The Tuesday Top 5 - Green and Gold Rugby

The Tuesday Top 5

The Tuesday Top 5

Welcome back to Tuesday. This week we look at the good, bad and ugly from the weekend, give up on giving grades, look at who is playing who and where for the run home, check in with our Wallabies and look at some pretty awesome tries from the weekend.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Good – The Brumbies showing that they can adapt when things aren’t working. We have often lamented the lack of plan B or even C from some of the Aussie teams, but on Friday night the Brumbies showed that they had a Plan B and adapted when their maul was shut down by the Bulls.

Bad – Less than eight weeks out from the Rugby Championship and there is still no Wallaby Attack Coach directly working with the playing group. There have been a few Wallaby camps this year, apparently with new defensive structures being spoken about and fitness drills being used as a means of weeding out the weaker, unnecessary players, but what has been happening with the attack?

Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika

Ugly – Seeing Will Genia lying motionless put many hearts in mouths around Australia. Even for those who aren’t Rebels fans, the possible significance of Genia being seriously injured could have big implications for the Wallabies. Thankfully Genia was able to walk himself off the field, relieving the fears of Aussie rugby fans.


DIY Report Card

Can I be honest here? This report card is the bane of my existence. Trying to evaluate teams based on their performance, trying not to compare them to each other, working out whether or not to take the strength/weakness of the opposition into account – it’s doing my head in. Plus it’s always fun writing something that you know at least one person will likely strenuously disagree with. So this week you can do it.

I give up trying to work out the form of these teams. The Rebels looked poor against the Bulls then thumped the Sunwolves. Is it because they played absolutely brilliant rugby deserving an A+, or did the Sunwolves not exactly make it that difficult for them? The Brumbies comprehensively beat the Sunwolves then fought it out to beat the Bulls. They didn’t win by as much as the Rebels, but arguably the opposition was stronger, so how do you grade that? Is that something that should be taken into account? The Waratahs have been doing it tough in recent weeks and were pretty poor against the Jaguares, but as everyone keeps pointing out, the Jaguares are basically just an international team who are in good form at the moment, so should I be generous or harsh? The Reds were only narrowly defeated by the Chiefs, who have been so up and down this year.

Richard Hardwick, Marika Korobiete congratulate Reece Hodge Waratahs v Rebels 2019 (Credit Keith McInnes)

I can guess at how the grades will go, highest to lowest I predict people will put Rebels, Brumbies, Reds, Waratahs. That is probably what I would do too, though the grades themselves I have no idea. Of course they will all be completely reset again next week when the form of the teams change again. Next week may give a little more insight into form, with the Rebels and Waratahs going at it, the Brumbies playing the team the Rebels just smashed and the Reds playing the team that beat the Tahs.


What’s coming up?

There are so many possible permutations about who could make the finals based on who they play, beat or lose to that it would be pointless going into them all. So let’s keep it much simpler and just look at who is playing who over the next three rounds.

The current top 8 are highlighted in blue. Home games are highlighted yellow.

3 rounds to go

Mathematically it looks like there are a lot of teams who are still in contention depending on how results go. The Hurricanes should be safe based on their current points, which is lucky given they are about to play their South African away games – never an easy task. The Rebels could go either way depending on which Tahs and Chiefs show up to play them. They will be hoping for the Tahs from last week and the Chiefs from the beginning of the season.

Best run home:

Brumbies, their remaining three games are against teams in the bottom 4. Of course local derbies are always a bit unpredictable when it comes to the Aussie conference, so I wouldn’t count my chickens before they hatch when it comes to the Brumbies topping the conference. They are closely followed by the Jaguares who have the Reds then return home to face the Sharks and Sunwolves.

Worst run home:

Thank goodness their season doesn’t depend on these last three rounds, because the Sunwolves have a shocker. Brumbies at home then a tour of South Africa/Argentina. The Canes don’t have an easy task either, with a tour of South Africa that could give them trouble.

Wallaby RDO’S

First of all, let’s take a look at our minute tracker for some of the Wallaby players so far. Kerevi has finally had his week off. Banks, Simmons, Hooper, Kuridrani, Foley, Kerevi and Rodda are all still out in front.

Minutes played after round 15

With three rounds to go the pressure is now ramping up for the selection trio to cull Cheika’s current potential Wallaby group of nearly every Aussie player down to that magic number of about 30 (we all know there will also be the usual additional 30 for opposed training etc).

With the Rugby Championship kick off in 7 weeks and the RWC 16 weeks away it’s going to critical that the Wallabies maximise the time they get as well as using the 5 pre-RWC games to make sure they are all on the same page and know the script. Putting on the selectors hat you can see a team starting to take shape. The other thing to consider here is who is next in line should injury strike.

