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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursdays Rugby News sees McCaffrey wants players picked on merit, Reds make a big call, NZRU Boss steps down, and Rebels look too mentally toughen up.


 

FOCUS ON THE FIELD NOT THE GYM

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Brumbies back rower Locky McCaffrey has been a standout for his team and in the Australian competition throughout the season. Yet it appears he is still not on the radar of the Australian selectors, after failing to receive an invitation to all three Wallaby camps this year.

McCaffrey has spoke to the Fox Rugby Podcast where he has implored selectors to look at what a player is achieving on the field, and not what they can do in the gym as he looked back on his unconventional story in professional rugby.

Growing up McCaffrey was a Sydney Schoolboy and Australian U20, playing one game for the Waratahs in 2010, seven for the Force in 2012-13 and eight for the Brumbies in 2014.

Unable to get sufficient game time in Australia, McCaffrey headed over to England, signing with the London Welsh.

“I wouldn’t recommend it for every player,” McCaffrey told the Fox Rugby Podcast.

“Every player has a different journey and way of getting to where they want to be.

“Going overseas isn’t the first choice when you’re 24 and trying to play Super Rugby and make it to the Wallabies.

“So it wasn’t by choice that I went overseas and I’d never pretend it was.

“I went over to a team on minimum wage and we lost 42 games in a row.

“So it wasn’t a great year but I got a lot of rugby under my belt.

“I played nearly 100 Premiership and European games in three years and I think what that did is you get to show your skills as a rugby player.”

McCaffrey performed exceptionally well in the Championship team that he got offered a Premiership contract with English powerhouse club Leicester under Aaron Mauger. It was his time in the Premiership competition that he really began to see the difference between Australian Rugby and English Rugby.

“A lot of Super Rugby in Australia, over the last five years, from my perspective, if you’re a good athlete and you’re good in the gym and you’re fast over 20m etc, you normally get the first jersey,” McCaffrey said.

“And overseas, especially the rugby I played in England, they weren’t too worried about what you lifted in the gym or how dynamic, how explosive you were or what your speed test was.

“They just looked at you on the field and if you played good rugby they kept picking you.

“Luckily for guys like me who aren’t the best athletes and aren’t these huge, explosive ball carriers, it gave me an opportunity to not get judged in the gym or the training paddock and I had coaches that judged me for what I did on a Saturday afternoon.

“Which definitely helped my case and in seasons over in the UK, where you play upwards of 40 games a season, they’re a lot more focused on what you do on the pitch than anything you can do at training.”

The length of the regular season, combined with the Heineken Cup means players have more opportunities to show off their skills on the football fields, as opposed to the gym or training field. Super Rugby seasons run for only 16 matches, with a preseason that runs almost the same length.

McCaffrey returned to the Brumbies last year to see the difference.

“So it’s probably a different way of looking at seasons.

“Obviously the amount of games over there helps you get a bit more game time where if you’re not in the starting team in Super Rugby, the seasons can go a lot quicker.

“So I wouldn’t tell anyone to go overseas before you’ve had a real good crack here which I tried my best, but at the same time you look at a lot of players that go overseas and all of them sort of turn into better rugby players.”

“Guys like Will Skelton, everyone’s talking about him now and everyone back here was saying he’s too slow or he’s not fit enough or this or that — always negative things — and he’s gone over and he’s a European and English champion and now everyone’s talking about bringing him back,” McCaffrey said.

“It’s interesting, I would love Australian rugby to judge players in the 80 minutes on game day instead of continually in the gym or how they look or their skinfolds.

“I guess that’s the world we live in and professional sport has pretty high standards.”

CHANGES AT THE REDS

Scott Higginbotham

Scott Higginbotham

The Queensland Reds have named their squad to take on the Blues on Friday as they play for pride, with the finals now officially out of contention. Something that assistant coach Jim McKay said cannot be undervalued. 

“Pride’s massive for us. We have actually talked about it this week,” he said.

“The guys have been fronting, especially the last month. We’ve been putting in the work, we’ve been putting in the effort.

“Yes, we’ve come up short but we’ve got to keep pushing.

“Every game is special. This game is no different. 

“And we want to get a bloody win. We’re really determined just to get across the line and get a reward for all the effort we’ve been putting in.”

Injury to their standout player Tate McDermott has paved the way for Scott Malolua to have his run on debut, a week after he received his starting debut.

“Tate picked up a slight knock last week. It would have been touch and go whether he played but we just moved on early in the week and Scott deserves his chance.” McKay said

“He’s clearly one of the better nines in the Brisbane competition and it’s a terrific pathway and recognition of the work he’s done.

“He played well for us off the bench, he knows our systems and it’s a really good opportunity for us and he’ll bring a lot of energy.”

