My ten hopes for Australian Rugby in 2019 - Green and Gold Rugby

My ten hopes for Australian Rugby in 2019

My ten hopes for Australian Rugby in 2019

If there’s a more clichéd article in on-line blogging than a top ten list, it could only be the traditional January dross about “hopes for the year” as some sort of New Year’s resolution tie-in.

So here we have it – my top ten hopes for Australian Rugby in 2019.

0. A Wallaby win at the Rugby World Cup

I have to chuck it in don’t I? But I don’t really want to ‘waste’ a hope on it nor run with the ungainly ‘top 11’ list. Look, of course we all want the Wallabies to win the Web Ellis Trophy this year – it goes without saying. It’s just that I wanted this list to be somewhat based in realism and I just don’t see any way that it will happen.

So allow me to move on.

1. Rugby Australia for Australian Rugby

Raelene Castle and Cameron Clyne

Raelene Castle and Cameron Clyne watching the 7s at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

I said last year, copious times, that I had never seen rugby in Australia so disparate. There seemed no congruency between what the national body was doing with the state bodies let alone the clubs were all up to. Similarly the Wallabies and the Super Rugby teams were doing there own thang, while the Wallaroos and Super W were seemingly just left to do their own devices.

Never has it been more important for RA to stand up, show some strategic direction and leadership than this year and rebuild confidence among its constituents. This year have the Men’s World Cup, then there’s the Olympics next year and the Women’s World Cup in 2021.  It’s crucial we get our ‘shizzle togizzle’ if we want to be competitive at these events. Perhaps more importantly is the shaping of professional rugby in Australia as the 2020 broadcast deal is renegotiated and Global Rapid Rugby gets off the ground.

2. More Golden Girls

Lily Dick of University of Queensland makes a break

Lily Dick came through the AON Uni 7s to make her Australian debut last year.

It’s clear that Women’s 7s has evolved since the 2014 Rio Olympics as better resourced teams play more games and attract better players.  I don’t feel the Aussies have coped with this evolution as well as other teams have. New coaches, retirements and injuries to key players have all played their part.

With the AON Uni 7s now having run for a couple of years, we are due to really start to see the benefits of our new system. I want to see some of the stars from this tournament staking a claim on the World Stage. With Wallaroo Sam Treherne getting her 7s shot, teenage guns Lilly Dick and Sariah Paki showed their potential at their World Series debuts in Dubai. The injection of these new players, plus the return of some of our key 2014 stars, will hopefully mean we enter the Olympic year with full confidence.

3. Longbottom on top

The Women’s team has been blessed with game breakers able to make the key plays at big moments in crucial games. Whether it be Charlotte Caslick’s vision and guile or Ellia Green’s power and pace, we could almost rely on someone getting us out of a jam. The Aussie Men’s team has struggled for such a player for some time now.

I reckon we are seeing that solution now. Maurice Longbottom burst on the scene last season through some stunning side-steps and spectacular acceleration. But there was still some uncertainty in defense and a lack of real minutes. Coach Tim Walsh’s first off-season with the men may well have resolved that.  Mo is now playing major minutes, steering his team around the park, providing some much needed spark and, significantly, proving to be an excellent defender. Long may it continue.

4. The Thorn Identity

Tate McDermott made his starting debut

Liam Wright & Tate McDermott – 2018 Debutantes

Clearly Brad Thorn has been involved in some damn good sporting teams who had a focus on a culture of accountability and hard work. The Broncos, the All Blacks and the Crusaders are some of the most successful sporting teams of the last few decades. It’s obvious he has based his limited coaching experience around his experiences with these teams.

It’s caused some real pain and confusion among Reds Rugby fans. But with some glimpses of promise last year, together with some excellent off-field recruitment, there’s some hope for 2019. Perhaps.  I still want to #manageexpectations but I can at least see what Brad is trying to do at Ballymore. Does he have the right formula for it to pay off with more improvement this season? I bloody well hope so.

5. Twiggy Ball is GRRreat

Eremasi Radradro charges Force v Drua 2018 NRC (Credit: Delphy)

GRR may give us a chance to see more of the Force AND of Fiji

Putting aside the reason for it, which was one of the lowlights of 2017 and 2018, Global Rapid Rugby, could be one of the most intriguing aspects of 2019.  There were a lot of promises and claims towards the end of last year but we are yet to see anything really concrete outside of some proposed rule changes (which I am pretty cautious of).

