Thursday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursdays Rugby News sees Cooperation between the clubs and the national set up, the Friday night squads named, and Rebels happy to play Hodge in different positions.



Wallabies v Ireland Sydney Test second half (1 of 11)

Rebels coach Dave Wessels as played down that there is tension between the Super clubs and the Wallabies after two of his star players came back from Wallabies camp with soft tissue injuries.

Rebels captain Dane Haylett-Petty and Adam Coleman both returned from Michael Cheika’s fitness camp with calf injuries, with DHP being cleared for round 1 and Coleman named on the bench for Friday’s match.

Brumbies David Pocock and NSW Nick Phipps also picked up the same injury, though Phipps is the only one still in the rehab group.

Wessels has attempted to put to bed the idea that the Super clubs with the Wallabies set up.

“The reality is we’re in a contact sport so people get injured from time to time,” he said.

“I think the Wallabies would be the first to admit that they can do things better in their environment as we would be in our environment.

“We’re all trying to do things better. Did I have any formal dialogue that I was upset by the camp or whatever that’s been suggested in the media? No I didn’t do that.

“If I did I would just ring Michael myself, I wouldn’t be talking about that in the media.”

Nick Phipps sat down with the FOX SPORTS RUGBY Podcast where he took open up about the camp as much as a current player is expected too.

“I came back and day one we went straight into some noisy stuff (intense sprints) and I pinged my calf towards the end of the session.

“I wasn’t the only one, I had Poey (Pocock) and Dane (Haylett-Petty) with me and then I think Adsy (Coleman) did his…

“It was frustrating because if there’s three or four blokes from the Wallabies squad who you can trust to do all the work and be ready to go it’s probably us blokes and then we’re sitting on the sideline.

“But I don’t know, I think it was just a bit of luck, we went real quick, real fast and luck sort of got us four.”

“It’s [the camp] been painted like a real death march or something. Yeah, I got injured but the rest of the camp was really positive,” Phipps said.

“I know there is a lot of stuff out there saying how it was poorly run — it was quite well run. But I guess it is disappointing that a few of us pinged our calves. It’s frustrating but injuries happen.”

“Cheik actually had a really good presentation about what he expects from players in different groups, to pass the selection criteria and that maps out your season ahead, so you can sit there and start to tick your goals off and really plan ahead,” Phipps said.

It may be a long year as the national set up continue their trial and error of how to prioritise the Wallabies without completely screwing over the Super franchises. Case in point, the upcoming Wallaby camp in Sydney.


Reece Hodge

On the topic of cooperation between the Super Clubs and the Wallabies, the idea of Reece Hodge and his versatility came up when Dave Wessels fronted the media.

Hodge, after breaking his ankle in a freak accident prior to the spring tour, is returning to Super Rugby this weekend, coming off the bench.

Hodge has played in every backline position for the Rebel, except for halfback, and almost every backline position for the Wallabies. Whilst this has been seen by some pundits as a weakness, a jack of all trades master of none if you will, other have likened it to centurion Adam Ashley Cooper who has played multiple roles for the Waratahs and Wallabies in his career. Except Hodge can kick 70m off the tee.

Not long ago Michael Cheika and former attack coach Steve Larkham had seen Hodge in a 10 jersey, or a back up 10 jersey for Bernard Foley. When they wanted to see this, Dave Wessels complied, and played Hodge at 10 for the remainder of the Super Season.

Wessels at points last season tried to accomodate the national set up, but with this year being a World Cup year, he acknowledges the importance of exposure and experience for the players.

“From our point of view, it’s probably fair on the player, if that’s his role going to be at national team and we can accommodate that and it’s useful for us as well, it makes sense to do it,” Wessels said.

“We haven’t had massive extensive discussions on it to be honest and I think Hodgey’s unique personality makes it very possible for him to play a number of different positions.

“I think one of the things is that the Wallabies have made it quite clear to us that in the World Cup his role will be to be versatile, so he covers a number of different positions,” he said.

