Monday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby
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Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s Rugby News

Monday’s rugby news has Link signalling change, McCabe among the wounded Wallabies, O’Connor finally back and the Springboks with a close win. 


Wallabies set for shake-up

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Coach Ewen McKenzie has revealed that there will be some major changes to the team which was devastatingly beaten 50-21 in Saturday’s second Bledisloe Cup Test. “I said it last week, there are some good players who aren’t playing so we’ll revisit that,” McKenzie said on Sunday, emphasising, “Selection is a one-game contract.”

Along with some injury-enforced changes, McKenzie will be looking very closely at the under-performing halves combination of Nic White and Kurtley Beale as well as the outmusclued forward pack. Let us know in the comments below your changes for the next Rugby Championship game. 

McCabe faces another neck scare

McCabe

Wallabies winger Pat McCabe will see his career under threat once again as he awaits medical advice on the re-injured neck suffered in Saturday’s game. Scans have shown worrying signs for McCabe, who amazingly has overcome two neck fractures to return to the Test team. Centre Tevita Kuridrani looms as a replacement with Adam Ashley-Cooper to return to the wing.

The Wallabies could also be without third-choice hooker Nathan Charles, who will have scans on what is hoped to be a minor rib issue. McKenzie fears a pectoral injury though, which would see a longer recovery. As a result, James Hanson will likely make his run-on debut against South Africa.

Reds to announce O’Connor signing

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The Reds will reportedly announce that former Wallaby James O’Connor has signed a two-year deal on Friday. After being released by the ARU, O’Connor began a six-month stint at Londin Irish before signing another short-term contract with Toulon. 

O’Connor will need to make his mark quickly to be in the running for World Cup selection. But the 24 year-old, seen as a winger by Ewen McKenzie, will be helped by the dwinding depth in the position. JOC could offer a viable partner to the soon eligible Brumbies winger Henry Speight.  

Springboks squeak past Pumas again

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The Springboks have enjoyed another close 33-31 win over Argentina, relying on a massive impact from their bench. South Africa came back from 28-16 down with two tries and some clutch kicking from Morne Steyn in in the final 20-minutes.

The game once again showcased the improvement of the Pumas, with Sprinbok captain Jean De Villiers commenting after the match, “ I really think Argentina is a much better team than what their world-ranking shows…We’re happy that we could pull it through, but it could’ve gone either way.”

 

  • Patrick

    Wouldn’t you like to turn to Morne Steyn for “clutch kicking”??? As an Australian I turn to drink instead.

  • SuckerForRed

    Surely we need to have Foley come into 10. As soon as he & Phipps came on our attack straightened & became much more direct leading to some line breaks. Or am I the only one thinking this?
    I also think that Phipps performed better than White. Never thought I would say that.
    I am also guessing that there will be a lot of Hookers thinking whether or not they should answer the phone if Link’s number comes up………
    And the technical minded amoungst us can we please start a petition to get Pat McCabe to retire. I realise he is tough but if this is number 3……

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      I’d reckon that there’s heaps thinking like you are mate. Our concern is ‘what’s Link thinking’?
      Phipps was better than White but flip it around & we could be saying the same thing about White, who knows? Regardless, IMHO both need to work on core skills of 9. White seems to ponderous and needs to fire that pill out sooner. Runners seemed to be an issue. Which may explain why he oped to kick away the ball with his box kick. Phipps brings energy but his pass is so often all over the shop. Bob Dwyer’s suggestion of getting Nick Far Jones down to help them out seems a good to me.
      Beale – What to do with this guy? He has talent. But how best to use it without getting exposed. Good luck Ewen.
      The pack – I’ll leave it to others to comment. Other than to say that we must operate as a unit at set piece, plus smash the opposition of our pill & ram them backwards when we defend & attack.
      Foley – Surely by now it’s obvious to a blind man that he is our best current option at 10. So play him there FFS and stop the silly business before it’s too late!!!

