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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Today marks the 200th edition of the Thursday Rugby News. Fancy that? Today’s news sees Clarke getting fiery, Ledesma going home, Kafer doing his job and the Wallabies climbing up the ladder.


Clarke vs. Sinderberry

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Well, what a direction the senate inquiry has taken. So tense were the events in the west, that it closely resembled a boxing match between Mark Sinderberry and Rob Clarke.

So, with that in mind, lets do this….

On my left, in the west corner, is the former Force CEO Mark Sinderberry. As first to the stand several weeks ago, Sinderberry had claimed (in a brief summary of his thoughts) that Clarke, back when he was the ARU deputy, had given the Western Force hollow assurances about the Super Rugby process.

He also claimed that Clarke gave VRU president Tim North a copy of the commercially confident alliance agreement that the ARU had signed with the Force where taken over by the governing body in 2016. As such, it was almost suggested that this information may have contributed that North and the VRU going on to buy the Rebels back from Andrew Cox in August of this year, before the axing of the Force was confirmed.

And, on my right, in the east corner stands former ARU chief operating officer Rob Clarke, who took the stand yesterday to fire back claims aimed at him by Sinderberry.

“I totally deny those allegations levelled by Mr Sinderberry and take umbrage with the malicious innuendo arising from it,” he said in the inquiry, reported on by rugby.com.au.

“I was accountable to the ARU CEO for the day to day performance of the Western Force as part of my COO description and employment agreement.

“I took this responsibility seriously and executed oversight of the Western Force in a professional manner at all times.

“I was but one of numerous contributors to and certainly not the sole architect of the scorecard formulation, analysis and assessment as to which team should be removed.”

Clarke also dismissed notions that the ARU had already decided to cut the Force as early as 2016, when the alliance agreement was signed.

“There was no decision that I am aware of to shut down the Western Force when the alliance agreement was being negotiated,” Clarke said.

“It stands to reason that if the ARU, or indeed any individual in the ARU, had a Machiavellian plot orchestrated at the time the alliance agreement was negotiated to shut down the Western Force, why wouldn’t the ARU have simply left the existing coach in his position for the last year of his contract, forgotten about the on-field performance of the team in 2017 and simply saved the money?”

And as for the documents between Clarke and North, Clarke did admit that the documents were in a meeting with the pair (and North said he did have a copy of the agreement). But Clarke was adamant he did not bring them into the meeting.

Away from Clarke and Sinderberry, the hearing also heard from Former Wallaby John Welborn, RUPA CEO Ross Xenos and WA Sports minister Mick Murray, with some really fascinating points of view that you can see here.

You can also check the audio of the inquiry here and a transcript of the September hearing here.

A Gift-wrapped Ledesma

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Last Sunday, it was officially announced that Mario Ledesma, the man behind much of the Wallabies forwards coaching (including a successful 2015 World Cup campaign), would be stepping aside as the Wallabies forward coach after final Bledisloe in Brisbane on October 21.

Now, we know where he’s going. Home.

It was officially announced by the Jaguares that Ledesema would take on the role of Head Coach for the Argentine side next year.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika however was full of praise for his forwards coach.

“Argentina gave us a gift when they gave us Mario Ledesma,” he said in a statement that was published by rugby.com.au.

“In 2014 when we went on the tour, when I first took over, we got our scrum pummelled by the English in one game and if you’re a good person when you get a gift, you should always give one back.

“Now we’re giving a gift back because Mario Ledesma is a good man, he’s a great coach and as much as I’m sad that he’s leaving, personally as his friend and from a rugby point of view.

“Not only is he improving himself by having this position, which is what we want our people to do, but also he’s coming back to his family who he hasn’t seen for many, many years. It’s going to be a great thing for Argentinian rugby and hopefully the Jaguares will do very well except when they play against the Australian teams.”

The Wallabies are currently in camp on the Gold Coast for the next few weeks, and Ledesma will be with them until after the final Bledisloe match.

All the best to you mate, and thanks for the memories.

Coach Summit underway in Sydney

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It has been an interesting week for Australian rugby – at least from a coaching and administrative perspective.

Wednesday and Thursday sees a coaching summit taking place at ARU headquarters in Sydney, and with Rod Kafer serving as chairman, many interesting ideas have been thrown up to try and improve Australia’s rugby record… especially against the Kiwis.

But Kafe has been honest that already the summit has done something that has been sorely missed in Aussie rugby: encouraged a strong dialogue between the Super Rugby clubs. You know, like they do in New Zealand. You know, that country that kicks everybody elses’ arses in rugby?

“One of the great things that’s happened — we’ve spoken about the need to collaborate more in Australian rugby,” Kafer said on Fox Sports’ Kick and Chase. 

“There’s this inconvenient truth of where we are.

“We can’t compare ourselves to New Zealand except to say we haven’t won the Bledisloe for 15 years, we’re 0-26 in Super Rugby, we need to start winning and we’ve actually got to get better.

“And what better way to try to do that than to bring all of the Super Rugby coaches, all of the national coaches, strength and conditioning people, team analysts, general manager and high performance, team managers — all into the room at the ARU headquarters to try to spend two days on looking at ways in which we can get better.”

The focus of the event was to, according to Kafe, attain a holistic and wideranging approach.

“It’s a whole range of different education, we’re working with the UTS business school, the AIS, looking at programs around coach development,” Kafer said.

“Also just trying to think about things like ‘what does the player of the future look like?’

“Can we identify the player of the future, are we coaching people right at this moment, to be the player of the future, because if we’re not, then what are we doing?

“We’ve got to be thinking about the future and trying to mould our players into the end product.

“There’s a lot of people sitting around in schoolboy rugby and other places, saying ‘our kids play all this structure and we’re not fit enough and we don’t do this or that.’

“Well, we should know that, we’ve got to know that, we’ve got to get in a room and say ‘this is what we want, this is how we’re going to coach and this is how we’re going to deliver it,’ because this is the results we expect.”

Already, the many minds in attendance agreed to a new “One Plan” model, which will see all teams operate under a national high performance system, covering “athletic performance to player welfare, coaching and talent management”.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the Super Rugby clubs also agreed to share live player data with each other mid-season.

The workshop continues today in St. Leonards.

Third place a charm

Photo by Tom Offer

The Wallabies have been in better form since their close loss to New Zealand in Dunedin, having not lost a match in nearly two months. But while they finished slightly ahead of the Boks to take runners up in the Rugby Championship for the second straight year in a row (in-spite of only beating one team), World Rugby saw fit to move them up to third place on the IRB World Rankings.

As a result, Ireland dropped down to fourth and South Africa dropped down to fifth. Even despite the fact that South Africa finished with one point less in the Rugby Championship, they still beaten Argentina twice, drew the Wallabies twice, and had one close match loss and one thumping at the hands of the All Blacks.

You know, exactly like the Wallabies did?

