Hanson – the guy is a professional shite-stirrer so take it in the manner it was intended.

    NZ have the march on us with skill and spectacle. No argument. So all things equal they get more teams as they bring better product. But without SA, the comp needs our population base to generate revenue especially with the cost of a Poly team and no Japanese team pumping in corporate cash. So to quote an oldie – ‘Australia will be there’.

    But all that said, after watching the absolutely bullshite skills exhibited by Oz professional footballers on the weekend, maybe we only deserve to have 2 or 3 teams at the show. The gulf, the chasm, the leap in space & time between what was played on either side of the ditch was enough to make a sane man ask if it was even the same game. One glaring example was just exactly how in Christs name we put 8 professional footballers who claim to be Hookers on the field over the weekend and not fkn 1 of them could throw a ball well enough to hit water from a rowboat is simply bewildering. Please tell me exactly what fkn skills you mob have been practicing other than Insta-perving, Playstation and right-handed wrist-curls throughout the longest pre-season in history? Seriously, some of you so-called professionals have the ball-skills of life-long committed lesbians. Jezuz I’m throwing poppers for 4th grade at the moment and if i threw that shite I would get punted – and rightly so – from fkn 4th grade in an amateur club. It was embarrassing to watch.

    Twiggy talks centralisation. Well bugger me, there’s a novel idea. How many times do folk need to have the same picture painted for them? Ah well – right direction at least.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Mate I’m with you on the poor skills. Not only the Hookers, although they were by far the most obvious, but accuracy in kicking was missing in most cases, ball passing was slow and stilted and there just seems to be a lack of tactics on the filed. I felt like Vivian in the Young Ones on Friday. “bored, bored, bored”
      https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjE_dSR48jqAhU4zTgGHaCpC60Q3ywwAHoECAoQAw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D0VH-tJSpkjA&usg=AOvVaw0TUN8T11E_cUTSTjv_Gtct

      • Nutta

        Mate I went at the Whores because they were the most obvious. But don’t fret, there were 14 other positions out there of which absolutely zero clothes themselves in glory in terms of skill level.

    • Damo

      We are trialling new laws. I wish we were trialling new skills and attitudes. 4 teams in NZ on the weekend trying desperately to win. In contrast 4 teams here who seemed to be hell bent on not losing.

      • Nutta

        I think a large part of it was coming from effort. For the 2nd week in a row there were some mighty solid hits going in out there in both games and not just in the spectacular/visible stuff. Some of the clearing-out and defensive work was brutal. But the venom overcame the vision too many times and the need for clear heads to execute basis skills was frequently just AWOL.

    • Past to present..
      Can take a while to polish a turd, just rolling it in glitter at the moment.

    • UTG

      Highlanders had the lowest lineout % of the weekend.

      • Nutta

        Fair point. But that’s a bit like saying the USS Arizona was a worse shipping disaster than the BlueStar Titanic because the USS Arizona sunk faster. It’s a true statement, but they were both pretty shite events comparable only as a race to the bottom (no pun was intended, but on reflection it is a pretty good pun).

        • UTG

          Nice analogy, I agree the fact the Highlanders’ lineout was crap doesn’t excuse the lineouts in the Reds and Rebels game (Waratah lineout actually had a better % than the Crusader lineout but you expect that with Simmons running it). I just think the whole ‘Kiwi skill levels are so much higher’ meme is overblown. The Crusaders vs Chiefs a couple of weeks ago was played in similar conditions to the Reds and Rebels and was the same awful quality. The average skill level of Australian players is below NZ but it just gets tiresome each week to see ‘man the NZ games were so much better to watch’ regardless of the actual quality of the match.

        • Nutta

          Fair enuf. I will make an honest attempt to be more positive.

        • idiot savant

          Agree with that. Oz sides match the physicality of the kiwis. Fitness is behind as you’d expect starting later. Not sure we have ever been able to match the intensity of the last 20 minutes tho. The bros are out on their own in the world there. Lineouts have been crap on both sides of the pond. Are the synthetic balls an issue? (I also think refs need to police jumping into the man and knocking the arms better – negative tactics are winning out and the spectacle is poorer for it). Im hoping that these new rules will improve skills because there is noticeably less time for backs now. Its part of why the games have been poor to watch.

    • Yowie

      Hanson – the guy is a professional shite-stirrer so take it in the manner it was intended.

      Where’s Scott Johnson right when we need some sh!t-stirring barbs launched in the other direction?

