Preview: Australia v Argentina - Green and Gold Rugby
Argentina

Preview: Australia v Argentina

Preview: Australia v Argentina

What difference a few days make. A few days ago the Wallabies were coming off a ‘glorious’ defeat at the hands of the All Blacks and all was right with Aussie Rugby. South Africa had taken care of the Pumas with relative ease so obviously, almost All Black toppling, Australia would blow past the Argies with ease. But the world doesn’t work like that. Australia blew a decent lead and looked scrappy to draw against South Africa. And now Los Puma is the almost All Black toppling super team at least for half a game.

So who do we have to watch and what are the key matchups?

The Little Generals: Genia/Phipps v Landajo/Cubelli

Tomas Cubelli clears the ruck

I love how these guys play. They’re fast, fit, clever footballers. According to a few ‘experts’ on this website, Genia has a bung knee and is past it, but looking at his games this year that’s far from true. Sure, the Springbok did their best to blunt his game by making a mess of the breakdown and his forward pack didn’t help one bit by failing to show up at rucks until after the party was over but he still looked the genuine Genia to me. Cubelli has moved to the bench this week and Landajo has rotated into the starting spot. but does it make any difference to the Pumas? Not really they’re both amazing players. If they were Australian they’d be perfect. These guys will go hard at each other for the entire time they’re on the field. That’s worth turning on the Tele by itself.


battle of the breakdown: The Backrows

Photo by Tom Offer

For reasons, only the Australian coaching staff can understand our backrow consists of three 7.5’s or Notters as Lee Grant calls them. I, and to be fair, everyone else don’t think it works. But obviously, we’re all wrong. And Argentina agrees with us. They do this thing where they try to pick backrowers who compliment eachother’ss skills instead of duplicating them. Hooper, McMahon and that other kid who tackles good but not much else will have their work cut out for them against Matera, Desio and Macome


On the toe: Battle of the Boot

Bernard Foley kicking

Only joking. Aussies can’t kick, But South Americans definitely can. If it comes down to a kicking contest we’re done for. Even with good kickers in the team Australia doesn’t even try to get them in positions to take kicks.


Overall

I’ve missed a few battles here haven’t I. What about the hookers? The front rows? The centres? The wingers? There are matchups all across the park! And I can’t show them all to you, can I? Well, I could, but not today. What I need you to do is find out for yourself. What’s the easiest way to find out? Just watch this game. It’ll be worth it.

Australia

1 Scott Sio
2 Tatafu Polota-Nau
3 Sekope Kepu
4 Rob Simmons
5 Adam Coleman
6 Ned Hanigan
7 Michael Hooper
8 Sean McMahon
9 Will Genia
10 Bernard Foley
11 Reece Hodge
12 Kurtley Beale
13 Tevita Kuridrani
14 Henry Speight
15 Israel Folau

Replacements
16 Jordan Uelese
17 Tom Robertson
18 Allan Alaalatoa
19 Izack Rodda
20 Jack Dempsey
21 Nick Phipps
22 Samu Kerevi
23 Marika Koroibete

Argentina

1 Lucas Noguera Paz
2 Agustin Creevy
3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
4 Guido Petti
5 Matias Alemanno
6 Pablo Matera
7 Javier Ortega Desio
8 Tomas Lezana
9 Martin Landajo
10 Nicolas Sanchez
11 Ramiro Moyano Joya
12 Jeronimo de la Fuente
13 Matias Orlando
14 Matias Moroni
15Emiliano Boffelli

Replacements
16 Julian Montoya
17 Santiago Garcia Botta
18 Enrique Pieretto
19 Marcos Kremer
20 Juan Manuel Leguizamon
21 Tomas Cubelli
22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias
23 Manuel Montero

  • Human

    Well said. Though, Genia is not past it, he showed that in Dunedin. It’s his mindset that seems to be the issue. Maybe he does not like the team…and he does not seem to be Robinson Crusoe in that regard. KB is the only one who appears to give a toss about winning; the jersey; and the health of Aussie rugby. I think that Chieka is trapped by his ego…he can’t admit that what he has been doing is wrong, so buries his head, goes all belligerent and just keeps doing the same things that did not work last time. If the EOYT is a failure, I reckon he might pack up his ego and bugger off with Pulver.

