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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News celebrates a brilliant round of Super Rugby Australia, mourns the departure of Rob Simmons, takes a reality check from Dan McKellar and looks at the various club rugby results from across Australia.


Awesome Aussies

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Australian rugby fans were treated to arguably the best weekend of games during the brief inception of the Super Rugby Australia competition in round five.

The round started at Leichardt Oval where the Force were attempting to secure their first win of the comp against the Rebels in the relocation cup.

Neither side could break the deadlock as the clock struck zero, with Force flyhalf Jono Lance missing a 77th-minute penalty goal that would’ve likely sealed an incredible win for the Western Australian side.

As Australia witnessed its second iteration of ‘Super Time’, forgotten number eight Isi Naisarani reminded everyone of his talent as he burst over to win the game for the Rebels 25-20.

“Probably relieved is the word. We didn’t play well at all and, jeez, I would be feeling for (Force coach) Tim Sampson because that could have gone either way,” Rebels coach Dave Wessels said.

“It wasn’t a pretty game by any means. I thought there was some really big moments in that game though for us which I’m proud of.”

With fans asking how it could possibly get better, the Brumbies and the Reds threw up the match of the tournament at GIO Stadium on Saturday.

Despite being heavy outsiders, the Reds looked certain to steal victory as overcame an 11-point deficit to hold onto the lead with minutes remaining.

However, as always, the Brumbies found a way to secure the win when it mattered, with replacement back Mack Hansen icing the game with a penalty goal to secure the 22-20 win.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar was full of praise for Hansen after the match, admiring his fearlessness to bounce back after missing a conversion just minutes earlier.

“Just really happy for Mack, as we said in the sheds born and bred Canberra boy, he’s been supporting the Brumbies since he was a toddler so for him to step up with confidence and kick a clutch winning penalty goal was brilliant,” he said.

Sayonara Simmo

Rob Simmons lineout Waratahs & Crusaders 2019 (Credit Keith McInnes)

Even when they don’t play, the Waratahs still manage to find a way to lose with captain Rob Simmons confirming that he will depart the club at the end of the Super Rugby Australia season.

The 100-Test Wallaby joined the Tahs at the beginning of 2018 after nine seasons with the Queensland Reds, where he would win a Super Rugby championship in 2011.

With Simmons spending the break weighing up whether to accept a one-year option on his deal, he has confirmed that this is the right time to explore his options overseas.

“It was a really tough decision [to leave] but after speaking with many people around me, I felt that now was the time to take the opportunity to play overseas,” Simmons said in a statement.

“Timing with situations like this can’t always be perfect, but the Waratahs have been fantastic in understanding my desire to take on a new challenge.

“I’ve loved my time in Super Rugby and the last few years with the Waratahs, it’s a wonderful organisation and it’s been an honour to lead this group throughout 2020.

“My teammates and our management team have been tremendous over the last few years, there’s a lot to be excited about here in New South Wales and I’m looking forward to seeing it unfold from afar.”

Having led a young and inexperienced Tahs team through one of the toughest and craziest seasons to date, coach Rob Penney believes that Simmons influence is ‘immeasurable’ over his side.

“Rob’s an outstanding human being first and foremost, just one of those people you really enjoy having around your group,” Penney said.

“His leadership and influence over our squad has been outstanding to witness – particularly given the challenges we’ve all recently faced.

“As soon as I arrived at Daceyville it became pretty apparent that Rob was the sort of character that could lead this group through the season, it’s panned out a little differently [with COVID-19] to what we expected but he’s handled himself unbelievably well throughout.

“He leaves a real mark on this group with the experience he’s been able to impart on the next generation of Waratah and while we’re sad to see him go, we understand what a great opportunity this is for Simmo and his young family.”

McKellar’s warning

Dan McKellar

Dan McKellar

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has issued a stern warning to Australian rugby fans: stop overhyping the next generation and let them develop naturally.

With the rugby league and union communities swooning over the talent of players such as Joseph Suaalii, McKellar believes that young players are being hampered by the intense pressure that fans and media can put on them after a couple of strong performances.

He said this when asked about the development of locks Darcy Swain and Nick Frost, suggesting that the rugby community needs to have more patience if they want players to reach their full potential.

“I think in Australia, someone puts in a good performance and all of a sudden they’re the next Wallaby,” McKellar said.

“We’ve got to be a little bit more patient around that. It gets a bit ridiculous there. It does the players no favours at all.”

“Let’s let Frost and Swain or Trevor Hosea from the Rebels, Esei Ha’angana, or whoever it might be, just let them develop and become good Super Rugby players, play good games consistently for their franchise, and then let’s start worrying about what the future holds for them,

“You’re not going to be a good Test player off the back of a good half-an-hour at Super Rugby level or anything like that.”