The front row is starting to emerge with the Brumbies combination of Sio, Fainga’a and Alaalatoa looking strong. The prop stocks are looking healthy with some new options available as well as the old heads of Kepu with Slipper showing form. I personally don’t think our hooking options are as dire as we thought it would be with both of the Red hookers looking solid, Uelese is on the comeback and even the likes of Fitzpatrick or McInerney are showing they could be options if required. Combinations and form should dictate selections.

We seem to finally have some good options at lock but the challenge stemming from the options is what game plan and who suits that best. Set piece can be a real weapon so the pressure is on with this selection. We need the right combination to bring you the right balance of servicing the set piece and what they bring in general play. For me I still think Matt Philip is the bolter here as he is one of the few real ball running locks we have.

Ah, the 6,7,8 conundrum. This one we need to hedge our bets on. Pocock; will he, or won’t he? We need to plan for the “won’t” and we need to really think about balance again. As most likely we will stick with the “cattle dog” approach at 7 we will need some muscle and someone who can pilfer at either 6 or 8. With Samu in form but on the outer, and consistency an issue with some of the other options this one needs some real thought, especially when it comes to who are the second options?

We are looking ok at scrum half with some good options and depth. Between Genia, Phipps, Powell and Gordon we will be well serviced.

The fly half position could be the real Achilles heal of our RWC campaign. Four years we have had to find ourselves a good 10. But alas, we are going back in to the RWC with the same options that have not been able to produce the goods in the past. We have four real options and Cheika has sensibly called them all in to the Wallabies fold. We all know what Foley brings to the table and right now its probably our best option. Quade has admitted he is struggling with his comeback Super Rugby season so it unknown where his form will be later on in the year. Toomua hasn’t had regular time at the flyhalf position for a few seasons now and it’s a big ask not only to get back into that head space, but also settle back in to Aussie rugby and fit in. Lealiifano provides the basics but his kicking is a real issue and whether he is of international standard has to be asked again. In the past it was a clear no thus being overlooked for Wallabies selection even when he was in good form.

For the centres the form of Kerevi and Kuridrani. The option of Toomua at inside centre is also worth considering.

On the wings we have some good options. Maddocks is certainly the standout currently. The question here is will genuine wingers be selected?

Ah, the fullback question. Between Beale, Haylett-Petty and Banks I don’t think we have too much to worry about.

On the spot, mainly as a conversation starter here is a team that I think is worth considering:

1: Sio
2: Fainga’a
3: Alaalatoa
4: Philip
5: Arnold
6: Samu
7: Hooper
8: McCaffrey
9: Genia
10: Foley
11: Maddocks
12: Toomua
13: Kerevi
14: Kuridrani
15: Haylett-Petty

Bench: Slipper, Kepu, Mafi, Rodda, Cusack, Beale, Banks, Powell

Our Picks

Try of the week – The Sharks against the Lions, with a solo effort from Makazole Mapimpi

These were so close, definitely too good not to include.

Great handling skills from The Stormers Siya Kolisi

And finally, some outstanding attacking play from the Rebels, finished off by Dane Haylett-Petty

  • Reinforce

    We will never win a world cup with Foley as flyhalf. Cooper, LF but Foley just isn’t in the elite league on his best day.
    Beale lost his spot with the worst attempted tackle i have seen. Truly dreadful. Bench at best.
    Always liked Matt Phillip. Thought he could transition to blind side. Nice choice.
    Give Isi a run at #8.
    Kuridrani at wing – controversial.
    Nice side as a good conversation starter and as always – Tuesday Top 5 is my favourite content of any throughout the week. Living in the West I stay up on Monday night so I can get it early. Many thanks

    • Have to say I was cynical about QCs return as fly-half, but am impressed. Impressed because of his patience, but REALLY impressed because of his tackling. Every week I see Cooper commit to, and make, tackles I never would have seen before. He’s really developed on the defensive side. I think I even saw him make a turnover a few weeks ago… everyone’s kicking has been wobbly the last week or two, but I think he’s fairly reliable. QC would be a good option during the pool stage with a go-foward pack (flat track bullies!), and let’s see from there.

      • Raytah

        Agree, I’ve been impressed with QC all year. I don’t think Foley has been poor either but I am worried about his pop gun kick exits for the WC

      • Who?

