Thursday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby
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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News has the Reds’ latest signing, men’s Sevens gearing up for Dubai, injury and illness concerns leading up to Twickenham and Hansen putting the boot into the Wallabies.


Prodigal Son Re-Signs

Izack Rodda is every Reds fan of late

Izack Rodda is every Reds fan of late

Things have been tough for a long time at Ballymore.

After the premiership in 2011, the state’s rugby fortunes have slumped to dangerously low levels.  Over the past few years in particular, the code up here has lurched from one disaster to the next.  At Reds/Super Rugby level, coaches came and went, crowds dwindled, players got suspended for various indiscretions and the results on the pitch matched the fiascos playing out in the background.

There’s been little to toast.

In news that might both lift some spirits and in time prove to be key to rebuilding the club and code up here in the deep north, Reds outside back, Jordan Petaia has re-signed with the club for another four years, inking a new deal that will see him stay at Ballymore until the end of 2022.

Speaking about his new deal, Petaia paid tribute to the leadership and coaching group at the Reds, “I have learned a lot off Brad, he’s taught me a lot this year and given me the opportunity at quite a young age so I’m very grateful for that,” he said.

“Samu and the whole senior playing group at the Reds have helped me develop and improve as a player.

“I tried to set goals at the start of the year but obviously it’s been just one step at a time. This year, I was just trying to make the pre-season with the Reds squad and then everything just came after that. So, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, focusing on every little step and gradually improving and working on my game,” the youngest-ever Super Rugby player for QLD added.  (He would have been the third-youngest Wallaby had his selection last week not been cruelled by injury)

Seems he already has a big fan in head coach Brad Thorn who added his opinion too, “He’s a nice young man. He’s humble and hard-working who loves his footy. After making his debut and playing 11 games for Queensland, we’ve got a taste of his talent.

“It’s exciting to think how far his career can go and we look forward to him being here at Queensland”.

For the sake of the game, and my sanity, let’s hope it’s the start of big things up here in the sunshine state.

Men’s Sevens Squad Named for Dubai

Rob Horne before his career-ending injury

Rob Horne before his career-ending injury

It’s over a week until the (technically 2019) World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series (take a breath if you need) kicks off for the fullas in Dubai.

The women’s series is on too, but they are one round ahead having already gotten things underway in USandA last month.

Being that’s the case, coach Tim Walsh has named his squad and there’s an addition to the back-room staff in the form of newly-retired former Wallaby.

Rob Horne has been brought into the squad as a manager, quite what the role will entail isn’t easy to come by but there’s a definite push to forge closer ties between the Classic Wallabies and the Sevens program, a relationship that traces back at least as far as 2016 where the Sydney Sevens hosted a QLD-NSW “Golden Oldies” style match.

Coach Walsh put it thusly, “Rob is just looking forward to getting back involved in Australian rugby and he has a lot to offer the team and the program,

“We want to have more engagement with former Aussie Sevens players and Classic Wallabies with this squad and with what we have done already the players have really responded strongly”.

On a personal note, it’s great to see this sort of cross-generational promotion from the code and great to see a guy like Rob Horne with a continuing role in the game.

The squad-

Lewis Holland (c)
Jesse Parahi (vc)
Nick Malouf (vc)
Ben O’Donnell
John Porch
Michael Wells
Liam McNamara
Tim Anstee,
Boyd Killingworth
Maurice Longbottom
Henry Hutchison
Lachie Anderson
Brandon Quinn

The Aussies kick of their matches by playing Japan on Friday arvo, our time.

Down with the Sickness (and injuries)

This guy is just so injury prone.....

This guy is just so injury-prone…..

It seems the meal plans got mixed up this month.

Italy don’t face the All Blacks until this weekend yet it’s the Wallaby camp who this week have had to deal with an illness sweeping through their ranks.

Reports are that Folau has been lugging around the illness since days before the game (might explain a few things….) and a number of the squad have since been struck down.

It comes at an awful time for the team as they prepare to take on England at Twickenham.

Concerningly, the only guy actually sitting out training has been David Pocock, who is still nursing a neck injury.  Australia has coverage for Folau (amongst Foley and others who have also been unwell) but the Pocock hole might prove harder to fill.

Pete Samu is on tour with the team and is tipped to add to his two test starts if ‘Poey’ doesn’t recoup in time.

He’s got the pedigree too, having played for English club St Ives straight out of school, he reflected on his time over in the old Blighty,

“There was a game we were meant to be playing and it started snowing and I thought the game was going to get cancelled. I didn’t get changed.

