Player Ratings - Wallabies v Fiji - Green and Gold Rugby
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Player Ratings – Wallabies v Fiji

Player Ratings – Wallabies v Fiji

1. Tom Robertson

Robertson-2017HeadshotPerformed well against the underdog Fijian scrum, quiet elsewhere with only two runs for 6 metres, tackled well with zero misses. A couple of penalties conceded away from a solid game. 5

2. Tatafu Polota-Nau

PolotaNau-2017HeadshotSolid as ever in the scrum, faultless throwing and the same disregard for his own wellbeing (as he’s known for) in the contact area. Looks to be down on pace but Fiji has a habit of making a lot of players look a little slow. 6

3. Allan Alaalatoa

Alaalatoa-2017HeadshotVery solid at the set-piece and a high work-rate. Brought the hard running and great short passing game that has seen him be put into the same sentence as Kepu this year. He made twice the amount of metres as the other front rowers and three times the amount of passes. The stats have chalked him up as only tackling at a 5/10 clip which will be a bigger worry against higher ranked opponents. 6

4. Sam Carter

Carter-2017Headshot50 minutes, 9 of 9 tackles, 2 runs for 9 metres and part of a well functioning lineout and scrum. He is used to playing the whole game of super rugby, so is he the right fit tactically if he’s going to be playing little more than a half? 6

5. Adam Coleman

Coleman-2017HeadshotTopped the tackle count with 16 and only 1 miss. Made 8 runs for 9 metres beating one defender. A few handling errors, a couple around receiving the restart was a blemish on what was a physical 80 minute display.  7

6. Ned Hanigan

Hanigan-2017HeadshotOK debut, looked handy around the park apart from a poor kick chase leading to the Fijian’s first linebreak. Solid carries and adequate defence but, along with the rest of the starting back row, failed to offer much presence in the Fijian breakdown. 5

7. Michael Hooper (c)

Hooper-2017HeadshotWorked hard with the good results as we  have come to expect from Hooper, 13/16 tackles and 49 run metres from only 7 runs. Respected the Fijians as captain by taking throw over penalties much to the boos of the crowd (damned if you do damned if you don’t). Limited breakdown pressure on Fijian ball. 6

8. Scott Higginbotham

Higginbotham-2017HeadshotA rare tight game from Higgers saw him with limited space on attack and he was okay in this role. He shined on defence though, out-tackling Hooper and falling one short of Coleman with 15/16. The classy offload to DHP was just enough sparkle. Is this his spot to lose or will there be experimentation? 7

9. Will Genia

Genia-2017HeadshotGot his first box kick charged down… Genia’s crisp passing was the highlight for him this game and it was a good hitout for what will no doubt be a long international season for him. It was great to see him chance his arm on the snipe even if the space closed down on him each time. Just too many missed tackles 2/5 for this to be seen as anything other than an average performance. 5

10.  Bernard Foley

Foley-2017HeadshotFoley had a superb game with his decision making on both on attack and defence. It’s unfortunate he couldn’t take his intercept the whole way with the headstart he had and someone else should kick for touch. 8 – GAGR MOTM

11. Henry Speight

Speight-2017HeadshotA busy game and a couple of great tries from Speight glossed over being on the end of a terrible pass and a couple of fumbles in and around the contact zone. Still always looked dangerous and was always in a position to finish. 7

12. Karmichael Hunt

Hunt-2017HeadshotA Will Skelton-like debut, looks like he’s played 12 his whole life. His interplay on attack with Foley and his rock solid defence with Kuridrani was unexpected and welcome. Made one less tackle and missed one less than Hooper. Distributed well except for one pushed poor pass in the first half. Can’t wait to see how he progresses here in the next two test matches. 7

13. Tevita Kuridrani

Kuridrani-2017HeadshotA solid game, for once didn’t top the tackle count in the backs but still made 9. On attack was his usual self and carried well with the second most metres to the fullback (who gets cheap metres). A classy offload or a foot-in-touch away from a higher mark. 6

14. Dane Haylett-Petty

HaylettPetty-2017HeadshotThe ball didn’t seem to come to the wing he was occupying a lot but he still did enough, his poor pass in the first half came up trumps and he still beat defenders with his footwork and made all his tackles. Like Foley I would have liked to see him try the after burners instead of a kick or a pass when presented with fast cover defence. 6

