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

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News looks at an injury to a key Wallaby forward, SBW getting ready to take on Kerevi, a push for consistency at selection time from a pair of ex-Wallabies and the Melbourne Rising’s side for the upcoming NRC season.


Bledisloe Blow

Rory Arnold gets into full stride

Rory Arnold gets into full stride

The Wallabies have been hit with an injury blow, with lock Rory Arnold in grave danger of missing Saturday’s clash with the All Blacks at Eden Park.

Arnold hurt his hand during the 47-26 win last Saturday and had to be substituted after 55 minutes of the contest.

He did not train with the squad in Melbourne on Monday or Tuesday, with his hand still noticeable strapped and bandaged as they flew back from Perth.

With the World Cup just five weeks away, coach Michael Cheika and the selection panel are unlikely to risk further injury to the towering lock, who was one of Australia’s best during the Rugby Championship.

Former Wallaby centre Morgan Turinui believes that Rebels lock Adam Coleman is the right man to step up and fill his big shoes.

“I didn’t like the look of Rory Arnold’s injury, I think his hand’s not crash hot,” Turinui said on the Rugby Ruckus podcast on Monday.

“I was actually on their flight yesterday (Sunday) back from Perth and he had it pretty heavily strapped and iced.

“Rory might be in trouble this week so they might need a second-rower…Coleman actually needs a run.

“Hopefully that’s not too bad for Rory Arnold, but it might be the rest he needs.

“So that might actually work out OK. He is that good, you wouldn’t mind putting him in a bit of cotton wool for the Wallabies at the moment anyway.”

Coleman has been a mainstay of the Wallaby set-up over the past three years and he was eager to replicate the form that made him a regular starter last year.

“Seeing the boys perform last week [against Argentina in Brisbane] really gave me that itch to get back in the squad and fight for a gold jersey again,” Coleman said.

Arnold is set to be joined on the sideline by flanker David Pocock, who is not expected to be risked for the contest, with the selectors still having concerns regarding his fragile body.

SBW ready for Samu

Samu Kerevi stares down Sonny Bill Williams.

Samu Kerevi stares down Sonny Bill Williams.

All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams is preparing to fight for his World Cup dream as he gets set to line up against the Wallabies and Samu Kerevi on Saturday night.

Williams is expected to replace injured outside centre Jack Goodhue, with the dual international looking to stamp his case after he was dropped for the initial All Blacks squad for the Bledisloe Cup series.

“You’re always on trial and if you don’t think you are, then you’ll be slipping,” said Williams.

“For myself, I need to be where my feet are and play my best footy because we’ve got four other world-class midfielders in the team. They want the same thing.”

To earn his spot to Japan for his third World Cup campaign, he must tame the prodigious Samu Kerevi, who he described as one of the best in the world after his dominant Super Rugby and international season.

“Any team that plays a side that has a player like Samu in it (has to),” he believes.

“Just the way he’s played all year, leading line breaks and tackle breaks throughout Super Rugby…he’s one that we have to watch out for this weekend.”

SBW has spent the last few weeks in provincial rugby for Counties, with the stint helping to re-calibrate his love for the sport.

“When you come into an environment like this; there’s a lot of pressure and it’s high stakes footy,” Williams said.

“To go back there [to Counties], you can just enjoy being around the boys and playing with your mates.

“Obviously the [All Black] boys are hurting [after loss last weekend]…but we have to perk ourselves up and smile. For myself, that’s what I’m about because I have got in that place where everything’s serious – it’s footy, footy, footy. And you lose the enjoyment aspect.”

Going all in

Any excuse to relive THAT tackle again

Any excuse to relive THAT tackle again

Wallabies legends George Gregan and Andrew Slack have urged the selectors to reject the temptation to experiment and pick the best possible side for the second Bledisloe Cup match on Saturday.

Whilst he admits that the World Cup should be firmly on the radar, Gregan believes that the side must live in the moment and put everything into reclaiming the Bledisloe Cup.

“Of course you do – because it’s now,” he said.

“It’s a very important match which you want to be trying to do your best in – which they will do. But you want to get the right result, which is a win.

“The World Cup is (important) too, there’s no doubting that, but the World up’s not this Saturday,

“(The Bledisloe) is a good one because it’s hard to win. And they don’t like to give it up and we don’t want to give it up either.

“It’s a big trophy and it means a lot to both countries. It’s a special one to have but you’ve got to work really, really hard to get it.”

Gregan has been working as an advisor with the halves, with the most-capped Wallaby halfback helping them get back to basics and work on their fundamentals.

“It’s just fundamentals really, it’s with halves, so it’s 9s, 10s and playmakers and is just complementary to what we’re doing with Shaun Berne and the coaching group,” Gregan said.

“It’s just a philosophy around nailing the fundamentals and everyone understanding what they’re trying to do.

“It’s not complicated but it’s just reinforcing all those really important things that you do.”

Slack agreed with Gregan’s assessment, with the former Australian captain believing that selecting the same 23 would be crucial towards building confidence in the side.