He pointed to the gradual development of Pete Samu, who spent three years at the Crusaders before heading home as the ideal format instead of looking for the next ‘diamond in the rough.’

“He’s (Samu) done the hard yards over a long period of time,” McKellar said.

“That’ll be a really good match-up and I’m sure the Wallabies coaching staff will be watching on closely.”

Club rugby wrap

The Queensland Premier Rugby captains at the 2020 launch. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel

The Queensland Premier Rugby captains at the 2020 launch. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel

With the return of the Queensland club rugby competition, it only felt natural to bring back the club wrap across the country (except for Melbourne, hopefully, they can return to action when this lockdown period ends.)

In the Queensland Premier Rugby, GPS and Wests decided to employ social distancing in defence, with GPS holding on for a 59-45 shootout victory whilst Souths accounted for Brothers 30-14.

In other results, Uni of Queensland got their season off to the perfect start with a 39-20 victory over Norths as Easts pumped Sunnybank 51-24.

Heading down to Sydney in the Shute Shield, Southern Districts would hold off a valiant Penrith 29-14 in the Emu’s first game back at home since their return.

Along with this, Warringah got the first win of their season with a narrow 31-28 victory over Easts, Randwick dominated Western Sydney 42-0, Norths upset Manly 28-19, Eastwood cruised home to a 42-10 win over Wests Harbour and Sydney Uni showed up Newcastle/Hunter in a 59-10 rout.

In the John I Dent Cup in the nation’s capital, Westies turned one over the champs Royals with a narrow 24-22 victory, Vikings edge out the Eagles 22-20 and the Owls stayed perfect as they dominated Queanbeyan 35-0

Across to South Australia in the Coopers Premier Grade, Onkaparinga continued their great start to the season, defeating previously undefeated Old Collegians 30-15 whilst Brighton maintained their unbeaten start with a 36-19 win over Southern Suburbs.

In other results, Adelaide Uni got their first win of the season with a 32-12 victory over Barossa, Burnside dominated Woodville 62-17 and Port Adelaide defeated Elizabeth 48-13.

Finally in Perth, Joondalup proved that they were the real deal as they defeated Nedlands 27-22, with Cottesloe joining them as the only other undefeated team as they accounted for UWA 55-3.

Meanwhile, Bayswater dominated Curtin Uni 66-14, Wests held off Wanneroo 34-21, Kalamunda secured their first win with a 34-17 victory over Coastal, Associates scraped home against Palmyra 27-22 and Southern Lions blanked ARKs in a 45-0 drubbing.

  • Who?

    Great statements from MacKellar around the next generation. I’m sure most recognise it, but his statements show confidence in his place as a Super coach, having confidence to give players time and let them develop, whilst still holding responsibility for his team’s performance.

    Simmo… He’s widely despised around here. Branded soft, useless. Well, 98 Test caps, 12 seasons of Super Rugby. Over 100 Reds caps. Every coach went looking for a replacement for him, ultimately, they mostly kept coming back to him. Even Cheika, until last year when our locking depth really started to show promise (until they all signed overseas!). Many have questioned his heart and hardness, but you don’t keep picking up contracts and winning your team mates if you’re not putting in (which also applies to Hooper). I don’t herald him as a game changer, but few would deny that he provided the meat and potatoes – locking down the scrum and winning lineouts, that he gave his best, and that he represented the game with humility and decency. I hope he enjoys his time overseas – he’s earned it.

    • Nutta

      Simmo – he’s a bit like Dean Mumm in that he has always copped a lot and frequently it was what I call ‘focal-frustration’ in that he became the focal point or the ‘face’ (if you will) for lots of frustration – the face of what was pi$$ing us off. And you’re right – that’s not fair and its a fair criticism of pundits myself included. He was fit, he was ‘there’ and he got picked so fair enough. None of that was any fault on his part. Team mates always spoke highly of him, you very rarely (if ever) saw him even mentioned around anything unsavory be it on the field or off it and Lord knows he played more Super matches and/or Tests than I ever did. So full balls to him. Punch your ticket Simmo and enjoy doing what you do for a living for as long as you can. Thanks for your efforts.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Simmo was never as bad as Mumm. Not even on his worst days

        • Nutta

          You may well be 100% right, but again, that wasn’t their fault. I sometimes think of Knuckles Connolly comment at Matt Pini I think it was after he dropped a high-ball: ‘I don’t blame you son, I blame the moron who picked you!’

