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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursdays Rugby News sees Matt Toomua moving home, Slipper speaks up, Super Mario gets the top job and All Blacks ins and outs.

 


 

MATT TOOMUA COMES HOME

170904 Matt Toomua

Matt Toomua could be in line to play for the Wallabies in Bledisloe one after the Leicester centre signed a deal with Rugby Australia and the Melbourne Rebels for 2019. By signing with the Rebels, Toomua becomes eligible to play for the Wallabies should he be called up.

Toomua moved to Leister in 2016 after the Rugby World Cup, a move that seems to have had a positive impact on his career with English fly half George Ford saying “Matt Toomua isby far the best 12 I have played with”

Toomua spoke highly of his time playing outside the English 10, “He is one of the smartest players I’ve come across, right up there with the 10s I’ve played with. We just pick each other’s brains and see what we’re thinking in certain places. It’s his composure that really sets him apart… I’m pretty fortunate to play around guys like that.”

When asked about signing with Rugby Australia and the Rebels here is what Matt had to say.

“Leicester have been fantastic to me throughout my time here,”

“The option to return to Australia was something that did exist within my contract, only if a chance to represent the Wallabies was there and, with a Rugby World Cup next year, was ultimately one I couldn’t turn down.

“As well as a chance to represent my country at a World Cup again, the return home also allows me to be closer to both my wife and family after nearly three years on the opposite side of the world.

“The Rebels are a club on the rise and I was really impressed after having a few conversations with [coach] Dave [Wessels] about his plans for the future.”

Toomua had previously played under Wessels back in 2012 at the Brumbies.

With Matt Toomua honing his craft in the no. 12 jersey, and Reece Hodge a “natural at 13’” according to Dave Wessels, and losing their development fly halves (McGregor, Adams and Debreczeni) it begs the question, who will wear the no.10 jersey next season. A Genia, Quade Cooper, Toomua, Hodge and DHP back line could be a lethal looking back line if Quade wants to head south from Souths.

SLIPPER SPEAKS OUT

2018-Reds-v-Chiefs-1

It wasn’t to long ago that things were not looking good for James Slipper. He tested positive twice for illicit drug use, causing him to be banned for all forms of Rugby.  During the ban his coach Brad Thorn explained his hard-line stance on drug use, all but confirming that Slipper will not pull on a Reds jersey again.

Slipper used this time to confront his mental illness and turn his life around, learning from the experience that nearly cost him his career. Slipper was named as part of the Australian Super Rugby squad set to take on the Wallabies on Friday night as he look to redeem himself.

Speaking with Rugby.com.au, Slipper talked about being a changed man and what this experience had taught him.

“I let a lot of people down and I couldn’t be more sorry for that and more embarrassed for what I’ve done,” Slipper said.

“I’ve obviously gone through a bit of a rough patch and made some poor decisions and probably wasn’t coping with certain aspects of my life that I was going through at the time.

“I’m just so lucky to be back here and given an opportunity to play against the Australian team whether I play many minutes or not but it’ll be interesting.”

Something that Slipper was able to address was the stigma faced by many men that seeking help and speaking out is a sign of weakness, something that he acknowledges he should have done sooner.

“I was one of those typical blokes who kept saying I was alright and I clearly was struggling a bit there but as soon as I opened up to my mum and my dad and told them I was struggling it kind of lifted a weight off the shoulders and I could really address the issues,” he said.

“I was one of those blokes who didn’t want to talk, simple as that and it was to my own detriment and I’ve paid the penalty for that and it’s something I’m going to have to live by for the rest of my life.

Though he still has his demons, he wants to act as a positive influence for people who are suffering like him.

“Obviously, I’m living proof that you make bad decisions, you get penalised but you can stop that from happening if you’re open and honest and speak out a bit earlier.”

When asked about his future, unlike the other Reds exiles Cooper and Hunt, Slipper doesn’t want to see out his contract in club land, suggesting he will look to be traded to another Super Rugby team, or even venture over seas if he can’t make amends with Brad Thorn.

Where would you like to see Slipper end up GAGR fans?

MARIO LEDESMA TO COACH LOS PUMAS

Wallaby Scrum Coach Mario Ledesma

He fixed the Wallabies Scrum, He fixed the Jaguars, and now he looks to fix the Pumas as Mario Ledesma has taken the top-coaching jobin Argentina.

It was announced this morning by Argentina Rugbythat Ledesma will be the replacement for Daniel Hourcade, who resigned after a poor performance in the June Series.

Ledesma played in four World Cups for the Pumas from 1999 to 2011, before moving into coaching where he worked with Stade Francais and Montpellier in French Top 14, the Tahs and the Wallabies. Most recently he coached Argentina’s Super Rugby club Jaguares to their most successful season to date.

Super Mario was apart of Argentina’s most successful Rugby World Cup team as a player back in 2007 when they placed third, and is looking to find more success as the coach.

“I was fortunate to represent my country many times as a player and now I am proud to be the captain of the ship,” Ledesma said.

“I am not intimidated (by the role). One must be responsible, ready to make sacrifices and to work. We have a huge challenge ahead.”

Aussie Rugby fans noticed a difference in the scrum after Mario left, causing some nervousness around how much potential Argentina have to become a quality rugby opponent.

 

 ALL BLACK INS AND OUTS

Wallabies v All Blacks, Suncorp Stadium, 21st October 2017

Sonny Bill Williams is having an atrocious run with injuries. Not as bad as Sydney Swan Alex Johnson but it has not been a good few months with the All Blacks and Blues Centre.

SBW missed the first two tests against the French in the June Series, and injured his shoulder in the third test, an injury that has carried on, ruling him out of the first two Bledisloe Cup matches against the Wallabies.

Never fear All Blacks fans, Steven Hanson will reach into the Rugby Player factory that New Zealand has to find a serviceable replacement.

Hanson believes that Williams will be right for their Rugby Championship match against Argentina.

“He looks fit and he trained well this morning without doing any of the contact stuff,” Hansen told the media.

“The injury he’s got inhibits him from doing physical stuff but his running was good.”

SBW and exiled Red Quade Cooper have been working on their boxing in Aukland over the past week, maybe as they look for like after Rugby.

Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles, who hasn’t played Rugby in nine months, has also been added to AB camp but isn’t expected to play many Rugby Championship matches, if any.

“Once he’s had enough rugby, he’ll come to us.

“We’ve just got to get him running fit so we can get the old Colesy back.”

The 29 man camp has been assembled in Christchurch but does not include any Crusaders players.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Good set of news today, I really enjoyed the read. Cheers, Dylan!

    Interested to see what happens with Toomua. I suspect he will be reintroduced via the bench, but I have heard some people wondering whether we might see Beale shifted to fullback, Folau to outside centre and Toomua to inside centre. Seems risky to me, but we will see, I suppose.

