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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursdays Rugby News sees John Mitchell returns to England, Jake Gordon looks for a call up, Erasmus to lead the Baa Baa’s and data backs Folau.


 

MITCHELL BACK IN ENGLAND

john mitchell ab

The man Eddie Jones beat in the 2003 RWC semi final has signed on as his defence coach for the English National Team. Former All Black coach John Mitchell has taken charge of England’s defence after RFU paid £200,000 to the Blue Bulls in South Africa in compensation.

Mitchell has been around English Rugby before, serving as the forwars coach under Clive Woodward in the late 90’s and then again working as Head Coach and Director of Rugby for Sale and as an assistant coach at Wasps.

Mitchell has a convincing resume; having worked at multiple levels in different roles, but is also marred by some controversy. Mitchell served as the inaugural coach for the Western Force, but left under controversial circumstances, with reports claiming it was due to a player revolt. A similar incident occurred during Mitchell’s time with the Lion’s in Johannesburg.

“This is an exciting opportunity to work with England Rugby and support Eddie Jones as head coach,” Mitchell said.

“I will be joining an elite high-performance programme, Test team and coaching group where I will use all my experience and focus to bring the necessary clarity and confidence to the players from a defensive perspective.”

English coach Eddie Jones believes that Mitchell will bring a ‘wealth of knowledge to the roles.’

“Defence is a key pillar of our game and John is an experienced coach,” Jones said.

“He’s coached the All Blacks, USA Rugby and a number of Super Rugby sides so he will bring a wealth of experience and add to the coaching mix we have here.”

Jones also confirmed Scott Wisemantel will continue as England’s attack coach, after working with England during their South Africa tour.

EXPECTED CALL UP FOR JAKE GORDON

Jake Gordon giving front foot ball from the scrum base.

Jake Gordon giving front foot ball from the scrum base.

After strong performances in the NRC, including a hat-trick last night, NSW Country Eagles coach is reporting that halfback Jake Gordon will be on the plane with the Wallabies on Saturday.

“Next week, we lose Jake to the tour whereas Joe Powell is staying back so that’s a bit of a flip,” Eagles coach Darren Coleman said.

“So, we lose our best player for the next three weeks for him to probably go and not play over there whereas Canberra get – it’s a close call between Joe Powell and Jake – and they keep Joe back and take Jake.

“Next week it’ll (Wallabies allocations) work against us, it’s just swings and roundabouts.”

The Eagles had a convincing win over the Sydney Ray’s last night, with the addition a several Wallabies helping to bolster their stocks.

In their next match against the Viking’s, not having those Wallabies could prove costly, forcing Coleman to make potentially five changes.

In recent weeks the NRC teams have had access to Wallabies squad members that hadn’t been selected to play but with the National team on tour, sharing the love with the NRC is a little hard

“You’ve always got to support the national team, so whatever the national coach thinks is best,” Coleman said.

“It’s great for Jake that he gets a shot and good for Canberra that Joe’s back.”

Jordon has been around the training squad, but Powell has featured in every Wallabies squad since June 2017. Despite his presence though, he has only played four tests and a handful of minutes at that.

This isn’t the only change that is expect to the previous squad, with Lukhan Tui set to sit out on the South Africa/ Argentina tour due to family reason. Pete Samu is still under the injury cloud and Sekope Kepu and his wife are expecting their fourth child, due today so he is another potential miss.

 

ERASMUS TO LEAD THE BAA BAAS

Springboks Captain Siya Kolisi and Coach Rassie Erasmus

Springboks Captain Siya Kolisi and Coach Rassie Erasmus

The Barbarians have found their new coach in Rassie Erasmus for their match against Los Pumas at Twickenham in December. Erasmus is currently the Director of Rugby for South Africa and riding a high from beating New Zealand in New Zealand.

This is the first time Erasmus will take the reigns for the Baa Baa’s as they return to action at Twickenham later this season.

“It’s a terrific honour to be invited to coach the Barbarians later this year and it should be a great occasion at Twickenham,” said Erasmus.

“The Barbarians are renowned for bringing together great individuals and the challenge for coaches is moulding them into a team that plays wonderful rugby, which they certainly showed earlier this year against England.

Four players have already been named; three of them are currently playing under Erasmus as Springboks, Handré Pollard, Eben Etzebeth and Tendai Mtawarira, who will join the Barbarians after South Africa’s European tour.

Wallabies scrum half Will Genia will also feature after the Wallabies conclude their spring tour.

The last time the Baa Baa’s faced off against Argentina back in 2015, Los Pumas walked away victorious, and after their historic win on the weekend, they will be looking to back it up.

The Barbarians had an epic win earlier this year when they beat England in a record-breaking match, 63-45.

 ONE-MAN LIFT MAJOR CULPRIT OF ARIEAL INJURIES

Israel Folau and Jack Nowell compete for a high ball - Photo by Keith McInnes

Israel Folau and Jack Nowell compete for a high ball – Photo by Keith McInnes

After a controversial yellow card, an injury and a suspension it appears that the one-person lift is at fault and not Israel Folau according to a World Rugby study.

Fairfax media has obtained World Rugby date that, whilst is more suggestive than statically conclusive, suggest the there is a higher injury rate from using a one-man lift than any others on kick off.

The study examined kick offs and not other forms of aerial contacts from kicks.

“The small number of injuries means the analysis is only suggestive rather than conclusive,” World Rugby chief medical officer Martin Raftery said.

“The review showed a low number of injuries and penalties with contested kick-offs and suggests that either lift with two people or no lift is safer than lifting with one person.”

Raftery said the low numbers made it impossible to draw hard conclusions but suggested the two-person lift was safer.

