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

The Tuesday Top 5

Ok, so it’s Tuesday and by now I’m sure you know the Drill. Good, bad and ugly, Report Card and some other stuff. This time we listen to what Rod Kafer is saying, look at some positives from up north and we dug up some highlight videos just to make us feel a bit better about rugby at the moment.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Good – So often in games we have to sit through replay upon replay while the TMO sifts through the footage looking for evidence of this or that. It takes a long time and usually the fans can see what the TMO is looking for after just the first replay (even though we then have to sit through another 5 or 6 replays). Well on the weekend Lions centre Rohan Van Rensburg saved us all the pain of that process when he told referee Angus Gardner to call off the TMO because he definitely knocked the ball on. A great move by a player who would obviously rather get on with the game than wait around while the referees watched the screen. Thanks Rohan!

Bad – A pet hate of mine … players in the hands of the medics, seemingly in lots of pain, who jump up and re-join the action the moment the referee calls a penalty/hands out a card. Now I’m not saying Crotty wasn’t injured, but he looked on the verge of leaving the field before Peyper awarded the penalty. Then suddenly he was up and running again. Must be a bloody good team medic.

Ugly – Some of the refereeing we have seen recently has been pretty ugly. Missed penalties, inconsistent calls – these are things we are pretty much used to. But for a referee, and a very experienced one at that, to ignore the call from his AR that Red 2 was offside, responding with “We’ll get it next time”? That’s a new level of poor. I’m pretty sure he didn’t get it next time either.

Embed from Getty Images

Report Card

Rebels C- They were just inconsistent. At times their scrum looked ok, but then it got hammered. Their lineout was a big mess, Rangi had a bit of a shocker. Another high penalty count didn’t help them (12 penalties this match, 104 in total so far this season at an average of 11.5 per match), and silly errors once again let them down.

Reds B+ The Reds came out flying in the first half and just blitzed the Lions. They scored some great tries (especially for a team that scores very few tries usually) and it was their forwards crossing the line. Their scrum looked good again and they managed to keep the Lions out of the match. They just need to keep the pressure up right until the final whistle, 2 weeks in a row they have let the opposition get a bonus point after the siren.

Brumbies E They got on the board early, giving us all a false sense of hope, but to be honest they were just rubbish for the rest of the match. They weren’t helped by some “interesting” calls at scrum time (and other points) but did themselves no favours whatsoever. They looked completely inept, lacked basic skills and leadership, and their decision making was poor. Even against 13 men they couldn’t get points. Hopefully they use the bye week to … well where do they start? So much work to do.

Caleb Timu scored a first half intercept try

Caleb Timu scored a first half intercept try

 

Inconvenient truth?

“The one thing that our Australian teams want to go to all of the time is to set piece, they don’t want to play the game,”

“We talk about heads up rugby and having an understanding of how we want to play, yet we’re not a country who wants to play heads up rugby,” Kafer said on Fox Sports.

Sometime people have a good point other times you wonder what’s really behind the rant. Cue Rod Kafer on Saturday night. Yes, some of what he said is very valid but I can’t help but wonder about the timing and if the rant serves as more of a deflection.

I was wondering what hat was Kafer wearing when he got on his soap box? Fox Sport analyst? Or did his rant come more from some deeper place?

Say being on the panel that recommended McKellar as the Brumbies coach? I am thinking that the 126 game Brumbies veteran standing on Canberra Stadium watching the Brumbies under the coach he recommended get humiliated and crash to a record poor season must be hard. Or was it in his role as head of the Australian Rugby coaching panel?

I can’t help but be sceptical about the real motivation or harsh realities behind his criticism. Maybe the reality for Kafer and RA is far closer to home than they want to concede; especially for Kafer.

Embed from Getty Images

This from the coach he recommended:

“Our attitude, intent and effort … if you win games off the back of that, you win tonight. Unfortunately when you’re playing the best in the world … effort, attitude and intent doesn’t always win the game,” McKellar said.