    • Dylan Langes

      I don’t think we will see a lot of him in the Gold. Think back to 2015, no one was taking Foley or Beale’s spot under Cheika. Toomua might wear the number 22 but I doubt hell get much time

  • Alister Smith

    Interesting comments from George Ford and it does open up the potential to change the Wallabies backline. Given he has played mostly at 12, we could see a Foley, Toomua combination at 10/12 and that would allow Beale to 15 and Folau to either wing or 13 – though not 13 if Kerevi/Kuridrani are available. Toomua’s inclusion at 12 would reduce the need to make additional modifications in defence.

    Also heard Greg Martin talking on Fox Sports podcast this week and he had an interesting comment on Quade Cooper and the reasons why he wasn’t playing at the Reds this year. I don’t normally have much interest in Greg Martin’s comments or analysis but when it comes to gossip he is probably as good as anyone else. He claimed that the major issue with Cooper was that the previous coaches in Stiles and Graham (and I imagine their backs coaches Meehan and O’Connor) would give the players instructions on how to play and after the coaches had left, Cooper would then tell the playing group to ignore the coaching instructions and play as he directed.

    If that is the case, then I can understand Thorn’s decision a little better. He is the one responsible for overall performance and if someone is unwilling to play under instructions or is willing to undermine him then I wouldn’t want them as part of my team. It also suggests that, if the team from 2013-2017 (excluding 2016) was largely playing under QC’s instructions rather than the coaches of the time, then we should assign him with a bit more of the responsibility for the team’s poor performance during this time.

    While I think playing in club rugby this year and trying to earn his way back into the team was admirable and has had benefits for the local Brisbane comp, I think if he genuinely knows he is not going to get a run under Thorn next season at the Reds, then he should look for another Super standard club – whether that’s the Brumbies or Auckland doesn’t particularly worry me. Unless Thorn goes backwards as a coach next year he will likely be Reds coach in 2020 and, in that case, Cooper’s contract is unlikely to be renewed. So he may as well get on with his career.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I think that Toomua has played more of his rugby at 10 than 12, but I think he is better at 12.

      Is three playmakers too many? Beale’s fragility under the high ball was certainly an issue on the spring tour last year.

      • Alister Smith

        Yes you may be right. Maybe I am just trying to get too many players in there and we ran into similar problems with Beale, Cooper and O’Connor (though there were other issues there too). I am a NSW native but not necessarily a huge Waratahs fan and while I recognise Foley has some good aspects to his game I can also see his limitations. It will be good to have someone giving him a genuine contest for his position next season and it is also good to have some depth elsewhere. A player like Hamish Stewart would really benefit from having someone like Toomua playing next to him.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Foley is such an enigma, isn’t he? I think a lot of it stems from the fact that he came up through the 7s and to me he still looks like a 7s player playing flyhallf in 15s. He is caught somewhere between a 10, a 12 and a 15. If he was taller and better under the high ball he would probably be a fullback, if he was a stronger defender I think he would definitely be a 12.

          Personally, I think that Toomua is better suited to 12 too, and more complete as a 12 than Foley or Beale, but Beale is one of our best players and basically has to play at 10 or 12. So, really, it comes down to who plays better out of Foley and Toomua. Hopefully there is a fair competition there and Cheika picks whoever makes the Wallabies a better player.

          Either way, depth is improved, as is the bench.

        • disqus_NMX

          Let’s face it, Foley is a good player, but not good enough to be a world beater, and if we ever want to consistently beat the top teams, we need better. Genia and Beale are good enough. QC is a matter of opinion. Toomua is a maybe until we see how he goes back here down under.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think that’s a fair summation of the facts.

        • Alister Smith

          Did he also play a bit at 15 at the start or earlier in his career?

      • Who?

        I’d have Toomua as a 10. He’s got a great kick/pass game and composure, but while he can run straight and hard, he’s not the ball carrying threat that I’d want at 12. Not fast/elusive enough to be the stepping 12, not big enough to be the crashballer (though he always gave it his best). It’s why I always thought the Brums looked best with him at 10 and Leali’ifano at 12, because Christian’s a more threatening ball carrier. But you’re a Brumbies fan, so may have different ideas…

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I’d like to see that too, but it won’t happen immediately given he won’t have trained with the team long enough. He can interchange with Beale on defence and defend at 12.

          I personally think he’s a better 12 than he is a 10. He’s not super fast but he has an okay step, straightens the attack and (crucially) makes good decisions. I think he needs to be with the right guy at 10 inside of him. The best the Wallabies backline has looked since Larkham retired was when Quade was at 10 and Toomua was at 12 as I think Toomua and Quade were good foils for one another.

          Can Beale and Toomua form a similar partnership if given the chance? Maybe they won’t gel as well as Foley and Beale, who knows… Toomua and Beale would be interchanging a lot in terms of first receiver anyway, I think, regardless of who plays 10 and who 12.

        • Mart

          I’m a big Toomua fan. Great at 12 as can be dominant in defense But i fear he’s had to many head knocks to play international footy

        • Who?

          So, to avoid changing up the dynamics of the Wallaby backline, you could swap Toomua in at 10, leave Beale at 12… Interchange on attack, defend at 10 (Hooper’s already in that channel, so that reduces the workload on Matty’s head, but Matty’s more than competent to defend there alone), Beale swaps to the backfield.
          I agree the Quade/Matt midfield ran our best backfield of the last decade (crazy, eh? Now over 10 years since RWC 2007, with Larkham or Barnes at 10 and Gits at 12). I think Quade could’ve done well with a different backline (really would’ve loved to see Quade/Naivalu/Kerevi/Kuridrani/Folau/Beale backline – would’ve been so scary to defend!), but I think Matt needed some of the spark that Quade provided. I think Beale can provide that for Matt from 12 (because Cheika won’t move him elsewhere), or even from 15 (because Matty’s decision making > Foley, I believe Matt could work at 10 with Samu at 12. Especially with strong coaching direction, and Matty knows Bernie L well enough).

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Personally, mate, I would have loved it if we had tried to develop 10. Toomua, 12. Kerevi, 15. Beale (to see if his high ball taking was good enough), but that ship has sailed at this point I think.

          So basically, yeah, I agree 10. Toomua, 12. Beale would be the best option. The difference between a 10 and a 12 in Cheika’s systems are really quite negligible hey. Certainly makes our defence and kicking a lot stronger though. I hope Cheika at least gives it a chance. Maybe it won’t work, but it would be great to see if it did.

        • onlinesideline

          this is bloody good news though

        • onlinesideline

          Quade would have also benefitted with having the likes of Thor & Co up front too.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          So would Larkham in 03-07… And Barnes in 07 especially!

