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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursdays Rugby News sees the Vikings squad named, The All Blacks ready for round 2, DHP ready for the 15 jersey, and more criticism and support for Cheika.


 

BRUMBIES HEADLINE VIKINGS

Rob Valetini

Rob Valetini

The Canberra Vikings have named their 33 man squad a head of the 2018 NRC season with 18 of the squad being Brumbies players.

Newly re-signed flanker Ben Hyde will step into the role of captain, replacing Tom Cusack. Cusack, along with Sam Carter and Luke McCaffery will miss this season after their heavy work loads playing for the Brumbies.

Rory Arnold, Folau Faingaa and Tom Banks are all list despite currently being called up fro Wallaby duty.

Break out star Rob Valentini has also been named despite carrying back to back knee injuries and is expected to make his return through the Vikings.

Fun fact, the word Viking doesn’t actual refer to the people, it was an action, like to go hiking or to go Viking. Unfortunately the Canberra Norseman or Nordics doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The Canberra Norse kicks of their season September 1stagainst Queensland Country.

2018 Vikings NRC squad

Jacob Abel, Rory Arnold, Tom Banks, Max Bode, Bj Edwards, Blake Enever, Folau Fainga’a, Vunipola Fifita, Seth Going, Mack Hansen, Wharenui Hawera, Ben Hyne (Captain), Len Ikitau, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Luke Kimber, Brodie Leber, Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, Noah Lolesio, Ryan Lonergan, Josh Mann-Rea, Connal McInerney, Andy Muirhead, Michael Oakman-Hunt, Chance Peni, Pedro Rolando, Tom Ross, Irae Simone, Darcy Swain, Lausii Taliauli, Sione Taula, Mitch Tye, Rob Valetini

 

ALL BLACK READY FOR ROUND 2

Reds v Hurricanes

The All Blacks have made two changes to their starting line up with Ngani Laumape and the other Barrett brother named in the squad as replacements for the injured Ryan Crotty and Reiko Ioane.

Jordie Barrett will come in at full back, pushing Ben Smith onto the wing, with Laumape pairing with Jack Goodhue in the centres.

It was a surprise move with pundits expecting Milner-Skudder andLienert-Brown tipped to be the replacements.

After Sam Whitelock had his moment in the sun last week, celebrating his 100thcap, this week it falls for his Crusaders teammate Owen Franks to bring up the ton.

It is a special moment for Franks, who is the most capped international player to not score a try, which is hard to believe with the attacking style the All Blacks play.

Steve Hansen paid tribute to the front rower.

“Whilst last week was a special occasion for Sammy Whitelock, this week it’s Owie’s turn to join that special club. He has started 90 of his 99 Tests to date, which is an incredible achievement for a tighthead prop, one of the most physically demanding positions on the footy field.

1. Joe Moody 2. Codie Taylor 3. Owen Franks 4. Brodie Retallick 5. Sam Whitelock 6. Liam Squire 7. Sam Cane 8. Kieran Read 9. Aaron Smith 10. Beauden Barrett 11. Waisake Naholo 12. Ngani Laumape 13. Jack Goodhue 14. Ben Smith 15. Jordie Barrett

Reserves

16. Nathan Harris 17. Karl Tuinukuafe 18. Ofa Tuungafasi 19. Scott Barrett 20. Ardie Savea 21. TJ Perenara 22. Damian McKenzie 23. Anton Lienert-Brown

PICK ME FOR BACK 3

Wallabies v Scotland 2nd half-12

Dane Haylett-Petty has told the media he would love to fill in for the injured Israel Folau in the fullback position for the Wallabies this weekend.

Haylett-Petty showed his talents at 15 the last two seasons with the Force and Rebels, and would relish the opportunity to do the same for his country.

“I’d love that opportunity but we’ll have to wait and see,” Haylett-Petty said.

“One thing we do have is probably more fullbacks than wingers.

“I feel comfortable at both now.

“Early on, when I had to make the switch to wing, it was a bit of a change-up but I enjoy both positions.”

DHP isn’t wrong, Australia has more fullbacks than they need, and they all look like they can make it in the big league, with rookies Jack Maddocks and Tom Banks putting their hands up. Last weeks centre combination of Beale and Hodge are also experienced at fullback.

Maddocks has been finding his form as a winger at the Rebels this season, despite being a fullback throughout his juniors, and is eager to put his hand up for selection in the match day 23.

“The biggest thing for me is just getting out there getting a second crack”

Given how well Haylett-Petty defended on his wing, keeping Reiko Ioane quiet for most of the night, Cheiks might be reluctant to push him back. Having seen him in the no. 15 jersey for the Rebels this season, DHP definitely knows how to command the backline, something we could definitely use.

It is probably the only position that Cheika truly has depth on his side when selecting someone to fill the void for Folau, whether it be an expereicned player or someone on debut.

What do you think GAGR readers? Who would you pick?

OVER TRAINED OR UNFIT

Photo Courtesy of Keith McInnes

Photo Courtesy of Keith McInnes

After the Wallabies loss to the All Blacks on Saturday, every critic and commentator has come out with their thoughts.

One said opinion is that of former All Black Jeff Wilson, who believes that the Wallabies were either over trained heading into the Bledisloe opener, or they were simply unfit.

“Either they’ve trained too hard and they’ve gone into the game fatigued and the legs have gone early, or they’re not in the right nick,” Wilson said.

“They’ve had plenty of time to prepare, they’ve had the benefit of time.

“The All Blacks have had one week, essentially, on the back of a Super Rugby campaign.”

The fitness of Australian Rugby players has been called out in the past, but was highlighted last season when Cheika has players doing hill sprints with their mouths taped up. Though this could have been to stop the complaining about doing hill sprints.

If they are fit they appear to lack skills, and if they are looking skilful they are unfit. Might need to look into that.

Former Wallabies hooker Jeremy Paul has come to the defence of the under pressure Michael Cheika, saying he would have loved to have played under him.

Speaking on the Fox Sports Rugby Podcast, Paul said it isn’t always about the coach, and in this case it is about the quality of players that Cheika has to work with.

“Coaching is not just about plays and how to do a lineout, it’s about passion and the confidence he can draw out of an individual.

“I can tell you Michael Cheika has that.

“I laugh and scoff at people saying he’s not the right person for the job.

“My God, he’s the best coach we have and unfortunately, if you’re going to look at the reason that we’re in this situation, it’s the cattle.”

 

  • cantab

    Wallabies did look buggered early in the second half, not sure if it’s because of what JW claims or just the price paid for the wallabies using an aggressive (and effective) rush defence in the first half.

    BB and co dropped back to counter the rush defence to give themselves more time. I guess that would also have the (unintended?) effect of tiring the wallabies out quicker.

    • Mike Thompson

      No, the Wallabies didn’t look buggered, so much as lead-footed and plodding. The sort of look which happens when you have over trained, and there’s no spring in your step.

      And they looked that way after 15 mins. It was plain enough that Andrew Mehrtens (TV Commentator) made comments about it .. twice in the first half.

    • dsb

      They looked out of breath in the first half!

  • Garry

    I couldn’t understand Hoopers’s demeaner during the pre-match interview. He seemed casual, jovial, not what I expected when about to start such an important match. Perhaps it’s because he has played NZ so many times, that it has lost some of it’s importance to him. He did not seem to feel the weight of the public’s pain of all those losses. Where is the anger, the quiet focused determination?

    • Missing Link

      I like Hooper as a player but I feel he somewhat lacks the maturity to be captain. I can somehow picture him in the principal’ss office at high school staring at the ceiling while getting a lecture about his behaviour.

    • Will

      Why be angry when you’ve just signed a $6M contract.

  • Funk

    “My God, he’s the best coach we have and unfortunately, if you’re going to look at the reason that we’re in this situation, it’s the cattle.”
    FFS, he is the one who selects the cattle!!!!