If that is not a clear enough message about what is up with the Brumbies and why they lost I cannot see how players could not be held accountable.

I want to be fair here and give Kafer some benefit of doubt so let’s have a look what’s happening at the other Aussie teams he is involved with as head of the Australian Rugby Coaching panel.

Wessels pinpointed discipline and poor set-piece execution as the key areas of the game where the Rebels faltered against the Stormers. “It’s been a perpetual problem right through the whole season,” he said about his team’s lack of discipline.  “And it’s not skill errors … it’s just lazy stuff like not getting back onside.”

The Reds had a good win on the weekend so surely the RA company line should be coming from there loud and clear? “I can’t really afford to think about Australian rugby,” Thorn said

Well, one the positive for Kafer and RA this week in this is the Waratahs. After being comprehensively beaten by the Lions the week previous the coaching staff have let Hooper be the mouth piece and bang on about doing stuff better and things like that. Although he’s not a coach its equally inspiring and insightful words:

“Once we got a few points behind we were chasing the game and tried to play those high pressure plays and (that) unfortunately showed a bit of immaturity in our team,” Hooper said. “It’s something we’ve got to improve at.”

So, I can’t help but agree with Kafer. It’s the players fault. It has to be as between the mixed messages, nothing statements, obvious observations and the fact the players are not being able to translate the coaching rubbish in to results off their own backs who else can we blame?

But I think we should isolate the problem just a fraction more. Leadership. Hooper gives us a good clue that when it comes to those players letting teams down it’s not those players in leadership roles. The coaches have selected  them to lead the teams based on their experience and maturity as well as leadership qualities.  The discipline issues certainly are nothing to do with the captains, right?  Immaturity; no chance as there are Wallabies at the helm of all the sides leading the way and setting the example. In the Brumbies and Waratahs cases we are talking 100 caps or close each with Carter and Hooper on top of their international experience.

It begs the question of who is it actually lacking the “core fundamentals” as Kafer put it? But I wonder who’s job would it be to work that out?

Coach:

  1. countable noun: A coach is someone who trains a person or team of people in a particular sport.
  2. verb: When someone coaches a person or a team, they help them to become better at a particular sport.
  3. countable noun: A coach is a person who is in charge of a sports team.
  4. countable noun [oft noun NOUN]: A coach is someone who gives people special teaching in a particular subject, especially in order to prepare them for an examination.
  5. verb: If you coach someone, you give them special teaching in a particular subject, especially in order to prepare them for an examination.
Dan McKellar and Sam Carter post match press conference

Dan McKellar and Sam Carter post match press conference

 

You just need to be good enough not the best

Well played the Reds. The reality in sport is that if you play to the best of your abilities, whatever level it is, and to whatever level you have on that day the opposing team needs to play better than you to beat you.  It shows that you don’t have to be the best to get results you just need to be good enough on the day. That’s exactly what the Reds did on the weekend and what they have done right through this season.

It’s quite entertaining as an outsider to read the comments in forum in the lead up to Reds games each week. The love hate affair Thorn has with supporters is quite an entertaining situation. In summary most weeks we see the call put in and the hit man booked for Monday by most of the Reds supporters. Then on Sunday the hits being hurriedly called off due to the unexpected showing from the team and Thorn given another temporary stay of execution.

Thorn is succeeding in building a team from a group of players of mixed levels of talent and abilities into a reasonably competitive unit. Working from that fundamental platform of the set piece his players are learning their roles, building confidence in their roles and in their team-mates. We can see at times how his players are then extending themselves beyond their base roles and being creative; sometimes getting it right but at others learning from the experience.

The Reds may not the best but what is setting them apart is they are becoming more consistent at playing to the best they can. It’s now good enough to get results if teams slip up and good enough to enable them to keep growing and improving.

It something that the other Aussie franchises might want to take note of. It’s a simple strategy and so far, not a bad one from a rookie coach. Play your game to your strengths and make the opposition beat you.