15. Israel Folau

Folau-2017HeadshotAn attacking masterclass in almost all measurable areas, but the stat that stands out is the big naught in TC (turnovers conceded). Two tries and an assist, which included gathering a cross kicked bomb in the 4th minute set the tone for a big win. But a slice of cheese for a bad tackle saw Fiji make massive confidence gaines and a much closer result. 8

Finishers

16. Stephen Moore

Moore-2017HeadshotCame on and scored a try off the rolling maul. Dropped a couple of balls cold and fell off a tackle, looked really slow when running to follow the play. 4

17. Toby Smith

TSmith-2017HeadshotOkay in the scrum, poor elsewhere missed 2 tackles of his 5 attempted. 4

18. Sekope Kepu

Kepu-2017HeadshotSimilar to the other two front row replacements but made all his tackles and didn’t drop the ball. 5

19. Rory Arnold

Arnold-2017HeadshotPlayed half an hour replacing Carter but arguably didn’t offer more than Carter was providing and was easily outplayed by Coleman despite being fresh. Made 2 tackles and missed two. 4

20. Richard Hardwick

Hardwick-2017HeadshotStole the ball from the ruck inside the first minute of his debut. 8 tackles and 7 runs with 2 defenders beaten, played the finishing role properly. 7 

21. Joe Powell

Powell-2017HeadshotGot over early jitters to put in a decent shift to finish off the game. At least his box kick wasn’t charged down. 5

22. Quade Cooper

Cooper-2017HeadshotMade a tackle in the 10 spot then defended out on the wing, didn’t really do anything wrong. 5

23. Reece Hodge

Hodge-2017HeadshotVery similar to Quade except he got to miss the final conversion, both were holding their tees but neither looked like they wanted to take it. 5

THE PATENTED G&GR RATINGS GUIDE:

10 – A legendary performance to go down in the history books
9 – Outstanding performance: Man of the match shoo-in
8 – Excellent all-round game
7 – Good game with a few sparkles
6 – Solid performance
5 – Average – ho hum
4 – Below par
3 – Had a bad game
2 – Tell your story walking pal
1 – A complete joke

Player Ratings – Wallabies v Fiji

  • Pedro

    Good ratings, must’ve been a hard one because there were lots of decent performances with the only standout getting a yellow.

    I pretty much agree with all of them, although Moore could’ve easily gotten less. That knockon was awful.

    • I would have given every tight forward less.

      • Pedro

        I thought Coleman and Carter were decent.

        • RugbyReg

          I thought Coleman was fantastic and thought AA was pretty damn good too

        • Pedro

          AA had some good involvements, but missed tackles are a bit of a worry, even if it is a somewhat flawed statistic.

        • John Tynan

          I’m not sure about the whole game, but at least two of those missed tackles had him positioned mid field, including the break that I think lead to a try.
          While the defensive system seemed a lot more traditional, and less reliant on showing them wide space then relying on scramble to cover, they seemed to have centre field covered with tight forwards?
          Miss match central.

      • Alister Smith

        Coleman was a standout for mine but i guess that’s not what you are saying – maybe he should be a 7 rather than an 8 but I thought he had a very decent game. The scrum struggled at times which surprised me, rolling maul seemed to work pretty well but we were a little slow at the breakdown, at least until Hardwick came on – physically he looked like a young Tian Strauss to me and I thought he played well – perhaps he might be a starter to get some more balance in the forward back. I felt a little sorry for Moore, he has been an excellent player at Super and International level but he did have some pretty ordinary touches.

    • Kev

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a16b7d864d778e52885886de5d249f396fd4b42963125af47dbbb39232e3c7b2.jpg

      It actually gave me a pretty good laugh watching live. Looked quite comical

      • Pedro

        Yep.

      • Dud Roodt

        Received quite a few non PC but hilariously funny texts as soon as that happened.
        He is one of the least athletic and skilled people I’ve ever seen represent a national team

  • Patrick

    I thought KH played just about better than Skelton ever has!

    • Bobas

      Skelton peaked with his debut

      • jamie

        Slow, downhill stumble since.. unfortunately. I thought he’d be a genuine weapon and a point of difference. Now he’s just a penalty magnet and a dumb player..

    • Who?

      And he played more than half the game.

  • Who?