“If you make contact with someone in the air and they’re unsteady then they’re more likely to fall in a dangerous position,” Raftery said.

The issue gained world attention when Wallabies player Israel Folau was sent off and suspended for making illegal contact with Irish Peter O’Mahony when he was in the air via a one-man lift.

The issue will be examines at the next meeting of the World Rugby Committee in Sydney that could see a push to outlaw the one-man lift.

Snap shot of the study below. (via Fairfax Media)

No injuries, eight penalties from 315 instances where no lift used;

Three injuries, two penalties from 82 instances where one-man lift used;

One injury, no penalties from 42 instances where two-man lift used;

World Rugby says data suggestive only, not statistically conclusive;

 

 

  • IIPA

    JG should be on the plane but agree with Coleman, only if he’s playing ie: in the top two. Otherwise pointless. Fly him over between games if they get an injury.

  • Christopher

    So a pivot point 2m off the ground isn’t safe?

    • Greg

      who would have thought that?

    • Who?

      If you’ve got two players lifting, does that really shift the pivot point..? Let’s be honest, if you’re lifting with good technique for maximum height (which you need if you’re jumping against a guy like Folau or Read), the two lifters get in rather close. You lift and step in. Which means there’s not much extra stability.
      The bigger issue is charging jumpers clashing with static jumpers. It doesn’t matter if you’re unlifted, on a single lifter, or two lifters. If someone runs 15+m before jumping in full stride at full pace into someone who’s moving nowhere, it’s not likely to end well! This was first raised about Kieran Read’s jumping before the Lions series, and it’s a valid concern. I don’t think Folau’s technique is as bad as Read – Folau tries to go sideways, around the jumper (though he has a habit of stabilising himself off the other player – which is natural) – but single lifter or unlifted, if you’re 2m in the air and someone pushes you, there’s not much you can do to in order to counter that force.

      • Greg

        Two is safer than one as there is more chance to support the lifted player.

        Agree that the issue is moving versus stationary. If you jump straight up and someone (legally) crashes into you you are likely to be knocked sideways. If you are held by lifter(s) then the sideways motion becomes rotation and you are head first into the ground.

        I think the solution is to ban lifting in general play.

        Anyone interested can stay back after class for a tutorial session on vector addition and conservation of momentum! :-)

        • Who?

          I think we’re on similar paths here. Though the ‘legally’ crashes into you part is a tough one. If you’re crashing into a player in the air, how’s that not interfering with the jumper, the same as in the lineout? We saw Rodda penalized (technically correctly) when he barely touched a Puma lock on the weekend. So if that’s a penalty, how’s it legal to crash into someone in the air off a 15m run up?
          I think lifting is probably ok, but perhaps it should be that you can’t be supported after you’re lifted? Because otherwise, restarts become guaranteed possession for the kicking team. A vertical leap isn’t ever going to compete well against a full pace jump from someone like Read or Folau, and so removing the lifters unbalances the contest.
          If we can’t go that way, I could see things progressing (like tackling below the nipples) to the point where we’re not allowed to jump for kick receipts, and if that happens, then there’ll be a law about not smashing a defenceless player until they’ve made a ‘football move’ (yes, I’m going to NFL terms here)… I don’t want it to go that way.

        • Brumby Runner

          Yes, some consistency between the lineout jumping, the kick off chase and jump and the chase and jump after a kick in general play would be welcome. ATM, different laws/interpretations seem to apply to the three different cases.

  • Brumby Runner

    A very big stretch to say that Gordon has had strong performances in the NRC. He was comprehensively outplayed by Michael Ruru v the Rising and was replaced rather early in the second half.

    Last night he was anything but outstanding against the weakest defensive side I’ve ever seen in any NRC game. He scored three tries but they were all factors of the atrocious opposition, not the result of brilliant play on behalf of the Eagles or Gordon himself.

    Which is a pity, because someone has to step up to replace Phipps and the sooner the better.

    • Ads

      I reckon that’s pretty harsh. Didn’t he score a try around the 70 minute mark Vs the Rising? Dunno how that puts him as being subbed early.
      Scoring 3 tries is still scoring 3 tries. What else did you want him to do?
      If we want a running 9, he’s probably the best option we’ve got.

      • Brumby Runner

        Let’s have a look at his running game when he scored his three tries.

        The first when the Eagles were down a player, and off the back of a scrum from about 30m. One player down in the defensive scrum means that there is naturally a hole in the defensive line where a player would have been had one not been missing.

        The second again from the back of a demolished scrum from about 5m out. Watch the ineptitude of the Rays’ backrow, especially Sinclair, who left the hole for Gordon to dart through.

        The third from a tap kick penalty about 5m out when it was clear to all and sundry that the Rays were completely dispirited and not even one of them was watching the quick play.

        Good opportunism from Gordon but hardly all due to his fantastic running game. The Rays are a rabble and most U12 halfbacks could have scored a couple of those tries.

        • IIPA

          I’m not sure if you’re Joe Powell’s fan club president or just being narky but come on. The first try he beat about four players, second try he still had work to do and the third try was the exact sort of heads up quick thinking we don’t see enough of at Wallabies level.

          He scored a couple of the same sort of tries in the SS Final too so it’s no fluke.

        • Brumby Runner

          See my most recent comments above to Ads. I like what I see in Joe Powell and also in Jake Gordon. I am simply making the point that Jake has had a shocker and an average game in his recent outings in the NRC. Powell was in fine form off the bench for the Vikings against the Force (a much more formidable opponent I think you’ll agree) and it wasn’t until he (and Valetini) came into the game that the Vikings established dominance over the Force.