One thing that might (and still could!) have enlisted the support of more of the Reds and potentially even other Aussie rugby supporters would be some communication about the plans and direction Thorn intends to take the Reds. A good bit of PR may have the Reds fans far more onside – but Thorn seems to be letting the team do the talking for him.

Hamish Stewart's 1st half break led to a try be Brandon Paenga-Amosa

Hamish Stewart’s 1st half break led to a try be Brandon Paenga-Amosa

Highlights

With everything looking a bit bleak at the moment  and with a lot of negativity floating around, we thought we’d throw in some highlights. Just to remind ourselves that it isn’t all terrible all the time.

Check out the highlights of our U 20’s against Fiji at the Oceania Championships. They young guys looked very sharp.

And here we have the Reds, finally giving us some highlights we can feature!

  • BG

    Which of those U20’s teams will produce the most Wallabies?

    • Nutta

      Dunno, but I’m guessing one will provide more NZ tax-payers then the New Zealand one ever will for sure.

  • Julius

    Ugly: An Australian making idiotic accusations about Ryan Crotty: a player frequently targeted because of his record of head injuries– and still in doubt for this week because of that late shoulder charge–but not a single word on the vile stiff arm to Israel Dagg’s head that left him concussed and with a badly injured knee as he dropped like a stone. He is gone for the season; his international career looks to be gone as well.

    • IIPA

      Julius mate. Your point about Crotty’s history is valid and he doesn’t seem like the sort of player to milk something but there didn’t look a lot in it and he did jump up rather suddenly….eventually.

      Peni’s hit was borderline red but it was dumb rather than intentional. And if you reckon that arm was “stiff” then I’ve got something to show you.

      • Julius

        It was as clear a stiff arm to the head as you’ll ever see. Peni has history for this kind of foul play. His last suspension was for four weeks. I can only imagine the outrage had this happened to an Australian player instead of the luckless Dagg.

        Just getting up doesn’t mean you are OK. Crotty has a lot of guts for a small bloke. He’s played on with serious injuries before– to his detriment. The medics always take a careful look at him. When some oaf insinuates Crotty made some “miracle recovery” he deserves to be called out for it…especially when he fails to mention a despicable act of thuggery that looks to have ended a great player’s career.

        • Greg

          Gosh, you have seen some different video to what I have.

          The shot on Dagg was poor but I think it was careless rather than malicious.

          In the end this makes no difference to Dagg who is injured but to brand it “despicable thuggery” doesn’t fit with what i have observed.

        • John R

          Careless indeed. But he went out of his way to apologise and signal that he was clearly in the wrong. So it’s a bit off to claim it was intentional.

        • st saens

          Agree Greg. Peni’s tackle was clumsy and dangerous, but certainly not thuggery. He was obviously remorseful immediately after…not the response of a thug. To imply intent without knowing what the player was really thinking (or not thinking) is simply irresponsible.
          Equally, for the author of this article to imply that a player (Crotty) is feigning injury is similarly irresponsible.

        • Julius

          I saw the same video the SANZAAR judiciary saw:

          “Foul play review committee chairman Nigel Hampton QC said in a statement today: “With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 6 weeks. The player has received two previous periods of suspension for similar incidents in the preceding 12 months, and the Foul Play Review Committee added a further week to the sanction for that aggravating factor. However, taking into account mitigating factors including the Player’s remorse shown on field and his pleading guilty at the first available opportunity, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to 5 weeks.”‘

          This is worth repeating: :The player has received two previous periods of suspension for similar incidents in the preceding 12 months”

          Peni is a serial thug who specialises in cheap shots.

        • Who?

          Repeated suspensions don’t prove thuggery. They may well prove a technical issue that needs serious attention (attention we’re clearly not capable of providing in Australia for the majority of this century), but neither is clearly proven by a track record of suspension.
          Personally, I’d prefer to give a player the benefit of the doubt.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I hate peopke like you coming on here to try and make a point. Look no player goes on the field to try and hurt someone. Yeah players fuck up at times, either frustrated or careless or even just poor technique. But by far worse is you coming onto an Australian site with a holier than thou attitude, that is just bullshit. I know you’ll smash me for this and you won’t change but you really aren’t doing yourself any favours. Just let it go, and if you can’t then go on o e of the many NZ sites where this is appreciated by other small minded people.

