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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s rugby news has Wallabies scrum issues, aggression at Test training and Smith back for the NZRU. 


Ledesma talks up scrum

wallabies scrum sio moore

Wallabies scrum coach Mario Ledesma has said that the team will be out to change perceptions of their vulnerable scrum in the upcoming World Cup. “We have to put the scrum in the place it deserves and that is being a really important part of rugby, if not, we will be playing rugby league,” he said.

Ladesma, formerly the scrum coach at the Waratahs, has seen some growth in the Wallabies set-piece already. While the Australian scrum was shaky during the Rugby Championship openers against South Africa and Argentina, the squad stood up well against the All Blacks in the final win in Sydney.

Sio gives front row support

scott sio

Ledesma has also underplayed the concern at Australia’s 31-man squad containing just skipper Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau as specialist hookers, saying Argentina did the same in the four Rugby World Cups he played in.

Ledesma said that he has been training one of the five props in the squad to support the hooker position, presumed to be Scott Sio. “If we have an injury that lasts only one week, we’ll make the prop play,” he said. “If it lasts longer, we just have to get the other hooker [James Hanson from the train-on squad] who has been training with us every day.”

Biff at Wallabies training

Will Skelton Australia v South Africa 2015

Wallabies second rowers Will Skelton and Kane Douglas were involved in a dust-up during Wednesday’s training, requiring both to head to the sidelines while the team ran an opposed driving maul training. But coach Michael Cheika looked to be delighted by the physicality and the aggression of the Wallabies forwards.

“That’s something Cheika really likes, not only in the scrum sessions or the driving mauls, but every training is really intense,” Ledesma said. “[There] is this change in mindset of the whole team and getting the forwards to work even harder.” The Wallabies depart from Sydney on Saturday to play the US Eagles before heading to England for the World Cup.

Smith re-signs for NZ

Aaron Smith KMP-WALLvAB-2767

Half-back Aaron Smith has committed to New Zealand rugby through to the 2019 World Cup, saying he has plenty more to achieve for the All Blacks and for Super Rugby champions the Highlanders. Smith has become an integral part of the All Blacks fast-paced style in 41 Tests since making his debut against Ireland in June 2012.

“Since I have known Aaron, he has blossomed into one of the best halfbacks I have seen,” Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said. “You know players like that don’t come along that often.” Smith joins All Blacks teammates Julian Savea, Brodie Retallick and Dane Coles on four-year New Zealand Rugby deals.

  • GoMelbRebels

    So Aaron Smith is leaving NZ Rugby? That’s a shame… Oh, you mean he is re-signing! Yes, the hyphen is everything!

    • jim

      for and from may also have been a clue there buddy

      • GoMelbRebels

        I know, but how can I make my weekly point about the hyphen?!

  • Duncher

    Couldn’t you get Mario Ledesma to say anything about smiths re-signing?

  • jamie

    Re-signs *

  • Canuckruck

    And also in today’s news, England will be a little more predictable and a little more dull with the expected axing of Danny Cipriani from the England squad. Can’t help but think it is good news for Pool A and bad news for England. Ford has had some problems delivering in the big games and Farrell is just plain boring in attack but a strong tackler. .

    • npivag

      I don’t disagree, but I’d take Ford over Cooper and Foley on recent showings from the lot of them.

    • m0b1us

      Yes, bit of a furore amongst the armchair fans. Implication is he’s taking Alex Goode instead.

  • muffy

    1 Love a good dust up at training – had a few myself, (that’s probably because I’m unlikeable) but it shows intensity and passion.
    2 Hooker problem solved – Pocock!, then we can have the Pooper, a real 8, no lineout shortcomings and lengthens his career
    3 Start by having contested scrums at jnr level, and someone punching Marto and Kafe in the mouth whenever they whinge about a scrum

    • npivag

      Even if you kept the 1.5m rule in junior scrums but had the locks bind properly (crotch style) so the kids get used to the pressure (for those outside the tight 5, it’s a big difference). It all adds up.

      • Bizzare

        The problem with the 1m rule is that it punishes the dominant team, for pushing to well and teams can be coached for the free kick. Sanction should go to the stronger team with the ref blowing quickly and after 2 or 3 successive dominant scrums in the game, ref calls uncontested with no competition penalty. Surely we should be encouraging and rewarding dominance, but still managing safety?

        • npivag

          Mate, I 100% agree but baby steps.

    • dane

      Where do we find the real number 8? Bring kefu back?

      • muffy

        I provide keyboard warrior solutions, real world solutions are a step too far… now pass me that doughnut

        • Funk

          is that you Spiro?

  • wilful

    Wallabies scrum shaky against SA and Argies? Not how I recall it. Periods of dominance.

    • Spank

      My memory is the same. But remember when we dominate and excuse is always brought forward as to it being the opposition’s second team. No depth etc.

    • Train Without A Station

      shaky against Arg at times.

    • Seb V

      I think we were shaky against SA until the subs came on, then we dominated.

  • Brendan Hume

    even Will Skelton reckons Horwill should be in the team!

    • Gottsy

      Or maybe Douglas was thinking the same about skelton..?

  • Dan

    Watching the French v England replay and I have to say England’s scrum looks pretty average. I know the French are strong scrummagers but the Poms are getting dusted. Gives me hope.

    • m0b1us

      According to Rowntree, the squad was still in full conditioning mode. Apparently the idea was to find out how they’d
      perform when reaching their physical limits. Dogshit was the answer.

      I don’t know whether this is true or not – sounds like BS to me…

      TBH, it was the first hit out since May for a lot of the those guys – some of them even longer so I’m not too
      worried at the moment. If they are shit against Ireland in 10 days, I’ll start to worry. 31 man squad is
      announced to day.

      • Dan

        The England front row are far more capable than that, so I do take that performance with a grain of salt. But you’re right, I would expect a far stronger showing against Ireland. However, Joe Marler looked terrible! Bad body positioning, not binding correctly etc. Made me think I was watching Ben Alexander.

        • m0b1us

          Yes, he was crap. He was easily getting sheared off the hooker
          which is schoolboy stuff if we’re honest. Mind you, the surface was
          the worst I’ve seen; having said that, it was the same for both sides.

          Squad has just been announced and Corbisiero didn’t make it.

          Marler will be the run on LH with Mako coming off the bench. I don’t
          think that will worry you too much. TH side is very strong with Cole,
          Brookes and Wilson picked. All very good scrummagers.

          If I’m honest, it’s second row which is looking a bit lightweight and
          actually where I’m most worried.

  • Brisneyland Local

    I only watched the Pom Vs Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey game yesterday as well. The Poms did look a bit pedestrian. The Froggies looked quite good. But as always with Les Bleus, you never know who is going to turn up. One day they are world beaters, the next they wouldn’t beat the Wagga Wagga U15 D Grade Team!

    So hard to really judge where they are at!

    • m0b1us

      That French pack would have given any eight in the world a lot of problems. Besides, the surface was rolling
      up like a carpet. Hard to judge on that basis though England’s LH side did struggle a lot. Unfortunately for
      us Corbisiero is perennially injured now.

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