The Tuesday Top 5 - Green and Gold Rugby

The Tuesday Top 5

The Tuesday Top 5

This week in the Top 5 we look at the good, bad and ugly, recap the Wallabies win over Wales and look at the Stats, say goodbye to the NRC and just throw in some stuff I thought was interesting.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Good – how good was the NRC final? A tough match fought out by the 2 best teams in the comp.

Bad – No more NRC. I really enjoyed it this year, I think it has been the best year yet.

Ugly – I was relying on the Senate report for something as it’s the gift that keeps giving but as usual the damn politicians are unreliable and it’s been delayed!

13 in a row

Yep, that’s 13 times in a row now we’ve beaten Wales. The last time they defeated us was November 29th 2008. But this game was a little different. Wales ran. Their traditional kicking game wasn’t as prevalent, they looked to be playing a new style of game for Wales. And it nearly worked too. They were sorely let down by their handling, I lost count of how many times they knocked the ball on at the end of a really good set of phases or a line break, a few times when they looked set to score. It was a bit reminiscent of the Wallabies we had been accustomed to watching … all promise only to be let down with sloppy handling.

The Wallabies played pretty well, but there are some individuals who will need to lift their game when they take on England (yes, the English weren’t exactly impressive against the Pumas but I wouldn’t take that too much into account). Hanigan really did little to impress, again, Kerevi was repeatedly caught high when running with the ball, showing he has a significant issue with his technique, which needs to be fixed. He was turned over in this way multiple times and lucky to get away with it at others. McMahon was very quiet and while Koroibete looked good in attack he also looked to be caught drifting in defence and having to rush to cover the side. This might account for Kuridrani’s high missed tackle count (5) if he was trying to cover various positions in defence. But the fact that despite those things we got the win is a really big plus. It shows that we can do it without all out guns firing. As a whole the team are getting it done and playing well.

On the positive side, Genia had another blinder. We can only hope that Phipps is studying him at training and learning how to pass. Beale had some moments of brilliance, he seemed to be involved in a lot of the attack. It’s awesome to have Hodge as an option for long distance goal kicking, but he still needs to be utilised more during play.

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Stats and Stuff

So how did we fare on the stat sheet? Obviously stats don’t tell the whole story, we all know this is true, but they can allow us to make some comparisons that may not have been immediately obvious from watching the game. The new style of game Wales played is reflected in the stats, with more metres, more carries and more defenders beaten. It also appears that the Welsh were very tight in defence, their tackle percentage is phenomenal! The Wallabies tightened up on defence compared to their outing in Japan and had a pretty respectable tackle percentage themselves. In the set piece the teams were actually very evenly matched. Wallabies v Wales stats After the game against Japan I compared the performance of the two back rows and suggested that the Australians might need to lift their defence against the Northern teams, and it looks like they did. They were far less attacking than they were against Japan, and a lot tighter in defence, their stats look pretty similar to those of the Welsh back row. back row stats v wales * Stats courtesy of

NRC – what a fitting finish

On Saturday night we saw Queensland Country take out this year’s NRC in an epic match which really wasn’t decided until the final couple of minutes. Country were deserved winners (and as a Vikings fan I find it hard to admit) they were the better of the two teams on the night. Their second half performance blew the Vikings away, with the home team starting to look a little fatigued towards the end of the match. Two quick tries to Country in the final 4 minutes took it from a tied game to a 14-point margin, with the Vikings just unable to sustain the defensive pressure on the line.

Last week I pondered whether the difference in the way the two semi-finals played out would have an impact on the final, and it could well have been that Queensland Country had more left in the tank after an easier semi. While many picked the Vikings pre-game, Country had been the form team for much of the competition. They spent most of the season on top of the ladder and had been playing some outstanding rugby. It was definitely a fitting finale for the competition this year, which has been the best one yet. After the match the player of the year was announced.

To the surprise of some (possibly including himself) Caleb Timu took out the award over some more highly fancied players like Tupou, Paia’Aua and Cusack. So Congratulations to Queensland Country and thanks to all the teams for a fantastic year. I can only hope that next year’s NRC is even half as entertaining!

NRC 2017 winners

Bits and Bobs

A few interesting tid bits from the world of Rugby over the weekend. In an historic match, the first ever women’s Barbarians side played Munster as the opening match to the Barbarians v Tonga at Thomond Park in Limerick. It’s a great initiative by Barbarians FC to introduce a women’s side. Nearly all of the players came from the Northern Hemisphere, where they have much more in the way of competitive women’s rugby than we do here, but hopefully it will grow to include players from New Zealand and Australia. In pretty atrocious conditions, the Barbarians ran out winners 19-0. You can read a report on the match here.