    • Garry

      Remember that Genia is playing with a flyhalf who goes MIA at vital times. It must be challenging for Genia to run the team from scrum half.

      • Human

        I could not agree more, unfortunately.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I agree. No matter what he does he can be sure Foley will stuff it up at some stage

        • Hoss

          Yes KRL, but he stuffs it up well and if your going to do something, do it well.

        • Who?

          Many would say that Cooper would do it better! :-P
          Yes, I’m saying the good stuff, and the stuff ups! :-P

      • Greg

        Beale? Missing in action…. didn’t seem to be last weekend.

        • Garry

          Might be worth a look. Beale to 10, Foley to the pine …. of the Rays.

    • Hoss

      All good points mate and i am a known Sanchez basher, but – when your 3 loosies enter the ruck like a mormon at a piss-up, well ……

      • Human

        I got a laugh out of that mormon reference – not completely PC I guess but made my day. I hear that Senor Sanchez speaks very highly of you despite your somewhat frosty demeanor towards him.

        • Greg

          I hope you are are chewing hard on Sunday morning!

  • Brisneyland Local

    Sully great write as per usual. Yep Our back row is a joke, our forwards are absent, our kicking is utter shit. No wonder Genia is looking less than interested. I think Cheika has them in seige mentality because that is distracting themm from the fact that they are crap, and they have the wrong players playing the wrong positions, a poor game plan and crap coaches.
    Life is peachy for our Wallabies.
    Los Pumas by 5 in the final 30 seconds of the game!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate while I agree with your comments I will be very disappointed if the Wallabies don’t take this one. Australia are 5th in world rankings while the Argies are only 10. The Argies are quite good in some areas, but they go backwards when Creevy is off and they are easily rattled. A lot will depend on the Wallabies keeping control and taking their chances.

      • Bernie Chan

        Jeez I hope you are right…but Los pumas gave the ABs a decent contest and we didn’t do great against Scotland and Italy. Like many, am concerned about the forwards battle….Sully mentioned the unbalanced Wallas backrow, and while I am a fan of the Theodore lad I can’t fathom the dumping of Rory Arnold. If this becomes a “territorial battle” the Pumas will win by dint of superior goal kicking. Is Cheika trying to show how “clever” he is..? This is a Test that our Wallas need to win, or an already poor season (two seasons…?) will become a calamitous season.

      • RedsFanDan

        “Keeping control and taking their chances” hasn’t exactly been a hallmark of Wallaby rugby since…before Robbie Deans?…so if that’s what we need to win I’m extremely pessimistic.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Perhaps the first bit, but against us they took some good chances and scored some good try’s. They just need to sort their friggen defence out.

        • RedsFanDan

          They’re capable of it, that’s for sure, but consistently? That’s the issue.

          And yes defence. You think about that Wales game where we strangled them, kept them out for like 30 phases or whatever from 5m out. Where did that go?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Exactly

      • Brisneyland Local

        Probably true. But against Italy and Fiji, we lacked all kinds of good stuff and they are rated worse than the Argies. Maybe I am being a negaitve Nelly but I think after the good showing the Argies gave against the Kiwi’s they are a dead set chance against us.

        • Brumby Runner

          Of course they are a chance. There have been some good signs in the development of the Wallabies this year despite the poor results so far achieved. The backline is starting to gel in attack, and hopefully the defense will continue to tighten up. The tight five has been coming along quite well up to last week, but it will be weakened as a unit this week with the dropping of Rory Arnold. It is in the forwards, and potentially through them, that the Argies will sense their best prospects of an upset.

        • Brisneyland Local

          BR, you are correct. The front row and our 6,7, & 8! That and our lack of break down constesting!

    • Kieran

      If anything I give Argentina the upper hand if they stun the Wallabies with a couple desperate, random drop goals around the 65-75 min mark. Other than that, I think the Wallabies will battle them but outplay them in the end, especially since Argentina’s defense is only good around 30% of the time.

