The Tuesday Top 5 - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

The Tuesday Top 5

The Tuesday Top 5

I’m not wasting any time today; we have many important things to discuss. So let’s get stuck right in.

5. Why so mad?

After a few articles on potential selections in recent days, the level of negativity here is starting to get to me. So I want to try and give a bit of positive spirit to the place.

Despite all the argument over selections, when it all boils down to it everyone is debating two positions.

The first is fly half. People want Quade Cooper, and seem to think JOC (the likely candidate it seems) and Barnes are abhorrent, disgusting options. But I must remind you of a few things.

Is he really the saviour of the Wallabies?

Is he really the saviour of the Wallabies?

Firstly I don’t think Deans has put a line through Quade just yet. With Kurtley seemingly gone and JOC carrying an injury I think he is still on the radar, and I am not willing to jump to the conclusions made by other writers here that he is no chance of playing.

But even if Deans DID pick Cooper (which is unlikely but as I said before not out of the question) this doesn’t miraculously turn us into a razzle-dazzle Harlem Globetrotter team that we all want to see. Don’t forget that Cooper was 10 at the RWC. Cooper was 10 in tests last year where we struggled to score tries. He isn’t the silver bullet that will turn us from chumps to champs.

The inverse is also true. JOC and Barnes aren’t going to turn us into a stodgy, negative mess. With JOC at 10 the Rebels have scored something like 12 tries in their last 3 games (against the Chiefs, Blues and Crusaders). Barnes has only played pivot at the Tahs for 10 minutes but set up a try in that time and kicked a few pressure goals. The Reds with Cooper at 10 have been OK, but apart from the first half against the Sharks they haven’t been scoring tries. I am not convinced the difference between Cooper, JOC and Barnes is that huge at 10. Certainly not big enough to drastically change our playing style, or our fortunes overall against the Lions.

The second is inside centre. People are desperate for Lealiifano, and I’d think he would certainly be in the squad. But the logic goes that Deans will pick a basher at IC who will stifle our attack and ensure the ball never gets to the wider channels. Now I don’t debate that Deans will probably pick a basher. If he picks Pat McCabe then it will be controversial, but what if he picks Rob Horne? Could many people argue with that selection? He is the #2 inside centre at the moment, and just played a dominant game against the Springbok centre pairing.

And to the second point on stifling our attack – people assume that our whole style hinges on playing two playmakers, and if we don’t we will become a negative mess. But two things contradict that assertion- our worst game last year came with two playmakers (vs NZ away) and the most attacking Aussie side this season (the Tahs) don’t play two playmakers. The Reds chalked up a great win this week with a basher at IC.  The Rebels have scored plenty of points with Rory Sidey at 12.

So if you step back and look at the big picture, everyone is more or less on the same page. The forward pack looks pretty good, with multiple options in each spot. And ultimately that is where this series will be won and lost. Forget Folau, forget Cooper, forget Beale. The pack is where it’s at, and we are looking as good as we have in years. If they get go forward ball then JOC, Barnes and Horne/McCabe are more than equipped to make things happen.

So in conclusion I am not as worried as the rest of you. Lighten up and crack a smile. Life is OK, and I expect the rugby in June to be OK as well.

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  • rebelpirate

    totally agree with u! who ever gets picked, lets just go out and support em and stop whinging…otherwise join the sea of red and David Campese! Go the Wallabies!

    • Who?

      I’ll be at the first Test in my jersey. With a big sign saying, “Down with Deans!” I’ll support the players. They give their all every game. The one thing that cannot be questioned in the last five years is the heart shown by the team. McCabe played with neck issues! I wouldn’t pick the guy, but I have huge admiration for his effort. And it’s the same with the rest of the team. It’s rare that you can say that a player didn’t give their all.

      But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t question the decisions behind the selection, and the game plan. It doesn’t mean I need to blindly follow a clearly myopic coach. It doesn’t mean I can’t think that, with better coaching, and some better selection, combined with the current level of commitment from the players, instead of having a 9/15 record last year, losing to Scotland, France, failing to score 30 points in a single Test for the first time in 31 years, scoring only one try per match, we could have more. I honestly think the players efforts aren’t rewarded with the results they deserve.

