Rugby World Cup: Wallabies v Wales - Green and Gold Rugby
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Rugby World Cup: Wallabies v Wales

Rugby World Cup: Wallabies v Wales

The Wallabies will be looking to make it two wins from two games when they take on Wales on Sunday afternoon, with the winner all but assuring themselves top spot in Pool D. Between both sides, they played the perfect 80-minute game in their opening matches, with Wales blowing out Georgia in the first half whilst Australia surged over Fiji in the second half.

The Wallabies will be buoyed by an impressive record against the Welsh, having lost one out of their last 14 games, along with holding victories over them at the last three World Cups. But you’re only as good as your last game, which resulted in a 9-6 victory for Wales in 2018, which has Warren Gatland’s men primed for a big showing.

Background

The Wallabies got off to a slow start in 2019, losing 35-17 to the Springboks at Ellis Park in a sloppy performance that saw the side waste possession and opportunities. The side would bounce back over the next fortnight, defeating the Pumas 20-16 and producing their greatest performance since the last World Cup to dominate the All Blacks 47-26 at Optus Stadium.

Unfortunately, this dream turned into a nightmare, with the All Blacks dominating from the opening whistle the following week, shutting out the Wallabies 36-0 in a disappointing performance with the Bledisloe on the line. They would bounce back in their final warmup game, with a second-string side defeating Samoa 34-15.

The Wallabies got their World Cup campaign off to a shaky start, with a come-from-behind 39-21 victory against Fiji to open their Rugby World Cup campaign. They trailed for the majority of the match, before the injection of halfback Will Genia and a double to hooker Tolu Latu changed the contest, with the Wallabies scoring 27 points in the second half to secure victory.

Rugby: Wales vs Australia

Wales head into the World Cup in the midst of the third coming of their ‘golden age’, having run rough-shot throughout the international landscape across the last 12 months to briefly get to number one.

They arguably come into the tournament with one of the best form lines, having won their last nine games straight in 2018 over the likes of South Africa (x2), France and Australia. They continued this red-hot streak by winning the Grand Slam in 2019, before splitting the series against England 1-1 and losing to Ireland in their last warm-up game to officially relinquish the number one ranking.

Wales got off to a winning start in the World Cup as they overcame a spirited Georgia 43-14. Four tries in the opening half secured the bonus point victory at half time, with Georgia arguably getting the better of them in the second half despite having a man in the bin for ten minutes.

Team News

The Wallabies have switched up their back-line with a brand new set of halves in Will Genia and Bernard Foley. Genia relegates Nic White to the bench, whilst Cheika has brought in Foley for Lealiifano, who drops out of the side altogether. In other team news, Dane Haylett-Petty slots into fullback for Kurtley Beale, who goes to the bench, whilst Adam Ashley-Cooper replaces the suspended Reece Hodge on the wing.

Bernard Foley from the tee.

Bernard Foley from the tee.

Wales have named an unchanged starting line-up from the side that defeated Georgia on Monday. The only change comes on the bench, with Owen Watkin replacing Leigh Halfpenny. The side will be captained by Alan Wyn Jones, who will line for a record-breaking 130th cap for his country.

Key Match-Ups

700_DSC_0244_2018_11_10_19-06-18

Dan Biggar v Dane Haylett Petty
I know this isn’t a direct match-up, but the success of DHP under the high ball will go a long way to determining who wins this match. Haylett-Petty comes into the side for Beale, who was shown up by Aaron Smith and the All Blacks during the Eden Park drubbing, with the Waratah struggle with the high ball and his box kicks. His selection at fullback is a clear ploy by Cheika to try and neutralise Biggar’s threat with the boot and he needs to step up and dominate the contest in the air. If he can’t, then the Welsh will be able to control the game and play it on their terms.

Rugby: Wales vs Australia

Front Row v Front Row
I know I haven’t singled out any particular players in the match-up, but I think the battle between the front-rows at set-piece time will be crucial to the match up. The Wallabies revival last week can be primarily put down to their set-piece, with their scrum and line-out firing on all cylinders. Each of Australia’s six tries in their opening game against Fiji originated from set-pieces, scoring five tries after beginning possession with a lineout and once after a scrum. This seemed to be the Welsh downfall during their lackadaisical second half, with the Georgians dominating at scrum-time, winning three scrum penalties during the second half.

For the first time in a long time, the Wallabies seem to have the upper hand both in the starting line-up and in the finishers with regards to scrummaging and they will need to use this to their advantage to secure victory. If the Wallabies can create havoc and earn a few penalties, then they need to dominate field possession and give their rolling maul a chance to barge over.

Numbers that matter (Thanks to Opta Sports)

13/14: Australia have won 13 of their last 14 Tests against Wales; that single defeat coming in their most recent meeting (November 2018) by a margin of just three points
72%: Australia’s winning percentage over Wales (W:21, L:10)
1987: The last time that Wales beat Australia at a World Cup
7: Australia has won their last seven Rugby World Cup pool games
5: Number of tries for George North against Australia, making him the third-highest European behind Shane Williams (6) and Serge Blanco (5)
10:Samu Kerevi beat 10 defenders in Australia’s win over Fiji, only three players have made more: David Campese (14 v Canada, 1995), Lote Tuqiri (12 v Scotland, 2003) and Drew Mitchell (11 v Uruguay, 2015).

Predictions

I think the Wallabies have a slight edge over the Welsh. Whilst they were exposed by the expansive nature of the Fijians last week, I think this is a better stylistic match-up for the Aussies if they can make their mark at set-piece time. The inclusion of the hyphenated duo of Haylett-Petty and Ashley-Cooper gives the back three bigger bodies to help deal with the boot of Biggar and if they can restrict the amount of quick ball, then I think it will be an Australian victory.

Match Prediction: Wallabies by 4
Bold Prediction: Neither team scores over 25

Match Details

Wallabies (15-1): Dane Haylett-Petty, Adam Ashley-Cooper, James O’Connor, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Isi Naisarani, Michael Hooper (c), David Pocock, Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda, Allan Ala’alatoa, Tolu Latu, Scott Sio

Reserves: Jordan Uelese, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Adam Coleman, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Nic White, Matt To’omua, Kurtley Beale

Wales (15-1): Liam Williams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies, Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Aaron Wainwright, Alun Wyn Jones (c), Jake Ball, Tom Francis, Ken Owens, Wyn Jones

Reserves: Elliot Dee, Nicky Smith, Dillon Lewis, Aaron Shingler, Ross Moriarty, Tomos Williams, Rhys Patchell, Owen Watkin.

Date: Sunday September 29
Venue: Tokyo Stadium, Chōfu
Kick-off: 5:45 pm AEST (4:45pm local time)
Where to Watch: Fox Sports 3 (Channel 503), RWC 4K (499) and Channel 10 (Free To Air)

Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

  • Bernie Chan

    Not surprised to be honest (as I can’t understand Cheika anyway…) but we are paying the price for the refusal to pick genuine more wingers with pace. AAC has to be the slowest winger at this RWC. Foley in for Lilo? Tupou can’t get a run…? Faark…
    No matter…come Sunday arvo it is all “C’mon Aussies”.

    • Dally M

      I heard some stats the other day that 2 Dads is faster over 40 than Beiber. Was from the S&C stats.

      Now that could be BS, but everyone is just regurgitating this line that he’s slow based on his age with zero to back it up.

