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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News has us (finally) see the senate report handed down, more on the Wallaby chat, a description on the RWC selection, and the Brumbies relaunching their rugby academy.


The Senate hands down its report (finally)

160414 Pulver Clyne

Finally, after all the talk from the Senate, we finally have a report which cronicles the findings made from it’s meetings with Bill Pulver, Cameron Clyne and more. And to put it simply, there was plenty to talk about.

The report highlighted eight major recommendations by which the game could be fixed, ranging from an ASIC review to new structures on player welfare. The report also took particular interest in the saga relating to the sale of the Rebels, finding that the removal of the Western Force would only be a short term solution to the governing body’s financial woes. Annoyingly, long term, there would still be more financial turmoil down the road.

“The committee understands that removing a Super Rugby team will provide the ARU with short term financial relief. However, ending the Western Force will not reverse the long term structural decline in the game’s finances,” the report reads, as published on rugby.com.au.

“The ARU acknowledges that all of Australia’s remaining Super Rugby teams have experienced financial difficulty.

“Even with the removal of the Western Force, the ARU does not have the capacity to continue to be the lender of last resort to four Super Rugby teams indefinitely.

“The decision to remove a Super Rugby team necessarily comes at the expense of developing greater home grown talent and maintaining a national rugby footprint.”

The report also concluded, in a frankly damning section, that the ARU has shown little regard for player welfare in regards to this whole debacle.

“The committee considers that the ARU showed little regard for player welfare,” the report said.

“Minister Murray and representatives of RUPA both expressed concern about the effect that the decision would have had on the players’ mental health.

“To ensure that players in similar circumstances are better provided for, the committee is of the view that greater oversight and consideration from both the Australian Sports Commission and National Sporting Organisations for player welfare is essential.”

The eight recommendations are listed below:

1. The committee recommends that the Australian Sports Commission consider an additional principle to be introduced in the Commission’s Sports Governance Principles in relation to National Sporting Organisations’ commitment and duty to player welfare.

2. That Australian Rugby Union immediately transfer all intellectual property and trademarks associated with the Western Force to RugbyWA.

3. That the Western Australian Government review evidence to the committee in relation to the process used to eliminate Western Force from the national Super Rugby competition and seek further legal advice on what assurances were provided to them by Australian Rugby Union and in particular the Australian Rugby Union negotiations with both the Victorian and Western Australian Governments which informed the good faith investment decisions by the Western Australian Government on behalf of Western Australian taxpayers.

4. That the Australian Securities and Investments Commission review the evidence received by the committee regarding transactions involving the Melbourne Rebels.

5. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission review the financial circumstances reported in the Australian Rugby Union’s annual reports against the evidence presented to the committee.

6. The Australian Rugby Union consider implementing measures outside of state based bodies which ensure the involvement and engagement with grassroots rugby union supporters, particularly in relation to consultation in decision making processes that concern significant change to the nature and future direction of the sport.

7. The committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government examine the structure of sporting organisations in Australia with a view to maximising community involvement, and increasing the accountability and transparency of organisations that bear the custodianship of a sport.

8. That the Commonwealth Government undertake a review of world’s best practice sporting policies in relation to sports funding and performance measures.

For the full 54 report (which I strongly recommend you have a read of), click here.

Old and New

Reece Hodge kicked a late penalty

Reece Hodge kicked a late penalty

The Wallabies have travelled down the road to London, and ahead of the England game this weekend have been greeted by some exciting new faces.

The most notable is, unsurprisingly, the Tongan Thor, who could be set to make his debut for the Wallabies this weekend.

“As a young boy coming out of school you get excited because (the media attention), it’s not normal,” Tupou told foxsports.com.au.

“There was a reason why I moved here [to Australia].

“As a young boy from Tonga all I wanted to do was play for Australia.

“If I get the chance to put on the jersey over the next couple of weeks I wouldn’t know what to say.

“I’d be so excited. I’ll probably cry. But if I can’t, I’ll just bide my time.

“Obviously I’ve got a lot of work to do, in the scrum particularly.

“But I think I can do it and in a few years time I want to be the starting front-rower for Australia and want to be the best.”

Tupou has learnt the hard way to not get too ahead of himself of the social media side of things, but he admitted that having time among older players has taught him to really pull his head in and focus on his own game. He made particular mention of Radike Samo and Quade Cooper, whom he considers his biggest heroes.

While Tupou is close to making his maiden debut, at the other end of the spectrum, test veteran Tatafu Polota-Nau has also gone on record that he is still setting his sights on 2019, despite signing for Leicester Tigers next year. The hooker is above the sixty test minimum, allowing him to make a return to the game in the international test window.

“I’ve got to take it game by game,” Polota-Nau said to the Sydney Morning Herald. 

“I’m a bit like Steve [Moore], it’s definitely starting to take a toll on this body. In saying that, if I keep performing, then most definitely [play the World Cup].

“I still personally feel like I’ve got a lot of room to improve. At the end of the day, what is prominent is just trying to make sure that I continue my form from the Test series into the English Premiership, so hopefully he [Cheika] does give me that call.