      • disqus_NMX

        This is not particularly aimed at Gordon or otherwise, but we want a passing 9 first, an organising 9 second, and a running 9 third. Defending goes without saying.

      • Brumby Runner

        No Ads. Gordon was replaced early in the second half against the Rising by Snowdon who scored the one and only try by the Eagles. Making things up won’t make it any better for Jake.

        In any case, I would be happier than most if Gordon’s inclusion led to Phipps’ expulsion. I just don’t see any sense in replacing Powell who has been in the squad for something like 18 months but has been virtually unused by Cheika. My guess is the same fate awaits Jake Gordon.

        Reports are that Powell has been left out to play more game time in the NRC. Quite clearly, that needn’t have been an issue if Cheika had been willing to utilise him more during the test season. Just smells intensely of bull shit to me.

        I think both Gordon and Powell are better all round No 9s than Phipps and they both should be in the squad. They are at similar levels in their development atm. Gordon may have the better support play skills while Powell may have the better passing and distributing game skills. I think their defense and cover defense abilities are the equal of Phipps. It is way beyond time that they both had time in the Wallabies, but I won’t be holding my breath.

        EDIT : Incidentally, they both bring a higher paced game than Genia too. Not that I would be looking to replace Genia but when the time comes, it could well be one of these two so just more reason for them to get significant game time.

        • Ads

          Apologies, had the force game in mind when he got subbed at 70.
          I agree he and Powell are similar. That was kind of my point. He played pretty well, and would benefit from further development.
          Scoring three tries is a good result.

  • first time long time

    This lifting issue just confirms to me that there are idiots running the game.

    They are now going complicate the laws by making it 2 man lift and will involve interpretation as to whether both players were actually lifting and we will see a spate of stupid penalties now go the other way.

    Just ban lifting except in line outs,
    Simple and no more onerous on the already struggling refs.

    • disqus_NMX

      Yep, and absolutely cracks me up that they needed a study to tell them that a one man lift is more dangerous than a two man lift. Fucking morons.

      • John Tynan

        I want to branch out into Rugby Consulting and get on that seemingly never-endiing gravy train!

    • juswal

      I agree on no lifting for kicks. Is it even a good thing in lineouts?

      Let’s make rugby lift-free.

      • Greg

        I am OK with lifting in lineouts. It looks good and is pretty safe as all players are stationary – ie not rushing towards each other.

        In general play it is inherently dangerous as one player is stationary and the other is typically running to the ball. Physics says this is unlikely to have a happy ending.

        • John Tynan

          Agree, spectacular part of the game now for lineouts – just have a look at any pre-lifting games (old world cup games spring to mind)

      • Adrian

        Agree 100%

      • Kevino

        Just go the other way and ban jumping, than we will never have a dangerous tackle in the air. Problem solved

        • juswal

          I think the dangerous action is the running jump, a la Folau, Smuth and the Barretts. The run-jumper is out of control with his hips-knees-boots coming in at the same level as other players’ heads. For some reason, the laws allow to endanger himself and others, and provide sanctions for any opponent who contacts him—even in self-defence.

        • Who?

          Exactly. The Lions arced up a lot last year about Kieran Read doing exactly this on kick offs. Even with two lifters, when Read’s running directly at the jumper (because he’s looking for a catch, where Folau’s looking to tap the ball back), it’s not safe to have a lifted player (or an unlifted jumper) copping a player jumping into them at full pace.

        • Parker

          Too soft. Ban tackling. That’ll really fix it.

        • Greg

          Mr Cheika is way ahead of you!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Gold

      • Alister Smith

        Pre-lifting suited my complete inability to be able to leave ground and my lack of fast twitch muscle fibre. It also allowed me to apply some dexterous use of the elbow. Bring back the dock yard brawl, I agree.

        • Keith Butler

          Back in the day, when I played at lock, there was only the ref so you could get away with the odd elbow and other nefarious stuff. With the TMO and asst refs a no lift line out would be a disaster imo.

    • ALJ

      Rugby is a contact sport. There will be injuries. Lift whenever you like . The bed wetters can watch lawn bowls

      • first time long time

        Rugby has always been a contact sport though, lifting however, is a relatively new phenomenon in the laws

    • first time long time

      Without lifting it becomes no different to a midfield bomb with regards to the collision and I have no issue with that.

    • Twoilms

      logic tho.. cant use that

    • Patrick

      I don’t think the study was about line-outs ;)

  • Richard Patterson

    Good luck with John Mitchell. Old-school in a new-school world.

    • Dud Roodt

      I’m not even sure if it’s new school vs old school or he’s just a bit of a c*nt?

      • Adrian

        Oooh

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        2nd part

      • Mike Thompson

        Weird isn’t it? The other day I said James O’Conner was a massive tosser. Ewww. I was promptly told that sort of meanness made me “a dickhead” (you’ll notice the hypocrisy). Don’t get me wrong, I’m entirely happy with your characterization of Mitchell. I just can’t quite understand where all the snowflakes have gone. Why aren’t they patrolling with their pursed lips and virtue-signalling tut-tuts?

        • Dud Roodt

          Ha yes I did see your comment and subsequent outrage.

          Very weird by Eddie. He must know that he (Eddie) is already a tough bloke to be coached by, so one would think he would surround himself with people who take on more of a mentor role with the players?

  • disqus_NMX

    I received another one of those emails from RA requesting feedback on the Wallabies v Argentina match. Very cool that they are doing this. Here is what I wrote:

    We went knowing it was going to be a woeful match, as the Wallabies have been in decline for years, and have especially been in a tailspin lately under Cheika and his assistants. And the atmosphere as we entered the stadium matched this feeling. No one was excited to be there, no one was excited to be about to witness the best of their country play rugby. Well, no one from Australia anyway, the Argentinians were fired up, no surprise, as their boys have been playing well. But regardless of all this, we went anyway, because it is fun to take my son to such things, and we live close by and the tickets were cheap.