      • Hoss

        Yes mate, but for that 30% of the time its 100% effective…….

        • Kieran

          Until the offense makes a move that surprises Argentina’s defense which could either end in a try or a penalty favoring the opposing team…I wish they’d get better at recovering on defense on a consistent level..They’re talented but just need consistency so that they finally have lock-down defense.

    • Hoss

      You over read the situation BL. Our boys play a rotation system. 1 shit game (Sydney), 1 good game (Dunedin), 1 shit game (Perth) – so looking at my algorithm and entering it into the google machine and divide by pye – i have us due for a good game and a 14 point win – with Hodge scoring two meat pies, KB getting another MOTM and Seiko (log onto gumtree at full time i reckon he will look to off load a couple – could be a deal had) and all will be at one in the Wallaby supporter universe.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Tip of the hat Hoss! tip of the Hat!
        I gave up trying to apply a scienftific formula, but yours is bang on!

  • Garry

    Game plan for the Pumas should be to play for scrums on the WB try line (after poor exits), yellow card, penalty try. Rinse, repeat. They will most probably aim to dominate ruck as well. What’s your strategy Michael?

    • Westo

      Yeah I am nervous about this as well. I have a Scotland feeling about this one and i’m usually very positive.

    • jamie

      Maybe they deliberately drop the ball 5m out?

  • Huw Tindall

    Wallabies seem to play well against undisciplined sides who like to chuck it around and play up tempo games. It suits their run it at all costs style that Cheik insists is the Australian rugby way. I’d say Wallabies should win this, especially if it gets scrappy. As long as set piece is at parity I’d back us. Bloody hell I’ve love a W. Been a while.

  • Brumby Runner

    Good preview Sully. I think you nailed the important matchups. On Genia, however, he did not have a good game v the Saffas. His main problem has always seemed to be a disinclination to get into the tough stuff, especially if it means he has to dig the ball out of a messy or dominated ruck or scrum. Put it down to the ineffectual back row, but other No 9s will get in and get their hands dirty whereas Will would rather sit back on his heels and let the turnover happen. That is precisely what happened last weekend.

    On last week’s showing, the Argies were better served by Cubelli than by Landojo at 9. Surprised to see them rotated this week.

    Boffelli at 15 is interesting. Great runner of the ball, very elusive. But from my viewing, he seems to be allergic to making tackles. Wallabies would do well to run at him all night rather than kick to him.

    • jamie

      The amount of times I’ve seen Genia calling for another forward into a ruck, or looking at the ref as the ball gets stolen… All he has to do is grab the damn thing sometimes.

      • Adrian

        Agree 100%
        It unsettles inexperienced guys, … which is very poor leadership from a former captain.
        When he’s hot, he’s hot (Dunedin), but when he’s not, he should be hooked

  • Adrian

    The Wallabies seem to play good game, bad game etc, as does Genia, who is a key.

    Team is ok apart from Hanigan, who should have been replaced by Timani. The reason he wasn’t has to do with differing attitudes at training.

    Apparently Arnold can’t call lineouts, and that’s why he’s out according to my sources.

    The Rugby community needs us to win by 20+

    I think it’s possible, so let’s see!

  • lee enfield

    I am hoping the Pumas hand the Wallabies a loss. A final record for the RC of 0 wins – 1 Draw – 5 Losses will be hard to ignore and eventually the poor results will have to result in serious change. With the ARU’s fortunes linked to the Wallabies, no change will occur unless the Wallabies hit rock bottom.

    Unfortunately I can see the Wallabies finishing with 2 wins – 1 Draw – 3 Losses, which will be good enough for the ARU to continue on their merry way.

    • Who?

      I don’t see that even a record of 0-1-5 will see any change in the ARU…

    • Westo

      Im not sure I want that. Lets look at the last couple of years. Although some of the new blood has not stepped up, there are certainly more than 20+ new Wallabies. A few of these blokes are now regulars when not injured. What we need now is some team stability, a few wins to build on and to a few more wins in the Autumn series in the UK&I to garner some confidence. To Who’s comment below, he is right, nothing will change with a 0-1-5 record. Still this does not make me any less nervous this weekend, but lets start winding up.