I’m actually curious to hear many GAGRs thoughts on this. As for me, I can understand a leap over the Boks to fourth place, as we did finish higher than them in the Rugby Championship.

But are we honestly better than Ireland at the moment?  Even after an encouraging couple of weeks in the RC?

I’m not saying I’m complaining about it, like a certain Kiwi is, but third place is a bit surprising considering it hasn’t been a totally stellar year for the Wallabies.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.

  • Andrew Miller

    So..a confidential document lands on the table but all ARU representatives deny that they placed it there? Seriously?? My kids don’t even try and pull that one over me

    • Miss Rugby

      And no-one had any problem with North asking his secretary to photocopy said confidential documents? Is that because they “weren’t on the table?”
      As someone who deals with things that need a certain level of confidentiality, listening to that made me squirm.

      • Perth girl

        And he is a QC! Apparently a copy of the Alliance Agreement was given to RUPA as well

    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      Can the fairies that work at the ARU please put their hand up?

    • OlderIGet

      It was delivered by a raven sent from the Iron Throne.

  • Andrew Miller

    Curious to know which RugbyWA coaches were invited or does ‘national’ really mean ‘east’?

    • T-Rex

      It actually means upper middle class pockets of small subsets of the East coast.

    • T-Rex

      It actually means upper middle class pockets of small subsets of the East coast.

  • Who?

    The Test Rankings are rarely accurate at any given time. Because they are taken from results over the medium term. Ireland beat the ABs, and England (broke both 18 Test streaks inside 6 months – quite the feat!), but they also lost a couple of games in the 6N’s. So that was always going to bite them in the rankings.
    With that in mind, over the past period – the period for which the ranking points accrue – it’s probably not inaccurate. However, if you wanted an instantaneous ranking, then it’s obviously NZ 1st, 2nd England would be marginally ahead, 3rd for Ireland, and the Wallabies and Boks – given their 50-50 result across 160 minutes this year – should be equal 4th. It’s hard to argue we’re clearly better than them, we both copped one hiding and one tight loss against the ABs (only difference being we got flogged at home, they got flogged away), we both beat Los Pumas, and we drew each other twice. Don’t think you can get much more even than that!
    The coaching summit’s a great idea, but the pessimist in me can’t see how it can make any difference to the game in Australia whilst we continue to have broken systems of governance, and whilst there’s an imbalance in power amongst the provinces. Also, whilst Kafe might be the coordinator (and he’s a decent analyst – which is different to being a coach), there’s nothing to suggest that he, Cheika, Larkham, Grey, etc are on the same page, and that anything worked out in terms of structures going forward will be universally applicable across the game in the country. Which should, ultimately, be the goal – to have an overarching platform that all coaches can reference, and can refine to suit the players available to them (i.e. if you’ve got a dominant pack, you focus on the parts of the system that your pack can utilize, rather than asking your backs to do things they can’t achieve. Because even at Super level, teams have strengths and weaknesses. The Kiwi Super teams have a consistency in their skills, approach and philosophy, but very varied focuses in game play, based on the players in each team).

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I think that Ireland, the Wallabies and the Boks are all much closer than people give them credit for.

      Ireland have had the highest highs (beating New Zealand, beating the Boks in South Africa, beating England), but have also crashed to some pretty poor defeats in the last two years (France) and even in the last year (losing to Wales and to Scotland).

      The Wallabies have not had the same good wins as Ireland, but only one REALLY poor loss (Scotland).

      The Springboks have had the lowest of the lows (their Ireland series and EOYT last year).

      I think at the moment New Zealand and then England are a long way out in front. I suspect Ireland is probably third, but we can’t really be sure until the EOYT. The Boks (or even Australia) could easily leapfrog them with a good performance in November.

      • Who?

        Ireland are sort of the Australia of the north. Can beat anyone, but still have a tendency to play to the level of their opposition. As Australia did for most of the last 15 years. So, if we were playing the ABs, we looked like we could beat anyone else in the world. But then we could go and lose to almost any of the 6Ns teams. Just inconsistent. Ireland are in that same space, but I think that Schmidt’s got them progressing mentally, and they’re building fantastic depth.
        For mine, the difference between Australia, South Africa, and Ireland is their trajectory. I think Ireland are still on a slow build, SA are desperately trying not to fall off the precipice, and Australia… I don’t know. So, for that reason, I put Ireland ahead, on an ‘instant form’ report. Medium to long term, as I mentioned, the rankings aren’t far off…

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          For me Ireland’s problem is lack of depth. The first 23 is basically as good as England’s for mine, but their next 23 is so far inferior.

          I actually think Australia has better depth than Ireland.

          I think of the 3 South Africa have the most potential, Ireland are currently ahead, and Australia… Who knows? I’m not even sure if we’re good or terrible.

        • T-Rex

          Who in our 23 would get into their 23?

          Not sure about the reserve 23 either honestly. They have improved as sharply as we have declined.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Of the starting 15, personally, I think that TPN, Kepu, Coleman, maybe Hooper, Genia and Murray is a toss up depending on the game you want to play, Folau, Beale, TK and maybe Koroibete.

          While I support Australia I still follow Ireland pretty closely. They are a much better “team” than Australia, but seem to lack depth.

        • T-Rex

          Agree with a couple, disagree with others.

          TPN ahead of Best, agree.

          Kepu ahead of Furlong? Not a chance. Furlong is probably the best in the world right now.

          Hooper, possibly. With the likes of Stander, Heaslip, O’Brien, Van Der Flier, Conan and more competing there though I am not sure. Does any team have that depth in the back row.

          Murray ahead of Genia any day for me.

          Folau. Yes, I would have him ahead of Kearney, Zebo. Payne maybe a better all round player but not young. Will be interesting to see if Carbery plays there this November as he’s the hot young player in world rugby.

          Beale and Kuiridrani, ahead of Henshaw, Ringrose and/or Payne? I’d say the Irish selections are stronger personally.

          Koroibete, yes I would have him. Wing probably the area in the Ireland team (and hooker) where they lack truly world class options.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think with props there is usually an argument every way. Kepu is a better scrummager for mine, while Furlong is better around the park. It depends what you’re going for.

          Murray kicks better, but did you notice how much more threatening on attack the Lions were every time Webb came on?

          Again, it depends what you want your centres to do, but Beale offers more in attack, and I do think Kuridrani is better than Ringrose.

          I might even play a back three of 11. Koroibete, 14. Folau, 15. Beale.

          The problem with choosing ‘better players’ is that so much depends on the balance of the team and how you want your team to play. For example, if you want to play an attacking game you’d select Genia over Murray every time. If you wanted to play a kicking and defensively orientated game then Murray is obviously the better pick than Genia. It isn’t black and white.

        • T-Rex

          We’ll have to agree to disagree!

        • T-Rex

          We’ll have to agree to disagree!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think with props there is usually an argument every way. Kepu is a better scrummager for mine, while Furlong is better around the park. It depends what you’re going for.

