The Tuesday Top 5 - Green and Gold Rugby
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The Tuesday Top 5

The Tuesday Top 5

Welcome all to the Tuesday Top 5 – grand final edition. This week we look at this weekend’s final match and how the teams got there, we talk Wallabies and go visiting Europe and New Zealand.

The final!

Yes, the inaugural Super Rugby AU champs will be crowned this Saturday night. Unlike other reports I have seen, I refuse to say that whoever wins this will take home their first Super Rugby Championship since (insert appropriate year here), because this comp is not Super Rugby as we have known it. Winning this does not equate to winning Super Rugby with all 12/15/18 teams, this is a new comp and it will have a first-time winner.

Speaking of winning, the team that wins gets to take home … wait for it … the trophy that has in the past been awarded to the team that tops the Aussie conference in Super Rugby. Now I guess that in theory, this is simply the Aussie conference, minus any games against OS teams, but I really thought they would have something different.

I’m not going to do a preview or prediction, there will be enough of that coming up as the week goes on. What I am going to do is do a little comparison, keep in mind any stats from the Reds win over the rebels were taken out so there was a fair comparison in terms of the number of matches played.

Brumbies   Reds
30 (1st) Tries 28 (2nd)
3314 (2nd) Metres 3721 (1st)
932 (3rd) Carries 944 (1st)
70 (2nd) Clean Breaks 83 (1st)
165 (2nd) Defenders Beaten 200 (1st)
1049 (3rd) Tackles 1202 (1st)
116 (5th) Missed Tackles 173 (2nd)
50 (3rd) Turnovers Won 64 (1st)
93 (3rd) Penalties Conceded 90 (4th)
135 (1st) Turnovers Conceded 118 (2nd)

 

Brumbies   Reds
Tom Wright 5 (=1st) Tries Filipo Daugunu 5 (=1st)
Tom Banks 546 (3rd) Metres Filipo Daugunu 594 (1st)
None in top 10 Carries Filipo Daugunu 94
Tom Wright 14 (1st) Clean Breaks Filipo Daugunu 12 (2nd)
Irae Simone 18 (6th) Defenders Beaten Filipo Daugunu 29 (1st)
Allan Alaalatoa 88 (7th) Tackles Liam Wright 100 (3rd)
For the next categories I could only find the top 5 players.
None in top 5 Missed Tackles Hunter Paisami 22 (1st)
None in top 5 Turnovers Won Fraser McReight 17 (1st)
None in top 5 Turnovers Conceded James O’Connor 15 (1st)

So what do we get out of this? On paper the teams are pretty close, with the Reds probably having the edge. If the Brumbies are to stand a chance they need to shut Daugunu out of the game, not give him room to move.

bruvred

Wallabies – who gets you pick?

As we are all well aware by now, the Wallabies squad has been announced. There were a couple of surprises, both ins and outs, but they have all been talked to death so I won’t go into that here.

Instead, I am going to give you my 23, if I had to pick right now, based on what I have seen so far in Super Rugby AU. I’m not talking potential, not what I have seen in the past, but what I have seen over the past few weeks. I tried to go for a mix of experience and newbies, making sure that when the rookies are on the field there are also the experienced heads around them.

  1. James Slipper
  2. Folau Fianga’a
  3. Taniela Tupou
  4. Matt Philip
  5. Rob Simmons (experience in the lineout, calling and made a lot of steals this year)
  6. Liam Wright
  7. Fraser McReight
  8. Pete Samu
  9. Jake Gordon
  10. Will Harrison (accuracy off the tee and combination with Gordon)
  11. Filipo Daugunu
  12. Irae Simone
  13. Jordan Petaia (though I would like to see him play more first, string a few 80 minute matches together)
  14. Marika Koroibete
  15. Jack Maddocks
  16. Brandon Paenga-Amosa
  17. Scott Sio
  18. Allan Alaalatoa
  19. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
  20. Rob Valetini
  21. Nic White
  22. James O’Connor
  23. Tom Wright

Banks, Paisami, Hodge, Lolesio, Wilson, Swinton, Hannigan, Horton, Johnson-Holmes and Fa’amausili are the other players I would rotate in.