But in the end, the more rugby being played the better.  There’s a lot of great talent in that Force squad and I want to see them playing more rugby. If they can get buy in from some of those key world rugby growth areas, and attract a similar level of players, then I’ll be watching. Plus, if there’s an opportunity to watch any Fijian team play rugby then I’m in!

6. NRC – No Real Certainty 

Nrc logo

The NRC needs a kick along

Anyone that has read GAGR or listened to our podcasts for the last few years, knows I am an NRC apologist. I’ve loved the tournament since its inception and took it as an almost personal mission to promote it any chance I could to help share the love and try to get more people interested it in.

But five years in it’s time to make the call. Does it have a future?  The last couple of years have felt like the competition has lived in a state of uncertain flux.  Just hanging precariously at an odd time of the season with no one really knowing what to do with it.  I assume it will become a factor in the broadcast negotiations, in some capacity but let’s stop just stringing it along. If it doesn’t have a place in Australian Rugby – if it’s draining funds and not developing players sufficiently, then it’s time to cut it loose. It all comes back to that first ‘wish’ and RA showing some visionary decisiveness to benefit our game.

7. Wanna watch Wallaroos 

Wallaroos pre-game (Credit Keith McInnes)

The Wallaroos are lining up for more test matches

Having watched a bit of the Women’s Big Bash cricket this season, I’ve been blown away by the improvement in the game. The skills on show are exceptional and their development from its inaugural year is self-evident. If there was a case for kicking along the Super W tournament and the Wallaroos program, than this is it.

I watched more Women’s Rugby last year than I ever have and thoroughly enjoyed it. But it was clear that a lack of opportunity was holding teams back.  The Wallaroos’, in particular, need for game (and training) time together is crucial, and seems to be planned for next year and beyond. Coach Dwayne Nestor is pushing hard for at least five tests this year. Let’s hope he gets his wish and much more.

8. Isi up to it

Isi Naisarani dives over for the Brumbies 2nd try

Isi Naisarani could be an attacking weapon for the Wallabies

He has some doubters, but big Isi Naisarani seems to be the answer to a fair few Wallaby concerns at the moment.  There is no doubting the national team’s backrow is unbalanced and I reckon Naisarani can help right that wrong. His powerful running and defense, together with a tremendous work ethic, will bring a lot to the team.

There is always the question as to whether he can step up.  Henry Speight’s form since eligible has never matched what it was beforehand. Hopefully Isi won’t fall in the same trap.  Since first really catching the eye for Brisbane City in the NRC, he’s shown his ability at each level – to the Force and the Brumbies and now at the Rebels.  With Cheika having brought him into the Wallaby squad last year, hopefully the transition to the test side will be a positive one.

9. Lotsa Latu 

Tahs v Chiefs 2016

Latu in form is a dangerous proposition

While Australian Rugby seems pretty well served at prop forward at the moment, we are still struggling to sort out our issues at hooker. That’s not suggesting the talent isn’t there, it’s just no one has yet to put their hand up and outright claimed the 2 jersey. We tried four last year and each showed glimpses of their ability, but we need more than glimpses.

In my eye Tolu Latu is the man most likely.  Folau Faingaa and Jordan Uelese are the exciting prospects, while Brandon Paenga-Amosa is a dependable option, but Latu seems to me to be the best of the bunch. What he needs though is time on the field. Last year he missed Super rugby games for reasons most of us were not privy to. He also spent too much time in the sin bin due to frustrating ill-discipline. I hope we see him play as much rugby as possible this year because that’s when I reckon we’ll see him at his best.

10. Firing Banks

Tom Banks' kick led to a try, after he forced an error from Quade Cooper

Tom Banks is one of the best counter attackers in Super Rugby

I made the twitter pun last year that Michael Cheika must be a Credit Union fan because he clearly doesn’t like Banks. I think this was after the Brumbies’ fullback missed a Wallaby call-up on the end of season tour – but I want to put the Wallaby omissions aside for now. I would just love to see Tom Banks back firing at his best.