    • Bernie Chan

      Simmon has earned the right to top up his bank balance. Much derided by some but I was gutted when he left the Reds for the Tahs (that’s the only thing I hold against him but I am a bit one-eyed…), but I blame the QRU for that. He’ll be welcomed back at Lang Park with open arms as the sky blue stain will wash off…:). Over 140 Super Rugby games and 98 Tests so far…a fantastic servant to Oz rugby.

    • idiot savant

      Id pick him this season for the Wallabies. Not to play but to coach the line out. I hope that coaching is in his future because he has hands down been the best line out operator we’ve had for a decade. And couldn’t the Reds do with him now.

      • Keith Butler

        Absolutely IS. He would be ideal. Unlike some ex internationals standing outside the G&G tent and pissing in. We know who they are.

        • Hoss

          I was never an international ??

        • Nutta

          Oh you are of international standard. Just perhaps not rugby. Maybe more of an instant roasted coffee variety.

    • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

      Simmons is in the mould of Eales, yet no one ever carried on about Eales being soft or not dominant around the park. I guess Simmons is a good example of people manufacturing a reason to hate on someone to justify an opinion.

      Somewhere along the way an emphasis has been placed on highlight reel stuff, instead of the grinding hard work that sets the groundwork for a win and the highlight reel play.

      I like big hits and barnstorming runs as much as the next bloke, but they mean nothing if the lineout and scrum are broken.

      • UTG

        Agree, I think he suffers a bit from having played in poor teams. When your side isn’t great and you’re not making flashy plays it’s very easy for people to say “he doesn’t do anything.” I actually think his game is a lot like Sam Whitelock (not saying he’s as good as Whitelock) but Whitelock will go down an all time great in part thanks to the quality of the sides he’s played in.

        • Who?

          He fits between Matfield and Whitelock. Same style of lock, except, unlike Matfield, he was the strongest scrummager amongst the Wallabies’ locks during his time. He also sort of fits there chronologically.
          Worth noting that Matfield had Bakkies, and Whitelock’s at his best alongside Brodie. The traditional tight/loose locking complimentary skill set. The Wallabies had blokes who might’ve been that tight lock. But Horwill wasn’t reputed to be a great scrummager and wasn’t the same after his hamstring injury. Skelton never produced the goods locally. Douglas played about two good games in Gold. Coleman grew, but by then we were under Cheika, and, yeah… Says it all.

          The best example of Simmons’ experience with fans and Cheika was the Bledisloe a few years ago in Sydney where we gave away huge points, and only two players tackled at above 80% for the match. Both of those players – TK and Simmons – were the two dropped. A similar example was Beauden Barrett’s 50m try in another Bledisloe, at Eden Park, a few years later. Simmons was blamed for missing a tackle (he dove, he got close), but the issue was systemic, with Hooper charging upfield covering a Barrett, Kepu chasing hard, both well past Beauden, but leaving too large a gap for any tight forward to cover. There wasn’t any analysis of the failings of the defensive system, it was all just, “Simmo’s too slow, he missed a tackle.”

  • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

    I for one will hype up the next generation, otherwise what will happen to their inevitable downfall and the opportunity to join the pile on tearing them down to make myself feel good. Words of reason like that have no place in Aus Rugby but I will have to admit the logic is good but not quite to NZ standards.

    Goodbye and good riddance to Rob Simmons, For some he played 98 tests too many. What has Rugby come to in Aus when a player who does his job, performs his core duties better than his peers, does what is asked of him, but doesn’t have the X Factor, or insert intangible, is picked for almost 100 tests by 3 different coaches, just not to NZ standards. Hopefully Rob can find time to teach his brother Ben how to do a jump shot.

    Reds v Brumbies was a cracker, I was entertained, yet was left feeling a little meh, when I realised without really knowing why, that it wasn’t to NZ standards

    Rebels v Force:

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Hahahahaha gold mate

    • Happyman

      I love it mate.

      Funny how every team he played in had an excellent line out.

    • Keith Butler

      It’s often the players that do their ‘core duties’ without any fuss or blaring trumpets are the glue that holds a team together. Every team/country has one and they never get the credit they warrant. Simmons for me at least has been one of the standout players for the Tahs this season. His line out work has been exemplary.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Nathan, great games this weekend and good to see the passion on display in all the teams. Unlucky again for the Force and I hope they catch a break soon. Reds are never going to win consistently until they learn to keep possession and not give away stupid penalties. Lots of players are stepping up and I think Rennie is having one of those good selection issues where he’s got option as in most positions. I think some of the previous 5 year “automatic’s” should be worried as they are all under pressure.
    Good luck to Simmons, not the best lock but certainly one who gave it all and who has been a good servant of rugby here. I wish him well in his future.
    Wise words from McKellar but will the press take notice or not? I think not more than likely

  • Hoss

    The anti-Tah’s rhetoric on this site is palpable.