“I think part of the good performance last week was that everybody who was selected earned their place and deserved to be there and I’m not sure that’s always been the case,” Slack said.

“I think when you’ve got a team where everybody can say, ‘He deserves to be there’, it builds confidence within the team.

“You know the bloke beside you is going to do their job so if we start fiddling and mucking around with selections again just to experiment, I think it’s a backward step.”

Arise Melbourne

2018-NSW-Country-v-Melbourne-Rising-4

The first of the NRC squads have been named, with the Melbourne Rising announcing a 45-man squad for the upcoming competition.

The side is filled with local talent, with 23 players currently plying their trade in the Dewar Shield.

For those familiar with the competition, it will come as no surprise that the top three teams dominate the squad, with Melbourne Unicorns, Harlequins and Box Hill all having six players each.

The injection of local talent is complemented by a host of Rebel/Wallaby experiences, with players such as Matt Philip and Anaru Rangi boosting their aspirations for a maiden title.

Rebels GM of Professional Rugby Nick Ryan believes that the competition will provide players with a perfect opportunity to test themselves and put their hand up for a Super Rugby spot.

“One of the key aims of the NRC is to help bridge the pathway gap for players looking to make that jump from Club competitions to Super Rugby in Australia,” Ryan said.

“Having this amount of Club players in our side will be a wonderful opportunity for not only the players but also for us, as we’ll be in a great position to see who can mix it and match it against Super Rugby talent.

“It’s also a wonderful opportunity for Rebels contracted players to maintain match-fitness in the Super Rugby offseason, so the whole competition is a real bonus for us.”

The squad is as followed: Rodney Iona (Moorabbin), Taylor Acheson (Harlequins), Navarre Haisila (Power House), William Lewesi (Melbourne Unicorns), Justin Marsters (Harlequins), Ahmu Tuimalealiifano (Harlequins), Angus Cottrell, Richard Hardwick (Harlequins), Robert Leota (Melbourne Uni), Ola Tauelangi (Melbourne Uni), Katinali Tai (Harlequins), Pat Morrey (UQ), Joseva Tamani (Box Hill), Semisi Tupou, James So’oialo (Melbourne Unicorns), Isaiah Leota (Harlequins), Delai Moto (Box Hill), Reece Fuller (Melbourne Unicorns), Theo Strang (Sydney Uni), Anaru Rangi, Mahe Vailanu (Harlequins), Moli Sooaemalelagi (Sunnybank/Northern), Tetera Faulkner (Moorabbin), Matt Gibbon, Fereti Sa’aga, Esei Haangana (Melbourne Unicorns), Ross Haylett-Petty, Trevor Hosea (Harlequins ), Matthew Philip, Junior Uelese (Melbourne Uni), Vaauli Faamausili, Angus Arundel (Harlequins), Will Clift (Melbourne University), Noa Noa (Melbourne Unicorns ), George Noa (Melbourne Unicorns), Nailati Ukalele (Box Hill), Michael Moloney (Box Hill), Jermaine Ainsley, Lolohea Loco (Box Hill), Lloyd Johansson (Harlequins), Boyd Killingworth (Warringah), Matai Nairavu (Melbourne Unicorns), JP Sauni (Endeavour Hills), Ikapote Tupou (Unicorns ), Harry Potter (Sydney Uni/Hogwarts)

  • Wonky Donkey

    Haha Melbourne Unicorns are a real team?! I thought you were taking the piss

    • Geoffro

      Unicorns yes,Hogwarts no

    • Happyman

      Mate feel free to take the piss but if you look into that club they were founded by Sir Edward Weary Dunlop. Look him up and like the rest of us you will realise they were just hard bastards back then.

  • Who?

    I was worried Arnold might not get up. I didn’t know the injury was in his hand – when he came off, it looked like he was favouring an elbow or shoulder.
    As much as he’s a huge loss running the ball and having developed a very good passing game (having a try assist to his name for LSL’s try), we’re really going to miss him at the ruck. I saw stats through the first two TRC games which clearly showed he was vastly superior to all other Wallaby forwards at securing our rucks, being the most consistent and accurate at removing jackals whilst being a one-man cleanout. He also protected one more rucks than any other Wallaby.
    Here’s hoping Coleman and Simmons (bench) are feeling fit and fired up.

    • Geoffro

      was good to see Coleman having a real dig when he came on last week,first time Ive seen that for a while.Nothing like a bit of competition now that he realises hes not a first choice.Hope he brings that this Satday

    • Keith Butler

      He has done enough and it’s not worth the risk playing him. Time for Coleman to step up and show the sort of form that made him and Arnold one of the top pairings a few years back.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I agree

    • Brumby Runner

      Nah, LSL or Jones on the bench with Pocock to cover the backrow.

  • Geoffro

    So, Andy Slack reckons part of last weeks performance was that everyone played well……man,the guy is a genius

    • AllyOz

      That sort of insight would explain why he was so successful in his coaching stint with the Reds.