    Rugby will remain in a tailspin until the following changes are made:
    – Firstly, Cheika obviously has to go. He was great at first, but his time has come. This is the immediate change required to resurrect the Wallabies in the short term.
    – The whole governing structure needs rebuilding from scratch. The RA, NSWRU, and QRU are diseased entities. They are essentially undemocratic, unrepresentative, unaccountable, decentralised, school tie boys clubs. AFL in particular are killing it, while rugby declines with it’s own head up it’s arse. There needs to be a voting structure that gives every paying member (player or supporter) of every rugby club in the country, an equal voting right to all the elected positions of the RA. There needs to be a centralisation like NZ and Ireland have done, to remove the control of the super rugby teams from the state unions.
    – Get rugby on free to air TV. It is impossible for rugby to win against the other codes while the poorer classes can’t watch the games on TV.
    – Provide funding to give free, or heavily subsidised, coaching courses to anyone who wants to do one. And I mean anyone. And all kinds of different coaching levels and specialities. This will mean lots of parents and other interested people will get coaching skills and accreditation, and will informally and formally increase the skills of any players they come in contact with. It will also boost the pool of people competing for the higher level coaching positions. This will trickle up all the way to the top.
    – Similarly, provide free, or heavily subsidised refereeing courses. Same gist.
    – Get rugby into more public schools by providing free rugby balls (and other equipment, but balls mostly) to any school that wants them. And by any school, I don’t mean private schools for Christ’s sake. I mean public schools that don’t have rugby because they have a limited budget, and have chosen other sports for their budget. Also send development officers into those schools for regular clinics. Also encourage any teachers to take on the free coaching/refereeing courses.

    PS – I am available if you want to employ someone to help with creating all this.

    PPS – The entertainment outside the grounds pre-match was actually pretty cool, and next time we will try to go early to have more time to have some fun with this. Also, the way you have turned the in-ground announcer down a few notches in intensity was a nice too. It no longer drowns out the natural crowd atmosphere. Well done on these changes.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Well written mate. I’d love to see the facse of the people at RA reading this

      • Bobas

        No one who can action anything will read it.

        • John Tynan

          Just a few edits….No one **delete ***who can action anything **delete**will read it. =
          No one will read it.
          There.
          Fixed. That looks about right.

      • Brumby Runner

        I would hazard a guess that only the last two positive comments will be referred upwards and the response by D will go into the positive feedback stats.

      • Nutta

        Nah Dude. They are ticking boxes. There would be an administrative internal audit requirement to check that feedback was being sought tied to some level of external funding provision. No where would it require for a) that feedback to be read or b) demonstrable evidence of feedback being discussed and implemented

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah true

    • Greg

      Good comments and great that they are soliciting feedback. I hope there is a process in place to consider the feedback and develop some improvement plans.

    • Alister Smith

      Why sugar coating your answer like that rather than speaking plainly and directly (please read with sarcasm on). Some excellent points raised here and I think this is what the governing body(ies) need to be doing rather than focussing almost exclusively on the weekend.
      It is good that RA has taken some time to ask the question though. Trouble is we also need to know the answer from the 20,000 that didn’t attend the game and the 100,000 that may have watched on TV 10 years ago but instead watched the league or AFL finals games.
      I struggle a bit with why we actually put on a test on the Gold Coast. It would actually be the closest venue for me to travel to but I was more likely to go to Brisbane which is another hour further up the road.
      Also I wonder if the Argentina game is the ideal game for us to take to a real country venue. Tamworth, Toowoomba, North Queensland, Lismore, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo (or Canberra or Perth where there are some established rugby communities). If you are only going to get 10-15k then why not take it to Tamworth or Dubbo where this would be capacity crowd and there would be people climbing trees and sitting on their roofs to watch it.
      And also why not tie it in with the NRC so that people are getting a bit more value for money and NRC players are getting a bit more exposure. Make it a carnival day, a round of the Uni mens and womens 7s, an NRC game in the lead-up and finish off with the test.
      I think in terms of a standalone test (and I understand TV pays the money) but for this match each year why not play it a 3 – 3.30 pm. It means you don’t have to have the stadium standard lighting, you get the best conditions for playing rugby and you don’t have people switching over and watching a preliminary final for the AFL and an elimination final in the rugby league. If we are going to run on the same days as the other two major winter sports do we want to be bang up against them on a Saturday night??

      • GeorgiaSatellite

        I agree with everything, and a great idea about a truly regional opportunity. Just a note about the timing of evening tests: there are 2 main reasons for this, from my understanding. Firstly, it doesn’t conflict with other sporting commitments (kids’ or adults’). Secondly, there’s a time zone issue for foreign audiences. Here in Tbilisi it’s on at 2pm, which makes it 11am in the UK and South Africa. A 3pm start puts those audiences almost out of reach – they may indeed be tied to broadcast deals.

