Thursday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursdays Rugby News sees White reaches out to Wessels, Junior Wallabies through to the semis, Rebels back themselves, Tahs rest Wallabies.




jake white square

Melbourne Rebels have received some support by the way of a World Cup winning coach ahead of their do or die clash against the Chiefs.

Jake White, the man who coached South Africa to their World Cup win in 2007 reached out to fellow expat and Rebels head coach Dave Wessels.

White, who also coached the Brumbies and was rumoured for the Wallabies job, called Wessels to offer him support, guidance and advice on how to tailor his message for the team.

“Jake White rang me through the week and said if someone had offered you in January a home game against the Chiefs to make the finals you would have accepted that,” Wessels said on Wednesday.

“I’m obviously a coach who is still learning a lot and there’s a couple of senior coaches like Jake who take a lot of trouble to communicate.

“They’ve been in the washing machine of it before and sometimes when you’re down you haven’t got a lot of people phoning you so I’m very grateful.

“I ask him for technical ideas but he’s helped me focus the messaging down a little bit.

“When we play well we are very hard to stop but the trick is to find the levers to get that performance out consistently.”

The Rebels will be looking to avoid a last round loss like last season, leaving their finals hopes in the hands of someone else, hoping that another team will win, lose or draw, for them to make the top eight. 

Half Back Will Genia laid out the simple equation The Rebels need to win to make finals “You win, you go through.

“I think that what the guys are really ready for is just the fact that we’re in the position that if we win we know we’ll be playing finals football,” he said.

“That’s just exciting in itself.

“For the Rebels who have never played in finals football and for a lot of guys who were in other Super Rugby provinces in years gone by that haven’t played in finals, it’s just such an unreal experience and you can so often say things like at the start of the year, if you’d told us the last round if we had a game to win we’d be playing finals we would take it.

“Certainly that’s the feeling around the group at the moment.

“In that sense, I definitely think we’re prepared and I think in the way that the guys have trained thus far we’re really looking forward to it.”



The Junior Wallabies put up a brave fight despite being down to 14 men for their match against England.

Australian No.8 Pat Tafa was red carded in the second minute of the match, for a high shot on the neck of English backrower Aaron Hinkley.

The English got up to a 14-0 lead in the first 10 minutes, eventually taking their lead out by 37 points. The Junior Wallabies didn’t back down though, scoring 21-7 in the finally 30 minutes to pick up a bonus point.

The bonus point sees them through to the semifinals where they take on the hosts, Argentina.

Captain Fraser McReight was proud of the effort his boys put in, fronting up when being down to 14 men, even though they were already through to the finals, they continued to fight.

“It’s a bittersweet feeling, I suppose, making the semis before this game and then getting a red card two minutes in,” McReight said.

“It wasn’t the start we wanted, we wanted that scalp (of England) to be honest.

“but credit to England, they played really good footy and took advantage of the 14 men they were playing against.

“But I’m super proud of the boys. To play with 14 men for pretty much the whole game – at stages of that match we were (almost) 40 points behind – and to keep England from scoring too many tries in that second half and to put a lot more tries on was really pleasing.”

“We just wanted to go out in the second half and play the footy that we knew we could play and wanted to play and I think we did that,” he said.


England 56

Tries: Hill 2, Dingwall, Sleightholme, De Glanville, Hinkley, Vunipola, Willis

Cons: Hodge 8

Junior Wallabies 33

Tries: Lolesio, Lucas, Harris, McReight,, Tizzano

Cons: Harrison 2, McDonald 2 


DJ Will Genia and MC Quade Cooper  Reds v Rebels 2019

In what could be the Melbourne Rebels biggest match of the season, coach Dave Wessels has gone with his most successful halves and centre combinations from the law firm of Genia, Cooper, Meakes and English.

“From a cohesion perspective, the combinations of Genia and Cooper and Meakes and English are our most tested combinations.”

This combination was the most successful for the Rebels with the bulk of the their strongest performances coming with these four playing together. Genia was rested last week against the Crusaders, Cooper was on the bench, with English on the wing.