    • muppet

      Rod Kafer must be nervous

  • Hoss

    The Kiwis are worried folks…..

    Breaking news out of New Zealand.

    The NZ Herald reports the NZRU have officially approached World Rugby and requested Nigel Owen be flown in to referee this game.

    ‘Our Nigel’ as he is known in the land of the Long White Cloud is a NZ favourite with the Nearlies enjoying a 112% win ratio in games he controls. Also a known singer of some repute who amongst rugby fans will forget footage of him singing the NZ anthem at the RWC final with his lovely Welsh lilt clearly heard and his rendition of the Whitney Houston classic ‘I will always love you’ at Ritchie Mc Caws retirement dinner never left a dry eye in the house.

    The Australian coach has been contacted for comment, but at time of print has not responded.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hahahaha that’s gold

    • Greg

      Can attest to the singing at the dinner. I was present!

      • Hoss

        They say he has the voice of an angel.

        • Happyman

          Mate I don’t know if you have named the nearlies yet but the new winger should be singlet.

        • Hoss

          I need some new material Chuckles. All my best nicknames are moving on after RWC or suing RA.

          I have to start again.

    • Keith Butler

      Waiting with baited breath for the team announcement. Must be Coleman in for Arnold although Cheks could surprise us all and move LSL to lock and parachute Ned in at 6 (only joking). Genia and Foley on the bench though.

      • Mart

        sent a shudder down my spine

        • Keith Butler

          ‘‘Twas in jest.

      • AllyOz

        It’s not a straight swap but I wonder if this makes it more likely that Pocock could play or at least come off the bench. I think it will more likely depend solely on if Pocock passes the fitness test but just thought they might be tempted to experiment with the backrow if they bring LSL into lock. The could start with Jones and then either look to replace him or Naisarani with Pocock later in the game.

      • Mica

        You might be joking…………but……………..
        Also not funny!!!! :)

    • AllyOz

      The Australian coach did respond, just not verbally. The extra golf clubs he had packed for the trip to Auckland are now strewn across the office, several windows are broken and Scott Johnson and Mick O’Connor were last seen hiding under the selector table waiting for Cheika to get hold of himself again.

      • Hoss

        I know how he feels AO. MY viewing area still shows the scars of Owen’s performance in RWC 15. Dented walls, smashed windows, traumatised cat.

        • John Tynan

          That’s why we have cane toads for our golf clubs up here.

        • Hoss

          If you saw me play ‘whack-fuck’ you’d understand the toads stood a good chance of leading a full and happy life.

        • Who?

          Had a mate whose favourite childhood memories growing up on the Sunny Coast involved finding toads at night, spraying them with petrol (from a fine mist spray bottle), lighting them, then driving them with clubs. That’s now considered animal cruelty, 30 years ago it was considered fun.
          He didn’t ever say how many flying fires sparked bigger fires upon landing.

        • Keith Butler

          Did he graduate to serial killing? He probably ended up as an National MP.

        • Who?

          No, he was reasonably well adjusted. Reasonably. But is anyone truly, truly sane..?

        • Dud Roodt

          Hmm, I’m inclined to say 30 years ago that would have been considered animal cruelty too.
          And I’m almost certain the FBI’s list of shared attributes of serial killers included things like that. Was he also a bed wetter late into life and a thief?

        • Hoss

          Now who’s stalking someone else’s FB profile………

        • Dud Roodt

          Wetting the bed and requesting a golden shower are two very different things Hoss

        • Hoss

          potatoes, potartos

        • Who?

          Good thing I don’t do FB. ;-)

        • Nutta
        • Who?

          I dunno – 30 years ago in Qld (remember, I didn’t grow up in Qld, I’ve never lived at the Sunny Coast), wasn’t that the dark ages? :-P
          30 years ago at the Sunny Coast, I’m guessing that Cane Toads weren’t considered animals, only noxious pests.
          .
          Bed wetting and thievery? Dunno. I wasn’t ever going to share a bed with him, and he never stole anything from me…….

        • Nutta

          Ok in Nthrn Qld I guess where it’s a bit more damp, but the further south you go it would be a bit of a fire hazard. Don’t really care about the frog but don’t want to see some guys place burn down!

          I recall my dads biggest worry about hay or wool sheds burning down was always the flaming mice headed for the house!

          God I sound old…

        • Who?

          Think he was early teenage years when he did it. Lighting up someone’s house would’ve been my concern, too…

        • Brisneyland Local

          Never created bigger fires. as generally the petrol burned out by the time they landed.

        • Yowie

          Of course all this was when petrol was under $1.00 a litre. Kids these days would need to be minted private school types to be able to afford to spray petrol on a toad.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Man I think petrol was like .30C a litre when we are doing this.

        • Who?

