Thursday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursdays Rugby News sees Round 1 squads announced, Injuries from the Wallabies camp, and Dempsey with some big shoes to fill.





Quade Cooper is set to make his long awaited return to Super Rugby, partnering up with his old mate Will Genia for the Rebels. The Queensland exile received asylum in Melbourne after spending a year locked out of the Reds, forced to play in Clubland. 

Returning Rebel Luke Jones will partner with Matt Phillip in the second row after Adam Coleman was left out due to injury, more on that later. 

New recruit Isi Naisarani will fill the void left by Amanaki Mafi as he looks to wear the number 8 jersey, along side Angus Cottrell (6) and Richard Hardwick (7).

Billy Meakes and Tom English partner up in the centres after Reece Hodge was given a few more weeks to over come his ankle injury.

Promising young hooker Jordan Uelese was another player to miss out, with the young man hoping he would have been fit for round one, after doing his ACL last season. The Rebels have not put a time line on his return given they see him playing a big role for the Wallabies later this year.

On the Brumbies front; Everyone’s favourite FLANKER returns to the starting line up wearing No.7, joined by Rob Valentini (6) and Lachie McCaffery (8) in the back row. Pete Samu was named on the bench. 

Another Queensland asylum seeker will make his debut, with James Slipper named to start in the front row a head of Scott Sio.

Former Waratahs centre Irae Simone has earned him the No. 12 spot, linking up with Tevita Kuridrani in the centres as Toni Pulu gets his first Brumbies start on the wing.

Coach Dan McKellar began to see that there would be some selection headaches post their trial against the Waratahs, something he backed up during this selection.

“It’s the first time we have been in that position in a while, to be honest. We want competition and we need depth.

“They’re tough conversations to have … but as a coach it’s nice to have to make those calls.

“Tough choices but the players’ attitudes have been fantastic. We have a little theme that we are 1 to 40, not 1 to 23. And everyone knows how important their role is this week and just really proud how guys who have had to face a bit of adversity this week have dealt with it.”

Brumbies Squad

1. James Slipper 2. Folau Fainga’a 3. Allan Alaalatoa 4. Rory Arnold 5. Sam Carter 6. Rob Valetini 7. David Pocock 8. Lachlan McCaffrey 9. Joe Powell 10. Christian Lealiifano © 11. Toni Pulu 12. Irae Simone 13. Tevita Kuridrani 14. Henry Speight 15. Tom Banks


16. Josh Mann-Rea 17. Scott Sio 18. Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin 19. Blake Enever 20. Peter Samu 21. Matt Lucas 22. Wharenui Hawera 23. Andy Muirhead

Rebels Squad

1. Tetera Faulkner 2. Anaru Rangi 3. Jermaine Ainsley 4. Luke Jones 5. Matt Philip 6. Angus Cottrell 7. Richard Hardwick 8. Isi Naisarani 9. Will Genia 10. Quade Cooper 11. Marika Koroibete 12. Billy Meakes 13. Tom English 14. Jack Maddocks 15. Dane Haylett-Petty


16. Robbie Abel 17. Matt Gibbon 18. Sam Talakai 19. Esei Haangana 20. Brad Wilkin 21. Rob Leota 22. Michael Ruru 23. Semisi Tupou


Kurtley Beale strolls in for a try.

Kurtley Beale strolls in for a try.

Initially thought to be coming off the bench this weekend it appears that Kurtley Beale will be the first Wallaby rested in 2019.

Beale played the most rugby of any Australian player in 2018, playing almost every minute in his 31 appearances across Super and Test match.

His absence means that new recruits Karmichael Hunt and Adam Ashley Cooper will partner up in the centres when NSW face the Hurricanes on Saturday. 

Hunt, who has only been in Sydney for a few weeks after being exiled from Queensland, has impressed Daryl Gibson, filling the Waratah’s with confidence that he can rest Beale as long as required.

“He came to us in January, and you never quite know what shape they’re in and he presented in excellent shape and very quickly got up to speed and we’re very satisfied with where he’s at,” he said.

Despite only playing together for 10 minutes in a trial match, believes that the experience brought by Hunt and AAC will make up for their lack of time together.

“I think they bring a lot of experience,” he said.

“The bonus with both of them is the fact they can pick things up very quickly, very much on the same wavelength, talking about the game, that’s been very easy.”

The ability to select AAC in the centres highlights a level of depth the Waratahs have in their backline, with the ability to move Curtis Rona to 13, and Cam Clark off the bench and onto the  wing.

Gibson will welcome back a host of Wallabies, who he rested through both trial matches, with Michael Hooper returning as captain, with Rob Simmons, Bernard Foley and Israel Folau amongst those returning.

Jake Gordon will continue to wear the NO.9 jersey with Nick Phipps out injured.