Malolua beat out Moses Sorovi, who at the start of the season was the first choice no.9. Sorovi will come off the bench.

“Mo comes back off the bench and we know what Mo can do,” McKay said.

Izack Rodda and Alex Mafi make their way back into the starting line ups, with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto rested under the Rugby Australia resting policy.

The Blues will be without two of their All Blacks, using this match to rest Rieko Ioane and Patrick Tuipulotu under the resting policy in New Zealand.

REDS (15-1): Bryce Hegarty, Jock Campbell, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Samu Kerevi (c), Filipo Daugunu, Matt McGahan, Scott Malolua, Scott Higginbotham, Liam Wright, Angus Scott-Young, Angus Blyth, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Alex Mafi, JP Smith

Reserves: Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Ruan Smith, Gav Luka, Harry Hockings, Adam Korczyk, Moses Sorovi, Duncan Paia’aua, Hamish Stewart

BLUES (15-1): Melani Nanai, Matt Duffie, TJ Faiane, Ma’a Nonu, Tanielu Tele’a, Otere Black, Augustine Pulu, Akira Ioane, Blake Gibson (c), Dalton Papalii, Scott Scrafton, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Ofa Tuungafasi, James Parsons, Alex Hodgman

Reserves: Leni Apisai, Marcel Renata, Lua Li, Tom Robinson, Josh Goodhue, Jonathan Ruru, Harry Plummer, Levi Aumua

Referee: Brendon Pickerill (NZ)

NZRU BOSS STEPS DOWN

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After more than 25 years in rugby administration and 12 years as New Zealand Rugbys CEO, Steve Tew announced he will stand down.

Tew has had a long and successful career throughout his time in rugby, serving as the chief executive of the Canterbury Rugby Union and Crusaders Super Rugby franchise before joining New Zealand Rugby in 2001.

He replaced Chris Moller as chief executive in 2007.

Under his leadership, New Zealand have won back to back Rugby World Cups, including hosting in 2011, then more recently in Britain in 2015.

“After much reflection I’ve decided that this is the best time for me to make way for someone else to lead New Zealand Rugby into the future and a new phase for our national game,” Tew said in a statement Wednesday.

“There are new and exciting changes coming as a result of the upcoming new international calendar; a changing broadcast environment as well as a new All Blacks head coach to be appointed, so it’s the right time for me.”

Tew is leaving at a challenging time for New Zealand Rugby, with the new broadcast deals up to being negotiated, and participation in the male game on the decline. Female participation in New Zealand has been on the incline recently, which is a positive for the game.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen praised Tew for his efforts and believes he is the best CEO in New Zealand sport.

“On behalf of the All Blacks, I’d like to thank him for his unwavering support for the team and management. It’s no coincidence that his time in the job has coincided with one of the most successful periods of All Blacks rugby. He’ll be sadly missed by the entire team, who have always enjoyed his company, support and passion.

“Personally, I’d like to thank him for all the support and wisdom he has given me throughout a very long association. He gave me my first job as director of the Canterbury Rugby Academy and then various coaching roles following on from that. But he’s been much more than just a great boss – he’s been a very supportive friend – and I’m immensely proud to call him a mate.

 

 REBELS LOOKING TO BUILD MENTAL STRENGTH

Rebels chat v Waratahs (Credit Keith McInnes)

With their season on the line, and the toughest opponent (outside of Egon Seconds) a head of them, the Melbourne Rebels have turned to Tom Dawson-Squibb, a renowned mental leadership coach to improve on their flaws and stay focused for the final two weeks.

Not only do the Rebels gave to overcome the mountain of the Crusaders in Christchurch, but play host to the Chiefs the following week, a team who pulled the come back of the year to beat the Crusaders in Suva.

Assistant coach Kevin Foote spoke about how the team has used Dawson-Squibb throughout the year and called upon him after last weeks loss to the Waratahs.

“It’s a focus on how we prepare ourselves,” Foote said when asked how the Rebels would approach the clash against a team likely to already be gearing up for post-season play.

“We’ve got a great mental leadership coach, Tom Dawson-Squibb, who does a great job of getting our heads in the right place, setting the tone for the week and then we stay true to that.

“Don’t get distracted, don’t think about things that aren’t going to put you on that course – you stay true to things you believe in and that takes care of your mental space.

“If you start thinking outside the box, if you start drifting and getting distracted, then that’s when you can get yourself into trouble.

“So with the work of Tom, the coaches and everyone involved, we stay on course.”

The Rebels still have players to be rested under the Rugby Australia policy, with many believing this would be the ideal match to rest players, writing it off as an automatic loss to field a full strength side against the Chiefs.

“I don’t actually think we’ve got that luxury,” he said.