    Three kicks failing to find touch (one of them a penalty) have to take a mark off Foley. As much as people say it was Folau’s YC that started the Fijian resurgence, I’d argue that it was Foley keeping the ball in play (i.e. not finding touch) which gave space (with Hanigan’s chase) for the first Fijian foray, which was what set the spark and got them into the game. Before that, they’d had no ball. That kick gave them a chance to run, and they didn’t stop for 20 minutes (until Cheika had a chance to rip into the Wallabies at half time).
    Thought Genia was right to complain about getting charged down on his box kick – the Fijian THP was swimming up the side. Who cares if he’s bound – if he’s on the outside, he’s offside.
    And if people are surprised at Hunt’s defence, they haven’t watched much of him… There was nothing unexpected about that performance for me. Or, given his faith in Hunt at 12 TWO YEARS AGO, for Cheika. Credit to Cheika on the selection.

    • Pedro

      So angry, mustn’t have a public holiday tomorrow where you live ;)

      • Who?

        Nah, not angry. Just a different perspective. Those missed touch-finders gave Fiji a chance to spark, and you can’t rate a performance as an 8 – excellent all round – when you’ve got that sort of an issue. Similarly, I wouldn’t rate an 8 – excellent all round – for someone who sat in the naughty chair. Have to say though, Foley’s goal kicking was back at its best. Nice to see.
        Most of the ratings were about right. I’d argue that Robertson could’ve been a mark lower, maybe Ala’alatoa, too, but that’s a fine point. I mostly agree with the ratings. For mine, Coleman, Hunt and Higgers were our best, Arnold had a good impact from the bench. Foley and Folau were good, but their passing accuracy (even between themselves) wasn’t at its best (funny the 10 commentators called for the ball to be in front of the man in Speight’s last try, when Issy was the slow pass (Hodge’s pass was lightning!), and it was arguably the slickest passing we’d seen all game), and I got a bit tired of ‘bomb it for Issy’ when we used it the second time on first phase in the 22. Especially when they ran a great first phase play for Folau’s second try. But that try also shouldn’t fall straight on them – it was first phase, and it was a very clear set play (standard second man play from Hunt behind TK to Foley, then currently unused ball to Folau on a hard unders line at the front, ignoring the sweeping DHP and Hooper in the second line, which is where the ball would currently go in any other play in the modern game to chase the width, rather than running through the line), so Bernie has to have a good amount of credit for it (and I’ve not been a Bernie fan as a coach). It was a great set play, targeting a hard drifting defence with a runner against the grain.
        And the self-employed never have a public holiday… :-(

    • first time long time

      Out of curiosity, who is the kicking coach and do they think Foley’s general kicking is adequate?
      Too many of his ‘clearing kicks’ would be better termed mid field turnovers because especially against the ABs they lap that shit up and have scored multiple tries directly from his poor clearances.
      He was also charged down once on sat.
      Anyone can step into 1st receiver for kicks… Gould, Campo, Latham.
      I think we need Hodges boot somewhere out there, probably on a wing.
      Foley otherwise played well and he and Hunt combined really nicely.

      • Who?

        I don’t know if they have a kicking coach. They should have one. But I don’t know.
        I completely agree with you about kicks not into touch against the ABs effectively being ‘mid field turnovers’. Except that there’s a team that thrives on them even more, one team in the world that makes the even ABs look poor on the kick return. And that’s Fiji!
        Burke was constantly saying on the 10 feed that the exit strategy’s completely wrong. It’s something Bishop wrote about last year (not sure if that was here, or after he moved elsewhere). Burke’s point was that they were consistently passing right to left to a right foot kicker, which forces poor results, regardless of who it is (Foley, Cooper, etc). So it’s not even just how they kick (technically), or who kicks. It’s the way the kicker receives the ball that’s an issue. It’s worth noting that the charge down was a left to right kick for Foley to kick to the left touch line… I thought he should’ve held the ball, but obviously he didn’t see it coming.
        Hunt’s boot would be enough out there. Or DHP. Hodge is very good, don’t get me wrong. But I think the more immediate problem is that we flag that there’s only one person who’s ever going to kick to exit. If we had two options, one either side of the scrumhalf, or three options (i.e. if Foley’s buried in a ruck), then life’s easier for Foley even on the times he does receive the ball, because it’s not as certain that he’s the kicking option.

        • Adrian

          Byrne is kicking coach I think

        • Who?