          I paid 66c/L for Super (yep, leaded!) back in 2000. Given we’re talking about a spray bottle (which will hold maybe 500ml), and a couple of spritzes per toad, with the number of toads out there, you’re talking a whole month’s worth of evening entertainment for $1.50 at today’s coast. That’s good value!
          The bigger challenge is finding a driver – which is where you might need to be a private school type. ;-P
          But of course that’s now more widely understood (as in, even in Qld) to be animal cruelty.

        • Yowie

          You could use ethanol-blend on a toad to keep the cost down, but I’ve read that you need to spray more of it – rendering the cost saving illusory.
          Also, is a mid-iron or fairway wood not more effective than a driver if the toad is unwilling to perch on a tee?

        • Who?

          The way my mate told the story, they’d hop away on fire, so sometimes you had to chase them. Maybe it was the old Happy Gilmore?! Before the movie was released?

        • Who?

          The voice of experience!!! :-D
          Thanks for explaining it to those of us who never experienced this.
          .
          Now get ready to have people ask if you’re a serial killer… In spite of that being possibly inappropriate (it’s not right to call defence force personnel killers these days?)..?

        • Brisneyland Local

          I look it this way. I never judged the people that shot at me or I shot back at. It is God’s job to judge, if there is one. It was just mine to arrange the meeting!

        • Who?

          I get it. :-)
          Just aware that everyone else asked if the toad golfer was a serial killer now, and from what I’ve seen about defence personnel with PTSD (and I’m not saying or assuming you’re dealing with that (dealing, because I get the impression it’s like addiction – something you manage for the rest of your life, rather than getting past), just aware some may be), calling them killers can be a massive trigger. Highly insensitive, and inappropriate.
          .
          Like the philosophy – just means you’ve always been in management! Just a question of who you’re inviting to the meetings. :-)

        • Brisneyland Local

          MAte I am probably not as sensitive to it as some. When I was younger (am talking early 20’s, so it was early 90’s) I went to a dinner party. There a young, and now quite famous female politician there. When she found out I was an Army officer she called me a “Baby killer”. That I didnt take to, to kindly.
          As an officer I served up the “sharp end” for most of my 21 years. I did 9 Ops overseas. I am most grateful to have come home intact mentally and physically. Am just proud not to have let my mates down, and served my nation with pride.

        • Who?

          I looked at serving. Was considering engineering in the Air Force. I realized the best looking thing about ADFA was the buffet, and both then and now I’m quite confident I had a high chance of not surviving – literally – basic training. Which is hilarious, given my maternal great grandfather was a WW1 vet and my father’s family were heavily involved in the struggle for Irish independence (to put it mildly. Don’t worry, I don’t know my paternal family). Clearly they were cut from sterner stuff than me.
          .
          It’s crazy to think after shell shock victims in WW1, the survivors of WW2, Korea, the lessons of our dishonourable treatment of Vietnam vets, we still haven’t figured out how to truly honour and respect those who take orders and do difficult things on our behalf. It’s sometimes jarring, but ultimately positive that we talk about how to be inclusive and non-offensive in so many areas of life, but it’s crazy that we can’t figure it out for people who are suffering one of the most common traumas shared across our history. How many millions have been to war, yet we still don’t understand the impact. Perhaps we understand it less now than ever, with the vast majority being further removed from it than ever before..? Well, in our country (thankfully).
          .
          Politicians who can’t honour public servants of all persuasions should be named and shamed… That’s not a demand from me of you – I just really hope either she fixed her perspective, or is no longer successful……

        • Brisneyland Local

          Well she is no longer in politics, but is often on tv. She was not in the major two parties.
          Thanks for those words above. It is re-assuring to know there are others that think like you do.

        • Hoss

          Skite

        • Brisneyland Local

          Was not saying I was big hitter, obviously just didnt use enough petrol.

        • Hoss

          Ahhhh, i thought you meant you were launching these 300 yard toad drives and they were burning out before landing

        • Brisneyland Local

          Christ no. No one gets that far with a 5 iron (the standard Qld weapon of choice).

      • onlinesideline

        And Foley was seen sitting in the front reception area having just put a steel bar across both doors preventing anyone from escapng.

    • Hoss
      • Keith Butler

        Spanners will be on the plane but Luke Jones won’t.

        • Hoss

          Not sure mate – maybe last chance for Gene to aim up or fuck right off.

        • Huw Tindall

          Do we have a 5th genuine lock in the squad? Don’t think we have one. Players like LSL and Jones have to move into lock, which isn’t a bad thing but the drop from Mustard to Gene is a bit of a big ones in terms of bench impact.

        • Hoss

          I think they take
          5 pigs
          3 Hookers
          4 locks
          5 looses
          14 fairies

          BUT, being in our Timezone and only 6 hours by plane they may mix this up since replacements are basically on call.

        • Huw Tindall

          14 fairies too many if you ask me

        • Who?

          LSL is a genuine lock. Otherwise agree.

        • Huw Tindall

          Yeah I think so but he could transition to a 6 in time. Definitely looking more at home there so far this year. Whatever his position is I hope they stick to it at the Reds and Wallabies next year. No more of this playing players out of position.

        • Who?