“Then the boys came up to me and asked me what I was doing and I said ‘oh it’s snowing’. They were like well we will be out warming up in five minutes and I was like ‘oh f—’ and got changed.”

Don’t worry mate, the forecast is for 6-10 degrees this weekend, so snow is unlikely.

England face their own injury concerns with winger Chris Ashton ruled out with a calf injury.

As is the custom, SBS and Fox will broadcast the match live, early on Sunday morning.

Early Bledisloe Mind Games Kick Off

Hansen is keen to hear any excuses, for their one loss on tour.

Hansen is keen to hear any excuses, for their one loss on tour.

It’s not until August next year that the Wallabies will again face the Kiwis, but the mind games have seemingly already kicked off.

At least, we hope it’s mind games.

The latest chat out of the land of the long white off-side line is the All Blacks pinning their recent woes (read: losing one test match) on Australia’s recent run of poor form.

Beyond that, not only are Australia not good enough, we’re not ‘Northern Hemisphere’ enough to steel the ABs for matches against the much-improved northern teams, with only the Bokke providing stiff enough and NH-enough competition for Hansen’s liking.

And I quote, “There is no doubt the style of game that is played by South Africa is similar to the style played up here”.

He continued, “There is definitely something missing because they (the Wallabies) are not quite right and are not performing to the level they can.

“But the more we play teams like South Africa, Ireland and England, France which we have done this year it is good for us”.

It’s odd that the Kiwi coach added France to his list of quality opposition given three-blot thumping his side handed out to Les Bleus in June this year.

To bring a little more balance to the article, it’s only right to point out that Hansen did temper his comments with, “I still believe Australia are a really good rugby side”.

For anyone’s that ever worked in an office, as part of a big corporation, you’ve probably heard of the ‘compliment sandwich’, whereby you make-up something nice to say before criticising someone…..seem familiar?

 

 

  • Andrew H

    Morning sports fans.
    One other thing I’d like to bring your attention to. The French team will be wearing rainbow shoelaces this weekend as a show of support for Gareth Thomas.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      That’s a nice touch

    • Custard Taht

      Thanks for that….I thought it was a celebration of the Rainbow Warrior.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Ba- boom!

      • Geoffro

        Maybe the WB’s should swap out Advance Australia Fair with “Somewhere over the rainbow”

        • onlinesideline

          mate the way we are playing, that wouldnt be entirely inappropriate.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I thought it would be appropriate. You never get to the end of the rainbow, and we never get better. so entirely appropriate me things! ;-)

        • onlinesideline

          If were talking musicals, sounds like the yellow brick road. After all, Cheika is the Wizard of OZ.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Nope he is the wicked witch! OR the witch clown.
          Personally I still prefer Ass Clown!

        • Damo

          The Wallabies? Les Miserables of course.

        • Greg

          So many options….

          “Do you hear the people sing? Singing the songs of angry men? It is the music of the people Who will not be slaves again!”

          or

          “There’s a grief that can’t be spoken, There’s a pain goes on and on. ” (and on and on and on)

          or

          “God on high Hear my prayer….. If I die, let me die Let him (the wallabies) live”

        • Damo

          So true. Although on second thoughts this is really Les Miserables- The Wallabies Supporters. Deception, ill justice and mistreatment of a long suffering people. And it’s just about time we went to the barricades!!

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          Did you peek behind the curtain?

        • Brumby Runner

          It’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that we will be frustratingly chasing, also known as the RWC.

        • Geoffro

          Over the rainbow”Where dreams that you dream come true” entirely appropriate

        • John Tynan

          Who would you pick to be the banjo playing Kermit? Or was that a different rainbow song?

        • Geoffro

          Plenty of muppets to choose from

        • Singapore Sling

          Would have to be a Queenslander according to Poido!

        • John Tynan

          Had to google it. “Rainbow Connection” is what I was thinking of. Still appropriate – “the lovers, the dreamers and me”

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F44HRvn8tiA

        • Geoffro

          Judy garland,Billy Thorpe,Kermit and thousands of others have sung it

      • Funk

        No, they’d save that for the game against the aigs.

        • Custard Taht

          Tru dat

    • Greg

      It was a very dignified response from Mr Thomas and hopefully the youth involved has learned a lot.

      Why would a 16 year old, in this day and age, have anything against a gay bloke?