      • Who?

        Those same S&C stats claimed that Rob Horne was our fastest back a few years ago. I don’t believe the propaganda that comes out of RA’s media department.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Hey GAGR’s. Welll I am going to do the break down a little differently. So here we go:
    1. Their coach is way better than ours. And actually knows what he is doing. +1W
    2. Their forwards have been consistent, and the same players chosen. OUr starting 5 remain the same but our bench front row keeps changing. I think at best their is parity in the scrums. Because Our scrum dominates one game then sucks ass the next. Whilst theirs never really stars it never really sucks. 0
    3. Playmakers. Foley -1A Need I say more.
    4. Fairies. PRetty even I think, they have faster wingers. Other than Koriobete we have no genuine pace, and even he isnt fast at top speed, only accelleration.
    5. Line outs. Well with Two Storey Rory I thik we ahve that in the bag. Our line out has been pretty solid. Same with our rolling maul off it. Especially with Pocock back. +1 A

    Overall that makes +1W. Based on BL’s dodgy scoring system. Whilst making llunch and watching Canberra vs Fijian Drua on Kayo til Argentina Vs Tonga starts.

    Wales by 7.

    • Keith Butler

      As someone who has suffered under the Welsh both on and off the field for a good few years, I will be cheering on the G&G with fervour tomorrow. A game difficult to call. The packs look pretty even perhaps the G&G just ahead. So I suppose it depends on the half backs. It was always on the cards that CLL would have to be playing out of his skin for Cheika not to go with Foley. Expect to see the Taffs lay siege with the boot. DHP and Two Dads will be solid if slow. Koribete could be in for a difficult evening.

    • Patrick

      I think the line out will be even, and they are definitely +1 in the fairies because they have a much better defensive combination and *much* more pace at 10, 14 and 15. AAC will do a good job marking George North but he probably isn’t up to completely containing him.

      • Brumby Runner

        AAC will be on the opposite side of the ground to North, Patrick. I believe the winger he will be facing is lightning fast.

        • Patrick

          Ah, Josh Adams. Yes I believe he is very fast but relatively inexperienced. I probably would have preferred North marked by AAC and Adams by Korobiete.

          Liam Williams is a dangerous runner too, DHP (indeed all our backs!) will need to be on their game. Probably Hooper and Pocock will be what saves us :)

  • Adrian

    The stuff about the changes all being part of a plan should of course be taken with a grain (bucket?) of salt!
    BUT
    I reckon CLL definitely needs a rest. He was smashed to kingdom come by Fiji. I think that Foley’s the logical replacement, just as Toomoua is the logical bench guy.

    Let’s face it, neither CLL or Foley are world beaters, but they can be functional. Neither are goal kicking wizards, notwithstanding they have both had purple patches in the past.

    Re Beale?
    No guarantees that his weakness are more significant than DHP’s, but the call has been made.

    I think the “secret” is our forwards getting plenty of go-forward from the start, and keeping it that way. This massively reduced the impact of the rush defense. They need to do this with far more urgency than they have so far,…not that they’ve been that bad.

    Our defense (straight line because we are no good at rush) needs to be tight around 10/12 because that’s where the Wales switch moves happen,… their main way of bringing in their wingers or Davies. They (like us and many others) don’t use a through the hands conventional backline)

    If we drive our big guys up the guts (including Salakai Lotto when he comes on) we could well find gaps around 10/12 ourselves when the two Wales opensiders tire.

    We have to get back and support DHP, or they’ll deliberately kick to him, then scrag him when he lands.

    Our best chances will be created by guys who can be unpredictable like Latu, Pocock, Hooper, White, Foley (slipping a miracle ball) + Kerevi + Kepu on the charge

    It’s all possible…

    • Patrick

      You are kidding about Beale’s weaknesses? If we had selected him I’m not sure I could have watched. That selection reassures me that Cheika at least watches wallaby games.

      I do agree that Lilo is probably not fully recovered from his smashing, or, let’s put it this way, I hope to heaven that’s the reason. Because otherwise this reeks of a classic Cheika plot where he is more or less forced to drop one of his favorites for a far better player after repeated craphouse matches, and then dumps the new guy after one stuff up.

      • Adrian

        Na, not kidding about Beale’s weaknesses Patrick, nor do I believe in any Cheika plots!

        All we can do is is support the Wallabies anyway

      • UTG

        What’s a Cheika plot? And how is he executing these plots with a team of selectors?

        DHP had an absolute shocker last time he played a tier one nation. Much, much worse than Beale played last week. Doubt Adrian is kidding.

        • Patrick

          1. He didn’t have a team of selectors until very recently. That’s how Foley and Hanigan became the incumbents.
          2. It is unclear how much the selectors are involved in the starting 15.
          3. I recall DHP having one absolute shocker against one very good team. I recall Beale having a good half a dozen against a variety of good to very good teams. His inability to catch had become the dominant feature of other teams’ strategy against us before we sucker punched them by choosing Folau instead.

        • UTG

          No, Foley and Hanigan were in the side when there was no one else. Both were dropped last year when other options presented themselves when Cheika was the sole selector.

          Strange that anytime the selections are what people want it’s because of the influence of the selectors as soon as people disagree it’s a Michael Cheika Waratah conspiracy.

          Beale has had no performance anywhere near as bad as DHP against the Saffas.

        • Patrick

          There has never been noone else. FFS.

        • UTG

          Name the consistent performer who you’d have at 10 from the last few years. The conspiracy theories are just embarrassing.

        • Patrick

          I didn’t say there was a consistent performer. There wasn’t, Foley included. Goodness knows Hanigan was at best a consistent underperformer.

          But fwiw I don’t believe in conspiracies. I do believe in cognitive and affective biases and in people being good at some things and not others.

          I think Chieka is a reasonable selector but it isn’t his strength. But I think Cheika’s shithouse selections probably cost us less than any if, for example, Grey’s defensive madness, lack of basic alignment and realignment in attack and lack of a team psychologist/ mental preparer.

        • UTG

          Cooper was given multiple chances, despite him going to 7s, going to France, being injured etc. Cheika only dropped him in 2017 after a torrid season for the Reds. He wasn’t selected in 2018 because he couldn’t even get selected for the Reds.

          Higgers only returned to the Reds in 2017. He’d been dropped by numerous coaches before that.

          I don’t know where the idea that Cheika didn’t rate McMahon came from? He was almost always selected when he wasn’t injured.

        • Who?