          Over time, maybe. But it does mean we’ve got 5 genuine locks in the squad currently (with Jones a choice if desperate).
          .
          So, if we’re not playing players out of position, can Holloway go back to 8? He’s worked hard at lock,but he’d still be a better option at 8, giving room to develop another lock at the Tahs (assuming the new coach decides that the Tahs need a couple new locks to learn the set piece from Simmons)?

        • Huw Tindall

          Think in Holloway’s case his movement to lock for the Tahs was driven a lot by the lack of locks more than wanting to change from 8. I agree he’d be a better shout at 8 as a big body. The Tahs really really missed big bodies this year. Between Dempsey, Holloway and Hanigan there should be a decent 6/8 to compliment Hooper at 7. Will Miller has gone (and fair enough as he isn’t going to get regular time behind Hooper) and Michael Wells is still in the mix as a more mobile back rower. Add to that Swinton who showed some proper agro this season there is a decent enough mix in the back row. Again though lock is our issue at the Tahs. Simmons is good enough for Super rugby but ideally he’d have an enforcer with him. There isn’t one. Staniforth is serviceable but not a real threat. Not sure we’ve recruited anything in note either? Another year of a Tahs pack with 5 back rowers -_-

      • AllyOz

        Is Kuridrani injured now or just surplus to requirements?

        • Hoss

          I reckon he’s in the mix to be in 31, but behind Jimmy Nimble at present.

        • Who?

          Agreed. The good thing for TK is that, whilst he’s never played wing, Cheika has a long history of picking centres and fullbacks on the wings rather than specialists. Through 2015/16, we had guys like AAC and Horne on one with, with a specialist on the other side. At present, we’ve got what – one specialist wing in the squad? But our centres are currently Toomua (an option at 12), Beale (he’ll always be an option there for Cheika, though thankfully he’s found a home at 15), Kerevi (both jerseys), JOC (both jerseys), TK (13 only), Petaia (13 and the wings), AAC (can’t believe he’s getting a cap).
          .
          So, if we narrow it down to the primary roles, with Toomua not having played 12 this year and seemingly having pushed Foley out of the 23, we can drop him from 12. We can drop Beale from 12 (he’s a 15 – him and Banks/DHP, who seems to have disappeared, too). I don’t know how Cheik sees AAC (he’s looking at the outside backs by his jersey this weekend). That puts Kerevi, JOC and TK as our three primary centres, with Petaia a possibility at 13 and 14. And between the three who’ve had minutes this year, they cover both positions in all mixes – Kerevi at 12 with JOC or TK, TK at 13 with Kerevi and JOC, JOC flipping between the two depending on who’s alongside him.

        • Keith Butler

          Sounds like musical chairs.

        • AllyOz

          Just thought they might have had him on the bench for this one but I guess he’s a bit less versatile than some of the other reserves.

        • Hoss

          I think its the flexibility of Two-Cows that stops him mate. TC can play 10,12 or back 3 and likewise Jimmy Nimble & Gilbert can ‘move around’

          I reckon the Samoa game will see TK, Das Wunderkid, Spanners, Brian all get to clear the pipes.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Good to see them going for broke on this one. Should make for a good game. Be nice to see Wright get some time on the field as we haven’t really seen what he brings at this level yet.

      • Brisneyland Local

        How the fuck did AAC get in the mix?

        • Hoss

          Evening Briz – how are things in 1975 ????

          I can live with it. Covers 11,13, 14 or 15 & Bastards fluffed his lines last week and seems to be a 15 or nothing.

          When the games in the line and we are leading with 10 to go I’d prefer Two-Dads over Bastards to get us home and also a pilfer or two.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Quite peachy. Just wish I was a rich bastard because I would quite hqppily live here for the winter!

    • John_R
      • Hoss

        Shouldn’t there be a payment or some-such ??

        Cheers mate – i am not on Farcebook so wouldn’t have known

        • John_R

          Royalties should be forthcoming mate! They credited ya in the comments as well.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan,

    Pity to lose Arnold but a rest before the RWC is probably not a bad idea and it will give Coleman a chance to prove he’s back. I still think Arnold and Coleman, if they are both on song, are the best locking combination here so I hope it comes about.

    Some big changes for the Abs and players put on notice that they need to step up or they’ll be gone. I personally am not sold on either of the Mo’unga/Barrett or the Savea/Cane combos. I hope SBW is able to get some form back as even if he doesn’t make the breaks he generally ties up 2 or 3 defenders and provides room for others. It’ll be good to see how Bridge and Reece respond to the promotion.

    I can see Slack and Greegan’s point on the selection, however I think there are still questions about back ups and while this is probably not the best time to run them, it’d be worse if it had toi happen in a crucial RWC game in Japan.

    Good luck for this weekend. I think the game will be even better than last week, although maybe a bit tighter as I think defence will play a higher part. I’m hoping for an AB win but not as confident of it as I have been in the past.

    • Keith Butler

      A lot tighter and if the weather forecast is dodgy a bit more kicking with Reece and Bridge putting the Aussie back 3 under pressure.