1. Harry Johnson-Holmes 2. Damien Fitzpatrick 3. Sekope Kepu 4. Jed Holloway 5. Rob Simmons 6. Ned Hanigan 7. Michael Hooper 8. Jack Dempsey 9 .Jake Gordon 10. Bernard Foley 11. Curtis Rona 12. Karmichael Hunt 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper 14. Alex Newsome 15. Israel Folau


16. Tolu Latu 17. Rory O’Connor 18. Chris Talakai 19. Lachlan Swinton 20. Will Miller 21. Mitch Short 22. Mack Mason 23. Cam Clark

The Hurricanes have yet to post their squad.



Adam Coleman will miss out of the season opener for the Rebels as he becomes another in a list of players to get injured during the Wallabies fitness camp lead by Michael Cheika back win January.

He wasn’t the only one who walked away from the Sydney camp with an injury, Nick Phipps, David Pocock and Dane Haylett-Petty also came home with issues.

Poey and DHP have been cleared to play this weekend with Coleman and Phipps both ruled out with calf injuries.

In fact Pocock also returned to the Brumbies with a calf strain.

Now 4 minor injuries may sound like minimal when examining the size of the training squad but it begs the question as to how beneficial the fitness camps are for the wallabies, especially when they are run by the head coach.

Recently Wallabies Head of Athletic Performance Hayden Masters resigned his post, the same day as the Larkham transition, after four years with the Wallabies. In that time we have seen two Michael Cheika led fitness camps that don’t appear to make the players fitter on the field.

Recently an article was publish talking about how Eddie Jones and Englands Head of High Performance Neil Craig, (former AFL head coach and sports scientist) worked together on a fact finding mission to get the most of players downtime on the field. The pair examined multiple different sports to get the best result for England Rugby. So far they are looking the goods.

In the AFL system High Performance managers and Heads of Strength and Conditioning play a vital role in player athletic development,  and whilst the Head Coach still has the final say, they still have input.

The days of the Head Coach running fitness sessions are gone in the AFL, even as a form of punishment, they are still done in a smart manner. AFL clubs still have intense preseason camps, but they are still done in a controlled manner to manage player loads. 

It makes one wonder how much input does Cheika have over the players fitness and conditioning, he’s he the one running the show or is it all just for show?

Edit: An article posted back in January on confirms that the fitness camp was conducted with Michael Cheika at the reigns.



Jack Dempsey-G&G-Wallabies-Barbarians-51116

Jack Dempsey is set to make his return to Super Rugby in the No. 8 jersey, and thats something that has excited Waratahs captain Michael Hooper, who has likened Dempsey to from Aussie skipper and back rower Rocky Elsom.

It will be his first Super Rugby match since he tore his hamstring off the bone playing for the Wallabies against the Barbarians back in 2017. Despite a long time in rehab, the young back rower made his way back into the Wallabies squad at the end of 2018, but for Dempsey the goal is an injury free 2019.

“It’s firstly good just to have Jack back,” Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said.


“I think he’s had those two disrupted years for us and it’ll be really great for him to get some decent minutes and really string some games together.”

Captain Hooper, who will start at open side, with everyone’s favourite blindside Ned Hanigan named to start, are excited to be back on the field with Jack.

“It’s great for Jack to get a go in the Waratah jersey,” Hooper said.

“It has been a long time for him and a long road, and he is playing in a jersey he really wants to play in. I am super pumped to see him get out there this weekend, and he has really grown a nice combination with Ned in last week’s trial. That was good.

“He is very explosive and he brings some real finesse,” Hooper said.

“He sometimes looks a bit like Rocky Elsom when he runs the ball and he has got some of the on-field attributes with some of the skills he can pull out. There really are some similarities there.

“What comes to mind though is his ball-carrying ability and what he can do in manipulating defence.

“He is certainly great for our team on and off the field.

“He is very hungry to get in there and make a stand in a Waratah jersey this year.”

To try an accommodate everyone and get the most of their squad, the Waratahs are pushing Dempsey to No.8, to allow Hanigan the 6 jersey, and having Jed Holloway play in the second row.


  • Ed

    Thanks for this Dylan.

    I did not realise that four players left the Cheika training camp at Coogee with injuries. Sure these things happen but as you say, the day a head coach runs the fitness sessions belongs in the dinosaur age.
    I may have made this point last year but the ABs’ S&C coach, Nic Gill, is an associate professor of human performance at the University of Waikato and he practices what he preaches. Last year Nic qualified in his age group for the Ironman Triathlon world champs in Kona. That he was able to qualify for Kona while doing his work with the ABs and his academic research indicates he knows what he is talking about.

    I wonder how many more Cheika fitness camps there will be during the SR season? They should be working on their skills just as much as we drop balls, throw bad passes and kick poorly from the start of a game when fatigue should not be a concern.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I listened to a podcast with some Leinster players who were coached by Cheika. They made it very clear that his training regimes were not based on any modern sports science whatsoever, but just him pushing the boys as hard as he could.