      • Andrew H

        Makes you wonder about the kid and what sort of environment they live in.
        Thomas extending the olive branch might just be the thing to sway his thinking.

        • laurence king

          You look at where these kids come from, how they have to live and the big surprise is, worse things don’t happen all the time

        • Tomthusiasm

          Hopefully the kid actually does change. No one’s the finished article at 16, but this is definitely a generous offer from Gareth and you’d like to think the attacker would learn from the process.

      • Christopher

        Was it confirmed it was because he was gay – as opposed to some low-life randomly decking someone who happened to be gay? Would many 16yr olds know who Gareth Thomas is?

        Apologies i haven’t read much bar the headlines.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Morning Andrew, thanks for this,

    Great news on Petaia, there’s obviously some good things happening up there at the Reds and let’s hope it translates into some good results on the field.

    Good luck with the 7’s I hope they do well and good to see Horne getting involved I hope he goes well.

    So Suzy has struck the Wallabies down now. She’s an evil little shit isn’t she? Be interesting to see how the clown and his bunch of muppets react to this and what selection changes occur. I’m picking Hanigan at 6 as Cheika loves him. As for the rest, I’ve been so far off the game this year I just don’t know but I’m betting AAC is there somewhere as well.

    In some ways I agree with Hansen. I’m not sure that the Wallabies and Argentina are pushing the ABs enough. Yeah they get close every now and then, and the ABs lose occasionally but to be fair if the ABs picked their top team against these two teams all the time they’d probably get the win, and probably a big one, every time. Hopefully this turns around as although I hate losing with a passion, I agree it would be better for us if the games were a lot closer. Let the pasting begin!

    • Custard Taht

      I was actually saying this to a few mates the other day, after the All Blacks loss.
      I think the Wallabies have become a team that can drag others down to their level, but unfortunately are just too stupid to beat them with experience. Occasionally, some teams, like the Saffas this year, decide to play even more stupid.
      The Wallabies are little more than an opposed training run for the All Blacks.

      • Human

        More so an unopposed training run, sadly.

    • UTG

      Perhaps Shag may also want to consider changing his game plan against different opposition. His love affair with Beauden Barrett will cost him a WC if he continually picks him against opposition where you need to do more than counter attack to win.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Interesting point. I actually rate his defence and I’m happy with him being first choice. I do agree tactics need to change for different games.

        • UTG

          He’s great against Australia and Argentina because both sides play a loose style that give him opportunities to work his magic. Against the structured NH sides he doesn’t get enough space at fly-half and without it he’s not that great at creating opportunities. I’d have him at 15 and Mo’unga at 10.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah I see your point. I’m not so sure although I think it’s probably worth trying at some stage. TBH what I really like is not McD at 10

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yep, the only time Barrett has really fired against a tight NH game plan was Ireland return match 2016.

    • Andrew H

      Suzy?

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Suzy was “apparently” the woman who poisoned the food that made so many All Blacks sick before the final of the RWC in South Africa. All a bit of a conspiracy theory but at least backed by some medical analysis.

        • Andrew H

          cheers!

        • Greg

          You can identify a “Suzy” from medical analysis? Damn…. my methods need polishing.

        • John Tynan

          So many smutty “jokes” to choose from…

        • Singapore Sling

          It wasn’t food poisoning with Wallabies. Cheika made them sit down watch the 2018 “highlights” package. Vomitting was not induced….it was immediate and voluntary. The team doctor reached for the antidote, a montage of training highlights and the entire second half of the Salta test. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger……England’s going down!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Gold!

        • Who?

          Suzy moved to England just before November 2012, apparently…

      • John Tynan

        You young blokes….

        • Andrew H

          I’m slowly getting there. (older, that is)

        • John Tynan

          That’s the best way to do it.

    • Happyman

      Mate in many ways I agree with Hansen about the level of the Wallabies ATM however it does feed into the narrative of him being a bit of a Dick.

      I will say this I now always Youtube the entire press conference post game as so much is taken out of context to create click bait on both Hansen and MC and make them look like douchbags by both the Aus and NZ press, so I would like to see the entirety of what was said.

      He would have known that saying that kind of thing would have been taken in a certain way dependant on your perspective so given that NZ rugby is all about Ruspect Bro he should have done better.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I think in context it will come across differently. I mean he also said he believes Australia is a good rugby team so maybe a bit of journalistic licence here.