    • Hoss

      Part one of the equation mate –

      TEAM – All Blacks to face Wallabies

      1. Joe Moody 2. Dane Coles 3. Nepo Laulala 4. Patrick Tuipulotu 5. Sam Whitelock 6. Ardie Savea 7. Sam Cane 8. Kieran Read (c) 9. Aaron Smith 10. Richie Mo’unga 11. George Bridge 12. Sonny Bill Williams 13. Anton Lienert-Brown 14. Sevu Reece 15. Beauden Barrett

      Reserves: 16. Codie Taylor 17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi 18. Angus Ta’avao 19. Jackson Hemopo 20. Matt Todd 21. TJ Perenara 22. Ngani Laumape 23. Jordie Barrett

      As a gold fan this team still doesn’t have that ‘oh shit were in trouble here’ look about it, although throw in Eden Park and an embarrassed side and i understand its game on.

      • Keith Butler

        Owen Franks, past his sell by date or like the Norwegian Blue, just resting after a long squawk.

        • Hoss

          Just a wake up call Mr Mayor, he was nigh on invisible in Perth.

        • Hoss

          SMH saying with exception of Coleman for Arnold (injured) – starting XV to remain same as Perth and no Brian on the pine. Nothing from RA as yet

      • AllyOz

        We stood up to their pack on the weekend rather than allow ourselves to be bullied by them and, as you say, neither of the changes they made at prop and lock suggest to me that we should be less confident. SBW will bring another challenge in defence and they have some real dash with the plumber (reece – maybe I will leave the funny stuff to you)

        • Keith Butler

          Plumber is very good. Maybe he’ll leak a few tries.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah although if it clicks it’s a bloody good team. I tend to agree that a couple of players aren’t where they were a couple of years ago and may have been kept too long. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

        • Hoss

          Yep. Should be a cracker. Some gas on the edge and i would suspect a very focused forward pack, will they be too tightly wound though……..

          Wallabies by 3.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          hahahaha dream on ABs by 12

        • Hoss

          And if they don’t (cue spooky music here)………….

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I’ll cry for a start

  • juswal

    Elsewhere, Planet Rugby reports “Patrick Tuipulotu will start at lock alongside Sam Whitelock – due to Scott Barrett’s suspension – with Jackson Hemopo coming into the 19 jersey.”

    No doubt Hemopo is excited to be in the squad but that’s out of line.

    • Keith Butler

      Just had a look. NZ fans not happy with Hansen’s selection. Time for the G&G to go for the throat with their strongest team, win the Bledisloe and send a message Arnie style “We’re Back”.

      • laurence king

        And they’ve gone for new wingers, from the Cruscaders I believe. I think maybe that they’re going to try and expose some weaknesses out wide. While Hodge had a great game on the weekend, maybe it’s the right time for Petaia. I was thinking that he could replace Banks on the bench but now considering that the ABs are replacing their wingers maybe it’s time to start him.

        • Keith Butler

          Both have got some toe. Wet evening, high box kicks could be a fun evening for our back 3.

    • Hoss

      Are the jerseys woolen lined ???

  • Brumby Runner

    Rodney Iona at the Rising is a bit of a surprise. Last few years has been playing with the Force.

    • Brumby Jack

      Anyone got mail on wether Maddocks, Meakes and English will play NRC?

      • Keith Butler

        None of them according to the Rebs website. I think English if off anyway but could be wrong. With QC off to Japan I would have thought they might have given Maddocks an extended run at 10 to see if he’s up to it with a view to SR. Unless Wessels has got a quality 10 lined up and is keeping stum about it.

        • Hoss

          Yeah mate – English has left the building.

      • Nathan Williamson

        Strange that Maddocks and Meakes haven’t been named for the Rebels. I’d suspect Maddocks will be named in the Sydney team, considering he’s an Eastern Suburbs boy.

  • Nutta

    I like to live brave. But I’m confident in my intestinal fortitude to recover from set-backs. I’ve had practice.

    But when it comes to doing my job at work I am mindful of the spirits and emotional shape of my team as they are my primary responsibility.

    So whilst I would dearly love to beat the AiB at Eden Park I would urge caution.

    If this were a non-Bill year I would be saying throw the kitchen sink at it. My instructions would be to get out there you Pigs and fkn DIE to win win this one (Fairies will do what Fairies do). The glory would be in the immortality of the Homeric win it represents. “into the breech” and all that…

    But I don’t know if this group – given their up & down form for some years now – have the emotional fortitude and maturity to recover for the Bill if they did throw the kitchen sink at this contest and lost.

    Harsh – some may say cowardly – but true.

    • onlinesideline

      IMO – just an opinion, despite what Cheika says, / demands / nine irons – every player I think decides deep down whats right for them. Its the part they wont even share with their team mates. Its probably half conscious half sub conscious. We all have our own instictual compass as to how strong we feel, how much we have pushed ourselves in training over last season, how much we really have in the tank.