  • juswal

    Both these teams have the capacity to be really good, if they get off to a good start. The difference in recent Tests is that the Wallabies have been able to stay competitive deep into the second half while the Pumas start to lose it after the 50-minute mark. On that basis, I see the Wallabies winning – but they will need to keep scoring tries. If they don’t, the three-pointers will sink them.

  • Fatflanker

    Cheika is safe in his job until 2019 and I believe he knows it. All will be forgiven if we win that RWC so I can only assume Cheika is playing the long game with Hanigan and Robertson and that he believes they will hit their straps in two years, (I do think that will actually be the case for 7As). What I find incredibly frustrating is his apparent unwillingness to apply the same logic to #8.

    • Adrian

      Yes, Fat, I’m sure he’s playing the long game, and I don’t mind that.

      I agree though, he seems inconsistent re #8

      My guess is that he’s really looking at something like Pocock 6, Hooper 7, Naisarani 8 for next year, with Hanigan and McMahon (if available) as back ups, and Timani in the squad if he’s lucky

  • Adrian

    Apropos of nothing:

    Cheika ( and I for that matter) is hanging out for Hanigan, or Dempsey or Korebette or Uelese to have an absolutely outstanding game, and for us to win by 30.

    For me, a win by 20 will do

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Not sure that hanging out for some newbies to come in, play a blinder and change the fortune is a viable strategy. Yes in the past one or two players have come in and played blinders but to have the results based on that, to me is a step too far.

      • Adrian

        Your 100% right Kiwi

  • Alister Smith

    Some teams have their bogey sides and for me Argentina has always been one of ours (well we seem to have more bogey sides at the moment than we have for a long time but…). Even when we were at our best their advantage in the scrum and the competitiveness at the breakdown always made for a scrappy game….one we usually won but a pretty ugly game to watch. I don’t think much has changed and even though they are below form I think we are equally sub par so I expect this will be close. We seem to be fiddling with second row still but have settled on the back row – i would rather it was the other way round as i dont think that we have much consistency their yet while I feel the best way to get Rory Arnold up to speed is to give him more internationals and expect more time from him. We seem to be treading water on the backrow until David Pocock gets back and trying to maintain the “light and loose” approach until his return. I like many others would prefer we would have used the time to develop a different approach (well actually to find players who can play a more conventional back row structure). I think by the end of the last Pocock/Hooper/Fardy combination it was becoming more easy to counter – actually I think it was something that worked better in the last 15 minutes of the game with a more conventional approach (big blockbusting 8, lineout capable hard running work horse 6, fast scavenging perpetual motion 7) starting. Previous coaches tried to fit George Smith and Phil Waugh on the field together and it never really worked – in the end, though it meant leaving a great player on the sideline until late in the game I think it effects the balance of the team too much.

    • Westo

      Nar mate, no bogey here. We’ve won 13 of the last 14 meetings between the sides. Not too say Argie are a push over, but they have not really played that well with a bunch of yellows, a red and a host of penalties really impacting there go forward. Im still nervous cause Im a Wallabies fan, but hey, lets get stuck in.

      • Alister Smith

        I was right until half time

  • Hoss

    Morning Sully,

    Fridays is my ponder Rugby day.

    The toils of the week are behind me, staff fires put out, stake Holder expectations managed (contained – whoever said growth was exponential ?? If so why doesn’t Coke have 100% of the market !!), next weeks adventures are yet to be written and time to ponder the meaning of life – i.e the Wallabies

    Perhaps i have been too hard on Cheika and too narrow in my view, that is, all that matters is the RWC 2019 everything until then is foreplay – never really got the point, whats wrong with ‘are you awake’ – short, concise and has clarity – but i digress.

    Whilst i too want to share in instant gratification of a winning side, so i may bask in the reflective glory of a smug fan i take pause to look at the POSITIVES of Wallaby Rugby – with a view to 2019 RWC in the land of the rising sun.