Still on the Baa Baa’s, the men’s side, led by the Melbourne Rebels recruit Geoff Parling, narrowly defeated Tonga 27-24 in what was a tight match for the whole 80 minutes. The weather was just as terrible for this match as it was for the ladies, with rain and swirling winds, but it didn’t stop an entertaining (by all accounts) match.  

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And yes, we are still on the Baa Baa’s, the effort of the night has to go to referee Frank Murphy who refereed BOTH the women’s and men’s matches in absolutely terrible conditions.

Speaking of referees, our very own Nic Berry took charge of his first tier one test match over the weekend when he refereed Scotland v Samoa. While I haven’t watched the game yet so can’t comment on his performance, I haven’t seen any negative comments. It’s good to see another Aussie ref making it to the big leagues.

And for those of you who weren’t aware of this, the Rebels played a trial match over the weekend in Japan against the Toyota Verblitz. The Japanese side took out the match 36-28 over a young Melbourne Rebels side, which featured 11 local players.


  • Jason

    With regards to Kerevi I think everyone is being a bit harsh on him, he did have 14 runs and made 55 meters. Sure that’s less meters per run than you’d like but the Welsh did focus an awful lot on Kerevi and due to lackluster games from pretty much all the backs, except Beale (buoyed by his moment of brilliance) and Genia (his match of brilliance). Even Kuridrani only had 8 for 31. All in all Kerevi got through a lot of work running the ball.

    My backline would have Beale at 10 with Kerevi and Kuridrani in the centers and Hunt at 15 organising the defence. Honestly, if you look at the whole backline Foley has been the least impressive and with Hodge kicking well he doesn’t give you enough to make up for his average performance. If we had another fly half on the tour with us I’d be considering the change against England. But I would have had Beale at 10 against Japan and again for Wales, it’s likely too late to change horses now.

    I think if there is one weak link going into the England game it will be Koroibete he’s been good in defence but without New Zealand really testing him he’s still suspect on defence in my book.

    • ALJ

      Baffling that there’s no alternative 10 on tour. Assuming that QC’s test days are over, we need to be developing someone as an alternative to Foley for RWC 2019 now – not down the track. It will be here before we know it and we will be one injury away from turning up in Japan lacking a specialist 10 with recent game time at test level

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah it’s certainly baffling. I personally don’t see Hodge, Hunt or Beale as anything except emergency fill ins. Not sure what Cheika’s plan is

        • Jason

          I think Hunt or Beale would do as a fill in, Hodge not so much but if you have an injury you’d take what you can get frankly.

          I don’t even care if you don’t take Quade, but Lance or Mason or Stewart even Paia’aua be more viable than the current options Cheika is trying to cultivate.
          The more I look at it, the more I think Cheika genuinely doesn’t have a long term plan he’s just putting out fires as they come pop up.

      • Jason

        Even our halfbacks and Hookers why hasn’t Joe Powell and Uelese playing the bulk of that Japan game. TPN is now confirmed to be going overseas and Moore is retiring. Uelese’s 15 minutes of Test Rugby and 39 minutes of Super Rugby will be enough?!
        Powell has had 30 minuets of game time this year, if he was going to play so little surely he’d be better off playing NRC all year!

      • Chinese Dave

        I don’t get this. How is it baffling? We have 0 depth at 10, and this is thanks to our Super Rugby teams, not Cheika. Hell, the Canberra NRC team is using Hawera as their 10. What do you want Cheika to do? Pull a great 10 out of his arse? He doesn’t believe in QC, it is what it is. From that point, he doesn’t really have much of a choice does he? Especially if his focus is on preparing a team for the WC, and not so much on the present.

        • Brumby Runner

          He had two options as backup No 10 for the EOYT, Cooper and Lance. While some will say that Cooper doesn’t have a ghost of a chance of a callup by Cheika and that Lance is a way off test level, it remains that both are good quality Super level, and imo there is very little between what Foley and Lance offer. One of them really should have been on the tour as backup. Will be interesting to see if Cheika has any time for Lealiifano when he comes back home.

        • Chinese Dave

          I hope he does, I’ve heard he’s been killing it in Europe. But the point is there’s nothing new under the sun here. The same old 10s that have been seen for years and nothing new. So, yes, I don’t get how this is baffling.