      • SuckerForRed

        Thinking about the Phipps/White conundrum. I wonder does either of them have a full game in them? White when he gets tired seems to revert to type & kick at every oportunity. When Phipps gets tired his passes start dropping at the feet of the person he is passing to. This is a worry on both counts.
        As for Beale – I think that his best position is on the bench. He can cover 12 & 15 reasonably & 10 at a pinch & seems to have a better time of it when defenses are tiring & he has a little more time to think about what he is doing. And Link needs to punch him for every step he runs accross field.

        • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

          Fair points about our 9’s. Maybe tell them to go like a bat out of hell, empty the tank & the other’ll be along soon to relieve them (kind of like tag wrestling). We definitely work better with more energy.

          On KB – I used to think ‘bench & on for the final 20 to run at tired opposition’. But now I’m not as certain. I’m seeing more & more teams upping the ante in the final 20. Poor defense by him is hard to excuse & will cost. ‘Does he offer more than he costs’ is my question.

  • Vinnie Gorham

    You mean 51-20 :P

  • Duvstar

    - Kuridrani to 13, AAC to the wing for McCabe. Regardless of McCabe’s injury, (and fingers crossed it’s not a recurrence of his prior neck problems), I think Kuridrani’s size and power will offer us a far more different and beneficial dimension, plus his combinations with Toomua at the Brumbies.

    – Foley to flyhalf. Each time he’s come on he’s directed and marshalled the attack in a far more influential way, and his original dropping was very harsh. Beale is not a 10, but is a perfect bench player, as he is at his best coming on when the game’s structure is beginning to break down a bit more and he can exploit more space. Plus he can cover numerous positions.

    – Phipps for White. God what we would give for the Genia of those first two Lions tests? Still, White has been poor in both service and kicking (arguably his strongest call for selection). Phipps is by no means a finished product but we often see new scrum halfs given their opportunity injecting a new pace and enthusiasm into proceedings. Those calling his praises ‘Waratahs bias’ should upper cut themselves a few times, it is clear that at the Waratahs he has vastly improved his game from his previous Rebels days.

    Was about to start on the forward but really don’t know what changes to make. Horwill to be reconsidered? Higginbotham in for Fardy, who’s been poor first two tests? Skelton to the first XV? I seriously hope last weekend was a one-off for that forward pack and they seriously lift their game against a big Springbok pack.

    • Alex

      Fardy to the second row for Carter, Skelton to start for Simmons and Higgers at 6.

      • Billy Bob Vanderwaal

        Fardy was in at lock when Simmons was sin-binned and you saw what happened there (or if you didn’t, the scrum was destroyed including giving up a penalty try). If you don’t like Simmons or Carter, bring back Horwill and try Skelton, but the scrum and lineout were okay when the starters were all on (notice I didn’t mention loose play/breakdown) and I think Skelton makes his best impact in the last 20 minutes off the bench. Horwill & either Simmons or Carter, whichever is doing the best in the loose with Skelton off the bench. Maybe swap Higgers for Fardy or Palu, he was fairly silent, too.

        • Dave

          Fardy can’t scrum for shit I have to agree. His angles are all wrong at 6 and it’s a credit to Slipper and Kepu to be able to scrum on effectively one shoulder. At lock internationally he gives nothing in the scrum.

      • kris

        Bring back Willie 9……

    • Dave

      Fardy is having a case of second season syndrome at international level I think. He’s not been terrible but not at his standard. I’m not saying Palu should be dropped just yet but his performances have been way down and the stats reflect as much especially in his running metres per carry, neither of which are very high. Whereas Higgers is eating metres at will in his limited time on and hasn’t missed a tackle yet.

      I agree that Higgers should come in for Fardy at the moment but if Palu continues his slump in form which as recently as a month ago was scintillating and Higgers shows what he has been able to do in glimpses before more consistently, I think Fardy at 6 and Higgers at 8 could be very effective.

    • sugarwookie

      Have to agree.

      Even though I much prefer White over Phipps, he has had a couple of bad games. Having said that though, it could have been George Gregan or Will Genia at their peak and they still would have had a bad game behind our forward pack that was getting absolutely annihilated. Zero clean ball for him, constant clean ball for Aaron Smith.