“We started really well but we haven’t gone so well later on in the comp, so for now, we just have to take every game as it comes and we’re just thinking about the Crusaders at the moment and not the Chiefs.

“Obviously we’re going to have to see who presents well after some knocks and bruises and there’s some guys who need some Australian rugby rest but Dave will handle that and we’ll put our best team forward.”

 

  • John Tynan

    Hear hear Lachie McCaffery! The old athlete vs footballer argument. I’m firmly in a footballer first camp (perhaps being a shit trainer all my life…)

    • Happyman

      Agree to many players in Australian Rugby look like Tarzan and play like Jane. (Obviously not meant to be a derogatory sexist term)

      • Human

        Jane can play.

        • John Tynan

          Cory?

    • Mica

      Shit trainer or not, benching 150 means nothing if you can’t catch a ball, beat a defender, read the play etc. etc. etc.

  • Nutta

    Tynan already picked it. Hear Hear McCafe – stop picking off gym stats! Pick bloody footballers who have been playing football.

    We’ve been saying for years “Gee, I wonder where the smart rugby players went?” Well I’ll tell you where it went; somewhere between the 8,000th & 9,000th rep. They may bench more than I can squat, but they know squat whereas mug-punters like me can see it from the bench! They may look like a condom stuffed with walnuts but they play like one too – no brains and easily split! Rack up some minutes, loose some games and split some heads because of bad-decision making and force an almost Darwinian attrition approach to both toughness and brains to show who can actually bloody play.

    How about a structure that gets folk out of the bloody gym and playing some bloody games? Bah! Humbug!

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      If Naisarani gets picked at 8, it will reaffirm that Australians don’t care for smart, complete footballers, but just for athletes sadly.

      6. Fardy, 7. Gill, 8. McCaffrey

      That’s the back row we could have if we valued smart footballers more. Even Mowen was so great in 2013 and an excellent captain. RA didn’t value him enough.

      • Slim 293

        Gill? Never deserved to be selected ahead of Hooper or Pocock…

        Losing Fardy sucked…

        Naisarani deserves to start at no 8… he’s not just a strong ball carrier, but he has a high workrate and is good in the lineout.

        I would have McCaffrey in the squad ahead of some other 6/8 options though.

        • Zippo

          hooper has been #7 for years and look what that delivered us!
          – 2nd in the world down to 6th/7th
          – worst win % in history
          – public support at an all time low

          How could Liam Gill have delivered anything worse than what we’ve got!

          PS: I’ve heard from a very reliable source, that cheika got rid of Fardy, as he didn’t want a senior player in the change room who may have been a strong personality

        • numpty

          So its only Hoopers fault, and the addition of Gill would’ve made the WBs #1…? For the record I think Gill is a great player and would’ve been a good wallaby and was just unlucky to have Pocock and Hooper getting in before him. Same thing for Phil Waugh in a way because Smith was there for most of it.

        • Zippo

          Ultimately, it’s cheika’s fault.

          However – specifically on hooper – he has no breakdown presence, that’s why we play both Pocock and hooper. If hooper cannot compete at the breakdown like all #7’s world wide – why pick him?

          Because we need to pick Pocock to cover hooper’s lack of breakdown presence, it throws the balance of the back row out. We then go into a test match with only 2 lineout options (think back to the RWC Final in 2015 – the All Blacks double teamed against our jumpers, resulting in no lineout ball. But, what is bandied through the media – our hookers can’t throw. Not true – they’ve got nothing to throw at!!!!) Last year’s Bledisloe at Homebush, hooper was a lineout target competing against Brodie Retallick – that didn’t end well!

          Then next one is, we have no dynamic ball runners to bend the defensive line, then our backs get slow, static ball and can’t attack. We have no dynamic backrow ball carriers because we pick Pocock to cover hooper and then the effects flow through the rest of the team. (PS: hooper running for 50+ metres on the wing doesn’t count – so shelve that meaningless stat). So what does cheika do? Picks people like Mumm, Hannigan, Dempsey. We are taking water pistols to a gun fight!

          Back to the backs – because we have slow static ball, Foley is under pressure, so what does cheika do? Pick two ball players at #10 and #12. (ie; Foley and Beale). So there’s no one bending the defensive line in the midfield. (The All Blacks have the likes of Ma’a Nonu, SBW. Ireland have Bundi Ake – hard carrying types). Then because we don’t have big bodies in the defensive line, Foley and Beale are hidden in the tram tracks, and the wing. If/when we get turnover ball, our ball players are nowhere in position, and we take 3 phases to get set. Too late – the oppositions defence is then reset, so there goes the counter attack threat.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Thats a great summary mate. I also think it’s pretty spot on

        • Singapore Sling

          Not Cheika’s fault, Larkhams and he was fired so all good now.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Hahahahaha

        • Slim 293

          Hooper has no breakdown presence? The same Hooper who won more pilfers than Liam Gill when he was at the Brumbies?