        • onlinesideline

          Poor old Barnes – he really had his work cut out.
          Good egg that bloke – gave everything on the field.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I honestly believe we would have won the 03 World Cup with a world class front row, and could have given 07 a good shot too.

          On the podcast Jamie made the good point that it is about time the Wallaby coaches realised we actually did have a really strong scrummaging tight 5 and adjusted the game plan to reflect that. We need to take advantage of that fact, to plan set piece moves of the scrum, to have tactics to keep the ball in the scrum and to win penalties rather than getting it out of there as quickly as possible, etc, etc.

          Larkham had a lot of brilliant moves off the scrum that he used at the Brumbies as a player. They have to be in his head somewhere. Can Foley and Beale utilise them as a player?

        • Dud Roodt

          I think that might be the record for the most number of “Matt” and it’s different variations written in one comment

        • Who?

          Maybe if Gagger were around more, we could play that game with him..?
          Matt’s shorter than ‘Toomua’. ;-)

      • Dylan Langes

        I think Toomua is a better 12 hence why he has been doing so well in the UK playing outside Ford. It is good to have some versatility but at the end of the day you want the player in their best position.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I’d like to see the Foley/Toomua combination with KB at 15 and Folau at wing but I doubt that it’ll happen under this management team

      • Dud Roodt

        You know what KRL, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m starting to get the idea you don’t like Michael Cheika very much?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Not really mate. I don’t know the guy and wouldn’t like to say what he was like one way or the other until I knew him. I don’t like his selection and coaching style though and I also think that while he has proved to be a very very good motivator he hasn’t shown me any proof that he has a good understanding of tactics. I personally think that Wallaby rugby has gone into decline under his coaching and that the next coach will have a lot of baggage to manage when the change happens.

      • Parker

        I’d like to not see Foley.

    • disqus_NMX

      That sounds like a conceivable story about QC, but I’d add to that that you’re talking about Graham and Stiles et al., none of which, I’m not quite sure how to say it, but something like, none of which are worthy to be guiding the likes of QC. It would be like a primary school kid trying to tutor a PHD student. Give QC a coach that can actually come up with as good as, or better, back line ideas than QC, and/or a coach that can work with him respectfully, and respectful of his genius, to get the best out of him, and you would have a coach that wouldn’t be having these problems. I’m surprised that BT wouldn’t have backed himself to do better with QC, and I’m still convinced it’s really about a personal grudge.

      • onlinesideline

        that coached appeared – his name was LINK.

        • disqus_NMX

          Exactly!

        • Who?

          Except… It wasn’t. It was Matt Taylor and Jim McKay, with Link. Link said in an interview when he was Wallabies coach that he’d point out there was ‘x’ number of players over one way, and ‘y’ over another, and Quade would point out where Link had missed counting a player. Link said it in a manner that showed respect both for and from the player – which is something that hasn’t always been the case with other coaches.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Some coaches are better at ceding control than others. I think, for example, Quade would have flourished much better under Knuckles than Eddie Jones, for example.

          Even Deans, prior to the 2011 RWC, was willing to give his players more control. It’s funny he became known for the mantra of ‘play what’s in front of you’ as it seems to me that this was a mantra that he seemed to discard after 2011 (I could be mistaken).

          Alan Jones said it after the Barbarians game last year, that he would have Quade as his 10 if he was Wallabies coach, but he wouldn’t tell him what to do, he’d allow a lot of scope for on-field decisions.

          Cheika has demonstrated through his comments on kicking that he doesn’t like players taking heaps of initiative, he wants them to follow the game plan. Even after kicking worked in the first Irish test he went on to say that he still thought they kicked too much, he didn’t like it.

          Thorn, like Cheika, doesn’t strike me as the sort of guys that loves on field initiative, but prefers people he will know will slavishly/loyally (which word you prefer would illustrate your opinion of Thorn) follow the game plan. Perhaps I’m mistaken there.

        • Alister Smith

          I don’t know how Knuckles would have been with him. I am not sure he was particularly well known for free flowing rugby as Qld coach. I think he would have been happy for QC to be free-spirited in the opposition 22 but I remember him as a more of a 10 man rugby, kick to position type coach and only then unleash the attacking weaponry. He also had Lynagh as 10 – a very different player to QC as I see it.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I agree, mate, but I think Quade showed himself willing to change strategy and play like that when required – I think he would have been willing to play more cautiously in his 22 if Knuckles asked him to do so. Quade certainly seemed to do so under Link, and even when he was given a shot under Cheika he kept to the strategy. He definitely did so under Deans in the 2011 RWC, to our detriment.

          Different proposition doing so under Stiles/Graham. I am not at all saying he was right to ignore them, but can we really say the Reds demonstrated any tactics then?

        • Who?

          Completely agree. The best coaches are those who are willing to listen to other ideas. Link did it because he learned it at the Tahs and Brumbies under Macqueen. Macqueen was the one who introduced player analysis and input into strategy. His position was, “These guys have the best view of what’s going on, why don’t we ask them what they’re seeing?” There’s a reason why he’s our greatest ever coach (not just at international level, but also his stints at the Tahs and Brums).
          Henry adapted over the years (Nick Bishop has discussed it a bit, mainly in the comments) to listen more to his assistants and then also to senior players. Hansen learned from Henry. White brought in Eddie Jones.
          I’m sure Link told Quade what to do. Gave directions. Genia ‘complained’ in 2015 that life was too complex at the Wallabies under Link, that game plans changed week by week to suit their opponents, whereas it was nice to simply focus on their own unchanging style under Cheika (which has worked out so well. June Tests, we’re what, 3 from the last 9?!). So clearly Link had game plans and directions. But I’m sure he also took input from anyone he trusted, and I’m confident that both Quade and Will would’ve been at the top of that pile.

        • Nutta

          Yes, and another egotistical, self-absorbed, narcissist had him managed out of a job whilst simultaneously giving his all to destroy 2 marriages in the process.

          I don’t care how good a footballer folk are or could be. Shite like that isn’t forgotten.

          But look out because I’ll get deleted again for that…

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          The truth hurts buddy

        • Alister Smith

          Beale is the narcissist?

        • Nutta

          To be fair, there was more than just 1. There were 3 majors and a swag of minors.

        • Alister Smith

          It was an extremely childish action by Beale and pretty poorly handled by the administration and elements of the press who prosecuted the case FOR a player guilty of a very disrepectful act. I think McKenzie deserved the opportunity to take the Wallabies to the RWC in 2015 and it would have been better for Cheika and Australia to have another season or two in Super Rugby.