    Not one word of yet another unbeaten weekend by the chosen ones. Extending their streak to one week in a row.

    No, instead we have endless words about the Ponies and Reds and Force and Force II.

    It’s just incredulous.

    • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

      Absolutely agree. I hope next week after they vanquish the Reds, the Tahs are given the platitudes and accolades befitting the Stah’s that they are.

      • Hoss

        I tell you what it is mate – it’s Atahtheid. The deliberate and systematic segregation and bias based on the colour of our jersey.

        • Nutta

          Atahtheid. I like that. How long have you been sitting on that?

        • Hoss

          I like to help the humans were I can.

        • Keith Butler

          Nice one mate. The Rabble have suffered from a similar affliction since 2011.

        • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

          Yep, I think it is time they take a knee for blue jersey’s matter….on second thoughts some other mob will probably Force themselves in and hijack it. Then we will have the all jersey’s matter, the anti-jerseyers, the Karen’s and the 5G conspiracy theorists all jumping on the band wagon.

        • Hoss

          #tahsmattertoo

        • Who?

          All we know is that Folau won’t kneel for it.

        • Yowie

          I remember that emotional scene in The Power of One

          [the Waratahs are singing a song. One of the non-NSW fans caught up with Piet and asks him what they are singing about]

          Sgt. Bowmann:
          What are these light blue boorstids singing about?

          Geel Piet:
          [translating] We run this way. We run that way. We drop the ball. We are guaranteed Wallabies spots.

          [shouts]

          Sgt. Bowmann:
          guaranteed Wallabies spots?

          Geel Piet:
          You are not worthy of selection.

          Sgt. Bowmann:
          You boorstids

        • Nutta

          Wow, you ARE bored on Mondays aren’t you?

        • Damo

          As a side matter, are you the same 8ft tall, very hairy Mr Yowie who is known (some say mythical but I don’t buy that for a minute) to prey on unsuspecting punters around the Advancetown Hotel in the Gold Coast hinterland- with disembowelling and limb removal skills a specialty? Better known for sharp teeth and claws than sharp wit. If true I don’t see it as a problem for your continued contribution on this page but just good to know.

        • Yowie

          I just checked “Gold Coast hinterland yowie” on google and had no idea it was “a thing” with a page+ of linked news articles.

          Nah that’s not me. If I were 8ft tall my playing career would have peaked higher than the highschool under-18s Fifths.

          Cheers for the acceptance either way, especially with all the outspoken players publishing anti-yowie lists on social media from time to time.

        • Damo

          At the Ad Hotel “whose shout?” had a whole other possible meaning.

        • Yowie

          Think of the poor wives at home waiting for their husbands to get home from the Advancetown Hotel in the evening. Add “risk of yowie attack” to their other worries of “wasting too much money at the pub”, “drunken disgrace” and “getting off with some tart”.

          (for the purpose of the joke, the family dynamic is from about 100 years ago per Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes)

        • Brumby Runner

          You have to admit Hoss that it’s a pretty piss weak colour and one easy to hate.

        • Hoss

          I am, at times of such contributions reminded of my fondness and yearning for public floggings.

    • Keith Butler

      Back to your pithy best mate although I hear that the wet paper bag they were stuck in put up a decent fight until it went into Super Time. So Simmons is off to the Irish and good luck to him. Him and Coleman would make a decent pairing. What’s the betting on Big Willy returning to the fold?

    • Nutta

      Hey, speaking or rhetoric, remember on last Thursdays news we were having a giggle at Russia buying a Bill? Well sometime on Saturday I got some replies to Thursday’s comments from a bit of a pro-Russian pundit with no sense of humour. Seriously you would have thought it was that other site and I made a blasphemous comment about Sur Rutchy deserving a knee in the noggin from poor old misunderstood QC. The interesting bit was that it was easily over 48hrs after the fun that I got the comment/replies. So if anyone is in doubt of G&GR’s influence on geo-politics, my influence on international relations or that Ruskies seriously have no sense of humour, then I offer my recent experience as evidence to the contrary. Oh, that and the fact that Russian State clearly is monitoring us all. 5G folks. 5G.

      • Crescent

        I, for one, welcome our new Russian overlords and eagerly await my mandatory preventative 5G injection as the tin foil is starting to get scratchy under the hat.

        Atahtheid. Nearly ruined my keyboard with the coffee explosion, I needed that laugh this morning.