        • Who?

          Liam Gill never played for the Brumbies. :-P
          .
          I know what you’re saying, but… That was one season, and not the long term trend. Aussies tend to expect their 7’s to be one man teams – like George Smith through the 00’s, and Pocock in the 2011 RWC QF against the Bokke. To do that, you’ve got to play tight. That wasn’t Hooper’s deal – he’s an excellent player, insane motor, but it’s just not his natural game. Whereas Gill was better at doing that job (in spite of being barely any bigger).

        • numpty

          You actually think they pick pocock to cover for Hooper??? That is laughable. They both get picked because they’re too good to leave on the pine. Hoopers job isn’t to have a breakdown presence so you’re measuring a piece of string with a banana. Hoopers job is to make lots of tackles, cover meters and support backs in the wide channels (where he does disrupt rucks btw). That’s why he gets all those run meters, coz he is where he is supposed to be, doing what he was told to do. I will agree with you though that picking both of them and not having a physical enough tight 5 has led to an unbalanced pack. However, Scotland and Wales both played dual open sides in 6 nations and that turned out alright didn’t it…

        • Who?

          Gill isn’t Phil Waugh, he’s David Croft. The third of three 7’s who’d have been proud representatives in almost any other Rugby country.
          But I think that Gill was the most naturally rounded player. He added greater ability over the ball to Hooper’s workrate and pace. He added genuine linking – not just running, not just some passing, but linking with options. He wasn’t the finished article, he was unlucky to have Hooper get the first run on game when it was arguably nothing more than a coin toss between them, and Hooper (in a backrow with Brumbies team mates Mowen and Fardy) took full advantage of his opportunities (and well done to him).

        • Slim 293

          By that logic ALL of the Wallaby players selected over that period should’ve been dropped for someone else not in the squad… daft.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think he was pretty close to Hooper before he left. The Dublin 6 thing stuffed him.

          He didn’t deserve to be over Pocock, but who knows if Poey will recover, sadly.

          I’ve been less than impressed with Naisarani’s work rate. A bit of a ruck inspector. McCaffrey’s breakdown work has been great. He’s played a lot at 7, and it shows.

        • Singapore Sling

          Liam should have got his mum to get mad at Link like little Adams mum did. Adam’s mum fixed everything. She’s a very good mum.

      • numpty

        I agree re: Naisarani. He just fits the stereotype of what a good 8 looks like, but I haven’t seen enough of the work rate from him. Similar to Timani a couple of years ago. He should be given a run, but he isn’t the shoe in alot of people seem to suggest imo. If Hooper tucked his jersey in and wore head gear like Gill, he’d also have a cult following.

        • Mica

          If Hooper could boss a defensive ruck like Pocock or Smith or Gill he’d have a cult following is a more accurate statement.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Gill was the most George Smith-esque of all the post-Smith 7s we’ve had.

        • Mica

          “Is” DBTB, not “was”…….
          He’s not gone yet!
          I live in hope, although I am liking the early signs from Wright.
          He could end up being a very similar player to Fardy in the future and really looks like a bit of a hybrid 6/7 to me.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah of course he could come back, I just haven’t seen him play in years.

          Hmm, to me he looks like an out and out 7, in the vein of George Smith: strong over the ball in defensive rucks, good at clearing out in attacking rucks, has the speed and skills to link with the backs. Just a really complete player.

        • Greg

          Does he enjoy his game?

        • Singapore Sling

          There was a report last year of Gill feeling out the Reds for a return and Thorn not being interested.

        • Human

          Thorn will be coaching the Wobs next season.

        • Singapore Sling

          Hush! Don’t even joke about it!

        • Mica

          Just thinking of his lineout ability, defence and tight ball carrying abilities.

        • numpty

          I don’t know what your definition of “boss” is. But I hope you aren’t another one of these people that thinks jackalling ability is the only thing a 7 needs in their toolkit. Because that would be boring… also, Hooper creates plenty of turnover ball/disruptions, he just does it on the fringes in one or two man rucks not your traditional jackal setup.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          It sure isn’t the only thing. But of the world class 7s for the past 20 years, how many haven’t had jackling abilities?

        • numpty

          True but with ruck law changing jackalling is now less important hence the advent of the ‘hold up’ tackle to force turnovers. I think that fundamentally the game has changed with the attacking team being very much favoured in terms of penalties so teams are designed around leaving rucks empty and having good recycle rates and forcing errors through rush defense etc. I’m not saying that Hooper is the bee’s knees, but there is no doubt he is a quality player that fits the mold of what many coaches want out of their opensides in modern rugby.

