The Tuesday Top 5 - Green and Gold Rugby
Super Rugby

The Tuesday Top 5

The Tuesday Top 5

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

The Good – More than good actually. I know this has been written about a lot in the past 5 days, but it was so good to see Amy Perret given the whistle for the match on Friday night. The way she handled the game was great, she certainly wasn’t afraid to tell the players off and lay down the law.

The Bad – This is one that annoys me on a regular basis. Advantage. In particular when there are multiple calls of advantage in the one area. A prime example, on Saturday night when the Waratahs were attacking in the 22, there were at least 3 or 4 calls of advantage for penalties committed by the Rebels. Then the Waratahs scored the try so there was actually no penalty registered against the Rebels, despite 3 or 4 clear infringements. Now in some cases it is as though those infringements never happened, as there was no penalty called and a try was scored so the infringements didn’t really matter anyway, right? We see it happen so often. But on Saturday the ref actually did make note of the infringements and counted them in when discussing the penalty count with Toomua. I thought this was a good move and something I wish we saw more of.

I’m gong to throw an extra one here in the bad … and I am pretty surprised I haven’t seen more Waratahs fans mention this as it impacted the result of the match on Saturday. This picture was from the lead up to the Rebels try at the 70-minute mark.

Meakes out before try

The ball was thrown back infield and a couple of phases later a try was scored. Because a couple of phases had passed, the TMO had no right to rule on it, but I’m still not sure how Gardner missed it. Even from behind he would have seen that Meakes was out, it’s not like he just grazed the line, it was pretty substantial. It gave the Rebels 5 points they shouldn’t have had, which in turn gave them the bonus point they needed to make it easier for them to knock the Tahs out this weekend.

The Ugly – Yet more questions about refereeing, I thought that a shoulder to the head was a pretty clear cause for a red card. Yellow at minimum. So when Swinton got nothing but a penalty called, I thought he could consider himself very lucky. There can’t be much argument that it didn’t make contact with the head, the player he hit had to go off for an HIA!

Interesting numbers

This week when I was trawling through all things Rugby in search of things that happened over the weekend that were worthy of putting in the Top 5, I decided to take a look at some of the stats from Super Rugby AU. I did this a few weeks ago and thought I’d have another look.

Here’s what I found.

The bonus point that the Rebels got on Saturday was their first of the season. That shows that they are either winning in close matches, or maybe kicking penalties in their bigger wins, and that their losses are usually by more than 7. And also on the Rebels, while they might be able to make their first finals appearance in their history, they still won’t be able to crack a winning percentage for the season (not counting finals in this). If they win this weekend they will finish on 4 wins out of 8 games, with a draw and 3 losses. Going back to the Super Rugby season at the beginning of the year they were on 3 wins and 3 losses. It will, however, be the first time they win more games than they have lost.

The Waratahs are well out in front on penalties conceded with 99. Sadly, it looks like they won’t crack the century. The Brumbies are in 2nd with 82 while the Reds and Rebels both have 81, so with a good weekend showing any one of those teams could take the lead!

The Brumbies defence has been outstanding, with 94 tackles missed and 928 made.

James O’Connor features heavily in the individual stats. He is topping the kicks from hand, offloads, assists and turnovers conceded.

Andy Muirhead is still 5th in turnovers won, behind McReight, Wright, Hooper and Hardwick. Not too bad for a winger.

And possible the most interesting stat, try assists. James O’Conner leads with 8 followed by Tate McDermott with 4. The next 3 players are all from the Brumbies and all with 3 try assists. Kuenzle, Simone and White. Remember, Nic White has only played 2 matches off the bench, so it’s probably fair to say he is having a positive impact.

Nic White Brumbies Cheetahs 040415-4

Jersey controversy

I’m sure you all saw in the news over recent weeks the trouble that the AFL was having with putting the Aboriginal flag on their indigenous jerseys in their recent Sir Doug Nicholls round. Well for those of you who aren’t up to speed, a company called WAM clothing hold the copyright to the Aboriginal flag. It’s a long story so the simple version is an Aboriginal man, Harold Thomas, designed the flag in 1971. Thomas granted WAM clothing the exclusive copyright to the use of the flag and is paid royalties for every piece of clothing the company sell.

Well now the issue has hit Rugby AU. Remember the amazing Indigenous jersey we all loved? It was/is one of the highest selling Wallaby jerseys produced and according to the SMH, WAM clothing have requested 20% of sales for the use of the flag on the jersey, which considering how popular it is, could amount to a 7-figure sum. Because of this, the 2020 Indigenous jersey will not feature the Aboriginal flag.