  • trent

    Hooper to 13 where his running can be his main focus. Hodgson to 7 so we actually have some pressure at the breakdown. Fardy dropped with Higgers starting and McCalman on the bench.

    • Gavin

      Close to perfect call there Trent, Hooper is a born centre, but not hodgson, Liam Gill at 7, Higgers at blindside and McCalman at 8 would be a beast of a backline, Carter needs to go and bring in Horwill for no more than 50 minutes, replaced by Skelton so he gets 30 minutes to rip apart the opponents, As for the Props I don’t really see anything I like for Prop combinations atm in australian rugby, and we have just lost 2 that show true grit in Jono Owen and Albert Anae, we need some real grunt up front but I just can’t think of the pairing. James Slipper was the better pick on Saturdays game, at least he didn’t go missing in action like Kepu.

      • Bairdy

        Jono Owen is in Grenoble, France, and Anae is in Italy.

        • Gavin

          Yes I Know that is what I am saying we have just lost 2 that in a year or 2 say around when the World Cup is on would have been a great pick as props that show ticker, skill and strength, sad to see 2 good props leave due to the lack of coaching ability at QRU

      • trent

        Gill has reportedly injured his neck and Hodgson has amazing form. His experience and leadership are just what the Wallabies need at the moment.

        • Gavin

          Gill should be playing this week for QLD City, they rested him last week but he has said he should have clearance, (as of last Thursday). I agree with Hodgsons ability and leadership Qualities but if we are going to look for future players I think Gill is the better option, and I am surprised Ewen hasn’t pick him for the squad as he rates Gill as the Best over the ball flanker in the country at the moment. He really is in everything when on the field with a massive work rate.

        • trent

          I guess it is about choosing who had the longer term potential over who has actually had the form. Gill due to injury can’t compete with Hodgson this year on form.

          Hodgson is the leading try scoring forward (6 tries to Hooper’s 2 For the record) and was the leader in pilfers and tackles. He also lead the Force to their most successful year and secured his 3rd player of the year award for the Force.

          Gill has next year to prove he should be chosen for the Wallabies in time for the world cup. But I don’t see how games for the NRC can out weigh Hodgson’s Season. But very glad to hear that he is back playing!

  • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

    Pretty fair assessment by the Boks Skipper after the test in Argentina. It really could have gone either way but in fairness to the Saffers, they came back strong to overcome a Pumas team that were playing out of their skins & a vocal crowd (which were fantastic).

  • Luke Amasi

    It was tough to see Charles come off, he’s obviously gone through a lot. I hope TPN is ready in time for the Boks, he could add some much needed physicality at the break down. It is said that Palu plays his best when this combo is on the field….. I hope that will bring out his best.

    Foley should come in, but IF link still suggests that it was always a decision between Foley and Toomua, does that mean Toomua drops out and Beale goes to 12? IF that is the case then I would assume AAC would stay at 13? Hard to tell, I believe the Wallabies need Foley at 10 but I don’t know what that means for Beale or Toomua I like the look of all 3 and feel Beale could best be utilised on the wing.

    I think now is as good a time as any to give Horwill another crack, he just has so much heart and I think that was missing on saturday. The forwards need a spiritual leader who doesn’t rely on game plan but more the love for the jersey to lift the guys.

    If JOC signs for the reds would he leave Toulon asap? and play for AUS, does he deserve it? We need a winger or two. But it still hasn’t been a year since he’s last played, is that enough time for one to learn?

    Higgers deserves a start, his super form was ok. He has lifted for the tests and thats what you want which is great to see.

    • Train Without A Station

      Beale still in the team? Haha that’s a good one.

      • Luke Amasi

        Who would you say that is available could be a better winger than Beale, we have depth in aus rugby but not on the wing….

        • Train Without A Station

          Anybody that could tackle would be an improvement. he’s going to have to score/set up a lot of tries to make up for the ones he let’s in.

    • Parker

      I think JOC should be brought straight into the Wallabies considering our lack of wingers at the moment, if that’s possible.

