Podcast 294 - Half-Arsed - Green and Gold Rugby

Podcast 294 – Half-Arsed

Podcast 294 – Half-Arsed

It was a long, painful night for Wallaby fans on Saturday. Fortunately, we have a remedy for you in the form of ice-cold podcast,  which you should apply vigorously to help remove the pain. Best listened to in accompaniment with an ice-cold beer.

Rugby Reg, Matt and Nick are on hand to try and make sense of what went wrong on in the Wallabies loss to the All Blacks, and delve into the latest questions around the where the team goes from here.

The Five Burning Questions:

1) Should we be surprised by that result?
2) Were there any positives?
3) Is it time for drastic changes?
4) Was the double header a worthy exercise?
5) What else happened around the grounds?


  • Nicholas Wasiliev

    Producer’s Note:

    Forgot to add in our ‘around the grounds’ segment the results down in Melbourne for the Dewar Shield Grand Final over the weekend.

    Congratulations to the Melbourne Unicorns, who defeated the Harlequins 22-16 on a typically rainy day in Melbourne. The win denies the Harlequins a back-to-back title, and is the Unicorn’s 19th time they’ve won the Shield.

    Check out 22METRI’s review of the match below:

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Hey guys. Thanks for the pod. As always, I really, really enjoyed it. I hope the following does not come across as too critical as I love your work, and appreciate you’re willing to put your opinions on the line, as well as dedicate your time to give us this great content. But I have a number of comments regarding sections and defence…

    As much as I don’t think raw public stats are particularly useful. Also, not all missed tackles are equal. A lot of Hooper’s misses (not all, but a lot) are when he shoots out of the line to pressure the receiver before they get the ball. If he gets them then that is great, but even if he misses he pressure them behind the gain line. The same cannot be said for most of these other guys.

    I’ve argued with Matt before about the beloved Tahs Foley and Beale. Their defence is appalling. They actually had pretty good stats and defensive performances in that game, but terrible tackle misses like Foley on CJ Stander to allow that break that could have cost us the first test against Ireland are commonplace. Both he and Beale routinely miss easy tackles.

    According to Fox rugby stats:
    – Beale was number one for missed tackles in all of Super Rugby (misses 36% of tackles)
    – Foley was number 6 (misses 28% of tackles)

    I’ve argued with Hugh before on Koroibete’s defence. This defensive performance from Koroibete is just classic, despite Hugh telling me he is a top defender. He makes a few huge hits that make the highlight reel, but misses 2 for every one like that, and is out of position for another 1-2 so that he doesn’t even make an attempt that counts as a missed tackle.

    So, in our 10-15 we have:

    10. Foley – weak defender
    11. Koroibete – weak defender
    12. Beale – terrible defendere
    13. Hodge
    14. DHP – weak defender
    15. Folau – average defender and weak positionally.

    Until we take a look at this and address it it is going to keep happening. We can blame Grey, perhaps fairly, but he is being told to contain the All Blacks with weak defenders everywhere.

    You need at least 2 strong defenders in the 10-12-13 channel in order to contain the opposition’s attack. At present we’re playing two weak defenders in Foley and Beale, as well as a rookie 13.

    Beale is crucial, and cannot be dropped, but our defence will never hold with Foley at 10 pairing with Beale at 12, especially with guys like Koroibete, DHP and Folau outside them.

    Cheika has had opportunities since 2015 to build a team with a strong defence, but has chosen not to. Consider what he could have done (and this is even if he wants Beale at 12, rather than 15):

    10. Toomua – outstanding defender even at 12, fantastic at 10
    11. Tomane – outstanding defender who can play 13 as well as wing
    12. Beale
    13. Kuridrani – world class defensive player
    14. Naivalu/English/Hodge – outstanding defensive players
    15. Folau

    Without Beale at 12 we could have had:

    10. Toomua
    11. Tomane
    12. Hodge
    13. Kuridrani
    14. Folau
    15. Beale

    That is a backline that will not concede easy tries, still has two playmakers, and speed and power to burn.

    After the injuries are repair I think if we ever want to consistently complete Cheika needs to look at something like this (and this is if he is wedded to Beale at 12):

    10. Toomua
    11. Hodge
    12. Beale
    13. Kuridrani
    14. Banks
    15. Folau

    We will not be a top team with the defence of our current backline, especially coupled with our terrible line out.