    • Phil Kcraig

      Yeh but if choice of cattle compared to NZ not so great….just saying…!

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Funny, I’ve not heard any Aussie saying that Cheika is failing because he isn’t consistently beating the All Blacks, as we don’t have the cattle or coaching to do that.

        I see people frustrated with consistent incompetent performances and thrashing from other teams with similar cattle, or worse cattle.

        • 22DropOut

          Which teams with worse cattle have thrashed us?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Scotland.

          England, despite what those claim, are no better in terms of cattle.

          Ireland perhaps are better, but it is close.

        • 22DropOut

          Touche. Forgot about the Murrayfield catastrophe. That was a thrashing.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The sad thing is that for this team thrashings by the All Blacks aren’t the low points.

          Thrashings by 6N teams are the real low points.

        • Parker

          Was Cheika coach when Samoa did us?

        • servo

          England whitewash at home, still hurts.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Yeah, see off Fardy, Higgers, Jones, White, Toomau, Quade, Tomane, Timani by preferring Mumm, Hanigan, Douglas, Phipps, Foley, Speight, Mitchell, Ashley-Cooper and 33 year old Giteau then complain we don’t have the cattle.

      Cheika created the situation.

      • 22DropOut

        Not really an accurate summary of what happened though.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I shouldn’t bother, but I will

          – Cheika doesn’t pick Higgers after Brisbane 2015 despite him being our best 8 so he leaves overseas;

          – Cheika lets Scott Fardy (let that sink in, Scott Fardy) fall behind Dean Mumm, so Fardy goes overseas;

          – Cheika shows no interest in Luke Jones despite his form warranting it so Jones goes overseas;

          – Cheika tells White he isn’t interested so White goes overseas;

          – Cheika lets Toomua fall behind 33 year old Giteau for the RWC, then brings Giteau back the year after the RWC when we should be looking to the future, when it is already clear Toomua is behind Beale at 12 and Foley at 10, so Toomua goes overseas;

          – Despite Quade outplayed Foley in 2016 for the Wallabies, and showing more in his cameos last year in June Cheika dumps him from the squad;

          – Cheika doesn’t select Tomane as one of our top wingers despite him, after Folau, being our best attacking threat – instead he preferred ancient Mitchell and ancient AAC;

          – Despite Timani playing well at Wallaby level having no interest and not rewarding form;

          – Despite Higgers being better than Hanigan and our other 6s/8s last year Higgers is dumped and Hanigan retained.

          At the end of the day we can complain that players should stick around and compete for a spot, but when a regime isn’t a meritocracy then there’s no point. Rugby careers are relatively short and don’t play like soccer. These guys like Fardy, Tomane, Jones need to look after themselves.

        • 22DropOut

          Cheika didn’t force any of those players out of Australian rugby and there is no evidence to say that he did. You are bundling it all together because it suits the anti-Cheika narrative.

          And the notion that players should just leave Australian rugby because they aren’t guaranteed a starting position is absolute nonsense.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Actually, I’ve spoken to some of them, and spoken to close friends of others. You shouldn’t tell other people what they’re doing, when you don’t know.

          He didn’t ‘force’ them out of Australian rugby, but he did either tell them he wasn’t interested in them anymore or stop picking them and start picking inferior players ahead of them. He removed the main incentive for them to stay, so they left.

        • 22DropOut

          You’re right, he didn’t force them out of rugby.

          You’d swear Cheika was a bumbling idiot with an agenda against Australian rugby the way you are going on.

          He’s merely a coach coming to the end of his tenure and things aren’t going well, happens all the time and all-the-time is attacked with irrational criticisms from hot-headed fans.

          I’m sure his successor will get the same when he doesn’t select a toxic #10 from club rugby in QLD

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          ‘You’d swear Cheika was a bumbling idiot with an agenda against Australian rugby the way you are going on.’

          Nope. I just think he has failed as a coach. Whether it is because:

          a. the level was too high for him;
          b. he was too inflexible for the job;
          c. had tunnel vision;
          d. is a motivator rather than a coach;
          e. is biased;
          f. hasn’t developed with the times;
          g. has always been overrated;
          h. was unlucky; or
          j. made mistakes and hasn’t admitted he was wrong

          It doesn’t make a difference to me. I don’t mind Cheika as a bloke at a personal level. I’ve met him and he’s nice. But he has failed utterly as Wallabies coach except for the RWC (where we made the final due to a refereeing blunder by Joubert against Scotland) and needs to go.

          I don’t like his attitude of treating fans like mugs, or selecting favourites over better players. I just think he needs to go.

        • 22DropOut

          I think he is failing as a coach too. I’m not going to just start making rubbish up about him to stick the knife in though.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          What have I made up? Point to one thing that I have said that is factually untrue.

          Factually untrue. Not your interpretation of the facts, but factually untrue.

        • 22DropOut

          Your whole childish rant attacking Cheika for players not being available any more.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          So you can’t point to anything that I said that was factually untrue.

          Okay, I’m glad to hear it :)

        • 22DropOut

          lol

        • Parker

          22DO What don’t you understand about a selection regime that discourages top talent?

        • Parker

          And he takes away the incentive for talent to perform here by selecting less talented players repeatedly.

        • Brumby Runner

          Cheika is not an idiot but he sure is bumbling, in both senses – in his speech and in his results with the Wallabies. How can you be sure he is coming to the end of his tenure? He has said in the past he will review his intention to go or remain after the RWC. And given the ARU failure to do anything about Deans when he should have been sent off, indeed they extended his contract, then it appears that whatever the coach wants is good enough for RA to go along with.

          Cheika’s time should have ended a couple of years ago. We are now stuck with him to the RWC and maybe beyond because it is too late to change now.

        • 22DropOut

          Seems to be a trend in recent days slating the way he speaks, which is standard for Lebanese Australians. Where will the attacks go next.

          He has said publicly that we will step aside and give someone else a shot if Australia don’t win the World Cup. We’re in the last 15 months of his tenure, unless he wins the World Cup in which case he’s welcome to stay.

        • Who?

          Players will stick around if there’s hope to represent their nation. But if there’s no hope, they’ll take the money and leave – they only have a limited earning period. Representing means match payments, and the honour of representing your country.
          Look at Sean McMahon – he was on $230k. That’s it. Do you think he’d be gone if he could’ve guaranteed match payments to nearly double his salary (given it’s about $250k in match payments for a test season)? Same with Liam Gill. If you’re clearly a top class player, why would you stick around as the third or beyond choice player, missing out on RA top up and match payments..?

        • 22DropOut

          If they leave that’s up to them. The can fight for their place or leave. Every player can fight for their place in the Wallabies team.

          Huge revisionism here, and the usual Quade Cooper revisionism

        • Who?

          I didn’t mention Cooper.
          But what’s the point of fighting for a place with a coach who’s known to prefer the guys he knows and understands, when he’s decided he’s not going to use you? Cheika has his undroppables. That’s fine – most coaches do! But why stick around if you’re behind one of them?
          The question, then, is can those undroppable players justify their job security. And, for Cheika’s players, not all of them can…

        • 22DropOut

          Sorry I was referring to another commenter in this thread with that.

          If other players want to leave that’s up to them, it’s not Cheika forcing them out

        • Who?

          Given Australia’s capacity to hold and retain players is based in large part around either RA Top Ups or National Selection Honour, it’s absolutely up to the national coach to work to retain players. Because a top quality player’s not going to stick around if they’re ‘only’ getting $230k. We’ve seen this for years – we lost the best captain we’ve had this decade (Mowen) for that very reason.
          So choosing not to use a top quality player – an international standard player – is tantamount to forcing them out, as they will be given big money by overseas clubs. Money that Super clubs can’t match alone.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          ‘If they leave that’s up to them. The can fight for their place or leave.’