      • lighthorse

        Well there is speight but i don’t know when he will recover from injury and then there is Tom English but he’s built more like a centre to me,we need Wingers that go looking for the ball in the midfield like Digby but sadly there is no one left not even his clone(Chris Feauai-sautia & co) in the Reds fit the bill.we need wingers badly Beibs will walk right in.

  • idiot savant

    I think its time for a paradigm shift. Play 3 halfbacks and give them a third of the game each. In the AFL they keep substituting (I know players cant come back on in Rugby) on-ballers to maintain a dead sprint on ball for as long as possible. The same outcome could be possible with 3 halfbacks playing 25 mins or so each. More urgency, quicker ball, more go forward and more penalties against the ABs for offside and loitering!

    As far as the forwards go, the same pack will probably do alright against all sides other than the ABs so Im not sure we are going to learn much in the success of replacements. Certainly Higgers provides more physical intensity, and Palu and perhaps Kepu should probably be dropped for a test to remind them of the standard required. Fardy tried but his lack of pace was exposed. Hell probably hold his own against the Boks.

    And its got to be Foley at 10 to start.

  • The Cheat

    Fardy and Palu were soundly beaten on Saturday night. I also used to think Simmons was a useless yellow card magnet, I started to change my opinion of him this year but again I had to watch him sitting down with a blank look on his face while the All Blacks scored points at will. Does anyone else know how to call a f’ing lineout? That seems to be Simmons only saving grace. I would like to see Higginbotham and McCalman join Hooper in the backrow for the next test. White and Beale also need to go from 9 and 10, replaced by Phipps and Foley. I’d be happy to play Horne and Folau on the wings and shift Beale to fullback if no other options are available, but i’d be equally as happy to see something completely different like Toomua at 10, Kuridrani and AAC in the centres and Foley at fullback. Deans tried the non playmaking 12, but used McCabe at 12 who isn’t really built like a battering ram. Could it work better with a big unit like Kuridrani? Some people may not agree with this, but if something’s not working you change it. We’ve just been humiliated by the All Blacks, don’t tell me everything’s A-OK.

    • Bairdy

      Agreed. It’s not like the players are unintelligent; most are after all from a private school background. In addition, all the forwards would know the lineout calls having practiced them ad nauseum in training. It’s not like you need to memorize more than a couple dozen calls surely.

      For 40-odd tests, Simmons is an experienced campaigner – he should be a leader in the pack but he dissipates in to the background too often, and he still continues to give away the same penalties at lineout time. The difference between Whitelock and/or Retallick and Simmons is chalk and cheese, and we simply need to get more out of Simmons than ‘lineout calling nous.’

      Not to focus too much on Simmons, but Palu, Fardy and Carter had poor games as well (especially Palu based on his standards).

      Until we get some much-needed cattle back like Moore, TPN, Sio, Pocock [and arguably Weeks and Cottrell], the pack should only be minimally changed if there are far better options, which there aren’t at the moment. By persisting with the forwards who were pumped by the All Blacks, the players will take a lot out of the game and they will get better.

      If I were Link, I would bring one of Robinson or Toby Smith into the squad

      • Parker

        Geez, Bairdy. Don’t know if that was tongue in cheek or not. But haven’t you heard of the rugby scholarship at private schools, which have little to do with academic aptitude? On the other hand, the “most are from a private school background” observation may explain why sometimes our team plays with a sense of entitlement, expecting to get the rewards without the most intense effort; the tendency to get complacent after a draw and expect a win next week just for showing up. There are many good things about a private school education. Unearned privilege is not one of them.

        • Bairdy

          I can see you why you picked apart a fraction of my comment, but my reference to private schools is in regards to how Simmons is supposedly the only guy capable of calling the lineout in the Wallabies, even though the rest of the pack memorise and train these calls, and these guys are generally intelligent, professional rugby players.

          It wasn’t a dig at unearned privilege; but rather why a skill such as lineout calling is too difficult for any other forward other than Simmons.

        • SuckerForRed

          Calling the lineout is not just knowing the calls. It is knowing when & how to use which calls in which particular lineout.

          Not having a dig. Just know that ‘Lineout calling’ is not as simple as memorising the calls. All the forwards & most of the backs have to do this anyway.