        • Damo

          Journalists will never, ever, ever twist the truth to suit a particular narrative KRL…and Donald Trump has nice haircut.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Hahahahaha gold mate

    • Ed

      How can we expect the Wallabies to be truly competitive against NZ when our SR sides have been poor in this RWC cycle.
      In the first year of SR – 1996 – NZ sides won 33.3% of matches against AUS opponents.
      NZ sides won 50.5% of matches ag AUS teams in Super 12 – 1996 to 2005.
      Super 14 – NZ 59.7% success rate ag AUS – 2006 to 2011.
      Super 15 – NZ 55.3% – 2011 to 2015.
      S18 – NZ 92.3% – 2016/7
      Back to S15 this year – NZ 76.5%
      In this RWC cycle, there have been five teams you could bank on – the NZ sides bar the Blues, and the Lions.
      AUS sides had a 50% winning rate ag NZ teams in 2014, yet two years later that had dropped to 11.5% success. This season it rose to 23.5%.

      Cheika needs to win this weekend to equal the worst calendar year by a Wallabies side in the pro era – that of Eddie’s last year in 2005. EJ’s final year was five wins and eight losses for 38.3% success rate. He was sacked for that effort. I would be shocked if we beat the SDs on Sunday morning. I’ll record but I’m not going to wake up for it.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        A bit depressing isn’t it

    • Gun

      Maybe the Seven nations then?

  • adastra32

    The injury concerns are different in scale. Ashton is a very good player but not core to Eng.’s ability to play their game. Pocock for the WBs?

    • Andrew H

      Definitely, Ashton’s only recently returned to fold for England whereas I feel like our chances take a big hit without Pocock.

  • Hoss

    I am with Shag.

    A cat learns nothing by continuing to chase a three legged mouse. It simply waits for it to tire and stumble and then kill it.

    • Andrew H

      sigh, it’s true.

  • Muzz

    Nice header using the Disturbed classic ‘Down with the Sickness’.
    Good photo of Ashton injuring himself again too

    • Andrew H

      He’s so clumsy!!
      Ahh, good old Disturbed, maybe a bit of fire-up music could do the Wallabies some good? Think they’ll need all the help they can.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s. Five mins of peace and quiet, shattered by the early arrival of my staff! Argghhhhhh! Finally a spare minute to post.
    – The Reds lock to be signing well. I am glad Rodda has re-signed. Also Petaia!
    – I hope Pocock sits this one out now. Interesting if the Wallabies squad are shaping the environment to soften the ensuing loss?
    – I agree with Hansen. we are shit, and the South Africans up until recently have been shit. They are normally the countries that push the AB’s. With no serious challenge until the Saffa’s recently defeated the AB’s. AND now Ireland, it is no wonder the AB’s feel like they are struggling. You only improve by playing those better than you.
    – Squad out early tmw. Lets see what the random spinning wheel of shite selections brings us.
    – Did anyone else listen to the podcast and fall over when they mentioned the alleged statement of Bernie Larkham?
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Anonymous bloke

      Do tell re podcast/Larkham?

      • Brisneyland Local

        I will try and paraphrase as best I can, but for full context listen to the podcast. It is in the last 7 mins.
        Basically Larkham is alleged to have said “That there isnt a player in the Aus team that has a footy brian. They cant think for themselves. so that is the reason why the attack is structured the way it is!”

        • Happyman

          Yes I did hear that I would have thought that would be what a coach could do and the fact they are saying that about guys who have played 100 super games and have 50 to 70 tests is a disgrace.

          But it does just show that the entire system is broken from the bottom as each of these so called players who are picked up early do not play enough Rugby at the Grassroots so do not have the Rugby IP so go with the big boys.

          Remember the NRC when the Tahs pulled guys out of the last game so they could get ready for Pre Season.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Agree!

        • Custard Taht

          So based off previous coments made by Larkham, would Cooper be his preferred 10.
          Cause I remember Larkham praising Coopers skills and ability to read the game and create opportunities for those outside. I think he even said that Cooper was 2 plays ahead of those around him in his thinking.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I dont know! But it would be great if someone posed that direct question to him.
          But I wonder how brave he would be to step outside Cheika’s mantra and selection policy!

        • Singapore Sling

          I’d be really surprised if Larkham was a Cooper fan. I remember when he was the Brumbies coach criticising Coopers defence and the need to shift players inside to cover him. Maybe he rates his attacking and management skills though.