  • Pedro

    Welcome to the Internet, the spiritual home of whinging.

  • ralph


    I just watched the tahs game again. Barnes did only 2 things well in that match a pass for a try and a kick at goal from halfway. Both were done under pressure. Kudos to him however before that there was;

    a baseless chip kick when we had a 5 on 3 play in their half

    an up an under to nobody

    a fwd pass

    For all the above I can’t help but feel he is a good test player but he’s just ordinary at super level. He’s the quade opposite particle.

    • bill

      you mean QOC for short?

    • Barbarian

      You need to bear in mind that this was his first game for six weeks with a side that he has only trained with once. Cheika acknowledged in the post-game presser that there were a few issues in those early minutes, but that he clearly grew in confidence and picked up the game plan in that time.

      I maintain he showed enough to prove he can still cut it at the top level. You expect mistakes in a comeback match, but you are ultimately looking for the little touches in attack and defence, which I believe he provided.

      • Waz_dog

        How about comparing the pass that Barnes threw on the weekend to set up Izzy and the pass Cooper threw to set up Faingaa? – night and day. Cooper has toiled away at getting better at defense and I’d rate him higher than Barnes in that regard too.

        On another note, we’ve got to contend with this wrecking ball called Manu Tuilagi at outside centre who eats crash ball runners for breakfast. If you have one dimensional players in Barnes feeding off to Horne/McCabe you may as well run out the stretchers for the first phase that goes wide to them.

        Dead set, if we don’t put doubt in the mind of Manu (aka X-factor Quade out-thinking him) we will get rolled time and again in those outside channels. Having Izzy at fullback with his size would be the only person that would be capable of stopping Manu at full flight (or any of their 100+kg wingers) and that would be another reason to back him in for pulling on the No. 15.

        • the ardent b’stard

          You have hit the key factor on the head here – from Halfback Phillips – Tuilagi, Roberts, North, Cuthbert, – whatever combination, this is going to be a very large backline which will be given space by a loose trio which looks real good not matter who they pick. Gats game plan is not a secret, waves of big blokes across the park making the gain line (and repeat).
          The first test will not be a place for the nervous, new or diminutive.
          Thus no surprises when Deans goes for JOC, McCabe, AAC at 10, 12 13

        • Hugh Cavill

          Let’s not make these players out to be more than they are. Manu is a good player, but we beat him at the end of last year and he was fairly anonymous. I have watched him quite a bit and it is fair to say he is hot and cold, and I would be surprised to see him starting for the Lions. He isn’t some 150kg monster, he’s just a bashing centre- we have seen plenty of them and never have they ‘rolled’ us time and time again. I think you sell out guys a little bit short.

        • Waz_dog

          ‘These players’ happen to be lions players so I’m not trying to blow their tires up by any stretch of the imagination and Manu didn’t get picked for the fun of it (did happen to score a try against Barnes I might add). As ardent pointed out doesn’t really matter who they pick it’s the theme that Gats is running with his back line. My concern is about the predictable lines we’ll be running in attack more then them rolling over us in their attack.

          They’ll be licking their lips to get at Horne/McCabe at the point of contact (ie rolled in those channels) and there’ll be turn over after turn over. That’s if McCabe’s nose can hold out for 90mins…

          Seriously, Quade at 10 and an IC that has something more to bring to the table than a crash ball and this tour is up for grabs.

          It’s a shame the QC & JOC pairing at 10&12 never got that chance to develop – there’s a lot of international teams out there at are glad about that too.

        • Hugh Cavill

          So the big Lions backs would be ‘licking their lips’ about facing Horne, but then be afraid of facing Quade? In attack that may have a modicum of truth, but attack is only one half of the game.

          I agree that a player like Horne won’t have the Lions shaking in their boots. But that isn’t what he is there for. He is there to truck the ball over the advantage line to create space for those out wide, and then stop the big Lions backs with strong front-on defence. He can do both fairly well, as can McCabe.

          I disagree there will be turnovers- as I said we have played guys like this plenty of times and come out on top.