        • Who?

          The choke tackle was adopted by NH teams (other than Ireland) in 2016 (Ireland had been doing it for 6 years already by then), when the laws were changed. It’s taken us years to figure that out.
          .
          But the inability to contest possession has seen refs become much more lenient on jackals this year. We constantly see turnovers made with hands only finding the ball after the ruck is formed (not the tackle, but the ruck), with players not supporting their own weight.
          .
          Given the massive risks of jackalling, especially the modern version where no one bends their knees and no one keeps their head up, resulting in necks taking a massive beating and injuries aplenty, I expect we’ll see the laws changed again. Jackalling became a thing because no one bothered to enforce the law that required that not only tacklers, but also tackled ball carriers roll away. If the tackled player doesn’t roll, with rucking temporarily penalized out of the game (it’s back, but not to the same extent), then there’s no method of creating a turnover at a ruck. So jackalling became important. I expect we’ll see something to create more of a contest, but whilst making jackalling either irrelevant or illegal.
          .
          Until that time, having someone who consistently secures your own ruck and disrupts your opponent’s ruck ball is critical. Hooper’s an excellent player – massive motor, defends hard, covers a lot of ground. But he’s no ruck monkey, and we don’t have many ruck monkeys in our loose forwards at present who don’t cover much the same physical ground as Hooper. As in, they’re about the same size and weight. And that doesn’t give you much variety in ball carrying or in the lineout. If we had a Fardy type player – someone who was a ruck monkey, could both secure and turn over ball, but was also a genuine lineout option – then there’d be less of an issue.
          .
          It’s worth noting that Hooper became an international star in a backline with Fardy and Mowen (who also loved to pester the breakdown). That team had four genuine lineout options (Mowen was as good a lineout caller and technician as anyone else in the country, then Fardy, and the locks), two tight on-ballers (Fardy and Mowen), and a ranging openside who could attack and defend width like few others (Hooper).
          .
          The problem with Hooper isn’t Hooper, it’s selection. The problem for Hooper is that I can’t think of any taller (over 190cm) loose forwards in Australia these days who meet that brief and are in favour.

        • numpty

          Spot on on all counts Who. Much of our problems have centred around a lack of quality 6’s and 8’s since Fardy and Palu/Samo left. Definitely not because of poor 7s.

        • Who?

          But the issue with it is that it’s also partially on Cheika. Because he drove Fardy out. He’s picked small loose forwards, rather than looking to use bigger guys or develop other guys. His enforcer has been Hanigan!
          .
          Further, whilst it’s a problem for Hooper that our 6 and 8 haven’t been on-ballers, it’s also worth noting that, traditionally, our 7’s have been the on-ballers. Hooper’s first few seasons were in a period where we, unusually, had something close to the right balance to play him in the loose forwards.
          .
          It’s not Hooper’s fault the loose forwards tend to be unbalanced. It’s a failure of selection. It’s the coaching staff failing to realize that, with the players available in Australia, with more smaller loose forwards around at present, we don’t have a wide range of options for 6 and 8, so we need to pick our best there, and then find a 7 who complements their strengths. We haven’t seen that. We’ve regularly not seen our best 6 and 8 – certainly, we haven’t fielded enough height and size. We’ve lacked impact in our loose forwards – something that wasn’t an issue in Hooper’s early seasons (2014, he played with Palu and JacPot at the Tahs. There was no true on-baller, but Cheika’s game plan was to dominate the contact in the air, and with those guys, he generally did).
          .
          More often than not, a big guy who plays at 6 or 8 isn’t going to be an on-baller. You hope they’re going to be a good ball carrier, strong tackler, and that they work hard at the breakdown. That being the case, your short loose forward basically needs to be your on-baller. Hooper’s strengths aren’t best focused on him being an on-baller in the tight… So it’s very arguable that what he brings – for all his strengths – is not suitable. Because we’ve been playing one player who doesn’t balance with the players available to fill the other positions. And why people are cranky about it is that we have (and had) alternatives who were better balanced alongside the options at 6 and 8, who could play 7. That’s Pocock (obviously), but it’s also Gill (departed), McMahon (who is the closest thing we’ve seen to a copy of Hooper, also not as strong on the ball), Dempsey, Colby Fainga’a, and others (Hardwick, etc – players further from Wallaby jerseys).
          .
          The problem with Hooper is that he’s an atypical player, and playing him in the loose forwards whilst retaining balance requires other atypical players to be available, and they just aren’t available. We don’t have them. And we’ve rarely had them. We’re looking for players who can’t be bought, or developed, they just happen – once in a generation players, rather than more typical, easier to find players. It’s part of the reason why a team of champions doesn’t work against a champion team – because a team of champions may have exceptional players, but they won’t necessarily carry all the attributes needed to cover all requirements and maintain balance.