          If the podcast was correct then Larkham needs Cooper at 10 something most of us have been screaming into the darkness. If Cooper moves to 10 get rid of Beale, Foley and Folau and let him feed Petia, Kerevi, TK, Sefa and Banks. That’s a powerful backline with a much better defensive balance. At least we won’t die wondering.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Concur fully!

        • Custard Taht

          He didnt talk about defence, just his game reading and attacking ability.

        • Who?

          I remember when White was coaching the Brums and the Reds were the other strong Aussie team, all the focus inside the Reds in terms of their coaching was to talk about what the Brums did well, what they did poorly, and what they didn’t like. For example, if you went to a coaching clinic in those days, you’d hear how Pocock was cynical in trying to drag the ball back into the body of the tackled player to earn a penalty, whereas Liam F****** Gill would actively try to pick the ball up. That Pocock wanted penalties, Gill wanted the ball.
          Basically, they always talk down their opponents wherever possible, moreso when they respect them.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Just heard that part. Pretty damning isn’t it

        • Brisneyland Local

          Maybe it is me, but I think it is more of an indictment on Larkham himself!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          On the entire coaching setup mate

        • Happyman

          True but also on the entire set up most of these guys have finished school gone straight into a system where they do not play enough games against guys who can actually play big boy rugby.
          For example this year aI saw Kane Douglas come up against a young second rower playing club rugby. The young kid was making a bit of a name for himself and was taken to school by an experienced campaigner I am sure he learnt more from that game than he would from 6 months of training.

        • Damo

          Absolutely spot on mate. But why do I feel you write like some rugby archaeologist who has just uncovered one of the long lost and abandoned secrets to Wallaby success.
          IMO the “Pathway” has become the enemy.

        • Happyman

          True mate I am either a genius or a historian I am going with a Historian as I am just an idiot.

          The pyramid is just too narrow and as a result the higher levels are not a meritocracy.

        • Brisneyland Local

          True!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I don’t really rate Larkham as a coach right now, but I do think that’s a bit unfair. As I talk about above, he’s given crap decision makers by Cheika.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Sorry I meant the comment by Larkham was an indictment on himself. The situation has definitely got a split blame.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          There are definitely coaching issues at all levels in this country, but I think Cheika could start by recognising who our smartest decision makers are, and to play off 9 more given who we have available.

        • formerflanker

          Mr Larkham, much as I love the memories of your playing career, don’t now criticise the same players who have had you teaching them since 2015.

          Their lack of a footy brain is directly traceable to you.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Him and Cheika’s selection policy.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Most of the Wallabies’ decision making players are guys from the Tah.

          – Hooper is captain and ultimate decision maker;
          – Genia is our 9, but we play off 10 under Cheika, not 9 like Deans;
          – Foley is 10 and (allegedly) our primary playmaker; and
          – Beale is at 12 and (again, allededly), our secondary playmaker.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate I’m finding it hard to listen to that podcast. While I like that everyone is really glad that NZ lost as that reinforces that we are on the right track, honestly such a bunch of whinging, cry baby, let’s pull everything NZ does apart bunch of moaning wankers TBH. Yet again the call that NZ is allowed to break the law at every breakdown and the referees are too scared to rule on it and lets try and say everything Ireland did was fantastic and NZ are past their used by date, the rest of the world is passing them and they may as well not play at the RWC.

      To be honest most of the time I don’t care as it reinforces how well we are doing but I’d like a little bit of consistency. We lost by a small margin to the 2nd highest rated team in the world at their home ground at the end of a long season. Honestly WTF did people expect. Let’s see Ireland get out of the QF at RWC at least once before we start calling them world beaters FFS even Argentina has a better record than Ireland.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Mate, you are correct. But I think that they have to pull the Kiwi’s apart because they are sick of pulling apart our shit performances.
        I agree that the break down thing is a little OTT. All teams cheat at the breakdown. It is our job to cheat at the break down. It is the referumps job to police the breakdown. some do it better than others, which as a referump yourself, you well know.
        Congrats to Ireland, but the end of the dominance of the AB’s. I do not think so.
        Mind you I read a Kiwi paper yesterday. They are baying for Kieran Read’s blood.