        • Waz_dog

          I understand it that the whole concept of winning a game of footy was to score more points than the opposition. I’d assume that means creating line breaks to score tries and that’s what I’ve tried to convey in this blog.

          Don’t take this the wrong way Hugh but I think you’ve been ‘Deanafide’ and I lament at this when you say that Horne/McCabe’s role is to crash and defend. We should be looking at players that can cut through the advantage line not mearly sneak a couple of metres here and there and wait for a penalty to take the cheap 3.

          I’d back QC 10, JOC 12, AAC 13 (Izzy 15 to come to 10 in defense if QC sits back at fullback for the counter) to handle themselves in defense anyway.

          Your forwards bust their balls to get you that space out wide I’d hate to see that wasted on a crash where the forwards have to drag themselves to the other side of the park to protect that ball where nothing has happened in attack (which was a recurring theme circa 2012).

        • Hugh Cavill

          But again you neglect to acknowledge my third last paragraph- this notion that a basher (eg Horne, McCabe) at 12 ‘stifles your attack’ and inhibits linebreaks and tries is just rubbish. The Tahs have scored plenty of good tries with Horne at 12. The Reds scored plenty of tries on Saturday with Ant Faingaa at 12. There is no evidence to suggest a second playmaker at 12 means you make any more linebreaks or score any more tries.

        • Waz_dog

          Sorry to drag this out – Hugh no lack of acknowledgement at all and take your point on and agree that you can win lots of games with a crash 12.

          I’m just not going to forget how for the last 20+ years we’ve had a glittered back line that has taken apart teams with skill and flare more so than the northern hems style of footy that Deans continues to implement. The team won’t fall apart if we revert to that as you correctly point out but if you’ve got the stars to fill those spots (which we do) use them.

          One final comment – you’re also right about not having any evidence that two playmakers score more tries because Deans hasn’t tried it (well I might be wrong with the leaked team list now revealed).

          This weekend’s game will probably determine most of Deans selections anyway.

    • Dally M

      You forgot the kick from half way that ended any chance of the Stormers coming back in the final minutes.

      It’s not a lot, but decent considering he has played about 15 minutes of rugby this year.

      • ralph

        you mean the same one I mentioned when i said “and a kick at goal from halfway.” or a different one?

        • Dally M

          My bad. Missed that.

    • Fin

      Agree that they are opposite particles. If they could each play 10-20% more like they other they’d both be better players and still have very contrasting styles.

  • Scotty

    There is a big difference between picking highly experienced and highly effective proven international performers over super 15 form players, and picking the likes of Dennis, Barnes, McCabe, Kepu, Timani etc.

    These guys aren’t exactly in the Genia, Horwill, Pocock, Moore category and in my opinion haven’t proven themselves to be consistently effective at international level, so don’t warrant automatic selection over form players.

    Of course we can’t throw a bunch of untried test players in the one team, but we also can’t except a bunch of guys that are either out of form or just coming back from injury.

    • Barbarian

      Barnes has proven himself to be consistently effective, yes. He was Man of the Series against Wales mid-year, and very good on the EOYT. If that isn’t ‘consistently effective’ I don’t know what is.

      McCabe is also consistently effective at playing his role- the bashing IC who is a rock in defence. It isn’t a flashy job, and you can say plenty of things about him, but he has never let the Wallabies down IN THAT ROLE.

      Dennis has been solid but not brilliant, same with Kepu and Timani. All have had bright games and not so bright games. But they are all in reasonable form at the moment and I expect they will be picked in the squad.

      • Steve

        It’s all about where you see the class in the players. I think a lot of fans, not just Queenslanders, see Kepu, Dennis and Horne as players who have now had plenty of shots at a wallaby jersey and have yet to show class at an international level. Certainly not players who just need to be in solid form to merit selection.

        Those are the guys that people are going to complain if/when they are selected. There is never any real uproar when the real class players like Palu, Robinson, TPN and Douglas are selected. Even Timani who is not a serious jumping option at super level let alone for the Wallabies is respected enough for his scrummaging and running game that the argument is normally can you get enough jumpers in the backrow to be able to play him not why is he selected.