      • Nutta

        Hands-on-solo is clearly a professional shite-stirrer. I’m not actually sure what ScottyJ does just yet. Maybe there is confusion with role clarity and purpose?

    • Keith Butler

      But they didn’t have a towel to dry the ball. Would love to see this current lot play with the leather objects we had back in the day.

    • Happyman

      Mate Hansen is the same as MC a bit of an arse. The sole difference is a winning record. I have seen more culture in a yoghurt than this tool.

      Some of the shit he pulled when in charge was pretty average.

      • Hoss

        Did you check for a listening device before typing / saying that……….

        • Isn’t an echo a sign of such a device?

        • Hoss

          Dont know what happened there, best to use moarse code from now on, just in case ….—. —. –.–. – .. –

        • - …. . .. .-. — -. – — -.– — ..-

        • Yowie

          “THEIRONTOYOU”?

          You’re getting mixed up with Tiger Woods’ ex missus’ message to the back window of his car.

        • Happyman

          Yes a listening device in a disabled toilet in a domestic airport.

          Having disrespect the AB deity I will certainly have a fatwa out on me by the end of the day.

    • idiot savant

      Now could be the moment of maximum average from Twiggy to make some change to competing state administration. Lets hope he can swing some changes to the NSW / Qld stubbornness. Of course his money will only come if the Force play in the highest level competition. So there’s rocks and hard places ahead for RA.

      Now might also be the time to call the kiwi bluff. Tell them to jack their competition and stick with AU if all 5 Aust sides cant compete. And hopefully keep Twiggy’s money. The kiwis will then either have to keep travelling to Africa or go it alone with less money. Im not sure Jacinda will allow the former by next March so it could be the latter. Then what we should do is allow each Australian franchise to have up to 5 imports and poach some kiwis to AU. Lets do some bloody hard arsed negotiating with these arrogant protestants from the shaky isles. The arse is already out of our jeans. What have we got to lose?

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Nathan, Great to see the Force back and a pity they just didn’t have the depth to keep that first half going to the end. I’ve got to admit – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – but I thought Hooper played well at times in that game. The Force seemed to loose their way a bit in the 2nd half and got caught up paying the Tahs game instead of their own but overall good hit out and they will only get better. I’ve got to admit I found the game between the Reds and rebels to be one of the most boring games I’ve seen. While a fair bit of it was a distinct lack of individual skills, I personally think the new rules are arse and contribute to a lack of skills as they encourage people to “kick and hope” rather than plan and execute a tactical kicking game. The last 10 minutes in that game had to be the most boring crap I have ever witnessed on a rugby field. I know I’m biased but watching that and then the NZ games actually gives a bit of credibility to the talk about only 2 or 3 Aus teams in a Trans Tasman competition.

    On that Hansen, and those over here saying the same thing, are wrong and both NZ and Australia need to work together. Neither country is strong enough on its own to counter the NH organisations and so we need to work a way out where we can both work together on this. Great to see Twiggy bring some sanity back to the management of rugby here. Anything that breaks the current structure where the “old boys” of QLD and NSW keep stuffing the game up for their own biased viewpoints on their state has got to be welcomed.

    • onlinesideline

      Mate, you know where I stand on the issue about going it alone. I look at the difference between rugby standards of the 2 nations and despair. The question is, from the aussie point of view, the most important question is, has having such a season long connection with the kiwis, namely Super rugby, benefited us, as a code here in OZ ? People could argue that if we didnt have ANY connection, except for the usual test level matches we would would be WORSE off as their would be know trickle down effect that comes from player the kiwis. But I argue differently. I really think we need to address the codes relationship with ourselves first, the pecking order we find ourselves in with respect to the other competing winter codes with Australia. This to my mind is the ROOT of the problem. If we competed more successfully for more able bodied young aussie kids and attracted more of them to rugby, something a proper 20 week nation wide comp would do, we would “cultivate” a high level of rugby. WHY you ask ? Because its means MORE representation of our natural born athletic ability which clearly DO HAVE. Its that very fact that I am basing my argument on. Rugby smarts is coachable and lets be honest, we share a lot of the kiwi knowledge base and know how anyhow. Whats the one thing besides the speed an skill of kiwi footy that stands out. Its the sheer mix of size and power of the kiwi rugby players themselves. We have them here in OZ but they going to NRL. If we tapped more of these guys we could reverse things in a big way. We must take NRL and AFL on, head on to do this. When we do this and make inroads in this area Aussue rugby will never look back. Then we will have our own home grown standards of aussie excellence on the rugby pitch, have a higher confidence level, knowing we have just finishe a gruelling aussie 20 weeks comp, with a high standards ALSO full of big fast and powerful dudes AND THEN we can front up against the kiwis with no baggage, full of honest self belief born out of an all aussie code fought rigourously back home. Then the days of low standard reds v rebels yawnfests will be over