      • Tomthusiasm

        I only listen to the report card, it doesn’t take itself too seriously

      • Richard Patterson

        Everything sources back to a gloomy day in Cardiff in 2007 KRL. When France ambushed the All Blacks in the 1/4 final, after the Wallabies ambushed them in 2003 and France before that in 1999. Finally the All Blacks realised that displaying all your pent-up anger at not winning the last RWC (and therefore showing the world all your cards mid-RWC’s) to then get sabotaged at the next tournament was flawed planning. Then things changed…
        In this age of video analytics the All Blacks know that EVERY single thing they do is recorded, dissected and studied for clues on how they play and what they do. It’s the world of professional sport. They also know that 12 months out from the next RWC that analysis goes up several more notches. Showing cards prematurely now to win test matches few will remember in 10 years is not as higher priority as showing them to win knock-out games of World Cup tournaments. I will be very clear here though. That in no way belittles Ireland’s deserved win in Dublin, or England’s near win the week before. Nor does it mean the All Blacks were not trying to win both games. They were 100% trying to win both games. The key issue is the All Blacks are now much more careful at the timing of the roll-out of new game plans to minimise premature exposure. Getting that timing right is critical to Hansen and the All Blacks. We will see stuff in 2019 that we have not seen before. They know the 2018 version will not win them the 2019 RWC. It has been too well picked over as Ireland displayed in their deserving victory.
        Do not forget too the All Blacks are students too. We all know they will have learned as much about Ireland and England as both did of them. Can both evolve again on the biggest of stages in Japan next year? Time will tell…. Ireland do not have a World Cup record to boast about. Let’s see how they adapt. The pressure feels on.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Bang on mate. Hansen eluded to this in his comments and I agree.

          Look well done Ireland. I think the fact that they and the Boks won games against us this year is a fantastic effort and bloody good on them. I just don’t get all the negative shit from NZ – except for Reason and Rattue, those trolls do nothing else

        • Richard Patterson

          It’s the modern day media KRL. Controversial nonsense gets more clicks than intelligent analysis. That said, there are a few key All Blacks who have some thinking to do while lying on summer beaches over Christmas holidays.

        • Who?

          I find Mr Bishop’s article this week fascinating. Since the RWC, NZ has faced one successful coaching regime and one successful defensive scheme. The coaching regime is Schmidt assisted by Farrell, the defensive scheme is Farrell’s. Against Schmidt, since 2015, the ABs are 1 from 3. Against Farrell, who also coached the Lions, they’re 2 from 6. 2 wins to Ireland, 1 win to the Lions, a draw and 2 to the ABs.
          Clearly, there’s learning to be done. Generally, the ABs don’t have clear issues against most teams. But they clearly have an issue against Farrell. They average 5.65 tries per game in all non-Farrell Tests 2017/18. Against Farrell teams in 2016-18, they average 2 tries per game. That’s a MASSIVE difference. But remove Chicago and Dublin in 2016, with 7 tries in 2 Tests, and they average a mere 1.2 tries per game.
          There’s clearly a large amount of learning required from NZ to figure out how to crack Farrell’s defence in the same manner they crack everyone’s defence.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Interesting mate but is that because against the sides Farrell has been part of we have not changed our style much. TBH I’m not too concerned and I’d back the current AB coaching team against anyone

        • Richard Patterson

          Very interesting Who — thanks for sharing. Also interesting that none of those 3 tests were played in NZ.

          I think it’s the intelligence with which Ireland play at the breakdown which gives them a great starting point and that is the influence of Schmidt coupled with Stander, O’Mahony, van der Flier and O’Brien when he plays. Their organisation / discipline at the breakdown sets a great platform to set the rest of the defence. There are seldom players out of position or tied up unnecessarily. That’s guys “doing their job”.

          I agree there is learning from NZ on how to crack Farrell’s defence but they’ve seen it now in 5 tests and will be well advanced with plans to counter the “rush defence” which they see every test match now. Recall they blew Farrell’s defence open in the 3rd Lions test last year – but failed miserably with final execution once the space had been created. The fact we’ve yet to sight anything this year is intriguing.

        • Who?

          Definitely worth noting that none of the Tests were played in NZ, but that’s on NZ, not inviting Ireland… It’ll be interesting to see if Ireland can maintain the rage until their tour in a couple of years time.
          I’ve never seen as disciplined a ball retention team at the breakdown as this Ireland team. Their dedication to the basics is incredible (something otherwise only seen in NZ), and given they’re a little more risk averse, they dedicate themselves more to retention than offloading. You’re absolutely right – it’s just guys doing their job – which is a Kiwi trait.
          The fact that it’s only one defensive system for NZ to work out means that people shouldn’t go over the top in their reactions. But the fact that it’s one system means that it might be time for NZ to work on new tactics. Because they might’ve opened up the Lions in the 3rd Test, but they didn’t find enough points. And then on the weekend (against arguably a less talented team), they failed to cross the tryline. Everyone’s talking about Read bombing NZ’s key opportunity, but ignoring that Ireland were held up and had other try scoring opportunities. Reality is that the stats were very close, but NZ turned over more ball and had fewer chances. So, in terms of created chances, Ireland arguably should’ve won by more…

        • Richard Patterson

          Agree on all points. I do see Ireland are scheduled to tour NZ in 2022 – 10 years after their last visit.