“I think it’s fair that we give him that exposure. When you know Reece as a person, that doesn’t really bother him.

“He quite enjoys that – the challenge of starting in different positions and things like that – but primarily we’d see him as a centre.

“If all else is well and injury-wise and things, we’re able to accommodate that, first and foremost we’ll be seeing Hodgey as a centre.”

Wessels believes for Australian Rugby to improve and be strong, that the franchises need to cooperate with the Wallabies set up.

“I think it’s important that everybody recognises that part of our role as a provincial union is to support the Wallabies and we want to be a place that can create Wallabies and make those guys successful,” he said.

“We have to work closely with the Wallabies, as do all the franchises. Our ultimate goal is to make Australian rugby successful and the Wallabies are our no. 1 brand so I’d be very full of myself to sit here and say that’s not important to us, it is important to us.”


Rebels Banner

Last season the Rebels hopes at a maiden finals appearance were cut down by the Highlanders like a William Wallace rebellion against the English. Friday night the men from Melbourne will look to make a mends for what happened last year in Dunedin.

Melbourne will welcome back Wallabies Adam Coleman and Reece Hodge from injuries, both who have been named on the bench. Coach Dave Wessels has been impressed by the way the two have conducted themselves in rehab, saying they earned their way back into the team.

“Probably the biggest thing for us is just that the way that those guys have competed in their rehab to get to the level where the are,” he said.

“Both of them have hit some personal best fitness markers which is sometimes not easy when you’re in a different environment, you’re not training with the main team and then to have them back in training for the last two weeks has been pretty special.

“We’re working hard to try and create an environment where guys are just working hard to compete every day with each other, get better themselves but also get better with the people around them so I think Adam and Reece deserve their selection for having done that.”

Wessels was also impressed by the efforts of his team that took it to the Brumbies round one, rewarding players by only making two changes to the starting line up, with Sam Talakai replacing Jermaine Ainsley in the front row, and Brad Wilkin replacing Richard Hardwick at 7.

“We want to be true to the fact that we’re rewarding guys who compete in everything and want to be there and show desire to want to play and I think we’ve stayed true to that,” he said.

“I thought the guys who played against the Brumbies, a lot of them deserved to retain their spots and in some instances we’ve made changes because it’s pretty hard to split between two guys so we’re giving somebody else an opportunity. We’re excited for Friday night.”

As the Rebels welcome back two of their stars, the Highlanders are forced to rest three of theirs. Aaron Smith, Ben Smith, and Luke Whitelock will all stay home this weekend.

In the absence of their co-captains Smith and Whitelock, hooker Ash Dixon will take the role of captain on the day.

Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger was only able to name five started from last weeks narrow win over the Reds due to injury or national resting requirements.

For all those interested in the Kiwi set up. “Under an agreement between New Zealand Rugby and the Kiwi Super Rugby coaches, no All Blacks player should total more than 180 minutes of play through the first three rounds.”Via.

Josh Ioane will move to fullback, and allow former Blue Bryn Gatland to make his Highlanders debut at flyhalf.

“We are happy with the outcome of the first two games, with plenty of positives to build upon, however, there are a few areas to tidy up in both our defence and attack,” Mauger said.

“The team to take on the Rebels is a mixture of experience and youth, and an excellent opportunity for some players who have worked hard for their chance to showcase their abilities.

“I am happy with the depth within our squad and the competition for positions is helping drive our preparation and performances each week.”