If I’m honest I reckon we only saw glimpses of his peak last year and I don’t think he’s showed the same consistency as his ‘break-out’ year a couple of seasons ago.  He had undoubted moments of brilliance, but not the consistency.  I hope he’s inspired but his time with the Wallabies and motivated by the limited opportunities he got. I’d love to see him back at peak Banks because when he is I think he is capable of pushing for a Wallaby spot, at least on the wing or the bench. Even if the green and gold jersey doesn’t come, he’s one of the best players to watch and a vital attacking weapon for the Brumbies.


So that’s my 10 (11). Now it’s your turn? What’s your Australian Rugby wish for 2019?

  • ForceFan

    Top 10 hopes for 2019 RR – good coverage.

  • skip

    I hope we ditch the pooper. Sacrilege to some but the dual fetcher didn’t work when Smith/Waugh were tried and it doesn’t work now. As good as Hooper is (and he really is), the open side’s job is to do what Pocock does and the No. 8’s job is not what Hooper can do. We’ve tried to stick all our champion players into the team without thought for what position they actually play best and it’s being exposed. We lack the ability to consistently breach the gain line and we look so very ordinary as a team when we don’t. Our line out is picked apart and thus a major source of possession is often entirely cut off. Out of position players playing a defensive system that has everyone shuffling about yet further just compounds it.

    I do however recall when Smith and Pocock each terrorized teams for a half when Palu was fit at No.8 and a certain Rocky Elsom was an option at the line out and also rather hard to tackle at times.

    Or we could just keep picking them and hope all this changes and our opponents will forget the ways they deconstructed our game plan all those times.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate I’m with you on this. The pooper is a shit selection that creates much more problems than having 2 good players on the field resolves. Personally I’d get rid of Hooper as I don’t rate him as a world class test 7 at all and I’d bring in a good 6 and 8 to support Pocock at 7

      • RugbyReg

        I’m for that. I think a backrow of

        8 Isi
        7 Pocock
        6 Matt Philip or Luke Jones (TBC)

        with Hooper on the bench, and possible Jack Dempsey (one of our 6s covers lock late) would be pretty great.

        • skip

          Picking players in the positions they play? I too like to think out of the box and be unconventional.

      • Huw Tindall

        Even as a Hooper fan I’m open minded to this option. Would need great years from Isi and Timu and co though – not just competent number 8 play. Arguably 6 is a bigger issue with the need to displace Ned. Hopefully Dempsey has a blinder or Cotteral or Jones. Can’t forget Holloway in this area to if he find a regular position at the Tahs at 8 or lock. Lots of potential here but none screaming out as obvious first choice in a rejigged back row.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think the fact that no one is screaming out “pick me” part of why he can continue with what he’s got. I don’t think it’ll change as he’ll need to change the captain to remove Hooper and I’m not sure he’s ready to admit he got it so wrong. I think the best we’ll see is Hooper and Pocock sharing the role but I’m not even sure of that.

  • I tend to divide hopes into wishes (like your 0) and expectations – things that I not only hope for, but that I reasonably expect might come true.

    Ireland winning the Six Nations would be a hope and expectation. There are other contenders, it’s not a certainty, but I think they’re the smart pick – I know it’s not about Australian Rugby, but it’s one everyone can understand. The Wallabies winning it all in Japan, not realistic, however much most people on this site would love it. KRL and others have other hopes I’m sure!

    I think my biggest hope is that Johnson has real influence over Cheika and the team selection becomes more than Cheika’s favourites. The Pooper isn’t working and there needs to be a well balanced back row. A decent set of hookers. I’d add some smart locks too, please. Beale and Izzy need a kick up the arse. At their best, they are very good and in some aspects of their game potentially world class. Beale didn’t play like that at all last year, Izzy had flashes of it but it was never consistent. A player who regularly gets a 6.5 or 7/10 in every match is better than one who gets a 10/10 for 10 minutes and 5/10 or lower for the other 70, or 9/10 for one match and 5.5 for the other 12 in the year. (That’s probably being harsh but I’m illustrating the point and not going to go back and rewatch all of the games to give Izzy a score for each game, I’m not that much of a masochist!) Foley, similarly, needs either a kick or a hard drop, and something needs doing at 10. Toomua seems more like a 12 tbh and a great second playmaker who can tackle, kick and so on. A 10 who can do MOST of it (doesn’t need to be goal kicker if Toomua is there) and boss the backs, plus kick from hand would be ideal. I don’t have a name, but we have a SR season to find one. Or for Foley to find himself.