Wallabies fans celebrate a try. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Wallabies fans celebrate a try. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

About that Bledisloe …

Ok, I am sick of this COVID-19 thing wrecking it for everybody. Crowd restrictions, travel restrictions, not being able to walk and drink at a pub … but now there is more of a fuss going on with the Bledisloe Cup. So the way it seems to be going is that 2 of the Bledisloe matches will be played in NZ before the Rugby Championship is held over here. New Zealand want the 1st game on October 10, while Australia want it on October 17. Doesn’t sound like it would make much difference, does it?  But it’s actually pretty messy. If the 1st match is held on the 17th, it means that the RC will be pushed back and the All Blacks won’t be out of quarantine before Christmas. Apparently some players have indicated they may skip the Rugby Championship if that were to be the case.

BUT if the 1st match is held on October 10, due to the New Zealand Government’s rules, the Wallabies would have to fly out of Australia on Sunday as in in 4 sleeps time. When they arrive in NZ they would be confined to hotel rooms for 4 days, then over the next 10 days group sizes would increase. They would not be able to train together as a team until a week before the first test, while the All Blacks are happily training the entire time.

I don’t know what the answer is, but neither option sound ideal. Like I said, bloody COVID, wrecking it for everyone.

MOTM Beauden Barrett

MOTM Beauden Barrett

Up in the North

On the weekend Leinster took out their 3rd Pro 14 title in a row, defeating Ulster 27-5. They have an insanely impressive record – They went undefeated this season (which began in 2019), including all of their European Champions Cup matches. They have used a massive 53 players this season, showing that they have some pretty decent depth in there too.

The last game they lost was against Saracens, 16 months ago. And it just so happens that they will face Saracens in the Champions Cup quarter final this coming weekend. Saracens will be missing Owen Wilson, who was suspended for 5 weeks after the hit we showed you last week. (It’s lucky he does volunteer work for charity, that got his suspension cut in half!). With all the drama surrounding Saracens, salary caps, relegation etc, it will be interesting to see how the match plays out.

On a side note, I looked up the coach of Leinster to see if there had been consistency there over the past few years, which helped their success. The coach, Leo Cullen is most definitely not a recent appointment. He has a very long history with the club, dating back to 1998 when he was a player. He played for Leinster for until 2005, then again from 2007 until 2014. From there he spent a year as Forwards coach at Leinster before getting the head coaching gig. Now that is definitely an example of an ex player who has shown he can coach.

leinster heineken cup crowd flags

Highlights

Here are some highlights from different comps around the tracks.

Mitre 10 Cup

Pro 14 Final

Top Tries from the Top 14

  • Max Graham

    I am literally without speech

    • onlinesideline

      did Twiggy walk in mate ?

    • Mica

      Lucky that you can type then and have an interweb to communicate. :)

  • Keith Butler

    Who is Owen Wilson??

    • onlinesideline

      agree on reds combos, although I am big fan of Gordon. But reds half back has walked the walked and come up with the goods and has earnt a start in my book.

      LSL and Philip were both debatable last year. LSL was seen as a good Super lock but not a test lock. Philip was having a growth spurt and displayig solidness. But now they seem to be our first picks. We all know – if Arnold, Rodda and Coleman were here, things would be different. Im really worrried about this and come test intensity, we could be shown up big time in this dept. LSL at test level isnt an 80 mins player. I find him too slow. He is a lump of a lad and even when fit is just a natural lumberer. Big hitter, big cleanouts but we all know that is nice to watch but is only a fraction of the requirements. I have never been a fan of his as a Wallaby. I dont know what else to say. Hope Rennie has some lock surprises coming from OS because lets be honest – are our lock stocks really All black beaters at the moment ? I dont think so. Its a real shame because with Thor looking like an 80 min test player we could have a had a bloody good tight five.