Rebels Squad

1. Tetera Faulkner 2. Anaru Rangi 3. Sam Talakai 4. Luke Jones 5. Matt Philip 6. Angus Cottrell 7. Brad Wilkin 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. Jermaine Ainsley 19. Adam Coleman 20. Richard Hardwick 21. Rob Leota 22. Michael Ruru 23. Reece Hodge

Highlanders Squad

1. Daniel Lienert-Broen 2. Ash Dixon 3. Siate Tokolahi 4. Jackson Hemopo 5. Pari Pari Parkinson 6. Shannon Frizell 7. James Lentjes 8. Elliot Dixon 9. Kayne Hammington 10. Bryn Gatland 11. Josh McKay 12. Teihorangi Walden 13. Thomas Umaga-Jensen 14. Waisake Naholo 15. Josh Ioane


16. Ricky Jackson 17. Ayden Johnstone18. Josh Iosefa-Scott 19. Tom Franklin 20. Marino Mikaele Tu’u 21. Folau Fakatava 22. Patelesio Tomkinson 23. Marty Banks



There is no question about it, if David Pocock is fit, you play David Pocock. He returns from injury back into his regular spot in the 7 jersey.

Pete Samu will get his first start for the Brumbies, starting at Blindside, with Rob Valentini given the week off, with McCaffery earning the no.8 spot once more.

Despite a strong start to the season, James Slipper will start on the bench, making way for Scott Sio to get his first start to the season.

Blake Enever is the final change to the starting line up. He will join Rory Arnold in the second row, and Darcy Swain comes onto the bench. Sam Carter was not named in the 23.

Coach Dan McKellar has named an unchanged backline to the side that took it to the Chiefs last weekend in Canberra, as they look to continue the momentum built from that epic win.

With Barretts, they are almost like the mythical Greek beast, the Hydra (cut one head of two more shall take its place.) One Barrett is out and another shall take its place. Jordie has been rested and Beauden has returned from his honeymoon to steer the ship at 10 for the Hurricanes.

“It’s a big year for him — I think he’s pleased to be back home from all his travels and he’s settled back in,” Hurricanes coach John Plumtree said.

“We got some good work into last week and now he’s ready to run the ship.”

Beauden isn’t the only change, Ardie Savea returns after missing the loss to the Crusaders, he will come in at number 8, Vaea Fifita will return as open side and Du’Plessis Kirifi will continue his hold on the blindside spot.

After last weeks performances from both teams, the Brumbies will have the momentum heading into this game, something that Plumtree is aware of.

“We want to improve a lot of aspects of our play and hopefully we can do that in front of what will be a great crowd in Palmy,” Plumtree said.

“We were really impressed with the performance the Brumbies put out last week so we know the scale of task ahead of us but it’s a great challenge for the squad.”

Brumbies Squad

1. Scott Sio 2. Folau Fainga’a 3. Allan Alaalatoa 4. Rory Arnold 5. Blake Enever 6. Pete Samu 7. David Pocock 8. Lachlan McCaffrey 9. Joe Powell 10. Christian Lealiifano 11. Chance Peni 12. Irae Simone 13. Tevita Kuridrani 14. Andy Muirhead 15. Tom Banks


16. Josh Mann-Rea 17. James Slipper 18. Leslie Leauluaialii-Makin 19. Darcy Swain 20. Tom Cusack 21. Matt Lucas 22. Wharenui Hawera 23. Tom Wright

Hurricanes Squad

1. Chris Eves 2. Dane Coles 3. Ben May 4. James Blackwell 5. Liam Mitchell 6. Vaea Fifita 7. Du’Plessis Kirifi 8. Ardie Savea 9. TJ Perenara 10. Beauden Barrett 11. Ben Lam 12. Ngani laumape 13. Matt Proctor 14. Vince Aso 15. Chase Tiatia


16. Ricky Riccitelli 17. Xavier Numia 18. Jeff To’omaga-Allen 19. Isaia Walker-Leawere 20. Reed Prinsep 21. Richard Judd 22. Jackson Garden-Bachop 23. Wes Goosen

  • Hoss

    Greetings from the underground bunker complex at the Ponderosa. With the Orange One and The Tele-Tubby meeting i thought i would err on the side of caution. No mushroom clouds on the horizon at day break, that’s a good start to the day.

    A lot to get excited about today Gaggers. Kiwis resting players, the Frebels get Hodge and Felix back on the pine. Questions about front 3 sure, but i get that tingling feeling they are looking good – certainly since the Live Stock Lovers rested the Smiff boys and the 48th Whitelock brother that plays Rugby they have closed to $1.80 and fav’s.