    RA sorting itself would be nice, but I can’t see it while Cheika is still there. I think they regard the Wobs as the pinnacle still – Men’s and Women’s Sevens could arguable replace that but it won’t – and they feel tied to Cheika because of the money. While it would be nice to have things put in motion this year, I think it’s more likely 2020 will see changes. It would be nice to see them start to put the initiatives in places, make the announcements, so we can see what’s coming.

    As I’ve said before, I’m not a Reds fan particularly, but I hope Thorn gets it to work. He seems like the kind of ex-player who can and, from what I saw, the team were improving and buying into what he was selling. If that continues, the Reds won’t be champions this year, but could be a surprise package, even top the Australian conference. And his influence could produce a set of future Wallabies who put the team and hard work first, something that feels a bit like it’s lacking in some of the players who wear the green and gold right now, at least from what we see of them in the media. There are definitely exceptions to that, Pocock springs to mind at the top of that list: he couldn’t put his body on the line like that if he didn’t care. But some seem happy to just turn up and wear the shirt and know they won’t be dropped.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hey Eloise, yep definitely a different wish, although if the ABs do get knocked out my preference is; Wallabies – a nice dream but won’t happen, SA – love how they’ve stepped up in the last couple of seasons, Ireland – probably a long shot as moving from perennially failing in the qtrs to winning is a huge jump

      • I agree SA have definitely stepped up. They’re going to have, if I can count, 6 matches, although quite a big chunk of time together, to knock out their current habit of those bad games they had last year. If they’d managed November without one, I’d count them as a much more substantial threat. If the RWC was in 2020, so they had an extra year to get the kinks out of the new (for them) set-up, I’d really rate them. For 2019, I just have my doubts – if they’re still having off games, there are three critical ones in a row you have to win to pick up the trophy and, at the moment, they’re not doing that. They are still improving and might do it though.

        I do understand your reservations about Ireland. I have some too. I just think, right now, the AB and the Irish are the best two sides in the world. There’s then a gap. Wales, England, SA on a good day juggle for what order they’re in to my mind. Then Argentina, Australia, Scotland and France juggle too in the next little pack. That’s not to say that, on a good day Scotland couldn’t beat England, or Argentina beat SA but those are my mental groupings. Fiji probably deserve to be in there too but I don’t see enough of them to form an honest opinion.

        Of course the best sides don’t always get to the finals: luck, other teams having a good day, everyone raising their game, injuries and all kinds of things have an impact. But I think perennially losing in the qtrs when you’re ranked about 5th in the world is not really a failure – and that’s where Ireland have usually been, typically behind the Southern Hemisphere big three, England. When you’re ranked 2nd (assuming they still are by the start of the tournament), losing in the quarters is a failure. Of course the biggest of the lot was England’s failure to get out of the group stages at their home tournament when they were ranked 6th in the world might be counted as a bit of disaster…

    • Old_Laurentian

      I am hoping for a 10 that can run, kick, pass, direct the play and dominate a game. There isn’t time to discover a new youngster genius, so I am hoping that the Rebels trio of Cooper, Genia, and Toomua will have a last hurrah this year. QC has a great Rugby brain, and hopefully now understands that while the opposition never knows what to expect from him, neither do his team mates. The issue now is whether his body is capable of answering the commands from his head. I am a Reds man but will be watching the Rebels with special interest this year.

      • Brisneyland Local

        See above. Apparently got bought back into the Wallabies Training Squad this weekend.

        • Old_Laurentian

          I didn’t know that. So it’s up to him (if favourites aren’t played in yet selection process)

        • Brisneyland Local

          OL, I think it will depend on a couple of things.
          1. If the Rebs spine (Genia, Cooper, Toomua) play well this will be hard to ignore by Johnson.
          2. If Spanners Foley doesnt have such a good SR season.
          In short. No idea. I am not sure that Johnson will have the backing to overule Cheika on selection. And we know Cheika will stick with Foley.

        • Ed


          That Rebs spine of Genia, Cooper and Toomua is unlikely to play many games as a unit. The last Leicester regular season match is 19th May, then depends on if they make finals. You would think Toomua would be one of the players on the “rested” list this season, so that would be another three more matches for the Rebels without Toomua. Matt would play his first Rebs SR match in mid-June???