      • Keith Butler

        Lock is atm probably the only position where we do not have strength and depth although others may well disagree. I recall seeing a G&G game a few years back where Arnold and Coleman were in the engine room and thought that we had a pairing to challenge the best in the world. Optimism short live though

        • Alister Smith

          not sure about depth at 13 – i guess you have JP, TK, Hodge and Godwin so maybe that is pretty good but only two of those are in the squad.

        • Reds Revival

          And Pastrami.

        • Alister Smith

          how quickly I forget things – two games from the bench and I have consigned him to the dustbin of history

        • Geoffro

          If Tom Wright can earn his stripes with a few decent showings on the wing Id expect him to go forward in a utility role.Remember him impressing at both 15 and 13 last year.

      • idiot savant

        Im not convinced on the halfbacks yet. Tate was average under pressure in a sudden death final where the intensity was high. His passing wasn’t top class. Gordon I like but would like to see him under pressure too. He’s very good with a pack going forward. So its White for me to begin with against the ABs. He has beaten them so that counts for something. And he’s the best kicker. Im hoping that Korobete and Daugunu are on the wings and coached to chase hard which will back White’s kicking up. Id love to see more of Jacob Fines and Moses Sorovi. Both have tremendous speed.

        I think LSL has gone up a gear this season. Higher workrate, good carrying, good jumping. Yeah he’s probably only 60 minutes but in that time I think he’s ready to match the ABs.

  • Gun

    Thanks for the Top 5 MST but, CB must be a little closer to SY than I remember, Simmons, Gordon, Harrison! Not optimal. I can deduce some of your logic there but Brumby Jack has bolted otherwise.

    • Geoffro

      Hmm,yeah.For my two bobs worth,Noah Lolesio was the form 10 before he got injured and since then the likes of Simone,Wright and Banks have failed to shine as much …? Id have him over Harrison

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks MST, interesting statistics and I wonder what the stats were that got the Brumbies to the top seeing as they were so far behind in so many areas. I’ve always struggled with the statistics that are used so much as they never seem to correlate to results on the field. I think the answer is that because of the way the game is played there are so many 2nd and 3rd order of effects that an incident on it’s own doesn’t mean much.
    Interesting team and TBH I agree with most of it. I personally would have JOC at 12 as I think it’s a pretty raw team and he would be a steady influence on it. I’d also have LSL over Simmons and Hodge wouldn’t make my team anywhere. But other than that I like it.
    It’ll be interesting to see how the RC pans out. I’m just glad it’s happening here so I can get to some games. I’m picking that if it does go ahead, and I think there’s still some issues with both the Argies and SA that Haven’t been addressed so not convinced they’ll be there yet, then Australia is in the box seat, especially if a lot of the AB’s don’t come. In 5 years no one will give a shit about the reasons, they’ll just know who won

    • Mica

      It’s because the stat of games won vs games lost was omitted. Really the only stat that matters in the end :) You’re welcome.

      • RedAnt

        What is very interesting in the stats is the performance of Daugunu. To be ahead on so many criteria made me question whether MST was just making them up! He certainly looks like a real talent, reassuring I guess that the stats support that.

    • Steve

      I suspect that in a continuous field game like rugby, simple player-level stats are at best a discussion point – maybe more relevant at set piece.

      Even in a much simpler game like tennis, no individual stats have great predictive value in terms of winning games, although I believe 5 or 6 of them in concert do.

      I like to think of them as ‘talking points at best’

    • In a small sample size, and eight games is a small sample size, one or two good performances can skew the metrics. There are also questions around just how valuable the metrics fed to the public really are.

      Compare what we’re seeing here to the kind of stats we saw from the Rugbycology guys for example. Even if you don’t buy that their stats are better, look at how much they break them down by location on the pitch. Consider for yourself, any turnover is decent (there are questions about exactly what gets scored as a turnover, is it just times you lift the ball out of the breakdown when they took it in? Winning a penalty at the breakdown when they took it in is just as valuable, possibly more so…) but a turnover inside either 22 is, in general, more valuable than a turnover between the 22’s. One stops their attack dead, one gives you ball in prime attacking position. You certainly might score from the turnovers in the middle of the pitch, more likely to than not having the ball, but it’s more likely your attack gets stalled.