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Yeah mate I’m just not so sure rugby should compete with the other codes the way they do. To my mind if rugby had a good governance and not run by people with the correct tie, was looking after players, administrators, referees and coaches properly, was building from grass roots to test and developed skills rather than attitude then I think you’d get the people coming through.
        I don’t think the game here will ever be big enough to go it alone and I think both Australia and NZ are better working together. Either way though there will be less money to go around so wages will have to drop

        • onlinesideline

          HOW does Australia and NZ “working together” ACTUALLY address OUR problems internally ? The trans Tasman comp you are suggesting be put in place ( I assume that’s what you mean by working together ) does WHAT exactly helping us as aussies tap the guys going to NRL … SERIOUS QUESTION. Because that is what we need.

          You guys are winning and we are constantly losing. We are failing badly. Our game crowds are atrocious and the various combinations of the things you site above have been tried in different combinations / degrees at varying times and yet its just been 20 years of the same CRAP. Grass root grass roots grass roots. If it hasnt been done by now it aint gonna happen. Its like convincing people if you just offer the Palestinians this or that, there will be peace. But in reality no matter what you offer, it wont make the slightest bit of difference because what they really want is Tel Aviv. Point is, its delusional to think a different version of the same thing is going to work. What we have here in Australia is the schizophrenic situation of a bunch of private school guys who want to protect the idea of a niche, upper class, private school, elitist code but ALSO tap into the the WHOLE nations BEST TALENT ie its not really a private school game but its the peoples game but its a private school game but its the peoples game.. and so on and so on. They are utterly confused and that’s why the code is just an Australian sporting embarassment.

          I really think we need whole new profile as a code within Australia. You say “I don’t think the game here will ever be big enough to go it alone” – Well my response to that is, of course it wont unless we make it happens and TRY. Its never going to just fall in our lap. We have to go on the attack and make it happen. Fixing the cash problem will avoid annihilation but changing the format will actually bring success. Pouring gazillions into a crook recipe is prolonging the agony. I say make the break now, start something new and play the kiwis at the pointy end of the season.

        • Gun

          Love it.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Good rant though mate. Love the passion and that’s what makes rugby so great. I think a lot of guys go to NRL because they see that being good doesn’t get you anywhere in rugby here. The people running the game at the club and province level have so much influence that being good isn’t enough. You also need to have contacts in the hierarchy of the clubs and provinces to get anywhere. I’ve heard so many times that it’s not how good you are but who you know that counts in getting selected in age grade teams, school teams, club teams and for the state. I think a lot of good players see that and know that they haven’t actually met that criteria and so when league comes knocking they respond.
          I absolutely believe there needs to be an Australian only competition above club rugby and I was hoping that the NRC would be that competition. You need something to take someone from even the top clubs into Super Rugby as the game at that level is so much faster and tougher. The days of someone from Shute Shield going straight into Super Rugby and making a statement from day 1 is long gone. If you want to have a competition between the NRC, or it’s equivalent and tests then you also need something at the level of Super rugby.

        • onlinesideline

          So what is the feeder comp into NRL 1st grade ? Its 2nd grade.

          Why cant we have the same in rugby ? Or put another way, why is it that NRL can produce such a good comp without having what you would call a substantial comp underneath it. There are lower grades but really its not that preparatory ? Why has the NRL deemed it unnecessay. I’ll tell ya. Because the game is truly nation, and there are so many amazing young kids, the comp is naturally good.

          Let me ask you this. If there was NO league in OZ, would our rugby teams be far better and would we be able to produce more teams. Answer yes on both counts. So its accessing raw talent. There is a limit to how MUCH a player develops and grows. Having feeder comps are over rated. And if you are talking about the game being too small in OZ to go it alone HOW CAN ON THE OTHER HAND SUGGEST, the existence of shite sheld, then NRC, then Super, then test level. THAT IS THE BIG MISTAKE. Thats why NRC failed. Because the game is too small AT PRESENT.