        • John Miller

          Great post Who?

        • Mica

          Not the only thing, but we need to have at least one player who can latch onto a ball at a defensive ruck in the forwards and survive the cleanout. This is critical when under sustained defensive pressure. HJH has been doing really well at this aspect for the Tahs but he won’t be a Wallaby in the short term. Slipper is about the best of the likely Wallabies props at this aspect, however it’s more of getting the odd turnover rather than his strong suit. Latu is also good, but he’s been a bit of a liability and shouldn’t really be in the frame. So without Pocock who fills this role for the Wobs? If you think it’s Hooper watch what happens when he gets hit at a ruck. He relies on speed and no tight forward cleaners to get turnovers and this won’t happen against top tier test nations.

        • numpty

          I don’t disagree Mica and no doubt Hooper is not a world class jackaller. My point is merely that he doesn’t try to be one and instead does a whole bunch of other stuff around the field that are just as important so to measure his output by the number of pilfers is not useful. Its a tough one re: your turnover point, I think that if the WBs have a physical tight 5 that can push attackers behind the advantage line they can create turnover opportunities or force kicks, poor decisions. But as you see with the ABs, they can have only 30% possession and win. They just tackle and tackle and tackle and let the other team make the mistake. Giving away ruck penalties is just too easy and risky to do.

        • Mica

          Fair enough – I just remember too many times where the Wobs were under pressure and we were able to force a turnover from Pocock and prior to that Smith or Waugh. This saved us many times in the past and I think we will continue to need this ability going forward if the Wobs are going to compete successfully.
          Regarding NZ, they have played McCaw, Cane and Todd at 7 in recent years. All 3 of these players provide the skill set I am talking about, so I guess NZ see it as an important skill to have too. :)

        • numpty

          At least in the pooper era, I think you’ll find alot of the jackals made by pocock were the result of a hooper around the legs tackle. Cheika had them roving the field in tandem. I think that Hoopers line speed and ability to stop the ball going to wide channels is a talent that outweighs the lack of jackaling.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Bang on mate. I think it came in because it is something that you can measure and then the academics took over rather than the rugby brains

      • AllyOz

        the critical one is standing vertical jump. Apparently (at least in some eyes) you can tell someones athletic potential by stats like these before they have matured as athletes and without watching them play a game. And there is a certain group of coaches that feel that, if given the ideal athlete or the athletes with the best raw numbers that they can turn them into the best players. I differ and believe that you make the best rugby players by getting them to play rugby. sure get them as fit and strong as possible (definitely) but players can be coached out of natural instincts rather than letting the game develop them.

        Having said all that Pocock has more macadamias in his condom than most and he still has a decent amount of footballing brains to go with it.

        • Human

          Probably organic pecans rather than macadamias

        • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

          There’s a school of thought among some medicos of my acquaintance, that Poey’s history of injuries is at least partly attributable to excessive gym work, especially in his formative years while his bones were still growing.

          Their theory runs along the lines of his have spent too many sessions doing arm day and leg day, and his excessive musculature has actually asked too much of his joints, especially his knees. They’re not claiming a direct causality link to his ACL issues, but suspect that extra strain leaves his hinges vulnerable to damage.

          Of course, certain players in dark-ish jerseys also seem to ask quite a lot of Poey’s neck joint.

          Greater minds than mine on this site will have a more informed view, but it does give me pause for thought. My medico mates do not predict a comfortable, arthritis-free retirement for the young Zimbabstralian.

        • AllyOz

          It makes sense to me. I have heard similar things before – particularly around tendons and connective tissue – that you can increase muscle size and strength but that you can’t strengthen tendons and connective tissue in the same way and this makes it more susceptible to strains and breaks etc. I don’t know enough about it to question it one way or the other but it makes sense to my basic knowledge.

          He should hopefully be healthy enough to hold his seat for the Greens in the Senate. ;)

  • Brumby Runner

    We know that Cheika prizes training effort over performance on the field – he has told us so often when defending his selections. It probably also explains why so many of us fans are son frustrated with his selections, because the on-field performance of many of his selected players doesn’t match what we see from week to week from others who get overlooked.

    Credit to McCaffrey for having the balls to bring the subject into the public arena.

    • Two things that never fail to amaze me –

      Players who are damn right ordinary at training that totally kill it on every game day.
      Extremely fit, string and athletic players that train well but do sweet fa.
      Ive no doubt gym work etc has its advantages but totally over hyped even at club level.

      • Yowie

        George Smith was reputedly a pretty average trainer (crap beep tests, liked his food & beer etc) but would smash it on game day.