        If Horne keeps Lealiifano out of the Wallabies people will complain. Likewise if picking Dennis means you skip over either Mowen or Higgenbotham (who are both in much better form) there will be anger. Similarly if Palu keeps Palmer or Slipper out people will be mad. It’s not some conspiracy or pessimism it is just fans wanting to see players who are playing better get the chance to show they have class.

        • Steve

          Palu=Kepu in that last paragraph

        • Barbarian

          I suppose I was talking more about selection in the squad rather than the final starting team. I agree that Kepu and Dennis don’t deserve to be in the 22. But they probably do deserve squad picks.

        • Gus

          Its a 23 man match day team isn’t it? Even if so i wouldn’t pick 5 props in a 25 man squad so if you don’t see Kepu on the bench I don’t know how you can say he deserves to be in the 25. My guess is you pick a match day 23 with an extra hooker and a wildcard guy.

          I’d take a one of the Reds hookers and whichever 7 is currently 3rd in line or Mogg (who could easily miss out if Deans is looking at only having 2 backs on the bench). I don’t think there is space in a 25 man squad to fit Dennis on his current form when you have Mowen and Higgenbotham both playing better and Timani or Hooper at pinch could both fill in at 6.

        • Hugh Cavill

          Squad is 31. 6 players will be added at a later time. That was the number I was referring to.

  • RugbyTragic


  • Yin Yang

    I think its sad that we now believe a flyhalf is “not big enough to drastically change our playing style”. Obviously it is not completely up to them but surely a coach should have the intelligence to realise that he should CHANGE the playing style of a team to suit the 10 he decides on. So rather than saying a flyhalf will make a big difference, maybe it would be more appropriate to say that the game style should change FOR the 10 who will in turn make the most of what is placed in front of him. Cooper and Barnes are polar opposites. To say interchanging them will make little difference will and has been proven wrong. They work brilliantly together for this reason and I hope that as Barnes gets back into the game, we see him return to the inside of Quade so they can rip it up like the Bronze Final in 2011.

  • Piggy

    The Tahs did well but they only really started to get on top of the Stormers when the Stormers lost a couple of pretty decent performers – Vermuelen and Eldstadt.

    • Barbarian

      I agree with that, but think the impact of those two subs has been a little bit overstated. In the post-match presser Alistair Coetzee was basically saying it cost them the game, as well as being responsible for the scrum going backwards. I’m not so sure. The whole team was tiring, and the fact that fresh legs in those positions could not make a difference is telling. They would have been better with Vermuelen and Elstadt on the ground, but I still think the Tahs would have won.

      • brumby runner

        Two of the very best performances came from Robbo and Kane Douglas again. They should be certain starters for the Wallabies. TPN will be on the bench so long as he stays fit and healthy. Hooper should be No 7 if George doesn’t play. Others to fight for bench space but all together the Tahs’ scrum is becoming a pretty formidable unit. Really liked the look of Skelton when he came on Think he might have had more than the usual impact off the bench in both carries and defence.

        • Dally M

          And he was nervous as hell after being close to making his debut for the last 4 weeks. Imagine what he will be like without the nerves.

        • ooaahh

          Imagine what he’ll be like when he grows up!

        • Jimmy

          I think he might be a bencher for a while – by the look of his conditioning, his work rate wont be strong.

    • Jimmy

      There is an argument that the Tahs “bashed” these blokes out of the game. I really enjoyed seeing the Tahs pack front up to the supposedly toughest pack in the SA conference and come out on top. Make no mistake, the Stormers were out to dominate them physically after their narrow losses across the ditch. Their season was on the line, they tried everything (think Ezebeth trying to fight everyone on the field) and they failed. By the time that monster Skelton came on they had nothing left.

      I’ve watched both the Tahs and Reds games twice from the weekend – loved them both but for different reasons. I’ll go as far as to say the Tahs finally fronted a strong pack and got on top of them. They have had the team to do this for years but have never done so. The game was brutal, the hits were great and they came out on top.

      The Reds on the other hand just carved the Sharks apart before they even knew what had hit them. By the time they came to their senses, the game was over. Too fast and too skillful I’m afraid.

  • bill

    You’re right to say Cooper isn’t a silver bullet, and that he isn’t the only way to skin the cat.