Meanwhile, Canterbury Clothing have issued an apology for what could be described as a rather poorly thought through marketing strategy. A couple of weeks ago saw the launch of Ireland’s men’s and women’s jerseys. Can you spot what people may have had an issue with?

Ireland Jersey models

On the right, 3 actual rugby players wearing the jersey. On the left … 3 models. It drew widespread criticism from women rugby players and supporters who would much rather see actual women players modelling the jerseys. In their apology, Canterbury said they had superimposed the images on to a model and always had the intention of using actual women players in the new jersey.

A 10, a 10, my Kingdom for a 10.

I think that is pretty much where we were all at for the last couple of years. Bernard Foley had the 10 jersey well and truly locked up, with only the occasional cameo from an understudy in his place. Since around 2014 we have wondered if there was another 10 out there, and then when Foley announced he was leaving it became a question of do we have any 10’s??? People naturally turned to the familiar names of Toomua and O’Conner, but in the early rounds of Super Rugby they weer almost anonymous. Instead all the talk was around Harrison and Lolesio. So we went from having 2 possibles to 4 players who all look good enough to fight it out. Add in Kuenzle, who is currently making the most of his opportunity, and we are in a situation I don’t think anyone imagined we would be in this time 12 months ago. One of the (very few) positive surprises 2020 has thrown up at us.

So if we do manage to get some international rugby in this year, who will it be? Personally I believe Toomua is playing better at 12 than he was at 10. So do we go with an older head in O’Conner or throw one of the young guns into the fray? If we needed a goal kicker on the field I would go for Harrison, he is phenomenal off the tee. Before he was injured, Lolesio looked to manage things around the park a bit better and I am looking forward to seeing how he combines with White. O’Conner seems to be the more steady, reliable one, who still has that hint of the elusive ‘x-factor’. Whichever way we go, if we can hold onto and continue to develop these young guys I don’t think we will need to be concerned about having a quality 10 for quite a few years.

Will Harrison dives for the line Waratahs v Rebels Super Rugby 2020 (Credit - Keith McInnes Photography)


So many cracking tries again this round!

I do like that at the beginning of this video you can see some fans who appear to have made Waratahs masks!

  • Max Graham

    Rugby in this country would be in a better place if the media didn’t spend half their time whinging about referees. So f*cking sick of it.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Or perhaps the referees could be better so the ammunition wasn’t there for the media to pick up on. Don’t get me wrong I am a referee and I fully understand how difficult the job is at times but on the weekend there were a couple of howlers that shouldn’t occur at this level.

      I think there are 2 issues. The first one is that there has been so much talk of referees ruining the game through giving perfectly justifiable red cards and the like that I think they are getting wary (not scared, but close) of making critical decisions, The second is that there is not a lot of open discussion about their calls and I think if they came out after a game and explained why they made some decisions then people would understand more and perhaps lighten up on them.

    • Alister Smith

      I am with you, Max, on this one.

    • Who?

      Depends on the whinging. If it’s Kearns-esque, yeah, I’m with you. If it’s accurately and articulately explaining why the decision made was wrong, then I’ve no issue.
      The greater issue isn’t the whinging, it’s the overall quality of EVERYTHING in commentary. Practically nothing is accurately articulated.

    • I think the media need to up their game all round.

      At around the 60 minute mark there was a lovely piece of commentary in the Tahs-Rebels game about how the Tahs had now sealed their place in the finals. They neglected to mention they had to kick on and maintain their lead.

      Come the end of the match, if they had any memory and any shame… oops, they’re explaining that if the Rebels stuff the Force in the next match, the Tahs are out.

      I would also like the media, in general, but particularly in SA and Australia, to understand the laws. Occasionally the referees make a major howler, and it’s fair that someone explains the mistake. Ideally without sledging the ref, because we all make mistakes and I’d like to see them do better.

      However, blaming the ref for correctly applying a law you don’t like, or saying they’ve got it wrong because you don’t understand the laws is endemic in both SA and Australia, and should be stamped out.

      In the SR Aotearoa competition, there was a decision that was reviewed that none of the commentary team agreed with it, but the referees said “clearly backwards, try” after a TMO review. The referees were, quite clearly, right. The commentators didn’t abuse the referees, they said their pieces about how they thought it was forward, and they ended up with one of them saying something like “We should remember there are four professional referees down there that all looked at it, and they’re happy. They probably got it right.”

      I’d rather the commentators looked and got it right looking at the replays too, but having the grace to say the referees are better than us at the laws of the game is better than we get.