          Good point.
          And there’s been some visible change in Foley’s kicking style this year. Not consistently, yet. But we’ve seen him striking through the ball more front on. That’s a good thing, and something I’d expect Byrne’s been involved with setting up.
          But Byrne’s not got sole responsibility for exit strategies. I’d imagine that Larkham and Cheika have input there. And whoever it is that’s running that strategy, they’re getting it wrong.

        • first time long time

          I agree that Fijians are great kick returners they just didn’t score the tries that the all blacks have and will continue to do from that situation.
          I still think Hodge to wing, biggest boot out of hand and off the deck. Keeps teams honest when you can pop three points from 55 out.
          Just thoughts, who knows what next week will bring but I enjoyed this weekend

        • Who?

          You’re right about the ABs turning them into tries… The difference between the ABs and Fijians is, for me, about the likelihood of linking and working phases. The Fijians are more likely to break out, the ABs are more likely to convert their break outs into tries, through better support or better analysis seeing them putting in clever kicks or finding support in contact.
          I expect this weekend will see some shuffling, and Italy will see even more shuffling. Hodge could end up anywhere this week. I think this week was probably actually pretty close to an ‘A’ team from Cheika, and next week will be his expected ‘A’ team. And deservedly so – Scotland are a very good team right now.

        • first time long time

          Maybe it’s true….
          “Who?” might actually know what’s going to happen next week ; )

        • idiot savant

          And we have one less option than all other rugby nations. No kicker at 15.

      • Adrian

        I think Hunt’s boot..at least for now.

        Hodge won’t be there, despite him being a good all round player.

        I can see Beale doing some of the clearance kicking in 3 tests time.
        Hunt will be helping out from 14, when he takes over from the unlucky DHP as one half of the hybrid 14/15 position, where Folau is the other half…….but I’m getting ahead of myself….

        • Who?

          If we have Beale and Hunt on the field at the same time, better for Kurtley to wear the backfield jersey and Hunt to stay in the midfield jersey. After all, that’s the way they’ll defend. And Kurtley did a pretty handy job chiming in with a roving commission from the left wing in the 2015 RWC (he was, without any doubt in my mind, our best back – in every game, even the England game). The Campo role!

        • Bernie Chan

          “hybrid” position…isn’t that part of the problem with Cheika’s selection mindset…? We are not picking a balanced side and end up weakening one spot to cover a weakness in another? Is it so hard to pick the best in each position..or a balanced side (eg if Hooper has a mortgage on the #7 then one of the other two backrowers must be hard over the ball and play tight…)?

        • Adrian

          It’s only part of the problem because we just don’t have the players most of the time.

          Hybrids in Australia aren’t new. D’Arcy throwing into lineout because hookers couldn’t, wingers in 50s and 60s. Campese a hybrid wing-5/8-fullback etc

          If we had 5/8s who could do everything like Carter, I’d have them.

          When it comes to wing/fullback/inside centre for example, we have players who are brilliant at some things and not at others, so the coach creates these hybrid positions. I’d much rather that than people in their “right” positions who aren’t that good. I didn’t say bad, just not good. We don’t have any wingers who can also kick for example, and that used to be part of a conventional wingers arsenal.

          How good is the following team of available specialists in their “right” position?

          DHP
          Shipley
          Kurandrani
          Godwin
          Dargaville
          Lance
          Genia
          Higginbotham
          Alcock
          Fardy
          Coleman
          Carter
          Kepu
          Moore
          Robertson
          All good players in position, but no chance of beating a good team such as Scotland, let alone the All Blacks

          Hybrid positions allow Australia to use Folau, Speight, Hunt, Beale, Hooper, Foley/Cooper, Latu who are amongst our best talents, and give us a chance at winning!

        • Bernie Chan

          Isn’t Latu a hooker…? IMHO…the best back ‘3’ could be Hunt at fullback and Izzy and Speight on the wings…Hunt is a fullback (he showed he can be a second ‘playmaker’ in the Test…) and he both kicks and tackles better than Izzy. Both Izzy and Speight are great ball runners and finishers…methinks Izzy would thrive on the “1-on-1″ opportunities on the wing (as he did in league…).

        • Adrian

          Yes, I agree totally with those positions.