“The move to the Force was great, it’s such a shame that I couldn’t stay there longer but I guess the next challenge is to come test it up in the northern hemisphere where it might be a bit slow from what I hear from a couple of friends. I guess you never know until you experience it.”

But Taf added one big word of encouragement:

“I have no doubt that the future of Super Rugby in the hooking department is well-covered.

“I’m really excited to watch from afar the likes of Jordan [Uelese], Alex Mafi, Andrew Ready and Tolu [Latu].”

The Wallabies squad will be named tomorrow.

Time to vote

rugby-world-cup-generic

At the time of publishing late on Wednesday night, the Rugby World Cup hasn’t yet been announced, so we thought we’d highlight the decision making process for you.

There are 39 votes to be cast, with each vote representative and indicative of the major rugby nations of the world. In addition, there could be a result of a majority winner (twenty votes), two nations tied with the most votes, or a three-way tie.

If there is no majority winner but two nations tied, the voting will go to a second round, where the winner is officially named from a majority voting.

Here’s the voting allocation, courtesy of Fox Sports: 

Australia (3), England (3), New Zealand (3), Scotland (3), Wales (3), Italy (3), Argentina (3), Japan (2), Canada (1), Georgia (1), Romania (1), USA (1), Asia Rugby (2), Oceania Rugby (2), Rugby Africa (2), Rugby Americas North (2), Rugby Europe (2), South America Rugby (2).

By the time you read this, it is expected we will finally know who will be hosting Bill in 2023.

UPDATE: France will officially be hosting the 2023 World Cup. The voting went a little something like this:

Voting Round one: France 18, Ireland 8, South Africa 13  (Ireland eliminated)
Voting Round two: France 24, South Africa 15

Breaking in the Colts

Fardy directing the lineout.

Fardy directing the lineout.

The Brumbies have announced a major shake up down in Canberra, as they plan to relaunch their rugby academy in an attempt to blood their next Super Rugby stars.

The academy has been in hiatus for about six years, but with changes to the elite Under-20s program, executive Damien Hill thought it was about high time it be brought back.

“The academy exists primarily as part of the succession strategy for the playing squad,” he said to The Canberra Times. 

“The program we’ve put together is specific for the ACT. We’ve got a few advantages in regards to our proximity to the [high-performance] group – it’s a smaller area to service so we can really do something special.

“It’s been missing here, with the under-20s program being changed to an under-19s program there’s now an age gap we need to fill.

“Pat McCabe, Tommy Cusack, Sam Carter, they all came through programs like this. It’s been proven in the past that it works.”

According to Academy Coach Daniel Hooper, the academy will initially be a training squad, with the bast players graduating up the ranks into the Brumbies squad.

“We want to develop local players as much as possible, but there’ll still be some players that come from out of the region,” Hooper said.

“Maybe the academy provides a bit of a carrot to get those players down here.”

A notable inclusion is Will Goddard, who (after a standout year for ACT Schoolboys), turned down an offer to play for the Chiefs, choosing instead to join the academy and push for Brumby selection.

“It’s quite a promising opportunity and one that’s very exciting, so I definitely can stay in Canberra now long term,” Goddard said.

“The Brumbies are a successful club … you look at the names of some of the people they’ve produced – Matt Guteau, Matt Toomua – some of the world’s best. Definitely look to follow in their footsteps.”

Academy squad: Angus Allen (backrow), Will Goddard (flyhalf), Byron Hollingworth-Dessent (wing), Len Ikitau (centre), Harry Lloyd (prop), Noah Lolesio (centre), Langi Lolotonga (backrow), Lachlan Lonergan (hooker), Liam Rasch (lock/backrow), Tom Ross (prop), Seamus Smith (scrumhalf).

  • oztimmay

    …annnnnd RWC 2023 is off to France.

    • Nicholas Wasiliev

      Beat me to it oztimmay!

    • mikado

      Yeah, interesting process. A year of open and transparent technical review, followed by a secret ballot in a smoke-filled room.

      I’m gutted for the Irish. But I daresay France will do a good job of it.

    • Dally M

      So theoretically Australia could bid for it in 2027, but would presumably be competing with South Africa and Argentina at that time.

      • Bakkies

        The RA have four years to rebuild their relationship with the Federal Government as they will have to rely on them underwriting the bid fee.

        • Ed

          Absolutely.
          France is prepared to pay World Rugby $253m to host the event. I don’t think Australian taxpayers would be keen to give RA that amount of money just to bid to host the event when many rugby fans wouldn’t trust the national body to organize a meat raffle.

        • Bakkies

          Given that the states have a big say in the Federal Government they won’t get the backing of the WA Government and I say the ACT Government will have their doubts about supporting it as they put the Brumbies future in doubt and underfunded local Rugby development.