With their futures still not locked in, this could be the last time Genia and Cooper play together, with the Rebels looking to lock down the pair, with overseas clubs on the hunt for their services.

The Rebels know the importance of this match, do or die, as they look to put last weeks dismal display behind them, looking towards their maiden finals appearance.

“We were pretty embarrassed about our performance last week,” coach Dave Wessels said.

“It’s showtime now for us.

“We’ve got an opportunity this week to do something pretty special for the club, something that we’ve never had the chance to do before.

“It’s just such a crazy comp. we could finish anywhere from fifth to 12th, so it’s a crazy year, that’s the beauty of Super Rugby.

Anaru Rangi, Jermaine Ainsley, Luke Jones and Marika Koroibete all return to starting positions pushing Jordan Uelese, Sam Talakai, Michael Ruru and Matt To’omua to the bench.

Adam Coleman and Jack Maddocks will miss the match due to injury, with Coleman out with a shoulder issue and Maddocks had a few niggles and needed a mental rest.

“He’s (Maddocks) got a niggle on his knee and his calf tightened up, so we had to get that scanned earlier in the week.

“He’s one of those guys who’s played every game for us, so given those niggles, it was the right time to give Jack his breather.

Rebels Squad

1. Tetera Faulkner 2. Anaru Rangi 3. Jermaine Ainsley 4. Matt Philip 5. Luke Jones 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. Reece Hodge 15. Dane Haylett-Petty (c)


16. Jordan Uelese 17. Matt Gibbon 18. Sam Talakai 19. Ross Haylett-Petty 20. Rob Leota 21. Michael Ruru 22. Matt To’omua 23. Campbell Magnay



Waratahs v Stormers 2018 2nd Half-4

Five Wallabies have been left in Australia as the Waratahs head to Invercargill to take on the Highlanders. NSW will be without Sekope Kepu, Rob Simmons, Michael Hooper, Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale due to the resting policy.

Mack Mason will be given another crack at starting flyhalf this week, but with no Foley or Beale, he will likely play out the full 80 minutes.

Coach Daryl Gibson is confident that the young flyhalf is ready for that challenge, and will make the most of his opportunity.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for all our players coming into the team,” he said.

“They’ve been waiting patiently, I’ve been very consistent with putting out pretty much the same team every week and these guys are really energised and enthusiastic about going and fighting and representing the team.

“Mack’s one of those guys – we need to give him that opportunity so he can find out exactly what the level is and experience that. That’s what I’m really pleased to  be able to offer these guys that opportunity.

“I fully expect him to front up and be on for the game.”

Returning No.6 Jack Dempsey will likely get 30 minutes off the bench as he returns from injury, needing to get some game time in before Wallabies camp.

“Obviously, Jack’s working his way back to full fitness and he’s been excellent in the last two weeks at training and we felt this is a great opportunity to get some game time for us,” Gibson said.

“Obviously going with that 6-2 `bench points to us. We’re fully expecting it to be wet and we’ve loaded up on forwards for that.

“We discussed just how much game time he’s got in him and we felt the best decision was around just capping him at 30 minutes and he’s best coming off the bench.”

Tolu Latu was unavailable for selection this week due to a court date, so he is expected to line up for Sydney Uni in the Shute Shield.

“I can’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be available for club rugby but obviously we’ll be awaiting that outcome,” Gibson added.

Waratahs Squad

1. Harry Johnson-Holmes 2. Damien Fitzpatrick 3. Tom Robertson 4. Ned Hanigan 5. Tom Staniforth 6. Hugh Sinclair 7. Will Miller 8. Michael Wells 9. Nick Phipps 10. Mack Mason 11. Curtis Rona 12. Lalakai Foketi 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper 14. Cam Clark 15. Alex Newsome


16. Andrew Tuala 17. Rory O’Connor 18. Shambeckler Vui 19. Ryan McCauley 20. Jed Holloway 21. Jack Dempsey 22. Jake Gordon 23. Tautalatasi Tasi


  • Custard Taht

    Good on Mr White for calling the Rebs coach and offering advice and assistance. Being able to pick the brain of Jake White is a luxury that Wessels should definitely take advantage of.