          I am a little uncertain about QC under McKenzie in the Wallabies. I thought (and could be very wrong) that McKenzie didn’t pick QC at 10 for at least 2 of 3 Bledisloe games when he first took over but then picked him for the matches against the Springboks and Jaguars. QC wasn’t necessarily a lay down messaire (sic) with McKenzie though, at least as a Wallaby.

        • Nutta

          What’s done is done.

          But I still recall one particular quote that summed up my feelings at the time: ‘If you treat my wife/mum/sisters like that, ring the cops and report yourself as missing mate. Then fkn pray they find you before I do.’

        • Who?

          Quade was returning from injury in late Super Rugby 2013. JOC was the incumbent 10 (after the Lions debacle). So Link played Toomua at 10 for Bledisloe 1. Cooper played 10 for Bledisloe 2 in Dunedin, started the game with boos, had the crowd silent for his goal kicking by half time, and was highly praised by the Kiwi commentators by the end of the game.
          Quade was then the starting 10 whenever he was fully fit (i.e. EOYT, but not through TRC in 2014 due to injury – he was returning via the bench in Link’s last game).
          Link clearly wanted to show he wasn’t going to play favourites by picking heaps of his Reds players, and actually favoured the (then higher up the Super table – finalists in 2012?) Brumbies, making Mowen captain as a first year player, playing a balanced backrow of Mowen, Hooper and Fardy (balanced because Hooper ran wide, the other two contested the breakdown heavily – the 2012 Brumbies backrow. Pocock was injured Link’s entire tenure, and he showed no favouritism to Liam F Gill).

        • Slim 293

          Not true – Toomua started the first two Bledisloe tests that year, and then was replaced by Quade.

        • Who?

          You’re right – I forgot about Wellington. But the rest is true – Quade was returning from injury, and the Brumbies were the form team at Super level, so Toomua and quite a few other Brumbies were given a shot. That’s proven by the first Bledisloe match – five Brumbies – Toomua, Nic White, Kuridrani, Scott Fardy and Scott Sio – debuted that game. Toomua being the first to debut in a Bledisloe in 14 years, and that starting backline looking very ACT (Toomua/Leali’ifano starting, with Mogg at 15 and White on the bench, compared to two Reds – Genia starting, Cooper on the bench).

        • Alister Smith

          and the feeling (amongst some critics of QC and McKenzie) was that McKenzie shielded QC from the challenge of the All Blacks, sacrificing Toomua into the bargain and then bring QC back for the easier games against Springboks and Jaguars

      • Alister Smith

        I think the personal grudge is rubbish to be honest, at least as it relates to when they played against each other and the elbow in McCaws face business that other people raise. I have played a couple of seasons for one club and then moved for work and joined another club that we played against and none of that stuff is real. I think a personal grudge in terms of how Quade carried himself at the Reds whilst Thorn was a conditioning and forwards coach could be possible and that Thorn saw something in Quade that he didnt want in his team. As for the coaching ability at the Reds – QC had both Stephen Meehan and Matt O’Connor as coaches. Meehan had coached at Stade Francais and Bath successfully and Matt O’Connor at Leinster (both successfully and not so successfully) and Leicester and a couple of other places with pretty good results. Quade may well be a genius but it doesn’t mean he can’t learn of others – particularly those with the experience of those two blokes.

        • disqus_NMX

          Not a convincing argument, sorry. Totally respect your viewpoint though.

        • Alister Smith

          ditto on the respect (if that wasn’t evident from the first sentence of my answer). Part of where we differ I think is that, while I can see Coopers individual skills etc (which are hard to ignore) I have never seen him as a great game manager. Sometimes I don’t feel he employees the right skill for the right time and I have never seen him as a great strategist – those things a coach like Meehan or O’Connor could teach. I am not sure about Graham – its hard to argue against your point of view given his record. I know a couple of those blokes personally and dont think any of them were control freaks but they might have offered QC some suggestions. Anyway, QC is out there playing entertaining rugby and many people are enjoying it. To reiterate a point made elsewhere, I hope he gets an opportunity to play elsewhere in Super Rugby so more people can enjoy it. He gave the playing into the Reds through club rugby thing a go and it hasnt worked. He tried to make it back through NRC last year and it didnt work. So I hope he gets a run at the Brumbies etc (perhaps with Kerevi according to the papers today).

    • onlinesideline

      interesting but Wallas bad run had nothing to do with QC – he was mostly on bench, thrown in at deep end with 7 mins to go or trialled with Foley as 12.
      Quade has a very high winning rate with Wallabies.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I find that a bit hard to believe. But then again those idiots were so shit it sort of has a believable part to it.

    • John R

      This article from Wayne Smith would add further weight to that argument Alister:
      https://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/opinion/wayne-smith/brad-thorn-runs-out-of-patience-with-quade-cooper-at-reds/news-story/55909fde2ee8435819aed8c879a65507

      Excerpt: “It was the day of the play-off between third and fourth at the 2011 World Cup, Australia against Wales, and, in the hours leading up to it, I happened to run into one of Quade Cooper’s friends in the streets of Auckland.

      As we got to talking about the upcoming match, Cooper’s friend pulled out his mobile phone and showed me a message sent to him that day by the then Australian five-eighth. “Now I do it my way,” the message stated.

      I’ve never revealed that message before and I do it now only because, in a way, it goes right to the heart of Queensland Reds’ coach Brad Thorn’s decision to basically pay Cooper not to come to Reds’ training. But first, a little historical perspective …”

      • Alister Smith

        Yes I think that is sentiment Martin was talking about though he was respectful to both Thorn (or Thorny as he called him) and Quade and spoke about what Quade had brought to club rugby and his obvious abilities.

        I am not an overly experienced coach but I have coached a bit and come into clubs where there has been an established clique and a view that a particular player “controls” or runs the strategy. I would like to think I was inclusive and involved players in strategy development etc, I wasn’t overly confident as a backs coach and was happy to have players involved in developing our approach. But, as a coach, you have to take responsibility for the overall strategy, you have to have all players working towards a common goal. It isn’t a matter of needing to impose yourself over the team and I don’t think that is what coaches like Thorn or Robbie Deans do.

        If Quade was taking control on field and moving the backline away from what was done on the training paddock were the forward leaders involved in that? Do difficulties occur if the backs are playing one way and the forwards are still following the plan that they were given by the coach.

        I think Robbie Deans was an excellent coach and his record at the Crusaders would support that. He wasn’t able to replicate that with the Wallabies and Quade describe the environment as toxic but did he contribute to that toxicity?

        It seems strange for some commentators here to criticise Thorn as being a “my way or the highway” coach but then to be defending Quade Coopers genius and his take charge and do it his way on the field. No player should be bigger than the team and it’s part of the coaches job to ensure that everyone works towards the same goals.