          Murray kicks better, but did you notice how much more threatening on attack the Lions were every time Webb came on?

          Again, it depends what you want your centres to do, but Beale offers more in attack, and I do think Kuridrani is better than Ringrose.

          I might even play a back three of 11. Koroibete, 14. Folau, 15. Beale.

          The problem with choosing ‘better players’ is that so much depends on the balance of the team and how you want your team to play. For example, if you want to play an attacking game you’d select Genia over Murray every time. If you wanted to play a kicking and defensively orientated game then Murray is obviously the better pick than Genia. It isn’t black and white.

        • Bakkies

          I say Heaslip is done as he is 34 and there is no return date from his injury. Conan, Masterton, McEoin, Stander, O’Donoghue, etc will compete for the spot.

          Carbery has been playing 15 for Leinster and they have been playing Sexton and Ross Byrne there.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Carbery is surely one of the best 10 prospects in the world, if not the best.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Carbery is surely one of the best 10 prospects in the world, if not the best.

        • T-Rex

          Very shortsighted playing Carbery at 15 when Sexton is absent in my view. Wasting vital development opps.

        • Bakkies

          They are giving him game time and he will get more minutes in not the Heineken Cup sponsored by Heineken matches. Rob Kearney is also constantly injured. Would like to see Hugo Keenan and Jordan Larmour get a go at full back.

        • Bakkies

          I say Heaslip is done as he is 34 and there is no return date from his injury. Conan, Masterton, McEoin, Stander, O’Donoghue, etc will compete for the spot.

          Carbery has been playing 15 for Leinster and they have been playing Sexton and Ross Byrne there.

        • T-Rex

          Agree with a couple, disagree with others.

          TPN ahead of Best, agree.

          Kepu ahead of Furlong? Not a chance. Furlong is probably the best in the world right now.

          Hooper, possibly. With the likes of Stander, Heaslip, O’Brien, Van Der Flier, Conan and more competing there though I am not sure. Does any team have that depth in the back row.

          Murray ahead of Genia any day for me.

          Folau. Yes, I would have him ahead of Kearney, Zebo. Payne maybe a better all round player but not young. Will be interesting to see if Carbery plays there this November as he’s the hot young player in world rugby.

          Beale and Kuiridrani, ahead of Henshaw, Ringrose and/or Payne? I’d say the Irish selections are stronger personally.

          Koroibete, yes I would have him. Wing probably the area in the Ireland team (and hooker) where they lack truly world class options.

        • Who?

          The problem for Australia is that, whether or not our players are better man by man (which is debatable – I mean, I think Kepu’s one of our greatest props, but Tadhg’s the incumbent Lions THP at the age of 24, and has a record of 5 games against the ABs with 2-1-2 – not many can claim that! I wouldn’t have Hooper over any of the Irish loosies (in style he’s arguably most similar to SOB, and I’d have SOB), and it’s similar across most positions). The bigger issue is coaching. I’m more than ready to admit Ireland’s still developing mental strength (mentioned it above), but St Joe’s better at finding game plans that his players can execute, and being willing to vary them as needed to suit the best players available.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, I’d much prefer to have Schmidt as a coach. That I will say.

          But, as I said, there is no clear number 3 really. All of the 3-5 teams are pretty inconsistent.

        • Bakkies

          Schmidt’s two weaknesses are his conservative selections and use of the bench.

          Some say he has his hands tied due to central contracts just look at the madness of Bowe’s selection against Scotland. Comes on, coughs up a try then breaks his leg. The higher you finish in the 6 Nations the more prize money you get which is important to the bottom line.

          In the RWC QF Ireland got within two points of the Argies but were still getting bossed at the breakdown. He should have brought Ruddock and Ryan right then instead he waited another ten minutes then the game was over

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Earlier on in his tenure there was a tendency for Ireland’s defence to get to narrow under him. Not sure if that has been resolved now with Farrell.

          Agreed on conservative selections.

          I also don’t see how O’Mahony isn’t going to be guaranteed a spot in the back row. He is one of the best 6s in the world.

        • Bakkies

          The narrow defence was Les Kiss’ baby. Ireland still have a habit of going narrow however they focus more on the numbers at the breakdown. Choosing the right rucks to attack hence the low penalty counts. The Canada test with different combos and new caps led to a load of penalties conceded. Against Australia and NZ Ireland’s discipline was superb.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, I’d much prefer to have Schmidt as a coach. That I will say.

          But, as I said, there is no clear number 3 really. All of the 3-5 teams are pretty inconsistent.

        • Who?

          The problem for Australia is that, whether or not our players are better man by man (which is debatable – I mean, I think Kepu’s one of our greatest props, but Tadhg’s the incumbent Lions THP at the age of 24, and has a record of 5 games against the ABs with 2-1-2 – not many can claim that! I wouldn’t have Hooper over any of the Irish loosies (in style he’s arguably most similar to SOB, and I’d have SOB), and it’s similar across most positions). The bigger issue is coaching. I’m more than ready to admit Ireland’s still developing mental strength (mentioned it above), but St Joe’s better at finding game plans that his players can execute, and being willing to vary them as needed to suit the best players available.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Of the starting 15, personally, I think that TPN, Kepu, Coleman, maybe Hooper, Genia and Murray is a toss up depending on the game you want to play, Folau, Beale, TK and maybe Koroibete.

          While I support Australia I still follow Ireland pretty closely. They are a much better “team” than Australia, but seem to lack depth.

        • T-Rex

          Who in our 23 would get into their 23?

          Not sure about the reserve 23 either honestly. They have improved as sharply as we have declined.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Ireland also seem to suffer from a lack of intent to play positive rugby at times. I think Schmidt has some really good ideas (obviously), but the players don’t always seem to be in the correct mindset to implement them.

          In the second half against the All Blacks in Chicago when they needed to put the foot down and put them away they went into their shells and let the ABs back into it.

          They did the same thing against Australia after the first 38 minutes (they were smashed by injuries in that match admittedly).

          Against Scotland and Wales in the 6N they were just so passive.

        • T-Rex

          Did they not kill NZ in the 2nd half in Chicago with late scores and win the game, when NZ commentators were expecting them to sit back?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          In the last 15 mins they got it, but after running up a big lead in the first 30 minutes the All Blacks scored about 25+ points in the middle period.

          They had some fantastic play from Murray to regain momentum when he outplayed Savea utterly. But New Zealand almost came back, despite the final score.

        • T-Rex

          They are the best team in the world, arguably ever. They are always going to have spells of dominance. Usually they last most of the game. I wouldn’t really criticise Ireland over it, especially as they won relatively comfortably?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Fair point. But while the score was comfortable the match almost played out as a replay of the last time the two sides met, in which Ireland blew a big lead.

          The point being not that single match, but that they then played similarly against Australia (and we sucked last year) and similarly played passively against Scotland and Wales.