          I think that increasingly Folau plays that way anyway, but keeps #15. He does however move to the most likely spot to receive kicks. It’s for these reasons that I call these positions”hybrids”

          I called Latu a “hybrid” because he pilfers like a #7

          I actually think we are getting the cattle and will do very well this year

      • Andy

        It is definitely his weak point but in all honesty it’s getting better this year. He’s definitely kicking it further than he used too but there is still a lot to improve on. That was also the first game this year I’ve not seen him find touch on penalties. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again.

        • first time long time

          It’s happened in at least 2 super rugby games as well.
          His general kicking is such a major chink in his armour and I find it hard to comprehend why it hasn’t improved dramatically over the last 3 years.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Because there has been no competition in the 10 slot. If there had been he would have been ditched.

        • Andy

          I dare say it’s improved quite a bit since he started playing 5/8 4 or so years ago. Just not enough to compare with most quality international 10’s currently playing. That Cheika team that won SR literally never kicked. And I think that may be the key thing. He was a running fullback converted into a 5/8. So I think he’s done remarkably well in that instance with his general game but tactical kicking in general play is almost the hardest thing to pick up when you’ve never had to do it. On that basis I’m not sure he’s ever going to be that great at it and as such the Wallabies will always try and play a style that suits his play. A bit like when Larkham was 10. He was never a great kicker in general play. Merely adequate

        • first time long time

          Yeah makes sense and agree re Larkham and that’s why Latham or Burke did a lot of the clearing kicks and why Hodge is a good fit in this team.

        • Bernie Chan

          But Larkham was great at everything else, and as you noted had some team mates who had booming kicks. Foley (as do most other Oz flyhalfs…) pales by comparison is almost every skill set…

        • Andy

          True. Larkham was an all timer though. Probably not too many 5/8’s in history with his running game. Beauden Barret is the best I’ve ever seen in this aspect with Larkham not far behind.

        • Bernie Chan

          I thought Larkham was our best (his capacity to produce “something out of nothing”…)…am an admirer of one Mark Ella, but it is hard to compare the amateur era against the professional era.

        • jamie

          I think in 2014 his kicks seemed to go further… But I may be wrong and just was caught up in how good the Tarts were..

      • Bernie Chan

        Am a big fan of Sanchez…but frankly our #9s are poor at box kicking collectively (Genia, Phipps, Frisby…). They ‘telegraph’ their intent, often get charged down…and the kicks lack hang time so the receiver is too often unchallenged. Foley’s kicking in general play is not good enough…short range and a low trajectory. Hunt kicks better. As for a kicking coach, one assumes that is Mick Byrnes’ role…? Though the fact that we need to still coach “skills” to players who are full time Pros is a damning indictment on the coaching at youth level. Skills acquisition should occur in the development phase…once a player has turned “Pro” it is probably too late to change technique.

        • first time long time

          Watching Connor Murray box kick with distance and precision was great.
          Our half backs think a random hack downfield is a box kick.

          Skills wise there is definitely a place for the ongoing development as there is in any field. Look at how many all blacks continued to improve and adapt over the years, Nonu for example.
          We seem to stagnate at the moment.

      • jamie

        Hodge 15 Folau 14 Naivalu 11 for me.

  • Huw Tindall

    Good ratings Bobas. Agree with the general summation. What worries me most, again, is the tactical kicking game. Need to find touch and kick it further. It’s such an important part of the game I’d be looking at Hodge seriously. DHP probably the best boot in the run on side this weekend but at wing he is not in a position usually to take the 22 exit kicks which are critical. Surely he has better range than Foley for the penalty touch finders though? We need to sort this ASAP. Other than that I’m happy enough for a first June test. No injuries and some good signs from a lot of players. Can’t ask for too much more.

  • Arty

    Toxic turnstyle at 10 got a 5 for making a tackle while defending on the wing. What next?
    Folau clearly our best yet again, we are lost without his influence. Foley next best.
    Moore managed a fall over try but really looked uninterested and unwilling. Should be a starter or nothing. Preferably nothing.

    • jamie

      His name is Quade, and he got a 5 for doing very little wrong.

  • Harbo

    Can’t see how Foley was man of the match, far too many errors and what is his addiction with not finding touch? Also, a bit harsh on TK he defended at 13 better than I have seen any Aussie do so all year and was immense in attack. He was MOTM for me and look forward to see what himself Hunt can do in the next test.