    Piggies – we aren’t half in a bad position with growing depth, experience and the (hoped for) equal yet opposite reaction to 2-3 years of slow burn (the pain of defeat, a growing fire in the bellies and some hard won learning of how to cope on the run).

    Factor in Mr Pocock returning, a beefed up Jimmy Slips (cant wait to see him at 120 kegs) a few raw boned big units getting to cut their teeth (Tui, Rodwick, Rodda Coleman, Arnold et al). Dare i say Skelton would be there about’s at 2019 and with 2-3 years Northern experience he could be anything if he sets his mind to it. Holoway rediscovering his mojo of 2016 – his NRC form suggests he has discarded some emotional baggage he may have had due to the injury (either that or D Gibson is pure shite as a coach) – the future is brightish, clear skies with no rain in site

    Fairies – we truly have some scintillating backs coming through and with great depth, strength and pace.

    My concern remains 9 & 10 – are they capable of unleashing the weapons we have ?

    9 is a more difficult read – the performance of the 9 is always clouded by the 6,7 & 8 so it unfair to single them out. Look, i am no fan of Sanchez, not a hater, just a frustrated viewer – when our loosies aimed up better in Dunedin he was terrific. Phipps, i am a believer if for no other reason than his energy and defence – i just wish he would run some more from the rucks – keep em guessing and hold up the D for a fraction for more space out wide. Powell – haven’t seen enough to say one way or other, but the basics are there.

    10 likewise is affected by the loosies impact on 9 as to the quality of the ball he gets to the 10 , spacing & options etc. I see it in Foley, but & its a big but – he is either white hot or completely shite, their is no middle ground.

    For mine QC is not, will not, has not and will never be the answer to our 10 issues. Toomua was hit and miss and the TPN of the outside backs, would often run up and miss all together or knock himself out. CL, emotion aside, he is not the answer either. So for mine 10 is the biggest issue we have at present – who is the back-up, do we have one With time running out, maybe Toomua could be the best of the lot ?

    But – in a moment of quite reflection i do see the bigger picture, i do see depth, potential and ability, now all i want is for Chek and co to engage me – put all these pieces together and start to build a compelling narrative and i, for one, am in.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Always good to see some positives and a plan leading to 2019 would be nice. I’m probably a little more pessimistic in that I find Cheika seems to lack the smarts to think that far ahead in a tactical sense. TBH I’ve lost faith in Cheika and that drives my pessimism. Poor selections, continuing with people who fail until blind Freddy can see they need changing, stubbornness in failed game plans, but most of all NO improvement in the players.

      • Hoss

        I see where your coming from mate and agree on many fronts. I tried to sit back and look from further afield before submitting my Rugby thesis this morning, breath calmly and look further down the road.

        Chek, for mine, is too smart a cookie to not be playing a longer game. He is no dummy in his personal life and as at today (i believe) the only coach to have won both the Northern and Southern Premier Rugby Comps – so the guys no slouch as a coach.

        I share your frustration at ‘one step forward, two steps back’ performances. If anything perhaps his biggest mistake has been to stay at arms length form the tactics – perhaps he has delegated too much to masters Grey & Larkham – it seems that when he rolls up the sleeves and gets more directly involved the results follow (Dunedin for example).

        The players love him and trust him – i guess I’am saying i am prepared to trust him too.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah fair call and maybe it is just the continual frustrations. I haven’t lost total faith yet and hopefully tomorrow will see a reinvigoration of faith amongst us all

    • Missing Link

      If things work out, Cheika will assign Slipper to be Hanigan’s “meal buddy”

      • Hoss

        weight gain through osmosis

      • Fatflanker

        Slipper just wasn’t the same with that crook shoulder. As a mere mortal with a history of torn rotator cuffs, I’ve never been able to understand how these guys can carry such injuries through a season and still compete. Isn’t it great to hear of a bloke getting the chance to make a full recovery and come back bigger and better… a 120kg of ‘don’t argue’ backing his experience will take some beating.

    • Adrian

      Agree 100% Hoss.
      It’s the long game.
      I just get frustrated in the short term,…and I didn’t use to. I was 100% Cheika until Sydney.