      • Hoss

        I wouldn’t t go grabbing and door handles mate. No sense of humour those pesky Reds and I thought my third wife could carry a grudge, but she’s got nothing on the Vlad regime.

      • Yowie

        Thanks for the heads-up – that’s gold.

        We’ll have to keep an eye on Thursday’s post to see if your “More muscles than a Chinese swimmer!” comment gets the attention of the Anti Mack Horton Club in due course.

        • Nutta

          I was a little disappointed that bait didn’t land a fish or three

          https://youtu.be/XcV7UqfvLs0

        • Nutta

          I was a little disappointed I didn’t get a fish or three with that.

      • onlinesideline

        the bigger question as far as Im concerned is did they influence Raelene’s sacking and the new CEO appointment. After all the Russian mob does control Trump, RA is a walk in the park for them. Gorky park actually.

        • Nutta

          Yeh but as far as I know there was not any hotel deals or condo’s being traded. Let’s try and focus on the big issues alright – rugby tours.

      • GeorgiaSatellite

        Nutta, I swear it wasn’t me. I shall go back to that thread and give it some thought. Yours from Mos Vegas

        • Nutta

          I find such self-reflection to be aided when I have a good look at myself in the mirror, then give myself an uppercut. Repeatedly.

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          It’s definitely not from the troll factory – they pretend not to be Russian. To be fair, you guys were laying it on a bit thick. “Stacks on”, and all that.

          As to the feasiblity of hosting a Bill here, yes, the infrastructure is definitely in place, and they’d run a great show – very safe, and all that – just as they did for the FIFA 2018. And yes, they paid for that, but to be fair, it was about bloody time it was hosted in Eastern Europe.

          Thing is, people here actually care about soccer. A lot. Even though many have the perfect build for the modern game of rugby, they don’t care much about it, except for a handful of players in Moscow and a modest contingent in Krasnodar. They play most of their tests in Krasnodar (regional pop. 5mn, city pop. 780k) and most of the Bears are comprised of players from there. That’s in the south, on the Black Sea near Sochi.

          It would merely be an expensive tourism promotion, not an effort to further the game in any meaningful way. Hence, I can’t see World Rugby being terribly interested, even with a cash carrot. Not to mention pissing the Georgians off and, as you mention, the lack of form by the Bears. They only qualified for the last RWC via a Bradbury, because Romania and Spain were disqualified.

        • Nutta

          From my POV I’m all for 1st timers getting a Bill. That’s truth. New ground is always fun ground. And it would be a bloody big market to at least get a bite into. In all seriousness, if they put up a legit bid then more balls to them.

          But given the pretty well supported negative picture of the place regarding business ethics, transparent & legitimate dealings and certainly the ethics of their sports organisations, I doubt anyone with serious legitimate sports political power would touch the joint for the insinuations that would follow.

          That said, I thought Georgians hated Russians anyway so you can’t bust something that’s already busted.

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          All solid points. No disagreement here. Attracting visitors may still be a challenge, though. Tickets to the soccer acted as visas, which was a genius move. The process is unwieldy otherwise. I know Swedes and Americans who came (while I was still in Georgia) and they had an absolute blast.

          I should also clarify that the majority of Georgians don’t hate Russians at all. They hate the Russian state, and have little trouble disambiguating. Many times I heard, “You lived in Moscow! Ah…the old capital!” In terms of rugby clout and the amount poured into development in Georgia, I think the GRU would have more sympathetic ears at WR than the Russian Rugby Federation.

          Geopolitically, I couldn’t see the elbow patch brigade leaning this way at all, whereas FIFA has large chunks of Africa, South America and Asia that aren’t massive fans of the West.

        • Nutta

          Well with Phill Kearns as te Wobblies point-man for the 2023 Bill negotiations we’re fkd now so it may be a 2-horse race between the Lemon Russkies and the Seppos. Trump v Putin. Clash of the Titans and all!! This could get interesting now…

          Oh and I reached out to our mutual friend from last week. Not holding my breath but let’s see if I get a nibble…

    • Yowie

      No yellow cards for Hooper on the weekend either. Cop that haters!

    • idiot savant

      Best game Ive seen from Hanigan.

      • Keith Butler

        Steady on IS you might be accused of being Neddist.

      • Hoss

        As I recall we equaled the point scoring blitz of the Western Reds v Ponies a week earlier, but where are our platitudes for ‘bravery’ and ‘erstwhile efforts’. The bias is so tangible you could serve it in a glass with a side of onion rings.

        Shocking.

  • Jason

    What happened to if your good enough your old enough?