        • Brumby Runner

          I have to say that I am baffled by your contention that there is nothing baffling about going to Europe on the EOYT without an established No 10 as backup, when there were a couple of options available even if they are considered to be the same old – same old.

        • Alister Smith

          I wouldn’t write Cooper off just yet. The Reds had a pretty atrocious season this year (so did the Waratahs too I know plus every Australian rugby team) and Quade looked down on fitness (playing with injury not overweight) and enthusiasm and at times played behind a pretty tired pack. If Thorn and the coaching staff can turnaround the forward effort and QC isnt playing on the backfoot all the time and is getting good service from Tuttle then he might play his way back in. Having said that, with all Foley’s limitations and inconsistencies, I think that the team performs better with him there. He doesn’t have QC’s skill set but, in many ways, those limitations allow others to play a greater role whereas I feel QC sometimes takes on too much and that puts more pressure on himself. When it was a choice between those two and Toomua i would have taken Toomua every time. Jono Lance had half a decent season for the Force but had injuries and also shared the job with an ineligible saffer. He has been unable to get past either QC or Foley when he played at those clubs but he still may develop into something if given a chance (though he will probably have to head overseas to get a run now).

        • ALJ

          I’m just thinking of a scenario like in RWC 2007 where Larkham gets injured first game and an uncapped Berrick Barnes plays the rest of the tournament at 10. Wouldn’t you rather slot in someone who has a few tests under his belt – or at least has toured with the squad before and understands their systems?

        • Chinese Dave

          I agree. And I think Cheika is trying to find an option to be there for 2019 that he likes rather than just what is available now. Hence the Hodge experiment.

        • Jason

          The thing is we do have some young guys who are legitimate fly halves, Mason and Stewart were both carving it up in NRC. Paia’aua was a fucking force for Queensland Country. And Tayler Adams (maybe a Kiwi) is coming up on residency at least.

          But the fact of the matter is we have at least two test fly halves (Cooper and Foley, with Jono Lance being the third option) and we evidently (to Cheika’s mind‚ don’t have the luxury of depth to be able to select a young fly half (like those above).

          So Cheika’s solution is what, to just not have a backup in Europe. What if Foley get’s sick again or goes down with a head knock Friday before the England game.

          Truth is even if we don’t have depth we have at least two options and Cheika shouldn’t be diddling our national team. Either pick a young guy or pick fucking Quade Cooper or Jono Lance in the squad.

        • Chinese Dave

          There are two purposes (somewhat opposed) to picking someone. One is to have a backup for the actual next game if there is an injury, etc. The other is for the ultimate goal which is the world cup.

          I think Cheika thinks that the first goal would be satisfied by Beale and that the second goal would be satisfied by Hodge.

          If you believe that Cooper and Lance are not up to it (I actually like Lance, but I’m not the coach), and that the youngsters are too young and not up to it yet, then that makes sense. Personally, I think Hodge did better than Paia’aua at 10, and that the youngsters still have a lot of SR to play before they can be selected. So it sort of makes sense doing what he’s doing, certainly it’s far from baffling.

          What baffles me is how the Brumbies, a cornerstone of Australian Rugby have a rubbish Kiwi playing fly half for them and their NRC team (NRC is supposed to grow our talent, WTF????). Let’s see what the Rebels do next year. If after killing the Force and getting a gazillion dollars from the ARU they play another fucking rubbish Kiwi at 10, I might blow up to smithereens.

        • Phil Kcraig

          I believe it is simple that yes he does not believe Cooper is test standard 10 or will get better and other players playing 10 are not test standard, So hence his preference is to use test standard players who are not currently test standard 10’s but have the potential to develop into that over time (I.e. Hodge and possibly Beale). I personally don’t think it is such a crazy strategy from Cheika

        • McWarren

          Can Beale really still be considered as a potential development player?

        • McWarren

          So pick a young 10 as a development player to take on tour, not a 7 who requires a Stephen Bradbury type event to Hooper, Pocock, Gill, McMahon and the entire 2016 Rebels pack to be anywhere near the RWC squad.

    • Hoss

      Good points mate, but i actually thought Foley had one of his better, more consistent games and underplayed his hand really well. His field kicking was excellent and lead to tries, goal kicking was ok and his running and passing games were solid.

      My concern for the Poms game is Hanigan at 6, we need a firing McMahon at 8 and McCalman at 6 and if Tui is fit he should be starting with Coleman – even if only for 35-40 minutes to counter Itoje (who is a freak) and i reckon we will see Hunt to 12 and Kerevi to the bench.