        He threw an intercept early in the game on the weekend and immediately chased it down and forced the ball free in the tackle. It’s really the biggest reason why ANY Cooper fan should be disappointed with Thorn – because surely Thorn could’ve gotten him tackling like this? Especially with Peter Ryan alongside?
        Also worth noting, he was barely involved in the later tries. He pushed hard early, then didn’t overplay his hand at the end.
        And that flat ball to Koroibete… Last time I saw anything like that would have to be almost a decade ago. Except that time, it was in a Gold jersey, to a flying AAC down the right wing. I mean, we see some wide passing, but how often is it so far out in front that the winger accelerates onto it and doesn’t break stride? Beautiful stuff.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          “And that flat ball to Koroibete… Last time I saw anything like that would have to be almost a decade ago.”

          Bro what about the try in the 1st half. Went about 1metre shorter but the pass was made in traffic while being tackled….. perfectly timed right in front if a running Korrobetti! Both almost identical pearls!

        • Who?

          Very different passes, very different. The wide ball in the second half forced Koroibete to run hard onto it, from almost out of frame. When you put a ball that far in front of someone, it just looks incredible.
          The pass in the first half was much more finessed. It felt a shorter pass, it was threading the needle much more in terms of holding as long as possible before passing (before getting hammered), keeping it flat whilst not throwing it forward (because Koroibete was a bit flatter on the line), and having to loop it over the defender (which reminded me of a try and also his pass into touch late in the same game in Dunedin in 2013) and land it on Koroibete’s chest.
          The first pass was arguably a technically tougher to execute pass, just less spectacular. Because we could see where it was going – Koroibete was in the frame – whereas the other one, you see that thrown and you’re instantly wondering, “Is there anyone there to catch that pass?!”

        • Damo

          Luckily there wasn’t a SA TMO deciding to look at replays from 38 angles and deciding the passes were forward.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Yep agreed. And how many players in World rugby can pass like this? Not many…. But really it’s the “vision” of when to make that pass which is more valuable than the pass itself! Amazing vision and talent to pull it off. If they aren’t mm perfect and too the right player….. they’re most often not worth the risk!

  • Would like to see the MINUTES figure expanded for fringe Wallabies – maybe for the recent Wallabies retreat squad? Cooper et al must be up there in therms of minutes.

    • MST

      I’ve been thinking the same and am actually going to include it next week. Could be a long list, lots of fringe wallabies!

  • Raytah

    For me, our 31 man RWC squad should be:

    1. Sio/Slipper
    2. Faiinga’a/Polota-Nau/Uelese
    3. Alaalatoa/Kepu/Tupou
    4. Rodda/Simmons
    5. Coleman/Arnold
    6. Jones/Dempsey/Tui
    7. Pocock/Hooper
    8. Naisarani/Valetini
    9. Genia/White
    10. Cooper/Foley
    11. Hodge/Korobeite
    12. Kerevi/Toomua
    13. Kuridrani
    14. Petaia
    15. Haylett-Petty/Beale

  • As per usual, I haven’t really seen enough of all the games to have a completely informed decision, although I’m starting to get some game watching time in at last.

    I think picking the Wallabies squad has a few issues, but the inside backs and the back row have, at the moment, to be the biggest ones. I’m of the opinion that Hooper runs around and looks like he does a lot, but he isn’t a 7. If Pocock isn’t fit, there’s a whole heap of pain, and selection headaches to come. If Pocock is fit, there’s a genuinely world class 7, and you can pick a genuine 6 and 8 to have a balanced back row. From the little I’ve seen and what I’ve read, I’d probably go with Dempsey and Naisarani, but I’m happy with Jones in there ahead of Dempsey and it could shift around in the last few weeks and over TRC too when we see them against international opposition.

    Inside backs, Foley probably doesn’t fire the backline well enough to win a RWC, maybe not enough to win a quarter-final actually to be brutally honest. I’d pick Cooper – he might lose the side the game, yes, he still does have the occasional brain fart – but he tackles, unlike Foley, he kicks well, and he makes incisive runs and passes too. He’s not Beauden Barrett but, like him, you get a hell of lot of positives to outweigh the odd negative. If Toomua is my bench 10/12/13 cover (which he would be) I’m pondering not taking a second dedicated 10. If I do, I guess it’s Lealiifano before Foley. Kerevi and Kuridrani I think at 12 and 13, although I think Meakes might make my squad for the combination with Cooper. Not taking a second 10 lets me take Meakes I think – he probably gets minutes against Fiji and Uruguay and is a build for the future player, but better to give him that experience than not.

    I’m not sure who my back three are, haven’t seen enough to be sure, but I think there are a lot of names in contention – I think it’s not a problem getting three good players on the pitch and with QC, Kerevi and K’drani they should get some decent ball too.