          Yeah, because when Scott Fardy is behind Ned Hanigan it is obviously a meritocratic system where form dictates selection. Lol.

        • 22DropOut

          Scott Fardy was featuring regularly for the Wallabies when he announced he was signing for Leinster.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Might want to recheck your history.

          Take a look at all the selections in 2016 in sequential order. Quite informative.

        • 22DropOut

          Fardy played in the first 2 and the last 2 games of the rugby championship. Didn’t travel in November when it was known he was going to Europe.

          But let’s ignore that as it doesn’t suit the argument.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Almost none of that is true…

          – benched in first Bled, and when it went horrifically he was brought in for the second test
          – was swapped for Mumm upon Coleman’s yellow card
          – Fardy didn’t get another start until the Spring Tour “B-Team” (which I think was better than Cheika’s A-Team) against France.

          He only signed with Ireland in 2017 during the SR season. Cheika didn’t pick him in the squad as he said he wouldn’t pick overseas bound players, and then he dropped TK for Rob Horne (who had signed overseas) in the third test, and played McMahon the entire season despite him going overseas.

          I’m beginning to think you’re Michael Cheika, or one of his mates. Constant obfuscation, treating the fans like mugs/morons and always deflecting, as Cheika does in press conferences. The fans are smarter than you give them credit for. Even if you disagree with them, don’t treat them with contempt for their intelligence.

        • 22DropOut

          All of it is true.

          FFS Cheika is struggling with this team and is unlikely to last long but that doesn’t make all the scapegoating true. It doesn’t make any of the nonsensical Quade Cooper revisionism any more true.

          This thread is becoming so childish.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          No it isn’t. I quite evidently demonstrated that your claim of:

          ‘Didn’t travel in November when it was known he was going to Europe.’

          Was untrue.

          Further:

          ‘Fardy played in the first 2 and the last 2 games of the rugby championship.’

          While technically true is misleading. As in the first he was benched behind Mumm and in the second he was hooked early for Mumm despite Fardy playing a great match, and he was from then onwards relegated to the bench behind a player that Fardy was superior to in every facet of the game except for speed around the park.

        • 22DropOut

          It was well-known in rugby and it was formally announced in March 2017. He was meant to go two years previously. It didn’t just suddenly happen.

          And Fardy did play in the first 2 and last 2 games of the RC. You can dress this up any way you want to build a narrative against the coach.

        • Human

          The way things are going in Canberra, Quade could be PM by tomorrow.

        • Parker

          Only a fool would fight with one hand tied behind their back and that’s what in effect Chieka does to them with his clear statement of preference.

        • Brumby Runner

          And more recently, Naiyaravoro? Played, what, one test and discarded and not picked as perhaps the form winger this year?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate, while I do agree it works both ways I do think there is a difference between players not being guaranteed a position – which I don’t believe anyone should be, and players feeling that they weren’t given a fair chance to see if they could make the step up. I think some of the players felt they were on par or better, and you should be better to replace someone not just be on par, but that they were never going to be given a chance to compete fairly because the incumbent was gauranteed their position in the team. In that sense the selection policies of the coach is driving them off shore.

          TBH I’m not too concerned because that is the way it works. The coach picks the team and lives or dies by the results. I guess the real issue is where the players leaving better but that’s actually the perogative of the coach to determine anyway.

        • Parker

          So you’re saying they should stick around to experience a disadvantageous situation? I don’t that quality of stoic nihilism is one we want in our Wallabies.

        • 22DropOut

          A hat trick of straw man arguments!

        • Footyyy

          Giteau and Mitchell were two of our best players in the RWC and the decision was widely justified post RWC.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Mitchell, yep. Gits did little from memory. AAC did little also.

          Bringing them back post-RWC was the disgrace though. All past it, and yet Cheika sent the worst message to those young Aussies at the start of a new RWC cycle.

        • Andy

          They were all good defensively which was a good change at the time. AAC did his job from what I recall.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I wouldn’t say Gits is a superior defensive player to Toomua. AAC was good, but was he a better defender than Tomane at that point? Perhaps, but Mitchell wasn’t.

          Regardless, it was bringing them back in 2016 that was the big issue for me. We’d just finished the World Cup and were in a new cycle. It was time to develop younger players.

        • Brumby Runner

          Correct DB. We suffer from the idea that we have to put the very best available test team on the field for every test, no matter the timing of the game/series in the RWC cycle. The three years following a RWC should be devoted to changing the guard and having a new team and coaching system in place for the next.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, and I don’t think you should throw games by playing weak guys that are too young, but at the same time if there are choices between two players of similar abilities, one of whom is up and coming and the other of whom is in decline, then pick the up and comer in the year or two after the RWC.

          It would have been better to bet on Toomua and Tomane than Giteau and AAC/Mitchell.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    ‘“My God, he’s the best coach we have and unfortunately, if you’re going to look at the reason that we’re in this situation, it’s the cattle.”’

    See limited evidence that he’s the best current Australian coach, and we don’t need to go for an Australian coach.

    • 22DropOut

      Unless we take Rod MacQueen out of retirement his CV speaks for itself.

      Agree I would give the job to the best candidate regardless of their nationality.

      If we want to just shore up results that could end up being Warren Gatland or Jake White though. I’d prefer more vision in the appointent.

  • idiot savant

    The ABs are going to try some new tricks. They seem to be telegraphing a challenge to the 12 channel with the selection of Laumape. I wouldn’t be surprised if they do target the inside channel to suck Pocok in and quickly recycle to enjoy wider play without having to deal with him. Those tricky black folks.

    Reg’s stats about defence make sober reading. The Wallabies conceded 45 tries in 2016 and 49 in 2017, the two worst years in the professional era. The next closest was Deans in 2010 with 32. Surely defence has to be priority for the RWC. To that end I’m changing my mind on selection and would prefer Naivalu on the wing in place of Madocks to start (as he is more experienced in wing defence) and Banks at full back (because hes a better tackler than DHP). Foley and Beale have to stay because we wont score any points without them but they are potentially a weak link. If Laumape starts carving up Toomua may have to come on.

    In view of the defensive record we also need to prioritise the 6 for tacking ability. I would say Hanigan but Im scared he is short of a run.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      We aren’t scoring any points WITH Foley and Beale.

      Foley isn’t in the team for his tactical kicking, game management or defence. Allegedly, it is for attack, but if we aren’t scoring anyway what do we lose from putting in Toomua at 10? I don’t think he is any worse in attack, and he has game management, tactical kicking and, crucially, dominant defence.

      Hanigan is no defensive wizard either. Like it or not (and I don’t) based on who is currently available in the squad we probably do have to run the Pooper.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate while I tend to agree with the analysis I haven’t seen anything from Hanigan that says he’s the answer. My impression is that he’s actually pretty ineffective in both defence and attack. He does bring a good lineout option but not sure that’s enough

      • Adrian

        KRL, whatever his faults, I think Hannigan thinks a bit, which means he’d work out what was happening in lineouts,..unlike others

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Hanigan would be a godsend in the line out, but you can’t just pick a line out though. Neither Hanigan nor Hooper will help Pocock enough at the breakdown.

        • idiot savant

          Hooper will be much better this week. I would like Samu at 6 but we cant because of the line out.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Hooper never helps Pocock in heavy traffic at the breakdown. That isn’t to deny he has many other positives (not least his ability to affect turnovers out wide as he usually gets there first due to his speed), but the breakdown in heavy traffic is just not one of his skills. When you look at his size, it probably never will be.

    • Adrian

      Agree Idiot.
      My thinking is that Laumape is there to force Cheika to think he has to move Beale to 15. This is what Hansen wants him to do of course.
      IMO Beale is the only threat to NZ with ball in hand we have. Having him out of the way will allow NZ defence to contain our backline, until we get frustrated and do a nothing kick or drop the ball.