        • Geoffro

          A couple of Georges brumby teammates Finegan and Giffen looked like they’d never seen the inside of a gym but geez they could play

    • Mica

      When they interviewed Cheika about hookers for the Wallabies after about the first half dozen SR rounds, the first comment he made about Folau Fainga’a was that “he needed to get his rig in order”. I remember at the time that I didn’t see him struggling to get around the field and he was playing some damn good rugby at the time. It seemed like he wasn’t going to even be considered if he didn’t meet whatever fitness/training threshold was required, even if he was the best performing hooker available to the Wallabies. It actually just came across as a possible excuse not to pick him or maybe Cheika was trying to “motivate” him.

    • Nutta

      Don’t get me fkn started on ‘Yeh we were happy with the tour. I mean, yeh we lost, but geez we trained well.’

  • Whatever the Wallabies have been doing in section has not worked. It hasn’t worked for years. McCaffery should get a start at #8 based on form this year – he’s been great for the Brumbies and would be great in green and gold.
    Sadly, they will probably play Ned there.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Dylan,

    McCaffery brings up some really good points. The rugby over here has been suckered into measurements from people who have studied the game but probably don’t have a lot of experience in actually playing it. No doubt there is value in some of these and it’s as sure as hell easier to justify when you have measurements and facts to bring up rather than “gut feel” by a coach who has been in the game for years. I personally think the gut feel and the physical measurements compliment each other but that if you have an experienced coach then gut feel should take some precedence.

    Reds vs Blues should a good free flowing game with nothing on the line except pride. For the Blues there are AB spots up for grab so a bit of incentive there, for the Reds a lack of confidence in any selector picking off form means it probably is all about pride and nothing else.

    Farewell to Trew. I think NZ has been lucky to have people of such high calibre running the game over there and I certainly think he has done a great job. There’ll always be detractors but I think he’s been a great servant of NZ Rugby and he deserves every accolade he receives.

    I think it’s pretty obvious that the mental edge of the Rebels is what is letting them down. They definitely have the gifted players but their whole season seems to be a collection of poor decisions at crucial times that have let them down and I think that is a lot about the mental approach. Dawson-Squibb needs to relook at what he’s doing and how to change it as it hasn’t been particularly effective.

    • Hoss

      Surely NOBODY can take mental strength tips from a guy called ‘Dawson-Squibb’ – i mean FFS, really ? Sounds like a cross between a private school prefect and an obscure British Lord who likes his Martini’s like he likes his choirboys – dry and often.

      Surely you’d change that name. I mean, someone comes to me and says ‘we need mental strength training from Mr Dawson-Squibb’, i’d throw a stapler at them – FFS.

      • Greg

        Oh dear @hoss…..

        • Hoss

          throwing a ‘stapler’ a bit too much you think

        • Singapore Sling

          Not enough!

      • Singapore Sling

        Could be related to the Dawson-Squibbs of Surrey. Aristocratic sheep worriers.

        • Hoss

          may as well be………’Hoss we are going to undertake some mental strength training from Unicorn Sunflower-Candy, are you in?’

          One teaspoon, add cement, swallow and harden the fuck up.

      • Keith Butler

        Thought the name was a joke and had to check. Must be a SD. His input probably explains why the Rebs throw away leads by running around like headless chooks in the last 20 mins. You’ll have to excuse me I have a dose of the “Squibb’s”

        • Hoss

          I think its my mixed Irish / First Australian bloodlines mate, but hyphenated names get my goat.

          Yours Sincerely

          Hoss Griffen-Thomson III

  • AllyOz

    “It’s interesting, I would love Australian rugby to judge players in the 80 minutes on game day instead of continually in the gym or how they look or their skinfolds.” McCaffrey. I can’t put it better so I will just repeat what he said.

    • Yowie

      80 minutes is a bit unfair on props though.

      • Got a specific time in mind?

        • Yowie

          Props tend to be automatically substituted for bench players don’t they?

          (the original comment was just a p!ss-take on not many props playing the full 80 mins).

        • Yep, was just seeing how game you were.
          No doubt a few fatboys around here

        • Yowie

          Dammit, perfectly good bait not taken. Fun brought to an end.

        • Hoss

          Hey – i am not fat, just short for my weight.

        • Greg

          let’s see…. 6’8″ x kilos = …..

        • Hoss

          That’s Briz mate – he is in the land of the Giant. I am a smidge under 6’4 and i am on the ‘plus sized’. I should point out i am awaiting confirmation from Aussie Post for my own postcode though.

        • Oh, No offence intended, more as in “the bomb”.
          I hold no resentment toward those fat little f@$kers in the front row whatsoever.

        • Hoss

          None taken mate. I have always been big. My mother was in labor longer than Whitlam.

        • Dr Kerr was it?