      In the UK we have two channels that air rugby. One broadcasts and commentates on domestic English rugby. One carries overseas rugby with the overseas commentators, and the home nations playing abroad plus the Pro14 with English commentators. The former sends its commentators to referee training courses and regularly invites Wayne Barnes along to explain new laws. They’re not perfect, especially in the instant, but they do understand the laws, and correctly explain the decisions. They don’t linger on refereeing mistaking, and they apologise for their own. The other… well it would welcome Kearns and the like, because they’d fit right in.

      It would be nice if the world of rugby broadcasters would aspire to the standards of BT Sport. They really do a good job and it’s one of the few commentary teams where I actively enjoy listening to what they say.

      • Max Graham

        Well said. If you ever run for parliament, you’ve got my vote!

        • Thanks, I think!

          God, I can’t imagine a worse job…

  • Steve

    This is a great Top 5 MST.

    I’m not a lawyer but I have so many questions about the Aboriginal flag situation. It sounds like we call it a ‘flag’ but it’s actually just some design IP from an individual? How was it his to sell? Is WAM community owned or is this just some good old fashioned corporate assholing?

    Andy Muirhead has been an extremely loyal servant to the Brumbies and never been recognised for his talent level imo. Underrated in almost every aspect and deserves more than he’s had.

    • Alister Smith

      I think it was his (Harold Thomas’) to sell because he designed it in the first place. The Federal Court conferred copyright in 1997. I guess the bloke has a right to earn money off something he has designed.

      It was first used in 1971 but didn’t begin a national flag until 1995. Perhaps when it did, the federal government should have purchased the rights to it so that it became the property of the whole nation – there is no single aboriginal representative body now but maybe when ATSIC was around they could also have purchased it so that it belonged to all aboriginal people.

      As flags go it is a pretty striking one, simple but conveys a very strong image.

      • Nutta

        My understanding is that Harry had original design rights. Fair enough. It was his. As it was his, it was also his to do what he liked with (within legal confines). The fact he never really made a fuss about folk using it does not diminish his title. But to my mind, leaving aside the perfectly acceptable private citizen waving it about occasionally to make a political point (limited right to freedom of political expression is one of our few constitutional rights in this country) and about-which no one has ever disputed, given that so many other folk then started to appropriate it to turn a coin off it and make a point on a mass scale or (even better) start attaching it to commercial goods and enterprises then I’m not at all surprised it has now come back to be ‘a thing’. Just in the same way you can’t use ANZAC and/or even the national flag for commercial stuff (like putting it on jerseys) without clearing the hurdles except in this case its not a nationalised item but is still privately owned. However in both instances (public/private) it needs permission to be used and if that means you’re turning a coin off it, expect them to want a cut of that coin – especially when you didn’t ask permission to use it in the first place.

        If it really becomes ‘a thing’ then the Federal government may appropriate it (as property) provided they do so ‘on just terms’ (remember The Castle, Dennis Denuto, Darryl Kerrigan et al?). Then it’s nationalised. However that still wouldn’t stop the govnt from putting in-place hurdles and charging for its use (as happens anyway with anything branded with the national flag or ANZAC or similar).

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks MST and some interesting stats there. Thanks for this I always look forward to your posts and they always give me a something to think about.
    I’m with you on the calls this weekend, there were a couple of howlers and these need to be looked at a bit. Interestingly the newest referee had the best game.
    Interesting info about the flag and in some ways represents part of the whole issue here. I’d personally leave it off any jerseys as there is plenty of other ways to show the indigenous heritage and I don’t save the flag as totally necessary, especially as it appears it’s not actually representative of all the indigenous people anyway.
    Advantage is always a bit of an issue. The law states that it must be clear and obvious and also that it can be tactical or territorial. I think sometimes we look too much at the territorial side of it rather than the tactical and when it’s a penalty advantage then we should perhaps not wait so long as getting the kick and lineout advantage is hard to reach in general play unless there is a line break and a score.

    • Who?

      I’ve always thought advantage needs to be formulated. FK/Scrum advantage? One phase with clean possession. If no clean possession, give another phase. But no requirement for territorial gain. No clean possession, blow it up.
      PK? 3 phases AND 10m, except in the red zone. Nothing annoys me more than seeing a team defend 10 phases on their own tryline over 2 minutes, energy sapping defence, only to see the attacking team drop the ball and be awarded the penalty. Surely having 2 minutes hammering the opposition line is enough of an advantage? If it’s more than 3 phases, the penalty against the offending team is too great, being both the actual penalty and also the effort expended in preventing the gaining of advantage.

      • Brumby Runner

        I feel the same Who? I’ve seen advantage not nullified by being held up over the try line. If the attacking team can get to the try line they’ve had sufficient advantage already in my book.