      But my hope is that by playing smarter, being coached smarter the players win this but without straining their emotions to breaking point. The body generally can always recover and get up for a huge match. Its the inner stress they need to minimize by zenning with each other and with the overall strategy.

      I watched the match again and I have to say that despite the loss, the darkness are a very very skilled side. These guys have some serious know how and know how to implement it. Why ? – they seem to do what they do seemlessly, like their decision making and movements are instinctual. We looked like we were trying our guts out but trying our guts out with a new style we are just learning. They looked like old hands but just were a bit off.

      • John Tynan

        ” Its probably half conscious half sub conscious”.

        Maybe in the liver, maybe in the kidneys. Maybe in the colon, we just don’t know.

        • Ads

          I use public toilets and i piss on the seat,
          I walk around in summer time saying how about this heat,
          I’m a scrumhalf, I’m a scrumhalf, he’s a scrumhalf

        • John Tynan

          GOLD!

        • John Tynan

          “I use public hotels and I piss on the bar…”

        • Ads

          “I use public toilets and I shag on the seat”?

        • John Tynan

          So many levels!

        • Mica

          “I run around with the Wallabies thinking how’d I get this far?
          He’s a boot thower, he’s a boot thrower”
          :)

        • onlinesideline

          Nahh

          Kidneys are usually sacrificed early in ones career – too many stray knees – best just to surrender that organ from colts onwarrds

          Liver is keep on ice for later in life – need it to filter the stories of how you ran 40 meters to the line untouched.

          Colon is essential pre game – without it things would be very messy on field.

        • Nutta

          I’m an asshole. And I’m proud of it.

    • Keith Butler

      Glass half empty Nutta. Glass half full, win the Bledisloe and think of the psychological up lift it will give to the squad and sow doubts into the minds of the ABs. Would make for a very interesting RWC, not that it won’t be anyway.

      • laurence king

        Yes Keith, I think that there is more of sprinkling of doubt already sown in the minds of the ABs and if our guys stand up on the weekend we might see a little of Steve Waugh’s ‘mental disintegration’ happening amongst the Kiwis.

  • Greg

    Anyone like a wager on Foley at 10 when the team is announced?

    • OnTheBurst

      Stop it. Stop it right now.

    • John Tynan

      Down voted.

    • Hoss

      I hope not mate, i have a Minty in my pocket ready to go on gold @ $5.50 the win.

      I expect Spanners on the bench, but not in the run-on

      • Who?

        Minty? What form of currency is white? Or are you referencing green (but that’s not the colour of the lolly, and any product whose catchphrase is, “It’s moments like these…” Might not be the best one to reference whilst placing a wager!)..?

        • Hoss

          Green & white Minty wrapper – $100.

          Already lodged.

        • Who?

          Thought it might’ve been a hundred, but Minties are more white than green, and almost equally red.
          And, as mentioned, I hope you don’t get to the end of the wager and find ‘it’s moments like these, you need…’
          :-P

        • Hoss

          If they win i intend to parlay it into a RWC Win (paying $15 currently)

        • Mica

          Now you’re just throwing money away!!! :P

        • Hoss

          I prefer ‘speculating’

        • Keith Butler

          You have to speculate to accumulate.

        • Mica

          Have you heard of margin lending? Your timing couldn’t be better to get started in this product suite!! :)

  • onlinesideline

    Breaking news:

    Team UNCHANGED – Poey still out !
    Coleman in and thats it

    At last Cheika getting it right (or Johnson and Oconnor)
    And I agree – any team that puts 50 on the darkness should be gold plated.

    Is it just me or is this team being managed sanely for once.

    • Keith Butler

      Ffs why risk Arnold when Coleman needs game time and the ABs are understrength at lock for this game.

      • onlinesideline

        Coleman will be in for Arnold

        • Keith Butler

          Good.

    • Frosty morning

      Is the bench unchanged too?

      • onlinesideline

        it depends – if its raining they willl probably just use chairs.

        • Frosty morning

          smartarse!!!

      • Hoss

        Not confirmed by RA, but this reserves list is doing the rounds

        Fainga’a Slipper Tupou Simmons Wright Genia Toomua AAC

        • onlinesideline

          Im up for AAC – his last hoorah at Eden Park glory
          1 – he freakin deserves it
          2 – he has the experience and may seize the moment – just one last AAC tackle bust could be the diff – wouldnt put it past him.

        • Who?

          I’m not confident that, should we have Reece or Bridge make a break at the depth, AAC’s got any hope of chasing them down. Banks, I’d be more confident.
          AAC doesn’t need a last hurrah – why would he want another game at Eden Park when he’s never won there, and beaten the ABs a maximum of five times (we won one of four under Connolly, he’s old enough he may have been in that game, then 2008, 2010, 2011, 2015)..?

        • laurence king

          It’s a very conservative pick isn’t it. He has been a great defender in the past. If they were going to make a change, why not Petaia, genuine pace, can play wing, good defender, can play outside centre as well. It would certainly up the ante somewhat.