    Brian back for the ponies and Not Kerevi at 6. Coming off a decade best performance against the Chiefs, yes there playing at Middle Earth and the Savea / Brian ding-dong is worth the price of an airline ticket alone, buts i can feel it in my water – Ponies by 12

    That leaves the Padre 23 v The Man from Uncle 23 – they are invisible cause the ref never sees them. I love the lack of noise and well, steel coming out of Queensland. 100% agree there’s no historical reason to bet on the reds, no form line, youngest squad in the comp – theres a thousand reasons not to like them, but i do – i just sense it. Reds by 11. As Dennis Denuto says ‘its the vibe’.

    Lastly news out of Camp Wallaby of some new scrum moves – known as ‘The Cardinal’ – grab hold and push hard. Look forward to seeing how it goes.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      “The Cardinal” Ba-Boom! that’s gold my friend.

      I think you’re drinking from the cool aid mate. One swallow does not make a summer and I think it’s a big stretch to think that all the NZ teams have suddenly all become crap and the Australian ones all of a sudden are now really good. While I agree that the Highlanders will find it tough with their main leadership gone, the Canes and Crusaders are both going strong and will make easy meat of the opposition. The best you get this weekend is that your Tahs won’t lose again because they’ve got a bye.

      • Nutta

        Look, NZ should simply declare itself the 7th state of the umbrella they subsist under and get over it alright? Christ on a Stick they carry on as though they are more bloody special then the Taswegians.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          That’s because we are mate

        • From NooZealand

          YES, we are. Thanks KRL -I still like the “others“, I mean the Aussies.

        • Happyman

          They are more special. Very Very special.

        • laurence king

          We Taswegians are bloody special thank you very much.

        • Greg

          In fact my Tasmanian cousins (of course) tell me Tasmanian is the preferred term!

        • laurence king

          I have heard both, but I also like, ‘Tasmaniac’

        • Jessica Allen
        • laurence king

          Pressed on the link, but I’m not sure what happened, I’m an old guy and not tech savy

        • John Tynan

          Careful, you’ll be accused of main(land)-splaining.

        • laurence king


        • Keith Butler

          Hey Nutta. No bagging us Tasweigians. We are a special breed, particularly on the West Coast. I blame the copper mining and the tailings.

      • Hoss

        A revolution starts with an idea.

        An idea fosters belief.

        belief becomes actions

        Actions change lives

        Vive le revolution !!!!

        • AllyOz

          A revolution starts with an idea
          An idea fosters a belief
          Fosters is a beer
          Drink beer…now where was I

        • Hoss

          Your shout i believe.

        • AllyOz

          I don’t fancy a Fosters…two whiskies it is and given that they are virtual whiskies I am going top shelf

        • Hoss

          I knew i liked you

        • Brumby Runner

          On my top shelf, they are all whiskeys.

      • AllyOz

        I think that its probably a good idea if we all take a bit of a chill pill this early in the season. We are picking Wallaby teams and dreaming of a little gold trophy based on 80-160 minutes of rugby from most teams (and condemning others to wooden spoons in another case). I don’t think NZ ascendancy has evaporated overnight but it is good to see some signs of improvement. Let’s hope they are still there come July and October

        • Brumby Runner

          While I have hopes for a couple of really good showings by Aussie teams in Supe, I am not yet letting my imagination go anywhere near seeing the Webb-Ellis trophy here for the third time.

    • Happyman

      I look at the Landers and Rebels game and while both teams can win the game I firmly believe that only one team can win by a fair bit and that team is the Rebels. I feel like it is the first time I can say that about a Aussie team for about five years over a Kiwi team.

      I cannot see my Reds beating the men from uncle. Unfortunately it has just started to rain in gods country. I was hoping for a last blast of summer to melt them. Although I cannot make the game I will be hoping for a win but not expecting it.

    • Adrian

      Good analysis Hoss.