    Fainga, unlike McCabe, can and does pass to the benefit of his team.

    • MM

      And Lealifano is about 10 streets ahead of Afinger, your red underpants are showing.

      • Joker

        I believe he was comparing two “crash and bash ” style centres.

      • Why not have both? Surely it could be a game of two halves and you might need either style. I’d back antfingers defence any day, but to have Lilo running off QC? Would be awesome.

  • Roland

    If we play Barnes at 10, McCabe at 12, Horne at 13, we are as good as toast.I wont even bother watching the enslaught. QC has to be 10. Enough chat about this.

    • Piggy

      We could always play Cooper at 15… Ewan is prepared to…

      • Gus

        I think you may have missed the point of that article…

        • Piggy

          Not at all…

          a.) sarcasm…

          b.) one argument here, and elsewhere, is that QC can’t handle the pressure of 10 and that JOC and Sookface are the choices for 10, stick QC in at fullback and allow him to “drift in” on attacking plays…

    • Barbarian

      But that backline isn’t going to happen. Why get yourself in a flap over things that aren’t going to happen. AAC will be 13.

      I like QC and would pick him, but don’t go so far as others to say that he ‘has’ to be 10, and I can see merit in the alternatives.

      • Yin Yang

        Why wouldn’t you pick the best flyhalf for your team? It seems ludicrous that “seeing the merit in the alternatives” is a good enough justification to choose the second best 10 in Australia. It is quite obvious who is performing, who can attack and who can defend at the moment. I am frustrated, as I’m sure others are, at how we are even debating this topic! Deans is done. I cannot believe the ARU had the balls to resign him before the world cup had even started. They only have themselves to blame for that.

      • first time long time

        Cards on the table I am a reds fan.
        The only guy this year who has shown he can control a game like Cooper is Tomua. Don’t get me wrong I know QC has had some ordinary games over the last few years but he gets more touches as first receiver than any of the other option and he is picking his opportunities more prudently now and when he and Genia are together they are both more dangerous.

        JOC, good player but watch his game against the chiefs. He touched the ball once as first receiver in the first 25min. Admittedly they didn’t have a lot of ball but that makes it even more important that it is him not flankers and props feeding the outside backs which happened a number of times in the same period.

        Barnes, come on, he has played 35 min since last year and apart from the few moments you mentioned from the weekend his kicking out of hand was awful and his passing was poor. How people can claim reds fans are biased when you keep overlooking his shortcomings.

        Pat McCabe can’t make the Brumbies at 12 why is he even being considered.
        Its not as black and white as 2 ball players or crash and bang it is a matter of picking a decent 12 who can complement and service the players around him……. Christian Lealiifano.

        Folau has been improving week in week out and would love to see him coming off the bench. Can’t wait to see how he and Mogg go on the weekend.

  • Mike

    I find the new ways you continue to justify your bias rather amusing.

    • Hugh Cavill

      The fact that you said I am amusing is more than enough for me.

      • Mike

        As long as you admit you’re a clown, thats ok by me.

        • ralph

          calm down Mike. You a red supporter or just a jerk. Don’t see you writing around here mate.

    • Scotty

      … umm… isn’t that about 80% of the point of this thing?

    • Redsfan1

      Yes highly amusing. If Rob Horne is so good why has Cheika brushed him for the Reds Jono Lance? Other then that I see this article as a partisan Tahs view of the Wallabies with a small pretence of being objective. I don’t have a problem with picking people outside of the Reds if they are the best players. It’s unfortunate Barbarian can’t do the same outside the Tahs.

      • Dally M

        Who said he has?
        I believe Cheika discussed at the presser after the last match that he wanted to keep Horne & was in discussions over a contract extension with him.