  • Who?

    MST’s, your ratings suck!!! :-P
    Honestly, you’re right. I’d probably have the Brumbies ahead of the Rebels, just because the Bulls are higher up the ladder. But not worth arguing about, really. What’s more interesting is your point about different teams and their apparent form week to week.
    Last year, before the Irish series (it was last year, wasn’t it?), Nick Bishop wrote that he thought that the Wallabies would be a tougher challenge for Ireland than New Zealand would. Not because the Wallabies were better than the All Blacks, but because Ireland had focused their game plan and style on what they thought they could do to beat the ABs. But the Wallabies’ notably different style and strengths/weaknesses meant they were a more awkward challenge for Ireland than the ABs would be.
    Many Kiwis took offence to that (and likely will again today). But the Australia/Ireland June series was a cracker, Ireland winning 2 Tests to 1, with a series scoreline of 55-55. Whereas in November, Ireland got up 16-9, and the scoreline arguably flattered NZ a little (Ireland controlled the game fairly comprehensively, and NZ didn’t get the opportunities they always clinically take). It doesn’t mean Australia’s better than NZ, just that the match up of strengths and weaknesses worked better against Ireland for Australia than it did for NZ.
    Similarly, you look at the Rebels and the Brumbies this year. The Rebels got up against the Brumbies both times. The Rebels played some great footy, then fell to the Tahs, who are something of a bogey team. When the Tahs were coming off their peak, the Force were their bogey team, and the Force would play seasons where they barely scraped together a result against most teams but would run the Crusaders to the very edge.
    This is something we probably don’t consider enough when we think about team performances. That it’s not just form or having an off day, it’s also about how teams match up, and some teams match up better against one opponent than another, regardless of where the two opponents actually rank on the table.
    In terms of 10’s, Cooper might be struggling with the week to week component, but there’s time between S15 and TRC (I doubt he’ll play all games there – though Foley might – what do you think, maybe Foley at 12, leaving out Kerevi..?), then we’ll undoubtedly do a second stringers team against Uruguay again. Which gives a break in the pools leading into a run for the knock out games. It’s a manageable workload, a bit easier than most other seasons.
    In terms of an attack coach, if you look at the Fox reporting of their podcast with Nick Phipps, not only did Grey unveil his new defensive system on the Monday of the last Wallabies camp, Cheika also took aside all the players by position and told them what they needed to work on. That’s not individually, but by position – so, Genia and Phipps heard what their focus under the new attacking plan developed by M. Cheika will be. Foley and Cooper went together. Yes, Mr M. Cheika has written the new tactics, the players asked about the new coach, Cheika’s response was basically I know who I’m getting, but why should I bother hiring him when you’re all playing Super Rugby? I’ve got no players for the coach to coach. So, that all tells us that Cheika’s written the game plan, the new guy’s just coming in to help run it. It instils confidence, hey..?

  • Brisneyland Local

    MST, as always a great read. Yep grading is hard, amd am sorry if we pick you all apart for it some times, but I am glad you do it as it forms the basis for discussion and intellectual (well as intellectual as this place gets).

    After last weeks game there is no way I would have either Foley or Beale in the Sqaud, they were both dog poo bad.
    You cant have a 10 that gets penalty kicks and cant find touch, not once but twice. His exit kicks are appalling barely making 30m at best and he cant orchestrate an attack or defend. Beale is a turnstile. Infact I retract that, even a turnstile has some resistance.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate 10 is going to be a real issue at this RWC. If I was Foley I’d start thinking about “pulling a pancreas” or something as if he plays badly as badly at this tournament as he has all year he may struggle to get a job after he leaves the Tahs. I’m actually starting to think Hegarty may be the answer as I’m not sure QC or LLL or Toomua are.

      Beale’s issue has always been defence and I think his actual problem is he doesn’t think clearly under pressure and that’s when he makes mistakes. His great work when he gets the ball in broken play is because there’s no thought, just reaction and he’s actually very good at that. But as soon as he’s under pressure or has to think, he’s fucked.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep if I were Foley I would pull a “Heartlige”!
        I am not sure Hegarty is ready. I would still go with QC purely for his combo with Willy G and his passing and kicking game. Oh and the fact that unlike Foley and Beale, QC can tackle!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah I get that and I think QC is the best option. I’m not so sure Heggarty isn’t ready, although he needs to work on his kicking. TBH I think they all offer more than Foley.

        • Brisneyland Local

          After last weekend, Foley really screwed the pooch. The Card Carrying Tah’s supporter I was watching the game with spent the whole game bagging Foley and Beale. I didnt have to say anything. It was wonderful!