      Should be a clanger this week and my tip Wallabies 35 – Soap Dodgers 21.

      Cant wait for the game

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Hunt would be much better in the backline. I’d like to see him at 13 as I think he struggles at 12 and maybe him and Kerevi can work well together. I still like Kerevi but he does seem to be struggling. But you’re right 6 and the second lock are the biggest weaknesses that will be exploited by the poms. I think if Hanigan plays there’s no way the Wallabies can win

        • Hoss

          Morning mate – i reckon you nailed it, if Ned starts, we lose and at $3 for a win i made a small investment on us….hope Cheik reads this site.

        • Jason

          I’m I’m being honest I don’t think even if we had another lock (Rodda, Arnold, or any other of the host of locking options who are out) and Tui starting at 6 we still wouldn’t win.

          My biggest problem with Foley, who did play as well as he has in a while, is that he’s still probably one of the weakest in the backline, Koroibete has his flaws but he’s also got some outstanding strengths. Even against Wales with Cheika talking about how he want’s Hodge to do more of the kicking, most of the kicking was done by Foley (15 for Foley and only 5 from Hodge and Beale combine) this will mean England can dictate the game much much more easily. With Foley making our clearances at times we are lucky to get out of our 22. England will then be able to pin us deep in our territory (through Ford and Slade) and we will really have no way out, even off the back of a penalty we could find ourselves still in our own half.

          If Foley is the one still doing the bulk of our kicking we won’t beat England, unless he comes up with some way to supercharge his kicks or our defence somehow is as good as Wales brought.

        • lee enfield

          Foley has to kick, if he doesn’t, Cheika can’t justify his selection. Foley brings nothing else to the table and even then he is bringing salad to a bbq.

        • Jason

          At this point I wouldn’t hate Beale playing 10 and Hunt at 15, but you couldn’t just whip that out against England. Even if you’d spent time with that combination against Japan etc you’d still need a genuine backup for the 2019 RWC.

        • lee enfield

          Beale, whilst not a 10, would be an upgrade on Foley. But yes not worth going with that combination this tour.

          Basically, unless injured, whilst Cheika is coach, Foley is 10.

        • Brumby Runner

          I think Cheika has Beale playing second play maker at 12 or 15 and I think that suits his game plan. Which is why Hodge at 10 wasn’t such a come down from what we’re used to with Foley there.

          With Beale acting as main or primary play maker at the 12 spot, the ball gets a bit wider and the outside backs seem to have more attacking opportunities. Foley is essentially a link man between Genia and the back line attack.

        • Damo

          No matter how many words we all write here the bloke wearing #10 on Saturday isn’t going to change. So if he and Beale are to be the playmakers can they please be playmakers. We haven’t picked a quick footed, quick thinking midfield (think Horan, BOD). We have gone with a panzer division. They can be lethal with a bit of space and momentum but that is not being created for them. How many times in the Wales test did Kerevi get the ball virtually from a standing start. .The gang defence just crawled all over him. England will be even better at that.With a bit of clever slight of hand we could be so much deeper beyond the advantage line.
          I don’t think we need to change the team so much (backrow notwithstanding). We need a game plan which better uses the resources we have got.

        • McWarren

          In defence of Foley his attacking kicks were spot on last week. It seems such an easy fix to me, Hodge kicks from inside our 22 and for goal. Foley distributes and plays his accurate attacking kicks when the time is right. I’m not a big fan of his general play but if he is being picked then let him play to his strengths.

  • Alister Smith

    I’m not a Hannigan fan and, though I think he potentially will be a very good player when he matures physically I think he would have been better off leaving him at home to finish off the NRC (well he wouldn’t have been in either of the teams anyay I suppose) and have a solid off-season in the gym. However, I do sometimes think the criticism goes a little over the top and, credit where it’s due, he made an impressive cover tackle on the weekend, his set piece is pretty decent. A number of better options going around but I am hoping, with experience, that he will come through. He does give effort and appears to be a high work rate player, too easily blow off the ball and not yet competitive at the ruck and in general play but I don’t think he is the dud everyone seems to think and I think another super rugby season and some more experience and physical growth could see him become a half decent player.

    • Ads

      Agree mate. Wales was one of his better games. I didn’t remember McCalman being vastly better when he came on (coming back from an extended break as he is). Let’s see if Tui is fit too.