          We should be making our NRC our Super rugby equivalent. People just dont get that. Forget the preset incarnation of NRC in its present form. The operative word is NATIONAL. Make that our Super. If you think players will bolt to Europe and Japan …. GREAT – WHO CARES.
          It wont make the slightest difference because we will eb atracting new talent that woluld have been going to League, because we will have a new NATION wide comp.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          fair enough. I don’t think it’ll work but as neither of us are actually able to influence this much I guess we’ll never know

        • Dally M

          You gotta have the money available to compete with the likes of the NRL & AFL for talent especially when the chances of making it in either of those codes is greater. You stay with rugby you have 4-5 teams who might sign you. League there is 16 and AFL 18.

          Not only are your chances better, you’ll be better paid i.e. Joseph Suaalii just signed for 3 years at $1.7M. Rugby can’t afford to do that. Some would say League can’t either but i digress…

        • onlinesideline

          Well get the private equity or Twiggy money creating a new NRL style comp with high salary caps and pay the big players to get the thing going. We have burnt so many 10s of millions of dollars on what ? Where has that money gone. Its gone on a financing a losing format that has completely failed for at least 8-9 years. Its not the money its the way we are spending it. Stop with this top down BS and grow a national all aussie comp to take on NRL. Build the actual game, the national side will just come. Look at the Kangaroos. They just come together so easily because the national comp of the NRL is part of the fibre of the country.

        • Dally M

          I’m with you 100% on finding better ways to spend that money.

          The bones are there to go it on our own with what is left of SR being 5 Oz sides and some of the stuff from GRR we could definitely put together a mainly domestic comp with some international flavour.

          The global season doesn’t look like it will ever happen so we could even sync with the end of the Japanese Top League and have a couple of their teams involved.Or perhaps that could be part of a champions league set up where you could include Japan, MLR in the US etc.

          Plenty of options if the Kiwi’s don’t want to play ball.

        • paul

          Great rant agree completely, until the game learns to stand on its own two feet here then nothing will change.

      • Gun

        Now that’s a coherent statement on where we need to go. We can have a comp which ensures that at its core the success of the comp as an entertaining sporting business is paramount.

        • onlinesideline

          exactly – look at local darbies in English soccer, 3rd division. Low standards but they are close, tough games, sold out venues and tonnes of tribalism. Once you have a tribalism as the fuel for your product, ie as you say, an entertaining product, that will attract new talent, because every player deep down wants to show everyone how good he is in front of full albeit small but packed out local grounds and then the self perpetuating cycle is created.

  • D-Box

    Biggest difference between AU and NZ games is the Aussie teams are playing not to loose while the Kiwi teams are playing to win.

    How often do the Aussie teams try to score a try from in their own 50? Kick it instead and hope for the best

    • UTG

      Did you lament the lack of a kicking game under Cheika and criticise the ‘run it from anywhere’ strategy?

      • D-Box

        Perhaps from under the posts, but when you are on your defensive 10 on third phase with a full backline out and play bomb it on one of the back three and hope for a lucky contest…

        • UTG

          The Waratahs have the best kicking game in the competition, stands to reason that they’d use it and use it effectively as they did. If the Reds and Rebels tried to throw the ball around in their own half my guess is the criticism would be ‘Australian teams don’t have a wet weather game plan’. Sure criticise the execution but the selective criticism of the tactics just reeks of people lining up to stick the boot in for the sake of it.

      • Nutta

        I did.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        I don’t think it’s so much the amount of kicking, more it’s the seemingly lack of intelligent kicking with no chasers that gives the ball away with no gain.

  • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

    My summary from the weekend;

    Reds v Rebs: Like watching two blind people trying to have sex. Everyone’s poorer for watching it, but still you can’t look away. No one winning is apt.

    Tahs v Tahs A: The Tahs A are who we thought they were, and the spreadsheet doesn’t lie. The Tahs seem to be headed towards the right direction, but we’ve seen this before.

    Brumbies: I thought they were anonymous, will need to show up next week to have a chance.

    • Hoss

      You made my morning mate.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Gold

    • Brumby Runner

      Bit rough on the Brumbies there Mortahs. Only team to arguably not have damaged their reputation over the weekend.

  • UTG

    Seems like Steve ‘we’re holding stuff back for the World Cup’ Hansen isn’t quite over the semifinal knockout. Still waiting for you to unveil that grand plan to beat the rush defence Steve.