    Bit controversial but I can never see us going far with Hooper at 7. Any other 7 in Aus could do the job he does in defence and provide so much more in every other area around the paddock. Hardwick was worlds better than Hooper in far fewer minutes. A much better option at 7 and shock horror he can actually pilfer the ball…

    • Nicholas

      Hooper is great if you want to play fast and loose along with having someone who is good in the ruck. However against AB were it is tight and sloe, he is weaker.

      Honestly, I felt that no one really was MOTM. We did the job but it was messy. Every player had a good moment and then a bad one.

    • jamie

      No. No one can match Hooper in defence and around the paddock. The bloke is everywhere and his stats show it.

      • Harbo

        Hooper playing at 7 is like having a 3rd centre. It doesn’t work and our record against good international teams shows it. He is also far out of his depth as captain. Aside from defence, what does he offer?

  • Adrian

    Yes, good ratings, though I’d give Hanigan one more.

    There has been a lot said here about the merits of Hanigan and Higginbotham (and Hanigan v Higginbotham) here and in other blogs.

    This obviously has something to do with those aggrieved on Higginbotham’s behalf wanting to right old wrongs!

    I think both were tight enough and did plenty of in close work. Replays of manhandling in mauls show this. Neither were as good as they can be, and neither brilliant. That’s what we want for now. I think we need Timani next week, with one of Higginbotham and Hanigan on the bench, and the other playing.

  • Andy

    Massive fan of Arnold but agree he was poor coming on. Maybe he’s a better starter?

    Also thought Hardwick was superb. Looks a test player. Very chatty, gives 110 p’s and is solid as shit for a young lad. Reminds me of a young Pocock physically but has a great running game to addd. Any chance we can mould him into a 6 and get him jumping? Maybe he’s too short…

    Hanigan was good and poor in the same breath. But taking into account he was a SR bench player at the years start he’s done very well and clearly improves very quickly. There looks to be some gold there so I will give him time before making any rash judgements

    • jamie

      Hardwick is 183. Get Coleman and Arnold lifting him and he’s reaching for the sky.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Have to disagree Bobas. Couldnt agree more with Who. How can he be man of the match when his job as 10 is to kick the fucking ball. Christ in U17’s our 10 would have been dragged if he kicked and didnt find touch three times. How is this acceptable, and how the hell are we giving the muppet man of the match. The rest of his game was pretty good, but as a 10 your job is play distribution and tactical kicking. How have we become so blase to the fact that Foley and half the Wallabies team cant kick. Christ even the All Blacks forwards can kick and find touch. Plus Foley’s distance is appalling, there are kids in the NRC that can kick further than that.

    Dont get me wrong I dont hate Foley, his distribution was good, his place kicking was accurate, and an above the grade percentage. But if he cant tactically kick hand the kicking to someone who can.

    For my money MOTM was split between Folau and Hunt. Folau for his damaging runs and Hunt for his huge defence!

    • Andy

      Take your point on what the 5/8 is there to do but who should replace him as you suggest? I dare say the coach and selectors are trying to work with what they have.

      Pick a 5/8 who’s kicking game is poor/average but distribution is good and regularly gets the team over the ad line with his direction. Or pick a player who can kick ok in general play but can’t defend in the font line and the rest of his game is drab. The choice is pretty easy.

      Most European teams have the complete opposite problem. Not too sure which is better or worse but there’s no doubt the Wallabies coaching and selection team are picking him based on the game they want to play. Hallelujah if they find a player who can do both but that doesn’t look to be happening any time soon.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Andy, really good point, and to be honest I dont have an answer. Really we have Cooper who has a better kicking game (except for place kicking), but his distribution is either diamonds or stone. Both at times can be flaky in Defence, so there is neither an advantage there of late.
        We struggle with 10’s across the board. I guess it comes down to the game plan and the opposition. It just infuriates me that it, bad kicking for a ten, has become so acceptable in Aus rugby.
        I dont want to seem like it was better in our day type of person, but I remember copping heaps of laps of the ground as well as thousands of pushs ups for stuff that happens everyday at Aus SR and the Wallabies. And that was at junior and non-professional club rugby level.