        • Andy

          He may have improved but he is still crap in defence. 73% this year compared to Foleys 71%. Not good enough from both players

        • Brisneyland Local

          Very true. But on Defence this year, as form coming into a world cup. I would take Cooper on his defence over Foley, and twice over Beale.

        • Andy

          Agree. His kicking and passing has been better as well. Overall, he won’t win us a World Cup but if we are picking on form he gets the gig, at least over Foley who has had a dreadful few years

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep. Look I don’t think we have a brilliant ten choice anywhere. CLL is good but has never really been partnered with Genia, and his kicking game needs work. Toomua is not a full time 10, was playing 12 overseas, a great player but seems more of a utility cover. Foley has been shite since 2015. cooper has been hit and miss, but has been shaping and tapering well this year, but still has some issues.
          If we want to attack and win then it is Cooper. If we want a steady hand on the tiller than wont do anything, hence requiring a second playmaker, then it is Foley.
          But it is all a moot point. Cheika will pick Foley, and we will get towelled.

        • Andy


          I certainly believe we can live with a player who is an average defender. But we can’t love with an entire backline who are average or just plain shit. And the last 3 years have confirmed that.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          A few weeks ago the people voted it was clearly and whole heatedly Bernard “can’t kick for touch” Foley who got the season defining gong after grabbing a lucky bounce(destroying cooper) and scoring!

        • Brisneyland Local

          YEp, and as there are remaining matches, one head to head, will be interesting on what the ‘people’ say after that too.
          But more to the point, doesnt matter what we all think, or what form represents, Cheika will still pick who he wants.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          J. ioane, R.Mounga and McKenzie are all under 60%. Do they get scratched from the ABs? Coaches will weigh heavily where on the field players misdtackles as defending at FB can hurt your “stats”. But if those players offer exceptional attack then it’s probably worth it…..

        • Andy

          Haven’t checked the others but Mounga is at 70%. Still, he won’t start for the AB’s though.

          But on your point in general I agree. You pick what works for the team best. Hence why I’m with QC for the Wallabies 10. His upside is far better than Foleys and defensively we don’t lose anything. And my preference is to play Kevevi and TK in the middle. He would definitely compliment those 2 better than Foley.

          But on the point of his defence, he may have improved but he isn’t in the “good” category for me.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          You may have mixed up Kick% and Tackle efficiency bro…

        • Andy


      • Damo

        You make a really good point about Beale under pressure. I think it may even be more pronounced with ball in hand. Rushing D and he forgets the game plan and he resorts to his instincts which I reckon go back to his schoolboy days when he could pretty much run where he liked and get away with it. Now it means he so often runs sideways, jams up his support, is easy picking for the defence and mistakes result. He undoubtedly has talent but it is very fragile, and oppositions know it.
        On the mid field, Kerevi is a very serious weapon at 12, but not at 13. However with the right game plan Kuridrani is equally lethal at 13. For me, these two are a lock in, with two provisos. Firstly we have the game plan that takes advantage of this midfield combination and (sigh) we pick a 10 who can unleash them.


      Everyone keeps saying Beale is a turnstyle yet the stats show he’s almost exactly as effective as Banks. Don’t recall a single criticism of Banks defence striking him from the Wallabies list. Or is it just easy because Beale made such a blindingly lazy attempt last game…

      • Brisneyland Local

        I think the last game was the icing on the cake.
        I have watched every Tah’s game this year. The first 4 that Beale played in were appalling too. TO be honest I have never seen Banks stats, but there is no way on gods green earth he can be as bad at Defence as Beale.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Well missed tackles are Banks 12. Beale 16
          Ineffective tackles Banks 6 Beale 6
          Tackle efficiency % Banks 60%
          Beale 61%

          Funny how actually stats shed a bit of light!

        • Brisneyland Local

          True. But that missed tackle one bites a bit.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          It’s over 18 rounds tho bro….. But that’s not the point. Banks has arguably just as terrible stats as Beale yet no one ever talks about it! Defence is only one part of the deal though! How important to people is run metres and beating players? What about combinations with others? Banks has created 1 line break assist all year! People should “balance” their assessment of a player’s spot in the WALLABIES. Not just watch one poor missed tackle…. focus on that and judge them instantly! If that missed tackle of Beale’s had happened round 3……who would remember it let alone use it as the tipping factor for whose in and whose out?
          OR…. do we pick the Wallabies on the last round form guide.

        • Brisneyland Local

          To quote Morgan Tuirinui “On their body of work!”