    No one was complaining when Jordie was thrown into the fire at 19. I do think obviously we need to see substantial performances not just 1 or 2 even 3 games. But players who have been showing consistent performances for Super Rugby Australia can probably start to be considered in contention.

    • whatwouldberniedo

      100%. Wilson has been too good to not get the nod. he’s earned that jersey.

      • idiot savant

        Bench this year for mine. Its against the ABs not Argentina.

        • UTG

          Wilson clowned the Crusaders. The Kiwis were shocked how good he was.

          Personally, I’d find it hard not to have Valetini and Naisarani at 6 and 8 respectively but I reckon Wilson would be more than up to a start. I can just see him chatting shit to the ABs after he takes his millionth carry over the advantage line.

        • idiot savant

          Surprise value is gone though. And he will be a target. Look at how Swinton and Hooper lined him up in the Tahs vs Reds game. Expect the same with interest if he starts.

      • Who?

        Definitely in the squad, but he’s a #8. Let’s not burn him out physically ahead of time. Give him bench time, give him the odd start, but don’t start him in all the Tests, and don’t play him 80 minutes. We want this young fella to have a long career.

  • whatwouldberniedo

    as much as Dan M wants to determine how rugby media chooses to promote interest in the game, I can’t see them not going to that well (speculating hope through younger players). I’ve always hated the promoting of an individual’s narrative to market a team game approach, but ever since Magic and Larry Bird saved the NBA 40 years ago, it has been the go to play. We all got to watch the amigos’ development under that spotlight.

    specifically, Mckellar mentions Wilson vs Samu.

    I would love to know what people think about a back row of Samu at 7, Wilson 8, Valetini 6?
    My Memory of Samu at 7 during pocock’s unavailability is that he went just as well.

    • Nutta

      In and of itself I can’t see an Oz backrow without Nisi or Valetini atm. So with the incumbent 7 being the Captain and still on a shite-load of $$ that sets the scene. The issue becomes what to do with LSL. Chek-Ball required a bloody imposing 6 to work. He had that in Jarpy-Jack at the Tarts, lost it with Fardy for the Wobblies and never had it with Hannigan at either Tarts or Wobblies (not Hannigans fault though, but you just can’t use a kid as a crowbar). So if Capt Golf-Club was still about than LSL would be the 6 and that would force Val and Samu to bench. And if you watch some of the work he has been doing for the Reds this year there is a fair argument he would be a good 6 in his own right. However with a a bit of a famine after feast with Locks at the moment it may make LSL as a 6 a moot point as he will likely be a Lock by necessity. Given that, I just can’t see Hooper not being the 7 for a multitude of reasons, so that pushes Val to 6 and Nisi at 8. With the Qld 7 & 8 also pressing hard, whilst I really rate Samu, I think he’s buggered by the mix.

      • Keith Butler

        Can’t say I’ve ever been fan of players playing out of position but Aussie rugby has a dearth of locks at the moment although I suspect one or two might be flying south in 2021.

        • Nutta

          It seemed we had a whole mob of gangly danglers at one stage – Coleman, Arnold, Big Willy, Kane Douglas, Simmo, Rodda and others – and they were playing bloody robust footy. But suddenly our cupboard is empty again. I really like the work-ethic of Philips from the Scum and I think Blythe is showing real colour for the Pinko’s too. But even then, that makes LSL more a Lock option than a 6. But again, it depends on what game our new coach wants to play I guess.

        • Keith Butler

          A Phillip is going north as well. I reckon Big Willy will be coming back with Sarries playing in the Championship next season, whenever or if it starts. The Rabble have a couple of decent youngsters but probably need a little more development. With Parling as an assistant coach they would have a very good mentor with international experience at the highest level.

        • Nutta

          I think you may be right and with the cupboard a bit bare he may attract a penny or three.

        • idiot savant

          LSL is a lock. He could be a fixture there in gold for many years to come.

        • Who?

          Nick Bishop loves the look of the current Reds back five forwards. LSL back at lock (he’s too big/slow for a 6), Blythe, Wright at 6 (just needs a good off season on the steak!), McReight at 7, Wilson at 8.

          But you’re right – going into the last RWC, we actually had a great range of options in the tight five, arguably as good as we’ve seen in decades. No Skelton/Douglas, but still more depth than we could usually dream of seeing.
          I’d love to see the Arnold lads come home. Rory was as good as almost any lock at the last RWC.

      • whatwouldberniedo

        My reasoning is that lsl, Hooper and Isi are all tuck it under the arm ball runners who rarely run holes or offload. I suspect Rennie will want at least one Messam like ball playing loosie, if not two. Samu and Wilson provide an all court threat that others simply don’t. Throw in a beast at 6 (valetini but maybe ISI) who plays tighter and I think the balance is right.