          Foley became the incumbent under Cheika in 2014 when Cheika became the coach. Cooper wasn’t given a straight run at it without being hamstrung by other circumstances. For instance, he was swapped in at Eden Park in 2015 (hiding to nothing after we’d won in Sydney the week before – we got hammered). Then in 2016, his 5 games had Foley at 12. Cooper stemmed the bleeding losses, didn’t put a foot wrong, then was unceremoniously dumped for Foley when we got to the EOYT. In 2017, Cooper was told to go and ‘enjoy his rugby’, even though he’d given his all playing the Super season injured (but was fit by the end of the season). Sure, Cooper didn’t play Super Rugby in 2018, but that wasn’t his fault or related to form. And it doesn’t change the fact that Foley was the incumbent through 2016/17 when he was neither the form player nor the sole option.
          .
          Hanigan became the incumbent in 2017 after Cheika had ignored Fardy for ages, and before Fardy went to Leinster. This was also after McMahon was allowed to head to Japan.
          .
          I don’t disagree that he sometimes makes good decisions. Apart from the hooker, we’re not looking at a green front row, or locks who are any surprise. The issue with Cheika is that he consistently makes the same poor decisions. He is blind to his own weaknesses.
          .
          DHP’s performance against SA was rocks and diamonds. But I don’t recall him throwing an intercept in the first minute for a direct, untouched try. DHP had one very ordinary game, Beale’s had strings of ordinary games. He should’ve been dumped last year – he was abysmal. In the end, he was finally dumped, and I assumed Cheika had figured out that Beale was lacking all confidence (he looked stressed, hurried, unhappy – he clearly wasn’t enjoying his rugby, and Beale at his best looks happy even under pressure. He just needed a break), but that was turned on its head when it leaked that Beale and AAC had decided that team protocols didn’t apply to them (maybe they thought the 2014 title gave them special status? Because there wasn’t any other reason why AAC should think he could get away with it!). Beale’s been given more chances to hold his place under Cheika than anyone, perhaps with the exception of Foley, all the way back to the fact that Cheika flew him to Europe and ended his major suspension after a mere two weeks – something no other player has ever had done for them.
          .
          Cheika may not make all good or all poor decisions, but the problem he faces – and that RA face – is that he’s got such a history of consistent failings, a history of repeating the same mistakes, that people have no faith in him. He could make a brilliant selection decision, but until it’s played out in a game, no one will have faith. Given he’s lost 6 of 9 June matches over the last 3 years, given he’s lost last time out to each of England (one from seven?), Ireland (I think we’ve won one under his tenure – never in Ireland), Scotland (last beat them in 2015), Wales (hadn’t lost to them in over a decade), NZ, SA…… He’s got little to no credit with the fans.

        • UTG

          Ah, the revisionist history of Quade Cooper’s career. Ok so first, Quade had a season ending injury in Super in 2014 and Cheika reintroduced him to the squad. It was no surprise to anyone that the Super Rugby winning flyhalf was preferred to a guy who missed half a season with a shoulder injury. In 2015, Foley helps to take us to a World Cup final, no surprise he is preferred.

          In 2016 Quade goes to 7s to try and make it to Rio. He gets dropped just before June when we’re playing England, he’s in no way available for those tests. Nevertheless, Cheika still plays him later in the season. He also chooses him despite the fact Cooper is going to Toulon.

          He picks him again in 2017 in the June series but then uncontroversially drops him after he was failing to perform for the Reds.

          If you’re expecting Cheika to pick a player from club rugby in 2018, you’re dreaming.

          In 2019, Quade drops ball at the end of the season and the safer options are taken.

        • Who?

          Wrong from the first paragraph. Cooper was in the XXIII for Link’s last Test. Even Foley had to look up and smile when Cooper joined him to warm up before the test, and the club kids in the area all started to cheer. So it wasn’t Cheika who brought him back to the squad – it was Link.
          .
          In 2015, Beale took us to the final. He was the best player on the field against England. There’d been a phony war between Foley and Cooper, but Foley’s poor performance in the Sydney win (he stood so deep Phipps was giving him bounce passes!) was irrelevant, as Eden Park was a loss.
          .
          2016, Cooper went to Toulon (because he wanted to be a one club player, and it was insanity for anyone to stick around for Richard Graham), tried 7’s, came home. He wasn’t going to Toulon in 2017, he’d already finished that arrangement before he came back. He was selected for five Tests after Foley had shown himself to be completely out of form, exhausted, having played non-stop from the 2015 SR season, through the RWC, then off to Japan for a ‘sabbatical’, back to the Tahs for the end of the SR season… He was exhausted. Yet the solution was to stick him at 12. This failure to drop a player when he was clearly exhausted, out of form and needing a break would be replicated with Beale in 2018.
          .
          After Cooper turned around our season (we were losing under Foley, on a very negative trajectory), he was dropped so Foley could be 10 in Europe (and we had yet another losing EOYT).
          .
          2017, Cooper was picked in June, given almost no game time (same deal as Powell, which was farcical), accused of not enjoying his rugby and left out. With Hodge to be the back up 10. Uncontroversially? When you’re talking about giving a bloke his first game at 10 in open rugby (i.e. not age group) wearing Gold, there’s no way you can say it’s not controversial when you’ve got a 70 cap 10 playing NRC.
          In terms of not performing for the Reds, he’d had a leg injury through most of the season, which had finally healed at the end of the season. But the Reds were abysmal in 2017. Lots of big hits, very little follow through. Lots of wasted effort, and then Cooper would cop it for kicking away terrible, back foot backfield possession when his forwards were out on their feet.
          .
          I didn’t expect Cheika to pick Cooper from club rugby in 2018, as it’d already become more than clear that he didn’t understand Cooper (i.e. what his strengths and weaknesses were, how best to use him), but I’d be unsurprised if he did it for one of his favourites. He effectively did it for Uelese and Latu this year.
          .
          In 2019, Cooper didn’t drop the ball at the end of the season. That rabid Cooper fan Stephen Hoiles’ analysis of the Rebels was that the pack failed to secure their own ball, and the game plan was one dimensional. The typical response from Cooper haters was “He should’ve changed the game plan!” Meanwhile, 12 months earlier, one of the whinges from the same crew was, “Thorn sacked him because he constantly ignored Stiles’ game plan!” That’s a perfect example of a lose-lose situation.
          .
          Even so, if you went off the G&GR player of the week ratings, Cooper should’ve been the Aussie 10, with Leali’ifano his backup. Hegarty was about level with Foley.
          .
          .
          The point, though, is that there were other options. There were times when Foley clearly needed at least time away from the game, even if you rate him as a 10 (and, given his lack of vision, the fact he needs to run to create (I want my 10 able to create without using his feet, as well as using his feet), his poor general play kicking game, his no-better-than-anyone-else-including-Cooper goal kicking game, his no-better-than-anyone-else defence and his less creative backfield play, his record leading the Wallabies to losses in more than 50% of his games (where Cooper’s win rate is significantly higher) I don’t have him as a first choice 10), yet Cheika didn’t give him a break even when there was another option (though I’ll more than readily admit it’s an indictment on RA and the SR clubs that there wasn’t a clear 3rd choice when we had 5 provinces).
          .
          Cheika makes up his mind and very, very rarely changes it. He is – as Adrian will attest – blindly loyal. He doesn’t staff weaknesses, he doesn’t see them. He doesn’t seem to consider things outside his own control or interest. These are major weaknesses in a leader. And when you’ve developed a terrible, terrible record, then the areas of failure – our defence, our backline play through 2015/16/18, key selections and tactical decisions – grate. And any decision around those areas is always going to be met by those who’ve long been disappointed with extreme scepticism.

        • UTG

          What? Cheika played Cooper on the EOYT in 2014, he didn’t play in Brisbane for Link’s final test even though he was in the squad. Check his match list…

          Again, no one was complaining about Foley in 2015 given his efforts in the RWC, however, much you want to retrospectively talk about Beale.

          In 2016 Cooper played 9 tests, I’m not sure where this 5 tests is coming from. He played basically as many as he was available for given he stuffed around with 7s for the first half of the year. But yes, I got the Toulon year the wrong way around.