    Also, I think that, allegedly, the argument for 10. Foley, 12. Beale is attack (because Foley offers nothing in terms of tactical kicking or defence). And yet our try-scoring record since about the middle of the Rugby Championship last year has been diabolical.

    Something has to change. And it isn’t just the coach, but the entire underlying philosophy of the team, especially in regards to selections regarding defence.

    Sorry for the rant, and thank you again. I love all your work and think you’re all great.


    • Huw Tindall

      I was floating this defensive argument on one of the GAGR news posts today but focusing on the forwards. If we are leaking tries then why not look at the best defensive selections with a few play makers chucked in there. If defence wins big matches the wallabies won’t be winning any! Our all out attack mode is so high risk it gives too many turnover chances. Needs a better balance.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies


  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Personally, I would opt for Toomua. I think he is actually a really good 10 in the mould of a Michael Lynagh rather than a Mark Ella or a Stephen Larkham.

    He has a good head on him, huge boot/good tactical kicking game, outstanding defender, takes it to the line/straightens and has a long pass. I actually think he is a better playmaker in attack than Foley, while Foley is better with ball in hand and in running support lines after a break.

    He isn’t the sort of 10 you’d want to pair with an unimaginative 12, but Beale is basically the Maverick playmaking 12. He needs solidity and decision making I think.

    I don’t think Maddocks is ready for this next level of rugby, and certainly not until he plays at 10 for the Rebels. I think either he or Andrew Deegan will be the Wallabies’ next 10 though. Lots of talent.


      Andrew Deegan is NOT a legit option… .. have you seen him play. His recent selection was more of a PR stunt I’m sure. He barely got a start at Connacht and certainly isn’t excelling in the World Series.
      And my reference to Maddocks was not for 10 right now, but winger…. .right now. Ive certainly campaigned for him as a future Wallaby 10 but how’s that ever going to happen if Cheika doesn’t develop 10s in his squads.
      And I love Tomua, but he’s always had injury and concussion problems. I’d take that over Bernard’s Foley’s tho. ..

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I am going to disagree as I think he has been really, really good for the Force. He needs some SR minutes to press his case, but I have been very impressed.

        Injury/concussion problems have been issues with most of our 10s since about 03!

    • Huw Tindall

      I agree with your view on Toomua here – only problem is he has left his run VERY late. He won’t even play a full super season with the Rebels next year while Foley will presumably be doing quite well with the Tahs backline if this year is anything to go by.

      I really like the fact Toomua has a better tactical game. I think we play far too expansively in tests. Unleash the Tahs style wide attacks when you are 30m out from the opposition try line. Not on your own 30m line. The objective should be to exit your own half as quickly and efficiently as possible a la Jonny Wilkinson and the 2003 England side. Foley doesn’t really offer this. Sometimes you see Beale do a great kick into the corner to peg the opposition back but mostly when we’ve run out of puff in attack on our own 40m line!

  • Ad Tastic

    Aussie Rugby fans remind me of the cricket selectors that watch their top order bats get rolled in the first session of a test match, then drop a bowler for the next game.
    You can’t watch our forwards get bullied in all facets of the game and then think swapping someone in for Foley, or putting Folau to the wing is the answer.
    Not that they have been any great shake recently.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Our forwards don’t usually get bullied in all facets of the game…

      Even if they do, it’s then even more important to have a good defensive backline, as we did from 03-07.

      • Ad Tastic

        I don’t remember us being any good back then either. The Blacks and the Boks put 50 on us a couple times, and England regularly pulled our pants down. Pretty much the same as now IMHO.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          ‘I don’t remember us being any good back then either.’

          For most of the period we were number two in the world, actually.

          Actually, from the period of 03 to 08 we had the following records:

          Vs England
          – 5 wins and 3 losses
          – conceded 40+ points zero times

          Vs New Zealand
          – 4 wins and 12 losses
          – conceded 40+ once

          Vs South Africa
          – 8 wins and 8 losss
          – conceded 40+ once.


Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician, second rower. Still trying to make sense of the 21st century. Dropped a debut novel last year...

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