      The Reds won the ball 14 more times than the Brumbies, but where on the pitch?

      At the same time, there is a serious issue with their stats. The Reds led turnovers won with 64. The Brumbies were worst with turnovers conceded with 135. That’s more than the Reds and Brumbies added together (1st and 3rd) managed. In fact, the turnovers conceded by the two is more than 5x the median. That might not mean much to you, but the maths just don’t add up. Basically it means someone out there must have made a load of turnovers off these two teams for that stat to work – but we know the Reds made the most turnovers…. They’re either not counting the same thing, but giving the same title (turnovers won = balls lifted at the breakdown, turnovers lost included scrums against the head, lost lineouts etc too – reasonable but not clear) or they seriously can’t count.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        As they say mate Lies, Damn lies and statistics

      • UTG

        Turnovers conceded includes knock ons…

  • Reds Revival

    To celebrate the recent announcement of Australia winning the hosting rights for The Rugby Championship, combined with the inaugural Super Rugby AU finals, Rugby Australia in conjunction with Michael Chugg Entertainment have just launched a new musical called “RA RA The Musical: Back From The Brink”. With a stellar cast featuring;

    Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as Raelene Castle
    Angry Anderson as Rob Clarke
    Jon English as Hamish McLennan
    Tahir Bilgic as Michael Chieka
    Phil Kearns played by Daryl Somers
    Nick Farr Jones played by the Mosman Tabernacle Choir
    Rob Penney played by Sam Neill
    Brad Thorn was originally portrayed by Jason Statham, but due to availability issues was replaced by Bruce Willis
    Tim Sampson played by Hugo Weaving
    Dave Wessels played by Keppler Wessels
    John Waters (from Blue Heelers) as Dave Rennie
    Delta Goodrem plays the love interest (just because as the Director, I got to say so).

    In Act One, Raelene comes to learn of her fate and features such songs as “Everything’s on Fire”, and The Beatle’s “Help”.
    Act Two sees the Captains conspiring behind the scene, featuring a wonderful duet by Tahir Bilgic and Daryl Somers of, “Send In The Clowns”.
    Act Three, in which Angry Anderson and Jon English ride in on white horses, singing the Little River Band hit, “Help Is On Its Way”.
    In the final Act, the four coaches (Sam, Bruce, Hugo, and Keppler) rally behind John Waters in their search of the Holy Grail. Featuring the reworked Simon and Garfunkel classic “Hello The Darkness, my old friend…” (see what I did there, Hoss).
    Guaranteed to be a major success, make sure that you book your tickets now through TicketRip, or your local rugby club.

    • Alister Smith

      I would have gone for Dolph Lungdren to play Brad Thorn (but the younger version rather than the bloke with the plastic face in the Dependables franchise)

      • Alister Smith

        Or Thorn (Lungdren) might have a non speaking role.

    • Yowie

      gold

    • Damo

      Such wonderful diversity RR. If this gets made into a feature film, as I fully expect, it will meet all the criteria for a Best Picture academy award. Can you just add a scene where Brodie Retallick, with a full set of steel teeth, takes out Cameron Clyne – Jaws theme playing in the background?

    • Reds Revival

      The reviews are in, and here is what the critics have to say about the new smash hit, “RA RA The Musical: Back From The Brink”

      Sydney Morning Herald: A hit! I loved every minute of it.
      The Australian: I laughed, I cried, I cheered. It made my heart soar.
      Melbourne Age: Completely irrelevant. Not once was AFL mentioned. They didn’t even mention their own team, The Melbourne Storm.
      Rugby League Week: Complete sh!te. Much preferred, “NRL. The Burlesque Review”. It was heaps, heaps better.
      Fin Review: Much like the sport, they’ll never get the money back on their investment. See it before insolvency.