          On your point 2 – what happens if Cheika is outvoted? What if Dempsey and Naisarani have blinders in SR? What if the other two selectors say we can have a balanced backrow with those two and a 7? I know who most will want as #7 but I bet the coach would say, “Hoops is my man and my leader….”

          Isi will need to be picked as a starter in the RC if they want him there in Japan.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate, I can see the Cheika/Johnson thing being a huge issue and causing problems, especially if he is out voted on his protected beasts

        • laurence king

          Personally, I think it’s a fight that he wouldn’t win. Johnson’s long term, Cheika isn’t

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah maybe but it’s got huge potential to be an issue this year

        • Brisneyland Local

          I think Toomua wont be rested, as both Wessel’s and the Wallaby coaching unit will want him to have as many games along side that spine as possible.
          Yeah I am wondering what will happen if Cheika is outvoted two to one. My sense is he will pick the team he wants anyway. And if he doesnt get his way and loses a game, he will publicly blame those for not picking the side he wanted.
          I feel that this will be the commencement of the race to the bottom.

        • Ed

          Someone may have said this but if Cheika is outvoted on selections and when the Wallabies lose, Michael will say he did not have his team on the park while he ignores the lack of tactics on his part. His spruikers at the SMH will be singing it loud and clear.
          But hey, his team will be fit if what Wayne Smith said in today’s Oz is correct.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I agree on that. I also agree on the SMH crowd, mind you their voices are some what diminished by the vocal crowds out yelling them.

        • laurence king

          I think Mr Cheika would have to be a little careful from now on, despite the backing various ‘suits’ have given him. I don’t think that there’s a lot of love for him any more

        • Brisneyland Local

          I don’t think has been much in RA to be honest. If they could have fired him they would have. But they couldnt afford it, so he stayed.

      • I wouldn’t object to QC, and a Genia, Cooper, Toomua 9, 10, 12 after a campaign for the Rebels moving that partnership into the G&G would, you would hope, bring some understanding and empathy between the players as a moderately established combination. It’s only going to be 15 games or so before some real crunch matches but that’s better than some other routes.

        I guess, although I’ve seen BL’s post saying he’s in the training squad, I’d discounted QC, thinking his days for the Wallabies were over and hoping a young Turk could be slotted in between Genia and Toomua – not having to do everything but able to do enough. If Cooper is up to it, and either plays with a bit more discipline or establishes enough rapport with Toomua to cope with the crazy/instinctive he’d be a better choice – but there are a couple of important ifs in there.

        • Brumby Runner

          Remember, though, that the Cooper/Toomua 10/12 combination about 5 years ago was the best we’ve fielded in those spots for many years. Chances are that they will reproduce at least some of that magic.

        • Don’t get me wrong, I hope they do. But playing in the Top 14 rarely prolongs players’ careers, nor (to my mind) improves their skills. Playing away from SR in Australia is a big step down too. QC hasn’t played test rugby for 3 years now, and hasn’t played top flight rugby for a year. Although he’s only 30, does he still have what it takes to perform on the biggest stage?

          You would think so – but it takes discipline and application and he hasn’t always been renowned for that side of his game, however much I love the rest of it.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate not sure what you base playing away from SR in Australia is a big step down. I find it interesting how many players improve in so many areas away from SR in Australia. I think the coaching, attitude and culture requirements are much higher overseas and that players regress when they return. Look at Beale as an example. Cutting it up north, admittedly not at 12 where he is shit, and just getting worse and worse here over the last 2 years

        • I wasn’t thinking of his time in Toulon as necessarily a big step down in quality – although the bish, bash, bosh rarely does much for the longevity of skill players in my opinion. The next sentence wasn’t clear, I meant playing in Australia but away from SR, as QC did during 2018, is a big step down in quality. It may make for a more entertaining watch as there are some stars and some good, evenly matched games, but there’s a significant step up from there to the SR sides.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Oh Gotcha. I definitely agree with that. Club to Super is a huge step. I’d like to see NRC fit in there but too many people in NSW have their head up their arse over this

        • laurence king

          Lol, I would say that Quade’s 10 play has been a higher standard than we’ve seen by any in Wallaby gear this year. But that is not saying much is it

        • Old_Laurentian

          Agreed. Well put. I wish I could see that young Turk. Time is pressing.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah I agree EP. If they bed that combo down well at the “Johnny Rebs” then we have a lot to look forward to.
          Used be great watching Ant Faianga, and Digby Iaonne running fast either side of Genia and Cooper! Brilliant to watch.