        • Happyman

          Nice well put KRL.

        • Kokonutcreme

          KRL

          The poet in me writes this as a response to Julius rage

          “Over time suppressed rage, can cause people to disengage and feel trapped in a cage for an age.

          So turn not the other cheek but instead the webpage.

          Take the stage to engage in debate to best gauge, others comments whether foolish or sage.

          Feel not enraged or estranged if things blowup, instead take a concrete pill and harden the f**k up”

        • Muzz

          You should be a professional poet Koko!

        • Nutta

          Do you do Haiku?

        • Greg

          @disqus_qfR0vmV3fP:disqusjust in case it isn’t obvious… KRL is a kiwi.

        • Merrow

          I was outraged when Poey was neck rolled by a Highlanders player a couple of weeks ago, and the player concerned wasn’t cited. That my friend was thuggery, and intentional.

        • Happyman

          There always seems to be enough outrage for anyone. I am always amused when an act of foul play is perpetrated by a Kiwi the first thing to come about is how it is out of character for him and he is a good bloke really. Those same people are then the ones that carry on about how despicable it is for a player from another country who dares touch one of theirs. He got a yellow and was suspended fair call, but his first reaction after the act was to go to the player to check he was OK and apologise. So to call him grub is a myopic view of the facts.
          Players staying down is becoming an issue in rugby whether you like to admit it or not.

        • Miss Rugby

          And even better, the Crusaders medic and other players who shoved Peni away when he was just trying to check on Dagg.

        • Gun

          The Kiwi nation are the ultimate virtue signallers.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Not all of us mate. In fact I think it’s a minority, however a very loud minority

        • Nutta

          Look, it’s all pretty standard fare:
          Kiwi says Peni = Oz says Dixon
          Kiwi says Quade Cooper = Oz says Owen Franks
          Kiwi says Michael Brial = Oz says Frank Bunce
          Kiwi says Dean Mumm = Oz says Michael Jones
          Kiwi says Poido = Oz says Shelford
          Kiwi says Sam Scott-Young = Oz says Richard Loe
          Kiwi says ‘Wild Bill” Cerutti = Oz says Colin Meads

          And so it goes… Get over ourselves guys.

          Besides, everyone knows Kiwi’s are filthy little perverts anyway.

        • Hoss

          my staff just shot me a look for laughing out loud.

    • Custard Taht

      Ugly: Kiwi coming on an Australian Rugby website and mistakenly thinking we should give a shit about upsetting kiwis, because someone called it as they saw it.

    • Alister Smith

      I’m an Aussie but I think its very dangerous to accuse any player of this, particularly Crotty who has no history of it. And its a fair point about the injury to Dagg but I don’t think there was any intent in it – it would have been called reckless at an NRL Judiciary.

    • MST

      Hi Julius. I appreciate your point of view and happy to be critised. But can I draw to your attention to the fact that I did not say he was uninjured and like many I am aware if his history of injuries and in particular concussion which is a serious issue for our game. Crotty appeared to be leaving the field due to the hit which seemed both prudent and legitimate. However the coincidence in the penalty being awarded and his immediate recovery is what I disliked. From my point of view although legitiment and even taking his immediate recovery as mere coincidence, it is certainly doing other players who suffer genuine injury from similar hits no favours as his “recovery” could cloud the judgement of referral going forward as the question the legitimacy of an injury.

      As for Peni’s tackle .I am happy for the judiciary to decide on rather than I speculate. Irrespective of the out come I feel really sadness for Dagg and the way his season had ended.

      • Braveheart81

        Peni has been suspended for 5 weeks.

        • Hoss

          And deserves every minute. Coaches fairly / mostly unfairly cop plenty – comes with the territory. But in my experience you cant coach ‘dumbness’, its bullet-proof, impervious to water and a force unto itself.