    • Jason

      I do agree Wales was probably Hannigan’s best game. But he’s well short of where he needs to be to have played 10 Super Rugby games, let alone 10 test matches. He’s just not ready, and that’s not his fault, it’s Cheika’s for selecting him and playing him continuously when it’s plain to pretty much everyone he’s not ready.
      The worst part is we have players who could play that exact same role. Adam Korczyk is virtually an identical player and is much more physically imposing yet was never tried.
      Timu and Valetini showed in the NRC Final just how good they could be and should be considered above Hanigan, and Tom Staniforth is another guy who could do much of what Hanigan does and would likely be more effective.

      I just for the life of me can’t work out what Cheika’s doing with his selections they are just daft.

      • Huw Tindall

        The Ned criticism is verging on hyperbolic at times and overshadows the more level headed reasoning like your’s and Alister’s. It just seems Australian fans need someone to hate on at any given point in time and Ned is the current whipping boy. At this point in time Hanigan is a handy set piece player with a good motor who just lacks in physicality. He knows the systems inside and out having played 10 tests this year so is a relatively safe bet. As you point out though hi could be seriously at risk of next year with Timu and Valentini having absolutely sensational NRC seasons. Will be a great battle in Super Rugby next year the options in the back row – the old guard of Hooper and Pocock up against the likes of Valentini, Naisarani, Timu, Dempsey, Holloway, Tom Cusack and so on. Bloody hell the NRC has been great for developing talent and ultimately that will translate into depth!

        • Jason

          >Bloody hell the NRC has been great for developing talent and ultimately that will translate into depth!

          On this, I actually would like to see the NRC implement some kind of system where they only play players intending to play for Australia (obviously not Fiji). Not a massive issue just a small clause in their contracts that would say something to the effect of ‘My intention is to play for the Wallabies should I be selected’ a clause like that would be frankly quite meaningless, but it would at least give us a little pause before we see guys like Peter Grant and Wharenui Hawera pulling on the NRC Jersey. If they want to play Rugby maybe go back and play Currie Cup or Mitta 10.

          I did some looking during the last Super Rugby season South Africa over their 6 teams had only 4 players not from South Africa playing for their Super Rugby Teams, I don’t recall exactly how many but New Zealand were in the middle and Australia had a lot; a quick count of the current teams and the listed roster on their wiki pages puts my count at 20. And yes lots of those are guys whose full intention is to play for Australia, and to a lesser extent I’m kind of okay with that for Super Rugby. But the NRC I feel like is a good place to draw the line, and asking that they say their intention is to play for Australia isn’t too much. The only instance it would negatively impact a player is if they were suddenly capped by another team they are eligible for, and I don’t think it’s too much to say we want to develop players who intennd on playing for us. Not Peter Grant and Hawera.

          But fuck oath we are going to be so fucking stacked in the lock/second row very very soon, I genuinely think there is a real risk to Hooper’s spot if you were purely picking the best team.

        • MST

          When it comes to foreign players and only allowing them to play if they want to play for Australia I think you will find that for some you don’t need a contract as opportunity can be enough.

          You mention Hawera: “New Zealand media have reported Hawera is on the Wallabies radar and the young playmaker said he wouldn’t knock back a chance to wear Australian gold”.

          All the signs say he is committed already.

        • Jason

          I think a better example is probably Isi Naisarani, he very obviously is only going to play for Australia. My understanding is that he’s turned down playing for Fiji a number of times.

          But my point isn’t that the players are or aren’t committed to Australia, it’s more that we shouldn’t be funding players who aren’t. And putting in a relatively meaningless term in the NRC contracts would probably go a really long way towards helping shape that. If they players don’t want to (or are ineligible) to play for Australia then they are free to go play for someone else. It’s almost ridiculous the number of foreign born players we have playing in Australia. Our Rugby Union is literally paying the players to play rugby yet we can’t keep our own. I get those two things aren’t entirely related, but we should be developing our own talent at fly half not some one else’s Ben Volavola is another example of a guy who can’t play for Australia but is playing Super for us. And honestly, I don’t begrudge Ben we take to much from Fiji so I’m okay with us giving something back, but we are literally hurting ourselves by having so many foreign 10’s.

        • Warcomet

          Ben’s season with rebels ended this year, he will join Bordeaux Begles in the Top14 next month. none of the aussie soup teams picked a Drua player which is a shame as there were atleast 5 good ones.

        • Jason

          Nah the Reds lucked into one of them coming over on his own accord. Fuck Dugunu will be very handy player to have on the bench or something, can kick is a genuine world class winger. Played goalkeeper for the Fijian U20’s football team.