  • sambo6

    Thankgod you’re back GAGR. I was getting bored of only using the internet for porn

    • Huw Tindall

      Rugby is porn mate. Dont tell me you don’t feel a stiring in the nether regions when Poey steals a ball at the breakdown?

      • sambo6

        and then he went and got married and broke my heart….

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Reg,

    Welcome back and Happy New Year.

    I actually want the ABs to win again but a final of ABs and Wallabies would be great in Japan. Can’t see it and I have a real concern that Australia will do an England and not make it out of the pool play unless there are some serious changes.

    I like your first 2 in particular. I think RA really needs to step up and start calling out on the NSW and QLD members that seem to be holding RA back in an effort to expand their own interests. I almost think there needs to be some hard calls and if it involves blood on the floor then so be it. This constant bickering and small minded approach from people (I’m talking mainly to you Sydney clubs) who want their own power and influence to evolve at the expense of rugby in Australia needs to stop.

    I love the woman’s rugby both 7’s and 15’s and I hope this continues to grow. The games are good, the skills are good and it’s opening the door to so much more here in Australia.

    I like the NRC and I think that it fills an essential step between the club play and Super rugby. I think it needs to be grasped harder by RA and get more support. I think the format and team make up needs to change so that it’s seen as a natural step from club to Super rugby in the same way that the Mitre10 Cup is in NZ and the Currie Cup is in SA. NSW needs to pull their head out of their arse over this and this people that crow on about Shute Shield filling this step really need to grow up a bit as NRC can offer so much more if it is supported.

    For me the big one is the Wallabies and the way that Johnson will fill in with Cheika. I think there’s a very real risk that this will turn messy and that the in-fighting will flow down to the Wallabies where they will implode even more. I hope not but I won’t be surprised if it occurs.

    The players I’d like to see step up are
    – Coleman and Arnold as the locking partnership at test level,
    – A new 10 who can guide the team and defend in his position,
    – Folau to show some interest and actually develop his play so his glaring deficiencies are reduced – I also want him to stay at Wing and own that position,
    – Kerevi to stick to 12 and own this position at both Super rugby and Wallaby level
    – Find a 13 who knows rugby and can be the distributors that this position needs
    – Kill off the Pooper and get a balanced loose trio so that all the rolls within this are filled

    • David Creagh

      Happy new year KRL I like your thoughts. The problem with the breaking the Pooper is that Cheik will drop the wrong one. Nailed it on Folau, he looks disinterested and his me first attitude is disruptive.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        HNY to you too mate. Yeah he looks after his love children doesn’t he. I do like that he is loyal but I’m not sure it’s as good a quality in this current environment

    • Nutta

      All pretty fair stuff.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Hey Nutta, Happy NY mate

        • Nutta

          And to you Dig.

    • sambo6

      We definitely need a bit of ‘Glen 20’….i.e. kill off the pooper…

    • Keith Butler

      Happy new year to all GAGR followers. Agree with your wish list KRL. After seeing Coleman and Arnold put in a couple of big performances a couple of seasons ago I thought they would be the next great lock pairing not just for the G&G but (and I hate this phrase) world class. Unfortunately both lost form. I hope they get it back. As for the Pooper, I’m afraid it’s here to stay while Cheika is coach. Can only see it being changed if Cheika’s hand was forced by injury.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Interesting. If rumours are correct, Quade Cooper has been bought back into the Wallaby squad for training in Sydney at the moment.

    • The Jackal

      Can confirm saw him down in Coogee over the weekend

      • Brisneyland Local

        Excellent. were they just doing S&C or were there some kind of skills stuff going on?

        • The Jackal

          Saw some serious smoothie and fruit salad consumption that was all

        • Brisneyland Local

          Ah thought they might be down the oval doing some stuff. Was he by himself or with others?

  • dru

    Thanks Reg, plenty there to think through.

    My hopes are that a certain few players who hit the rough side of the Thorn renaissance have real opportunity and grasp it well. Quade, Slipper and Hunt. I’ll add DP as well.