        • Alister Smith

          Perhaps it would depend on who is in power. I noticed that the Labor members of the senate committee made some statements at the end of the report that were a little more conciliatory. It almost seemed to say “this should have been sorted out within the sport and not brought to the senate”. I personally don’t agree with that. I think there are some issues of governance and particularly of transparency around both the decision to cut the force and if the criteria were properly adhered to and also around the sale of the licence for the Melbourne Rebels, the funding to the Rebels and the forgiving of the debt incurred prior to the sale as well as some issues around comments in the ARUs financial reports that justifiable need to be properly reviewed and analysed. On another matter, i don’t understand why a sporting organisation that is on the bones of its arse with stakeholders everywhere calling for funds decided that this was a good time to rebrand itself and change its name. Even if there was a legitimate reason for it (and I am buggered if I can think of one) it just looks like they are trying to divert peoples attention.

        • Bakkies

          It was a ridiculous statement from Labor and smacked off stuff read from shills and supporters who are protecting an organisation with something to hide.

          To get the Inquiry going Sen Reynolds had cross party support from various states.

          As for the name change it was their supposed idea of a new change of direction and inclusiveness which was discussed a year ago.

  • onlinesideline

    Ireland would have been the kind of place that the locals would have put you up for the weekend, old school billeting style and epic nights on the town. Instead we’re going to have, “this is France, we speak French here” – yeah greatttttt.

    • Westo

      Bit harsh mate, France is an amazing place to visit and to watch rugby. One of the most passionate nationalistic places around. I have watches numerous games in the Top 14 and national games vs Wallabies. I remember each with fondness. …and I love a good fondue.

      • onlinesideline
      • onlinesideline

        Yeah probably but they just seem to rub me the wrong way. Cant argue they are nationalistic though but I was referring more to their hospitality. Yeah some Parisians make an effort to counter the stereotype but just listen to this peanut brain below.

        • Patrick

          They have the right to speak their own language…!
          Personally, I think France is great, and I look forward to attending every Aussie match and having a great time in all of the towns we visit!

        • onlinesideline

          when they are HOSTING a WORLD cup Patrick ?

        • Patrick

          Doesn’t worry me, I have always enjoyed watching rugby with the frogs as much as anyone else except Aussies

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          No, Patrick, you can’t really expect to host an international sporting event and expect everyone to speak your language. Especially in the case of rugby where it is primarily an Anglo sport.

          As for France, I’m ambivalent. It’s a lovely country with fantastic food and decent wine even if it doesn’t nearly live up to its reputation. A lot of cool towns and places to visit, and Paris is one of the world’s great cities. But it certainly isn’t as exciting or as interesting or as vibrant as South Africa would have been.

        • Huw Tindall

          South Africa would have been an adventure – Ireland would have been a month long party – France will be, well, France. Fans in the south. People too cool for school in the north. Overrated food and booze.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Disagree about overrated food. Aside from Georgian cuisine it is my favourite in Europe. Agree about the overrated booze. They certainly know how to market wine better than everyone else in the world, even if they don’t know how to make wine better than everyone else in the world.

        • Bakkies

          Disagree a lot of the good local vineyards don’t export so there is a lot of top stuff that people are missing out on if you have never been to France.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I have been to France 4-5 times. My taste is more inclined towards the stronger flavours of the southern hemisphere than the more delicate flavours of the north. That said I quite like some Italian wines and love Georgian wines.

          If you’ve never tried them, Bakkies, the Georgian grape ‘kindzmarauli’ is probably my favourite in the world. Difficult to get in Australia, easy to get in Europe.

        • onlinesideline

          Georgian women are beautiful too. I remember talking to one in a bar in Budapest. We were actually outside, her boyfriend was inside and they were down from London for the weekend. I was totally mesmerized, never seen such beauty in a face. It wasnt your average barbi doll beauty, it was much more subtle. The kind of beauty where you find your self momentarily lost in true prettiness. Where you can barely hear what they are saying, It only lasts a few seconds, because you have to keep your shit together, but its almost mystical when you see it.

        • Huw Tindall

          Ha it was a very broad generalization but having eaten and drunken my way around Europe, France just didn’t live up to the hype – Italy came out first – you can’t get a bad meal in the place; even an innocuous tratoria in an innocuous town has quality local ingredients cooked well. Best steak I ever had was in Florence! Some hidden gems in the Balkans and Eastern Europe with you middle east influences starting to become evident too. Italian food, Belgian beer, Spanish wine, Polish women, German infrastructure, and Irish hospitality.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I liked Italy and the freshness of the ingredients, but I got a bit bored of the carbs and the tomatoes. Having grown up eating heavy Hungarian food I preferred the heavier and richer French cuisine. Agree on the Belgian beer (and waffles, and chocolate, and fries) and northern European infrastructure. Switzerland felt like Germany on steroids.

          You’d be shocked at the hospitality of the Russians, actually. Never have I been treated so well as a tourist. You constantly get special treatment for being a foreigner. And my goodness did that shock me.

          Next time you’re in Europe try Georgian food. Guarantee you you will be pleasantly surprised. It is almost like a fusion between Middle Eastern and Cantonese.

        • Huw Tindall

          Handily, for travelling, certainly not Wallabies supporting, I’m living in the UK so Europe is closer than Perth is from Sydney! Georgia, Russia and further east is on the travel shopping list for sure.

          Perhaps selfishly in all this I was hoping the Saffas would get it as I need a good excuse to spend a month on holiday down there!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          ‘Perhaps selfishly in all this I was hoping the Saffas would get it as I need a good excuse to spend a month on holiday down there!’