        • Hoss

          Greek gent, Con. Cousin to Wayne.

      • Nutta

        No it’s not. Pick Guys tough enough to play – not because they fill the jersey. It was one of the things I used to love about playing up-front was wearing my opponent down, down, down and just feeling delicious anticipation knowing I was going to dismantle the bastard in the last 15min.

        I’m getting all nostalgic now…

  • Missing Link

    Disappointed in McCaffrey’s comments to be honest, he missed a golden opportunity to use the term “condom full of walnuts”… pfft amatuer

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Gold

  • Andy

    McCaffrey over Hanigan and Dempsey every day of the week. Even if he wasn’t starting he would be some player to bring off the pine. Far more physical than people make out and he is a real fighter that doesn’t back down. We need more of those types of players

    • John Miller

      Also covers 6, 7 and 8. If McC isn’t in the run on, he’s the perfect bench player. Criminal he is being completely ignored by Chuckles. And unfortunately, not at all surprising.

  • Mica

    It’s going to be really hard for the Rebs this week and the Chiefs did them no favours by beating the Cru all but eliminating the possibility of complacency and surprise ambush………….Bugger

    • Hoss

      Mate, the Rebs took the pooch out the back a few weeks ago and started the foreplay. The position they were in meant it should never have hinged on these next two games to make the 8. They should have been home and hosed weeks back. Only themselves to blame me thinks.

      • Brumby Runner

        Yep, last week’s loss might be their Waterloo for this year.

        • Hoss

          Not sure what that means, but i love ABBA.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Definition of quality

      • Keith Butler

        True. We’re screwed. A lot to not many this weekend and probably the same against the Chiefs.

  • AllyOz

    Just a bit of a follow up on McCaffrey’s comments.

    Player development here is a rather focus and I think it is because we funnel the players too early. Because we have limited resources we have adopted a structure that seeks to identify talent early and concentrate that talent. Players are first concentrated in a relatively limited number of elite schools. From there they are then concentrated into 3-4 age based academies for further development. They may player at 1st Colts level as underage players (U18/19s) or play in U20 comps at state/province level with selection for U20s – the last representative step prior to Wallabies selection. There is also a view that a high level training can replicate or even be better for game preparation and skills development.

    In other systems, the lower age players don’t appear to be quarantined from senior grade or regional rep teams as much as what we might. An U20 player might go into club grade or provincial systems where he could play with some older players who may not have had the skill or natural characteristics at a young age but have developed through match time etc and playing against experienced, older and sometimes stronger and wiser players. While I am sure that elite level training can develop the athlete almost as well as game-time I am not sure that it can develop the decision-making, character and experience that playing can. I am also not sure that just playing amongst your peers in the same age range is as beneficial as playing against more experienced players. We are trying to concentrate the talent pool in the age group but by doing that we cut out the potential experiences that this group might get from playing against a good standard of older players who might not be super rugby standard but still competitive and have much to teach talented young athletes who have limited game time. Ideally the NRC would be providing this opportunity but I think, where the NRC is just used for development of younger players and doesn’t include some of the wiley veterans, then we might not be getting as much out of it as we could.

  • Greg

    After 2.5 IFFWs, Mr Folau is back in the news.

    My request to the GAGR authors for Friday and beyond…. let the legal media cover the case. The case will run and there will be a resolution sooner or later. We have debated it here at length and all expressed our views.

    Let’s stick with the rugby.

  • sambo6

    Dont worry Lachie McCaffery…..you don’t have to look far this week in sport to find winners who probably didnt do well on skinfold tests…

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/04/andy-ruiz-jr-underdog-boxer-anthony-joshua

    • Hoss

      Glorious wasnt it.

      One for us fatties. To my Doctors who told me i should stop having dinner for 4, unless 3 other people are involved, i say up yours.

      Andy Ruiz Jr – i salute you.

      • sambo6

        I love this line from that guardian article…

        ‘So much about the image is perfect – from the fallen pose of Anthony Joshua, and the glove raised in awe of Andy Ruiz Jr’s glorious protruding belly….’

        • Hoss

          Was watching Back Page on Tuesday night and Crash Craddock reckons he (Ruiz) deliberately stays overweight so he is underestimated. Seems to work.

      • Who?

        Ruiz was hilariously wrong! The way he jumped around after winning that fight… Just scary, but joyous. :-D
        .
        I think the Drake curse is about the only thing that brings any form of logic to a bloke who looks like Ruiz (short and ‘fluffy’) beating a modern Hercules like Anthony…

        • Hoss

          The image of his mid-section was like 6 men in a three men tent wrestling, bits wobbling everywhere. Made me misty.

    • From NooZealand

      Great indeed.

Rugby
@DylanGLanges

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

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