        Lsl deserves one of the lock spots atm and I think he makes more impact when he’s able to pick and choose his involvements rather than covering more ground at 6. The loss of Rodda must be killing Rennie right now.

        We are one world class Hooker and lock away from having a dam Good wallaby pack. I’m not Hooper hater, but I would like to see a change at least attempted.

        The backs are shaping nicely IMO.

        • Damo

          Wilson’s straight running and field coverage in both attack and defense, as well as his playing smarts, reminds me a lot of Mark Loane. Except that he doesn’t look like he has been chiselled out of the piece of granite like Loaney. I hope he can fulfil that kind of promise.

        • whatwouldberniedo

          Its eerie isn’t it? 40 years apart.
          If you were describing a mould, Wilson is a loane/vermulen in the making. Valetini has a hint of Kaino in him. As if you wouldn’t want that pairing playing together for this entire Bill cycle.

        • Mica

          Valetini is not the lineout option that Kaino is/was.
          Apart from that yes. Also for me Kaino was the unsung hero of that All Black backrow. Pretty typical with great 6s I guess. 8s and 7s just so much more obvious.

        • idiot savant

          Yep I cant see Valentino as a Wallaby 6 until he is a genuine line out option.

        • idiot savant

          Thats an interesting comparison because Loane was a winger until he left school. He used to throw the ball into the line out! Wilson also runs like a back and has back instincts and timing when running at holes. Isi runs at people and has no line breaking finesse at all.

        • Nutta

          The funny thing was that in the year or two of NRC he played he really had light feet but when he went to Wobbly camps he moved into a spear-straight runner. I thought he lost an element of his game there.

        • Nutta

          Backrow – There is truth in what you say. It makes one reflect on the value of Smith and before him Finnegan for the ability to distribute/offload as well as power-run. I see McCafe as exactly that type of distribution/abrasive player. But he’s well out of favour it seems.

          Hooker – this really shits me. Hookers aren’t Hookers anymore and have not been for a long time. They are either a 3rd prop who throws or they are a 4th loosie who throws. For some reason we seem to have 7 out of 8 guys each weekend who take turns at being unable to execute either version.

        • whatwouldberniedo

          BPA is doing a good job of version one but not deemed athletic enough I suspect. I’m happy to let FF have a red hot go this year. He’s earned it.

        • idiot savant

          I know its impossible now but I would love to have seen Hooper retrained as a hooker some years ago. He could be a real Dane Coles style by now without the dickheadedness.

        • Mica

          How good are Wilson’s hands for a young number 8? Some of his short passing has been reminicent of your namesake.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        I’m not sure that a performance based selection would see the current 7 in the mix though. I personally don’t see Samu as a 7 either and I think it’ll be hard to go past the Reds if you base the selection on performance. Maybe Wright, Naisarani and Valetini with Wilson as a backup on performance so far for me

      • UTG

        We’re actually at the stage where we may as well just pull lots to decide the backrow.

        How do you leave at least one of Samu, Valetini, Wilson, and Naisarani out of the 23?

        Hard to believe how far we’ve come in a few years.

        • idiot savant

          Add Wright to that list as well.

          I think 6 is the big question. Unless Rennie is prepared to ruffle some feathers 7 and 8 will be Hooper and Naisarani.

  • Crescent

    I have to agree a bit with McKellars comments – they can’t all be the messiah, some may just be naughty boys. But for a rugby public starved of hope, can you really blame us for looking at Generation Next and starting to feel something stir. What I really like is there is some genuine competition for a number of positions, so they will get some time to develop. I think we all recognise they aren’t the finished product yet and need a few seasons under the belt, but we can finally have something to look forward to.

    Have to feel like the Force are the unluckiest team in the comp – a chance to take the game, but to ultimately lose to the Rebels who seem to be incapable of playing up to their potential, but slug it out at their opposition’s level. Not to say the Force were poor, but on paper, the Rebels should have done more damage (rinse and repeat from last week).

    Damn those Ponies – two close games that they are clinical enough to fight to the final whistle and earn the win. Need to bottle that attitude and bring it to the table for Rennie. Reds would feel frustrated at the inability to close out the game – but that is all part of the learning for them. Overall, an enjoyable weekend of rugby. The Kiwi derbies were a good watch – having the ability to fill a stadium with fans certainly adds to the spectacle. Here’s hoping we can crush that pesky virus so we can enjoy a well attended match locally!