        • Alister Smith

          Yes I didn’t think about the international time differences. I think at this stage all the schools and senior club rugby finals are over so locally an afternoon game shouldn’t pose any problems. I looked at the international times as you suggested and 8 pm does definitely work better for overseas viewers – lunch time in Europe and 7 am in Argentina as you mention. I would only look at this for the Argentina test though rather than all of them. Definitely SA and NZ tests could stay as night games in prime time broadcasting. But with Argentina, some of the South Pacific nations etc we will get as good a crowd at a major regional venue. Let’s imagine holding this test in Scully Park in Tamworth – the NRL filled it for a regular round match this year (Wests Tigers and perhaps the Bulldogs so not top teams). I has been a big rugby area though too. The NRC has started so you could play either NSW Country vs Sydney Rays or NSW Country vs Qld Country – both games with some real tradition (though the teams selected dont necessarily reflect that).
          So this is my programme for the day:
          10 am – Uni 7’s round hosted by UNE Armidale (only an hour up the road) – both men’s and women’s
          12 pm – NSW Country Residents vs Qld Country Residents
          2 pm – NSW City vs Sydney
          4 pm – Australia vs Argentina
          There might be the capacity to add the Australian Stockmen Rugby team against a pacific island team instead of the two country residents team.
          If the lighting allows then shift it to a 6.00 pm start perhaps – you probably won’t have the same difficulties with dew as happened on the Gold Coast. Regardless of what people might say the conditions for both rugby league and rugby union are effected by playing at night but thats a different point. The key thing is for domestic ratings you are going up against elimination finals in both league and AFL and surely, even for foxtel the domestic audience would be impacted pretty significant but if you don’t go into direct competition you potentially get both those groups of sporting fans watching the rugby as a leadup (the group that just loves sport regardless or that follows Australia too).
          Sunday – the remainder of the Uni 7’s with finals and kids coaching clinics etc.
          Scully Park holds 11,000. I don’t imagine there would be a single ticket unsold (so only 4000 less than Gold Coast and we dont know how many free tickets they gave away).
          You could replicate this at Clyde Berghoffer Stadium (9k) in Toowoomba (but play NSW Country vs Qld Country as the lead up) or Coffs Harbour (20k – though a bit riskier with attendances perhaps), Smiles Stadium in Townsville (20k), Mackay (12k), Robertson Oval in Wagga holds 12k and Albury’s Lavington park holds 20k – play NSW country residents or the stockmen against the Victorian rep team down south. Taking rugby to a place like the Gold Coast which isn’t a traditional rugby area, putting the game up against finals in the two major footy codes and then struggling to understand why rating are low and not many people turn up strikes me as pretty dumb.

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          I like it. All of it. Imagine some imagination, some spark coming out of Moore Park (I almost wrote St. Leonards, showing my age). I think we’re at the point where we say ‘screw the overseas TV deals’ and try to resurrect the game in Australia. I was merely pointing out the existing circumstances which may be informing it.
          As Jean-Luc Picard would say, Alister: “Make it so!”

        • Alister Smith

          I am forming the view that NRC needs to be our top level in Australia. Super Rugby then becomes a Heineken cup style comp or like the Asian league in Football. The top four clubs go through. Reds, Waratahs Brumbies and Rebels resolved and NSW Origin and Queensland Origin and perhaps a third team of the rest play a tri series at the end of the NRC (which runs from Feb to June each year). I have never liked the fact that my state became a club or franchise. This series forms the basis for Wallabies selection. NRC can be a combination of the existing clubs plus Fiji and the 4 Twiggyball teams from Asia. Club rugby can run underneath this.

    • Patrick

      One of the first things the NRL did when they came to Melbourne was appoint a development officer (lived near-ish to us and I met him a few times) who did exactly what your last bullet point recommended. No cost to schools, free clinics, organised round-robins etc.

      AFL did the same (x10) in Brisbane and Sydney.

      It isn’t rocket science :(

      • Who?

        My region has 1 Rugby DO, against 8 DO’s from both AFL and League (i.e. 8 each).
        You’re absolutely right – it’s not rocket science. But it’s not cheap, either, unfortunately. :-(

        • Patrick

          Fixing my roof was not cheap either but I still did it.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Dylan, Going to be interesting seeing Eddie Jones and John Mitchell working together. I have a complete bias against Mitchell due to the way he killed Cullens career and put that idiot Thorn in as Captian. Him and Todd Blackadder competing for the title of the worst AB captain either and Mitchell up there as the worst coach ever. Personally I can’t see it working that well but who knows maybe they’ll get the best out of each other

    .While I agree that the NRC players should be made available to the Wallabies, I also understand the frustration of a coach seeing his player disppear and then not even get any game time for the Wallabies. I’m not sure that’s in the best interest of either team.

    Interesting study of common sense on WR and I’m not sure that apart from providing coaches information in regards to how they set up their teams it is actually any use. Teams are always going to contest kicks and the receiving team will use team mates to put people high enough that they can contest the players chasing the ball. I’m not sure that a rule banning lifting will work as it immediately gives an advantage to the chaser and that doesn’t meet the “fair contest” principle that rugby has. I’m happy that players have to take responsibility for their actions and if you compete for the ball in any situation, you can only do so where you are not placing someone else at risk. If you are chasing a kick and leap to contest then you have to time your jump aand position yourself so you don’t take out another player, if you get it worng then you are held accountable.

    • Who?

      Hey mate, it was Thorne, not Thorn. ;-) One was an invisible All Black and has been invisible to Aussies since, the other was a quality All Black and now an Aussie coach.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Thanks and edited

    • Greg

      @KRL I disagree with the comments regarding “fair contest”

      The lifted player could equally have run and jumped but is instead getting an unfair advantage in the contest by being lifted.

      In my opinion the lifting players are guilty of dangerous play under law 9.11. “Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others. “. The most likely outcome of a contest between a lifted player and a running player is that the lifted player will pivot in any (legal or illegal) contact. This is foreseeable and hence is dangerous play.

      On the other hand if both contesting players were unsupported and there was a (legal) clash shoulder to shoulder the resultant motion is sideways rather than rotational.

      Get rid of lifting in General Play methinks.

      • Who?