      He is so clueless at times.

      • Ed

        I think I have heard that podcast too, where they also said Joe Schmidt believed in using the sports science fellas.
        Are you going tomorrow night?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yep, that’s the one. The player was certainly very diplomatic when asked which strategy was superior…

          Of course! Will you?

        • Ed

          Hope too.
          Trying to find a place close to the ground where I can park, and avoid the schemozzle of that carpark next to the stadium.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Park at O’Connor ridge – Dryandra St!

        • Ed

          Thanks for the tip DBTB.

      • Ed

        There was a story earlier in the week that Cheika was considering to use his attacking style that won the 2014 SR title.
        First, what works in SR does not mostly translate at test level.
        Second, our opponents would know how to deal with it.
        Third, need the players for such a game plan.
        Grant Fox discusses the little things that have to come together for performance on the field. Among them was:
        “Strategy/game plan – needs to suit the skill set and mindset of the team for each game as well as for an entire campaign/season, and to take into account what we expect our opponents to bring.”

      • Dylan Langes

        What podcast was is DB? I would be interested in hearing it. It is an archaic way of training to have the head coach run fitness sessions. Could you imagine the S&C coach telling cheik how to run his attack?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          It could have been eggchasers, but I’m really not sure mate..

    • Damo19

      A cynic might imagine Cheika standing in front of the group prior to the camp getting underway. “I suppose you have read and heard all the stuff that’s been going on in the last couple of months. I’m about to remind you who is the boss around here”.

      • Ed

        Agree, particularly when they would have noticed no Larkham at that camp.

    • Dylan Langes

      We will probably get another Cheika fit camp in June/July before the Rugby Championship kicks off.
      There are only four reported players, there could have been more, maybe there’s a reason KB isn’t playing this weekend.
      If you look at the impact that Neil Craig had in the AFL with sports science, he is someone we should have working for us. Maybe even Jason Weber who was the former HPM for the Wallabies under Eddie Jones.

      • Ed

        What type of work would you expect them to do in that July camp? They have just had a SR season, so would you give them a few weeks of recovery, a few hard weeks then taper for the RC?

        I would not be surprised if Cheika wanted to give them another blast after the last Bledisloe and the start of the World Cup.

        • Dylan Langes

          You would most likely do fitness and strength maintenance at that point, but recovery would be a big focus.
          They don’t have long enough between the Super Season finishing and July Series and the July series to the RWC.
          Really should be done on an individual basis.

        • Ed

          Thanks Dylan.
          I’d have thought recovery would be a big factor once the SR season is over, and that managing the training stress load especially after the RC would be vital. Whether the let’s flog them coach would agree is another matter.

        • Dylan Langes

          Personally I think he’s confused mental toughness and fitness, yes they need to be fit so many of them do not look mentally tough to push through the hardship (I am discounting the Argentina win)

  • Huw Tindall

    What the hell were they doing? Endless calf raises? Thorn beasted the Reds with the military camp and nobody seems to be arcing up in particular. Not much in this surely. Chek wouldn’t be doing the drills either. Just a bit of bad luck for the blokes and maybe they needed to be fitter so they don’t fall apart at a boot camp!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Bit of a difference for Thorn using a military beasting run by experts as part of a team bonding and with no injuries to a self styled expert injuring key players because he won’t admit he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

      • Huw Tindall

        Where has the chat about Chek leading the Jan fitness session come from? Seemed pretty innocuous at the time and no report on it being especially tough.

        • Ed
        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I admit I got most of that from the write-up today but if it’s true then 4 injuries from a session run by a head coach seems pretty pre – 1970’s to me. If I got it wrong and he wasn’t running it but just there while it was run by experts then I apologise. It still doesn’t sound like it was well thought out though. I get injuries will occur but if they happen at a training run like that then either the training is wrong or there has been no management of the difference in fitness level which is also very wrong.

        • Huw Tindall

          I mean Chekia lost me last year with the Foley at 12 gambit which was the proverbial straw but will give him some credit. Can’t be complete amateur hour and he would have learned and developed since Leinster. Maybe the new S&C bloke wasnt in place at the time. Not sure when that switch happened. As you suggest though still smacks of RA struggling to get the basic right.

        • Dylan Langes

          It jumped out to me when I was reading the report about why Adam Coleman wasn’t selected due to a calf injury sustained during the camp. Then reading about the Brumbies squad it was mentioned that Pocock was cleared of the calf injury he sustained during the camp. Then when reading about the Tahs squad there was one line about Phipps carrying a calf injury from the camp.

          All of these were one, maybe two lines inside a larger story that otherwise would have been over looked.

          Plus we weren’t covering the news back in January during Cheika’s fit camp.