      Anyway, I’d add Naisarani, Latu, and Jake Gordon to the list, and Sitilaki Timani and Gill from OS (using Twiggy’s money) and we we’ll have a great squad.

      Hunt at 12, Beale at 10

      • Hoss

        You had me at Sitalaki……..

        • Adrian

          I’ve only seen Naisarani a few times, including last weekend, Force mid year, and Force end of last year, playing at #8.
          Reminds me of Palu in many ways, including running with ball, and collecting ball from the back of a retreating scrum. Looks heavy in defence too.

          Sitilaki Timani is in my brutality team of the century along with Salesi Ma’afu, Jerry Collins and Martin Johnson!

        • Who?

          Agree about Isa, except he’s much more dynamic than Cliffy was, because he’s a bit lighter.
          Sitaleki frustrated me no end. I remember sitting behind the posts at a Test under Deans and watching him run sideways. It summed up all the problems with Deans’ team – that they were all living without structures, so they all crabbed. If you’ve got a bloke built like Sitaleki, you want to give him the ball, and tell him to run straight!

        • Adrian

          Think Sitilaki is going well with French premiers Claremont, and listens to the coach….and trains.

          I remember that run, but I doubt he’s done much since. I would have hurt his ego

      • Who?

        Problem is, I’m not sure that Cheika would select many off that list… Maybe Latu, maybe Naisarani. Gill won’t get a cap under Cheika.

        • Adrian

          I think he’s doesn’t like any of them including Latu, but he’s been known to backflip once or twice. AAC wasn’t in his good books originally, …nor was Coleman I think

    • Who?

      Much to agree with there Hoss, except your points about 10 (Foley’s never white hot, he’s cherry red at best, and more often than not his best description is ‘anonymous’, which sees him regularly receive ‘5’ from most rating sites. I’d have Cooper every day, and have someone else kicking goals. 10’s should think ‘Pass/kick/run’, where Foley thinks ‘Run/pass/kick’, and I don’t want my 10 as a regular ball runner. Especially when he’s 90kg dripping wet!), and Holloway (because I don’t see Cheik changing his mind on Holloway, as he won’t change his mind on Cooper, Higginbotham, Lopeti…).
      But I question how much of the progress to which you’re pointing can actually be attributed to Cheika. I think a good portion of it belongs to Pulver (?!?!). Because we’ve got depth of players coming through because of our competition structures – having five Super teams (which will no longer be the case, thanks to the unimaginative banker Clyne), and having the NRC (Pulver’s greatest achievement). I’m also very excited about that depth. But I don’t see that we can credit Cheika with that growth, and I also point to history (most recently, Hanigan) that proves that Cheika’s no certainty to select that talent when it’s ready.
      I don’t have to win every game, but I want to see consistent progress and development. Proof that we’re making good developmental choices. That we’re not predictable, that we have flexible, adaptable and efficient systems for defence and attack. That we have good skill sets. There’s precious little proof of that development…
      In the meantime, 8 from 21, a season thus far that is 2-1-2 with only two more home tests for the year (this weekend, then Bledisloe III)… It’s not a positive outlook for the team, and with everything else being utterly mismanaged, it’s not what the ARU or the game can afford.

      • Hoss

        All well made points mate and 100% & agree 8 from 21 is unacceptable in anyone’s books. I guess i come at the topic from whats been gained and sometimes these are intangible, minor, hard to measure, but are there none the less. We can all measure the short-comings, but like i say to my staff, if i wanted people to report problems i would hire much cheaper staff, i want solution focused individuals and that’s the DNA of my rant, is there something bigger afoot.

        I am a Tah’s fan and have suffered Foleys inconsistency for years – when he’s ‘on’, RWC15 v Soap Dodgers, he is magnificent, but its the frequency of ‘on’ games and the depth he drops in between that does my head in.

        The 4 team v 5 team argument – TBH i have steered well away. I found early on that good points on both sides were lost in the rush to be ‘right’ and that opinions were used as clubs to bash the other side into submission. I cant control the outcome, i wont invest to much time or emotion in howling at the moon. The reality is these are the players we have and where do the solutions lie.