      • Alister Smith

        Yes you’ve raised a point I have probably missed. While he’s picking Hannigan as a development player he is preventing an opportunity for someone else to develop. Still I hope it pays dividends one day.

        • Jason

          I find it really bizarre at the moment that Cheika is really obsessed with picking guys from left field. Like Liam Wright yeah sure he’s been good for Country, but was he really good enough to go on tour; Blake Enever not bad but there were other more obvious choices. Even Matt Philip like he’s not a poor choice but it’s just really hard to see the logic being some of these selections.

          I actually think we need a board of selectors similar to what we have in Cricket for the Wallabies. The coach picks the 23, but the 33 odd squad (obviously an exception being for the World Cup) could really do well to be selected by a group of 4 or 5 guys a little more detached from the day to day of it all (perhaps obviously you’d expect the coach would be one of the selectors). The fly half and hooker situations could be being handled so much better than they are right now. Cheika has a truly world class fly half he’s keeping out of his side ‘because Reece Hodge’, sure maybe Cheika doesn’t want to play Quade for whatever reason that’s fine but if that’s the case at least pick someone else who actually plays the position, Jono Lance, Mason, Stewart even Paia’aua (who’s not a fly half but could prove capable). Like you can’t have a 34 man squad and have literally one fly half.

          As for Ned, I think the best thing for him right now would be a small injury to keep him out of the rest of the tour, and get him focusing on Super Rugby next year. Being trotted out every night and under performing isn’t going to do his long term confidence any good, I’ve actually rewatched a few of the games trying to work out what it is that Hanigan is doing to justify his continued selection when we do have other guys who could fill that role and I can’t find anything. He’s missed out on NRC and he really needed to play NRC this year and have some success because quite frankly he’s nowhere near where he needs to be to play Test Rugby right now and won’t be for a year at least.

        • Braveheart81

          Cricket is different though in that you physically need more eyeballs to watch the games. No one person can be expected to watch 3 Sheffield Shield games at once that all go for six hours a day. There’s also far less interaction between players in a cricket team. Whilst you might want an aggressive opener and a more steady opener for example, it’s far less of an issue than needing backrow balance etc.

          It seems like most people want a selection panel for the Wallabies because they think it will mean more of their favourite players make the squad (even if they don’t ultimately make the test side).

          Would we really be in a better position if Quade had been in the squad the whole time even if Cheika wasn’t going to pick him in the 23 and wasn’t even intending to pick him if Foley was unavailable?

        • Jason

          For me at least it’s less about specific guys in the 23, although Cheika has made it abundantly clear he’d rather play Jordan Uelese than Andrew Ready,
          or Reece Hodge at 10 rather than Quade Cooper (as much as I dislike Allan Jones he’s right in that there is no reason a lot of his players shouldn’t have been in the Wallabies Squads).
          A selection panel (with the coach on that panel) wouldn’t necessarily be pushing for Quade Cooper to be in the squad unless there is a really good reason for that (some think there is others less so) but what they would be able to do is to stop some of this groping in the dark that Cheika appears to be doing Liam Wright, and Blake Enever are good examples of this, there are a number of players who should probably considered before these guys, Caleb Timu who also plays for QLD Country should be chief among them. Not realizing that Rodda or Tui can genuinely play. It’s pretty clear that at times Cheika doesn’t study all the Rugby particularly not the NRC.
          But beyond this a selection panel would give a little distance and objectivity, something Cheika particularly really struggles with, Nick Phipps and Ned Hanigan (Dean Mumm before him) being in the team genuinely baffles many many people, I’m not say they are right or wrong picks nor that there is a right answer but a panel mean there are a variety of voices and of particular importance is the decisions arrived at by a process like this are generally superior to decisions made without having to justify them.

          This kind of thing very obviously doesn’t come from the media, the ARU (via actually wrote an article describing ‘hate’ towards Ned Hanigan, it’s not that people don’t like him, it’s that he’s not up to playing test rugby (at least yet) Cheika isn’t challenged on that ever, in fact the times the media do talk to him about it it’s always couched as a positive as if the media are afraid of him or something.
          If we had robust media challenging selections like they do in the cricket, today alone I have seen 6 articles about what players should be selected where all concerning different players for different reasons; we could do without a selection panel but we have neither, and the result is we have one man whose team hasn’t been performing (yet again no media attention on that beyond a few reddit threads) and too many of the decisions appear to be personal ones. It’s for this reason we need a selection panel, we are having too many guys who are being ignored because of personal/political reasons and frankly we don’t have the talent to be able to afford to do that.


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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