        • Nick

          Interesting that you pick up on Bairdy’s private school “generalisation” and argue with one of your own re: sense of entitlement.

        • Parker

          Nick and Bairdy, I am just glad that the 6 people who liked my observation (not argument) understood what I was saying. Keep up the commenting guys.It’s what makes this site rewarding.

    • JimmyT

      Australian rugby fans need to understand that Wycliffe Palu is a front foot rugby player. Yep, he looks good one level down in a dominant Waratah team, but against quality test opposition that the Wallabies cannot expect to dominate, he is not suited. Supporting his tight forwards at ruck time, cover defending and mopping up loose ball created from Wallaby backs are not his strengths — and never have been. He is not a “go to” lineout option nor does he sweep effectively at lineout time. He rampages forward and can look imposing in well functioning forward packs but the Wallabies seldom give him that platform. I thought Cheika had got him fit this year? Why does that increased fitness not get better utilised at test level? I fear Wycliffe Palu is like many Polynesian players. Likes doing the smashing, but goes mysteriously MIA when getting smashed.

      • Nick

        False. He is very effective around the ruck. One of the few Wallabies that can beat his man at cleaning out and providing stable ball.

  • Bobas

    Just reading the age in melbourne print version about mccabes injury. The photo of him tackling savea is nick white and the photo of him last year with a neck brace is Barnes.

    • Meatray

      any idea how bad his injury actually is?

    • The Cheat

      Sounds like it must be bad considering he’s had 2 face transplants in 12 months

    • Patrick

      If you lived here you wouldn’t read that shite! That’s what GAGR was invented for :)

      • Bobas

        I live in Melbourne. I only read the caption and looked at the photos.

  • I Should be Coach

    It’s simple. We need to change the mentality of the Wallaby. This may mean we do not pick the best players, but players that give 150% time after time.

  • Purce

    1. Slipper
    2. TPN/Hanson
    3. Kepu
    4. Horwill
    5. Simmons
    6. Higginbotham
    7. Hooper
    8. Palu
    9. Phipps
    10. Foley
    11. Horne
    12. Toomua
    13. Kurindrani
    14. AAC
    15. Folau

    16. Hanson/Fa’ainga
    17. (Greg Holmes) Pek Cowan
    18. Alexander
    19. Skelton
    20. Fardy / McCalman
    21. White
    22. Beale
    23. McCabe/Tomane/(Morahan)… not sure who’s injured, they all could be

    Carter isn’t up to it yet. Horwill was showing some form towards the end of s15. The rest are pretty self explanatory. Players in parenthesis are outside the squad who, IMO, should/need to be there. Not sure how Holmes is always overlooked, one of the best front rowers getting around OZ, would have him starting after Kepu’s effort on the weekend. Morahan has genuine speed and size with a bit of x-factor added in… also a finisher.

    I’d look at giving Jones, Neville & Speight(when eligible) game time through the TRC…. they are shaping up to be big performers next year.

    • anorton

      i agree although swap toomua for beale…the phipps, foley, beale combo is too strong to not have running out against the boks

      • Lord Rumpunch

        Agree. Toomoa didn’t play well and the Wallabies need to find a tried combination. The Phipps / Foley / Beale combo also know how to work with Izzie. Think of it as sticking to a tried and tested group – just tried and tested in a different colour jumper.

      • Purce

        I was thinking more a Toomua 1st half / Beale 2nd half type deal. Toomua to nut out the more physical 1st half then Beale’s game perhaps more suited for the 2nd when players are a bit more tired.

        I get where you’re coming from though

    • BPH

      Agree…except for…Kepu doesnt deserve to keep a spot in the squad, Beale for Toomua..&..I was a big Palu fan but now not so much!

  • Moo Magic

    Not sure how much this translates to last Saturday, but maybe winning the Super Rugby title has many of the Waratahs physically and emotionally (from all the elation) on the back foot? You look at Palu, AAC, Keps.
    Might be a blessing and a curse

  • Richard

    Can I throw in a Kiwi perspective here — and I’m not writing as any smart-ass, gloating NZ fan….