        The problem for receiving jumpers is that they don’t know where the ball is going to go, so they can’t plan to run to the contest, and the kicker will – if he’s got a running jumper – attempt to land the ball in the most awkward to receive position for the receiving jumper. So, if the receiver’s going to be lifted, it’ll be the direction that’s hardest to coordinate the lifters. If it’s an unlifted jumper, then it’ll be on top of him, maybe slightly behind him. That way, you have a vertical leap against a flying leap, and the flying leap will win. If it’s a lifted jump against a flying leap, then it’ll be offset – likely past the jumper – far enough to make the lifting pod off balance, giving the advantage to the flying jumper (because he knows the line to run).
        The kicking team already has control of all the parameters of the restart, they don’t also then need to have an advantage in guaranteeing they’ll be able to out-jump the receiver.

        • Brumby Runner

          It’s all so simple. I wonder why the kicking side doesn’t always, not just sometimes, win the contest?

        • Who?

          Because the receiving team can lift their jumper, as they spot the flight of the ball. The fact they can get multiple bodies into the space and (somewhat legally) block the chaser is significant, especially as many teams don’t have crash jumpers like Read, who have no fear of jumping over/into a lifter and jumper. Read’s jumping is worse than Folau’s, but a long way.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Happy to disagree mate I’m no expert in all things. I could equally apply the same ruling to someon chasing a kick, a tackle, ruck or maul as all of them are likely to be dangerous to someone. I much prefer the term “fair contest” and as long as the contest is fair, and by that I mean fair within the laws of the game, then I’m ok with it. The way I see it is that in most cases the problem doesn’t occur because a player is lifted to catch a ball, the problem occurs when a player chasing the kick connects with the player who is lifted and puts them off balance. For me this means that the chaser has initiated the dangerous situation not the lifted player. I get in most cases it is a timing thing and if a player is lifted late into the path of someone in the air then it’s their fault.

        I would hate to see the contest taken away and I think we have to accept that like in tackles and other areas of the game there will always be a risk if things don’t go right. The issue for me is how to reduce the risk of injury, not remove the contest.

        • Greg

          The thing is… as you describe it above, the contest is taken away by lifting the receiving player. Effectively the jumping player cannot compete.

          Agree on your last point and that is where I think lifting in general play needs to go.

        • Missing Link

          yeah, keep the lineout lifting but remove it in general play, including at the kickoff.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Not sure it’s taken away so much as the player chasing and jumping just has to be careful in the same way as a lifter in the lineout can contest the ball but not interfere with the other jumper. Remeber that process took a bit to get right and I think the kicking and jumping will as well

        • Greg

          Agree the lineout took a while to get right. The physics of the situation means that it can be got right. The issue was training and behaviour.

          The physics of a running player and a lifted player colliding shoulder to shoulder as they compete for the ball in the same location means it is extremely difficult to get right.

          (I would argue impossible to get right. Multiple lifters are needed to create a vector force that balances the impulsive force of the jumping player in the collision. Momentum (=mass * velocity) will be conserved which means the lifted player just gained some velocity.)

          anyway… we have probably done this one to death a few times.

    • Adrian

      Agree KRL.
      Dropping Cullen was a crime against humanity.

    • Kokonutcreme

      @KRL

      “Him and Todd Blackadder competing for the title of the worst AB captain either and Mitchell up there as the worst coach ever.”

      Add Taine Randell to list of poor captains.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah although to be fair to Tane, he was really dropped in at the deep end

        • Missing Link

          Speaking of poor All Black captains, Richie McCaw is the worst, along with Sean Fitzpatrick. Both on 11 losses.

          No other All Black Captain in history has lost this many games!! Statistics don’t lie hahahahahhaa

        • disqus_NMX

          lol

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          bahahawahaha gold mate

    • juswal

      It looks like John Mitchell is one subject you and I can agree on, KRL.

      Around the world, at the national and provincial levels, he’s left a trail of unsatisfactory results, broken commitments and revolting players.

      He must lack every quality needed to win players’ confidence and cooperation. He’s also been reported as problematic with sponsors and media.

      He may have some technical knowledge that could be helpful in a consulting role—Eddie Jones must think so—but I would have thought he would be the last person who should be let near the exhausted, browbeaten English players.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        We’re agreeing! Shit should I now be worried? :-)

        • juswal

          It’s in our mutual interests for England to implode over the next 12 months.

    • Ed

      I wonder who dropped this information to the SMH. World Rugby or RA? I could take a guess it being RA as one of their biggest boosters in the press has written it. They would know this topic will have a few days of coverage which will reduce focussing on the regression of the Wallabies side and players this winter.

      How about a bit of focus on the 42 percent tackle success rate in the first half last Saturday? We pick so many of our backs on their attacking ability yet they have average two tries a test this year, while defence is not what a top-3 test side should be. Or our highest paid player does not feel comfortable passing left-to-right, or still kick the ball poorly in his sixth year in the code?

      I wonder if any of the MSM reporters have written Johnny Football’s two articles on the other site about how NSWRU appear to not give a toss about the NRC? Of course not as that would not fit in with the ‘Burn the comp’ mentality of some and let clubland rule the roost again. If clubland is so great and help produce so many of our players, why are the players’ skills poor overall by when they play at SR level? Pete Samu acknowledged he learnt to become a rugby player when he went to NZ.