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Exactly… Love that bloke!

        • To counter that, are all missed tackles equal?

          If I miss a tackle – and I missed a fair few back in the dark ages when I played – but my mate comes by and makes it a few metres down the pitch, turns the ball over and we regain possession does that matter as much as if I miss a tackle and they gallop the length of the paddock and score? OK, those are two extremes, and most of them don’t live up to either of those.

          I’m not saying a tackle success rate in the 60’s is acceptable from either of them. But of the ~40% of tackles they miss, some are just painful, some are critical, and sometimes, although every defence coach in the world would deny it, sometimes it’s just the attacker did a good job on the defender. I don’t know, I haven’t seen enough to comment smartly about it. But I see Beale get called regularly for missing howlers. I don’t see the same about Banks.

          Is that all reputation? Beale does have a track record for making some really poor attempts and even worse non-attempts at tackles. I’ve seen enough of his play in Australia over the years to know that’s justified. Is Banks one of those who tries and gets sidestepped, brushed aside because he’s a bit light or similar? He has public sympathy because they seem him putting in the effort, even if he’s actually ineffective? Or does he just not yet have the build up of bad effort to get the abuse that Beale gets?

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Foley has missed 33 tackles! Yet he’s our Wallaby 10 apparently!

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah dont get me started on spanners!

        • Ian Rodger

          I think you also want to keep in mind what position they play. Yes, missing a tackle at full-back is bad but you are usually one on one with a lot of room for sidesteps and whatever else. Beale has missed a whole bunch of is tackles playing at 12.

          That being said, a missed tackle is a missed tackle and as professional rugby players their tackling should be better,

    • MST

      It is good to get the discussion. The thing is, what we write is nearly 100% opinion and unless we have all evolved into some weird hive-mind thing then there will always be people that disagree, especially when you don’t say lovely, pretty things about their favourite team or player. Which is good, it makes me think about things a different way.
      Lol, last night as we were getting ready to publish, Mr MST showed me the team he put together and … well we didn’t exactly see eye to eye over it either. I questioned some of his choices, he justified them and we agreed to disagree. I did make him take his name off the list at fly half, didn’t buy his argument that he would be better than any of the other options currently available. In return, he refused to name me as attack coach.

      • Brisneyland Local

        OMG that is hilarious! Pure Coffee snorting gold!

  • Nutta

    Firstly, thankyou for one of the most consistently entertaining and provocative articles of the week. Yes someone does vehemently disagree with you every week but you get that response because you write good shit in the first place so folk get engaged. Hats off to you.

    Your team – Your front row is the starting front row. Slipper, Mafi and Tupou are my current finishers. Kepu should be in the squad but he either starts a game or doesn’t suit up as he is not the dynamic finishing type. If Kepu starts then 6A’s goes to bench and Toops is out. Rangi is my 3rd Hooker.

    Backrow discussion is only going to annoy me with Poet buggered and McCafe stiffled.

    For me, L’fano is the 10 with Kerevi at 12 and K’train at 13. Sauce is the FB with Beale out in the cold.

  • Will

    Kuridrani on the wing….. not for me. We need his defence at 13 he is damn good at that. The seasons we didn’t play him at 13 we leaked so many tries through that channel. He is a classic ball running 13 and understands the complex defensive patterns in that channel. I think he’s in good form at the moment as well.

    • MST

      Funny coincidence with TK finding form. The Brumbies shifted him out wide near the wing a few games ago and he had relished the space. Inside Centre appears to restrict him. Shift him to the centre’s on defence and it could work.

      • GO THE Q REDS

        When you say they shifted him out “near” the wing do you mean outside centre? Or do you mean they actually moved him too the wing? He certainly has found great form. Pretty much locked in his spot now…

  • Mart

    I could watch that cooper ball out the front of marika for days.

    Sublime peach.

    Been telling my boys for years how important that sort of a pass and vision is

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    MST Love your work and love the discussion it brings. For me the grading’s don’t mean much in themselves as they are the start of a discussion. Personally I think they should be subjective grading’s based on how you thought the team went on the day against the opposition and anything more than that is putting in too much effort.