          McKellar rightfully cops his share on here – but i dont envy him, just how does he coach ‘dumb’ out of his side is the $64 question (and yeah i am looking squarely at you Hawera)

        • Nutta

          Ouch, it’s hot
          Ouch, it’s hot
          Ouch, it’s hot
          Ouch, it’s hot
          Ouch, it’s hot
          Ouch, it’s hot

        • Hoss

          A wise man once said………

      • Julius

        “it is certainly doing other players who suffer genuine injury from similar hits no favours as his “recovery” could cloud the judgement of referral going forward as the question the legitimacy of an injury.”

        The penalty was for an obvious act of foul play: a late, no arms tackle. The awarding of it had nothing to do with Crotty being injured or not. Crotty didn’t have a leg injury…his ability to stand wasn’t impaired.

        • Nutta

          Just out of interest Julius, where did you sit with Sonny Bill Williams hit on Anthony Watson? Or on Owen Franks fascination with Kane Douglas’ eyes? Or with Dixon’s infatuation with Pocock’s neck? Or on any one of Dylan Hartley’s 16,142 weeks of suspensions etc etc etc? Seriously mate, these discussions are bottomless pits of “He said. She said.”

        • Saus

          Let’s not forget Paul Carozza breaking Richard Loe’s elbow 10 minutes after Squabba scored ;-)

        • Bobas

          DHP getting penalised for a shoulder to shoulder on Savea while chasing the ball because he dived…

        • McWarren

          I had nearly removed that from the memory banks. Thanks, thanks a bloody lot.

    • Mica

      Players with a record of head injuries are frequently targeted by other rugby players……….really??
      How do you come up with this?
      Hope Dagg makes a speedy recovery. No one likes to see a player get hit like this, but it looked accidental to me when played at full speed and Peni did show considerable concern.
      Not excusing the tackle, just noting the reaction of the player who committed it and the fact that this is not how a “thug” normally reacts to hurting someone.

  • st saens

    “Thorn is succeeding in building a team from a group of players of mixed levels of talent and abilities…” Wow talk about patronising!! Majority ot the team are U23 players of immense talent and ability and would be potential future Wallabies if Australia was a level playing field (ie Sydney north shore surgically excised and submitted for pathological examination).
    (My god what pathology I could find there, peering down my little microscope!!)

  • Gareth

    Thorn is on the right track, the reds are improving and to be honest i think they are the only Aussie team actually getting better from week to week. The tahs are better than last year but im not sure they are better than week 1 – 2018. The rebels are going backwards especially compared to their early season form and the Brumbies are just awful.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I agree mate. They are learning and will make mistakes but at least they are moving forward.

  • Christopher

    How good are the Reds getting 5 point for receiving a kick-off!! (Clip above)

  • Christopher

    That was excellent work between ASY and G Smith for the 4th try.

    • Hoss

      Great call mate – the skill and hands of the two was sublime.

      Fijian 7’s eat your heart out.

  • Tomthusiasm

    The TMO in the Canes vs Sunwolves was too eager to pipe up. He intervened at least four times, two calls that were unnecessary IMO and it got really annoying as the game went on. The ref was also pretty rubbish and let the TMO dictate the game.

  • Fatflanker

    Well done to van Rensburg – a small gesture perhaps but good sportsmanship, especially when the Lions were chasing the game.

    • McWarren

      I think it shows his intelligence, don’t waste time checking, just get on with it. They back their fitness over all teams so don’t give the big Reds forwards a break. And it was good sportsmanship.

      • Nutta

        I’m pleased to see someone else is as cynical as me. Yes it was sportmanship. But it also stopped a serious chunk of time lost when they had a game to catch.

    • Mica

      Great to see someone playing in the spirit of the game. Hats off.
      Especially after seeing a lot of other play on the weekend that was not in the spirit of the game.