          2017, well you say it yourself. He was injured most of the season and struggled for form. I don’t think anyone was too concerned about him being left out of the EOYT squad after his ridiculous high tackle in the Barbarians vs Wallabies match that earned him a YC.

          Here’s a link to his career test match list to back what I’ve said:

          http://en.espn.co.uk/statsguru/rugby/player/85482.html?class=1;template=results;type=player;view=match

        • Who?

          You didn’t check the XXIII for that last Test. He was an unused substitute. Link had been pretty consistent in his selections whilst Wallabies coach in showing that he wasn’t blindly going to rely on his old Reds players (hence why he gave Toomua first crack at 10 in 2013, given Toomua was 10 for the best performing Aussie Super side). He made Mowen captain.
          That day, Cooper did all the same warm ups as Foley, and being Brisbane, the kids didn’t want to know Foley.
          .
          You can claim my comments about Beale are retrospective, but if you go back on here to the match reports from that week, you’ll see I’ve been saying the same thing for four years.
          .
          Cooper played 9 Tests in 2016 but he only started 5 of them. And he was dropped for the EOYT. Not listed for the England game, when he’d been the starting 10 the week before.
          .
          2017, struggled for form? He had no ball. If you have no ball, you can’t demonstrate whether or not you’re in form. I said he was behind a beaten pack, had very little useful ball (Frisby was learning to wait for a secure breakdown, which rarely arrived), and was in a decimated backline (compared to what was built for 2011).
          The high tackle in the BaaBaas game? He was completely unsighted (thanks to Paia’aua), he didn’t hold Folau (it was high contact, but it was clearly a bailing tackle – compare it to the rubbish that Hodge got away with the other day – the three weeks is the correct penalty, Hodge wasn’t trying to get out of the way, Cooper was), it was a ridiculous card. It was inconsistent – Hodgo put a much tougher high shot on Paia’aua as he scored the first try that day than Cooper’s ‘tackle’ on Folau.
          .
          But it was blindingly obvious that, regardless of anything else, Cheika just didn’t rate Cooper, didn’t understand how to use him, and so he was ignored, regardless of Foley’s form or otherwise. Just as Fardy was often ignored, and there’s others (but I can’t be bothered going through them all). Cheika has his favourites, he has his mates, he’s extremely loyal, and loyal to the point that he’s blind to the failings of those to whom he’s loyal.

        • UTG

          Come on, I’ve posted the link. You can’t continue to claim things like “not listed for the England match in 2016,” when it shows he played.

          Also, it’s pretty disingenuous to originally say “he was selected for five tests in 2016,” and now say walk it back and say he only started five tests. Similarly, the original claim that Cheika preferred Foley in 2014 is bogus given he played Quade on the EOYT.

          A bit disappointed with your airbrushing of Quade’s test match history. I can understand you’d be unhaply he’s never got a chance to kick on and use his prodigious talent, I am too, but Cheika’s been willing to try him every year he’s been available since 2014 bar this year.

        • Who?

          He didn’t play England in November. I said he started five Tests, then was unceremoniously dropped when Foley hadn’t done anything to justify his move back to 10, and Cooper hadn’t done anything to justify his demotion. You can look at the games in June and claim he played, and yes they’re amongst the nine caps he received that year, but he only started five games. Starting on the bench is very different to starting. You can claim my original wording was sloppy, but read it again and you’ll note it’s not contradictory. I said he was selected after Foley had shown himself to be exhausted and out of form. Foley was ‘demoted’ to 12, Cooper was selected at 10.
          .
          Saying Cheika’s tried him is like saying your five year old tried the red curry each night you served it it. The five year old nibbled a tiny bit each time, complaining the whole time, not enjoying it, but it still counts as ‘trying’ the curry. It’s totally different to saying the five year old gave it a fair go, or that the five year old understood it.
          Similarly, getting a go as a bench player – especially when the 10’s still on the field – is very different to getting a run starting at 10. Especially at 10. You see issues with combination in the lineout when you change the hooker, but it’s planned. And you don’t play 2 hookers at once. Cheika constantly plays two 10’s, and the back up 10 doesn’t get clear air. It’s crucial – it’s like watching the back up QB come on in an NFL match. It might be the same receivers, the same starting line (because you don’t sub in a QB unless there’s an injury, or very rarely if you’ve an unreachable lead (but Brady and the like will still refuse to be subbed!)), but the catches just don’t go to hand. It’s combination that only comes with time.
          .
          For reference, I’d say that Toomua hasn’t had any games at 10 this year. Even though he’s replaced Leali’ifano four times (unusual for a Cheika 10 to be subbed off! Because he’s not started there. He’s had five caps, but no games at 10.
          .
          My position isn’t that Cheika’s biased against Cooper, my position is that Cheika doesn’t understand Cooper. He’s said (years ago) that Cooper and Beale are similar players. They’re not. They’re very different. Beale’s a ball carrier who creates with his feet, then is happy to use a pass or kick. Cooper’s a player who has good feet (though no longer good pace – and Beale was always faster), but creates with his pass. He looks to set up other players, Beale looks to set up himself and feeds others when he’s at an end. Cheika doesn’t seem to understand that.
          .
          And because Cheika doesn’t understand Cooper – how he works best, how to best use him – he doesn’t rate him. Then makes stupid comments about how Cooper needs to enjoy his rugby, or how he’s going to watch club games (that wasn’t ever happening), or how he’s always been a big support of Cooper’s (this year’s hilarious quote).
          I believe that’s why he didn’t pick Cooper. But it doesn’t change the fact that he (Cheika) had an experienced option other than Foley (pretty sure Foley’s still (just) behind Cooper for caps) for all bar one year of his tenure, but chose to start Foley at 10 for over 80% of those games regardless of form or results.
          .
          It’s interesting to look at forwards who go on to become coaches. I get the impression that Link and Eddie Jones spent all their time in the scrum as frustrated flyhalves. Eddie obviously loved the contact, but he loved set piece, he loved programming how people would run. Run over defences the way he couldn’t (being a small forward). Link was very tactical (town planner), always looking for the weakest part of the opposition.
          .
          Cheika is very different. He just wants bash and barge. He was a niggly, hard, aggressive kind of player, and he wants INTENSE training. He’s not the schemer. He’s direct. You listen to him talk about his time at Leinster, and he says things like, “I’d see them trying all these fancy tricks and I’d tell (the backs), “Don’t you do that in a game!”” Like the time BOD passed to himself over the top of a team mate – Cheik had seen that at training, and told BOD off. BOD ignored him…
          .
          But you see it in the way his teams play. For most of his Wallabies tenure, the forwards weren’t looking for a soft shoulder. They were just expected to bash and barge through. Win the contact. Win the collision in the air. If it’s not working, it’s not the tactics, it’s the players not being fit/hard enough. Don’t adjust the tactics. That has me concerned for the RWC.
          .
          What happens when we face England, or meet SA again, and can’t dominate the contact? The way we didn’t dominate against Fiji, and in Johannesburg? We didn’t adjust and provide more numbers at the breakdown, so our 9 and 10 were decimated. And then dropped. Very similarly to how the Shaun Berne-coached Rebels attack worked this year… Which looked fairly similar to the Wallabies’ style. Your claim is that Cooper dropped the ball and that’s why they went nowhere – my thought at the time was that you can’t expect to win the contact playing the same way every week. Some days, you’re just not going to be big enough. So you’ve got to have a Plan B. We didn’t see that Plan B in Auckland, or at Johannesburg… And the only things that changed in Sapporo were personnel and fitness – the Fijians tired, we added more high quality players, Pocock moved to 8 in the alignment (so he was able to secure our ruck in the midfield rather than playing wide where our 6’s play)…

        • UTG

          He did play against England, it was in December 2016. Check the link.