        • Who?

          It just kills the contest. When you’ve got a team that’s not permitted to contest possession for 5, 8, 10, 12 phases, that’s not Rugby. And if they fail to score points and are still awarded a penalty?! That’s time wasted not playing Rugby, which is all about the contest for possession.

      • More or less agree with the first bit. One clean phase.
        PK advantage would have be measured against the approx distance of a penalty kick, not 10m.
        Bit hard to do 5m off the line.
        I agree if no advantage is forthcoming after 3 or so phases, stop and play the penalty.

        Easiest would be don’t offend?

        • Who?

          I agree with 5m off the line being hard to run a 10m advantage, but it’s a stronger guide than anything that’s currently published or proposed anywhere else. It’s a marker I’ve advocated for over half a decade now.

          The issue with measuring the approximate distance of a penalty kick is that it depends on the distance from the sideline, and whether you’ve got a Reece Hodge or Bernard Foley kicking. If you made it relative to the expected length achieved by the penalty kick, the penalty’s given on the sideline, and you’ve a Reece Hodge kicking the penalties, you might need 20 phases to make the 50m he might roost the ball. That’s too long to punish a defending team, and too long to lose the contest for the ball.

          That’s why I think a general rule of 10m of progress inside 3 phases (retaining possession after that third breakdown) is a fair marker. Because 10m of progress over 3 phases is something that’s achievable, and keeps the game flowing. And if you’re on the tryline, it’s 3 phases with clear possession. 3 phases where you can do ANYTHING on the opposition tryline knowing they can’t compete for the ball is already a decent advantage, knowing that any turnover in that time will see you receive the penalty.
          If that’s not good enough, then perhaps the 9 should be prompted before they clear the last ruck, so they can opt for the 3 points if they don’t believe a try’s in the offing. But not another phase, and another phase, and another phase…

          I agree – the best would be if teams didn’t offend! But this is just about finding the right balance. Because, as a fan, there’s nothing more boring than watching a team with penalty advantage on the tryline taking a dozen pick and drives. Then being given a penalty, because they couldn’t get across the line.

          A penalty on the 5m line isn’t a guarantee of points – it should be an option for an attempt at points, not a guarantee. If you don’t have the option of advantage, you might choose the lineout and lose the throw. You might choose the scrum and cop a tight head. You might kick for goal and miss. But, for years now, penalty advantage in the red zone seems to be considered as not having been truly accrued unless points are scored, which is, I feel, an incorrect interpretation of advantage. Three phases and failing to get across the line – but retaining possession beyond that – is at least as good an opportunity to score points as kicking the ball back 5m for a lineout, retreating 5m for a scrum or taking a shot at goal.

        • Kiwis seem to have it in hand, a couple of phases then take a chance kick.
          Aust sides don’t seem to have that reflex.

          Red zone 3 phases, maybe 5. Any further penalty immediate send-off. (maybe a new card- 5 mins)

          I don’t think refs consider penalties not having been truly completed unless points are scored.

          Its more about cutting down penalties in the red zone by making sure full advantage is received

        • Who?

          Great point about the way the teams play the advantage rule. We used to be better – it used to be that teams would look, think, “Nothing’s on,” then flick it out the back for a droppie. I know people who believe a missed droppie should be ‘advantage taken’, but I think that should remain an exception to the rule. Take it as an attempt at advantage, but if no points, no advantage.

          I wouldn’t argue anything else there. 5 phases is absolute tops in the red zone. Or just go 3 phases, no points or clear opportunity on the next phase (i.e. you can’t see that the defence is gone and they’re gonna dive over easily), blow the penalty. Resolve the issue.

          Refs’ attempt to guarantee points are conceded for a penalty is a misunderstanding of the punishment for the crime. But I’d have no issue with a rapidly deployed 5 minute card for repeated red zone infringements. Stay the full 10 for cynical infringements.

          And your motivation for all this – reducing penalties – I think is fair. My motivation is a little different. Mine is to see that these things are resolved, rather than sitting around watching teams in limbo. Seeing one team with an unfair advantage for perhaps a minor infringement, and the other being forced into a situation where they’re even more likely to infringe to survive, given they’ve had legal options for defence removed (i.e. turning over the ball). If there’s a punishment, either give the advantage or blow it up. Let’s get that done with and get back to a contest.

        • Agree Who, minor penalty, blatant penalty, dangerous penalty- act decisively, speed the game up, keep the penalties to a minimum – all whilst being fair (not much of an ask)

          Realistically, we like to blame the refs when its really the players, and perhaps coaching that is at fault.
          Human nature plays a hand too no doubt.
          Came up with the theory a fair while ago its all a bit hard to resolve, best for me is immediate send-off in the red for 5 mins, blatant or dangerous 10 mins

          Like any idea it carrries negatives as well of course.