        • Huw Tindall

          Yes not having a pop about not covering news in Jan on GAGR! I was thinking about the other press I’d read at the time and the list of injuries didn’t really get a mention. It is interesting though. Commented in another thread they must have been doing endless calf raises or just a big coincidence. Some good sleuth work to start joining the dots mate!

    • Happyman

      Perhaps I am a bit of a cynic but one wonders if the knives are now out internally for Mr C. Perhaps there is a 5th column at play as the ship is starting to leak.

      • Adrian

        I doubt it Happy. My “mail” is that their was relief all round. He wasn’t called Bernie for nothing

        • Silver Ghost

          I’m sure there was relief in some quarters Adrian. But Larkham is rugby establishment and along with his Canberra mates conspired to overthrow a very successful coach in the past.
          I think there maybe more to come here (it’s like the Liberal Party circus – these guys can’t help themselves)

        • Happyman

          Correct and as yesterdays very good article stated he was promoted to Wallaby attack coach after overseeing the Brums refer below for quote.

          “after a 2017 season under Stephen Larkham which featured the lowest number of points scored per game by the team since 2007 (an average of 21)”

        • Adrian

          I have no doubt there is more to see, and don’t doubt that Larkham will be “looked after”. He might end up as coach, but I doubt it, because he has no interpersonal skills…hence Bernie.

          Cheika will be watching out for former plotters no doubt, including a concern about who the 3rd selector will be. It isn’t out of the question that Gregan would get the gig, but I actually think he’d please himself, not Larkham. Kafer’ would be my worry.

          I think though that Larkham’s internal influence in the group would be nearly non-existent. There might be one or two who think it “unfair”, but I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority are over the moon.

          Who knows?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I’d suggest that the players will just be glad it’s been settled and that whatever tension that was there has gone. I’m not so sure there is harmony in the group though, I think the two players coming out and praising Cooper in a way that Foley has never been praised is pretty telling.

          I still think that Johnson and the 3rd selector will create issues as I can’t see Cheika being happy to be in a position where he could be overruled. The fact that nothing will happen until a few months out of the RWC makes it even worse in my book as there’s very little time to settle any differences.

        • Adrian

          Maybe, but, another way of looking at it is to leave it all until June, and let them concentrate on SR.

          My view is that praise of Cooper was just from players being professional and nothing more.

          Re Johnson, I’ve only seen video of him speaking once, but someone I know says that if anyone could work with Cheika, he could. The 3rd selector will be interesting.

          Re the players, my information is that they are very happy right now, and are glad that tensions that they became aware of only this year (but existed earlier) will be no more. I think that the bullshit that flowed from AAC and Beale, and by implication Naivalu annoyed a few guys, but it wasn’t major. I think that nothing has been said about Tuopo, but clearly something happened there too, generate so much bullshit from the coach.

          I guess I’m the odd one out, but I can only see good flowing from Larkham’s exit. I would have preferred that the other assistants went too, but for all their obvious faults, they weren’t clashing with the boss.

          I take it as read that Cheika is staying for now, and await news of selector 3 and attack assistant.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I’d prefer the coach went over the assistants mate. He’s responsible for this rock show but seems to be a bit Teflon coated

        • Who?

          No I don’t. :-P
          But I’m with KRL here. I don’t think that the departure of Larkham would be the end of intra-squad factions and unhappiness. I’m sure that Larkham’s presence or otherwise had nothing to do with the leadership group allegedly splitting and asking Cheika to discipline Beale and AAC. I don’t think Larkham’s departure has anything to do with the way senior players (members of the leadership group) have answered questions about Mr Cooper. I don’t think that Larkham’s departure can have anything to do with the depression that comes over the team every time yet another ‘easy’ try gets run in against them.
          I’m not advocating that Larkham should’ve stayed, but I have very little confidence that it’s anything like enough of a tonic to give even the tamest dead cat bounce…

        • Adrian

          Agree, I don’t think Larkham had anything to do with splits re AAC/Beale etc. He probably said nothing!

        • Brumby Runner

          Ah, but he remains a real menace to the as yet to be founded relationship between Cheika, Johnson and the third selector. He must do, because according to some here Bernie has been the catalyst for all the woes that have beset the Wallabies since 2015 while Cheika is lily white.

          Forgive me if I don’t have one iota of confidence in that viewpoint. Cheika is to me a very divisive character who, on the face of his very public persona, would have quite a problem getting along with two other people, let alone a full rugby team complement with all of it’s egos and insecurities.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          hey Adrian, Good to see you back. So do you think the setup is going to be happier now with Larkham out of the team?

        • Adrian

          Hi Kiwi. Good to be back, I’ve been dropping in for a look every day or so.

          I definitely do think it will be a better mood.

          This issue is a bit complicated, and has a few related strands.

          I don’t want to re-hash everything I’ve said over the last few years in detail, but I’d stress that they weren’t mates, and barely knew each other.