      • Yowie

        GaGR Comments Section: “[NSW-centric, / East-coast Centric] as you would expect”

        • Damo

          Roar comments section: “Did you even watch the musical?”; “You must be dense if you don’t understand why people were singing”; :”Why wasn’t Hooper in the cast?”; “It was only my opinion, we can do without the insults”.

        • Reds Revival

          So true, Damo. You nailed it.

        • Hoss

          Brilliant Damo

    • Yowie

      Guest appearance by Matt Burke as “Matt Burke”? (because unless you’ve been Matt Burke you can’t play Matt Burke in a musical).

      • Reds Revival

        or played by John Malkovich? (I’m sure we’ve had this conversation once before).

      • Moz

        Although I don’t think you are qualified to suggest this you are not… Ok, we might getting into a circular loop here..

        • Yowie

          But at least now that we’ve gotten into a circular loop we can comment on circular loops.

    • GeorgiaSatellite

      Jon English has been taking a dirt nap for a few years already. Should I read anything into that casting? Something about ‘All Together Now’?

      • Reds Revival

        Let’s not let a questionable fact get in the way of a good yarn, GS…

  • Dally M

    Thanks MST, but no Hooper in the top 30 form players of SRAU and can’t even make the bench? C’mon…

    • Geoffro

      Pretty sure Rennie has more respect for the energiser bunny.No doubt he’ll be there.

    • Rugby Truth

      McReight definitely the form #7 of the tournament.
      I can see Rennie will respect the breakdown, unlike cheika – hence McReight and Wright, and no hooper

  • Nutta

    Jason Routledge gets my vote this week. A 42yr old plumber still smacking heads in the gutsiest, most angry-man spot on the field at the Provincial level. Goosebumps. Go you good thing.

  • Jason

    I’d have a similar squad except with Tate and O’Connor. I don’t think Hooper has quite been good enough while Wright, and McReight (in only 5 games!) have been sensational. Wright is right there with Samu as our most versatile back rower, and McReight has been as good as Pococok would have been! While Hooper has just been a bit average. I think at this point Willson needs some rest and probably needs to come off the bench.

  • Missing Link

    I get the feeling that most people from NSW think Gordon and the uncapped Harrison will be the Wallabies halves combo and everyone from QLD think uncapped McDermott and O’Connor will be the Wallabies halves combo… are we forgetting that Toomua used to be a Brumby and Nic White has just returned to the Brumbies? If Rennie has a short memory then that’s on him, but no excuses for us forgetting how much experience White and Toomua have together.

    Also Hodge will be the Wallaby 13 despite not being favourable on here. I think he’s been called a “journeyman at best” but let’s face it, he’s played at 1 super rugby club and will stay there until at least RWC 2023. to me that’s called loyalty, not a journeyman.
    he is a hard runner, can tackle, can play anywhere in the back line and has a freak boot. Petaia might be world class one day, but for now he’s a prodigy and is injury prone which poses a big risk (think berrick barnes and pat mccabe)

    • UTG

      As a NSW supporter, I definitely do not think Harrison and Gordon will be the starting halves pair. I see JOC as the ten, I had McDermott as the 9 but I was a little troubled by his passing game on Saturday under the pressure of the finals. Still if he has a good game on the weekend I’ll be happy for him to start over White. I’m not unhappy with White Toomua though.

      If DHP is not fit I expect Hodge could be 15, Petaia should and will be 13.

    • Geoffro

      Don’t consider Hodge a reliable defender and he’s slooow,two reasons he shouldn’t be in the team.

      • Hoss

        He makes his tackles, but he turns slower than the Libs on energy policy when a kick goes behind him

    • I think Hodge’s problem, in my eyes, is not his tackling ability nor his willingness to carry the ball into contact. However, again for me, although he’s only 26, he gives the impression of being someone reaching the twilight of his career.

      Perhaps Covid just messed with his S&C in a big way. But he looked slow to turn and reset and slow to change his line which is not really great in a 13.

      I could see him at 15 where in attack he can pick a line and run it, in defence he has to cover the ground, which he still does, but he doesn’t have to adjust as instantly, but I see him more as utility cover.