      Beale is good in space, but EOY last year showed that he isn’t good enough to make up for what we lose without him up front.

      If this happens, Cheika will have been outmanouvered once again

      • idiot savant

        Good point. You predicted the AB would come up with something new. They really leave no stone unturned and are actively devising strategies against us. Im not sure we devise strategises for them do we? And if we did, what would they be?!

        • Adrian

          I think a tactic that works is one that is hard to defend against, even if you know it is coming. eg kick passes to Izzy.
          In this test, I reckon starting Tuopo, Latu, Sio/ Alaalatoa and Arnold would be a good tactic, so long as we used them to make metres in the 10 channel, backing each other up, and having Genia, Beale, Hooper back them up. Cheika knows how to do this, but hasn’t really done it for 3 years, despite people saying he keeps using the same tactics.

          Having these guys and not using this tactic, would be (IMO) as silly as having Folau and NOT kicking to him.

          I reckon another tactic is for Pocock and Hooper to really target Barrett or A.Smith and try to rattle them, as they are rattle-able…. IMO

        • Damo

          And Adrian, in addition to your “backing up” plan, some well executed offloads to some aggressive runners is worth a crack. They seem to work and we seem to almost never use them. It’s a bit like pinning inside defenders by 10 looping 12 for a second touch and having a choice of runners to put through a hole. It worked when Mark Ella did it 35 years ago and, bugger me, it still seems to work today- but we never try it.

        • Adrian

          Yep, exactly Damo
          That’s where the idea of attacking down the 12/13 channel came from.
          Mark Ella feeding Glen running straight, or back in. Beale feeds the same running angles

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate at 15 he’d have more space than he gets at 12. That lovely try he scored in Dunedin was created from broken play in space. I think he’s more of a threat out wide. Toomua can do all he does at 12 and more.

        • Adrian

          I think you are sort of right KRL in that with no Folau there, the 12 job is different.
          If a way can be worked out to involve Beale from 15 in a way that the other players are ready for it, it is ok by me. He is still the only guy we have that causes the defence to wonder for a split second though. Duncan P (not in squad) can sort of do that too.

    • Hoss

      Give me a stat and i will give you an opinion

      Friends, rugbymen, lend me your ears……

      • idiot savant

        Theres lies, damned lies…and statistics. Garbage in, garbage out. etc. Im with you on the reliability of statistics and how they can be manipulated to suit arguments but then there are some numbers that cant be ignored. Ask Malcolm. And I’m saying the number of tries we let in cant be ignored when they are miles ahead of any other Australian side. Cheik will take us to the RWC. All I’m asking is for him to stop the bleeding!

    • Parker

      I keep saying it, but will the RA please bring back John Muggleton to coach our defence. Wallabies D was hugely impressive under his tenure.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    I wonder if Ewen McKenzie would come back?

    This has to stop. Getting Link back would finally start putting right everything that has gone wrong in Australian rugby since that trip to Argentina.

    • 22DropOut

      Yes let’s replace Cheika with a manager who lost control of the dressing room and had an even worse record!

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Congratulations. You’ve now tracked down and replied to every one of my comments.

      • Brendan Hume

        I don’t think Link should come back, but the analysis suggests he was better than Cheika against top tier nations and just because he ‘lost’ the dressing room doesn’t mean he was wrong. David Nucifora lost the dressing room as well…

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He lost the dressing room to some prima donnas. One of whom was fined for harassing an innocent woman.

          Most of the Brumbies and Reds backed Link, while most Tahs were against him.

        • Brisneyland Local

          He was only fined because RA paid her out. If that ever saw the inside of a court room, that individual wouldn’t be playing now.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Interesting… You have personal knowledge of the content?

        • Brisneyland Local

          Absaloodle

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          If I ever make it to Brisbane I’d like to hear about it sometime :)

        • Brisneyland Local

          Done. BTW i make it to Canberra pretty often so will let you know.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I can show you the joys of… Maybe Brodburger, or perhaps excellent Turkish or Nepalese food…?

        • Greg

          just keep away from Fyshwick!

        • Brisneyland Local

          Turkish or Nepalese thanks.
          Or worst case comes we can go to the Kingo for a cook your hunk of dead cow!

        • disqus_NMX

          I’d love to hear it too!

        • Alister Smith

          Her degree of innocence appeared to depend on whether you read the Australian or the SMH though the ARU had to pay her out so that suggests not much of it was her fault or at least they didnt think it was worthwhile taking it through court and potentially revealing their own fault in the matter.
          We spectaculate too much on this page about stuff we know nothing about and there is a little bit too much New Idea and not enough Financial Review in modern rugby analysis and journalism and in the discussions here.

          Ewen McKenzie was on a good coach. His experience prior to the Wallaby job was almost identical to Cheika’s (European experience, finals and Super Rugby title – although Cheika had more a European title as well). They are both currently winning around 50%. Neither is great but, if you take out Rod McQueen, most of our coaches have won 50-60% of their games (some a little better and all have variances against particular teams).

          Everyone wants to be a amateur pyschologist. We analyse Brad Thorn, Cheika, McKenzie, Gibson etc and their relationship with players but (for the potential exception of BL’s inside man in the Reds – who may no longer be there – not sure) we have no idea what these men are like, how they relate to their players etc other than what the players say.
          We criticise Cheika for his selections but, just like fans do, we are chopping and changing our teams week to week based on our perception of how players have gone and suggesting blokes like QC who (through no fault of his own admittedly) hasn’t played above Tier 3/4 level all year (he might be the right choice but he is the right choice this week because he has played club rugby all year and isnt in the squad).
          I am not sure how many of you are coaches or have coached. I have. I am not sure how good I was. When I had some really good players we made finals, when I didn’t we didn’t do so well. Blokes seemed to enjoy playing and training most of the time. IT’S A F***ING HARD JOB!! Selections are difficult and there is a lot to consider, mostly on field stuff but also how people act at training, how much effort they put in etc, what values (in terms of team values not social values) they hold. The best individual is not always best for the team because it might be that by them being their the other 14 or 22 can’t perform at their best. Yes you have favourites and with me it was blokes that did their jobs, gave their best effort, could be trusted to listen and contribute but, if the team adopted something, would follow it through.
          I am not particularly a Cheika fan. Honestly, I thought his record would be better than this. But some of the comparison’s are meaningless. Put an experienced Eales, Gregan, Lynagh, Little, Horan, Bourke, Herbert, Finegan, Kearns etc into this team and how would he go?? I honestly can’t say but you would suspect we would go OK.
          I must say I have been reading the forum less and less these days. It has become (ironically rarely in the comments of the women who do come on here like Eloise etc) bitchy and catty. The arguments are much the same as Federal politics and there are a lot of contributers who come on looking for an argument. If not for Hoss I would probably have gone to Rugby Roar by now.
          I prefer to call myself a supporter rather than a fan(atic). This weekend I will be supporting the 23 blokes selected to represent our country and all their coaches and support staff and I hope and pray that they put in their very best effort and play to the best of their abilities – I am pretty sure they try to do that every week anyway.

          Go the Wallabies!!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Overall win percentage is a poor figure. Link got smacked by the All Blacks and the Boks in 2013.

          After the 2013 Rugby Championship he had positive records against all teams except for a narrow 0-1 loss to England away, and even held parity with a powerful Springboks side in 2014.

          Regardless of how she did or didn’t act she did nothing to deserve to have a harassing text message bullying her sent around to undermine and embarrass her. That’s not how you deal with someone when you’re frustrated with them. I find it disgusting when people, even by implication, try and blame Patson for the situation.