          Larkham was hired by Cheika as part of a deal where Cheika would calm down internal rivalry between effectively 4 non exact, on and off field factions of NSW, Qld, ACT and others.

          Reading media from 2014 will clarify what I mean.

          At the time Cheika called on all SR Coaches to join him at the Wallabies. Only Larkham agreed. Foley from WF, said he was thinking about it, but in the end didn’t. Graham from the Reds said nothing (phew)

          This was all a deal, coupled with money, the right to continue coaching the Tahs and the Giteau rule.

          The Cheika “handshake” sealed it, and Larkham was there.

          The WC was all fun, and the very, very senior Wallabies controlled the backline. No tension.

          Slowly tension developed from 16 to 17 to 18. The “handshake” kept everything in place until Salta. Silent disagreement followed.

          I could say more, but Castle said that Cheika should do what he does best, which is coach.

          The players couldn’t wait for the mood to change.

        • Huw Tindall

          Mate you’ve got a book in you about the history of the Wallabies rocky years under Chek.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Dempsey is a good player. But a player in the style of Rocky, he is not.

    • Who?

      He’s short 15cm and 10kg… There’s a pattern here.

  • Huw Tindall

    Brumbies v Rebels looks like a great contest. Both sides dripping with talent and expectations riding high this season. Not much more needs to be said here.

    Tahs v Canes should also be a cracker. Heading for a sellout at Brookvale (better than any Sea Eagles game last year). Canes down a few players most notably Beauden B. Most of the Tahs Wallabies back bar Beale which honestly isn’t the end of the world with the rest of the talent and experience around the backs.

    One more sleep. Shouldn’t be this excited by sports at my age.

  • Hoss

    Happy Valentines Day lovers of rugby.

    I gave Mrs Hoss her present this morning, i learnt from last year and waited for her ell circadian rhythms to end. I just wish there was more enthusiasm and appreciation on her part for the effort i have put in. I can suffer the jibes about her appreciating how infrequent Valentines Day & My Birthday are. I can ignore the humming of God Save the Queen (is that a metaphor ??), but when she starts checking emails 75 seconds in to the 98 second Hoss-stravaganza it gets my goat.

    I even wrapped it special this year – than Christ for one of my toddlers multi coloured socks – perfect fit.

    Anyhoo – Rugby. Great to see Jumping Jack Dempsey back and at 8 – dont mind that at all. Also a fan of Holoway at lock – he is my smokey for the RWC – if he can get involved and play like his 2016 effort – mongrel, carries, hits – we all win. Don’t mind Two-Dads & Genitals to start the year in the centres. Spanners at 10 – what you gonna do – some flair out wide. Front row might be a tad under-done, but i reckon we will put up a good show.

    My tip – Australian sides will have a perfect unbeaten record this year against sides from Middle-Earth. Now THAT’S dominance.

    Long may it reign.

    • Happyman

      Mr Hoss

      This is the time of year where we all forget sugar coat the deficiencies of our team last year and the reasons they lost games.

      The internal dialogue goes like this
      1 If they had just gotten over the line in this game it would have given us momentum for the year.
      2 You know this guy we recruited is going to make a real difference.
      3 they have another year of experience and are now hardened professionals.
      4 This year will be different.

      Nah bugger it I will save rationality for work I am all in lets win the lot.

      • Hoss

        I like the cut of your jib young man

    • Greg

      @hoss I seem to recall it was 90 seconds last year. Good to see you have been in training.

      • Hoss

        I am like an ol Model T, you have to crank / prime it first before there’s any action – hence the increase.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Gold mate. I’m sure deep down Mrs Hoss appreciates your obvious manliness and care.

      Love your enthusiasm for the prediction but I feel you may be just a trifle enthusiastic and this will only make the crash at the bottom that much harder when you fall. Good luck

      • Hoss

        Its the little things that count – like shaving a love heart into you back hair – shows her you care.

        As for rugby – i am pencilling in sledges aimed in your general direction for Saturday nite already.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Bring it on!

        • Nutta

          Please find attached my expression of ever-abiding devotion that I PM’d to Mrs Nutta this morning. It sums me up so … succinctly.

        • Huw Tindall

          Wait why in the back hair? Does Mrs Hoss like to come at you from behind?

        • Hoss

          Mirrored ceiling

        • Huw Tindall

          reminds me of Pat Batemen in the movie adaptation of American Pyscho

    • Who?