          That was one of my key reasons for supporting the South African bid :) . Incredible country, South Africa. I would love an excuse to go back.

        • Huw Tindall

          Totally. Like the players often say, rugby gives them a chance to travel the world and experience new cultures. As a fan and former shithouse player I feel the same sentiments!

        • onlinesideline

          I would love to go to Russia. The guys in software I come across are awesome to talk to, great spirit, great minds and open without too many stupid affectations you see in western Europe. It doesnt really shock me they were quite hospitable. So much to see. Caucasus look amazing too.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Parmigiana might be just about the greatest food in the world though.

        • Brumby Runner

          Sounds just like Aussie.

        • Patrick

          Where do you all get off thinking that South Africa made any sense? The country is tearing its game apart with blatant politicisation, and that’s only the least of the sins of the ante-antediluvian kleptocrats whose pursuit of personal wealth and power comes with the complete abandonment of their poorer and far more desperate countrymen.

          1995 this is not.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          What do you mean ‘where do I get off’? Is that even a question?

          I’m not going to get drawn into a discussion about my thoughts re. the ANC nor SARU. It is not the point.

        • Patrick

          But isn’t it? Shouldn’t that be at least a factor in where to host the world cup?

        • Bakkies

          ‘And you really think hes the only one. Many speak perfect English but refuse to and yet are quite happy to triple charge tourists.’

          Never had a problem. Make an effort to speak their language as you are in their country and show that you aren’t English and from the States, you are on your way.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, you don’t have to speak a lot in order to placate them. Something as simple as ‘Bonjour, pardon mon Français est très mauvais. Je suis Australien. Parlez vous Anglais?’ is enough as an Australian for things to be fine. Maybe it wouldn’t be as easy if one was French or Americans.

        • Damo

          Yes. “Je suis Australien” right up front gets the fact you are not English out of the way. Aussies are generally well regarded in France. You will do even better if you give the language a bit of a crack. Then there is the fact that you really don’t need to spend more than 6 or 7 Euros for a decent bottle of wine.

        • Bakkies

          Exactly as Chabal was directing his anger at British journalists who were demanding interviews in English. They surely could afford translators. I have never seen Laporte who was the coach at the time conduct an interview in English as he can barely speak it.

        • onlinesideline

          He speaks English

        • Bakkies

          Very little.

          Laporte went to a function in Dublin that was held when France played Ireland in the Six Nations and he couldn’t communicate with the IRFU and other delegates as his English is that limited.

        • onlinesideline
        • onlinesideline

          You know what that gets you ? They tone it down from being plain out nasty down to just your garden variety of terseness. They tolerate you. Wow, thank you so much for tolerating us foreigners, your so niceee. What a rich and full culture you have….pfff
          Sorry dont buy it for one nanosecond.
          There is absolutely NO excuse for their tone, curtness, shortness whatsoever. No wise ppl act like this, you can give me the different cuture theory until the cows come home.

        • McWarren

          I don’t speak much French, in fact I speak no French. I fumble my way through the first few days until I’ve picked up a few phrases. I’ve been to France maybe 10 times and never once had someone be rude too me for not speaking their language. Even when once I tried to say to a road gang in French “ sorry I speak very little French but is this the way to Sezzane”, instead my wife told me they are all having cardiac arrests from laughter because I just said “sorry the French a very small you’re on your way to Susan”.

          Stereotypes are easily applied if your looking to apply them.

        • onlinesideline

          So your suggesting that within the first 2 or 3 sentences when ordering some dinner, I just quickly through in “Bonjour, oh by way Im not British or Amercan, Im from Sydney, yes can I have the steak tartare si vous plait ? ”

          Any more golden travel tips ? The country is superb, the mountains and nature are incredible but I just find the people cold and at times too much with the “f..k the Amercan and British thing” just when they are not in the mood. Its unacceptable. Scandanavians, Germans, Central and Eastern Europeans could all make the same excuse but dont. Whats so special about these ppl ? They are very happy to totally rip you off and belive me they are highway robbers in peak season. They see a bus load of elderly tourists rock up and its ON.

          Thats my experience. I have been to the country alot, sailed all round the French med, surfed Hossegor on west coast and driven from top to bottom and across and up again multiple times. While you do come across blokes in a pub who are decent guys or dudes in the surf scene who are good blokes too, its just generally I find them cold people and at times plain out nasty. Much colder than the Germans in fact. At least when the Italians rip you off they smile as they do it. Anyway maybe I am just pissed Irish didnt win.

        • Alister Smith

          I lived in the french speaking part of Switzerland and had a lady from Normandy who taught me french twice a week. She said one day, don’t you find the french arrogant. I said, well no not really. She replied oh i do, i think we are extremely arrogant. Having said that, i think they are nice people, its a great culture and a beautiful language (at least to order cigarettes in which is about as far as I managed to get – now i dont spoke so i cant even use that.)

        • onlinesideline

          Of course they are. They are like that with themselves as well. Why do ppl think that if you “only speak their language” they would be oh so verry verry nice – please, spare me.