      I hope that this is a blip, and with a more normal season next year, he’s back to his best.

  • Juan_Time

    Thanks MST. Best thing I would say about your team is it has a great bench. Front row fine, Simmons no. McReight has a big future, but needs more time and physique. He will be up against Savea / Cane & Du Toit / Kolisi. If McReight is ready, Hosea is. If for whatever reason you didn’t want Hooper, prefer Valetini (6) and Wright (7) combo.
    3 untested inside backs, and a FB who can be excellent but has some downside risk. Too much. Maybe a couple of them mixed in.
    White will be first picked 9, To’omua will be in (10 or 12) and both international class.

  • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

    I would not have Swinton anywhere near the national team until he can demonstrate that his tackling technique (or lack thereof) makes him anything other than a walking liability.

    • Dally M

      Wow, one bad tackle and he’s a walking liability. It’s not like he’s Owen Farrell…

  • Hoss

    Gday Shaggers,

    A day late and a buck short, but it says that on my business cards anyway – so….

    Attached are the final results from the GAGR XXIII as voted by 46 wise and true from these hallowed pages. We can compare to MST’s picks above. I have shown the final 23 with allowances for a 5/3 or 6/2 bench and the actual votes for your consumption:

    Thanks for all who voted and GO THE REDS & stick it to em WALLABIES !!!!!

    Wallaby XXIII

    1. James Slipper
    2. Folau Faiingaa
    3. Taniela Tupou
    4. Matt Phillip
    5 Lukhan Solikaia- Lotu
    6. Liam Wright
    7. M Hooper
    8. Pete Samu
    9. Tate mcDermott
    10 JOC2.0
    11. Marika Koroibete
    12 Matt T
    13 Jordan Petaia
    14 Flipio Daugunu
    15 Dane Haylett-Petty

    16. Brandon PA
    17 Scott Sio
    18 7A’s
    19. Angus Blyth
    20. Cadeyrn Neville / Harry Wilson depending on split – I’d have Big Harry as Pete Samu will bust his arse all game and need replacing around 65.
    21 Nic White
    22 Reece Hodge
    23 Irae Sinone / Will Harrison – depending on split (JOC off and WH to 10 / matt t off, JOC to 12 and WH to 10). I like WH’s running game and left foot kick so he makes my 23 over IS – plus his goal kicking is out of sight

    Not sure of Moses’ left field idea of ‘getting back on the grass’, but having been to the Shaky Isle a few times its consistent with the practises of many who have a propensity to inhale local ‘herbs’. Guess i know where the name ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’ comes from then. Hell, i dont care what he does as long as we win.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3068b63812b58698cce9955a138bc8823ad48ec686d5936bca0ca2609e88bd18.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fb60799c703a4ff90695ff750d2d3b96eee10889776ccac80649e20be47f0cbc.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/adc019cec3af1e911c0c9cd4f4e8efee83b694ffb865c8a70b9d2112871a9210.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/deb976e22ff70f24f8fc2950a0a266d3406515f5e9e77282e6a14f9ac7753555.jpg

    • RedAnt

      Thanks, Hoss. Pretty decent team that! I’d definitely swap out DHP for Banks (and probably Hooper) but that’s being picky. What really struck me when making my selections was how hard it was to choose in pretty much every position except lock and hooker – there are multiple, genuinely talented options everywhere else. That’s a bloody good problem to have.

      • Hoss

        G’day RA,

        yep agree with most. DHP doesn’t make my 23, but the votes are the votes. I also reckon he will start JOC & MT and go a 6/2 bench with Hodge picked as cover for 11,13,14,and 15. So White and Hodge on the pine. I was surprised more people didn’t vote Wilson McReight in greater numbers, but at that point Isi was still a consideration. With 3 piggies on the bench and at least one specialist lock i reckon he will pick two loosies to round our 6 forward reserves.

        • RedAnt

          Ahh, it’s an inexact science, innit?