        • T-Rex

          The skeletal side against a battle-hardened Australian did display strength in depth I would suggest.

          The Scotland result was a shock, they blew chances and dominance. Wales are a good team. I wouldn’t class them as passive performances?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think it showed good mental courage to regroup, but the fact is that they should have had the game won in the first 25 minutes and been up by about 25 points, but they were only up about 14-0 (or maybe even less?). It was incompetence by Dean Mumm that changed the momentum back to them in the 2nd half.

          Wales are not a good team. They’re currently the worst team of the home nations. Very few people up north (in England, Ireland or Wales) gave Wales any hope in winning that.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think it showed good mental courage to regroup, but the fact is that they should have had the game won in the first 25 minutes and been up by about 25 points, but they were only up about 14-0 (or maybe even less?). It was incompetence by Dean Mumm that changed the momentum back to them in the 2nd half.

          Wales are not a good team. They’re currently the worst team of the home nations. Very few people up north (in England, Ireland or Wales) gave Wales any hope in winning that.

        • T-Rex

          The skeletal side against a battle-hardened Australian did display strength in depth I would suggest.

          The Scotland result was a shock, they blew chances and dominance. Wales are a good team. I wouldn’t class them as passive performances?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Fair point. But while the score was comfortable the match almost played out as a replay of the last time the two sides met, in which Ireland blew a big lead.

          The point being not that single match, but that they then played similarly against Australia (and we sucked last year) and similarly played passively against Scotland and Wales.

        • T-Rex

          They are the best team in the world, arguably ever. They are always going to have spells of dominance. Usually they last most of the game. I wouldn’t really criticise Ireland over it, especially as they won relatively comfortably?

        • Bakkies

          That’s when NZ subbed A Smith who was playing like a drain and brought on Scott Barrett in the row. Perenara coming on brought Beauden Barrett in to the game as he had done little before that as Ireland had dominated possession. The changes occurred while Ireland started to fatigue as it was warm in Chicago. Ireland also lost Jordi Murphy who was playing his best test performance wise at 7.

          Carbery missed a simple penalty which appeared to be on purpose so it chewed up time and prevented Ireland from having to exit their own half if he converted.

          It was the scrum near half and kick in to the corner from Zebo that snookered Savea. Henshaw took advantage of his brother playing in the centres off the set piece.

        • Bakkies

          That’s when NZ subbed A Smith who was playing like a drain and brought on Scott Barrett in the row. Perenara coming on brought Beauden Barrett in to the game as he had done little before that as Ireland had dominated possession. The changes occurred while Ireland started to fatigue as it was warm in Chicago. Ireland also lost Jordi Murphy who was playing his best test performance wise at 7.

          Carbery missed a simple penalty which appeared to be on purpose so it chewed up time and prevented Ireland from having to exit their own half if he converted.

          It was the scrum near half and kick in to the corner from Zebo that snookered Savea. Henshaw took advantage of his brother playing in the centres off the set piece.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          In the last 15 mins they got it, but after running up a big lead in the first 30 minutes the All Blacks scored about 25+ points in the middle period.

          They had some fantastic play from Murray to regain momentum when he outplayed Savea utterly. But New Zealand almost came back, despite the final score.

        • T-Rex

          Did they not kill NZ in the 2nd half in Chicago with late scores and win the game, when NZ commentators were expecting them to sit back?

        • Bakkies

          ‘For me the problem is Ireland’s lack of depth. The first 23 is basically as good as England’s for mine, but their next 23 is so far inferior.’

          There is depth but you mostly don’t know about it as BeIN Sports choose to televise 2nd grade European football leagues over live Rugby they have the rights too.

          Ireland have plenty of backrow options. Some say O’Mahony is the next Irish captain but isn’t guaranteed a spot due to O’Brien, Ruddock, Stander, Seán O’Brien (Connacht), etc competing for a spot.

          Donnacha Ryan has probably played his last test as he has gone to Racing 92 but there are options from Henderson, James Ryan, Dillane, Toner and Tadhg Beirne who is starring with the Scarlets has signed a deal to join Munster next season.

          In the front row at loosehead behind Jack McGrath there are Cian Healy (who is still young), James Cronin, Dave Kilcoyne, Denis Buckley (who is very good on the deck), Bealham, Andrew Porter (Leinster have converted him to tight head to get games), Peter Dooley. Hooker after Best there is Seán Cronin, Dave Heffernan, Richardt Strauss, Adam McBurney (last year’s under 20s hooker who should be capped by Ulster by now), Mike Sherry, Niall Scannell, James Tracy, Rob Herring. Tighthead Porter, John Ryan, Bealham, Marty Moore, Bent.

          There is fantastic talent coming out of the Leinster academy. Apart from the injury riddled squad this year Ireland have done well in the under 20s. Half of last year’s under 20s squad got academy deal. Some even got full contracts. Leinster have already elevated Andrew Porter and James Ryan to full contracts in the first year in the Academy (Irish academy deals run for three years). Both were capped in June.

          People say that Hodge is similar to Mortlock. I don’t think so. The young Ulster back Jacob Stockdale is a better comparison. Can play 13, wing and fullback. Pretty good off the tee when he has to step up.

        • T-Rex

          The Leinster academy must be the best in the world?

          Is any NZ Super Rugby side churning them out like that at the moment?

          (Of course, NZ has more academies which may dilute the impact)

        • Bakkies

          One of them. Crusaders and Canes would be close. The Stormers have the talent but like the Waratahs they just buy in players. Sarries and Toulouse are up there too.

          Laurie Fisher hit the nail on the head. McGahan, Cheika and Knox were keys to setting up the Munster and Leinster academies. Ryan Constable probably has input in to Ulster and Billy Millard was with Connacht when they were setting up their’s. Look at the talent coming out of them.

          In comparison the ARU shut down the academies and ketowed to the Sydney clubs. Look at the decline in the results across the board and the talent production has decreased massively. The Faingaa’s, TPN, AAC and co were all developed on by the Brumbies HPU. That’s just from one side and there were others that came out of the academy with the Brumbies Runners as the second side gave them an opportunity to get up to speed and fitness. Leinster A, Munster A and so on are just as important to the Academy structure. Of course the clubs in Ireland don’t like it but the players do play in it. Full time club Rugby isn’t enough to develop a constant stream of professionals.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Is there any talk about bringing the academies back in Australia?

        • Bakkies

          The Brumbies are working on something with UC. Connacht have a similar setup with their academy tied to Hibernia College where players can attend as education is pretty much mandatory for players who are put through the academy.

        • T-Rex

          The Leinster academy must be the best in the world?

          Is any NZ Super Rugby side churning them out like that at the moment?

          (Of course, NZ has more academies which may dilute the impact)

        • Bakkies

          ‘For me the problem is Ireland’s lack of depth. The first 23 is basically as good as England’s for mine, but their next 23 is so far inferior.’