        • Alister Smith

          you (as I) know nothing about what she did or didn’t do, very little about what he did or didn’t and f**k all about how the coaches, staff, and ARU management acted – by implication or otherwise – i don’t have a position because I don’t know what happened but she is gone, he is gone and is not coaching anymore to my knowledge so suggesting him as a replacement for the Wallabies is ridiculous. He doesn’t appear to want the job.
          Your comments and those of a couple of others on this forum are typical of the inane bullsh*t that is draggin it down. It isn’t banter, friendly or otherwise, it is particularly well argued and you never acknowledge (as far as I can see) when someone else makes a good point. So if this is the best that the internet can do to simulate rational discussion then I am pleased to be rid of it. But a word of advice before I go, If you are still going on about the same sh*t that you have been talking about for the last six months, if you don’t have something new, creative or funny to contribute, if you can’t acknowledge that the people you are “discussing” things with might have a good point, if the soul basis for your argument is rearranging a set of statistics to support the same argument that you have been dribbling on about like six year old and if you don’t have the balls to put your own name behind the comments that you make (unless your name is Darrell or David or Doug Briathwaite) then perhaps its time you had a break as well.
          And for the record, I thought McKenzie was a good coach, I think Cheika, Gibson, Wessells, Thorn (and the bloke from the Brumbies) are good coaches, as for that matter were Robbie Deans and Richard Graham. I have no doubt that all of them came into their office and onto the paddock and busted their arses and tried their best and put in every effort they could to support their players and do the best to get their team to win. And in almost all cases I bet they did it because they love the game and they love being around it. So all you pissant keyboard warriors who make calls on selections that will never be tested, who don’t know the players or how they act or train or what team values or attitudes they have (like me) not coached above the level of park rugby, who make calls about team strategy without having the slightest idea about how it will play out (or are basing it on the fact that your team did it and won the 1994
          3rd Grade grand final because of it) have a bit of respect for blokes who take all those tough decision, whose jobs and performance is analysed to within an inch of its life in the national media, whose job depends not just on how hard they work, or how much effort they put in or the decisions that they make but on how 20-30 men under 30 put their instructions into place on a field where they personally have only limited influence once the whistle blows. Any professional coach deserves respect for the fact that they are there doing the best job they can with the tools at their disposal and I for one will be watching supporting those brave Wallabies and their support crew and coaches this weekend and hoping they can do their best and that that’s good enough to get us a win.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Personally, even ignoring what I’ve heard from people who knew those who were fairly close to the Link affair, I’m not, on a moral level, going to stick up for someone who was disciplined and found guilty of harassment and bullying based on the argument that ‘I don’t know exactly what went on’.

          It was clear as day from the disciplinary proceedings that Beale did the wrong thing, which is why he was found.

          You can defend that if you like, but I think it is pretty low behaviour.

          Interesting logic that they’re all good coaches. I don’t know how you figure that, based on what logic. But you’re entitled to that opinion.

        • Alister Smith

          I am not defending him, I am not defending her (as you say she probaby doesn’t need to be defended) but I am also not going to falsely accuse others (not Beale, he was in the wrong and was disciplined however inadequately) anyone else of their involvement.
          I have never argued what Beale did wasn’t wrong and would have preferred that the punishment was more fitting of the crime but I also don’t know what else went on around the team, whether other things that Diane Patson did or that Ewen McKenzie did were good or not. I am not personally sure if that one single incident was the ONLY reason why McKenzie did go forward with his coaching. As I mentioned in my comments, her guilt or innocence (not in the Beale incident but in the running and management of the team) was called into question in some parts of the media and defended in others. Some questioned her qualifications to do some of the tasks that she had been assigned others didn’t. I don’t know. So I can’t make a judgement either way. You and your insiders might know more and you feel justified to make a judgement on that basis.
          They are all good coaches because, to get to the level they have, they have worked hard and achieved, whether through provincial or club rugby. They might not have carried that through to the next level, they might not have a good win loss record at a particular level but in any case I have outlined that above. Robbie Deans was perhaps the most qualified coach we have ever had, 4 Super Rugby Championships and an assistant coach at the No. 1 team in the world. I personally liked the job he did under what I thought were very difficult circumstances. David Pocock says he is one of the best coaches he ever had and writes the forward to his biography. McKenzie only got the job because Deans lost it – he didn’t surpass Deans record (i guess that depends on the way you measure it but on straight up wins he was pretty clearly ahead) but he was certainly qualified to do the job. Graham was an excellent coach at club rugby level in Brisbane and a more than decent bloke, who is highly respected. He appeared to do a very good job as an assistant at the Wallabies and with McKenzie at the Reds – certainly good enough for the Reds to appoint him to the top job and, at the time as I remember it, this was seen as very forward thinking to have a good succession plan. Jeremy Paul thinks Cheika is the best coach going around and questions the knowledge of anyone who thinks he isnt the right man for the job. Cheika won Super Rugby and European comps.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Maybe she did do the wrong thing, maybe she didn’t. Either way, it didn’t excuse bullying. Link and Patson were opposed by one group (mostly Waratahs) and supported by another group (mostly Brumbies and Reds).

          Being strong at a lower level does not mean that one is good at a higher level. I may be a good u12s coach, but I wouldn’t be a good provincial coach.

          Likewise, Cheika may be good at provincial level but his emphasis on keeping the ball in hand, attack and playing fast forwards, and not respecting the line out, kicking or defence is terminal at international level. This has been evident since at least the 2015 RWC and yet has not been addressed by Cheika.

          Cheika’s record everywhere he has been is that he is able to assemble a strong squad and have immediate results. Unfortunately, results quickly tank when opposition teams learn how to counter what he does. He has shown no ability to evolve at any of his sides from memory.

          He’s being paid a lot of money (by us, as the fans who pay to see the matches and buy the merchandise). His results have been pathetic and he often treats the fans and media with contempt.

          He’s been given longer than any other coach I can think of to turn results around and has shown no ability to do so. I’m sorry, but accusing people of being haters/keyboard warriors does not change this fact.

          Deans got the job as most qualified and only lost it when the team felt into decline post-2011 RWC. He was a fantastic coach but it was time for him to go, in my opinion.

        • 22DropOut

          Regardless of the rights and wrongs, he did lose the dressing room though.

          McKenzie’s inability to manage an organisation of this scale resulted in the circumstance where the players acted disgracefully. McKenzie can hold his head high though, the players cannot.

    • Happyman

      I firmly believe that Link was shafted in a classic case of letting the lunatics run the asylum.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        :)

    • Fatflanker

      Laugh in my face but I still regret losing Dingo Deans. How you go from being applauded at the airport to being forced out in the space of one game is beyond me.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I really liked Dingo as a coach, but I think it was time for him to go. He had been building super well in 2010 and in 2011 in the Tri-Nations, but lost his nerve in the 2011 RWC. After then he seemed to have lost all his imagination and ambition.

        I think he had created a really strong squad and it was the perfect time for someone like Link with a bit more energy to come in.

        I would love for Deans to come back now though and to rebuild things!

  • juswal

    Jeremy Paul (who is no rugby fool) is serving up the same red herrings as every other pundit.

    The situation is not ‘we have to stick with Cheika because there’s no one to replace him.’

    It is ‘we are going stick with Cheika AND Cheika has to change his flawed approaches to selections, the captaincy, conditioning, defensive structure, man-on-man tackling, restarts, line-outs, set moves and kicking (for clearance, for territory, for improvised attack and as a counter-measure to rushing defence).’

    • Brumby Runner

      Totally agree, but it sounds and looks like Cheika needs a Head Coach over him and he can just do the motivational thing. I have no confidence in his ability to coach the national team at a strategic or even tactical level.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Pretty happy with that AB team. I like Luamape and Jodie B so looking forward to this. I think if Tuopo and a couple of other players unavailable last week are available on Saturday then the scrum and lineout will definitely be better. Not sure it’ll be enough but should be closer.