    I feel Jake White might throw his hat in the ring for Wallabies gig post RWC.

    Good to see Wessels picking those four, probably the best backline combinations. But it will all mean nothing, if the little pigs don’t go to the market and trash all their oppositions stores.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Jake White has wanted the gig since 2013, made that very clear, and RA haven’t been interested.

      Interestingly, on the last rugby ruckus podcast one of the guys mentioned that at the ‘99 Wallabies reunion dinner, he was told by a former Wallaby in the know that Rennie was a ‘done deal’.

      Personally, while I like White, I am more excited about what Rennie can bring.

      • Dud Roodt

        I feel the same way as you (in that I’m more excited by Rennie than White) but that’s tempered a little by my thinking that perhaps what the Wallabies need most now is a coach like White with enormous international experience, experience within the Australian coaching system as well, and someone who will perhaps get things back to basics.

        • Custard Taht

          Agreed, Rennie might be what we want, but White might be what we need.

          He certainly did a good job at turning around the Brumbies. That is not to say Rennie can’t do it either. Just that White has more runs on the board.

          Rennie has experience with kiwi players, and Aus players can be a different beast. Like Deans, he might find the attitude difference, at least initially, difficult to deal with.

        • Dud Roodt

          I agree.
          I think what rugby here needs the most after this world cup is for someone with a great deal of respect to come in and clean the board, start again, and not worry about pissing some people off. I think White is the man for the job

        • Custard Taht

          The good news for the next wallaby coach is, that despite the situation now, the wallabies will be in a good position for the next RWC cycle.

          The rusted on incumbent’s will be either gone or too old and the young’ens in Super Rugby are showing promise.

          The U/20s are showing that the cream is there, as long as the Super teams don’t turn it into sour cream.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think the rules have moved away from White speciality (so much of his game is built on the kick chase, and the rules penalise chasers for bad contests so much more now). He ruled the roost between 07-09, especially with the ELVs.

          Rennie has a more multi-faceted game plan, and one which offers the possibility of more attacking backline play. It took the Brumbies 6 years after White to become a bit more creative, and the Boks even longer.

          I would be happy with either, but I think we lucked out if we got Rennie.

        • Who?

          I’ll start by saying that if we can nab either of those guys, it’s a HUGE achievement, and I’ll be happy to see what they can bring. Whoever it is (even if it’s someone else), they get at least 12 months (from me) to show what they’re bringing, what’s new, to bed in their systems.
          I think that White and Rennie are very contrasting in the coaching styles. And it’s not just about their game plans. In fact, their game plans are only a reflection of the differences in their styles. And part of it is their history.
          Rennie’s been a provincial coach. He’s not held a top level gig before. He has been a very successful coach, and watching his teams, it was always clear that he got the absolute best out of whatever players happened to be on the field. They might’ve been fielding the outside centre from the Hamilton Fourth XV, but that player coming in knew exactly what his role was. There was no confusion, he wasn’t asked to do more than his abilities permitted. That’s a sign of a great coach, with clarity in communication and game plan. But it’s also the sort of thing that you can do when you’ve got limited depth, when you can coach one on one. When you’re not relying on assistants, when you’ve got players with you for months on end. That’s not the case when you’re an international coach. So there’s big challenges that may not suit Rennie. I’m not saying he can’t do it, just pointing out the different circumstances around an international gig will be a challenge for him, an adaptation to be made. Something Robbie Deans couldn’t understand.
          White, on the other hand… He found his time at the Brumbies challenging, because he initially didn’t understand Australian players. South Africans – from the little guys to the giants – would follow every instruction with ‘Yes sir’. Whereas Aussies would follow each instruction with, “Why?” Once Jake understood what was going on, he found it was an advantage – the Aussies were looking for the desired outcome of their actions, and asked why so they could be more effective at achieving that outcome when the instructed actions weren’t sufficient. So his time with the Brumbies is an advantage. But his bigger advantage is that he understands how to use a coaching team. He put together Lord Laurie and Bernie. They worked to create a style that worked for the players in their squad. White had a solid team and coaching staff in 2007, but was smart enough to realize there was a missing piece, dragged in Eddie Jones, and won a RWC. His strength is that he already understands the importance of staffing weaknesses and the challenges of coaching around provinces. The question, then, is finding the right coaching team and a game plan that works.
          Neither would be guaranteed success. I like them both – a lot. It will be fascinating to see where it all goes.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I agree. The choice between the two of them would be the opposite of a dilemma. Compared to what we have now…