        • Andy

          My theory, maybe with no merit is that we haven’t consistently picked a 5/8 that has played that position for the most part of his late schoolboy to senior career since Lynagh. So fundamentals, such as general play kicking are not what purist would say is “up to scratch”. Since the mid 90’s our 5/8’s who have been picked consistently in that position were Larkham (FB), Giteau (HB), Cooper (IC), JOC( FB)and Foley (FB). Beale has played a few games there and is the only one I remember playing 5/8 as his regular position at Schoolboy level and beyond. And he’s mainly played at fullback or utility for the wallabies.

          On the counter side, when I watch us play with my English and Irish mates they rate Foley very highly. Mainly because they don’t produce 5/8’s with a running game or who rally flatten the line, something that adds an element of entertainment to the game.

        • Brisneyland Local

          You raise some really good points. I watched the last game with Fijian and Kiwi mates. My Kiwi mates ‘love’ Foley and want him to play 10 against them everytime because the think he is totally useless (as per KRL’s view point on this blog). The Kiwi’s know that when Cooper is on song he is a bigger threat to them than Foley, they have Foley’s measure. But Coopers on inconsistency lets him down there.

          I wonder, and am happy to have my thoughts howled down, but we need a rugby academy like they do in cricket. Have it teach skills and traditional positions. Let SR and Internationals bastardise it in the professional trade area, but lets build a foundation. I dont see a lot of our players with positional foundational skills. In fact I see a lot of players missing a lot of basic skills.

          What ever the solution for our 10 crisis, I want to see both the potentials play really well and push each other hard. I want the capabilitiy of our 10’s to increase.

        • chisel68

          “I watched the game with some Kiwi mates and….” A great yardstick. Were those mates Andrew Merhtens or Dan Carter?

          Neither Foley or QC are going to do anything magical behind pack a that doesnt get at least parity. QC is the more mercurial (IF he has a good day – hit and miss these days), but against the AB’s with a more dominant pack? I’ll take Foley any day of the week. Despite not having the boxing ability, he shows more ticket than QC to take on the line. Against Fiji, I’ll give you that he was probably not MOTM, but he played a decent game for a first test of the season.

        • Who?

          Cooper was a 10 at school, as well as Beale. Cooper’s 12 was Pocock. Cooper only ever played 12 at Super and Test level, generally because they wanted Barnes at 10 (or Giteau).

        • Andy

          Noted. I’m pretty sure they had QC playing 12 at Oz Schoolboys level because Beale was also a 10 (to fit them both in).

      • Who?

        I think the real point isn’t that Foley should be sacked, it’s just that those blemishes on his game – in a game that had a few people put their hands up – mean he probably shouldn’t be MOTM. That’s all. It wasn’t among his very best performances.

        • Andy

          Fair point and I think you’re probably correct. My pick was Coleman for motm, IF not far behind

      • jamie

        Foley can’t defend in the front line and his game is often drab. Don’t diss Quade if you’re not equally dissing them.

        • Andy

          But I don’t agree his game is often drab. Mainly just his kicking.

        • jamie

          You just can’t call Cooper’s game “drab”. I don’t think his skills have ever been questioned. He’s one of the most skillful in Australia. He’s brilliant, or brilliantly bad. At his best he’s better than Foley. At his worst? Well… what’s the next level above drab?

        • Andy

          Different opinions and definitions aside, I haven’t seen QC play consistently above average in a few years. Agree, he is magic at his best but haven’t seen that since Ewen was Wallabies coach. Foley’s form would be considered “solid” with being consistently excellent. As such he is the much preferred option.

    • McWarren

      BL id like to see some of the heat taken off Foley by giving the penalty touch finders and in goal clearances to DHP or even Hunt. No reason why our 10 has to be the designated kicker. His general play kicking still needs work, but a good kick chase from his team mates would help that. I just don’t follow the logic of giving a guy with no distance in his kick the job of penalty touch finders. Such an easy fix, even Higgers gets more territory.

      • first time long time

        I reckon Higgers could kick Foley further than Foley could kick the ball ; )

        • Brisneyland Local

          Tip of the hat FTLT! Tip of the hat!

      • Brisneyland Local

        I agree! K Hunt can kick, Hodge can kick, Cooper can kick. It all doesnt have to reside with him.

      • jamie

        If I recall correctly Higgers was dragged in his last test before this one, mostly BECAUSE he kicked ;-)

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Brumbies supporter now living in Melbourne. Rugby and Larkham fan ever since he de beered de Beer. Never shy of controversy because when I say it it's cute.

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