        • Who?

          You don’t think Thorn or Deans are control freaks?! That they don’t impose themselves on their teams?! So it’s just a coincidence that Deans had Foley – a strong assistant coach – and replaced him at the first possible opportunity (just after Foley managed to finally get our scrum going – Twickers 2008, Return of Le Fuse will always be a Wallaby high point) with guys who were weak? That he appointed guys like Richard Graham and Jim Williams – inexperienced guys who were given different areas to run and then shifted around the team after they’d proven their inexperience and incompetence in each field?
          Deans and Thorn are not Macqueen, Henry, Hansen, White. The latter four are collaborative, and appoint guys to support roles who they trust to stand up and oppose them. It’s the only way to oppose groupthink. Whereas Deans’ mentality is that he’s the font of all rugby knowledge. And it seems that Thorn’s taken on that Deans, Bennett, ‘My way or the Highway’ approach. That approach is suicide in the modern game. You can’t think you’re smarter than everyone else, you’ve got to find people you trust. It’s why guys like Nick Bishop have jobs – because the top coaches are always evaluating everyone else. It’s why Wayne Smith has a job – he might not be a great head coach (his record as a head coach isn’t great), but his knowledge is far too valuable to leave out, and he improves everyone around him.

      • Who?

        I think we all knew that Quade was ignoring Robbie’s game plan in that game. Because suddenly we actually played some good rugby – the best rugby we’d seen all tournament – until he did his knee…
        No one can say with any conviction that Robbie had anything like a decent game plan going into that RWC. After thrashing France, putting 59 points on them in Paris, he completely changes his backline, picks a winger at 12, picks a RWC squad without a specialist blindside flanker (which cost us against Ireland, when Pocock was injured for that game)…
        Quade had been scapegoated for the previous game (even though the game was lost in the pack), he’d been under pressure all tournament, he undoubtedly knew he was done, so why not put down a marker and make a statement?

        • Parker

          Dingo was very destructive. Oz rugby is still recovering. To quote Yossarian, “the spirit gone, man is matter” and Dingo crushed the spirit of so many of our talents. Thorn appears to be taking a similar approach. We will progress when we are led by bigger men rather than those whose growth is retarded by pettiness and fear in the face of vision.

        • disqus_NMX

          Absolutely spot on Who?. Deans was killing it with the two playmaker system, culminating with that game against France where our boys made them look like children. Then inexplicably swapped in Pat McCabe to 12 just in time for the world cup. A disastrous, brain dead move, which was so inept it left some wondering if it could possibly be a deliberate move to prevent Oz from being competitive against NZ. A bizarre conspiracy theory, but what else could make him change a winning team so idiotically just before the world cup?! He then added to it by undermining QC and Giteau. The Wallabies haven’t recovered, and QC is still being scape goated.

  • Steve

    So happy Toomua is coming back to Aus, and so disappointed it’s for the Rebels and not the Brumbies…

    Rebels assembling a hell of a squad, really hope they can live up to the promise next year with the players they’ve got

    • Mart

      That would be an amazing backline. Hope it eventuates. Koriebete niavalu on the wings and Maddocks or dhp fullback. Rock solid

      • disqus_NMX

        Assemble a juicy enough backline, a forward pack that can go forwards, and free rein/reign to play his own game, and maybe it might be enough to tempt QC to say fuck it, I’ll be a two club player after all. Rebels could use someone like Slipper in the scrums too.

        • Dylan Langes

          I think Slipper would be a good signing for the Rebels. They can work with his experience and bring up some strong young props in Sa’aga and Ainsley

    • Nicholas Wasiliev

      If Toomua was at the Brums, god that would do wonders to their backline and compliment Lealiifano so well.

      I died a bit inside when he went to the Rebels…

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        At least it will allow Hodge to play in the centres and not at 10. Always look at the positives.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      absolutely. That’s be a great backline. Especially if they keep QC in position for defence and attack

  • Braveheart81

    With Hodge highly likely to play 13 in the first Bledisloe, I think there is a strong chance Toomua will wear the 22 jersey. It will be great having him back in the 23.

    He can only start training with the squad 6 days before the first Bledisloe due to the international window rules.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Dylan, some good news today.

    It’ll be great to see Toomua back although I do wonder where he will fit in. I think Cheika is pretty much set on KB at 12 no matter what someone like North says about Toomua being the best 12 he’s ever played with. I really don’t understand all the comments about playing him out of position to get him into the team though. This really bugs me about the rugby here. I firmly believe that each position in rugby requires different skillsets, especially at the higher level. Even some positions that are the same like Left and Right Wing suit different skills in some areas (left W must be able to pass well to the right, RW must be able to pass well to the left) For some reason here people think that players are so indispensable that they must be included out of position where they don’t have skills just so they are in the team. I actually think this approach is not only creating an unbalanced team but it is also slowing the development of the players in specialist positions. It’s just weird to me.

    That backline would be awesome for the Rebels and I think with the forwards they have they could easily be the No 1 team in Australia. It’d be great to see it come off.

    Argies have made a good choice and I think it’ll see a improvement in the team but maybe next year rather than this year. Going to make 2019 and interesting year.

    • disqus_NMX

      Sure, but how many world class players do you know who have changed position and done so extremely successfully? Quite a few I’d imagine.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Not really mate. There are a couple like Tana Umunga who moved from wing to centre very successfully and the odd 6 who has proved to be an effective lock but most of the moves like Cullen from 15 to 13, Wilson from 13 to 15 have been a disaster. The thing is that most positions have a set of general skills that most people should have and then a select set of specialist skills that only the very good players master. I’ve definitely seen more failures than successes with changes of position

        • Who?

          Didn’t some bloke called Ma’a start wearing 11, and finish wearing 12? And I still think he’s the best 12 this century (all nations). Dmac has moved from 15 to 10 (I know, played 10 as a junior, but not the point!), as did some bloke called Larkham.
          I agree there’s definite skill sets for each position, and I don’t know that we give enough importance to each. But there’s also natural positions for each player, and I also don’t know that we follow them well, either.
          Who do you think is suggesting playing someone out of position..? Toomua..? Because even though people call him a 12, that’s only historically true at Wallabies level, and then only because Quade was ‘the’ 10. Link’s first Test in charge, he played Toomua at 10. Toomua played all his junior footy at 10, he played heaps at 10 for the Brums with Leali’ifano at 12, he’s a direct runner but his natural instinct is pass/kick/run, and he’s got a good kicking game.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think we’re actually agreeing. Nonu moved in because he wasn’t a good winger I think. Dmac isn’t a good 10 yet and I think the jury is still out on whether he gets there. Often some players can move to cover injuries or for a particular tactic but I think it’s risky and generally specialists play better.