          There is depth but you mostly don’t know about it as BeIN Sports choose to televise 2nd grade European football leagues over live Rugby they have the rights too.

          Ireland have plenty of backrow options. Some say O’Mahony is the next Irish captain but isn’t guaranteed a spot due to O’Brien, Ruddock, Stander, Seán O’Brien (Connacht), etc competing for a spot.

          Donnacha Ryan has probably played his last test as he has gone to Racing 92 but there are options from Henderson, James Ryan, Dillane, Toner and Tadhg Beirne who is starring with the Scarlets has signed a deal to join Munster next season.

          In the front row at loosehead behind Jack McGrath there are Cian Healy (who is still young), James Cronin, Dave Kilcoyne, Denis Buckley (who is very good on the deck), Bealham, Andrew Porter (Leinster have converted him to tight head to get games), Peter Dooley. Hooker after Best there is Seán Cronin, Dave Heffernan, Richardt Strauss, Adam McBurney (last year’s under 20s hooker who should be capped by Ulster by now), Mike Sherry, Niall Scannell, James Tracy, Rob Herring. Tighthead Porter, John Ryan, Bealham, Marty Moore, Bent.

          There is fantastic talent coming out of the Leinster academy. Apart from the injury riddled squad this year Ireland have done well in the under 20s. Half of last year’s under 20s squad got academy deal. Some even got full contracts. Leinster have already elevated Andrew Porter and James Ryan to full contracts in the first year in the Academy (Irish academy deals run for three years). Both were capped in June.

          People say that Hodge is similar to Mortlock. I don’t think so. The young Ulster back Jacob Stockdale is a better comparison. Can play 13, wing and fullback. Pretty good off the tee when he has to step up.

      • T-Rex

        I’d say that Ireland is considerably stronger than Australia at this moment in time. It is hard to see who in our team would get in theirs.

        As the European sides haven’t played in months it is just the other sides accumulating wins over Argentina which bump the rankings.

        • Braveheart81

          They also lost to Scotland (and Wales) in 2017 although they beat England. I think you are overstating the quality of their side significantly if you think their best XV are generally man for man better than ours.

          Anyway, it should be an excellent series against them next year.

        • T-Rex

          Scotland game was a freak result. Wales
          are a good team.

          In my opinion there is an elite group of 1 team, New Zealand.

          The next group is Ireland and England.

          The next group is Aus, South Africa, France and Wales.

          I think there are gulfs in quality between each of those groupings.

          Of course this is subjective!

        • Braveheart81

          I don’t see much evidence to suggest that Ireland is on par with England rather than being on par with Australia and South Africa as per the rankings points.

        • T-Rex

          The only tangible evidence you can base it on is competition places and rankings, which don’t back up my opinion of course.

          Personally I don’t see much of a gap between England and Ireland.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Except that Ireland loses to poor teams like Wales and average teams like Scotland, and England doesn’t.

          That’s a pretty big difference.

        • T-Rex

          I don’t follow.

          England does lose to Wales, regularly. And their games are always very close. Their record against Ireland is very close also. I’d imagine that in the last 4 of 5 years Ireland have the edge. England won it this year.

          The Scotland defeat is an outlier.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I don’t mean to be rude, but are you just trying to obfuscate?

          We all know that teams do not stay static. Teams that were good in 2015 are not necessarily good now. Teams that were good from 2011-14 are not necessarily good now.

          Since the RWC England has not lost to anyone but Ireland. Once.

          In 2016 Ireland drew with Wales, lost to England and lost to France. In 2017 Ireland beat England (great win) but lost to Scotland and Wales.

          The Scotland defeat is not an outlier when you look at the results over the past two yeas. And what England’s results were against Wales from 2011-15 are irrelevant, Wales were a team in much better form over that period, and England has massively improved since the RWC with Jones at the helm.

        • T-Rex

          Mate, it’s a response to your generalisation about losing games to Wales and Scotland.

          Of course you can’t go back long periods of time to base opinions of teams on, but equally you can’t base them solely on results between February and March of the most recent year.

          No matter what way you look at it, Ireland and England being closely matched doesn’t seem to be in any way a controversial statement worthy of this level of debate.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          ‘No matter what way you look at it, Ireland and England being closely matched doesn’t seem to be in any way a controversial statement worthy of this level of debate.’

          That’s your opinion, which isn’t shared by the majority of fans (even my family in Ireland are pretty candid about admitting they are on the tier below England).

          Ireland has suffered multiple poor losses since the RWC (France in 2016, Wales and Scotland in 2017), as well as a draw with Wales in 2016.

          Over the same period England has won every single match except for a single tight loss to Ireland in Dublin.

          How you can say that demonstrates the two teams are on the same level is baffling to me. No matter how many times you say Wales are a good team, it will not become true.

          At most you could say that DESPITE results you think that they are of a similar level (you may be right), but you can’t say results indicate this, because they don’t.

          Results indicate that Ireland are an inconsistent team capable of very good wins and also very poor performances; and that England are an extremely consistently good team that is able to win consistently both home and away.

        • T-Rex

          Ireland and England being close may not be shared by your mates but it is likely shared by anyone who looks at the results and games.

          Ireland beat England in this year’s Six Nations. England won the year preceding that. Ireland wont the year preceding that. England won the year preceding that. They’ve each won 50% of the last 4 tournaments and had been beside eachother in the rankings. Evidently they are closely matched.

          Every team is inconsistent when it comes to results except New Zealand.

          I don’t see why you are desperate to drag this into a a mud fight.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          ‘… but it is likely shared by anyone who looks at the results.’

          No, it isn’t. Since the RWC England has won both 6 Nations, achieved one grand slam and won the other very comfortably. They’ve got 18-1 in matches.

          Ireland have losses to Scotland, Wales in 2017. Losses to South Africa and France and another draw against Wales in 2016.

          England and Ireland are 1-1.

          You’re ignoring results, not looking at them, if you say that they’re equal teams. This is fine (and you may well be right that Ireland is as good as England, honestly, you could be), but stop saying the results back up what you’re saying. Clearly, the results of the two teams against Wales, Scotland and France do not back up what you’re saying.

        • T-Rex

          Seriously, you are arguing that results suggest Ireland and England aren’t closely matched? You are really digging a hole for yourself here.

          There’s no need to look for arguments every day here mate. At least be selective with them!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          ‘Seriously, you are arguing that results suggest Ireland and England aren’t closely matched?’

          Yes, I think all results since the RWC suggest Ireland are a tier below England.

        • T-Rex

          That arbitrary argument stacks up when you ignore results etc, well done. I look forward to the next unnecessary argument you pick to pass your day.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          ‘Good thing that only a selective batch of results in a selective time period matter.’

          Um, it’s all of the results since the RWC (ie almost the last two years, and the entire period since Eddie Jones took over as England coach).

          Are we supposed to analyse how good 2017 Ireland and England are based on their results from 2011-15…?

        • T-Rex

          “Are we supposed to analyse how good 2017 Ireland and England are based on their results from 2011-15…?”