      • Huw Tindall

        I was in France in 2007 and ended up in the middle of the main square in Montpelier watching the ABs v France…in my Wallabies jersey…having driven from Marseilles where we’d just watch the Wallabies get knocked out by England. I was in a black mood. The locals LOVED the fact I’d come so far to visit and support my team and suffice to say when the French got up over the ABs it was one massive party. So welcoming.

    • adastra32

      All beer and wine drinkers can breathe a sigh of relief that it isn’t Ireland (7-10 euros for a pint). Otherwise, the craic was preferable.

      • Jasper Sapien.

        Hey, you can find irish people for craic anywhere.

      • Huw Tindall

        Jesus where were you buying pints!? I’ve been working here for over half a year and would struggle to find a pint at more than 5 euro! And that’s a pint…not a schooner.

        • adastra32

          Dublin and anywhere where you can charge the customers more…

        • Huw Tindall

          Everywhere is cheap compared to Australia! Even Dublin: http://www.pintprice.com/region.php?/Ireland/GBP.htm

        • adastra32

          True: outside London :-(, you can buy a very decent pint for £3.50 or less – just over 3 euros – in the UK. Still, wine and beer in French supermarkets are even cheaper (and good). So allez Les Blancs pour 2023!!!

        • Wasmute

          Last World Cup in France at the Boks vs Fiji (should have been wallabies) there was only non-alcoholic beer available in the stadium, you had to go outside to get the real stuff..so be worried, very-worried fellow beer drinkers!

        • Yowie
        • Bakkies

          Exactly anyone who buys pints in Temple Bar (usually the first bad impression that tourists get in Ireland) need their head read.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I actually like Temple Bar. It’s touristy as hell and super expensive but it is pretty and the atmosphere is usually nice.

          O’Donoghue’s was my usual haunt though.

    • SuckerForRed

      My greatest beef with France is that it was just there in 2007. Would have thought that sharing it around a bit might have been better for the game. But I guess I am not looking at a multi-million Euro cheque.

      • onlinesideline

        its disgusting, why get Ireland to forkout all that bid money in the first place if its known that infrastructure and similar aspects are a deal breaker from the outset. The country is a global tourist destination and could have made the necessary builds to accomodate the cup, no trouble. Its also well recognized to having the best spirited fans in world rugby and llike you say both SA and France have had their go. What the hell is wrong with these ppl. This is not how you grow the game in peoples hearts. Its not about hotel numbers and public transport FFS.

        • Bakkies

          Ireland has a lot of empty hotels due to the Celtic Tiger and the growth in private bus companies has put the boot under the complacent semi state run company Bus Éireann.

          You only have to look at the credible unions that voted for SA. Wales, Argentina, Australia

  • Jason

    I do think Tupo could be a sneaky chance to start, but either way he’ll be an upgrade over Tom Robinson (I do love the kid but he’s just a little bit shit).

    • Huw Tindall

      Thought he wasn’t available until the Scotland game….

      • Jason

        Yeah, I think you are right. Still a sneaky chance to starting… against Scotland.

  • onlinesideline

    Would be great to see Tongan Thor bulldoze his way down the middle of the English pack and finally get to the last player Mike Brown, have a little chuckle and go in under the posts.

    • FucktardStorm

      I’d be a lot more excited about Tupo if he was a dominant scrummager. Someone on this site keeps banging on about meat and potatoes first, gravy second, and they’re dead right. Because until he is a dominant scrummager, it is the English pack that will be bulldozing through the Tongan Thor at every scrum, and Mike Brown will be the one having a chuckle.

      • onlinesideline

        he’ll get there, he needs to get served up some UK pudding at scrum time. It will put some fire in his belly to be the best at that position. Hes a good kid.

        • Andy

          Agree. He seems like the sort of guy that likes a challenge. And if we can get him scrummaging really well he has all the potential to not only be the best front rower we’ve ever “produced”… but the best the world has seen. He has such a high ceiling in my honest opinion.

      • Pedro

        He’s at least as good a scrummager as Robertson. Still needs work but he’s young and the right shape.

        • Simon

          As good as Robertson and 20kg heavier. As they say, quantity has a quality all of its own.

        • Hoss

          The kids (Tupou) got potential for sure – but he got towelled up at scrum-time in the NRC Final by his opposite who was 20kgs lighter.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I personally think he’s been brought on far to early. As you say a lot of potential but there’s a real danger he’ll crash and burn

        • Hoss

          One youtube clip does not a prop make……….

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Absolutely. Especially when it goes to your head and you think it is who you are

        • Dan Petrie

          Hi KRW, just my two cents. How would he be managed in the NZ system? (Would it be a couple years of club and wider provincial squads?). While Qld have not set the world on fire with results the set piece is an area of strength for the Reds. Interested in your view.