      Great to see Dempsey back, but I so wish we didn’t just play ‘fill the jersey’. For the Wallabies last year, we had an out and out lock (Lukhan, apologies but I haven’t adjusted to his new last name yet) playing at 6, and we had an out and out 8 (Holloway) playing lock. I don’t care if you’ve not managed to recruit any giraffes, Mr Gibson, you need to play your loose forwards in the loose forwards.
      Holloway is a loose player – he reminds me more of Rocky than Dempsey. He’s got that size, and he works best in the loose (remember, Cheika didn’t like him because he thought Jed played too loose!). Rocky was 200cm! Holloway’s exactly the style of player that would be pretty handy at #8 for the Wallabies… A Holloway/Higginbotham type player. Instead, we’ve seen a lot of Hanigan.
      So, remembering Rocky was 200cm… Dempsey’s 15cm and 10+kg short of Rocky. I might try and step like Beale, but without his pace, it’s not near as effective. Similarly, without Rocky’s size, Dempsey can try and carry like him, but it’s not as effective (and honestly, Dempsey’s strength is his footwork, which wasn’t a focus for Rocky). Makes me realize that Hoops and Rocky never shared a jersey, never played together.

      • Hoss

        Agree on all fronts mate. i would have Jethro Holoway at 8 in a nano-second. i have pencilled FKN as my name for Lukhan (Formally Known As) – to many vowels to remember and Dempsey should be a 6, handy at the breakdown (not as much a Fardy – sigh) and good work rate.

        Maybe when Mandrake gets here in March we may seethe Gitteau Rule relaxed to become the ‘fuck me we are desperate’ rule and we all win.

        I dont mind waving the Gitteau rule. If other nations want to pay more and help develop our guys (Skelton, Toomua, Beale – well, for a while) to be better than when they left – bring it on, especially as we can call them for international duty without hindrance. Plus frees up a few more AUD for the young turks coming through – who currently go get tatts, a juvie and head to mungo land because we are so top heavy.

        Whats not to like !!

        • Who?

          FKN – that works! :-D
          If we’re going to lower the Giteau rule, I’d still prefer it be done the way Mr Braithwaite suggested – maybe not off number of caps, but retain a ‘contracted to Rugby in Australia’ clause. So players who’ve been around can be rewarded, even if they’ve moved away because they feel a ceiling over them under a given coach (which isn’t just a Cheika issue, it’s an every-coach issue). So, we could select Nic White, Liam Gill… Skelton might not be eligible (because he wasn’t around that long)…

        • Adrian

          I think Skeleton available 13,14,15,16,17 and early 18 which would qualify him

        • Who?

          Not sure – he wasn’t back last year at all, so 13 through 17, but also not sure he was available in 16. Plus, he was picked young – a lot of the guys are around for a few years in the system before they get picked. So they get to that 7 year mark easily. But I’m not sure that Skelton would’ve had a Tahs/RA contract for even 5 seasons. Not saying he definitely didn’t, I’m just not certain.
          He’s definitely someone I’d be way more inclined to pick now, having been shown how to be a professional at Saracens alongside 3 English Test locks (as opposed to playing at the Tahs under Cheika, 13/14/15).

        • Adrian

          It would be borderline for Will.

          Tahs 13,14,15,16,17. He had a short stint at end of 16 or 17 with Saracens, before returning to Tahs, then injury, then Saracens again. I think he is off contact when this current season ends.

          In any case, I think the rule should be available for Wallabies for 5 years, irrespective of whether they had a Wallaby contract, or played any tests.

          Interesting article on Skeleton a few weeks ago by Bishop in another site

        • Who?

          You might be right about 16 there – I don’t recall him playing for the Tahs in 16, but that may be because I forgot his RWC injury which kept him out.

        • Hoss

          I had a good read of Sherbert’s piece and it made sense.

          I am more a calculated risk guy. I figure it (player raids from the north) are only going to get worse, especially as the new injection of funds up there is enormous – so look for ways to make it work for your advantage.

          Will a few slip through the net – absoflogginglutely, but by and by we will win and win big. Players get the ‘experience of another culture’ (translated to – fucking bucket loads of folding) so why not bend it to your advantage – theres always opportunity in challenging times if you focus on gain, not problem.

          I reckon the North could pay the way for the next golden dawn – if we are smart.

        • Brumby Runner

          Lukan (LSL) could be known as Furlough (long service leave).

        • Hoss

          FFS – i will do the funny stuff ok, First Nutta, now you – give a guy a break. I am up at 5 each morning work-shopping this inane dribble i post here.

        • Dylan Langes

          I feel like I am the only one in Australia that thinks for a player to be eligible to play for the Wallabies they should be contracted to an Australian team.
          You want to be a Wallaby, play here.
          NZ do it, Ireland do it, England do it, and it seems to work for them.

        • Who?

          You’re not, I’ve just given up on that hope… I’m just hoping the tide is slowed, rather than throwing wide the floodgates.

        • Hoss

          Nothing wrong with the thinking mate, I just think that the reality is not going to change so how do we adapt it to suit us. Cause if we don’t like change we are gonna hate extinction.

          No good tilting at windmills.