    RA getting there stuff sorted – I think this necessitates NSWRU and QRU doing the same and sorting $ as well as doing what they are meant to do. Some green shoots at the Reds, not as much as I’d like but they are there. Here’s hoping.

    Next hopes are around assistant coaching, Reds first – let’s see this work! Then WBs. Plenty to do in a short time. Springboks have shown it can be done.

  • sambo6

    So according to Wayne smith over at the australian, the mindlessness of the wallaby management continues….

    “The Wallabies have spent the past week in Sydney, doing nothing but fitness work. They have been boasting that there is not so much as a rugby ball in sight. But being pounded physically in January is so 1970s”

    Lets hope these onfield sessions are being supplemented by extensive ‘classroom’ sessions, as I would have thought that I the whole purpose of this camp would be to clarify tactics, identify things to work on, and reinforce key messages….not just run up hills….

    • Ed

      That is dumb if fitness is all they have been doing in Sydney. They could have been doing that back in their home cities.
      Would not it be in the Wallabies’ interests for them to have passing drills at the end of those sessions so they have to perform them under fatigue?
      As we know, Cheika is huge on fitness but then puts in place a defensive system that leaves the players stuffed. I spoke to a Brumbies coach recently and he said the Wallabies defensive system did not make sense.

      • Greg

        dropped pill was certainly one of our issues last year.

  • sambo6

    In other news….Liam F Gill named in the French Top 14 XV of 2018…..

  • Greg

    Happy New Year to all.

    I hope this will be a better year than last. I think it can be…. but decision need to be made and some things need to change.

    @eloisepasteur:disqus did you ever hear any more about Mr Horwill’s thesis?

  • Brisneyland Local

    So, Is Kurtley Beale going to be investigated for his cocaine video!
    Bet that never happens!

    • Happyman

      Good Morning and Happy New year BL

      One of my New Years resolutions was to be more positive in my posting and then this happens.

      KB is exactly what is wrong with Australian Rugby self entitlement even if the argument is that this was three years ago it just goes to show the type of character he is. After being a protected species for his entire career he continues to show a complete lack of learning. I can forgive if the person shows growth I certainly would not like to be judged on 20yo me

      The chronology of shafting Link and being protected by others.
      Then doing coke with a known stupid League player.
      Then last year with breaking team rules.

      Sorry mate you just don’t learn he should go but I saw this morning he said sorry so all will be forgiven and lets move on.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep This pisses me off too. This guy is a recidivist (repeat offender) Of the worst kind. There is no player in Rugby history that has had as many chances as this guy. The behaviour demonstrated has been of the worst variety. Yet he gets chance after chance. Lucky Thorn isnt the coach or this guy would be kicked into touch pronto.
        Everyone is allowed a fuck up! They learn the grow they move on. This guy goes from one fuck up to another and yet is still here.
        If ever there was a case of a protected species, this guy is it.

  • Brisneyland Local
    • Ed

      Not gunna happen mate. He will say he is sorry, RA will say OK and that will be it.
      Kurtley is teflon. You know more about the 2014 incident than most of us yet Beale was on that November tour. I would not pick him for the Wallabies for how he played from the RC last year, nor that it appears he has worked on any of his deficiencies.
      I wonder how long before RA and the Tahs try to put a postive story out about either side to deflect from this news? Four weeks tomorrow before the first SR game of 2019 and the Tahs appear to have few stories in the press. The Brums have had regular stories in the Crimes here.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I agree.
        I would drop on form first, and being a shit bag second. But the total of that position is not good.

    • Happyman

      Mate it will be interesting I think he will be keeping a low profile as he will be worried about other videos coming out perhaps even showing him participating.

      Given he was using a vacuum cleaner head as a dodge he was clearly off his face.

      He will survive as he has the backing of MC and RA. I wonder what Scott Johnson makes of this.

      The conspiracy theory could be that it was released on purpose with a view to tearing up his contract. However RA probably does not have that clause for termination.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Considering his lifelong list of bad behaviour, if they didn’t have that clause in his contract I would be flabbergasted. Actually considering it is RA, I doubt they do. They are incompetent beyond measure.
        No other player gets the grace this moron does. It doesnt matter how talented he is, he has to go. But considering how bad his form has been this last 6 months, doubly so!

        • Happyman

          Agree KB’s problem is that he is now late 20’s and has lost a step so he may be held to a different standard and that could be confronting for him.