          You’re just being obtuse now. Nice deflection.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          No I’m not. You’re accusing me of being selective in the results I’m looking at, whereas I’m looking at all of the results since the RWC. You, meanwhile, are claiming (in the face of all evidence) that Wales are a ‘good team’ (they’re not), and that Ireland’s loss to Scotland is an outlier.

          Based on their losses in the 2016 and 17 6N, it isn’t an outlier, it continues a trend of Ireland having some great wins (South Africa in SA; England in Dublin; New Zealand in Chicago) and also some poor losses to some poor teams (France, Wales and Scotland).

        • T-Rex

          Do you know what outlier means? The Scotland defeat is an outlier.

          Results in your arbitrary time period clearly show the teams are closely matched.

          Do something else with your day instead of picking arguments here.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          ‘The Scotland defeat is an outlier.’

          There is no evidence for this claim. Ireland also lost to Wales in 2017, and lost to France in 2016 as well as drawing with Wales again.

          It isn’t an “arbitrary” time period, it is the entire time period since the last RWC, and the period in which England got a new coach and have began to dominate after failing at the RWC.

        • T-Rex

          Evidence of that claim is based on historical results between the sides.

          In your period of time you are ignoring results between the sides, tournament results etc. The sides being closely matched is blatant by definition.

          I have a feeling you are the type of person who chooses a side and will just argue against any logic until the other person just ignores you so you can chalk it down as a “win”.

          Arguing that the sides who are trading wins and 6 nations places every year are not closely matched is idiotic. Clearly you are not motivated by reason at this point.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Historical results don’t matter. Historically South Africa and New Zealand are about 50-50, historically Australia beats Ireland and England the majority of the time.

          This is not the case since 2010.

          You’re incorrect in your assumptions, I just don’t think the logic of “England and Ireland are traditionally similarly good teams” means that in 2017 they must be similarly good teams.

        • T-Rex

          Being obtuse again.

          If you really think by historical results I meant since the beginning of time then you are not equipped to be arguing here.

          If your sole basis for comparing teams is now 2017 (which makes your comments about France puzzling but lets ignore that) then England finished 1st in the 6 Nations, Ireland finished 2nd, and Ireland beat them.

          That is close, literally.

          Your imbecilic ramblings will help you achieve your end goal, I am getting bored our your nonsense and don’t feel inclined to indulge it anymore.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          My basis for comparing how good the teams are since the 2015 RWC have been the results of both teams since the 2015 RWC.

          Is this ‘imbecilic’? If so, then I am an imbecile, because I see no better way to gauge how good both England and Ireland have been since the 2015 RWC than looking at the results since the 2015 RWC.

        • T-Rex

          It has been explained for you repeatedly.

          A good way to compare sides against eachother is results against eachother and placements in competitions that they both compete in.

          Not for D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies though.

          We can go through your restriction of looking at the last 2 years (excluding the World Cup which occurred in this time period as it doesn’t suit you) and it is evident, and a reasonable 4 year period and it also doesn’t suit you.

          Reality is it is a long time since England were the sole dominant side in Europe. Not that reality matters.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          England got a new coach after the failure of the RWC and their results improved an astonishing amount. Using the 2015 RWC results to gauge how good Eddie Jones’ England team is makes literally no sense. In fact, I don’t even see how you can begin to make the argument of including it when analysing Jones’ England team.

          England have been the dominant side in Europe since the RWC. The one exception to this is a heard fought but very good win by Ireland over England in Dublin after England had already won the 6N.

          I can see, however, that you’re motivated by ideology in this and that we will find no common ground. Suffice to say I agree Ireland are very capable of beating England in any one off match. I don’t believe, however, that they have yet shown they are capable of a period of sustained dominance like England has shown.

        • T-Rex

          Do you even know what you are arguing against?

          There is no argument that Ireland are the best team in the world. Or that they are better than England. Somehow you are trying to frame an argument agains that.

          Foolish “ooh they lost to Scotland” doesn’t change this. If they beat everybody there would be no argument over whether they are close in standard to England

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe you’re arguing that England and Ireland are roughly of the same standard, meanwhile, my position is that the results indicate Ireland is the tier below England and is of the same standard as Australia and South Africa?

        • T-Rex

          I chose my words carefully. You, clearly, did not. Go back and read them.

          You throw out references to results as though they support your position merely because you mention them. They do not.

          Ireland and England are close in standard. Results and finishes suggest that.

        • onlinesideline

          nope they dont

        • T-Rex

          Yes let’s just pretend they didn’t finish beside eachother in the last 6 Nations, that Ireland beat them this year, and that they have been winning all of the recent tournaments.

          Clearly England are a “tier above”.

          ffs

        • onlinesideline

          recent ?

        • T-Rex

          What is so confusing? Would you like a link to a dictionary and a link to the 6 Nations website?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Oh, you mean that tournament England have won the last two years, in which they are 9 wins and 1 loss, with one Grand Slam and two wins?

          Is that the same tournament in which over the same period Ireland are 5 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw, culminating in one 3rd place and one 2nd place finish?

          Clearly you’re right and their results are virtually identical.

        • T-Rex

          Yes, that tournament. You would be well served in familiarising yourself with it. And not spending your ENTIRE DAYS here arguing over nonsense.

        • onlinesideline

          First you use the dictionary and look up “recent”

        • T-Rex

          England winning 18 games in a row, great achievement. I could descent to the level of argument that you and the other clown are making and pretend that black is white.

          It still doesn’t change that England and Ireland are close in standard to each-other. Both teams have different strengths and weaknesses, one of Ireland’s being that they are unlikely to ever put such a consistent run of results together even in favourable conditions such as England’s run of 18 wins.

        • jamie

          You and Daryl Braithwaite talking to yourselves again?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          It’s a serious problem, Jamie.

        • onlinesideline

          How is he being obtuse and what is he deflecting ? He very clearly stated results over the last 2 years and from those results he drew obvious conclusions. How on the basis of England’s 18-1 (in the last 2 years) v Irelands inconsistency (in the last 2 years) can you claim they share the same standing ? How far back in results is too far back for you. Surely you must see post RWC15 as a new chapter for all teams as the rest of us do and hence the cut off point when siting results in a ranking debate as in the one you are having above with DBTB ?

        • T-Rex

          Being obtuse by idiotic comments like “oooh we should only look at results from 2010-2015 then” and arguing as though I am saying Ireland are the best team in the world rather than being close in standard to the 2nd best team

        • onlinesideline

          just curious then whats the cut off point for you when siting results in a team ranking debate – do you consider pre RWC and RWC itself as relevant to post RWC results ?

        • T-Rex

          Of course pre and post world cup can be relevant. And would also suggest that the teams are close in standard.

        • onlinesideline

          “of course pre world cup results are relevant”
          when judgeing how teams in 2017 compare ?
          are you doing a historical result analysis or a present day ranking ?