        • Huw Tindall

          Think there is scope to vary it. All those countries have better centralised systems and/or money to keep players. There was some good chat last week around tweaks to the rule and I can remember who put it forward (Who? D Braithwaite? Brumby Runner?) but I liked the idea of relaxing it if you had played 6 or so seasons in Australia at NRC level or higher. The focus is currently on keeping Wallabies in the country but we just can’t compete with top line money from overseas so I’d like to see the incentives moved, in part, to younger up and comers.

        • Who?

          It was the man Hoss calls ‘Sherbert’. :-)

        • Dylan Langes

          Yeah I know, I’m just a purist at heart who believes once you muddy the waters, its an almost impossible task to clean them again.
          I also believe there isn’t too many players currently that I would want brought back (McMahon yes). And just like last World Cup, we will lose players and bring up new ones, you just need a coach good enough to bring up the talent.
          The only change I would like to see is if the player is playing Super Rugby (Aus, NZ, ARG, SA or JPN) and they have residency then they can play for us.

        • Huw Tindall

          Did you consider Prince as a moniker for Lukhan? Or maybe just a symbol such as @

        • Hoss

          Sure did – didn’t know how I’d type it ?

    • Nutta

      Not much to say that would add value to that.

    • Keith Butler

      Call me a grumpy old bastard if you like but never saw the point of a single red rose costing 20 times the asking price. Mrs B gets her presents all year and today it’s me laying pavers in the back garden. Could be a bottle of bubbly this weekend though. The only massacre I want to see is the Rebs taking the Ponies to the knackers yard. Wishful thinking on my part but should be a good game. Would be nice to get some wins against Sauron’s spawn so good luck to the Tahs on Saturday.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        With you on the V day. If my wife needs something on a marketing day to know I love her then we’re past the point of no return.

        • Happyman


        • Keith Butler

          But I do support the Canes as my favourite NZ team.

        • Mica

          Nah. Landers just for the zoo.

      • Hoss

        Maybe ‘present’ was a poor selection of words. Perhaps ‘suffer through’ ‘take one for the team’ would have been more apt.

        I apologise for damage to the mother tongue.

  • Nutta

    A good old Boss of mine was told me that if I need to keep reminding folk that I am in charge then I wasn’t.

    I’m a fan of Dempsey. Go son. That said, in the skills and attributes list of Rocksta, there are a couple I hope he is not cloning.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Forced leadership isn’t mate

  • Missing Link

    One more sleep, I am pumped!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Ditto mate

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Dylan some good stuff here and really starting to get excited for tomorrow night.

    It’s going to be interesting to see how all the newbies (I include Hunt and AAC in this group) fit into the teams and what pressure they will put on the incumbents. Great to see the end of pointless trial results and getting into the real thing. I’m still picking the Brumbies as I think the home town advantage will be a big one this week along with their more settled squad.

    That’s a pretty damning account of Cheika and his lack of knowledge and understanding if he is running those camps. As I’ve said elsewhere, while I think Cheika is a good motivator, albeit with a limited shelf life, he really hasn’t got a lot of tactical knowledge and it appears from this that he is very dismissive of where science is taking sports these days. I think when you combine this with his dismissal of the issues around culture and decision making he really is way out of his depth and it isn’t any wonder that the Wallabies have been so poor for so long.

    • Ed

      There is a book coming out related to decision making that would be of interest to BL and you:
      Performance Under Pressure by Ceri Evans. It is out mid-June.
      Wouldn’t you use the camp to also work on skills and areas that take time to learn, like how to improve our counter-attack? People think the ABs ad lib but they practise it so it becomes instinctive.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate if you ever read the book “The Jersey” it’s all about doing the basic things over and over until they are instinctive.

        • Ed

          It is a clear theme in the book, a point Digby Ioane noted about his time at the Crusaders. It would be interesting to hear Pete Samu’s thoughts after a full season at the Ponies.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          It’d be really interesting to hear how different the training is over here compared to NZ. He was only at the Crusaders so wouldn’t have seen much in the AB Camp but it’d be interesting to see how much different, if any it is.

    • Dylan Langes

      I worked with a coach that was like Cheika when I worked at a football club here in Melbourne. It is really dangerous and I walked away as a coach because I felt my role as the sports scientist was undermined, and we had excessive injuries. But everyone thought highly of him because he was a successful ex AFL footballer.

      • Who?

        Now there’s a post that provides context to the rest of the article!!! :-D
        Not saying you’re anything other than right, but it shows why a story that otherwise might’ve been overlooked (which it shouldn’t be – you can’t be sending home over 10% of your players injured from a training camp for players who were prevented from having a pre-season to keep them fresh) got some attention here, and on this day of the week. :-)

        • Dylan Langes

          My background is in sports science so when I see that the Wallabies Head Coach is running fitness camps not back by science and players are coming out injured I saw a good story.

  • Silver Ghost

    Great write up Dylan.
    Surely, Cheika didn’t run a fitness camp himself (rhetorical question). Sport science is exactly that – a science. The days of head coaches running grueling sessions like some WW II sgt major belong in a museum.