          I think he should have been put in the never to play for Australia basket in 2013 when he shared the social media stuff against Di Patson. Imagine how much he has cost RA over the years. Current events just prove his inability to learn from his mistakes of the past.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah. I think he should have been put in the list of never play for Aus again, when he played for Melb Rebels and he punched his Captain in the face on the team Bus, when Kurtley was injured and not playing, and pissed! Then his DUI conviction would have capped it off for me.

        • Happyman

          Concur I forgot about that act of stupidity.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep. He is a true to life dumb ass!

        • NSWelsham in London

          He’s a bell end… agreed on that point, and i hate when he lines up for Aus and NSW but lets just assume the norm and say nothing will change and 2019 will be another year of mediocrity.
          The biggest issue i want to explore is how someone who carved up the Premiership 12 months ago (watched all the games) and was simply magnificent in making the players around him that much better (albeit at 15 and not 12), drop so much form in the space of 10 games or so… If we were to pick an Australian team currently playing in the Premiership (maybe add a few from the Frenchie top 14 to fill the gaps ) we would most likely have a team that puts 10-15 points on our current Wallaby setup. How do we get our guys back home playing well again? Horwill, Skelton, White et al are key players in their respective squads over here filled with BIL talent yet back home we fill teams with over the hill play-makers. Our halves set up has not really changed in 10 years except for Foley and Cooper battling it out. Name another Tier 1 nation who you could say that about. Whats more distressing is that they haven’t even been challenged, in that time with a new star or even just a solid player.

          I am just really, really upset so I apologise for the whinge but i needed to get it out of my system. I am still passionate enough to believe we will have a team to win the Super Rugby and we will get up at the World Cup. Optimism is the game here..

        • Brisneyland Local

          MAte this is what GAGR is for. We are renowned for having our rants on here. Me especially.
          Yes our coaching I think is what brings our players down. Over there, there is a coaching set up that purposely based to uplift the team. Improve their skills, develop a tactical plan. Here I have no idea, because what ever the are doing isnt what I have mentioned above.

          On Beale Even if he wasnt a ocean going variety of knob, he would be selected as his form is appalling at the moment. If his form was good again, he would be in contention. But I believe personally he should be on the never to wear the green and gold again bucket.

        • Happyman

          Mate if you are into Podcasts while on your travels I would suggest Rugby dungeon by the buys from Eggchasers. The Steve Diamond interview is very revealing on how high performance they are.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Am sitting in the QClub now so will have a look for it. Thanks heaps.

        • Happyman


    • Kiwi rugby lover

      In their wisdom RA have decided not to sanction him

      • Brisneyland Local

        They have now recalled him from his holiday in NZ (quick get out of the country so they cant stick a camera in my face) for an interview. I bet they will fine him and thaat will be the end of it. Disgraceful!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          To be fair I hope he’s at 12 when we play you guys. He’s actually been pretty shit for the last 3 or so years and if he goes you might get a 12 that is good. The fucked up tactics employed by the clown and his assistants means even a good 12 is less of an issue but I’d still prefer Beale to play as he really is crap.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Agree. I hope he is punted completely but I doubt he will. I am sure he could snort lines off the Pirates desk and she still wouldnt do anything.

  • Custard Taht

    Hello GAGR!

    I don’t have 10 hopes for this year, what I do have is 1 hope for each shit given.

    So, my only hope for this year is that Beale and his under performing com padre’s are given the same treatment as a Jewish baby boy and given the chop.

    • Brisneyland Local

      CT pure gold.

      • Custard Taht

        On a serious note, wtf has this guy got to do to get the axe. His list of bad behaviour exceeds James O’Connors’.

        • Brisneyland Local

          It doesnt just exceed it doubles.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          He’s got pictures of Cheika and co. They can’t sack him or the pictures will be posted

  • NSWelsham in London

    Did anyone get the chance to catch the Exeter v Munster game over the weekend. My god the defensive efforts of both teams was outstanding. Both teams are on top of their respective comps and playing like that would seriously give the Crusaders on a good day a run for their money. Dave Dennis was at 4 for the chiefs and had a cracking game as did White at 9. It was pure mongrel the game, 9-7 final score. Get the Wobs playing with that tempo and with that structure on defence and we in with a shot (says the man laughing in the corner)


The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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