    Not 100% behind the team. I think these days all positions are much more specialist than in the past and I want specialists in them. I accept that you need people who can play more than one in the reserves, however I think you pick the reserves based on who you want to be replaced and when in the game with another specialist. You have to accept that at times an injury will occur that will force you to play someone out of position a bit but that should be the exception. TK is not a winger and hasn’t played there all year, he doesn’t have the skills needed for a winger and needs to be at 13. Kerevi is a 12 and needs to play there. Happy to have Toomua as a reserve to replace Kerevi in the game and tell him to give 100% until the 60 min mark when he will be replaced. But I don’t agree with pushing them one out to accommodate Toomua in the team. I’d have either Speight or Naivalu as the other wing. I wouldn’t have Foley or Beale in the team as both have been pretty crap at different times this year. QC at 10 with Hegarty as a back up is my combination. I’m still not a huge fan of Hooper. I think he’s a poor captain and while he gives 100% on the field I think he’s ineffective at 7 because he doesn’t do the tight work needed because he’s too small and can’t dominate. I’d have either Pocock at 7 with Luke Jones at 6 or even someone like Cottrell, Cusack or Samu before Hooper at the moment.


    “we all know what Foley brings to the table and right now its probably our best option. Quade has admitted he is struggling with his comeback Super Rugby season so it unknown where his form will be later on in the year”

    Reckon you could write the dribble at the start next time so I don’t have to waste my time reading such unfounded twisted rubbish?
    I’ll happily retract my rather brutal assessment of your comments MST if you supply us with a response that convinces me that FOLEY is our WC Wallaby! (stats would really go along way mate)
    All I see here is an article filled with controversial comments and a comments section full of sheep applauding…. followed by sheepish disagreements. Alot if them! (who doesn’t love a good midweek suckup fest/debate)

    • MST

      Hi Go the Q Reds. Thank you for your critique but are you able to back up your critism with some facts so your comments don’t appear to be a simply vexatious? I would be happy to listen to your argument and if well founded with supporting evidence and it may change my mind.

      In respect of what we right it is our opinion and we are not apologetic for putting forward our opinions. The is no intent to be deliberately contentious as it would be foolish to write things that when questioned in the forum below I could not at least rationalise.

      I’m respect to QC, if you put on your coaches hat, knowing he has admitted to struggling mentally and physical already halfway in to a tier 2 competition, would you have absolute confidence he could deal with the step up to tier 1 at the RWC in 16 weeks and be sufficiently recovered yet conditioned for test rugby?

      • GO THE Q REDS

        Am I able to back up my criticisms with some facts? Oh of course mate, would LOVE too! How about we start with a game from Quade last weekend that was arguably the best performance by a 10 all year! A game Foley hasn’t come even close to matching for years!
        The 1st try was Quade popping a short ball to Phillip, then wrapping around him taking the offload and hitting the line offloading short to Cottrel for the try.
        Next try set up again by Quade running flat and popping a short ball to Hodge in space who runs 30ms before popping it to Korrobetti for the try.
        Then Cooper runs flat at the line drawing the attention of 4players with a stutter step then whipping an amazing wide pass to Koreibeti for another run away try! This means Quade scores or is involved with all 1st half points being scored. The 2nd half tries to Maddocks end up being the ONLY points Quade isn’t involved in scoring in a record 52 point Rebels haul! But let’s keep going because next Quade throws another 1st phase ball 25m pin point in front of a running Koreibeti out wide(2nd time this game with such an amazing pass) who scoots away to pop DHP in for the try at the last second!
        And let’s not forget Rurus try… when the Rebels were hot on attack and pick n drove right to the line…. QUADE comes in and cleans out the short side defender allowing Ruru to just pick up the ball and flop over the line!
        Now we can add to that performance 4 turnovers…including 2 actual ruck turnovers, one where he threw a intercept pass and chased the player down and turned it back over in the tackle!
        Add an impressive 13/14 tackles and a pretty good conversion rate 6/8.

        Now considering that form and the fact Quade is still the leading in Try assists, linebreak assists and offloads…..all very important stats for a “playmaker”.
        Now to be fair to YOUR guy Quade does have alot of Turnovers and handling errors(only negatives to Quades game but expected with the style and competition leading amount of ball he plays with) but your guy still has a whopping 33 missed tackles and 8 ineffective tackles with a worse tackle efficiency than Quade to boot! Foley also has a better goal kicking % then Quade but his in play kicking has been woeful at best all season!

        As for your comments on Quade being burnt out….. are you sure your not taking a few headlines out of context there bud?
        Quades words…..
        “That bye was great for all of us and I feel very much refreshed.”

        “I feel so much better again this week.”

        SOO let’s not assume he’s done n dusted….. jumping on every crum of possible negativity! Or did you not see the game on the weekend…….

        • MST

          “I was feeling it — my body was pretty wrecked and mentally I was pretty fried,” Cooper said.