  • Fatflanker

    Get a load of this bloke – take some stopping 5m out from the line, that’s for sure:
    https://www.nrl.com/news/2018/04/29/jordan-mailata-selected-in-nfl-draft-by-philadelphia-eagles/

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Nice write up again MST. I think that Brumbies performance wass almost a E- but it really doesn’t matter when it’s that bad.The Reds game was very good. Loved the passion and just sheer heart that came through by the players during the gamme. I think Thorn’s biggest challenge is how to maintain that and as he’s still learning it may take some time.

    I think Kaffer is just showing his frustrations and has identified what is a very big problem in Australian rugby. What I really want to see is his solutions both short term and long term that will resolve the issues. I think a lot does go on the players and it’d be interesting to see what they recognise as their weaknesses and then what they are doing to resolve these.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Good article, but an E is way too generous for the Brumbies.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Yeah I was thinking that too. Trouble is E is about as bad as it gets

      • Ed

        F.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think an F is reserved for no score,at all

        • Hoss

          Leave my Tah’s out of this KRL – keep the negativity concentrated on the Ponies if you will.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Hahahaha true. Sorry mate

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Two moments stick out for me. First, the inability to score against 13 men on their try line (including the idiotic decision to go for a line out when you have a dominant scrum at that point AND the other team just lost a lock).

        Second, the pathetic decision to kick the penalty when down 5-21. I’m usually a proponent of taking the points when they’re offer, but when you’re 16 points down and there are still 40+ mins to play it is pretty evident that you’re not going to catch them scoring in multiples of three. What were they playing for, the losing margin? The rage of the crowd at that decision summed everything up.

        • Mica

          You forgot going to the blind 5 metres out with 1 Brumby on about 3 Crusaders and then getting turned over – unbelievable!!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          That was so stupid it was almost unfathomable.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I was ok with a penalty, even if just to settle things down, but yeah as said elsewhere; just dumb decision after dumb decision

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Let’s hope that this is exactly what Kafer is going to build for Australia

  • Bernie Chan

    Bloody hell…as if rugby in Oz wasn’t already struggling…hot off the press news is Nick Phipps was removed from a bar for urinating on the bar! It was apparently his bucks night….jeez…

    • Saus

      Not a patch on Carney’s effort though ;-)

  • Ed

    Our best results at the U20 world championships since it began in 2008 have been fourth in 2009, second in 2010 and third in 2011 (the last time we made the semis).
    We won the U19 rugby world championship in 2006.

  • Keith Butler

    To be fair to the Rebels they will always be on a hiding to nothing. To expect a combination of two middling teams to hit the ground running and finish at the top of their conference is just plain stupid. Having a good start didn’t help their cause. They have a decent squad which needs time to gel. A mid table finish would be OK with me.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I agree mate. Those early wins really raised expectations a bit high I think. I’d lime to see a bit more consistency in their game plan and less dramatic falling away but overall they are still better than last year

  • Gallagher

    MST – sorry mate but I disagree re the Reds. How can you say there is progress when;

    – They have the WORST ATTACK in the comp
    – Only the EIGHTH BEST DEFENCE in the comp
    – Their FORM is only better than four other teams (Blues, Brums, Wolves, Rebels)
    – Refusal to utilise Cooper/Duncan/Hunt (and even Stewart until this week) when there are clear issues with running the back line
    – A team rating currently placing them at their 4th lowest rating since 1996!

    I hazard you are one of the love hate relationship feeders with Thorn also!

    I DO agree with your last paragraph though, Thorn needs to show he knows what he is trying to do and can teach strategy to the team, and HOPE LIKE HELL it shows up that he does have more of a plan than simply grunt ‘never give up’ and ‘fight hard’ etc etc, otherwise they will continue to run out of puff, and flash in the pan half time results like against the Lions will continue to be few and far between.

  • Thomas English

    I think the Reds’ performance highlights how much Aussie rugby has underachieved of late. For mine, they’re good enough to beat anyone. If every Aus team played like the Reds did, but for 80 minutes, we would win more than we lose.

Rugby

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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