      My reading of bookie odds is that all 3 NZ teams are favourites, but that all 3 Oz teams are firming. As such, betting people should back all 3 Oz teams, with the start.

      Without a start, it does look like all of our teams have a real chance, so I am tipping them all

      • Hoss

        When it comes from the Oracle of tipping, like yourself, i will take that !!!

        I don’t propose we are now suddenly better than the Kiwis, just that i don’t believe the gap between them and us is no longer the chasm it once was.

        We (Oz sides) have started the season fitter (i look at Kerevi as a prime example, still explosive power, but trimmed down and can stay in the game for the duration), seemingly as a code with better alignment across provinces, great young talent, players in their right possies, greater depth, better skills and a stronger belief evident in the sides – for now Tah’s aside, they seem more comfortable in their skins and all across how they want to play. The Tah’s will bounce back, but a second year of smallish forwards wont catch other sides off-guard like last year, so i think the sky blue will do it hard in 19.

        Come Saturday nite it could all mean jack-shit, it could also mean a ‘Meatloaf’ result – 2 out of 3 aint bad or it could also mean a draw full of Johnny i need to hide from Mrs Hoss.

        • Greg

          “We (Oz sides) have started the season fitter”

          Without drawing any parallels to your birthday celebrations, it’s not how your start… but how you finish.

        • Hoss

          i always finish happy – now there’s a pre-cursor for a wonderful Oz Rugby weekend.

  • muppet

    My mate watching last years Origin: Ben Hunt plays half back one game and hooker the next. Now that’s ‘versatile’!

    Me: Not possible in our game, pal. One is portrait and the other landscape.

  • Ed

    “I came back and day one we went straight into some noisy stuff (intense sprints) and I pinged my calf towards the end of the session.”

    The players have had six weeks since their last competitive game, had some rest and recovery, and they pull this crap on the first day. You build into that type of intensity. Sure injuries do occur but they could have been mitigated with a more sensible approach by the bloke who ran the session.

    • Kevino

      Agree, you don’t have 4 guys go down with the same injury if you are doing things right.

      • Dylan Langes

        Ive been saying that for a while. Its not a coincidence that four players suffer the same injury in the same period of time.

    • Dylan Langes

      Phipps is saying what he has to say, he’s still one of Cheika’s boys

  • Nutta

    Hodge looking for a spot? Mr Versatile you say? Well have a crack at 1 or 3 Dude. That’s where the Rebel Scum need the help. And it would be in-keeping with our Wobbly mentality as well. I mean, that would almost be as stupid as playing a 14 at 15, a 10 at 11, a 12 at 15 and the worlds best 7 at 8 yeh?

    • Dylan Langes

      It’s almost as if the coach is making it up as he goes along.
      I have always thought Hodge’s best work has been when he’s in the centres.
      I wanted to make the joke that the only reason he hasn’t played 9 is its a little hard when your 6ft4

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        He was very avaerage in attck at 13 last year, so I think he should be a 12.

        • Dylan Langes

          I think sometimes for the Wallabies he got caught trying to do too much from 13. I like him at 12, and think his hard running styles could be very interesting outside OQ.
          I think the hard thing at 13 it really does matter who is inside you and what they set up for you. If your 12 always dies with the ball you get sucked into the ruck and if they keep throwing cut out passes to the wing or full back you miss your chance. But that goes for all 13 not just Hodge.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I just don’t think Hode knew the lines to run at 13. He did okay though, but just looks like more of a 12 to me.

        • Dylan Langes

          The funniest thing about this DB is that last year I said I didn’t like him at 10 but think he’s a strong 12 and I got crucified online people saying “he’s crap in the centres and belongs on the wing”, granted it was Reddit but its funny how peoples opinions can be so different

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Reddit = clueless.

          Anything white thinks he is a 10… well, I would have to question their sanity.