    It does intrigue me that Australia seems very attracted to the model of taking players and tinkering with their position versus the NZ approach which is take the position and find a player for it. Feels to me you finish up with a side full of utility players who then get found out when matched up against quality opposition specialists. The subsequent berating you serve up after a tough loss is understandable, but confusing when often the proposed solution is more of the same. This is where Robbie Deans wrecked the Wallabies and the lessons need to be learnt.

    Is Beale a 10, 12 or 15? Is Toomua a 10 or 12? Who goes where when Quade Cooper is available? Is AAC a 13, 14 or 15. How about JOC when he returns? Or Israel Folau or Pat McCabe? In the forwards who is your best second row combination? Who is the best No. 6 to support Hooper? Ditto No. 8.

    Feels questionable trying players in a position, watching them struggle, only to get tossed out or into another position and asked to perform better there. Wallaby sides are always at their best when there is quality across the park and there is stability in selection. Pick your best side and stick to it. For those you miss out, tell them they need to play better to earn the spot. Now feels a good time to try.

    • sugarwookie

      100% mate. Could not agree more.

    • idiot savant

      Gee these are really good questions. I would call Beale a great instinctive running back because of his acceleration, skills as both a receiver and a disposer and an instinct for finding holes. Ive seen him play great games at 15 and 12 and only mediocre games at 10. He adds spark relieving at 10 but has never successfully run a whole game there at test level. Hes had a shocker at 15. So what does that make him? A bench impact player? I’m not sure ‘running backs’ exist in Kiwi rugby. Not that they cant run, they clearly can, but they just dont seem to produce this kind of player. They are more disciplined role players. Or as you say, they find the player for the position.

      Ive seen Toomua play a great game at 12, and good ones at 10. Hes also had a few ups and downs at 12. AAC has been great at 13 and 14, average at 15.

      The trouble is that the ABs dont play the ABs. If they did, maybe they would chop and change more often as they would get beaten more often!

      • Richard

        Be assured that in NZ getting labeled as a “good utility player” is a very unwanted tag. It’s a licence to serve lots of bench time, but more importantly, never be considered in a starting side. Players avoid it by drilling very deep into the skill sets required to play in the specialist position they choose to give them their best hope of making the starting side. From there it’s all about ensuring form (and demonstrating proper teamwork) to beat out competing threats. It feels a very different model.

        • RedsFanDan

          I’m curious about what you would do with Beale? For me he’s a bench utility unless our first option at 12 is gone. He’s much more dangerous in the last 20-30 mins of a game.

        • Richard

          I think Kurtley Beale is 100% a bench player with a very important mandate to come on late in matches and influence change for the team by taking advantage of tired opposition legs around him. He fills exactly the role that Beauden Barrett fills well for the AB side. What is perhaps of lesser interest here is Barrett knows his role for the side and performs it very effectively. I would suggest the day Barrett threatens a “starting role or no role” type approach would be the same day he’s shown the door and told never to venture back in again. It is all about “the team”.

        • idiot savant

          Thats great intel Richard. Chilling but true. Memo to all Australian rugby nurseries and provincial sides. Expurgate that maverick individualism.

    • porpor

      Best comment ever. As a Wallabies supporter I couldn’t agree more. We never ‘settle’ our team as we have not been able to crystalise the players’ position and combination since 2007 (injuries play big part in this but it’s not an excuse). Link tried to do the right thing by picking the same team that almost beat the ABs in an atrocious weather and he thought we coulddo better in a better weather condition. Sadly, but unsunsurprisingly, the Wallabies were picked out and got slaughtered.

    • Nutta

      I’m hard-pressed to agree more wholeheartedly. I’ve often thought it was due to the influence of AFL and Mungo where the development programmes identify the general athlete first and then try to develop the footy player. It’s then exacerbated by poor junior coaches who insist on picking fat-backrowers and trying to mate them front-rowers.

      I say you identify a good (say) prop and then add elements to his game. Footballer first – then accessories. Or as my dad used to “Meat & potatoes first Boy. Then Gravy. And no one ever put gravy on the plate first.”

      On this site I’ve ranted and raved about that before. It does my head in.