        • Custard Taht

          I think either option is a win for the Wallabies and the Super franchises as well. I think both will bring far more W’s then we are used to post the RWC.
          If his tenure at the Chiefs is anything to go by, the wins and losses Rennie would bring, would probably be far more “Attractive” to the wider masses.

        • Keith Butler

          Rennie’s bring express relief.

        • Custard Taht

          Decided against posting the response, it was probably too controversial!

        • Keith Butler

          Got it though. None taken.

  • Brumby Runner

    Did the U20s really earn a bonus point?

    I can see where England would have done so; 8 tries to 5 gets a winning bonus point. But the Junior Wallabies finished more than 7 points down. Am I missing something?

    • Dud Roodt

      Maybe there’s different rules in this tournament? Like even if you lose you still get a 4 try BP?

      • Brumby Runner

        Yeah, that’s not what I understand to be the case, but it is really my question.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yep that’s what it was. Bonus point for scoring 4 or more tries

        • Bernie Chan

          The Junior Wallas showed a lot of ticker…going down to 14 players after 2 mins (I found it curious that the Ref called the tackle a “shoulder charge”…). Outscoring ENG in the final 30 is no mean feat! McReight is another off the production line of #7s coming out of Bris, and Lucas is perhaps a class above due his Super Rugby exposure.

        • Da Munch

          Compared with Farrell’s tackling technique I found it more than curious it was deemed a shoulder charge as his arms were wrapped but I suppose the rules have changed – maybe I’ve got to watch the video again?
          I found the TMO very interesting rather than curious, talking over the ref and making decisions the ref seemed to be bemused by (for both teams FWIW). I was thinking the TMO was competing with the Saffas TMO’s for how bad they can be. I’d like to be a fly on the shoulder of the commentator who said he’d be sitting on the referee review in a few days.

        • Keith Butler

          The video shows clear examples of what is a shoulder charge and what is a high tackle. This particular incident is in that ‘grey’ area with arms neither forward or back. Didn’t look like much of a wrap to me as the arms were by his side when shoulder contact was made and then came up. As contact was directly with the throat, which can cause serious injury I think the decision was right. I do fell sorry for the Aussie player though. Poor tackling technique has probably cost him a game in the final.

        • Da Munch

          Yeah I’ve got to watch the video again but don’t have time to do it at work. I did sneak a look at the incident again and IMO he’s got both arms wrapped (Farrell’s right is partially wrapped in the screen shot at and he’s not at an angle and lead with the shoulder like Farrell did[/does] so I don’t see how it can be a shoulder charge. But it was high, directly to the neck and/or head with no mitigating circumstances so still a red.
          Interesting that SANZAAR isn’t going to implement it this year. Not sure if it’s going to be in for the world cup but if it is the SANZAAR nations are going to be in for some red cards.

          I mainly wanted to whine about the TMO though …

        • Bernie Chan

          Don’t know if the rules have changed that much…
          Wouldn’t surprise me if up-and-coming match officials learn habits (both good and bad…) from Refs higher up the chain. Except for obvious foul play the TMO should only speak when invited to…the on-field Ref should always have the primary role…
          I don’t claim to know much about scrummaging, but a couple of times the ENG TH prop stood up first and the Wallas LH got pinged…don’t get that at all….