        • Who?

          We are – I’m just pointing out that sometimes moving a player is actually putting them back where they belong, rather than just randomly filling jerseys (a la Robbie Deans, and often Cheika).
          That said, they should really be moved across positions at a lower level to learn it there…

      • McWarren

        Yes but how many make the change successfully at international level? KRL point has been my bug bear with Aussie Rugby for past 10 years or more. I’ve no problem developing a player like Hodge into a 10 for example, but do it in club or super land not the RC or autumn internationals.

    • Dylan Langes

      It would be a dream back line, plus you add Koroibete and Maddox, with Niavalu off the bench and it could be damaging.

      Mate I 100% agree with you on the positions, yes there needs to be some versatility but you can always tell when a player is out of position. That being said Australia have been doing it for as long as I remember. We aren’t very good at dealing with two great players in the same position.

  • onlinesideline

    09 – Genia
    10 – Cooper
    12 – Toomua
    13 – Reece
    14 – Izzy
    15 – Beale
    11 – Koribete

    Tip toeing out room now
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OPc7MRm4Y8

    • Brisneyland Local

      I would love to see that.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      That’s a pretty damn good backline right there

    • Twoilms

      Lol not if you want to see a tackle get made.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Well QC isnt the the only one in that back line that is a crap tackler. Beale, Izzy!

      • Gipetto

        Did you see Bernard ‘s attempt to tackle Dyantye last week? Try comparing apples with apples.

        • HK Red

          Did you also see his attempt to not tackle Kwagga Smith? It was 100% successful!

    • Who?

      TK for Reece – I’m confident he’d see better ball from Quade and Matt, they’d use him a lot better. And he’s as good on defence as any 13 in the world.

  • Nutta

    I really like Ledesma. Loved him as a player, greatly admire his work since. Good luck to the guy.

    Good luck to Slipper. I hope your life straightens out. Hope you do things to make it straighten out.

    I read Alister Smith comments below and confess I have heard similar a number of times. I can only suggest to Quade to go somewhere new and reinvent yourself.

    Matty T it’s great to see you back. I hope you play well for Franchise and country. I also hope you take the advice of your neurosurgeon seriously because you have had some head knocks.

    • onlinesideline

      Yeah I’m starting to think its time Quade should move on. I think if he sticks around he’ll look stupidly stubborn. If he moves on, he would have kept his dignity, made his point but in the end showed his maturity. And besides its gives Quade an opportunty to run riot over BTs reds, which for most ppl (except reds fans) would be pretty juicy to watch.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        If I was Quade I would only move in if I both got offered a salary increase and wanted to move abroad, otherwise, I would wait. He tried overseas and didn’t seem to enjoy the experience, so I can see the desire in enjoying club rugby and seeing his family.

        Thorn isn’t obliged to pick Quade, but equally he isn’t obliged to move on.

        • onlinesideline

          technically cant argue but sometimes mate its time to move on

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Personally, if I got a job and was signed on a contract with $X for Y years and then a new boss came in and told me he didn’t want me, but would like me to move on so he didn’t have to keep paying me I probably wouldn’t be too inclined to leave. Personally, I don’t really see where you’re coming from.

          Unlike various others in trouble with Thorn, Quade didn’t break any rules that we know of.

        • onlinesideline

          I dont disagree that hes done nothing wrong and on principle he has every right. But it would be saying, I love the challenge of rugby too much, I love the game too much, I still dream of Wallabies every day, Ive made my point, I’ll show my maturity here and you never know, maybe new doors will open in ways I never anticipated. Sometimes you give over to the universe mate.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He won’t ever play for the Wallabies again. I think we have to accept the fact, regardless of what happens.

          I’d expect him to look to Japan if anything.

        • onlinesideline

          Thats what the “WhiteBait King” thought :)

        • Braveheart81

          He was at least playing Super Rugby.

        • onlinesideline

          thats my very point mate – saddle up and move on and put yourself in best position when moment arises

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Difficult to play Super Rugby when you’re told you’re not wanted, and the other clubs are offering you a significant salary decrease.

          Would the ARU top ups continue, or would the early exit from the Reds contract mean the end of them also?

        • Braveheart81

          I would imagine the RA part of his contract would continue. He would just be renegotiating a SR deal.

          The point I was making is it is far less likely that Cooper gets plucked out of club rugby to play for the Wallabies even with a host of injuries whereas Donald was playing Super Rugby and was literally about the only starting 10 not injured.

          People seem to tell the Stephen Donald story as if he was basically retired, living as a fisherman and was recalled to play for the All Blacks.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yep, I agree, but I would imagine he would be more tempted to switch SR clubs if Link were Wallabies coach, you know what I mean?

        • Braveheart81

          Sure, but Link fucked it and I doubt we’ll ever see him coaching in Australia again.

        • Nutta

          Hey. What did Link fk? My read was he was the one who got fkd. Or did I miss something? Not being smart – just asking your opinion.

        • disqus_NMX

          Link fucked it by putting someone in place as team psychologist who wasn’t qualified as a psychologist (yes she had other roles too, but this was the important part where Link fucked it). And furthermore, that placement was a friend of his, sort of in the typical QRU carpark hiring style. That then team “psychologist” ended up pissing off various players so much that one of them ended up getting ousted for sending disgusting texts to the said “psychologist”. And by ousted, clearly that means said “psychologist” failed to keep client confidentiality, instead of doing the correct, professional thing, and keep her mouth shut, and merely removing herself from the position of him being her client. Furthermore, when presented the opportunity to argue their cases in front of a tribunal, both Link and the “psychologist” declined the opportunity, and headed for the hills with their tails between their legs. I’m not surprised that they did, as I don’t think it would have ended up looking good for either of them.

          I know a lot of people put 100% of the blame of that entire episode in the hands of the player that sent the disgusting texts, but for me, I am astounded that people can be so narrow minded and not see the full picture, and not see that both Link and the “psychologist” were at least partly to blame, if not largely so.

          All of the above is based on what I have gleaned from reading about it on this and other sites, so I may be misguided on some of it, and I may be mis-remembering some of it, but it is the summary of my take on it.

          I’d also like to add that I am a big fan of Link as a coach, and his work at the Reds and with QC is legendary. And I do hope he gets, and takes, a second chance at redemption, and returns as a top level coach in Australia. I am a big believer that people can fuck things, learn from the experience, and come back stronger if given another chance. The player in question certainly appears to have done so, and I’m sure Link could too.

        • Nutta

          Cheers. I disagree, but we are allowed divergent opinions.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah I love that the legend has definitely outgrown the truth. he was playing Super rugby that year and was just on his break before his next overseas contract. It is a pretty damn cool story though

        • HK Red

          Why would the RA portion continue? I can’t imagine Cheika really wants him, never did previously, so if he’s not part of the squad then why would RA pony up on a renegotiated contract?