        • Tommy Brady

          I sense NZ very much a case by case scenario. They Are slowly getting results with current prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi despite early results being poor. They also selected 20 year old hooker Afaso Aumua when conventional wisdom was to leave him 1-2 years. I think though we all know the belief that props / front rowers don’t properly learn the art of scrummaging until Much later. Thoughts KRL?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I guess he’d just have spent longer at Mitre 10 cup level proving he’s more than a one hit wonder. He’d also not have ever got as far with his weakness in scrummaging as that should be his bread and butter. I think that with the potential he shows he’d have had some serious coaching on his scrum work and been given some clear goals to achieve before moving higher. If he met those then he’d move up as a reserve and then have to prove himself at the next level.
          The thing is at this stage in NZ he’d be lucky to be in a Super team let alone the national team

        • onlinesideline

          right shape alright

      • Simon

        I’ve never been able to work out why they have made him into a tighthead. I know he’s a beast but surely if you have a prop who has such a good running game but is not yet a good scrummager you develop him at loosehead? Put your best scrummaging prop at TH and save Tupou’s legs a bit for the loose stuff.

        Plenty of props have switched sides later on as they get wiser in the dark arts and slower in the legs.

        • Selector

          Hey Simon
          Can you (or anyone) give me a run down on the key differences between the two positions based on;
          Body shape,
          Effort
          Skill sets
          Etc?

          Thank you! I have spent too much time doing my hair in the backline to worry about this

        • Mica

          Here’s some layman comments until the grizzled veterans pop up there heads (Nutta where are you?)
          TH has to anchor the scrum as they will get squeezed by both the opposition’s LH and hooker.
          Generally if the TH can hold and the LH side of the scrum goes forward, you’ll be able to win a penalty, dictate terms or put the opposition on roller skates (if they get sufficiently destabilised).
          Every now and then you see a really good TH break the bind between the opposition LH and the Hooker – this is a true thing of beauty and generally ends up with the opposition front row broken apart (or folded or on their ar$e$) and the dominant front row reappearing in amongst the oppositions locks or flankers. :)
          As to what makes a good TH body size wise think barrel or big (angry) duck. Lower body strength is crucial (lower back and legs). There was a school of thought (I believe at one stage that short was better), but Carl Hayman proved that this wasn’t necessarily true.

        • Selector

          Legend Mica, thanks heaps for the breakdown!!

        • Simon

          I’m not a prop so this is all second-hand info and I’ll defer to Nutta and his cauliflower-eared brethren on any point of difference… but my understanding is the tighthead is the one you want with the best technique to anchor the scrum like Mica said. It’s the most important position in the scrum and the one who needs the most brute strength plus the experience to deal with shenanigans from the opposition like boring in from the loosehead, etc. You are willing to sacrifice some other aspects of game play like agility and speed for a good TH, because their legs will be spent anyway from being the focus of all that pressure.

          This isn’t as important for a loosehead so if you have a prop with agility, speed and a good running game like Tupou, you’d prefer him to be at LH, as this will spare his legs a bit and his inexperience at scrummaging isn’t quite as much of a liability. His best asset is his running game, not his scrum skills. You definitely don’t play him at tighthead against highly experienced opposition front rowers who will school him.

          This is why some props will start their career at LH while they are young, fit and agile but inexperienced in the scrum. As they get older, they get slower and less agile but more experienced at scrummaging so it might be worth switching them to tighthead. Greg Holmes was a good example of this, he started at LH, and scored one of the all time great front-rower tries against Ireland in (I think) 2006. He then switched to TH and by the end of his career with the Reds last year, he didn’t really do much in the loose at all except make his tackles and make carries for zero metres, but he was IMO the best scrummaging tighthead in the world.

          Here’s the Holmes try btw… brings a tear to the eye. ;)

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdjc3DYUb28

        • Selector

          Thanks Simon between you and Mica I think I might actually be able to talk Scrumlish next time I am with my no necked mates.
          I still remember that try from Holmes, amazing! Holmes and Rodzilla were one of my all-time time favourite prop combos.

    • Hoss

      Hes not eligible until the Scottish game

    • Mart

      And then get carded as Brown dives for the cameras

    • Missing Link

      It would be like watching a pitbull attack a poodle

  • adastra32

    “…but I guess the next challenge is to come test it up in the northern hemisphere where it might be a bit slow from what I hear from a couple of friends.”

    Try actually watching some Premiership games Mr Potau-Nau…you might find that your friends are a bit out of touch.

    • Footyyy

      Pretty sure he was taking the piss.

  • Dally M

    Not that it will bring the Force back, but i’d like to see ASIC look into the whole Rebels licence dealings with the ARU as the amount of money that cost Australian Rugby could have saved the Force 3 times over.

    • Bakkies

      Yep and it put the Brumbies future in doubt as well.

  • Alister Smith

    I wonder if a potential referral to and investigation by ASIC has anyone at Rugby Australia nervous?

    • Huw Tindall

      lolz no they’d put the intern on any investigation – ASIC have bigger fish to fry and battle at the best of times to regulate corporate Australia let alone non-listed entities

      • Bakkies

        Don’t buy that considering the amount of tax payer money has gone in to the game for what. WA Government has estimated that they spent 100 million on infrastructure for the Force (office space, stadium upgrades).

        • Huw Tindall

          ASIC has a pretty aenemic track record. Even long time ACCC chairman Allan Fels had a crack at them. Toothless tiger who can’t even effectively prosecute proper corporate governance scandals like the CBA financial planning business. On top of that the current government has slashed their budget by $120m!