        • Haven’t seen the match yet and from the comments it sounds like a bad ref. But that can be the right call – not saying it was but it can be. The props are required to drive straight and flat. It actually says so in the laws. If the referee felt that the English TH popped up because the Wallaby LH was driving him up illegally then the first offence is by the Wallaby prop.

          It’s rarely called, but if the Wallaby prop is scrummaging with his hips clearly lower than his shoulders and it’s been spotted and someone’s pointed that out to the referee in their pre-match meetings – both sides have them and can use them to raise issues like this, I’ve never been sure how much difference it makes but it clearly did for England v Italy a few years ago when Italy refused to commit to the breakdown and Poite knew that and looked for it to make sure be refereed the breakdown and offside correctly. So he might have been looking and called it right. Or thinking it was a possibility and called it wrong.

        • Bernie Chan

          Good explanation …Thank you for enlightening this mug…That might well be the case as the Aussie scrum was under pressure quite a few times after their #8 got red carded. Played some very nice, expansive rugby when they did have the ball though…

        • You’re definitely not a mug. Although I’m pretty au fait with the laws and so on, I didn’t know the laws actually require a player who dives on the ball in open play to immediately get back to their feet the other week but it’s there in black and white. Scrum laws are way more complex and way more confusing – it’s a much more dynamic system with big people shoving and jostling all the time.

        • Bernie Chan

          Can’t “play the ball” while on the ground or something like that..?
          With the ‘dark arts’ of front row engagement, I wonder if often the Ref finds himself making a ‘guess’…unless the TMO uses an overhead shot for assistance it would be hard to really know who was angling in etc…

        • Geoffro

          Yep.Shame the junior AB’s couldn’t squeek it in with the BP and make it an all SHem finals.Very close.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          The U20’s have been poor for a while now, I think part of it is the focus on transitioning players to Super rugby being a major requirement. Still poor though

        • From NooZealand

          Argentina v Australia
          South Africa
          v France – There is a good chance.

        • Geoffro

          The Pumitas will be tough at home.Hard to pick the overall winner from 4 pretty good sides

        • Patrick

          Baby boks look good, very composed, probably the lowest raw skill across the board in that bunch (although I haven’t seen Argentina) but probably the most mature

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Dylan, good to see the sharing of ideas and I like that Wessels isn’t too arrogant to ask for help, something I think other coaches here could take on board.
    At least your guys made the finals, the best we can do now is 5th. I wonder if they switched off a bit knowing they were already in the semis. Looking forward to these games and I hope they go well.
    Some good games this weekend, be funny if the Tahs 2nd team play better than the ones rested. I’d be feeling better about Gibson’s comments on Mason if he’d actually given him some time over the last 3 years. If he struggles the finger needs to be pointed squarely at Gibson’s mis-management of him and the rest of the Tahs. No accountability here though so I guess why should he care.

    • Bernie Chan

      Yeh…agree on the point about Mack Mason. He has been very poorly managed…didn’t realize he has been in the ‘system’ for 3 years! Might have been better served getting game time elsewhere…

      • Who?

        Think the first half of that first of three seasons he was a Reds player. I remember him playing at 10 for Qld Country (think he’s from Mitchell, did his senior years at Downlands), and only QRU players (especially when they were previously signed to the NRL) play for Qld Country.

    • Hoss

      I want you to close your eyes and listen – can you hear music building, laced with dread ? Are your palms sweaty and you feel slightly nauseous, short of breathe and a queezy knot in the pit of your stomach ?

      The Nearly-Nearlies cant even make the semis of the Toddler World Cup…………….that’s how it started for us all those years ago and well, look at us……….

      I hear the NZRU are starting talks with one M Cheika about a possible head coach role as well………welcome to our nightmare Mr KRL.

      Payback is a mother-lover………..

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Hahahaha yeah nah!
        Dream on brother unlike RA and it’s predecessor ARU we do that thing called planning and accountability both of which will keep Cheika out of the picture.