        • Braveheart81

          They’re separate contracts. RA wouldn’t be able to terminate their bit just on the basis of Cooper moving teams. As far as RA is concerned they’d at least be getting some value out of the money they are paying Cooper.

        • HK Red

          Ahhhhh okay. Thought it would all be renegotiated and then if not part of the larger squad (which I’m pretty sure Cheika would not include him), the RA top up would disappear.

        • Fatflanker

          QRU are being dickheads not offering to make up the difference on any reasonable transfer offer – talk about cutting your nose off to spite your face.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I would like him to come to the Brumbies though. Believe me, I would.

        • Nutta

          Link or QC?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Both?

        • Braveheart81

          The difference here is that Cooper is in a career that has a finite lifespan. Now just playing club rugby might extend his life in the game because it is less intense but if he’s looking to sign another big contract in 2020 it might be easier to do that if he does play Super Rugby next year.

          Anyway, I certainly can’t blame him staying on his current contract if that’s where he wants to live but it isn’t also without potential negative consequences for his remaining career.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          It’s a fair point, and I’m sure it’s one he and his agent are considering.

          Who knows, perhaps he will defect to the Brumbies next year. I can’t imagine the Rebels will have the salary cap available for him.

          However, I would have thought that Japan would be a more likely scenario. He can extend his rugby there compared to playing SR, and will get a bigger salary.

        • Braveheart81

          His problem with Japan is there is no 19/20 season due to the RWC so if he stays in Queensland next year it is another year away before he can head there.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          If you’re on almost $800,000 per year, I can see the attraction. Means he most likely won’t be injured also, which is no sure thing in SR given his history of injuries.

        • Perth girl

          Salary cap for the Rebels! you must be kidding!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          They got rid of Lance apparently because they had to do so to be under the salary cap, which apparently put them under.

        • Perth girl

          There hasn’t been a salary cap this season, RA admitted this at the begining of the season. I hardly think getting rid of Jonno Lance would cover Genia, Coleman etc. The Rebels had over 40 squad members at the start of the season

        • Who?

          I’m thinking DBTB might be meaning the Reds let Lance head back to Worcester (where he went after the Force) so they could be under the salary cap for next year, maybe..? Given they’ve also managed to offload Frisby, Douglas is leaving (another big contract), I think Ben Lucas is off again…

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He initially signed with the Rebels for this year but within a month changed to the Reds in like November.

          My friend who is fairly on the pulse of all things Rebels told me thd ARU said they had to cut someone to get under the salary cap, which is why they agreed to Lance going to the Reds for this season.

        • Slim 293

          Again, not true – there was no salary cap this year.

          Lance wanted out of the Rebels and initially they were reluctant to release him.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          So you say. Wayne Smith at the Australian said differently.

        • Perth girl

          Fake news as ML would say!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Maybe, but I find it unlikely that RA gave the Rebels carte blanche freedom to act, if only for the reason that the Brumbies, Waratahs and Reds would have risen up together in anger.

        • Perth girl

          None of the Aussie SR teams had a salary cap this season and were allowed to have more players on their books than normal. Next year things are supposed to go back to “normal”

        • Slim 293

          I’m not sure I care what Wayne Smith has to say on anything, but…

          – There was no salary cap in 2018. This is an undisputed fact. It was waived for this year to allow teams to accommodate former Force players.

          – The rumblings that Lance wanted out of the Rebels was being discussed by those in the know weeks before he left. They were initially reluctant as they were short on flyhalves.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Prove that there was no salary cap. What I heard was that the salary cap was raised (this is the only thing that makes sense, as RAs finances are finite, so by definition there must be a cap).

          I never said that he didn’t want to leave. I said that the Rebels agreed to release him as it put them below the raised salary cap. Obviously the two can coexist.

        • Slim 293

          Mate, google it – it was widely reported that the salary cap was waived for 2018.

          Never mind, here you go – https://www.rugby.com.au/news/2018/01/10/super-rugby-salary-cap-transition

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          So that doesn’t say that there is no cap, it says that the $5.5 million cap wouldn’t be enforced.

          I can guarantee you that RA didn’t tell the Rebels that they could sign however many players it wanted for however much money it wanted. They still put a cap on the Rebels.

          What you’re saying doesn’t even make sense. Because, as we know, neither RA nor the Rebels have infinite funds. There must by definition be a cap then.

        • Slim 293

          So you agree, there was no enforced salary cap this year? Good thing we got to the bottom of that.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Nope, never said that. I think you know that too. I said that the salary cap that was enforced was higher than $5.5 million.

        • Perth girl

          No cap on any of the teams!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          So the teams had infinite money to play with, did they? Think through what you’re saying.

        • Slim 293

          Correct… there was no salary cap in place this year, and apparently Lance wanted out of the Rebels.

        • Who?

          Lance wasn’t ever at the Rebels..? Reds (debuted in 2011, his 4th or 5th game was winning the final), then to the Tahs (in the squad for 2014, so he’s got two titles), then over to the Force until RA took them out of Super Rugby, off to Worcester, back to the Reds for this year, and he’s back to Worcester again now.

        • Slim 293

          Nope, he joined the Rebels after the Force and then sought a release at the start of the year.

        • Who?

          I didn’t realize that. That said, why on earth did the Rebels need him?! He’d have seen no game time… Can’t imagine his contract value was huge.

        • Slim 293

          They had no other decent flyhalf options.

        • Who?

          Ok. I know they played Debrezceni at 10 much of the year, but I thought that was by choice, especially given Maddocks was being hyped at 10. And Hodge is obviously a contender there in Cheika’s eyes (even if Wessels disagrees, but perhaps deferred to Cheika by playing him there..?).

        • Greg

          Perhaps he can be a foundation member of the new Perth SR team!!

        • Perth girl

          There will be no SR team here at least until Clyne falls on his sword and RA is restructured to cover the whole of the country

        • Missing Link

          Plenty of departures at the Rebels will make way for Toomua and other signings. Don’t believe the bullshit they feed you over there in WA, most of it is #fakenews

        • Perth girl

          Stronger as 4 hey ML, 3, 2, 1? of course you know everything that happens over here don’t you?

        • Missing Link

          No not at all. always an advocate of 5, but we are where we are. Killing the Rebels or RA will not bring back the Force. the Force will be back in Super Rugby in a few years, and I look forward to the day, and I know your response would be something like, RA will be begging the Force to join their Eastern states comp, but it will never happen…. trust me it will happen, as much as I can assure you Clyne will not see the inside of a prison cell.