    • bad ass

      Best kiwi comment ever.

    • JPQ

      I am also a Kiwi. I agree with most of what you’ve said but have to say that there are exceptions to the rule in the AB’s. Examples include Israel Dagg and Ben Smith, who both started on one the wing. Kahui played the whole World Cup on the wing. SBW played wing in the WC before graduating to inside centre.
      I think you can get away with the odd player out of position (especially on the wing apparently) as long as the personnel and structure of the team is settled (E.G: nonu and smith have been together for the longest time in AB’s history and learnt to lay together at Hurricanes). But what you can’t do is take players and throw them into first five – which is such a specialized and crucial position. Pick Foley.

  • Sammy

    Putting aside all the hoo-ha of team selections etc for a minute, I would like to say i wish Patty McCabe all the best and am keeping my fingers crossed that he gets good news today. He is one of the truly nice guys in Rugby, always happy to have a chat whether after the game, fan days or if you happen to run into him at a local game. Would be an awful shame if his career had to end this way.
    All the best Pat!

  • Mikka

    Is Scott Higgenbotham the most criminally underutilsed forward in Australian rugby in the past 5 years – Dingo Deans used to play him for 10mins (he’d usually make 5 runs for 100m and score a try but amazingly couldn’t justify a starting position) and Link has continued this selection travesty. I’m going to start one of those petitions at Change.org to get Higgers in the starting lineup ASAP.

    • trent

      No Hodgson is. Higgers form this super season was inconsistent at best.

    • bad ass

      Higgers never played as well when he started as when he came off the bench.

  • Mikka

    While I’m on a rant, how about calling up Nathan Grey to put some starch in the defensive line as he has done at the Waratahs this season. Australian rugby always looks best when we have aggressive in-your-face defense and Nathan can deliver that in spades.

    • Parker

      Nathan Grey or John Muggleton. Remember when we had terrific defence under him?

  • Barry Allen

    1. Slipper
    2. Hansen
    3. Kepu
    4. Carter
    5. Skelton
    6. Higginbotham
    7. Hooper
    8. Palu
    9. Phips
    10. Foley
    11. Horn
    12. Beale
    13. AAC
    14. Tomane
    15. Folau

  • dom

    Hopefully reason will prevail. Too long have people with actual clues banged on about Hooper’s non-existence in the breakdown and Kurtley Beale’s supreme ineffectiveness at international level, only to get shot down by Waratahs fans and GAGR “experts.”

  • I Should be Coach

    It’s simple. We need to change the mentality of the Wallaby. This may mean we do not pick the best players, but players that give 150% time after time.

    This means that guys like Hodgson, McCalman, Higgs and Horwill need to start. They may not be the best, but you can guarantee that when they pull that gold jersey on, they will give it their all. These guys will provide the leadership and drive in the team. Hooper is good, but not a leader.

  • Rex Munday

    I’m sure this’ll draw the crabs but here goes…

    Slipper
    Hanson (NC etc injured)
    Kepu
    Horwill
    Simmons
    Higginbotham/Fardy
    Hooper
    Palu
    Phipps (holding my nose until
    Genia is back)
    Foley (until QC returns)
    Horne (until Speight is available)
    Toomua (couldn’t disagree more with Bob’s assessment of him)
    Kuridrani
    AAC
    Folau

    Faainga
    Holmes
    Alexander
    Skelton
    Fardy/Higginbotham
    Hodgson/Gill
    White
    Beale

  • I Should be Coach

    team –

    1. Slipper
    2. TPN/Hanson
    3. Kepu
    4. Horwill
    5. Jones
    6. Higgs
    7. Hodgson
    8. McCallman
    9. Phipps
    10. Foley
    11. Hooper
    12. Beale
    13. Kuridrani
    14. ACC
    15 Folau

    16. Hanson/Smelly Finger
    17. Simmons
    18. Holmes
    19. Burgess
    20. Toomua
    21. Alexander
    22. Horne
    23. Skelton

    • bad ass

      Hooper on the wing? No way, he should be at 12 instead of Beale.

      • I Should be Coach

        Agreed. Switch them then.

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