        • Who?

          I think the thing that makes it hard for refs – and leaves them open to blame – is the ambiguity of advantage in law. There’s just no clarity to it. So it’s left to the Game Management Guidelines. But even there…
          World Rugby just needs to provide absolute clarity. I really like my proposal, obviously, but ultimately it just needs to be clear – whatever their ruling is. If there’s clarity as to how to ‘prove’ advantage has or hasn’t been taken, then life’s easier for referees.

          I think it would also impact on coaching, too. If you knew that 10m was the requirement to get out of advantage, I think we’d see teams slow the breakdown on the first phase enough to allow the defence to realign, but we’d see teams choose not to be aggressive in line speed next phase. They’d ‘invite’ the attacking team to take the 10m, whilst trying to control their defensive lines to avoid splintering whilst retreating.

          I’d love to see fewer penalties, but I think the reality is that the best teams already run pretty low numbers. Some choose to concede the penalty in the red zone, but not all. Increasing time on the naughty chair for infringements in the red zone may well help.

        • Mate, can see where your coming from, and any improvement is, well, and improvement.
          The only bit I may slightly disagree on is the amount of penalties being low. A lot are let go and not blown, infringement rates are still high.
          I liked the way NZ refs seem this year, stomp on every infringement early. The game flows much better (after the initial stomping), phase after clean phase, much better games to watch.
          We both know how player skills etc grow with more game time (as highlighted on GAGR a few weeks back), to me its the reason we are not at NZ level.

          A ref mentor I had years ago when questioned always stated “cause and effect”.
          His end answer was always , “take away the cause and what is left”?

        • ffs…a few days later.
          re: kiwi teams have it in hand…
          Watching AU on weekend, “chance” kick option is taken immediately from scrum penalty, but goes out on full.
          Ref calls advantage over and sets lineout at place of kick to opposition.
          Fuck we have a long way to go in this country.

        • Who?

          Hearing ya mate. :-(

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        I agree 100% with the advantage being held too long by some referees. I’m not sure I agree on having it specified so tight as you then run the risk of when a situation doesn’t fit. I think better words might be ” clear and immediate” so that it doesn’t run too long before the advantage is actually given. If there’s not an immediate advantage then blow the whistle and run with the advantage

        • Mica

          Having a certain amount of phases before calling advantage over is the way I’d go. Then the attacking side can choose. Let’s say it’s 5 phases or 20m gain. If the attacking team doesn’t feel like their going anywhere they can ask for the penalty at the end of 4th phase (or just drop the ball forward or kick it) then they can come back for the penalty. Maybe the ref can call advantage over next ruck and then the attacking team can decide whether to continue or take the penalty. Really just need a way to make it more consistent and not have 10+ phases before coming back for the penalty.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          No way I’d give it to the players to decide on.

        • Mica

          Only for wanting to take the penalty within a set period of phases. They can already do it now by kicking or dropping the ball. I am just advocating to remove the variability around advantage over so that it is more consistent.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I understand that and I see where you’re coming from but having to deal with some player who thinks he can tell me what to do is not on. Let’s face it there’s always 30 players on the field who think they know more than me anyway so I don’t want to add to that

  • BarneySF

    Quick check with fellow GAGRs outside of Girt by Sea: I don’t have any access to getting an “Access Denied” notification and something about “not on this server”. I’m in the USA and fellow Seppos have also been getting the same result. AFAIK, there isn’t a paywall on Wondering if this is something others are experiencing outside of Australia or is it a Trump thing? I can still get Rugbyheaven; GAGR; Roar; etc.

    • donktec

      Might be a geo-block of some kind. eg: when you get the message on youtube “this video is not available in your territory”. If anyone over there has a VPN they could try setting it to an Australian server and see if that works.

      • BarneySF

        Yeah weird – Was all roses 2 weeks ago then total shutdown in this region. Not even a Fox Sports branded “Not available in your territory”, just a dead link. Will just rely on the journalistic integrity of GAGR!

    • Hambone


  • Alister Smith

    “The Waratahs are well out in front on penalties conceded with 99. Sadly, it looks like they won’t crack the century. The Brumbies are in 2nd with 82 while the Reds and Rebels both have 81, so with a good weekend showing any one of those teams could take the lead!”

    This surprised me. I thought the Reds would have been much higher in the penalties conceded, while they have improved they have, in the past anyway, looked a little undisciplined (is that ill-disciplined).