  • Dano

    1. Robinson
    2. Moore
    3. Alexander
    4. McMeniman
    5. Horwill (c)
    6. Dennis or Mowen (can’t decide)
    7. Smith
    8. Higginbotham
    9. Genia
    10. Cooper
    11. Ioane
    12. Lealiifano
    13. Ashley-Cooper
    14. O’Connor
    15. Folau
    16. Polota-Nau
    17. Slipper / Kepu
    18. Timani / Douglas
    19. Hooper
    21. White
    22. Barnes / McCabe (utility backs)
    Stand-by’s outside of 25 man squad
    Hanson or Faainga (Hooker)
    Palu or Fotu (No. 8)
    Gill (Flanker)
    Tomane or Cummins (Winger)
    Horne (can cover IC or OC)

    • MM

      Douglas to partner Horwill. MMM to the bench to cover 4,5 and 6 and to really have an impact when required – along with either Mowen, Dennis, Simmons on the bench.
      Higginbotham to 6, Palu will be at 8. Smith, Hooper, Gill……. but I do like the experience Smith brings.

      Robinson, Moore, Fucked if I know…….. Slipper is so good around the field. Not Palmer, I’d take Paddy Ryan over Palmer but my undies are blue.

      Been a long time since we could field such a powerful and athletic pack, and to have so much depth. Imagine what a good coach could do with this lot.

      • Fin

        MM I like your forwards but have you got someone to call the line out in the starting 8- Higgers? I’m not sure? otherwise start Mowen and Higgers to bench. Dano’s backs a spot on. But doubt Robbie would play QC without a tackling machine outside him.

        • MM

          Why wouldn’t Horwill call the lineout? They have 2 weeks with Sharpie beforehand to get that sorted.

  • Rex Munday

    If you’re thinking of a career as a comedian: please don’t

    • Hugh Cavill

      Phew, thanks for the advice Rexxie. I was just about to quit my job ahead of my standup debut tonight- had some dynamite material about airline food. Thought it would kill. But when the most respected commenter on G&GR speaks, you listen! I’ll call the comedy club now, and tear up my resignation letter.

      • A. Fox-Russell

        Hugh 1. Rex nil.

        • Rex Munday

          I’m sure the Tahs are ecstatic that their fave fanboy will be hanging about the dressing shed for another season

      • Dougs

        Hugh is relentlessly pro-tahs to the exclusion of all logic… but give him his due, that was a swashbuckling comeback…

  • rigs23

    JOC is a playmaker, not a distributor, which means he is not a 10. He is Tim Horan reincarnated; he’s a twelve. He’s strong enough in contact and has quick enough feet to make it over the advantage line but he has a good enough pass and vision to make sure the play doesnt stop right there.

    9. Genia
    10. Quade
    11. Diggers

    12. JOC
    13. AAC/Horne
    14. Tomane
    15. Folau
    Kurtley to 15 if back in action and Folau to 14.

    • Graeme

      Folau has never ever played at 14 as far as im aware and is completely inexperienced at the nuances of a wingers positioning. He would be targeted all night by the Lions attack if we were foolish enough to put him there.

      • bill

        just state of origin/league as a winger, what’s the average no of sets of six per side per game? 50, 60 , So he’s positioning himself that many times a game for 5th,6th tackle defence, I think he may have some vague idea. I’d be more concerned about his fullback positioning. That seems to be improving from what I’ve seen.

        I’d rather Mogg at fullback though.

        • rigs23

          ive played both (not at a very high level of course) and its not completely different. Iam more than sure he’d manage, he’s a natural footballer.

          Forgot about Mogg! We have outside backs coming out of our arses but who to test first!? The only player Iam really upset about not having is Mitchell. In form he would be the perfect winger against the Lions

  • Rex Munday

    How, exactly, does Rob Horne qualify as the #2 IC?? Mate, seriously, AFinger has had a pretty good season at 13 and now 12 and even I’m not plugging for his inclusion in the Wallabies.

    • Hugh Cavill

      Ant has been playing 13, so surely this means he can’t be the #2 12? He played his first game at 12 last week, no?

      What is your ranking of the ICs this season? As I said, Horne is starting to show some very good form, and was near MoTM on Saturday.

      • Rex Munday

        Yes, I’m aware it was AF’s first game at 12, which is why I qualified it like I did.

        Ranking? Lealiifano, Godwin, JOC surely must be ahead of the Hornster. Christ, I’d even have McCabe, Barnes or an underperforming Tapuai in there ahead of Horne.