        • T-Rex

          Hmm, how could we compare how teams compare in 2017. If only they played eachother or competed in the same tournament.

        • onlinesideline

          by looking at win / loss ratio of last 18 months not last 18 years

        • T-Rex

          Win/loss ratio… a favourite here among the people who like to ignore competitions etc. I thought it was reserved for the Cheika attacks.

          Maybe you should look at results between Ireland and England over the last 18 months and where they finished in the 6 Nations.

          If you still persist with he “tier above” stuff then it is clear what you and your are.

        • onlinesideline

          I have no interest in arguing with you over this anymore, not because you make any compelling argument (in fact everything you pointed to was pretty weak) its just that you sound charmless. I like charming ppl. You are not charming.

          Good night from Budapest.

        • T-Rex

          Yes comparing how they perform against eachother and in the same tournaments it is very weak to suggest they are similar.

          Well done.

          You guys are killing this website with your idiotic arguments of the day

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Except that Ireland loses to poor teams like Wales and average teams like Scotland, and England doesn’t.

          That’s a pretty big difference.

        • T-Rex

          The only tangible evidence you can base it on is competition places and rankings, which don’t back up my opinion of course.

          Personally I don’t see much of a gap between England and Ireland.

        • Braveheart81

          I don’t see much evidence to suggest that Ireland is on par with England rather than being on par with Australia and South Africa as per the rankings points.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Wales are not a good team. They’re the worst team of the home nations, worse than France, and I would say far worse than Australia and South Africa currently.

          I would almost expect Argentina to beat them at a neutral venue. I think it would be a close match.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Wales are not a good team. They’re the worst team of the home nations, worse than France, and I would say far worse than Australia and South Africa currently.

          I would almost expect Argentina to beat them at a neutral venue. I think it would be a close match.

        • Braveheart81

          They also lost to Scotland (and Wales) in 2017 although they beat England. I think you are overstating the quality of their side significantly if you think their best XV are generally man for man better than ours.

          Anyway, it should be an excellent series against them next year.

      • T-Rex

        I’d say that Ireland is considerably stronger than Australia at this moment in time. It is hard to see who in our team would get in theirs.

        As the European sides haven’t played in months it is just the other sides accumulating wins over Argentina which bump the rankings.

      • Bakkies

        The Boks lost to Japan at the RWC, Argentina choked a lead last year in SA, lost to them in Salta this is before the defeat to Italy.

      • Bakkies

        The Boks lost to Japan at the RWC, Argentina choked a lead last year in SA, lost to them in Salta this is before the defeat to Italy.

    • jamie

      I’d say Australia’s performances against NZ were marginally better. We played them first, while they get the easy (compared to the ABs) game first against Argentina.

  • Andrew Luscombe

    Nick, you make it sound like a person or committee or something at World Rugby makes decisions about the rankings. It is an algorithm based on match results, which takes into account the strength of the opponents.

    The points produced by the algorithm are a more accurate guide than the ranking itself. The top 5 is as follows:
    NZ 95.51
    England 90.14
    Aus 85.59
    Ire 85.39
    SA 85.05

    So 0.54 between 3, 4, and 5, which seems pretty right given recent results. The closeness in points is why these teams can leapfrog each other based on a single match result. You may as well consider them all equal third. NZ top, and England 2nd seems right too.

    There is another similar ratings system on the http://www.rugbyvision.com web site. It has the following ranking points:
    NZ 135.47
    Eng 123.13
    Ire 119.74
    Aus 118.79
    SA 118.03

    Different algorithm and points system, but really the same result – nothing much between Ire, Aus and SA. NZ clear top, and Eng clear 2nd.

    I think there’s an Ireland tour to Australia next year. Should be pretty interesting.

    • onlinesideline

      strange we are not playing Ireland on EOYT – why we are playing Wales again is beyond …. how many times have we played these guys in the last few years ? – feels like 10 times – madness

      • Braveheart81

        They are only playing 3 games in November and are coming out here for three tests next year so probably not top of either country’s priorities.

        • Bakkies

          Ireland usually play three in November as the back to back (against the same opponents) not the Heineken Cup sponsored by Heineken rounds are a couple of weeks after the AI. I believe that playing an extra AI is to the detriment to the Welsh regions as don’t get a week off to recover from the tests. The players are going in to physical back to back matches spent. Particularly when you playing the likes of Clermont, Sarries and so on who play a physical brand of Rugby.

      • Wallabrumby

        Its a good thing in my opinion. Like England avoiding the All Blacks for 2 years.
        Ireland games always a struggle and would say they have an edge on us since 2011 WC, Wales while always close we have the edge on them

    • Kiap

      Good post, but I think the “saw fit” quip might have been a touch of levity. Dunno about the IRB reference but that’s just how this news page rolls.

      Usually hammed up more on the Hartman watch, in fairness, but it’s a handy strategy. Unintentional bloopers can also become gags. They all generate more reader comments.

      See? It worked on me. :)

    • Kiap

      Good post, but I think the “saw fit” quip might have been a touch of levity. Dunno about the IRB reference but that’s just how this news page rolls.

      Usually hammed up more on the Hartman watch, in fairness, but it’s a handy strategy. Unintentional bloopers can also become gags. They all generate more reader comments.

      See? It worked on me. :)

    • Tommy Brady

      Great work! Thank you.

  • Alister Smith

    Really good to have the process of a coaching review begin. However, this looks very much to be a top down approach. I am interested to see if the coaching review will work from the bottom up as well. I know KRL has expressed a number of times the need for the development of a clear coaching pathway and coaching development from the ground up. While I think this meeting of high level elite coaches will have some clear benefits to Super Rugby and Wallabies performance, what I am particularly keen on seeing is the development of coaching at age level and club level so that the players arrive at each new step ready to move into that next level. There is also the need to look at the coaching culture. I have heard of U8/U10 coaches offering bonuses to kids (ipads etc) for try scoring and man of the match awards or paying kids per try. Just pocket money etc but I wonder if this is where we create our player issues of the future. The celebration of the individual performance over the celebration of the team ethic. Also while its important that children learn to win (and to lose) and to respond to both, we also need to ensure that they are picking up the skills they need so that they improve as rugby players, team members and young men and women. I see some great junior coaches around who are very committed to that and I see some others that are key to push short term success and their own individual goals above that of the team.

    On a related point, thanks also to the GAGR team for the latest weekly podcast and for Dave Wessels in making himself available. It was very insightful to here how a young coach has progressed through the ranks, how he learnt his profession and developed his art. Seems like a remarkable young man, well aware of his own limits but finding ways to constantly challenge and expand them. The best thing the Rebels have done so far in securing his services and I think a first step in healing a bit of an ugly divide that has developed in rugby. Hopefully he wil also be able to coach Perth in the IPRC.