        • Brumby Runner

          Pot calling the kettle black.

      • Rob Hill

        Nearly 2 million dollars a year in tax dollars alone?

        Yeah ASIC will surely ignore that and the loss of 285 million dollars because it’s small potatoes, I think you’re unreasonably hopeful.

        • Huw Tindall

          Not hopeful! Rugby Australia needs a reality check and clean out but unfortunately I don’t see that coming from ASIC. I just hope this whole thing has put them on notice and they get experienced sports management professionals involved rather than the old boys network.

        • Dally M

          Yep and whoever takes Pulver’s place looks at all this, draws a line in the sand & we put plans in place to fix the mess.

        • Bakkies

          Exactly and ASIC can’t ignore the use of trusts and the sale of the Rebels to an organisation that was technically insolvent when they purchased the side.

    • Twoilms

      ASIC are vastly incompetent, couldn’t charge someone with insider trading if they had it recored on tape.

  • Greg

    gosh – today has turned into a travelogue!

    I was surprised that France won the world cup but it will do the job and it is a wonderful place to visit.

    Steer away from places that speak much English and muddle through. You will learn heaps about a fascinating country. In the markets you can find all parts of an animal…. and they eat the lot. The cheese smells can kill at 10 metres… just hold your nose and eat. It can be fantastic.

    I watched a world cup game on a big screen in the square in front of the town hall in Paris. Great crowd, great atmosphere.

  • Mart

    Looking forward to seeing the team come out. Hopefully Hunt to 12 and anyone to 6… anyone ….fark play simmons there even

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate I agree. Simmons actually had a couple of good runs at 6 in the super rugby. I think he’s actually better suited to that role and as a lock he gets caught up too much in the tight.

      • Jason

        While I don’t think Simmons is a long term solution at 6, Tui would be much better as a long term 6 than Simmons is going to be.

        • Andy

          Shit yes. Would love to see him given a run there.

        • Jason

          I actually think it’s a shame the Reds have Higgers and Smith, they actually have a glut of young back rowers. Timu, Korczyk, Scott-Young and a few others.
          I suspect Tui will be played in the row for Super Rugby at least but yeah, long term he’ll be a really nice forward utility player.

        • Mart

          For sure. Simmons call was a joke

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I agree mate I just think Simmons is an option there

    • Bernie Chan

      Put Thor at #6…not much of a line out jumping option but hits hard in defence and can bend the line with ball-in-hand. Can play 80mins too…can’t be any worse than Ned…

  • Missing Link

    Great to see one of the senate findings will apply to all sports in Australia, because I can assure you that the AFL have been 100% focused on destroying the other 3 codes while maximising their profits, they run as a business competing against 3 other football codes. It will be interesting to see how AFL goes when the government forces them to focus on community involvement.

    • Twoilms

      Not sure, as i don’t follow AFL, but i’m pretty sure they have fantastic community engagement.

      • BigNickHartman

        dont forget they also invented women’s sport

        • Brisneyland Local

          Well they have certainly invested in it big time.

  • Pearcewreck

    Here’s the voting allocation, courtesy of Fox Sports:

    Australia (3), England (3), New Zealand (3), Scotland (3), Wales (3),
    Italy (3), Argentina (3), Japan (2), Canada (1), Georgia (1), Romania
    (1), USA (1), Asia Rugby (2), Oceania Rugby (2), Rugby Africa (2), Rugby
    Americas North (2), Rugby Europe (2), South America Rugby (2).

    Personally I think this is a joke.
    If a country is a member of World Rugby, they should get an equal vote.
    The current system is so old school tie, it’s an embarrassment to the game.

    • Dally M

      Yeah I was surprised to see Italy & Argentine get 3 votes and Rugby Africa only get 2

      • Bakkies

        The voting structure has changed so much given that tier two unions were given votes (don’t forget that France set up FIRA when they were kicked out of the Five Nations) and the bid recommendation was a farce with SARU telling Ireland and France to pull out was always going to benefit the French campaign.

        Their charm offensive was a joke with the use of Lomu’s kids and the French President not showing his presence they were still going to get the votes as they are seen been the tier two nations as giving them the best support for their Rugby development.

        • Tommy Brady

          You called it yesterday Bakkies. I guess the final demise of the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe and the failure of South Africa to win the 2023 RWC could be viewed as a double victory against African corruption.

        • Bakkies

          I said it a while back that SA keeps on getting rejected and a lot of it has to do with votes.

          Italy and Argentina get 3 votes each as tier one nations. Rugby Africa like FIRA is a confederation.

        • Tommy Brady

          I guess attention now turns to 2027. On the assumption they try again, I wonder if SA actually got issued with a list of requirements by World Rugby for them to be the successful bidder then.

          To me, a disturbing by-product of this decision is that the countries with the required wallet size to host this event Is literally down to 3-4. I guess we can tell young kids we saw the RWC played “Down Under”. Doesn’t feel like it’s ever coming back.

    • In FIFA each vote carries equal weight no matter their influence in the game and that lead to larger economic countries “buying” the votes of the smaller federations which ends up in a World Cup in Qatar.