        • RedAnt

          I’m with you, Hugh (when it comes to Horne at least). Now that he’s strung more than a couple of games together without injury, he has shown the sort of form that made him a superb prospect 3 or 4 years ago. I don’t know if he’s our best or even second best IC but I agree his physicality will appeal to Deans for the Lions series and I think he is a better attacking option than McCabe. So I’d be happy to see him there. Now, as to Barnes…

  • muz

    It’s not about Quade per se. It’s about the conservative style of rugby that Deans is forcing down the Wallaby’s supporters throats. Quade’s non-selection is just indicative of that. If Deans decided to play a style of rugby more in keeping with Australian rugby culture and ethos, but he deemed that JOC was the flyhalf more likely to deliver that, I doubt we would see as much invective from the Quade brigade. Sure they would still complain – but there would be not be the same level of vitriol.

    I agree with Campo – Deans is destroying the Wallabies brand, and you only have to see the recent ARU annual report to see how damaging his style of rugby has been. Australian rugby has never just been about the winning or the losing – that is something that a NZ coach will never get (and FWIW – I do not think Deans is a bad coach – he is just the wrong coach for the Wallabies).

  • AJ

    (5) and (3). So very, very yes.

    • dave

      why James Oconnor is not the wallaby 12 has mystified me for years. He is a born 12 – with his evasive step and quade at 10 it would be almost impossible to defend against. He has been totally underused for years now on the wing – he is NOT A WINGER. He is a small slippery stepper that has been shockingly underutilized at 15, 11 and 10 but never 12.

      Its insane !

      • Graeme

        Probably reservations about defense. He can defend well but is not a big guy, and with Quade beside him it could prove to be a weak channel for a strong ball runner. I think it should be tried, but not against the Lions!

      • ralph

        Being monstered by Renee Ranger on the weekend didn’t help his cause for being a strong defender. McCabe made mince meat of him last year from memory also.

        • oxenboxen

          To be fair, he was already hurt. He’s not our greatest defender but he’s not bad either.

      • Pedro

        Not playing in 12, I assume to prevent him getting too bashed from a young age. That is to prelong his career, you know the opposite of what they do to McCabe.

  • Madflyhalf

    Totally agree on the Wallabies selection issue, especially for the possible 1-2 debutants.

    I’m sure we won’t see any brand new face in the playmaking role, except probably the third 9, which could be White if Burgess not available, but surely Phipps will be Genia’s backup.

    The 2 debutants: one for sure is Folau, the other is as you say Lealiifano.

    But who do you think is going to be in the 23?

    For the first test Foalu IMO, but not Lilo, as Dingo should keep faith in McCabe and, hopefully, in Tapuai.

    Tapuai didn’t shine in the last 2 games he played, deservely rest in the last round, but he’s been good enough in the 2012 EOYT. He deserves spot, and trust, he’s been tested and good enough.

    You didn’t mention MMM.

    He’s not a fully debutant, but he’s been away from test scene since 2007, we must see in these next round if he’s fully recovered and his game style!

  • saintjackyb

    horne the number 2 centre you’ve got to be joking, id pick tapuai, faingaa,f-sautia, godwin and I cant remember the name of the rebels 12 but him aswell before EVER even THINKING about horne

  • The Rant

    I’d take Horne over mccabe but that’s about it.
    At the least he has a good combo with AAC going.

  • gaxman77

    Great top 5 Hugh, I agree with u 100%. Why all the Horne haters here? Ok he wasn’t great in wallaby gold in the past but he is still young and seems a more mature player this year. Has been in fine form the last two weeks but dropped off 2 important tackles against the Chiefs. Was replaced by Volavola. since then he has been fantastic. Chieka a great coach. You don’t get the job done u r benched or dropped. He has made them play to their potential. Still some work to be done but they will be a mighty force next year and could be a bolter this year.
    As for the QC debate. Please stop and smell the coffee. Hugh is right he won’t be in the squad of 25 but may make the 31. I was probably one the people he was referring to saying QC has no chance of selection. Beale’s situation has changed that. Hugh also made valid points regarding JOC and Barnes. I like QC and think he is a quality player. I would pick him but Deans may or may not. Fact. Debate is useless if it’s irrelevant.
    We will have a quality side with players in form. If we lose this series Deans must go. He doesn’t have any excuses this time. I don’t like Deans as a coach and hope he goes but I also want the wallabies to win this series. Is it too much to hope for that we will win and Deans will go?