          Not got much time for you to now say “oh sorry did I say selected? I meant starting, bench doesn’t count,” when you made a big deal about Link picking him on the bench in 2014 (but didn’t play him) and how that meant something. You got it wrong, just own it instead of trying to weasel out of it.

          And you’ve also moved from your previous proclamation of “Cheika just doesn’t rate Cooper” to “he’s not biased against him, he just doesn’t understand how to use him.” Well, we’re all still waiting on the coach who knows how to use him.

          I mean, ffs, Brad Thorn relegated him to club rugby but it’s Cheika’s that’s not tried him.

          Getting pretty tired of “we’d have been so much better if we just selected Scott Higginbotham and Quade Cooper,” this is in the same time period we didn’t beat a NZ Super side once in a whole season. As if there was some wealth of talent beating up everyone that nasty Michael Cheika continued to overlook because he loved his Bernard. People need to wake up and realise Australian Rugby has been fucking grim from top to bottom.

          Oh, and one more thing, so ironic that everyone suddenly realised a pack going forward was necessary for a 10 when it was Quade playing behind a beaten pack. Of course though, it was all Bernard’s fault in 2016 when England demolished out forward pack, and when NZ has done it routinely over the past few years.

        • Who?

          You’re right – I thought it was England, thinking it was the big Test of the EOYT. It wasn’t that game where Cheika dumped him – it was NZ. You can claim, “Oh, but he was on the bench,” but 6 minutes off the bench and then 4 minutes against Wales or 12 minutes off the bench against England means very little when you were the starting 10 a few weeks beforehand. It’s still a major demotion, a dropping. The same way it’s being reported that he’s dropped White this week.
          .
          In terms of Link selecting him but not playing him, the relevance is that’s how you return someone to the game after an injury. You yourself pointed out Cooper was coming back from a shoulder injury. You don’t necessarily start someone after they’ve had a long term injury, you tend to ease them back through the bench. You said Cheika added “Cooper to the squad”, my point was that wasn’t true, he was already in the squad, already in the 23, returning from injury.
          .
          “Cheika doesn’t rate Cooper” is the same as “Cheika doesn’t understand how to use him.” If you don’t understand how to use something, you generally don’t find value in it. Just as you say, “I’ve not got much time for you since…” Clearly we aren’t speaking the same language. You’re looking at a very dry, uninformative and undetailed caps list, I’m going off memory and then (when required) following it up with game reports that explain the detail I’m using. You call it trying to weasel out of it, but the reality is I’ve probably used too few words to explain the detail of my thoughts, thinking you were on the same wavelength, remembering the same details as me. Clearly that’s not the case.
          .
          Brad Thorn’s coaching ability is nothing to talk up. What’s he accomplished, other than managing to get hired over an inexperienced coach whilst being even less experienced? And, you’re talking about a bloke who had a longstanding personal grudge, multiple on-field confrontations between them including Thorn being penalized playing for the Crusaders against the Reds for tripping. That’s dirty stuff, and frankly it’s pretty disgraceful that the QRU would select someone who chose to play for NZ (when he’d been raised in Qld) over a 100 cap, one club player.
          And then you say “Cooper couldn’t get selected in 2018,” as if it were anything to do with his playing ability. ‘Demoted to club rugby’ when the reality was, “Wanted to sack him but couldn’t afford it as the QRU were bankrupt through their imbecilic coach hiring schemes, which continued by appointing an extraordinarily green coach on the assumption that knowing a few good coaches meant he’d be one, even though he had no support coaches, and played a rather straightforward position on the field.” He may have been a lock, but he couldn’t call a lineout. And he’s still not had a winning season.
          .
          I don’t argue that it’s been pretty grim. You’ll note I said that it’s an indictment on the clubs and RA that we had five clubs but no third option at 10. In 2017, we had Hawera at the Brums, Grant at the Force, and Garden-Bachop at the Rebels. Three of the five 10’s playing for Aussie Super teams weren’t Wallaby-eligible. Hence why I pointed at Cooper.
          We had talent (Debreczeni, etc), but we didn’t ever develop them. The standard of coaching across the country – and I’m not talking about Cheika, I’m talking about all RA programs – has been terrible for years. Who was the last decent coach developed locally? Cheika developed himself in Europe. Link was locally developed, but went to Europe as finishing school (between the Tahs and Reds). Is there another well rounded Aussie coach produced since Link? Even just at Super level? Perhaps coaching’s a factor in why we’ve suffered against NZ… Perhaps good coaching can turn things around quickly – seems to have worked for SA. It’s not like we’ve got a team of 23 duds out there.
          .
          .
          That said, it doesn’t mean that Cheika’s consistently picked all the best players, or equally that he used all the players selected in the most appropriate manner for their skillsets. Higgers did actually fit the style of 6 that Cheik wanted, however, he injured his neck in the June 2017 internationals and arguably never got back to the required level. Hanigan wasn’t able to play the enforcer, but that’s still how Cheika wanted him to play. And Hanigan didn’t really progress under Cheika. I saw good progress in his running game under Gibson last year – he started hitting weak shoulders, he started looking to pass the ball. But it wasn’t how Cheika tried to use him.
          .
          The question that started all this was whether Cheika picked people when there was no alternative. And I think it’s pretty clear that he’s loyal. He picks people he thinks he understands. But given the results of his coaching, it has to be questioned whether he’s putting out a game plan that the players can consistently deliver, whether it best suits the players he’s selecting, or whether we’re just terrible. Honestly, I don’t think it’s all on the players… I don’t think we’ve looked like we had a cohesive game plan for a good while now. We rarely look like the sum of our parts. Perth is our potential, but we rarely come within 50% of that performance. Why? It’s not effort on the part of the players – they don’t come off the field fresh.

        • UTG

          Not rating someone is 100% different to not understanding how to use him. If you don’t rate someone you don’t pick them, if you don’t understand someone you pick them out of position or make them play a game plan that’s unsuited to their style.

          Yes, we definitely aren’t on the same wavelength, your claims that Cheika dropped Cooper when he didn’t, only selected him 5 times when he selected him 9 times, that Foley was preferred in 2014 despite Cheika picking Cooper post injury etc. make it very hard to accept subsequent points about Cheika not understanding how to use him. Now if you’d started with Cheika did give Cooper game time over the years but he didn’t get the best out of him then we could have had a conversation about that. It may well have been what you’d always meant that but it becomes very hard to believe when you’re making the point in retrospect only after some pretty major incorrect points in your narrative have been pointed out.

          The point about Brad Thorn isn’t that he dropped Cooper on form. I never suggested that. It’s that he is an example of a coach that plays favourites and won’t select Cooper, this is in stark contrast to Cheika who picked Quade every season he was available. Thorn blindly stuck with some pretty poor flyhalves when he had a clear upgrade in club rugby.