    I would be tempted to blood a new player at 10 or 12, so if you pick Toomua at 12 pick Harrison or Lolesio at 10 and if you pick JOC then run Simone at 12 and keep either Toomua or JOC on the bench.

    • I think the Reds are well in the lead for cards, which isn’t mentioned and it would be interesting to see how many advantages are given against the various sides and not taken. The Reds tend to give big, dumb penalties that cost them a man away, and they stick in the mind, which gets them that impression of being ill-disciplined.

  • whatwouldberniedo

    as exciting as generational change can be, I’d be disappointed if 9,10,12 wasn’t White, O’conner, toomua. They are the best performing players in their positions. Simone and Tate would be very unlucky, but the young 10’s aren’t in O’conners league defensively.

    • Nutta

      Hold on. It’s Australia. Let’s take the new boys, put them in a lineup replete with other new boys, laud them as the Messiah’s, then feed them to the AiB at Carisbrook and the English at Twickers and then sit about and wonder why they are emotional basket-cases for the next 10yrs yeh?

      • whatwouldberniedo

        throw in the likelihood that we will have a back 3 of Koro, ?,?. (very inexperienced if Hodge doesn’t get the nod). Having 3 calm heads and great defenders in the inside channels making the bulk of the key decisions has to be the best mix at the moment. the other thing I like about it is the blooding of the 2 biggest of the young talents on either side of the ‘axis’, Wilson and Petaia.

        • whatwouldberniedo
        • Kevino

          That tackle was a great chase, but had no impact on the game. The intercept and loss of 70m was enough for Ireland to relieve the pressure and win the game.

        • whatwouldberniedo

          My point is that O’Connor has always been a world class defender. Something we haven’t had at 10 in a long time. Something that all RWC champion teams have had. If Toomua can resist the hero play and stay connected, they are a good pairing.
          My theory is that O’Connor is the Agassi of rugby. Distracted by the trappings of his prodigious talent early, stopped wearing his talent like albatross around his neck in his late 20’s and got his body right and dominated in his early 30’s. No.1 at 33, 5 of his 8 majors won after 30. He has something to prove and I reckon his best football is still ahead.

        • Who?

          Let’s be honest, the Wallabies were down by 9 points with 3 minutes on the clock at a venue where the Wallabies hadn’t won in 25 years. Ireland had already won the game.

          But agree on O’Connor’s defence – he’s always been top class, well above his weight. Excellent technique.

          Though I don’t know that all RWC winners have had great defenders at 10..? Not sure I’d describe Bernie as excellent (decent, not excellent). Stephen Donald wasn’t known as a great defender. Butch James was a dangerous defender, not sure if he was an excellent defender when he was liable to cop a YC?

          Toomua’s good at 12 when there’s X factor and play making at 10. I don’t think he’s the solution. I’d rather have one of the young guys at 10, with JOC at 12. Or JOC at 10, and Simone at 12.

        • whatwouldberniedo

          In my head, the young 10’s aren’t ready and Petaia is a lock for 13. Are you happy with irae and Jordan in the midfield?

        • Who?

          We could do worse. My biggest concern would be about Petaia getting injured, again…

        • UTG

          I thought MT was very good at 12 on Saturday when he wasn’t getting a lot of help from the rest of his backline aside from Koroibete.

          Simone has been the form 12 all season but it’s a raw pairing with Petaia.

        • Mica

          Oh how I hope you are right!!!

      • Geoffro

        Eh. Im happy to see more than a couple of these young guns get a gold jersey thrown at them.Emotional basket cases for the next ten years if they get arses handed is a bit of a stretch.I think mostly they’re a bit tougher than that as young professional sportsmen not 10 yr old kids.

        • Nutta

          Dude, do you not remember the 3 Amigo’s and the damage that caused? Perhaps I’m being deliberately provocative to elicit a response. However whilst I am not advocating the Wobblies remain harder to get out of than get in to, I am saying we need to temper that typical Australian over-exuberance and blood them in a sustainable manner.

        • Geoffro

          I do remember the 3 amigos (are we talking on or offield behaviour here?) I also remember some Wallaby sides where youngsters cleared the dead wood. They initially couldnt win a game but turned the corner quite nicely.I dont believe we’ll see radical changes in the makeup of Rennie’s next starting side personally but I’ll be genuinely pissed of if the 23 doesn’t contain plenty of younger faces

        • Who?