      • Huw Tindall

        Really good podcast from The Rugby Ruckus where Morgan Turanui touched upon communication in defense and the lack of it in the Wallabies. Really missing TK marshalling the defence and we need better rugby smarts and chat to help guys like Korobiete. Less Hooper who is a key part of the defensive line and a talker didnt help as well. They didn’t blame players out of position much at all interestingly. Some part of it is cohesion and time together but a lot is making the right calls in defence. I’ve said it before but we could actually consider picking the best defensive and organised players rather than x factor and such. Just see how it goes. Probably means no Beale and Korobiete in the run on replaced by a super organised winger and centre. E.g. Tom English and Toomua with Foley back probably. At a push Toomua 10 and maybe Meakes 12. Depth at 12 isn’t great. Unfortunately Deegan, Mason and Stewart etc are too rather at 10.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Duncan Paiaiia. .. .

  • Adrian

    Thanks Dylan

    Interesting to see if NRC form is used for selecting Wallabies.

    Normally it wouldn’t be, but Cheika has to find the most effective players he can, coach them properly (eg run on to ball + tackle) or he’s cactus.

    Mind you, “back in the day”, guys were picked from club football (even reserve grade) or Country firsts, so not totally revolutionary.

    NRC form gives Dempsey a +, gives Cooper a + and a -, gives Hunt similar, gives English a +, and plenty more examples. Gordon two +.

    I’d do it if I were Cheika.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I can’t see why he wouldn’t

    • juswal

      It makes me go arrgh. If I weren’t home on leave, I would bang my head on the desk.

      The only reason to have the NRC is to see how club players go against Super players. That’s why we made it: it’s the third tier.

      Instead, it’s providing a shortcut to the Wallabies’ end-of-year tour squad. And another way for Cheika to select and promote players based on his instinct and impressions about their potential, rather than their performance and form in the second tier comp.

      • Silver Ghost

        I’m not reading that Adrian is saying to water down the SR pathway in favour of NRC. The guys he mentions above have significant SR experience but are coming back through NRC due to injury, lack of opportunity, discipline etc.
        He’s seems to be also saying there might be a couple of bolters – not that I’ve seen in the first couple of rounds, that might be worth gambling on.
        God knows we need to change something

        • Huw Tindall

          Think Adrian just suggesting it’s an extra factor. All the guys he is talking about have been on and around the Wallabies squads before so it’s just an extra benchmark to judge them on when otherwise they’d all have finished their seasons.

        • Adrian

          Agree Silver

          Using the examples of the Shute Shield final and the NRC, guys like Gordon and Latu have a chance to remind everyone of what they can do.

          Being stuck in a Wallaby side which makes everyone too nervous to play to their ability, or stuck on the pine fucks players up IMO.

          If Cheika sticks with more of the same we are done for. He should try something out of leftfield, and someone out of leftfield.

          NRC standard is plenty high enough to identify player skills and attributes, especially for players who have performed well at SR level before.

          It doesn’t show how they’ll go in test conditions, but not does anything short of a test itself.

    • Alister Smith

      In the late 1980s early 1990s, a player like Dave Carter (Sam’s dad), would have played for Quirindi in country club football and the gone down to Sydney to play a test the next and then be back playing club again. He was an amazing player and, apart from Steve Merrick, was one of the last to do that.

      • laurence king

        Yes, and wasn’t Merrick some player, first test match, against the ABs, in a losing side scored two tries, if I remember rightly.

      • Adrian

        Spot on.
        Yes, remember Merrick well. He always had a good understanding about the balance between work and sport.
        He was fantastically tallented, and pretty big for a #9 as I remember him

      • Mike Thompson

        Interesting to remember that George Gregan got his chance because Merrick wanted to live in Singleton. Had Merrick hung around, it might have been years before a young George Gregan got any caps.

  • Missing Link

    Well what do you know? a one man lift suggests a higher risk of injury. Several blind fools were insisting that it was all Folau’s fault if he hadn’t pulled O’Mahony down, now it seems more likely that if Stander hadn’t lifter O’Mahony, he wouldn’t have dropped him. O’Mahoney would never have reached those heights without a lift. Now let’s do something about it and bring back the Wallabies no. 1 kick off weapon!

    • Who?

      So do you want to ban Kieran Read doing the same thing to Tui..? Because it’s not about Australia. It’s about people crashing into jumpers, and Read does it worse than Folau. If Rodda can get pinged for putting a hand on a Puma lock in the lineout last week, why is it legal for anyone to crash into a jumper in general play?
      The point is, regardless of whether POM had one lifter, two lifters, or none, it’s illegal for Folau to grapple with him. Without the actions of the arriving player, there’s no danger. You’re not allowed to ‘play’ a jumper, so why do you think the problem is the jumper and lifter and not the player who’s actually breaking the laws of the game?

      • Greg

        You are not allowed to tackle a player in the air.

        but you are allowed to compete for the ball. Shoulder to shoulder contact is fine. There is the issue when one player is unstable. If you are both jumping your are braced for impact and can deal with a fair contest. If you are lifted you cannot brace for impact and a fair contest can lead to injury.

        • Who?

          You’re allowed to compete for the ball, but you’re not allowed to lay a hand on a player in the air. Rodda’s penalty was for a hand on, not tackling.
          If you have someone flying 10+m across the offside line at full pace, the charging player has created the unstable situation. If you are jumping solo, you might be able to brace for the contact, but there is less chance of an even contest. You can’t get equal elevation. It’s very likely that one will be higher than the other, it’s very likely that the charging player will create a situation where you’re going to be coming down sideways (which isn’t necessarily great for ankles/knees), and it’s also quite possible the charging player could flip himself over the stationary player (a la Barrett on Fall).
          The issue isn’t lifting, the issue is charging jumpers.

        • Greg

          Isn’t this the same logic as saying that if the kick was a grubber that the attacking players should not be allowed to charge onto the ball?

        • Brumby Runner

          Well, as I recall, diving on the ball on the ground used to attract a penalty. Don’t know if any law has been amended, but we don’t see that action being penalised these days. Would act to discourage that type of chase on a grubber if policed.