    • Nutta

      One must remain relevant eh?

  • Crescent

    I do like Twiggys methods. He truly understands and isn’t afraid to invoke the Golden Rule – he who holds the gold, makes the rules. He has proven in WA he is not afraid to invest in the right places (player development) and to be patient with the top tier as these players filter through. Now he can use his substantial resource to force other parties to the table for the betterment of the game. And right now, he is the most viable source of finance for Australian rugby. Interesting times as he makes his moves ahead of the mooted private equity firms making their bid.

    • Hambone

      Is he not right tough? This rampant factionalism is one of the greatest detriments to our game in Australia moving forward. The game is booming abroad, and we keep slipping further and further behind.
      “An outsider” with a decent haystack in his back pocket might be exactly what we need to shake things up and get us back on track.
      We have one of the top coaches in the world onboard, a billionaire with a love for the game and a rare moment in time where we can release the shackles of an outdated super rugby comp, and build a stronger foundation for Australian rugby.
      It seems to me like all we need is a coupla extra lumps of sugar, a couple of hookers that can throw straight, and Kearns and co to fold up the deck chairs and call time and we might start turning a sharp corner finally.
      Obviously there are a few more ingrained issues that need some work, but calling in twiggy and listening to what he has to say isn’t such a bad thing in my mind.
      Hell, I’d even give him a couple free swings at clyne if he felt so inclined ;)

      • A couple? unfair regulation

      • Keith Butler

        Maybe Kearns should give a Masterclass on throwing in. Might shut him up for a bit.

  • Missing Link

    Morning folks, what a weekend to get bitten by the rugby bug again hah! No one wanted to win between the Reds and Rebels, and the crowd weren’t really getting into it, not surprising, I mean they could have at least played “Re-bels, Re-bels, Re-bels” and “We are Red, We are Red” over the PA just to make it seemed like someone gave a shit.

    Toomua messed up the end but I thought was better overall than O’Connor. I am not the rugby mastermind that Steve Hansen is, but is Hegarty playing more like a 10 and O’Connor playing off Hegarty and McDermott more like a 12 than a 10?
    no one could win a lineout off their own throw which was dissapointing as Hodge got that 50/22 at the end which could have given the Rebels a crack at the win, but they couldn’t complete the line out.
    Pone Faamausili had Phil Kearns salivating, with his big hits and hit ups, not really surprised as I think Kearns would be impressed watching mungo, no doubt Faamausili would be in Cheika’s squad playing like that.

    The Tah’s vs. the Force was a strange one. the tahs are hardly recognisable and resemble a school boy XV at the moment, the force are a mix of old heads and a few young kids looking for a break so hard to gauge where each team is at although there was some nice play at times especially by the Force to set up Ralston in the corner, but one way traffic for NSW after that.

    Hard to even contemplate a potential Wallaby XV at this stage.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I think more and more of the youngsters are showing that they should be in green and Gold and not the old guard who have been there for the last few seasons.

      • Missing Link

        It will certainly be a different group KRL, that’s for sure. Different coach, different strategy. I think Rennie will look at the group with a different set of eyes, unfortunately Cheika was guilty of a bit of conscious bias.

        Can probably pen Hooper, AAA, Samu, Tupou, Maddocks, Hodge, DHP, Koroibete, TK, Folau Faainga, JOC in, but the rest will be interesting.
        I think Philip from the Rebels could be very useful.

        • Hoss

          Noooooooooooooo. Is that you MC??

          I reckon there will be a few experienced guys around (Hooper, Simmons & co) BUT more than a sprinkling of new faces – Lolesio, McWreight, Wilson, Maddocks, Banks, Samu, Wright, – its Gen Next’s time, lets unleash a few of em.

          If ANY Auz team runs out with DHP & Hodge in it i will cheer for the opposition just on pure principal – yes, even the lamb lovers over the ditch.

        • Yowie

          In the NZ version of Married at First Sight, it was nearly a total disaster when all the brides-to-be got mixed up in the same paddock.

        • Hoss

          I am a tad concerned if the Wallabies select Ram for a test v the Nearlies. With such a surname I ‘d imagine he would come in for ‘special attention’ from them……..

        • Yowie

          Stay out of the long grass or we’ll kuck the shut out of you!