        • Damo19

          I think the first thing to say is that we learn very little about the real talent and ability of any backline player from how they have played under the nutty Wallaby structure over the past 3 years. The player Hodge most reminds me of is Stirling Mortlock. Not quick off the mark nor steppy(is that a term) in traffic, but good top end pace, very good defender and a pretty good rugby instinct i.e. knows where to be at the right time. That probably says mid field or fullback. Well suited to either 12 or 13 with the Rebs if WG and Quade continue to develop the flatline attack they began in Game 1 of SR.
          That all may work really well for Hodge but will count for nothing if and when he moves into Cheika’s parallel backline attack and defense universe- deep set 10, side to side tackling practice for the opposition, give it to Izzy etc.
          All I can do is plead with Scott Johnson and MOC to bring some logic and sanity back for all concerned.

        • Dylan Langes

          I like you’re assessment Damo, I think you hit the nail on the head about the switch to Cheika’s bizarre format. I think we have seen a few players fall victim to it, they play their role well at Super only to have their role go out the bloody window when Cheika comes to town.

        • Brumby Runner

          Damo, your concerns are mine too. No matter if it’s the Rebels playing flat or the Brumbies playing without fear, or the Reds playing the Thorn-ball game, form at Super level will count for nothing once players front up to Cheika’s mysterious PLAN at the Wallabies.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Bit like how I’ve been chirping on for years around here, game after game test after test that FOLEY sucks at 10….. with the statistics to back his form up. But it takes years of rubbish and an unassailable mountain of average performances shoved in the faces of the many before eyes are opened.

        • laurence king

          I think that he’s going to look good no matter whether he plays 12 or 13 as he’ll be running onto passes from Quade, Haven’t particularly liked him all that much, except his enthusiasm. However, this could be a great combination.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Honestly with QC at 10 it won’t matter too much who is outside him.. …. the centre stocks we have atm are pretty good……lots of options. QUADE makes ALOT of players look good. Allready this year Meakes is benefiting from that! But if we have a stale 10 like Foley has been. ….

        • laurence king

          Foley has been trading on what he was in 2015, and he hasn’t gone on with it. I imagine it won’t be only the backs who benefit from Quade’s game, I can imagine some big Wallaby forwards thundering through gaps from a flat pass from him.

      • Nutta

        Play the guy at 12. Big body, defends well, bends the line, huge boot to split off the 10. The continual disruption for him must be very frustrating.

        • Dylan Langes

          Him at 12 and Kerevi at 13 could be a good combination if Hodge can move the ball quickly in contact.
          He set a few good tries up last year doing it from 12.

        • Hoss

          Early days i know, cant see him making a Wallabies 30, even with his versatility and he wont be wing, not quick enough

          – Lilo
          – QC
          -Two Cows
          – Gilbert
          – Not-Pete
          – The K Train
          – Pataia
          – Meakes

          A lot of grass to be covered yet, but …….

        • Dylan Langes

          Some of those names I don’t even think exist haha, might need a translator next time.
          I think he gets in a head of Meakes just because they like Meakes on the fringe.
          I can’t see Cheika taking Lilo, QC and Toomua together either. Even though I think all 3 should be a head of a certain 10 in sky blue.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      The Rebels have quality props. They both just started on the bench in the first round.

      A 50% improvement with the selections for this match.

      • Bernie Chan

        If their scrum holds up the Rebs will go well methinks…

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Maaaaate, it’s all part of “The Plan”

      • Bernie Chan

        Bro, that “plan” is ultra top secret. Only Cheika’s inner clique,
        and each only knows one part..never the whole “plan”. Larkham was in danger of knowing the “plan” so they got rid of him as he couldn’t be trusted.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Hahahaha gold mate

  • Pedro

    Haha, thank goodness. I wasn’t sure how to respond otherwise.

    • Dylan Langes

      In his defence I missed the emoji too haha

  • Mart

    I’m still getting over the fact they played Hodge at 13 for Wallabies and not Petia

    • Will

      I prefer Petaia as well but only after what I saw on the weekend. Hodge has proven himself handy at test level with a 70m place kick to boot…. Petaia will get there, just needs more time at 13 for the Reds running on.


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

More in Rugby