    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      The Force is getting closer to the upset win. Cannot fault their guts and determination and my continue to improve.

      • ATrain

        This is a good side and, out of all the teams, had the least time to bed down new players coming into their squads. I too think a win is coming but it won’t be an upset, it will be well deserved. If they can build on this side next year (and have the opportunity to play a few home games) I think they will be close to the best sides in our comp.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          If the Force win a game away from home with a team that could not make Superugby squads of the other teams and not a single player that is seriously considered for Wallaby selection it will be an upset.

  • Bay35Pablo

    Yeah but nah but yeah. Sorry, I have never been a big fan of Simmo. Thought he was a waste of a spot and coin when Reds didn’t want him. Understood we were signing him for experience, but never really saw him provide it (maybe our decent line out is down to him, but not sure – line out usually team effort where one part can break the rest imho). Reminded me of Dean Mumm in the little man in a big man’s body, not making the impact he needed to, playing lock when he was really a 6, and occasionally showing a good game just to reinforce how we needed him playing all the time but wasn’t. Giving him the captaincy reinforced either how we didn’t have anyone better, and/or how the teams are now franchises rather than the best of a state. I mean you cut the boy he bleeds maroon! Ignore me, they’ve been franchises for a while. Just lamenting.

    So with 660 Tests or so having gone missing from the team as outlined in the SMH over the weekend, and us needing some experience while we rebuild, Simmo takes the coin to go and (maybe) play in COVID land.

    Yeah, but nah but yeah. Thanks for the hard work Simmo, but …. that empty feeling must be just me.

    • Nutta

      I’m a bit more sympathetic, but yours is a hard argument to refute.

    • ATrain

      I feel his best work was done in that Reds side and when he had Sharpe as a mentor. He had moments when he tried to get aggressive and it just looked spiteful and gave away penalties. I think a very good technician in lineouts and probably scrums (hard to tell sometimes I find from the coverage but good front rowers sometimes get the blame that should be going to their poor locks – and I am a lock).

      • Who?

        I heard whispers during his Reds time from a then-Wallaby prop that all the Wallaby props wanted Simmons behind them. Far and away the best scrummaging lock at the time (5+ years ago).

        And I agree, his silly penalties generally came from him trying to be unnaturally aggressive rather than just getting his job done. For years, we’d hear, “He never puts in the big runs, never smashes the gain line.” Just like we used to hear about Sharpie. But Simmons was one of the few forwards who’d consistently look to secure attacking rucks. Not everyone can run the ball – someone’s got to secure it. He also had a very good pair of hands in terms of catch/pass in his later years (like Squeaky, he developed well).

  • ATrain

    A little late perhaps but just really enjoyed the Brums vs Reds game on the weekend – even though I am a Reds fan. Enough has been said on the match report page re: disagreements around refereeing decisions and the rolling maul (though my take is, while it’s legal it’s fine and it is a contest of sorts and I was feeling some rising tension as I watched it so, for me at least, it added to the game even though it was to the detriment of the team I was supporting).

    What I enjoyed most in that game was what I didn’t see. A half-back standing at the base of an inert ruck hovering over the ball before eventually passing to a pre-bound (or almost pre-bound) group of forwards who nudge into defensive line, forming another largely inert ruck and repeating ad nauseam. Maybe there was some of that stuff but I thought both sides kept it to a minimum.

    The error rate may or may not have been higher than the NZ games…personally I am not that fussed it is was. What I enjoyed was two teams seeking to use possession rather than just retain possession. in most part, both teams were playing two or three passes off the ruck, and forwards looked to be running for the gaps and spaces rather than just engaging the defence and there was some good quality off-loading. While the Reds were a tad unlucky in some respects they are a side that still has a few errors and a few penalties in them. They need to sort that out before the next game against the Brumbies.

    I haven’t watched a lot of Super Rugby in recent years but the intent shown in that game and the enjoyment it provided me (until the 82nd minute) was as good as I think I have witnessed in a long time. If we had six sides in Australia (maybe one borrowed from Fiji etc) capable of doing that every weekend then I think I would almost be happy with that.

  • Neil Pocock

    I’m with Dan Mac on the young talented player topic. So many examples of this in Aus rugby it’s stupid. My favorite Eg of recent times has to be Hamish Stewart. He was being touted as the next wallaby 10 by EVERYONE….. including Brad Thorn…..despite about a million chances to provide any convincing form at Super Rugby level! He’s been tried just about everywhere but the front row and at best he can be described as a decent defender(scratch that…..a player who puts their body on the line despite concusion risks for a player of his size)
    Some of these guys careers get ruined because of these things!

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@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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