        • Hoss

          I got asked to leave a dining establishment once in NZ. I ordered lamb and they asked me how i wanted it, so i said ‘unmolested’, which i thought was quiet apt and funny, but………………

        • Yowie

          How did you go ordering baby goat at that Vatican City restaurant?

        • onlinesideline

          I thought Turkey would have been more dangerous and I’m talking about the country not the bird.

        • Dally M

          God help them if they try an NZ version of Farmer Wants a Wife!

        • Yowie

          Just get into a dufferent type of farming hey bro

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          sheep shaggers mate

        • Keith Butler

          I’m with you Hoss. Would not have DHP or Hodge in the squad. Banks or Maddocks to fight it out for the 15 jersey. No back playing out of position please.

        • Hoss

          A-bloody-men.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Not so sure on either DHP or Koroibete. I think Rennie will want more pace at 15 than DHP brings and he will want a winger who can defend as well as attack. but regardless it is going to be an interesting time.

        • Keith Butler

          Koroibetes defence is getting better. Put in one big hit and bounced up straightway to take out a McDermott. It was a good effort in my book.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Still out of position far too much because he still doesn’t understand all the nuances of the game

      • Dally M

        And don’t we desperately need it.

        A bunch of young kids with no baggage and the belief that the Kiwi’s are just another rugby team who they have beaten before. Throw in a new coach with an actual game plan and a clean slate selection policy with the best players in their positions being picked on form and jeez it’s an exciting time to be a Wallabies fan!

  • Hoss

    Welcome to a new week,

    I don’t know which road to tread today? One is the ‘grateful rugby is back’ line the other the Hiroshima Mayor response – ‘what the fuck was that?’

    So i will tread the line between the two.

    Rebels v Reds. Not even extra time could save that shit-show. It seemed to be played in slow motion with each side determined not to lose and almost pre-programmed to play exactly as told in the sheds. No adaptation, no improvisation, no risk taking, no individual brilliance, no demonstration of even the most basic of skills as eloquently espoused by Nutta. As an Oz rugby fan it was completely and utterly soul destroying to watch it. It was so bad i couldn’t turn it off as i sat there in an entirely numb stupor, for the first time in an age said stupor not assisted by Bourbon, but inflicted completely from the dedication of 90 minutes of my life to the never ending drudgery of this game.

    PS – the refereeing was 101% shite – that guys a tool.

    Overall rating on the Hosstometer 1.5 and 1 point from that 1.5 was for the 35m charge from the Rebs prop from the kick back into the teeth of the Reds – epic and the ONLY highlight from this pooch rooting, insipid contest.

    Having removed the faeces from the TV, repaired the cracks to the screen remotes, bottles – basically anything i could find to thropw at the unit on Friday nite i settled in for Saturday nite for the Tah’s v Force. The feel good story of the year. God’s own v the easy beat new boys. What could possible go wrong – right ? After enduring a 12 point IQ drop (none of which i can afford) and some brain bleeding from Fridays affair i set the bar low, real low and was pleasantly surprised by the endeavour and industry of the Force’s early play and at one stage it looked like a bad beating for the Sky Blue was on offer. What came to pass though was a yellow team hopped up on emotion and when that faded so too their chances. The Tah’s weren’t horrible, but a few observations:

    – Pat Healy stands far too deeeeeeep on attack, but his pass is great, he kicks reasonably well, is good on D and will develop with time. Overall the young Tah’s backs looked good, skilled, cohesive and with a good future, just nned game time to keep evolving – so much too like.
    – Ned ‘The Penalty’ Hannigan. Look, Ned gets a bad wrap as Segall gave him an inside run to gold – would any of us knock back a gold jersey in the same circumstances – hell no. He is willing, has a good engine, but he is largely ineffective in his role – someone needs to teach him to be more efficient and direct in his bread & butter work. He hits EVERY ruck like a drunk frat boy playing Twister – arms and legs everywhere and is a magnet for penalties in both offense and defense. If an old hard head could take him under their wing and just teach him he could be ok. However he still needs to be about 8kgs bigger and more direct to be more effective.
    – Maddocks is all class and has terrific clarity about what option to take and that 40m left foot kick and his L@R pass is sublime – the kids the whole package. Kurtley who anyone ?????
    – Ram. I like this kid. Quick, good in contact and goes looking for work – another good prospect
    – The Funky Bunch – good under the high ball, need to get involved more, but the raw ingredients are there
    – The new 9 (still don’t know his name). He is nimble, great pass and good engine – another talented young buck
    – Harris. Does his work, no fuss, no BS. Big unit, needs to develop his running game as the Tah’s DESPERATELY need a big, line-bending unit to give them front foot ball
    – Bell – same comments as Harris. Big future.