    Interesting that Jones and Craig are looking to other sports to find performance advantages. Craig was the S&C coach at the Adelaide Crows back in the late 90’s when they won back to back flags. He was the first to use loading and tapering in the AFL, which he took from swimming and track.

    So the poms are looking for new ways of reaching higher performance and our guy is retreating to the old ‘flog’em til they drop’.

    To bastardise a famous quote – Well may we say “God save the Queen”, because nothing will save the Wallabies under this coach

  • HK Red

    I’m probably reading too much into it, but to me there’s something smelly about Beale sitting it out this weekend. The supposed first pick 12 for the season, First game of the season, at home, against the Canes????? I don’t see any planet where you’d consider sitting out your first pick.

    • Silver Ghost

      I’m not a Tah’s fan and have significantly dropped off “the Crab” who I think is a better 15 than 12 anyway.
      I would suspect, against the canes, who are a very good attacking side, Gibson may have liked the defensive strength of Hunt and 2 Dads – leaving only Foley to hide.
      I get the impression, Gibson selects more on form and combination (witness moving Folau to wing wing last season), unlike Cheika who maintains favorites.

      • Adrian

        Agree Silver, and it’s also to get Mason into the 23

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Maybe Gibson has finally woken up to the fact that he’s a shit 12.

      • HK Red

        Hopefully he’ll pass that news along.

    • Adrian

      I think story re Beale is as Gibson said. If it were some other coach I mightn’t believe it, but from Gibson I do.

      I think that he will rest Wallabies every couple of games, and a bench every few games.

      This gets the rest out of the way, and simultaneously improves defence. May do similar v Blues of all sides.

      It also gives Mason a chance, because I doubt he’ll have Foley, Beale and Mason in the 23 too often

    • Brumby Runner

      I am sure that I read that Beale was still somewhere overseas when the trial matches kicked off. I wonder whether he has been in any pre-season training at all or if he is carrying extra weight like he did a few years ago?

    • Dylan Langes

      I don’t think you are reading too much into it. You’re right, why would you leave him off for such a big game, and leave him out completely. As I said up the top, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was carrying an injury from fit camp that they don’t want to talk about.

    • Huw Tindall

      Too early in the season for conspiracy theories HKR. Beale played every minute of every Tah’s game last year and Tests on top of that. He is earmarked for Wallabies rest and this match will count towards that. He was allowed back to the pre-season late as well as part of managing workload. This aligns with Gibson being keen to lock in Hunt and AAC to provide cover for just these instances when he has to rest Wallabies. It will also allow Gibson to move Beale to 15 when Folau is resting. Just seems good player management in a RWC year.

      • HK Red

        But I love a good conspiracy theory!! I don’t think you can discount the effort that needs to be put into a good conspiracy theory. Takes dedication and practice, forming and reforming the theory. You can’t just rock up mid-season in last years boots, with a half-chewed mouth guard.

  • formerflanker

    Interesting to see Christian Lealiifano at (c) for the Brumbies, ahead of Sam Carter and David Pocock.
    I assume all have similar captaincy credentials but CL will have more game time in a Brums jersey.

    • Dylan Langes

      I thought Poey might get it too

  • Fatflanker

    Fitness training…here’s a clue, Cheeks…no-one can be fit enough to make Grey’s defensive system work.

  • Jason

    > 16. Tolu Latu

    Gotta love it the Wallabies ‘starting hooker’ isn’t even starting for his Club team.

    • Huw Tindall

      Maybe he is part of the Wallabies workload management quota? Not sure as he didn’t play that much last year!

      Hooker is the most open position in the Wallabies. None of them last year could lock it down.
      – BPA looked solid but it was his first year in pro rugby so the call was made to rest him as there was a worry his body wouldn’t crack under the workload. Like it or not you need years of pro-conditioning before you can play 18 Super Rugby games 12 or so Tests.
      – Taf is getting too old and travel and Gloucester commitments really got in the way. Still a force on his day.
      – Latu was on the nose at the Tahs for poor training habits. Unrealised potential kept him in the frame and he started to come good at the tail end of the season. Throwing and discipline still suspect.
      – Foalu Faainga similar to BPA. Solid hooker but just working his way into the top ranks. Not as dynamic as Latu, not as good a scrummager as Taf.
      – Uelese needs to drink more milk or something. Injury haunted.

    • Dylan Langes

      Cheika has always had a weird loyalty to players. Fitzpatrick isn’t even on Cheika’s radar

  • Dylan Langes

    Hi All,

    Ed graciously posted a link to this article below but I thought I would share it here.

    “Not all of the usual touring team staff, including assistant coaches, were required for the duration with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika taking the reins of the fitness-focused agenda.

    There you go, Cheika ran a fit camp


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

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