  • Old weary

    Just a thought, but do you think that photo of TPN might give some insight to why he loses the ball in contact so often?

  • Who?

    I know you consider me a ‘tin pot crazy’, but…

    I agree that JOC and Barnes won’t turn us into a stodgy mess. Deans does that. He doesn’t provide a viable game plan, he fails to provide running lines for the backs (all slightly sideways in the same direction isn’t going to penetrate drifting defense), which leaves the 10 with little real choice in who he picks. So the 10 reverts to his default. JOC will run the ball himself, because that’s his strength. Berrick tends to kick, because he’s been under Robbie so long that he’s got it stuck in the back of his mind that we don’t want to get caught playing in our own half, that we need territory. Which came about due to our style of play in 2007, and then the ELV’s.

    That said, JOC’s not a proven 10, and Quade’s got a more rounded game than Barnes, so he should be 10. He wouldn’t turn us into an all out attack team, as he wouldn’t have the options (people running varying lines) to do that.

    But let’s get some facts straight, too. Cooper played three Tests last year. And he wasn’t back to full form. Neither did Robbie show confidence in him. He wasn’t picked for Bledisloe 1, where we lost the trophy for the year. The first Test he played, our attack asked a lot more questions, but other ‘playmakers’ (Barnes, Beale) still wasted possession with stupid grubbers and chip kicks. And our lineout was useless. And while we talk about Barnes being reliable and a favourite of Robbie’s, in that game, Robbie scapegoated him at half time for kicking it away too much. In his third Test, Cooper was charged down for a try (but that happened to JOC off another Phipps pass last weekend – so clearly JOC’s a useless 10, too, right?), but he put four blokes through holes. 2 tries created (the other 2 were bombed by the ball carriers – like Sharpie not getting it down) > 1 try conceded.

    I also agree that we don’t NEED two playmakers, at 10 and 12. The Rebels usually have their second playmaker at 15. The Tahs? Well, I think it’s wrong to call them our most attacking team. They’ve had one blowout game, without that, they’d be third for points scored, not second. And yes, with the blowout, they’re still second, behind the Brums. The Tahs have 2 BP’s, the Reds have 4, the Brums 5. So it’s a bit biased to call them the most attacking. They run the most, sure, but that isn’t the definition of attacking.

    But, regardless of all that, the point the Tahs have only one playmaker yet still run and score tries is to the credit of their coach. Cheika’s communicated what he wants with his team clearly, and their intent is positive. Robbie doesn’t have a good track record.

    But I think you’re wrong about experience being more important than form, and I think the history with Robbie shows it, to an extent. Last year we had 13 debutants. Robbie’s blooded large numbers almost every year. So I don’t think Robbie dislikes blooding players. But he clearly does have favourites, favourites who regularly underperform. Dave Dennis was a debutant last year. He played every Test. Does he deserve his spot based on experience, when his form is, arguably (over the season, not two games), below most of his competition for the 6 jersey? Does 10 minutes really mean that Barnes should be picked at the expense of someone like Lealiifano? For me, no. For Robbie, undoubtedly…

    • Who?

      Forgot to mention, that try to Folau? A lot of credit for it goes to Habana… You don’t want your wings defending in the middle of the line – he clearly panicked. Barnes held the timing of the pass, but that’s just what you’d hope any decent 10 would do. It wasn’t a try he created, it was a try he avoided bombing.

  • Patrick

    Great point Hugh, although not sure why you bothered with five when clearly only one mattered ;)

    For my part I am with those who strongly believe that the Wallabies’ best chances are with QC at five-eighth. I would love to have JOC outside him but I fully accept that Deans is likely to go with McCabe or Horne and that these choices aren’t nuts.

    But I strongly agree that there is no need for 95% of the abuse that gets levelled against players and other commenters on this site!

ACT Brumbies

A pretty average writer and an even worse player. Subbies struggler, supporter of the 2014 Super Rugby Champions.

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