          I think Quade was 2 from 4 against the ABs… KB had been around longer, and JOC got more starts. I don’t think they were mentally scarred by facing the ABs – well, not until Quade was coached out of form through the 2011 RWC (he and Genia were the form 9 and 10 worldwide in July, and completely and utterly useless come the RWC SF. Come the Bronze game, Cooper clearly decided to ignore Deans’ directions, and suddenly looked awesome – until he did his knee). The vast majority of issues with them were off field. Quade was too honest (toxic comments), JOC thought he was too important to be punished, and KB seemed to fail to understand his responsibilities (i.e. abiding by team rules and respecting leaders).

          That said, I’m in favour of starting ONE new player across 9/10/12. Sit them out there with a more experienced player alongside. There’s no need to go all old guys, and no need to blood all the young guys at once. Work them in.

        • Nutta

          Dude I regretted reopening those doors as soon as I hit ‘Post’. I am not going to re-argue that history. I could have just as easily spoke of Slipper getting dished to Castrogiovanni and any number of other such instances of too much too soon.

          But rather, let us both agree that there is no need to blood all the young guys at once (your words). I agree with you. And I laud the wisdom of your words.

        • Who?

          I’m just surprised that there wasn’t more of a deluge! :-D

          I think you’re right in saying we don’t want to scar these guys – I just don’t think the Amigos were the best examples of it. I want Harry Wilson wearing gold still in 2030, we don’t need to wear him and Wright and McReight out this year. Or Lolesio and Harrison. We’re not living in 1980 anymore, where we can throw out a bunch of skinny teenagers and take the ABs by surprise. We’ve got to work more the 82-84 approach, and have the level head at 12 to balance the youth at 10. Or the youth at 12 to energise stability at 10.

        • MST

          I just love the list of name you are talking about as potential future Wallabies. It’s been a long time since we had so many new names in the conversation, but also the names are already showing better signs than many in the past who were considered potential new Wallabies.

        • Who?

          It’s truly incredible the way that a generational change – both player stocks and coaching – can change things. The investment in youth pathways – notably the improvements under Raelene, but I believe there was also some movement under Pulver – and the ceiling placed by previous coaching regimes (and the natural cycle of players through RWC’s) was able to be sensed last year.

          There was a feeling that a new dawn was coming, that change was just over the horizon. Not purely off the success of the U20’s and U18’s, but other players just a little older who were also coming through (Wright, Tupou, etc).

          Then factor in Rennie, and even for someone like myself who’d been a massive pessimist for the vast majority of the Cheika era (I wanted him gone by the end of 2016), this year held huge hope. We’ve suffered administrative insanity (which saw off Raelene), and we’ve been locked down, but in spite of that, the reasons for hope remain. If we can figure out how to run some form of competition, and find a way to scrape through financially, there’s much reason for hope.

        • Nutta

          You do appreciate what site you are on yeh? Stop talking sense and get some blind jingoistic over-exuberance into your chat you nerd.

        • Who?

          Sorry boss – was just trying to converse at the normal level of the front rowers’ club.

    • Reds Revival

      I agree that we need to go with experience in the starting side, and introduce the likes of McDermott, Wilson and Lolesio off the bench. There’s no need to throw them to the wolves straight away.

    • Hoss

      I think you’re there-about’s mate, but i reckon they’ll go a combo pack as starters and finishers. You couldn’t leave newbies to come on and finish by themselves and likewise you couldn’t throw them to the Dothraki at the start. So for mine:

      9. White
      10. JOC 2.0
      11. Marika
      12 Simone
      13. Petaia
      14. Maddocks / Ramm / Hodge / Wright
      15. Banks


      21. Mc Dermott
      22. Toomua
      23. Hodge / Maddocks

      Combination of youth and experience on at all times

      • Reds Revival

        That shits me Hoss. Your logic and selections make perfect sense!
        I would have Wright as 14, as I think that he balances the back three nicely.

        • Gun

          i think Wright is a stand out amongst the wing prospects.

        • Hambone

          Wright has to be there somewhere.

        • Reds Revival

          Two Wright’s can’t be wrong.

        • Hoss

          Thanks, i think.

          Two-Cows would love to be a starter, but i just see more value in his cover from the bench at 10-12. If JOC2.0 is killing it, MT could slot in at 12 as second ball player, or obviously at 10 and slide JOC to 12 and that gives us an all Red 12 / 13 – so there’s a fair degree of flexibility without disruption. I agree with Wright at 14, he has been uber consistent across SRA where perhaps the others have shown flashes, but not the same consistency. The Clydesdale also offers some value on the pine for 11,13, 14 or 15 cover and if there’s a 55m penalty on offer to win it, well you’d want him on your side

        • Nutta

          ‘flexibility without disruption’ – you’ve been reading managerial leadership texts again haven’t you? Or too much time on LinkedIn reading consultancy propaganda?