        • Alister Smith

          Does he go with a specialist lock on the bench or an LSL, Ned Flanders type.

        • Hoss

          Evening Al,

          For mine the bench is shaping up as tougher choices than the XV. It depends if he goes a 6/2 bench and given he’s going to play up beat, high octane footy I believe he has too – as opposed to a 5/3. Having JOC and Matt T in the run-on buys him a 6/2 bench with White and TBA as cover – likely Hodge.

          The reserve piggies seem straight forward but 19,29 and 21 are a lottery. Said above I’d start Wilson who at 195cm and 110kgs gives us an advantage early over Pete Samu at 185 and 102 respectively. Plus Samu would be handy in wider channels and pilfering from 55mins onwards. So my bench – Horton (speed Off bench) 7A’s, The SS, Philps, Hosea and Samu.
          Combinations, experience, speed and size.

        • Alister Smith

          I think your nickname for Hosea will be a bewdy when you get around to it…but I don’t have an idea what it will be.

          I am comfortable that there is enough talent in the 44-46 to get a match day 23 that, with a good game plan that everyone understands, can be competitive against the ABs so I am sort of happy anyway.

          One where I definitely do agree with you (though others may not) is starting Hooper. The way he played through our domestic comp suggests to me that he should get first crack at the position and I think he plays to the coaches direction so, if the coach gives he different directions, he will be flexible enough to adapt.

        • Huw Tindall

          White starts in Bled 1 for sure. The weakest part of Tate’s game is his pass not unlike the much maligned Nick Phipps. Tate though has a world class running game and punches above his weight in the defensive stakes.

    • UTG

      Geez, looks to be a fair number of closet Hooper supporters on the site. To them I say, don’t be afraid to come out against the noisy minority.

      If we exclude Blyth and Neville, since they’re not included in the squad, who are our next reserve locks?

      • Hoss

        Hello UTG,

        Was a bit surprised by that one honestly – in a good way. He was in my Starting XV, but i expected him to be shunted to the pine by the Northern lot in favour of McReight.

        The GAGR XXIII was from the 46 we originally selected – hence Blythe & Neville in the selections. For mine Simmons deserves a spot and also one imported lock – likely Rodda i reckon. Coleman had one good season in 17 and then faded and Arnold was building but then knicked-off. So i start with LSL an Simmo and have Philips and / or Rodda as reserves. You gotta have Harry Wilson somewhere in your 23 i reckon.

        • Yowie

          Are you hanging on to your list of Hooper supporters for Joseph McCarthy style recriminations later?

        • Hoss

          you know who you are……..

        • UTG

          I’d also have Wilson starting at 8 but I note Rennie mentioned he was “rough around the edges” so I’m wondering if he’s going to have him come from the bench. Given that they seem to be putting a lot of emphasis on off the ball work, I’m also wondering if Valetini is in the frame to start at 6. He and Wright both do a lot of dirty work but Valetini has a brutality in defence that is needed at test level. Either way, I think one of Wright and Samu starts for lineout capabilities.

          I’m fairly sure we’ll see a lock or locks back from overseas. One scenario is that Rodda signs with an Aus Super Side next year like White (Force or Tahs) so he’s not included in the overseas players.

        • idiot savant

          Im with you. I think the 6 will be abrasive – Swinton or Valentini with Samu the jumper. Wright as the reserve open side. But I wouldn’t have Wilson starting. I’s be surprised if his young body isn’t just about had it for this season so its bench for me. I think we are a number 8 short.

        • UTG

          Agree, Wilson hasn’t had those run metres he did pre-COVID. I assume part of this is him being targeted in defence but I wonder if he also got a tap on the shoulder from Rennie and told to work on his off ball involvements (as Dempsey and Isi supposedly did). His workrate in defence does seem to have increased.

          We probably won’t play the Saffas this year but if we were to a backrow of Wright-Hooper-Samu seems way too light to take on their pack. We definitely see a big guy at 6 in that case.