    • Tommy Brady

      Excellent points. Listening to the fallout today in US Soccer for failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and the theme of failing to coach junior level coaches is a very common theme. Some kids are fortunate to be naturally talented or athletically gifted from a very young age. Most get it taught to them from coaches. Hopefully coaches well coached to be great coaches!! Players can always be developed at a later age – but if their fundamentals are poor, they just get found out. The higher the level, the greater the weeding out process. It never changes.

  • Jy

    Does anyone know where on the gold coast the wallabies are training?

    • McWarren

      Star Casino I think?

      • jamie

        That place hasn’t changed in 20 years… If KB hadn’t changed over the last few years I’d almost say you’re right…

  • Pearcewreck

    Great, another arrogant Kiwi gloating.
    No wonder so many people hate NZ rugby fans.

    • Tommy Brady

      What proposals would you make Pearcewreck to make The Rugby Championship a more evenly competitive tournament amongst the 4 competing countries?

      • Missing Link

        That’s easy… tie NZ’s bootlaces together

        • Tommy Brady

          Ha. Adidas in a world of trouble with US College basketball. Maybe they are open to a bribe.

    • Colin Fenwick

      Wow. That escalated quickly.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Love being No1 but TBH any of the top 5 could win against any other on a given day. Bounce if the ball, referee call, poor decisions all can change a game so while nice I find it pretty irrelevant when they play

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Nah, the All Blacks are like 2006-09 Federer. Clearly the best, not really beatable except by a titanic effort from the opposing team. The other teams CAN win, but need to have a really good day and also get the rub of the green with luck and in terms of the referee.

      I think teams 3-5 are all 30-45% chance of beating England though.

  • Perth girl

    As interesting as the Senate Inquiry yesterday was the revelation that the day before an 11 hour “meeting” on Andrew Forrests yacht took place featuring some of the witnesses who gave evidence yesterday! Also Twiggy and John Welborn spoke to the inquiry privately although Twiggy told us that he hadn’t requested that it be private. On another note can some medical personnel arrange for memory loss medication be given to certain ARU and VRU board members!

  • Bay35Pablo

    ‘what does the player of the future look like?’
    Probably a lot like that of the past knowing these peanuts:
    – Probably played at a private school.
    – Odds on Daddy or Uncle Greg is the coach or features in a senior admin position, leading to allegations got picked despite form.
    – Picked at an early age on (oh, he’s in the US on holidays with the family during selection trials? And 2 other players tore it up his his absence but I don’t know their Dads ….?) …. form, then directed through the pathways on a sleigh ride, pissed in his pocket about how great he was, takes his wage for granted.
    – Likely to piss off for the lucre at the first possible chance to NRL, France or Japan …. or in fact NZ as great Uncle Neville was an AB ….
    – Ass handed to him at first available opportunity by Kiwi player with better skills and greater hunger, who probably had to fight with 17 cousins for the ball in the backyard every weekend, and the ball was a beaten up old Steeden doubling as a Gilbert anyway.
    Excuse me if I am now bitter, but when’s the forum about improving schools and junior level rugby? Do you know how many stories I have heard this year about school and junior teams of a good level going to NZ for tours and getting OWNED! NZ is ahead of us from an early age.

    • Bakkies

      Getting flogged doesn’t help morale but those tours do highlight what you need to catch up.

      Pulling funding from touring the UK and Ireland has been detrimental to the development of players. These tours were vital as players get more time together in tough conditions and they start to build friendships with players they might play with in the under 20s.

      The other thing about these tours being stopped is that the likes of England and Ireland no longer tour in return. England take a team to SA now annually to play in a 3 to 4 nation tournament. Even Wales and France have sent down teams.

    • Who?

      Not wrong about them heading to League… Reports are we’ve just lost another one today, young Rorke, currently playing for the Schoolboys, his uncle’s a Shute Shield head coach, but he’s off to play under that bloke all Rugby should’ve been happy to lose, Ricky Stuart…

    • onlinesideline

      I dont disagree with the sentiments of what you are saying but if you look at Aussie schoolboys and the schools they went to, they actually dont seem to be by in large private or GPS. There is a few from GPS but generally the makeup is from all over the country. Thats one thing thats actualy struck me when always going through the list each year – dont you agree ?

      Maybe its ex GPS guys disproportionately involved in admin of game ? … I dunno know – its just an observation.

      • Andy

        Funnily enough. A lot of the GPS players are on scholarships and wouldn’t be at those schools otherwise. If you trace their life, most probably actually fit the bill.

        Most of these private schools have basically followed the Sydney Uni model. Rarely produce grassroots talent if any at all. But nab them when it matters. I went to one of those schools and that’s exactly what happened. Our teams were generally shithouse up to opens level then all of a sudden we had new players. Mostly on singing scholarships…..

        Would have thought the choir could have used these talents a bit earlier than year 11….

        • onlinesideline

          Your school then – Its not Grammar or High because they are useless even in year 12, unlike when I went to school, its not Joeys because they are pretty good all the way through, I dont think its Shore because they are too busy chasing Queenwood girls, so its either Kings, Iggies, Scots, Newington. And choir you say – I’ll say Scots ?? Am I right or am I right ?

    • Peter

      I agree with a lot of what you’ve said, but I would point out that Waverley College toured NZ this year and won 6/6 fixtures against NZ schools opposition.
      https://waverley.nsw.edu.au/news/rugby-report-new-zealand-acu-study/

  • Jack

    Anyone know any details on the the Wobs GC camp..? I hadn’t heard about it. Where are they training..? I’d love to take my little bloke up to watch if I can work out when and where…

    • Bakkies

      Have you tried The Southport School?

  • Greg

    So is the Senate inquiry into Rugby a good way to spend our tax $s?

    All very interesting but not obvious to me where it leads.

    • Andrew Luscombe

      No, it’s not obvious where it leads at all – it could lead to anything between far reaching significant improvements in the administration of the game, or to a bunch of people being upset forever at snippets of info that come out. If it’s more of the former, then it might be worth it

    • MungBean

      I agree. An AFP inquiry would be more suitable given that certain directors of the ARU are turning down legitimate financing of their sinking organisation for *no apparent reason*.

      • Bakkies

        It appears that ARU funding has been misused. The Senate Committee can pass the investigation other Federal authorities such as ASIC, the AFP and the ATO.

        A lot of the digging in to the documentation so far has been done by Force supporters who have made submissions to the Committee.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    200th. Congratulations team that’s friggen awesome. Love this site and the people on it

  • Wallabrumby

    The longer this ARU saga goes on, so grows longer the hard end of the stick the Force received .

    And it pisses me off as a Australian Rugby fan.

    Now with Rebels having a good coach, strong playing roster and a level of safety financially they will probably go really well next year and ARU will be laughing their smug little mugs off.

  • Greg

    looks like I missed some excitement. I have never seen so many deleted posts!

Rugby
@Nick_Wasiliev

Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician and second-rower trying to kick start a writing career in an increasingly bonkers world...

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