        • Huw Tindall

          Learning is you can’t play counter attack rugby if the other side isn’t coughing up the pill. I’ve said it before the AB’s structured attack isn’t that much better than anyone else’s. Take out against the run of play tries and they aren’t that much different.

    • John Tynan

      I agree on the good work with the Reds on signing players and finally making some good decisions on coaching support/structure. Won’t be long and I’ll be on the “up” part of the Reds supporter manic cycle. Every year post-Christmas, it’s inevitable.
      I too share the tinfoil hat on the Suzy/sickness thing. Convenient or real? I’m always cycnical when my kids come to me with generic/non-specific ailments – what assessment have you got due that you haven’t done?
      Very interesting to see the AB’s “externalising” things they normally characterise as their own controllables – I think he is just a master sledger, and the Oz Cricket team should hire him to get the quality back where it should be.
      Also interested – do you mean the GAGR poddy?

      • Brisneyland Local

        YEs the GAGR POD.

    • Huw Tindall

      The Larkham comments as told by Matt were very interesting and explain a lot. No body on the field with a rugby brain and they’ve been trying to educate them to develop that nous. No wonder they don’t seem to have plan B. They can’t even remember plan A. Demonstrates the importance of AAC. 9 times out of 10 will make the right decision, always in the right place, and directing traffic out there. Much more important than ‘talent’ even if AAC is 90% of his former pace/strength etc.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I agree. But jesus that is an indictment of Aus Rugby if they are saying they dont have a rugby brain on the field. Pocock does. Genia does. These guys are 100 test veterans (Pocock not quite yet). It is the coaching. These guys (most of them) were playing under Link. He never said they didnt have rugby brains. This is about lack of development and knocking the brains out of them. Which is what has happened.

  • Singapore Sling

    I reckon that’s about the worst insult Hansen could throw at Cheika. A thinly veiled “you’re really not good enough to play against” crack! If that bite doesn’t sting through the rhino hides of RA nothing will.

    Who could argue though?

    • onlinesideline

      We deserve it. We are absolutely atrocious and have been for years. We only excel in meaningless dead rubbers against them at best. They have been wooping our butts since 2004. They dont even break out in a sweat. I dont blame him. And he knows it bad for the code.

    • joy

      Hanson lost. Cheika’s laughing.

      • Singapore Sling

        Insert two words: the, stock

        See if you can solve this puzzle.

  • ALJ

    Got to wonder about the Wallabies’ man management when blokes are playing with gastro… Not like it was a world cup knockout game. How did the clown think Folau was going to have a good game squeezing his butt cheeks together? Sounds like he then infected the rest of them. You think you would quarantine him. But then again it probably would have been OK if he just “fired up” and “wanted it more” and maybe did some hill sprints with his mouth taped shut

    • Happyman

      Hope Foley gets better after a really bad week where he cannot play this weekend.

    • Hoss

      So ipso facto – Foley has had stomach bug since 2015 as he’s given me the shits for 3 years now.

    • Packy

      Looks like he infected them all in that ruck where they all came out wiping their sleeves across their noses

  • Adrian

    Lucky dip day!

    Cheika might pick Folau, DHP, Kerevi, Beale, AAC, Foley, Genia, Pocock/Samu, Hooper, Dempsey, Coleman, Rodda, Alaalatoa, Fainga, Sio + TPN, Kepu, Tuopo, Simmons, Samu/Hannigan, Phipps, Toomua, Korebette.

    As I mostly say, it’s not the team, its the tactics.

    If they play hard and direct and get over the line every play, back-up and remember defence they are a chance.

    Bookies say England by 8.5, and given they are mostly right, I agree.

    I’ll post my own team seperately, but I think that Cheika and coaches are safe unless we get thrashed. Game plan will therefore be to “not get thrashed”. A worry if you ask me

    • Brisneyland Local

      A defensive plan not to get thrashed is just admitting you are going to lose, and trying to minimise the damage. A cowardly approach! PLay to win or fuck off!