    Good luck team

    • Missing Link

      I was going to go and drop $10 on the Wallabies seeing as they are under a lot of pressure to lift, siege mentality etc. you know when the Wallabies tend to pull one out of nowhere, but looking at NZ’s team, I’m better off buying a box of goon with that tenner

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Alcohol is technically a solution.

        • Brisneyland Local

          It is my solution!

        • Hoss

          i feel like a double solution on the rocks right now actually.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep hear you!
          It will numb the pain of the shellacking we are about to receive.
          and may the Lord make us truly thankful.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Love to sit and watch a game with you and a few of those at the same time

        • Greg

          wait till the team is announced :-)

        • idiot savant

          and then be dissolute by sundown…

    • Hoss

      Morning infiltrator,

      I reckon the two changes help the Aussies. Luamape was hot and cold during last half of SR and Jordie is a bit the same, certainly not the composure or guile of Ben Smith.

      Maybe Shag has put a piano on the Aussies to win ?? The fix is in.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yep neither of them have had great seasons, However Luamape was Canes Player of the Year and Jordies issues were being played at 13 instead of 15. I’m confident that in the AB setup they’ll be fine.

  • John_R

    I’d recommend listening to the fox podcast. Jeremy Paul has some really interesting comments around unified skills training methods from the Wallabies down to the Super clubs.

    He mentions the AB’s have been doing that for the last 18 years.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Agreed.

      I don’t compare us with the All Blacks though. I accept we’re behind. I compare us with the 6N, South Africa and Argentina. It’s pathetic how far behind them we are.

      • John_R

        Especially when you consider that we had reasonable parity not so long ago.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          From 08-13 we were evidently ahead of all teams except for the All Blacks and, except in 09 and 13, the Springboks.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          One thing those other teams do is tailor their game plan to the skills of their players. We’re trying to play a game plan that perhaps the All Blacks can manage, but we’re nowhere near able to do.

        • John_R

          Yeah that’s pretty evident by the bumbly knock ons, and the ostensible lack of fitness.

        • Alister Smith

          Under Robbie Deans?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Under Link too. We went up against a juggernaut Springboks side (the 2013-14 team was the last great Boks side).

          Otherwise, we were evidently the next best team. In the 2014 Bledisloe we pushed the best iteration of the All Blacks perhaps ever (the 2011-15 version) and managed to beat a Bok side that beat them once and only lost by like two points the next game.

        • Alister Smith

          We lost 2 drew one in 2014 – the losses included a 51-20 loss at Eden Park in Bled 2 (but only 1 point loss in the other). 2013 we lost all three including a 47-29 loss at the Olympic Stadium. In 2017 we won one (against a injury racked All Blacks), had a blow and a small loss. Not a lot there to claim that 2014 results were better than last years though.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Nope, arguably they weren’t. I think the 2014 and 2017 results against the All Blacks were comparable.

          Cheika’s abysmal results against other tier 1 nations is the main issue.

  • Hoss

    Morning all,

    Delusion levels fully restocked, optimism tablets taken so here we go and as predicted i have back slid to my addiction of hope.

    To be clear, i do not expect a gold victory, but bugger me sideways if i will ever tip against the Gold and back the Nearlies.

    Having studied recent underdog tales i am up for it – i invoke the great catch cry of the famous 1970’s Australian painter Gough Whitlam – ‘Its Time’

    If a pussy grabbing, Russian loving, orange misogynist can be leader of the free world – it’s time

    If Average Joe’s can rise and beet the Purple Cobra’s of Globogym – its time

    If a show about wankers sitting at home watching other wankers on TV can win a Logie – its time

    It’s time dreamers. Its a brave new world, were up is down, black is white and night is day. The Nearlies are favourites – bullshit, that’s Fake News’

    A seismic shift is coming – in Chek we trust.

    Wallabies by 1.

    As the great southern philosopher and general wild cat once said – ‘his truth is marching on’

    Go you good things

    • idiot savant

      Cheik Trumps Hansen. I can see the headline now…

      • Hoss

        ‘Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.’

        • Greg

          Oh dear @hoss…. that is not often atm

        • Hoss

          Yes mate – ‘If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything’.

          We rip into the Wob’s and Cheika, but stand back and look at our leaders.

          FFS.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I work on the principal of:
          “If the bottom is falling out of your world.
          Take Ford Pills and watch the world fall out of your bottom!”

        • onlinesideline

          World needs an overhaul as to what elections are for and what democracy is. Been 11 years since there hasnt been a spill in OZ. Brexit vote ignored by party deep state. Its a joke. The world is on a knife edge like I have never seen it. Something has to give. Maybe a win in Eden Park ?

        • Hoss

          So your suggesting a WWIII for an Eden Park win…………..

          Yep, i will take that.

        • Parker

          Leaders or bleeders? The vampires are circling.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Love that. So right

    • Brisneyland Local

      “Remember the 5 D’s of dodgeball: Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge.”

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      So drinking from the go juice fountain mate?

      I hope both teams step up. I’m sure they will but as mentioned eslewhere the selection issues will be Cheika’s biggest problem.

      • Hoss

        Diamonds are made from pressure mate.

    • Mart

      no Tupo still? it’s a large hamstring granted

      • Hoss

        My heart sank when he was ruled out again.

        • onlinesideline

          Yep – big and painful lesson for this youngin. Should take a leaf out of SBW. Respect your body, stretch alottttt.

      • onlinesideline

        But on the warm up run !! FFS.

        • Hoss

          I heard someone dropped a Big Mac on the 22 and he took off and bob’s your uncle.

    • Will

      Does that mean we call Cheika “patches o’houlihan”?

  • Adrian

    I’m sure that today’s team won’t be the one I’d pick.
    I still think that the one we had was ok with the right tactics and preparation.

    I think he’ll probably play safe, and keep similar team but with DHP as full-back, and Maddocks on the wing.

    I’d keep previous team, but put Banks at full-back, and possibly drop DHP for Naivalu,
    OR go:
    Sio
    Latu
    Tuopu
    Simmons
    Arnold
    Tui
    Hooper
    Pocock
    Genia
    Beale
    Hodge
    Toomou
    Naivalu
    Korebette
    Banks

    TPN, Kepu, Alaalatoa, Coleman, Hannigan, Samu, Phipps, Maddocks

    The idea for this team is that they score more tries than NZ, and have the pace to do so. This side would also make ground in close, for Genia and Beale to do something with….alarm Tahs in 14 with Skeleton, Palu running. Cheika understands this if he jolts his memory.

    I realise it won’t happen.

    NB Naivalu has as much experience at 13 as Hodge in SR. Hodge has more experience on the wing in Tests than Naivalu.

    • Hoss

      I like it mate – similar to one i offered a few days back. I especially like no Spanners at 10.

      Personally if Cheik goes conservative in his selections that will just about nudge me from believer to agnostic for him as a coach

      I am not expecting wholesale changes, but he has nothing to lose, so roll the dice on a few players / positions and strap yourself in.

      • Adrian

        Agree Hoss. I’m on that cusp too.
        I’m hoping against hope I suspect.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I’d love to see that but like you I don’t think it’ll happen. The trouble he has is that if he does make a lot of changes it’ll be portrayed as either a panic move or would question his original decion making process and I don’t think either of those are something he can live with.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Agree. So he will belligerently keep the same path.
          and grind the team and us fans into the ground!

    • idiot savant

      If this side had practised together for 2 solid weeks it could work but the new combinations are bound to break down under All Black pressure. Good ideas though. Increased speed, better line out jumpers, higher workmate forward pack, X Factor 10.

    • Huw Tindall

      Some interesting combos but I wouldn’t but Sefa anywhere near 13. Hodge did fine last week so keep him there. I would put Toomua at 10 instead and play a conservative game until we are are 30m out from the ABs line then unleash the fancy wide Tahs style plays.