        With the development of players post U20 it was always amazing how many from the winning teams don’t get through to the national side anyway

        • Hoss

          I admire someone who uses their obvious insecurities as a blanket. Stay warm mate, for the night is dark and full of terrors.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I’ll come and see you mate. Over the last 12 years or so you’ve had this a lot so I can use your experience

        • Hoss

          First session free.

      • From NooZealand

        Yeah! I heard that NZRU are talking to one M Cheika, but not head coach; NZRU are looking for a clown to join the commentary team.

        • Keith Butler

          Couldn’t be any worse than Kearns, Martin and Kaveri. Or could it.

        • Only trouble with that scenario is that he’d have to actually watch a match or two!

        • From NooZealand

          LOL – Good point and, who knows, he might learn a thing or two.

    • Patrick

      I watched your boys. They actually got lucky that the South African no 4 didnt make the whole game imho, but overall they just looked a year younger than the South Africans, maybe it was a young squad? They played 30 minutes with a man up!

      Same as against Australia, they didn’t seem to have a game plan for when they didn’t/ couldn’t break tackles. And the baby boks were not letting go!

      South Africa’s props bossed the scrum, and their first choice halfback looked the goods as well.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah I agree they do look young. They’ll learn from this and only get better

  • Bernie Chan

    Less than 100 days out from the RWC…it appears Cheika has ‘found-his-man’. Fuxsports reports that Cheika is about to reveal his mystery Attacks Coach!
    Must be getting hard to find suitable “yes” men…?
    Wonder if the said new coach knows the “plan” yet…?

  • Huw Tindall

    On the U20s the tournament is starting to become tarnished by a series of match ruining red cards for high tackles with 3 so far. They have been technical infringements with no malice or injury in any of them whatsoever.

    The latest one with the Wallabies the weakest of the lot. A decent front on hit with the ball carrier leaning into the tackle to take the hit. Tackler’s chest and shoulder connect simultaneously with the ball carrier’s chest/arms/ball and clavicle area. In real time it was a good hit. On replay the ref decided that technically he connected with the neck (which counts the same as the head), with force (he was trying to tackle him) and there were no mitigating circumstances (dubious call IMO). Result = instant red after 2 mins. Game over.

    I know we have to protect the players and the guys themselves know but we are judging them to an impossible standard in a high intensity dynamic game where innocent mistakes are inevitable. Red cards are important for truly heinous foul play or continual cynical fouls but there HAS to be better way to keep a game competitive whilst punishing the offending side appropriately. If this had happened in a RWC I’d have been furious as a supporter. It may just take something like this to push the issue forward for consideration.

    • Patrick

      You should see the one that wasn’t punished (penalty only) from a NZ player on the south African 9, also late!

      • Huw Tindall

        Haven’t seen that one!? Yellow or Red on the current rules? Imagine the pressure in a big game as the ref to not RC someone early on for a technical high tackle. Just like close to the end of a tight match refs let a lot of 50/50 ruck penalties go because they don’t want to decide a game with a penalty call.

        • Patrick

          The shoulder connected with the head just below the ear, I think what saved him (wrongly imho!) was that because he was late he pulled it slightly.

  • Huw Tindall

    Finally Wessel’s picks the backline on form and combos. Shoe horning Hodge and Toomua into a backline because they are ‘stars’ was a terrible idea to start with. Not only because they won’t be as effective as a proven combo but what must it do to guys like Meakes and English who have consistently performed?

    Hodge’s best games for the Wallabies have been on the wing IMO. Simpler defensive game allows Hodge to focus on whacking people rather than organising the D. He is covering the backfield with his big boot. Has decent enough pace and runs excellent lines coming in off his wing. Hodge has everything except natural talent over Maddocks from what I’ve seen. Toomua great bench reserve for the game covering 10/12.

    Wonder how bad Coleman’s shoulder is too? He’s been down on form since he burst onto the scene so it’s not as big a deal as previous years. Arnold, Rodda and Phillip all clearly of Coleman on form. I’d even suggest everyone’s favourite punching bag Simmons is ahead of Coleman right now.


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

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