        • Hoss

          Are you implying I am not a passionate and engaging mentor who takes a holistic approach to developing a culture on inclusion and respect……………

          What on gods-green does all that stuff mean anyway – half your staff hate you anyway and the other half think you’re a tosser?

        • Nutta

          I’m not implying anything. That is exactly what I am saying.

        • Alister Smith

          not sure it really is Hoss – apart from JOC 2.0 he has used their real names etc. I think he must have an intern working for him and they have done this up

        • Geoffro

          My prediction is Wright will play a few on the wing and wind up in the midfield eventually

      • UTG

        Maddocks is a 15 imho.

        Wright on the wing for me (Daugunu closely behind him).

        • Hoss

          I knew i’d forgotten a name when i was rolling out my rubbish – Daugunu, he has been special and seems to have got the dumb shit out of his game – aka ‘silly penalties’. Yep him or Wright for mine and probabkly Daugunu first as he goes looking for work like MK

        • UTG

          Daugunu has been very good and, you’re right, he’s Koroibete like. I actually think he’s been ahead of Koro a few rounds this season but Marika probably gets the nod as the current John Eales Medallist and the fact he always turns up in gold (being at the end of the Rebels’ backline also doesn’t really give that many attacking opportunities).

      • whatwouldberniedo

        I’m with you on banks at 15. Folipo at 14 because of his ability to run off O’Connor (almost a try every match) and better competitor for kicks.

        I’m nervous about irae and Jordan as the midfield. 2 tests between them?

      • I’m not sure about the 12 and 13, I’d like a more experienced head in there I think, just in case, and to see Daugunu on the wing.

        But… I wouldn’t complain if this was the starting backline to be honest. While I’d worry about the 12-13 struggling against a more experienced pairing, I’m still thinking they’re the best pair if you’re keeping Toomua for the bench.

    • The Jackal

      Not against that composition but Irae Simone has become such a complete player. I have been really impressed with him over the past 18 months but I feel like he has been the best player at the Brumbies during SR AU. Nic White looks ready to go, some sort of combo with Tate will be a great one-two punch

    • Huw Tindall

      Re-post but relevant here – Can we talk about Harrison’s kicking. The bloke is about 95% this season. Far and away the best kicker all year and they haven’t all been gimmes from in front. Could be enough to sneak him into a Wallabies side, especially if Rennie still has JOC down in the PONI squad at 12. Lolesio won’t be back for a while with his injury and Lance is too old for next RWC so it’s really between JOC and Harrison for initial 10 honours I’d think. Personally I’d lean towards JOC first up, assuming he continues his good run into the finals. Can’t buy test experience and as good as the young guys are I think we need some older heads in clutch positions. White/JOC/Toomua is a pretty darn good 9/10/12 – no combinations mind you as they’re spread across Super clubs. Tough decisions for Rennie et al coming up!

  • Crescent

    Interesting chat around the refereeing situation. Start with the positive – loved seeing Amy Perrett get the start, and do a great job managing the game. It was as I expected, and love her attitude towards the whole thing.

    Then, as a Tahs fan, it’s a bit hard to whinge about the Meakes situation when Swinton got a skate at the other end of the field – they don’t cancel each other out, but it takes the wind out of the sails in trying to sound aggrieved when the bad decisions affected both teams. Then personally, I don’t like whinging about the refs – you need to play well enough that crook decisions don’t become a factor.

    Finally, let’s face it, if you offered me a 4W/4L season for the Tahs at the start of the Super AU season, I would happily have taken it. I was expecting a much harsher season, and in some of the losses (i.e. Brumbies in the first round). there was a lot to like in what we saw, and we would then be talking about how they have over achieved. Out of the finals is about where this team is at right now, but they have the look and feel of a team who will continue to improve.

    • Huw Tindall

      Penney and co surely performed above expectations with this squad. When you consider the shambles Hore and Gibson left the place in it’s nothing short of amazing. Outside Hooper and Simmo you’ve basically got a colts side with a scattering of fringe Wallabies like Dempsey. The fact they’ve been competitive and could easily have been in the finals with a few ref calls their way I think it’s more than we could have expected. Missing Hooper and Simmo next year will be massive but assuming they keep the rest of the squad pretty much intact then they should continue to build nicely. Already looking forward to AU 2021!

  • Alister Smith

    There have been quite a few signings/re-signings in recent weeks. I wonder if they have built in contract clauses around a successful negotiation of a TV rights deal and, depending on how that works out, if the player or the club can then renegotiate or cancel the deal. Otherwise, how can they negotiate with some much uncertainty around potential outcomes at the moment.

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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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