          As for the one off game against the Sunwolves token gesture team without their internationals, it’s hardly a solid argument.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Lol well yes he said that BEFORE the bye….. Then he said what I quoted AFTER resting during the bye. I suppose you’ve taken into account the lack of any rest time for Foley for 2-3 years now?
          But regardless… keen to hear your take on why Foley should be the 10! Stats included of course….

      • Gallagher

        GTQR probably read the below stats and analysis I posted a month ago on this site as per below, pretty obvious Foley is 3rd rate;

        (Stats are ordered arguably by their importance or impact to a positive or negative score line change, from most important at the top to least at the bottom (1 point for best, 2 for second best, 3 for worst)

        Cooper V Foley V Lealiifano
        Try Assists – 9, 2, 4
        Conceded penalties- 4, 2, 1
        Kick % – 79%, 71%, 70%
        Tackle percentage – 69%, 73%, 83%
        Line breaks – 7, 2, 5
        Tackle busts – 9, 9, 14

        Handling errors – 18, 6, 13
        Turnovers – 20, 9, 18
        Points – 84, 66, 49
        Metres per run – 8.7, 11.6, 11.4
        Tries scored – 2, 1, 1
        Offloads – 10, 2, 6

        Cooper – 17 points (Run on)
        With 3 wins in the top 6 most important stats, he is directly generating tries for his team, kicking with the highest accuracy and making the most line breaks, with equal second best tackle busts. Although he has the worst stats for conceding penalties and his tackle percentage, they are not damning by any means (seven more successful tackles would catch Foley). The risk that comes with Quade’s game style, that being the point generating threat that all teams fear and develop game plans around is, on balance worth the risk for the reward he is garnering.

        Lealiifano – 20 points (Bench)
        Also with 3 wins in the top 6 most important stats, he is conceding the least penalties, has the best tackle percentage and busts the most tackles, solid in contact. His kicking percentage is the worst, but only slightly behind Foley in 2nd place (two more successful kicks would surpass Foley). Lealiifano brings an all round game, he lacks the outright flair that Cooper has, but still generates point scoring opportunities, although with a less risky game style. An excellent bench or second playmaker, especially if the scoreboard is under control.

        Foley – 21 points (Bye Bye)
        Despite sitting behind Lealiifano by only one point, Foley has no wins in the top 6 most important stats and also finds himself losing two of them. He finds himself uncompetitive when it comes to generating points, being the worst at try assists and line breaks, although he does draw level with Cooper in 2nd for tackle busts. His tackle percentage and kick percentage are only just above 3rd place also, showing a clear lack of x factor that Cooper provides, and an inability to provide the same level of all-round stability that Lealiifano provides. Handling errors and turnovers are his only shining lights as he is outpointing both Cooper and Lealiifano by some margin on both stats, but they do not hold as much weight as stats that impact score lines directly such as Try Assists, making advantage line metres on attack or preventing the same in solid defence. In the mould of Lealiifano, just not with the ability to generate points at the same level.

        • MST

          Most likely Gallagher.

          I love that you posted those stats as they are really informative and I found them very interesting reading. But my opinion is that Foley will serve us best and that’s more based on his uncomplicated platform he provides and his consistency. I simply don’t believe we have enough time to change things up too much. I wish we did have other options. Most readers know that I actually rate QC higher than Foley.

        • Gallagher

          To me an uncomplicated platform equals predictable and slow points accrual. I’d rather unpredictable, making it harder for teams to defend and build or maintain momentum, it’s also much more enjoyable to watch…

  • Proud Pig

    The QC/Foley debate is simple for mine. We need to ask if we come up against the ABs who would they rather play against. I think they would much prefer to face Foley as he will deliver exactly what they expect. With Quade he can do the out of the box stuff (both good and bad) but he is unpredictable. I would rather go down swinging than simply go through the motions.
    If QC starts we may not make it out of the rounds in the WC but we may make it all the way to the final, with Foley we will go out in QFs. I would rather dream big and go down in flames than just limp along to an honourable finish.

  • I’m supremely unqualified – I admit in advance that I haven’t watched the matches properly. That’s not lack of desire or an arrogant assumption I don’t need to, it’s real life interfering.

    In addition to that failing for a Wallabies’ coachI qualify my opinions on teams, players and the like by that admission so people can read into it that it is an opinion that is formed on little evidence. It doesn’t stop me having an opinion of course, but I don’t have all the facts.

    While not having all the facts seems not to have stopped certain head coaches we could name, and more recently he has admitted as much, I still think it’s a critical failing in any senior coaching position.

  • Rick Harrison

    I’m just happy there seem to be a lot more to pick from, except the wingers. No real pace out wide.


Brumbies first, then for the love of the game. "It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I'm right." —Moliere

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