      • Adrian

        I think they’ll definitely be debating all of that stuff.
        I don’t think key players Pocock, Hooper, Genia and Kepu would like it either.
        I hope I’m wrong.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I am sure Pocock and Willy G will say no to that. I hope they, the Wallabies dont adopt that plan. It is like a political party trying to “save the furniture!”

      • Happyman

        Mate I can tell you the plan it is Groundhog day Mark 5 against the Soap Dodgers.
        First our insipid kicking game will result in us playing from too deep in our half.
        The Poms will just essentially end up pushing us further back into our own half and we will be like a wave crashing on a beach.
        We will be in the hunt until the last fifteen minutes and will get beaten by the bench as we will be F%^cked from trying to play to much rugby with a defensive system that Einstein would find difficult to master.

        Fun fact we have lost the penalty count in about 8 out of our last ten games. I would suggest that we have a problem with discipline and at the moment the benefit of the doubt is going against us.

        • UTG

          This is exactly how everyone said we would lose against Ireland and it never eventuated.

          Much more likely to lose because we can’t break their defensive line while they eventually grind us down through weight of possession like we did in game II vs Ireland.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Oh so true.

    • Adrian

      My team is based on try and thrash them principles, and I am quite sure it wont eventuate. Here it is, nonetheless:
      Folau, Naivalu, Kerevi, AAC, Korebette, Toomua, Pocock, Hooper, Dempsey, Coleman, Rodda, Tuopo, Latu, Kepu + TPN, Alaalatoa, Sio, Simmons, Samu, Genia, Beale, Banks.

      AAC to run decoy and back up, Toomua to hit Kerevi on the burst with long passes.

      Very susceptible to first phase counterattack, but what the heck!

      • hippyb9

        No halfback! That is different.

        • Adrian

          Good point, better Edit

      • Singapore Sling

        What? No “one to be omitted”!

        • Adrian

          Na,.. that’s in my previous post re the team Cheika will pick…sort of

      • Huw Tindall

        Interesting. I’d run on Genia for his 100th. Extra motivation for ‘the boys’ and we need all the leg ups we can get.

        England have a pretty simple game plan at the moment. It’s shock and awe for 20 mins where their pack goes full tilt at you hoping to break you open and put on early points. Then they are knackered and build the score through territory kicking and penalties through Farrell. We need to weather the storm and rattle Farrell. Alternatively if we get out of the blocks with some outstanding individual efforts for a try or two then England really struggle playing catch up rugby. Can’t bank on that with this current team though.

    • Damo

      And I’ve got a few quite complex tactics I would like to see unfold
      Hooker, hit your jumper every time
      Will, put the ball out in front of the forward runners so they are forced to f****ing run onto it.
      Support lines that create the slightest chance of some offloads in traffic.
      Dempsey, you are a #6. Let’s see some aggressive carries
      #10, whoever you are put Kerevi into space.
      Izzy, run off someone’s shoulder full speed, somewhere where you aren’t expected.
      Good go forward in close before you go wide. It is a thing.

  • Greg

    I thought I would try to be clever and adapt the lyrics of a song to have a wallaby flavour as some of the astute contributors here have done over the years.

    I picked out “Empty Charis at Empty Tables” and started looking for the changes that were needed to describe the Wallaby situation.

    It turned out that there were no changes at all….

    – There’s a grief that can’t be spoken
    – There’s a pain goes on and on
    – Here they talked of revolution
    – Here it was they lit the flame
    – Here they sang about tomorrow
    – And tomorrow never came

    bugger…

    https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/lesmiserablescast/emptychairsatemptytables.html

    • Andrew H

      I’m now listening to the Les Mis soundtrack while I study.
      ‘Tis a good one!

  • Huw Tindall

    Bit late in the day but read To’omua’s article on Player’s Voice. This article just screams of someone with rugby nous and what the Wallabies are missing (as per Larkham’s comments as reported on the GAGR pod this week). A really well rounded player who thinks about the game (and life outside it). #10 or #12 for mine. Sorry Bernard or Beale. One of you is missing out and no swapping Nard to #12.

    https://www.playersvoice.com.au/matt-toomua-my-name-isnt-my-name/#SBtylepQPiDQi3XR.97

Rugby

Turned to writing for GAGR before my over the top rants about rugby landed me in hot water. Hoping this will keep me a little more measured.

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