        • Perth girl

          I know you have been an advocate of 5 teams but you are not RA! It will be a long time before the Force will be back in SR unless Clyne goes and the board is restructured. Andrew Forrest will not forget how he was treated by Clyne when he offered his money. Clyne refused to come to Perth for the meeting. RA also told David Vaux who at the time was a RugbyWA board member living in Sydney that they would acccept Forrests deal but then when they got to Adelaide where the meeting was held they reneged on the deal. Clyne and Forrest also have past history in business. RA are now operating on the money they have got from the Vic and WA government deals to keep rugby going but unless they get a good deal from their next TV contract they will be gone. No one over here wants “get rid of ” RA or the Rebels I truly believe that the Brumbies will be the team that is in danger and will probably be amalgamated with the Rebels. Clyne has now been before 2 Senate Enquiries with 2 different organisations. I don’t expect him to go to jail but I hope his reputation will be shot! FYI Andrew Forrest and his wife have just this week donated 100 Million dollars to help clean the ocean environment, he has serious money!

        • Missing Link

          Hey Perth Girl, have you spoken to you mates Bakkies and Taylor, I mean Spartan? Pretty sure both of them would love to see the Rebels burn to the ground

        • Nutta

          Completely agree. If he stays, it will be the last contract he ever has because no club in its right mind would put down serious money and sign up for that shitfight again.

        • Who?

          Why? He’s just finished the reno’s in Bulimba, and the housing market’s flat. Not a great time to be moving on.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Nutta I have heard the same third party stuff. But a family member of mine played in that squad with Quade, and he refutes all of that in very very definite terms. So either the little shit is lying to me, or this is further disinformation being spread to diminish the individual. Who knows where it sits.

      • Nutta

        Fair point

      • Alister Smith

        I think it is possible that both could be true or at least true to those that were experiencing it. Teams have different cliques etc and it’s not too difficult to imagine one group of players that would have a different opinion to the coaching staff or another group of players. someone pointed me to an article by Wayne Smith back in December and it makes interesting reading and would seem to support the view from Martin.

        Again Martin didnt really choose sides – he was respectful to both Quade’s talent and Thorn’s decision as the coach. there were two things he mentioned (1.) the QC doing his own thing bit and (2.) the defence which we have all known about or at least suspected was part of the decision.

        The criticism of his defence might be unfair, certainly there are other 10’s that are shifted in position in defence. It also happens lots in rugby league defensive lines and it can be a good tactic particularly if the opposition seeks to run attackers into the 10 channel to tire out the playmaker so that he is less effective in attack.

        I watched Quade twice last year live at Suncorp and there is no doubt he was trying his arse off but, for me at least, the magic was largely gone. He had lost (I suspect because of injury) that half second of pace that made him so devastating at his best. He was still able to organise his backline OK and there were glimpses of what he was at his best but I honestly felt he was on his way out.

        I would like to see him at another super team (Brumbies) or perhaps at the Force or other WSR franchise next year. I don’t disagree with his decision to try to play his way back into the Reds through club rugby but it now looks certain that won’t work. His contract will run out in 2019 and if Thorn is still coach it looks unlikely to be renewed. If Thorn isn’t coach, QC will be a 31 year old who hasn’t played any Super Rugy for two years. If I was the new coach I would be looking for other alternatives (though not ruling him out).

        A lot of people comment about Quade’s personality – not all of them relevant – nor is his past. But his personality withing the group/team is relevant. I think if Thorn feels he destabilises the group then, as the coach responsible for the playing group, that is his responsibility to sort out.

        • Brisneyland Local

          All good points. The other interesting I was told by my family member was BT (before he became Reds Coach) wouldnt even acknowledge or talk to QC when he entered the room. I pushed him further on that, he wasnt that forthcoming other than to say, that they didnt like each other.

        • Alister Smith

          Yes well they certainly don’t appear to get on

      • Who?

        If your family member’s in ‘that squad with Quade’, then I’m guessing the only reason you can get away with calling him ‘little’ is your outside the bell curve height! :-P Because there ain’t many ‘little’ guys at that level any more…

        • Brisneyland Local

          Mate I am 6’8″ and 125 kgs. Pretty much everyone is little to me.
          He is not in the squad anymore!

        • Who?

          I know you’re huge – just funny calling someone making those squads ‘little’! :-)
          Sorry to hear he’s not in the squad anymore. :-(

        • Brisneyland Local

          He chose to leave.
          Yeah its a perspective thing I guess. My two daughters are 9 and 11. They are starting to come to terms with how big Dad is. But also how tall they already are and going to be.
          Scary.

        • Who?

          Question is, how will they use it to their advantage..? Ben Mowen played for the Wallabies, I think his sisters were national level beach volleyballers? And wasn’t Hugh McMeniman’s sister a netballer?

        • Bernie Chan

          Claire McMeniman was a indeed gun netballer…a few titles with the Firebirds and a member of the Diamonds (think she played beside one Laura Geitz..a great defence!). Had fewer injuries than “Madness” too…

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah they all obviously came from good sporting genes. I played B Grade at my best. And I think that was flattering me. Hopefully they get some skils out of their mother!

  • Greg
    • HK Red

      Unfortunately, looking at Cheika’s history, probably not.

  • Keith Butler

    Is Toomua coming back as a 10 or 12? Hopefully it will be at 10 for the Rebels otherwise the big problem of a quality 10 remains. If it’s at 12 and they pair him up with Hodge then Meares and English are destined for time on the pine.as far as the Wobblies are concerned will Cheika drop his golden boy Foley? I think not.

    • Dylan Langes

      As a Rebels man, I am hoping 12 because it is his strongest position. I think having that extra second at 12 instead of 10 give him the chance to really shine.

  • Bay35Pablo

    Bloody hell Thorn is now onto his 3rd Wallaby on the outer. I understand the culture he is trying to build but he better perform next year or things could get ugly.
    I’d say Slips to Tahs (with Paddy Ryan retiring) or Rebels (although squad probably congested with Force overflow members?). Nags solid for fat boys?
    Otherwise, konichiwa for Moondogs?

  • Greg

    Just imagine if…
    1. QC retired
    2. Folau was moved to wing
    3. Foley learned to kick out of the hand and
    4. Pocock was made captain

    We would need to close the forum. Ether would be nothing left to discuss!!

    • Huw Tindall

      Lolz so true

    • Who?

      Nah, there’d be something new. I remember when the biggest debate in rugby was who was the better lock – Sharpe or Vickerman (based on the assumption that Sharpie was too soft to be any good, but Vicks broke down too often to be considered the best). :-P

      • Missing Link

        Vickerman vs the bokke by deciphering their lineout calls!

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@DylanGLanges

Once captained the 3rds Rugby team, but then again so did Nick Farr-Jones

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