        • Huw Tindall

          The OS players won’t be with the squad for the NZ Bled’s as they are outside World Rugby Regulation 9, otherwise known as the Powerful English and French Clubs Flexing Their Muscle Regulation. Given that Simmo comes roaring back into the frame given his experience and lineout expertise. To be fair to Simmo he upped his physical impact in Super AU so is in good nick right now. Rodda hasn’t played any rugby since Picone persuaded him to quit his well paying job in the middle of a pandemic so he is out even if he is still chilling in his backyard in Queensland.

      • Too Little Too Late

        I’m a proud Hooper supporter.
        Would be first name on the team sheet for me (but love the way McReight is going about his business).
        He brings a lot to the team and I’d imagine players during the warm up looking over at him and not just knowing but truly believing that he is going to give everything for the Wallabies tonight. That sort of commitment makes others lift their game.
        He will be a pest at the breakdown (not as strong on the jackal as Poey or McReight), make a ton of tackles, strong supporting runs in the wider channels, excellent ball placement when tackled, mopping up in defence if someone makes a break.
        I think he is unfairly maligned by fans who want a pilfering machine, but he has many strings to his bow.
        I am a fan

      • idiot savant

        I picked Hooper at 7( but I wish he was a hooker). And if you’d have to pick blokes on heart he’d be the first player I would choose every time. But I would’ve picked Pocock over him all the time during the Chieka era. Hooper was first choice open side in the worst losing streak for 30 years. Was he the only one in step? Or was there an issue with the role the open side played during those long years? But right now he’s better than Wright and its too early to expose McReight’s young body to the All Blacks. And there’s no better open sides in Oz (tho I do like Miller). I hope Rennie can get him to play the role in a way that achieves a better team result than we’ve had for the last 5 years.

  • McWarren

    MST I don’t disagree much with team you’ve chosen but if form is your guide I’m not sure how McDermott isn’t starting. I’d have either McDermott and O’Connor or white and Toomua, the pair not starting are on the bench. Maddoxs should not get the gig over Banks (nor Campbell if he was in the squad). I understand the choice of Simmons but I’d drop either him or Philip for LSL. Tom Horton would be my replacement hooker. I like the backrow but I would as I’m a Banana bender. Glad too see Hooper not picked on his current form, which hasn’t been awful just not better than the others. I think Sio is lucky too make the bench, his scrummaging has been rubbish all year and there seems to be any number of alternative from all the teams.

    Fingers crossed all games go ahead and this all just isn’t academic.

    • RedAnt

      Pretty much agree 100%!

  • Brumby Runner

    A couple of spots in the Wallabies 23 that I disagree with.

    I’m not sure about Liam Wright in the No 6 spot. He is a lot more effective as a No 7, and it becomes a question of who would add more to the team there, Wright or Hooper. Wright at 7 would allow the strongest backrow to be put together, whether that is Valetini or Samu at 6 and Samu or Wilson at 8.

    I am sure that Rob Simmons is not one of the best second row pairings we can manage. For all the hype (mostly tripe this year) about his lineout prowess, both Neville and Philip had it over him in recent SRAu games, at lineout time as well as in general play. Philip and LSL would be my second row pairing.

    I do particularly like your bench. Made up entirely, if I’m not mistaken, with Reds and Brumbies, as it should be.

    They tell me Owen Farrell has also been suspended from Saracens. Do they have anybody who can play No 10?

    • It’s hard to be 100% sure, but Saracens second string beat Exeter second string at the weekend – they’re both building up for big European matches this weekend and Exeter have already qualified for the end of season jollies, Saracens are relegated for off-field naughtiness.

      However, their replacement for Farrell looked decent in the circumstances. This weekend, they’re playing Leinster at Leinster. It will be a whole different ballgame.

      • Brumby Runner

        Thanks EP, but my post was meant as an attempt at irony or sarcasm given MST’s incorrect identification of Farrell.

        • Sorry, it was early and my irony detectors were still not working

        • Who?

          Yeah, a little bit harsh on Lightning MacQueen to compare him to that dirty thug Farrell! :-D

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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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