      • Adrian

        Yep

  • RoadRunner

    Have a look at the 2018 All Blacks Backs players compared to the Wallabies Backs 2018. AB’s 16 Backs compared to Wallabies 12 Backs.

    just have a look at the quality of the AB’s backline compared to the wallabies. The wallabies are not going to be consistent winners with this kind of selection. There is to many utility backs in Wallabies that’s the problem. ARU needs to invest more on players development and selection i must be dreaming saying this lol…with 6 million signed up for hooper looks like the misery will continue for the next 3 years.

    Half Backs
    Aaron Smith – Will Genia
    TJ Perenara – Phibbs
    Tahuriorangi – Powell

    First Five
    B Barret – Foley
    Richie Mounga – ?

    Wingers
    Naholo – Koroibete
    Reiko Ioane – Naivalu
    Nehe M Skudder – DHP (Fullback / Winger)

    Centres
    Ryan Crotty – Beale (Centre / Full Back)
    SBW – Hodge (Utility Back
    Laumape – Toomua (Centre/ First)
    Jack Goodhue – ?
    Anton L Brown – ?

    Full Backs
    Ben Smith – Folau
    JBarret – Banks
    D Mckenzie – Maddocks

    • juswal

      ‘There is to many utility backs in Wallabies that’s the problem’ — nup, there are bigger problems, or at least higher priorities for the Wallabies. Such as share of territory, ball retention, line-out performance, restarts (both ways), tackle completion, reacting to turnovers (both ways), conditioning, and most of all (since 2016), devising and delivering effective counter-measures to blitz defence.

      Get all that right, and any competent backs – utility or specialist – will be notching up tries.

      Some of us over here are too prone to daydreaming about the potency of NZ’s backs. They’re good, but they’re only world-beaters because they play behind world-beating forwards.

      • onlinesideline

        I agree the AB forwards make it easier but shit, the Barrrets, Ben Smith, Noholo, Macekzie, Crotty are good mate. Best I have seen from them in a long long time, if ever.

        • juswal

          I watched more of their games in SR this year than I have in past seasons. At that level it’s clear that they sometimes struggle to make in impact.

          They’re great to watch. Mackenzie is sometimes magical, Beaugen occasionally astonishing . . . I remember Naholo giving upstart Ben Lam a lesson.

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          Beaugen. Love it.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Jst announced.

    WALLABIES: Dane Haylett-Petty, Jack Maddocks, Reece Hodge, Kurtley Beale, Marika Koroibete, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, David Pocock, Michael Hooper (c), Lukhan Tui, Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda, Allan Alaalatoa, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Scott Sio

    Reserves: Folau Faingaa, Tom Robertson, Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Pete Samu, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua, Tom Ban

    I feel an ass raping coming on.

    • Happyman

      At least I hope they get flowers beforehand. Shit I reckon you could name a better team playing overseas that this mob.

      Give it a crack people.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Toupo must still be injured then. Damn! Glad Maddocks got in, he’s got some pace and I think DHP is a better 15 than wing anyway. I think your defence is definitely better and while you lose Folau’s attacking in the air – that he didn’t do last week anyway, you do get some players that will go looking for work.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep but we still have the Pooper, and we still have spanners.
        this is going to hurt.

        • nick51xx

          I feel like Spanners refers to Foley and/or Beale…which one is it?

        • Brisneyland Local

          Spanners is Hoss’s name for Foley.
          I.E. each time he gets possession of the ball he feels his nuts tighten.

        • nick51xx

          Thanks. Need a glossary for whenever Hoss lists the team – struggling to keep up!

        • Brisneyland Local

          They are pure Gold.
          I think the GAGR website should attach it as a glossary so that we can look it up at anytime.

        • Parker

          Lately I’m inclined to call him the Weakest Link

        • Brisneyland Local

          YEs that is another appropriate name

        • Brumby Runner

          Or Cheika’s Folly.

      • Fatflanker

        Reasonably excited to see how we go with the change in full back. Agree that I don’t think Folau will be massively missed given the conservative way we’ll play this game.

        • onlinesideline

          Im damn curious too. His affect on the team translates into a quirkiness I cant quite pinpont. Put it this way, we havent seen the Roger Gould, Ella, Slack, Grigg, Moon dynamic for a long long time. In Izzys absence we may see glimpses of the old.

        • Patrick

          Dude I do not recommend setting your expectations at that level for this game, speaking on behalf of everyone except your shrink.

      • Adrian

        I definitely wanted Tuopo, and for him to start KRL.
        The 3 front row guys + Coleman do have the capacity to drive it up the Kiwis though.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          You miss Arnold’s bulk mate. I think he’s been harshly treated and still rate him

        • Brumby Runner

          Agree. And it’s not just his bulk. Rory has some creativity about him with ball in hand, and he is still the best mauler in the Aus sides.

        • Adrian

          Agree 100% Kiwi.
          I just wish he’d been picked

    • Missing Link

      pretty much the same team, so business as usual. Robertson had to go but I thought Kepu didn’t really do anything to warrant losing a starting spot. Also looks like Latu has taken the fall for our lineout woes?

      • Who?

        I wonder if Kepu’s benching is just to keep him a little fresher, given he copped that pretty nasty looking eye injury last week..? He was bleeding out of his eye all the second half. In fact, a lot of Wallabies had blood trickling down their bodies from unusual spots…

        • Adrian

          I think Kepu at the close is a good move

        • Hoss

          One thing we haven’t discussed – Cheika must make better (earlier) use of the bench Saturday. He was Robbie Deans-esque last week.

          Boy Dingo drove me nuts with his bench, its like he forgot it was there until too late.

        • onlinesideline

          Weird thing is that Cheika was doing well with his bench timing for a while. But in a cauldron like Eden Park if he doesnt stand up and be brave and make a call and give the bench proper time he will blow it. You cant expect miracles against a team that are specialist time wasters when in the lead in close games.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I probably would have kept Kepu as well. Latu has taken the fall. Because otherwise he would have to admit the Pooper is trashing the lineout.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Is there any other option left but the Pooper?

          When we had Scott Fardy and Higgers and Dempsey that was a back-row. We had two 6s/8s there.

          Now, I think that the Pooper is the only option left, because of the choices Cheika made.

          I suppose we could conceivably go for a 6. Timu, 7. Pocock, 8. Higgers.

          I think that is a back-row that is strong in the line out and in ball-running.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I agree.
          But I would even be prepared to play Simmons as a 6 right now. And have Timu at 8.

        • onlinesideline

          Higgers has slowed a tremendous amount though as much as I like him, I dont think he would be up to it. If he ever was then the key with blokes like this is that they need longer periods of time to back to peak performance. He would need all the camp time and a number of test matches without injury.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I haven’t watched him so closely this year, but I thought he was pretty quick last year. Sad to hear if that’s true though mate.

        • Missing Link

          He isn’t the same player of 2011-13 to be honest

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I thought his best year was 2015 personally, and 2017 was good too. Got to admit he hasn’t been a standout in my eyes this year, but he has been injured a lot.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I agree. Too old and wouldn’t offer much I think

        • Gipetto

          Like that Kieran Read guy.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Ba-Boom!

        • Huw Tindall

          How is Dempsey going anyway? Seen him in pics at a few juniors rugby clinics and days out (looking massive actually) but nowhere near a run on team.

      • Adrian

        Yep, Latu sacrificed.

        He wasn’t perfect, but forwards coach and Coleman should say good things about him.

        Folau Fainga ok though, and he’ll give them a bit of stick

        • onlinesideline

          My tip Adian is he will have a blinder when he is on. And secure a spot for himself in the future 23. He wont take a backwards step to any kiwi. With some luck we could take this. Not inconcievable at all. I think it will be less helter skelter than last week, maybe even slower and more patienced displayed and will go down the wire. Old fashined test of yesteryear. I just hope if we do lose in the last minute(s) it will be from their brilliance not a ref blunder or bounce of the ball.