    Perhaps the previous nites game still rankled me a bit, but overall it was a fair game with positives for each side. A rusty WA side v a developing young NSW side so i am more glass half full here – overall Hosstometer rating 4.5.

    Overall we are two weeks in so not panic stations. Any investment takes a month or two to start showing a return. Yes, the Kiwis are certainly ahead of us in many aspects as they should be after 5-6 weeks of competition. Lets look at the bigger picture further down the track.

    • Gun

      Agree with all that. Maddocks is great and proof that the talent is there if allowed. His kicking setup is too slow. That needs to be remedied or he’ll lose us a big game in the future.

      • Hoss

        Haven’t really noticed the time for kicks – the kids the Mark Waugh of the Tah’s, just seems to have so much time on the ball. Add to that a clear rugby head, big boot, good hands and fair frame he i a really good get from the Frebels.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Mate I agree with most of that. For me next week against the brumbies will tell me more as I feel that in some ways the Force falling off in the 2nd half made some of the Tahs look better than they were. Agree 100% on not comparing them to the Kiwis who have been playing longer and TBH started at a higher level anyway. These guys will come right and get better every time they play. I tend to agree with Hanigan and damn right I’d have taken the opportunity if it was offered, BUT (and it is a big but) He needs to stop thinking he’s something special and learn and do the donkey work. In my mind he’s like both Toomua and JOC; playing themselves more and more out of a gold jersey every time they take to the paddock.

      • Hoss

        Yep, Ponies are the Aussie metric for measurement for sure. But, the Tah’s looked better when they stopped overplaying their hand and just went direct – route one. The overplaying is just the enthusiasm and inexperience of youth and it shows promise that Gene & Lee Majors could real them back in, play tighter and still get the chocolates. Also the Tah’s bench were good. Staniforth bought some much needed grunt, Hunt was terrific in all aspects – really aggressive, yard gaining hit-ups and some terrific kicks and Dempsey had some nice involvements. We just need more of that from the starting pack. Swinton, Bell and HArris all have the ability to grow into that Pottgeiter / Palu type carrier.

    • Had its moments.
      Didn’t find the Force to be emotive, a bit flat if anything.
      Maybe an obvious statement, happy with the first 30mins or so for the Force.
      Tahs played much better in the 2nd, though they were also let play better.
      Annoying to watch the Force fall back to old crap (Oz) habits in the 2nd half.
      Yea..4.5 sounds fair, with a touch of glitter

      • Hoss

        I just noticed, especially with no crowds you can hear a lot more on the effects mic of the ref’s now and your Sandgropers were fairly ‘chipper’ up until around 55 minutes when the wind (seemed too) come from the sails a bit. At 14 zip in the first half though i was a tad concerned.

        • Standing off in the lee will do that to sails.
          Tah’s seemed around the same time to remember why they were there.
          14 zip was about where I was impressed, after that, maybe not so much.
          Enjoyed it though, hopefully a few games to blow the dust off.
          Your boys showed some good punch up front in the 2nd, good to see

        • Hoss

          As nutta has often said mate – ‘meat & potato’s first – then gravy’. Simmo has obviously quoted Nutta in the sheds at halftime i reckon.

        • as have a few others no doubt.

        • andrewM

          don’t you mean a ‘tah concerned’? :)

        • Good point on the mic, just rewatched a bit of the game with the volume up.
          Why didn’t some1 tell me Kearnsy wasn’t commentating? I could have listened the first time

        • andrewM

          Kafer was just as annoying IMO

        • Agreed, tho I can handle them one at a time.
          A bit like how many ex’s in your house at the same time.

    • Keith Butler

      I have to admit that after the Friday episode of Apathy in NSW dished up by the Rabble and the Red and the epic battle between the Saders and the Blues, my heart wasn’t really into the Tahs game. Big positives for me we’re Maddocks and Harrison. After last weeks press ( the Age) predicting that Swinton was going to be the next G&G 6 I found his performance particularly in the 1st half decidedly lacklustre. He’ll need to raise his game several notches for the Ponies.