        As for Gill, i hear you, but its like the Aussie Cricket team of the 90’s – a heap of deserving players never wore the baggy green enough because we were flush with talent and (queue the haters) he is behind Poey & Hooper & Macca in the pecking order.

        • Who?

          I’m more than happy to say that there are clear gains coming. My point was just that I’m not sure that Cheika can take credit for a single one of them. :-(
          Foley vs the Soap Dodgers, sure, it was his best game, but he wasn’t best on ground that day. Kurtley was. Everything good that Foley did had significant input from Kurtley, who showed urgency and played at an even higher level that day than he has this year (and he’s been so awfully good this year!).
          I know you’re steering away from 4 vs 5. But I think that the depth we’re developing was only possible due to the 5th team. Especially when, next year, we’ve got Geoff Parling coming over to play. When we’ve been developing real depth in our locking stocks. I don’t see how that helps…
          With Gill, I think that, under almost any other coach, he’d have found more chances. I’m not sure Link would’ve continued with Hooper after Pocock came back. And playing Pocock at 7, the closest replacement in style was Gill, so he’d have been next in line (because you don’t want to shuffle the balance of the loose forwards because you lose a player to injury, etc). I think the reason why Hooper got as much game time as he did under Link was two fold. Firstly, he balanced the Mowen/Fardy back row. They’d been team mates the year before, and with Mowen and Fardy going hard at every breakdown, it gave Hooper leeway to roam a bit wider. And secondly, Liam was silly enough to end up in trouble in Dublin.
          I think Gill is arguably a more complete player than any of the other options (Poey, Hoops, Macca) – he can pilfer, he can ruck, he’s quick (he outpaced Hooper comfortably – after being held back by Hooper – in the last game they clashed), he’s a great tackler, he’s the best lineout option of the group, and he can run the ball. No question, the other options might do one or two of the disciplines better than him (i.e. McMahon and Hooper are better and more consistent ball runners, Pocock’s that bit harder to shift at the breakdown), but overall, I like his balance. And he can kick droppies. :-P
          I completely understand that he (like Croft before him, and SCG MacGill) came up just a little late, behind a bumper crop. That’s fine. But, where Hooper’s game requires a much smarter loose forward balance than Cheika’s managed to figure, and Pocock’s away, even if Gill were back in the country, I’m not sure that Cheika would select him. I don’t see anything in Cheika’s history that suggests he routinely changes his position on players. Even guys who’ve proven themselves to be game changers and match winners in other teams.
          So, coming back to your attempt at positivity… I actually agree with you. There’s positive signs there to be seen. There’s some excellent prospects. For mine, the question is all about whether Australian Rugby (as in, the ARU, Cheika, every level) is smart enough to take advantage of them. And that’s where my pessimism – based on what I’ve seen consistently over the past three years, the past 10 years – comes to the fore… :-(

        • Hoss

          Great read. Lets meet up Saturday night here and compare war wounds and a stunning gold Victory.

        • Who?

          I’ll be here. Here’s hoping we (because win lose or draw, I’m on board) can overcome our self-imposed handicaps and produce something worthy of the talent of the team, and of the game in this country. :-)

    • Adrian

      I think that Cheika is an emotional right brain guy, in search of a master stroke, and he’s mostly found them…. until 2016 and 2017.

      Looking at why he seems to dislike some guys, and like others is to do with things like,…..
      disobey coach instructions (any coach, including SR coach), does own thing in games, doesn’t train hard, reneged on a supposed agreement etc….all negatives.

      Positives are ….has work ethic of Cheika himself, trains hard, understands flat backline, has class, and if not class physicality and/or size.

      He thinks he’ll come up with a miracle any day.

      This all sounds cynical, but I still like Cheika

    • Rob Malcolm

      Great post. Thanks you’ve restored my faith in GAGR – the posts were getting soooo negative

    • Brisneyland Local

      The meaning of life is 42!
      well actually more beer!

  • jamie

    Hanigan tackles good? Since when? He gets bumped off more often than fkn Foley does

Argentina
@Only1Sully

Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to http://www.onesully.com.au

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