      • Andy

        Was going to say the same thing. It appears to be more open for corruption in that system

  • Jason

    It really baffles me how the ARU can just write off 13 million dollars of debt owed by the Cox lead group but force the Western Force to hand over *EVERYTHING* over a smaller amount.
    Also while I don’t think ASIC will do anything about it it’s gotta be super dodgy to sell an entity that owes 13 million for a dollar and have the debt written off.

  • Bay35Pablo

    “Matt Guteau”
    He Gits’s Kiwi cuz?

  • Seb V

    Tongan Thor can’t bloody wait!

  • Alister Smith

    Just re-read GAGR contributor Andrew Lucscombe’s excellent submission to the senate enquiry. In my work as a commodity analyst I am aware of a few “tricks” that you can use to make a graph tell a story that suits your initial position, changing the y-axis values to show more or less dramatic movements, changing the length of the analysis or in the example provided by the ARU using an index that isn’t appropriate or ignores key elements. But graphs, when done properly can be very effective in demonstrating a trend and pinpointing key developments and changes. Andrew’s improved chart showed that the decline in performance of super rugby teams was not as closely related to the number of Australian teams. But the main thing that I got out of it was that the decline in performance occured after peaking in 2002. That was 4 years before the entry of the Force and the decline has been gradual ever since and the rate of decline appears reasonably consistent to me and doesn’t look to have been accelerated by the addition of more teams (though that doesn’t suggest it didn’t contribute). So if we really want to sort out how to improve our performance we need to look at what has occured domestically and internationally since that time. Is it growth of professionalism in Europe that is drawing more of our players away – if so less teams here doesnt necessarily fix that – it may actually make it more difficult. There are probably many other things that have happened since then, changes in structure, coaching, the retirement of a number of “once in a generation” players.

    • Andy

      I was watching the top 14 on the weekend and was thinking the same thing. Is it really a depth problem due to development pathways? Or is it more to do with losing players overseas? I’m
      starting to think the latter is more prominent in the problem

      • Dally M

        100%

        It’s not a player depth problem, it’s player retention.

        Reducing the number of teams to 4 will not fix that.

    • Andrew Luscombe

      Thanks. Good to know some people liked what I wrote..

      We had a good era late 1990s to early 2000s. NZ is having one now, and it makes us look relatively bad because we traditionally judge ourselves by how well we do against them.

      As you say, there are plenty of things that could be the cause of these eras, but the number of teams is certainly a minor factor if any.

      • Alister Smith

        Yes I read the full submission. I was interested that our “winning index” and that for SA super rugby teams has declined at roughly the same rate (though they didn’t drop off so much in the last two seasons but if you take the Lions out of that its probably much the same). For SA many look at the quotas etc as a reason for decline but that wouldn’t seem to support that argument and quotas shouldm’t reduce the number of available players overall (should actually increase them from some sources) but may lead to problems with retention. As you say, NZ is running through a golden era while we are doing roughly as well as most SA teams except perhaps last year.

  • paul

    I am curious regards the release of this report which is pretty damming. Yet it appears to have been given scant coverage both the SMH and Australian (digital) haven’t even mentioned it. Yet these papers were all over the Force culling.
    The Roar has just given it a press release posting.

    Am I wrong in thinking that the big old carpet is being lifted again.

    • Andrew Luscombe

      Probably the topic is not getting the web page hits it used to. No teams’ survival is at stake anymore, when previously two teams were under threat. The detail now is a bit more complicated.

      Media compnies just try to attract attention. Only the ABC and SBS have any duty to inform people.

      • paul

        What concerns me most regards this whole issue is the reluctance
        in my opinion in addressing what is ultimately the biggest issue facing the
        code in this country.

        And that is Super rugby’s inability to attract a greater audience to the game here which leads to the game struggling to grow in popularity.

        By its nature Super rugby is an extension of the Wallabies,
        its sole purpose is to provide a player pool to that team, yet at the same time
        it is the primary driver of growth to the code here.

        The problem is the ARU are reliant on the Wallabies to do what Super rugby is not doing, grow the code at a domestic level, which in turn leads to a diversion of resources and desperation in equating Wallaby results with the codes health.

        The Western Force are essentially just an unfortunate by product of the failings of this system.

        My concerns are that moving forward the ARU are incapable of changing this set up due to them being completely immersed in it, I mean I don’t
        think they are capable of change.

        Without a driving force accepting the need for change or instigating that change, then nothing will change.

        Hence my sweeping it under the carpet, this is all ultimately cosmetic. The ARU don’t want to change as they know they are part of the problem.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Yes. The national bodies won’t give up enough control to SANZAAR to enable SR to run as a proper professional league, but they are dependent on it too much to run proper national leagues. Something’s got to give.

          I think one good way forward would be to restructure SANZAAR so that the SR teams are members along with the national bodies. National bodies should in total have the same amount of votes as the SR teams. A non-partison expert board should then be appointed to provide neutral management of both the RC and SR. They would then run SR as a proper comp.

          Another way is to just ditch SR and let national comps work, but I think that’s got more problems.

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@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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