      • Hoss

        Yeah, if he can develop his on ball game – carting it forward and playing on-ball to assist in turnovers he has a future. We need another Fardy. Right measure of aggro, work ethic and on-baller – every team needs a Fards and amongst a litany of Segall sins this sits near the top amongst them. Ended his career for a Mumm / Hannigan future……………how’d that work out for us.

    • Timbo

      how about that hit up from Pone Fa’amausili? Surely that got your turgidity up?

      • Hoss

        It was epic as too the tackle, neither party shirked their role in one a only a very few highlights – CFS pop pass for the try was another. All too few & far between though and drowned out by the sheer mundane, garden-variety shit-show drolled out in between.

    • idiot savant

      Lots to chew on here big fella. Not often you eschew Sam Clemens for Wayne Smith. I have to say Ive been shocked by the talent that the Tahs have been developing / hiding. I have always harboured the view that the great periods in Australian rugby have been when the Tahs have NOT been in the ascendency and there has been real competition for yellow jerseys, mostly from the Reds but also the Brums. After all, the renaissance of Australian rugby in the late 70s was born north of the Tweed. I was hoping we were heading in the same direction again with so many of the successful Australian under 20s side coming from up north. This may still come to pass but I have been mighty impressed with the Tahs recruiting. Maddocks we knew about and his training on the wing in Melbourne has probably made him even better at his natural position but Ramm, Marky, Harrison, Harris, Swinton, and Bell are all Wallabies in waiting with serious talent. With Donaldson, Tafa, Tizzano, McDonald and probably others to come, the Reds premiership window might be closed in 2 years. And you wont need Cheika to pick ‘too many Tahs’ for the Wallabies!

      • Gun

        I think you’re stirring, but gold please idiot.

    • Perth girl

      No comment about the reffing in the Force v Tahs game?

      • Ads

        The better state won.

        • Perth girl

          You are welcome to your “better State “

      • Hoss

        I’d heard that Gardner had met with Clyne before hand, who then called Clarke who then sent a pigeon to Pulver and as simple as that, the fix was in.

        • Yowie

          gold

        • Perth girl

          So you didn’t hear that Gardner phoned the Force coach to apologise for some of his decisions in the second half. Things never change on this site do they.

        • Hoss

          At last we agree – the whining, constant conspiracy theories and complete lack of joy for a team being back in the competition do remain a constant. But i guess its hard for anything new to penetrate a WA echo chamber.

  • Tah Tragic

    Why schedule the Tahs game at the SCG? One of the worst places to watch rugby and, with so few people, it had zero atmosphere. I had to go home and watch the replay to see what the hell happened during the game. Also with so few people how can they stuff up the Food and Bev? Queues for food a mile long.

  • andrewM

    I’m a tad confused with all of the manoeuvering at the moment. I’m sure I am not the only one.
    NZ talk about Super Pac with 5 NZ, and only 2 or 3 Aussie teams and one Pacific Islander team.
    RA wants more aussie teams.
    Will someone miss out? How will that be handled? Another 2017 would be unacceptable.
    Where does the Force sit?
    RA it seems want them in the RA camp for obvious (financial) reasons.
    Whilst COVID has put a stopper on GRR for the time being, I can’t see Twiggy abandoning that and to me, a key part to the future success of GRR is the involvement of the Force, the NZ backed team and the Pacific teams – these are the teams that give it some rugby cred.
    I’m pretty sure that Twiggy will be keen to keep the Pac teams in GRR and not defect to NZ’s vision or otherwise dilute their commitment and he has the resources to convince them.
    Many Force fans see GRR as part of the future but the lure of being part of a Super AU/NZ is also extremely attractive.
    This is doing my head in. The only thing I do know is that this time around, the Force will be part of the solution.

    • Dally M

      I’d say the Force being part of whatever we have going forward is non-negotiable, esp with talks of Twiggy’s private equity firm being open to investing.

      RA just need to sort out their structure and Twiggy will be on board.

      NZ know they don’t want to expand beyond 5 teams for fear of diluting the quality of their existing teams and the flow on to the AB’s. They equally know that an all NZ comp with just their 5 teams is not sustainable, so no matter what their internal review believes is the best model they will need to compromise based on what provides a balance of what they have now and what will allow them to salvage some of that big Sky deal they signed.

      An expanded Rugby Championship seems like a no brainer as well with a global season unlikely.

  • onlinesideline

    looking at some of the Super rugby hits / run ups on insta coming through and TBH these kinds of hits happen multiple times a game in every NRL game every week. … just saying

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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