          If you want to come back to the original question, I think I’ve pretty clearly established that Cheika has been more than willing to try Quade over the years. You can claim that he didn’t get the best out of him and that’s why he didn’t pick him more but you cannot deny he tried him. The fact that Foley was dropped last year, this year, and rotated with Quade from 2014-2017 seems to pretty much torpedo any claims that Cheika blindly stuck with him and ignored better options a la Brad Thorn.

        • Who?

          So playing Cooper at 12 outside Foley (which Cheika did) and asking him to be a ball runner doesn’t indicate that Cheika didn’t understand him? Not understanding someone can easily lead to not rating them. I agree they can be exclusive, but they can also coexist and be causative, which is the case here.
          .
          Apparently, according to your logic, White hasn’t been dropped this week, despite the fact that every major media outlet is reporting it as such. Because going from the starting XV to the bench isn’t getting dropped. That’s what you’re saying. Cheika picked Cooper five times to start, then benched him and gave him (generally) single digit minutes in the other games (4 games). When he was the form 10. Yet you seem to believe that’s not being dropped, that six minutes off the bench is equal to starting in your favoured position.
          .
          2014, it clearly was Foley who was preferred. You claimed Cheika brought Cooper into the squad (it’s established that’s not true, he was already in the 23 the previous test, returning from injury), that giving Cooper short minutes off the bench wasn’t preferring Foley. When Cooper had been the incumbent until his injury, and most would’ve expected him to ease back into the starting role if coaching changes hadn’t happened.
          .
          You did say that Cooper couldn’t get a game for the Reds in 2018, the implication being that he wasn’t up to it. I agree that it was favourites from Thorn.
          .
          I don’t believe you’ve established that Cheika was rotated with Foley. Cooper had 7 starts under Cheika – Eden Park 2015 (where our pack, dominant the week before in Sydney, was absent, much like 2019), Uruguay 2015 (we scored 9 tries), and the 5 in 2016 with Foley at 12. Cheika’s coached 65 matches, of those, 7 had Cooper, I think 2 had Toomua, 4 had Leali’ifano. That’s over 50 Tests with Foley as the starting 10. Of Cooper’s 7 starts, they were all in 2015/16, and he started 2/12 and 5/15 respectively. So even in the year with the least Tests with Foley at 10, Foley started 2/3 of them at 10, and he started the other 1/3 at 12. Hardly rotation!
          .
          I believe Cheika decided he didn’t know how to use Cooper and therefore discarded him. But I believe he initially thought, “I’ve got access to all the players, people seem to really rate this guy, I’ll give him a go.” The same way that there’s plenty of people who thought, “This new diet/exercise is supposed to be good, I’ll give it a go,” only to find that it tastes disgusting, or they don’t have the motivation to face the screaming PT every day. So they quit within a week. And for Cheika to discover, “I don’t get what people see in him.” The same way my kids have half a bite of something healthy and claim they’ve ‘tried’ it, and they don’t like it.
          .
          But the point is, going off the original question, in 65 Tests, where only 3 of them didn’t have a genuine alternative 10 available (the Irish series in June 2018 – Cooper ostracised by Thorn and I think Toomua only arrived for Bledisloe 1), he stuck with the same bloke as the starting 10 regardless of form for approximately 50 of them.

        • UTG

          You’re the one who said initially Cheika didn’t rate him and I responded to that by saying “look he picked him on these occasions, if he didn’t rate him he would not have picked him.” Then you swapped to saying “he doesn’t understand him,” I’ve not really disputed that point. He may well not have understood him but he’s certainly not the first coach to have not understood Quade, there’s a long list of them who have dropped him or rotated him out of the side.

          You also claimed originally that Cheika selected Cooper for five tests in 2016 and dropped him after that. I responded to that by saying “that’s not true he played 9 tests in 2016.” Now you want to get into a discussion about the semantics of dropping vs moving to the bench. Sure we can have that discussion but it’s much easier to do if you start by originally saying “Cooper only started 5 tests in 2016, and I thought he was moved to the bench unfairly.”

          Ditto for 2014, you only now recognise that Cheika gave him minutes in 2014 but are now unhappy it was from the bench. Originally, it was about Link reintroducing him into the squad post injury. We can have a discussion about whether or not Cheika was right to play the Super winning flyhalf or pick the guy coming back from injury but it’s very hard to do if that’s not what you originally say.

        • Who?

          So you don’t like my further clarification of my original posts. The more detailed explanation of the thinking behind the posts. If I’d written a full thesis straight up, you’d not have read it. Most don’t.
          .
          I didn’t ever say that Cheika didn’t rate Cooper when he started. I said he doesn’t rate Cooper – present tense. I maintain he doesn’t understand Cooper, and because he doesn’t understand how Cooper works and is best used, he doesn’t rate Cooper.
          .
          There’s only two coaches who dropped Cooper, Deans and Cheika. Toulon doesn’t work the same way, given the coaches over there have little power. They can turn up to training and find half their team’s been swapped. And let’s be honest, Toulon wasn’t a good fit for him. Big heavy forwards, big midfield (not many teams in world Rugby are happy to have a 120kg, slow outside centre).
          .
          I think Deans understood Cooper, but was unwilling to give players any input. Tell them to play what’s in front of them, but then scapegoat them when they don’t do exactly what he thinks he’d have done. He was a terrible coach, especially for fly halves (no 10 succeeded long term under Deans, I can’t believe Berrick’s still playing under him after the way Robbie treated Berrick).
          .
          I never said Cheika didn’t give Cooper minutes in 2014, I said he got bench time but that it was Link who added him to the 23, when you claimed Cheika was the one who restored Cooper to the squad. I agree there’s more to debate about whether you start the returning injured player who was incumbent or the guy who’s played the season, but that’s what 2015 should’ve been about. Either way, after the Tahs’ player power revolt in the Wallabies, it was pretty clear the EOYT was a waste and who was running the show.
          .
          And talking about going from starting 10 to getting 6 minutes off the bench when you were the more in form of the two options as being dropped is far from semantics! I said, pretty clearly, he was the starting 10 for five games after Foley was found to be out of form, Foley was moved to 12, and then Cooper was dropped for the EOYT. That’s what happened. He had his jersey taken away from him for a bloke who’d been out of form and was still out of form.
          .
          Today is Cheika’s 66th test in charge. He’s lost 30 of them (impressive – he’s back up to a 50% win ratio). And he’s had Foley (starting) at 10 for (as of today) 53 of them.

        • UTG

          I don’t want a full thesis, I just want you to be straight with the facts from the start so we can discuss the issues at hand. I mean you’ve done it again, you say you used present tense “doesn’t” when you said “didn’t”, go and read the last paragraph of your post beginning with “you didn’t check…” I can’t debate the merits of whether or not Quade was fairly or unfairly benched on, say the EOYT in 2016, if it takes you 6 posts of back and forth for you to acknowledge that he wasn’t dropped from the side.

        • Who?

          Australia have a 3-2 record since resorting to the Cooper-Foley playmaking combination and they appear to be growing in confidence after a tentative start.
          So, Cooper turning around the situation. Yet he was dropped… Tell me you wouldn’t call it ‘dropped’ if you were demoted to the bench from a key starting role, and even moreso if you were then basically not played? Tell White doesn’t feel like he’s been dropped this week.
          .
          If you seriously think 6 minutes off the bench is the same as starting, as Cooper had the week before, if 6 minutes off the bench when the game is completely lost is ‘an opportunity’, well… It raises a lot of questions.
          .
          And I clearly didn’t think it’d take six posts of back and forth for you to realize that my analysis that ‘Cheika neither understands nor rates Cooper’ is a present tense analysis, and that positions can change. I wasn’t anti-Cheika in 2015. I wasn’t sold he was the messiah, but I was hoping for his success. Do I need to clearly articulate my changing position regarding Cheika, year by year..?