        • Adrian

          Yes, inside, it’s certainly possible,… just like last week was too.
          15% improvement from set piece + 10% respiration + 10% from ref + 10% second half defence + 5% from better finishers. NZ 10% worse from complacency.
          It’s all possible.
          I expect our guys who were rightly criticised last week such as TPN, Kepu, Coleman, Hooper to be absolutely burning. Yes, Famousname Fairlygoodguy on the hookers bench will go for it too.

          Bookies say 22.5 start for us, and us at 11-1. That’s another way of saying NZ are 11-1 ON and favourite in this two horse race.
          It is still possible though

        • onlinesideline

          Did you just call me “inside” ?
          Just dont call me Ironside.

        • Timbo

          Being called ironside is a compliment if you’re not in the corps.

        • Adrian

          LOL
          It’s the ?$&-+#n predictive text thing. Often it calls team, twat….which isn’t a word I ever use!

        • Archie

          Agree. We don’t want a replay of the 2014 Super Rugby final

        • onlinesideline

          the mullet and sideburn brigade is back

        • Huw Tindall

          Few pick and goes around the ruck. Put the ball behind the ABs into the corners (in touch so no counter attack pls!). Make the kiwis run it up field 60m and 15+ phases for once.

      • Patrick

        Latu was totally anonymous around the field, I didn’t even know who was at 2. Fair call to give Taf, who is one of the (very) few wallabies to know what a hit-up is, a go.

    • Fatflanker

      No surprises other than Kepu benched – if the ABs aren’t out-of-sight when he runs on, it’ll be interesting to see his impact. Bloody selfish of Thor to stay injured.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep I am itching to see Mr Hemsworth run on and do his thing!

        • Huw Tindall

          A magical hammer and the ability to fly would certainly tip things in our favour

        • Brisneyland Local

          Would certainly clear a path to the try line. But I am sure Wayne Barnes would penalise us for it.

        • Will

          Nah we’d still find a way to fuck things up.

    • Adrian

      Na… something else unexpected will happen

      • Brisneyland Local

        PLease do tell. I am looking for some hope. I have none!

      • Huw Tindall

        the Spanish Inquisition?

        • Brisneyland Local

          No one ever expected that!

    • 22DropOut

      Is it a much weaker than the side that beat them in Bled 3?

      Plus we have Pocock in it and a very exciting winger in Maddocks. Expecting a NZ win obviously but we have a fighting chance.

      Last weekend was a disaster for us but I feel we are a better team than we were 12 months ago and I hope it was a one-off.

      • Brisneyland Local

        22 I wish I did. But I dont share your hope of a one off. We are going to get spanked.

        • Bernie Chan

          We can hope and perhaps only have hope, but reality is a cruel mistress…
          Playing poorly…and confronting The Darkness @ Eden Park. I hope it doesn’t, but it could get ugly.
          Not sure we are a better team than last year, and that’s what rankles most…

        • Brisneyland Local

          We could have been. But a coach who selects poorly and does not adapt his game plan, will lose everytime.

      • Huw Tindall

        This is the puzzling thing 22DO. Other than Dempsey not being there it’s the same core side that performed so well in Bled 2 and 3 last year.

        • Brisneyland Local

          But now we suck more! Lots more.

        • Brumby Runner

          If it’s not the players, then it must have been the manner in which they were prepared for the game.

          Personally, I think it is a bit of both. Some players were unfit and some were being played out of position. But it might well be as some suspect that they had been worked into the ground in the two weeks leading up to the game.

    • Bernie Chan

      DHP finally wearing the #15…his best spot but he’ll be under heaps of pressure. Koroibete needs a good game…hasn’t performed as well as hoped.
      Still stuck with the Pooper and the lineout weaknesses that brings..
      Still essentially the same team sans the best attacking player…but will mean nought if Foley tanks it again…Beale can’t be the playmaker and the ball runner.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep agree. That what I am worried about.

    • Parker

      Grooaan. FFS. Foley again. Let’s hope our captain has reached full match fitness.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Our Captain is now almost as big a problem as Spanners!

  • Brisneyland Local

    Gee the odds have blown out.
    AB’s $1.05
    Wobs $11.00

    • onlinesideline

      thats a good bet

      • Brisneyland Local

        Worth a lazy tenner.
        But my tip and I am putting it in writing.
        AB’s 50
        Wobs 13

        • onlinesideline

          a complete capitualtion eh ?
          Im going the other way mate.
          They know they have nothing to lose
          Extra attention on the set piece
          The no Izzy affect – frees up in the inner wallaby backline of old
          ( Izzy has a weird quirky afferct on traditional way we have always played. AND any bloke that runs, hops, skips and jumps back into an AB defensive line – well what can you say. Its shite. For every good thing about Izzy he has a weakness)
          The lose it and its over for another year reality

          As the 12th man says “the buzz, the drama, the occassion”

          Im gonna call – we pip them on the hooter for a huge upset.

        • Brisneyland Local

          M.A.R.V.E.L.L.O.U.S.
          I need some of the optimism juice you have drunk.

        • Brumby Runner

          Won’t be a complete capitulation and it won’t be a backs to the wall win for the Wallabies. It will likely be a true reflection of the comparative abilities of the two teams and the way they are coached. I think more like ABs 30ish to the Wallabies slightly less than 20.

        • first time long time

          Only if you want to throw 10 away

  • onlinesideline

    We need some bullocking runs up the middle. Im pumped to see Faiinga have a go. I always thought he was ahead of BPA and wasnt sure re Latu. He is fast, big hitter, offloader and has that Tongan charm. I really hope he gets a full half. If TPN screws up Folua could be a huge find at this level.

    Cheika has to play his bench well. DHP is needed for that composure. He settles the team in way we desparately need. Like Joe Roth slowed time. But would love to see Banks get at least 20-25 mins to have real crack in causing an upset. This is the test that will define Cheikas career as coach for mine. World cup years are world cup years and next year wont be a normal mid winter. We all know these are the big matches of the calender year. If we lose this then Cheika will be known as a coach that largely failed except for putting in a food RWC 2015 and possibly a surprise good 2019 RWC. In my book RWCs are not where its at. It may be for the code, for $, for global marketing of the game but its in the dark abyss of Eden park with those 70% lights, Auckland fog and that barely understandable dialect that the Wallas are really tested.

    Wallabies by 3 in a massive upset.

  • Gipetto

    How much will it cost to lure Johan Ackermann to Australia from Gloucester to pull a competitive Wallaby team together for the World Cup? Will Twiggy lend RA the $? Ask Johann if we really need Izzy; major savings are possible.

    • GO THE Q REDS

      Do we really need the greatest try scoring weapon the wallabies have ever had. .. who continually threatens the line dragging in defenders. ….. ? Now it’s debatable about his defence and positioning and other small topics but you take Folou out of the wallabies. . …..our points scoring halves.

  • Huw Tindall

    Will drop this one in as well. AAC eyeing a potential tilt at RWC2019!!

    He is probably a little old but I wouldn’t mind have arguably the Wallabies best ever defensive outside back and his big game plays. I’ve got so many memories of AAC shutting down attack with his superbly timed defensive reads.

    https://www.foxsports.com.au/rugby/wallabies/wallabies-great-adam-ashleycooper-eyeing-return-to-australia-ahead-of-2019-rugby-world-cup/news-story/8752805867a7fc619bbb2f125c515245

  • Bernie Chan

    Question to the masses…what’s the view on Cheika bringing his kids into the general chatter about his tenure? Something along the lines of “My kids were very upset etc etc…” because of calls (in the media I gather..) for his sacking. I thought it was a misstep at best, and he should never have mentioned his family.

  • Parker

    I think the NZ pundits were blindsided by the custody battle between all four dads. The AB selectors didn’t want to get in the middle of it.

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@DylanGLanges

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

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