        • Who?

          You’re allowed to dive on the ball, but you’re not allowed to flop on a player on the ground. If a player is on the ground in possession, a defending player can either wait for them to get up and then tackle them, or they can place a hand on them, forcing the player on the ground to release the ball (i.e. off your feet, out of the game, must release). So the correct approach as the ball holder (hard to describe someone off their feet as a ball carrier!) in this approach is the one Stockdale took in the first Irish Test, where he was wrongly penalized. Claim the ball, when ‘claimed’ by the defence, place the ball under yourself and attempt to rise and create a ruck, keeping the ball under your hips.

        • Who?

          Charging a grubber doesn’t involve players in the air. The issue here is about attacking players in the air.

      • Missing Link

        If you want to compete on level terms it should be jumper vs. jumper. a lifted player cannot control their own destiny as they’re being pivoted by one other person. If a jumper bumps into a lifted player, the lifted player will always come off second best. It’s dangerous and if you allow a single man lift to have all rights, then you remove the contest.

        • Who?

          But it can’t be level rights when the kicking team knows the location of the kick off and gets to charge onto it. That leaves a jumper stranded under the ball, unable to get the same elevation alone. Which means we no longer have shoulder to shoulder contact – we have someone jumping over a stationary jumper. Is that safer? And is the contest fairer? I’d argue that neither is true.

        • Greg

          Rugby players have been watching the ball trajectory and figuring out where it is likely to land for a lot of years!

        • Who?

          Watching the ball trajectory is still a step behind knowing where the kicker’s going to put the ball, and then having the opportunity to run (giving greater elevation to a jump) at that point.

        • Human

          The kicking team only knows the location if the kicker is competent. However, by extension of your argument, Who, are you not suggesting the effective banning of all kicks in the air unless the ball lands in touch or over the deadball line I.e there will be no contesting of kicks anymore?

        • Who?

          No. What I’m suggesting is that we retain the status quo, and get over the fact that the TMO eventually – correctly – forced Garces to look at Folau. If we look a the Folau incident in context – compared to some of the YC’s we’ve seen handed out over the past 20 months – it wasn’t harsh. We’ve seen much harsher YC’s handed out, especially in Christchurch. As long as the player coming through does not attack the player in the air – i.e. grab, push, directly charge or wrap – there’s no issue.
          Knowing where your kicker intends to place the ball is the advantage the kicking team has. The 10m is the advantage the receiving team has. If you remove the advantage of positioning from the receiving team (i.e. they can’t lift, therefore they can’t jump as high as a running jumper, therefore they’re less able to compete in the air for the ball), then they are at a significant disadvantage for shorter kick offs.

  • Silver Ghost

    Eddie Jones and John Mitchell together. Gives me hope for the Wallabies!
    Both have a history of leaving a place in worse condition than they found it.
    Did the RFU do any reference checking?
    Hey Dylan, heard on the grapevine your heading over to follow the spring tour. Hope you can do reports for G&GR, maybe get access for some interviews and post match conferences etc. it will be good to get first hand journalist reports rather than having to rely on Rugby.com
    If it’s true your going – good luck and enjoy, hopefully the WB’s will have turned a bend, if not a corner by then.
    Keep up the good reporting on here, by the way. I don’t get into the conversation often, but I do enjoy your reporting.

  • laurence king

    Good afternoon fellow GaGRs
    A confession to make, I have been extremely depressed over the last month or so and no surprise when I say that it is the current state of our beloved Wallabies.
    The encouraging performances of the Ireland series along with the soft and generally encouraging words of the smiling Steve sneaky bastard Hanson before our games with the ABs had me full of hope that a year out from the WC that we had turned a corner and that we would come home with a wet sail and this young side would perform admirably etc….
    Well, hopes dashed, hope just a mask over a sneering mocking false friend.
    But yesterdays conversation late in the day on this page about a different approach about player empowerment, players buying into the processes and it’s ability to create a more unified team was very encouraging, and I thought, a way forward for a team that has been lacking cohesion and giving the very strong impression that it is disintegrating.
    I would encourage readers to re-visit yesterday’s page and have a look at what Hoss and few of the other writers had to say, especially from some of the military types whose arses are on the line if everybody is not of the same mind.

  • Fatflanker

    Hope World Rugby has properly attributed its findings re one-man lifting to this august tome. The fairest and safest position to take is to ban lifting altogether. They won’t go there, of course, and we’ll see two-man lifts make contesting the kick off an near impossibility.

  • Huw Tindall

    Part 2 of the NSW problems in the NRC is out on The Roar and is a brilliant must read. Wait till you get to the list of players who graduated from the NSW Academy (when it sill existed) it’s outstanding but at the same time alarming that this part of the pathway has been thrown aside. A must read.

    https://www.theroar.com.au/2018/09/20/the-decline-of-the-nsw-nrc-and-the-death-of-the-second-tier-player-part-two/

  • Red Block

    So I’m assuming the halfbacks will be Genia, Phipps (who can’t even make his club starting team) and Gordon.
    Why bother sending Gordon over to sit on his backside? Leave Phipps at home to work on his pass.

    • Huw Tindall

      touring squads tend to take 3 players in specialist positions, especially Hooker and Half Back. If one goes down you don’t want someone on your bench who has never played that position.

  • Huw Tindall

    That one slipped below the news radar! Good spot. Hopefully these players do their time in club rugby as well and aren’t fast tracked based purely on athletic ability or potential talent. You aren’t born with rugby smarts. You need to learn them playing week in week out with old heads in actual games.

    • GO THE Q REDS

      Now tell that to Brad Thorn. ……

Rugby
@DylanGLanges

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

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