        • disqus_NMX

          Phil Mooney was a good home grown coach. Can’t think of any others since Rod Macqueen though.

        • Who?

          Agree – he was good. Not sure he was 100% ready for the mess he found himself in, but I’ve long said that he setup the foundations that Link used to win in 2011. Link added discipline.
          .
          I think McKellar’s shown a pretty good first season as a head coach, and Wessels still has promise (though he was developing in SA before coming here). But between Mooney/Link and those two, we’re looking at over a decade (because neither of those two is ready to step up as Link did in 2013).

        • disqus_NMX

          Exactly. I would have liked to have seen where Mooney would have taken the Reds if he wasn’t dumped, he was setting them up well, and his record before and since speaks for itself. Shame he got chewed up and spat out by the Reds system, he’d make a great Reds coach now, but seems to have avoided that and settled for a cushy schools job.

        • doohanfan

          Cooper may well never have been the answer (being unplayable against NZ is a fairly large problem for a Wallaby number 10), but Foley is mostly fairly terrible, apart from that Super Rugby Finals game, and being decent in the last RWC, which may have had something to do with having Matt Giteau next to him doing all the things he can’t.

          If he is in the side he shouldn’t kick for line, particularly from penalties, which Cheika absolutely bewilderingly gets him to do.

        • UTG

          I agree with all that, I’m not claiming that Foley is the answer just that there weren’t some great alternatives lingering in Super that Cheika kept overlooking.

        • doohanfan

          I am a long suffering Waratahs season ticket holder, and watching Foley at number 10 for a decade had perhaps left its mark on me. I don’t know if there have been any better 10s going around, but there seems to have been little interest in finding or developing them anyway. The Rebels had someone who looked promising a few years back.

          It will doubtless be an unpopular opinion on here, but imo the original teenaged Kurtley Beale, the one that had the Tahs up nearing half-time against the Crusaders in Christchurch in a super rugby final before that noted Christian Brad Thorne took him out 30 metres off the ball to put him out of the game was the possible future long term Wallaby number 10. Before he was constantly picked out of position, became totally confused and developed his multiple current foibles he was looking like a good to potentially great natural number 10.

        • joy

          After McKenzie, Cooper was lost to Australian rugby and any chance of a golden era was lost. The treatment he received from the deep state has been disgraceful. I feel sorry for the kid. But there will be a renaissance, Cooper will return, firstly as attack coach then head coach. Order will be restored.

        • Who?

          I’m not sure, Joy. Because I’m not sure he’ll be a great coach. Great players – especially great natural players – often don’t make great coaches. I’m ok if he never coaches at a high level – those roles have to be earned. It’s like the Young Australian of the Year maths teacher from Sydney (Eddie Woo?) says – if you have to work hard to understand a concept, you’re more likely to be able to share that information and the strategies you’ve discovered than someone who just picked it up naturally.

        • joy

          I should explain why I made the comment.

          After Deans dumped Cooper for failing to deliver “the” game plan, McKenzie claimed he (Cooper) was the best at executing a game plan.. Mc Kenzie made his point by appointing Cooper in charge of the Reds v Lions game. The game plan was obviously Cooper’s. For me that was the most memorable moment of the Lions tour . The truth is, prop forward McKenzie had the humility to cede his authority to an instinctive kid called Cooper.. McKenzie was smart.. Deans and, sadly, Cheika, not so smart.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate, I agree on Deans not wanting to cede any authority. TBH I think a lot of it with the Wallabies was because he didn’t trust any of them but he has got a history of doing things his way

        • Who?

          I think that’s what lost him the ABs gig in 2007. He seemed to think he knew everything. What’s the term, the suppository of all wisdom..? :-P

        • laurence king

          It will be good to see the back of bum-chieks (pun intended). I’ve been watching the Wallabies for something like 50 years and for most of that time, the various coaches have had their team playing a brand of rugby that was cerebral and exciting. Not so with this bloke. In the past four years I can think of maybe 3 or 4 games where it looked like the team knew what they were doing. Most games have just been tedious, and I’ve watched them all. When he’s gone I’ll breathe a sigh of relief.

        • joy

          Well said.

      • Patrick

        Let’s just all agree that Foley should pull a heart string and get on a plane so we can have another winger.

  • Greg

    Wow. Japan just beat Ireland. Ferocious defense

    • Patrick

      And leg drive, in attack and defences!

  • Patrick

    How great was Japan??! I loved watching that game.

    • Custard Taht

      Now this is the biggest upset in RWC history….awesome stuff.

      • Keith Butler

        The Irish just threw the Scots a lifeline. All to play for now. Wouldn’t it be great to see Japan qualify.

        • Patrick

          It would, Scotland will play their hearts out in every match now, but especially against Japan. In fact this pool will be so exciting now:
          Scotland vs Samoa
          Japan vs Samoa
          Scotland vs Japan
          Ireland vs Samoa

          Can’t wait!

        • Custard Taht

          Japan are in with a shot of topping the pool…..that would be fantastic.
          Pool A just become the most wide open pool.

      • Patrick

        I agree about biggest upset. Just shading Japan’s win against the Boks last time!

        3rd place to Samoa beating Wales in Cardiff in 99 and 4th to France beating NZ in the same tournament.

        But it definitely complicates NZ’s life too.

        • Custard Taht

          Yeah, a NZ v Ireland QF would make the Kiwis a little nervous.

        • Patrick

          Especially because then they would have sth like three easy matches, then three hard sudden death matches, first a wounded Ireland, England/France and then the Boks in the final, which would be a lot more pressure than Scotland first up.

        • Custard Taht

          Agreed, except Wallabies in the final

        • laurence king

          That could mean another four more years of Cheika, do you really want that? And another four more years of Foley, Beale, Hannigan, AAC and Grey of course as defense coach. lol

        • Patrick

          I’d take it if we won the world cup, in a heartbeat!

          But there’s a reason we aren’t favorites.

        • laurence king

          lol

        • joy

          If he gets us to the finals he can stay as long as he likes.

        • laurence king

          I’ve seen our team play three maybe four well constructed games in since the last WC. I think if Cheika was to coach for another four years I’d stop watching the Wallabies, just not worth the frustration. Still, I don’t think I’ve got much to worry about.

        • joy

          To be truthful I too am not a committed fan of Cheika but, critically, he has focused on the core weakness of Australian rugby, physicality. In this regard he has earned an high distinction. As much as I hate bashing, at the end of the day, he is right.

        • Custard Taht

          It could mean that…..I would like to think that RA realise win or lose, the Cheika reign has run its course and it is time to go.

          So yep, another years it would be.

        • adastra32

          I think what today has shown is that chicken counting is unwise in this tournament.

        • Custard Taht

          I just counted 3 Chickens, the same number as the kiwis…..

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Nah. We got their measure

        • Custard Taht

          I would fall on the side of NZ winning, but the Irish have shown good recent form against you guys.

          If I was a kiwi, I would much prefer a QF against Scotland or Japan….as a Wallabies supporter, would prefer to stay right the fuck away from Scotland.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          absolutely we’d prefer Scotland or Japan, and the way the Japs played yesterday I’ll pick them over Scotland. But, I still would be happy with Ireland over England, Wales or SA

        • Custard Taht

          Will we see where wales are at today….but I rank it 1. NZ 2. ENG and a log jam between Aus, SA, Wales and Ireland.

          But the potential NZ v Eng semi is going to be awesome

        • UTG

          Yep, those victories in Chicago and Ireland mean nothing now. The Japanese were playing a similar style to your blokes and Ireland couldn’t do anything to stop, ABs by 20 if it comes to it.

    • GeorgiaSatellite

      I just made it to a screen for the last minute or so. Why on Earth did Carbery kick it out at the end? Trying to ensure they kept the losing bonus point? Brain fart.

      • Patrick

        Well at that point there was a real chance of them losing that BP!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        No I think keeping the bonus point was the reason. TBH if Japan had got the ball again they may have scored

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          Not so sure, KRL. Unless he could be certain there wouldn’t be another throw-in for Japan. Bit of a dice-roll, IMO.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I just thought he hadnt heard the gong?

      • Geoffro

        The BP could be the difference between them going forward.The blossoms could have really administered the coup de grace by taking a drop goal at the death when they were perfectly placed

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Fantastic game

      • Geoffro

        RA should be be putting Tony Brown on the headhunting list

        • Patrick

          Jamie Joseph no?

        • Geoffro

          yeah.him too and Plum ;)

    • Brisneyland Local

      Best game I have watched in years. Loved everyminute of it.

      • IIPA

        How good was it ?!? And if you think about it, that’s at least three classics thus far ( Fra/Arg, Uru/Fiji) and a number of other very decent games… along with the great crowds and minnows keeping things generally competitive.

        Which brings me to Reece Hodge’s statement. Bloody good on him. I had a light hearted crack at “not knowing the rules” but I think his reply shoved it right back up the supercilious WR statement that accompanied his suspension and rightly pointed out what everyone should be focusing on rather than the soap-opera of foul-play consistency.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah I have enjoyed so many games. It is reminding me why I love this game so much. Because be a Reds, now a Melb Rebeles and Wallabies fan has been nothing but dissapointment for 4 years.

          Re WR. I ignore them like SANZAAR, and ARU. They are all dicks. I wonder after that result whether SANZAAR are second guessing their axing of the Moon Doggies.

    • Geoffro

      Amazing upset, (if Hoss says he had a lazy pineapple on the Japs I’m going to become apoplectic)

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan. I’m not so confident. In the last couple of years Wales has got better and better both in the way they play and their players, whereas the Wallabies seem to go back two steps for every one they go forward.
    Winning the 6N this year they showed a level of smart play that I haven’t seen from the Wallabies in years. It certainly won’t be a walk over but I’m thinking Wales have a very good chance

  • Fatflanker

    Poite is a f#cking cheat. That is all.

    • doohanfan

      I actually don’t think so. Biased in favour of NH teams and incompetent yes.

    • laurence king

      I don’t think that it was Poite’s idea in penalising Kerevi. Those new rules are are a bit ridiculous. Child’s playground rules.

    • Greg

      Please let’s not have that discussion.

      The decision was certainly puzzling. Perhaps game changing. Cheating…. I don’t think so.

      I did wonder about the intercept. The two field goals were quite clever…. good coaching.

      • Ed

        Good coaching also in how Wales had noticed how we return kick-offs, they made a turnover and converted with a field goal. Also they twice kicked to our left wing where they scored one try and nearly another.

      • Fatflanker

        He’s a cheat. No conversation required. I’ll shut up now anyway.congratulations Wales and good luck for the rest of the RWC.

    • Custard Taht

      I thought TMO was the problem, not so much Poite.
      I honestly thought there were instances, where Poite was looking at the replay and thinking, what the fuck am I looking for.

  • doohanfan

    Can we replace Cheika mid-tournament?. I hate to say I told you so but the game transformed when Foley went off. Despite everything else the Ws might have won without his time honoured tradition of sticking with proven failures that somehow have won his favour.

    • laurence king

      Toomua played very well, as did White. The forwards were all very strong in the second half. Was that guy offside when he intercepted?

      • doohanfan

        Looked to be to me but Genia probably shouldn’t thrown that pass anyway. As they said on the commentary the modus operandi of the Welsh number 9 is not exactly unknown
        .

      • Parker

        Expect Foley to e selected at 12 next game, when he should never have been on the plane in the first place. What an atrocious performance he delivered today.

        • laurence king

          I don’t think he’ll get another guernsey, He showed his limitations tonight and was completely shown-up by Toomua. That I think is a major positive.

    • laurence king

      lol, Think of it this way, one game closer to Cheika’s exit. But our second half shows that we have not only the makings of a very good forward pack but a bit more in the backs than we knew, what with Toomua growing into his role. We’re in with a chance of going further than the quarters

    • laurence king

      lol, Think of it this way, one game closer to Cheika’s exit. But our second half shows that we have not only the makings of a very good forward pack but a bit more in the backs than we knew, what with Toomua growing into his role. We’re in with a chance of going further than the quarters

    • doohanfan

      I agree actually. They had it in them to beat Wales, the Six Nations Champions who went undefeated, and hopefully can’t err this badly with selections and such a badly played first half of football again.

      Genia off the bench, no Foley and CLL/Toomua at number 10. Probably no Beale either. Still think they have to pick one of Pocock and Hopper and have the other off the bench.

  • Human

    The refereeing in this RWC is the worst I have ever seen. Perhaps it is all the cameras. Perhaps the TMO interference…but the contest is a joke….yet, with Wobs hard on attack, the Welsh 9 can be 2 m offside, score an intercept try (7 pts) and there is no review by the TMO, the AR ‘s or the ref. Kerevi pinged for a strong carry? WTF? How many Welsh will be cited after the game? How many Wobs will be cited?
    It has been decreed that the Wobs must not win the RWC.

    • doohanfan

      Cheika”s constant whinging and Hooper following suit probably doesn’t help the W’s with officialdom as has been said at another place.

      Cheika looks like another Alan Jones to me at this stage, He can take a team of players developed by others and motivate them leading to good performances for a time, then plays favourites,and makes repetitive selection blunders based on his personal prejudices following which everything falls apart.

      Has he developed any players or any consistent pattern of play in what is now 4 years or more with him at the helm?.

    • Haz

      Whinging Pom here. General consensus here was that the penalty against Kerevi was preposterous.

      The offside line hasn’t been refereed all tournament.

      • Patrick

        Yes I’ve basically given up looking for offside, it’s as if we’ve finally adopted Frank Bunce’s interpretation of last feet as meaning last feet on the attacking side.

        And the Kerevi one was insane, that kind of rule just creates an incentive to stand up in the tackle at risk of getting injured.

        But we lost that game all by ourselves in my view.

        • Haz

          Think I agree with all that. Australia markedly better once the ‘finishers’ came on though…

      • laurence king

        We are just going to have to get our mummys to wrap us in cotton wool and take us down to the play equipment and remember to ‘play nice’. The way this is going there may be no one but a couple of nancy backs to run on for the final

Rugby
@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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