        • Frosty morning

          I’d still like to see Banks there for an injection of pace, but I agree that he did bugger all last week.

        • onlinesideline

          he hasnt seized the moment has he

        • Frosty morning

          No, you’re right, he hasn’t.

        • laurence king

          Difficult when he’s been given so little time.

        • Red Block

          What? The four years prior to this when Spanners could never be dropped don’t count. He has sooo many chances and delivered nothing since 2015.

        • Brumby Runner

          So soon we forget. He had more than an adequate game against the Saffas.

        • Hoss

          Ive posted team above mate – no Bastards.

        • Frosty morning

          And no Spanners. I’m surprised – pleasantly surprised. I feel for him though as a person – he must be gutted to have come this far with Cheika and to be dumped at this stage.

        • Hoss

          I dont know he’s out of the picture entirely yet, Two Cows must deliver big time this Sat to dislodge him from the 31 i reckon. I would have thought Spanners was pencilled in for Eden park prior to the Perth result. I reckon the Perth Miracle has altered the planning somewhat.

        • Keith Butler

          If that’s true could it be a signal that Pocock won’t be on the plane?

        • onlinesideline

          mate if this is his calf, then Im wallaby coach next year. This is his sixth month with this injury. My gut says that he was / is suffering from neck and head issues and they dont want to let on. Thats the only thing I can think of that would cause such consternation and lenth of time. And he was in a bad way last year.

        • Frosty morning

          I’d love to know the real story. I think you’re right, there’s go to be more to it than we know.

        • Keith Butler

          You could well be right.

        • Sevenwithasixonmyback

          A-la Berrick Barnes’ Footballers’Migraine?
          (Just on the quiet… You’re not Wallaby coach next year. MICHAEL CHIEKA IS ‘COS WE WIN BACK BILL!)

        • Bernie Chan

          Baffled that 2-dads is in ahead of Banks…

        • sambo6

          Yep. Or petaia …….who needs game time…..

        • Bernie Chan

          Forgot about that young gun Jordan Petaia. He does need a hard run, and could be a X-factor player in the RWC. Good call…

        • Huw Tindall

          Arnold out is a massive loss both literally and figuratively. Coleman needs to step up as Arnold was close to BOG until he went off injured last week. Simmo is OK but won’t give impact off the bench. Guess we are short some ‘power’ locks.

          Wright deserves his chance and should maintain the breakdown rage once Latu is subbed.

          AAC, as much as I love the bloke, is passed it. Only thing in his favour is flexibility off the bench covering a number of positions along with experience and defensive nous. Would rather have Banks or an out and out outside back with pace there but hey Banks didn’t do much last week as the back 3 didn’t need subbing off so maybe AAC won’t be required either.

          All in all, should be in with a shot but us losing Arnold is as much of a hit as the ABs losing Retalick. i.e. a bloody big one. At least S Barrett is out so ABs are plumbing their own lock depth.

        • Hoss

          Interesting side mate. I think the staring XV will cancel each other out. I can see them using Money-Bill to suck in outside defenders to expose space for their wingers. Reece in particular has pace to burn. Even last week Koribete and Hodge kept turning in when they didn’t need too. A lot rests on Jimmy Nimble to ensure our D out wide sticks. I don’t mind this new ‘soaker’ D. It forces the Nearlies to make the play rather than us gifting them opportunities like last 3 years.

          There still something about us though that has me confident. 8 changes to the Nearlies and me thinks they may be too tightly wound for this and maybe a yellow or two could be coming their way, New combo’s, returning and aged SBW who ain’t played
          much. ALB out of position, new locking combo.

          Iam calling gold by 3 and fuck the ‘hoodoo’

        • Huw Tindall

          Agree on this soak defence thing. A highlight of the Wallabies D so far has been how connected they’ve been. You are bang on about us gifting them opportunities in the past with single man blitz out of the line causing all sorts of problems. AB are second to none at exploiting opportunities. Sounds like a numpty solution but if you don’t give them opportunities you are a long way to being competitive. This is what happened last week. Minimal kicking to their lethal back three. They’ve fed off counter attack for so long they’ve forgotten how to build an attack through phases.

          Correct me if I’m wrong but a draw will secure us the Bled? It’s always a ‘best of 2/3 series’. 1 win and a draw = a win!

        • Hoss

          Yep, a draw wins us the old mug.

          Don’t know if you heard it on the coverage last week, but you could hear the Wallabies yelling all match ‘stay connected’ especially from JOC.

        • Huw Tindall

          It’s about time we tested how many cans the cup can hold. Googy Harrison said it was 25 (just over a case) but it’s been far too long since an Australian has empirically tested this.

          Didn’t hear it during the match but read about it in later. People were bigging up TK and AAC at 13 because they are defensive communicators organising the backline. Seems legit and good to see JOC step up in this regard. Trust the inside man and all that jazz.

        • Who?

          It was my big question over JOC. TK’s a brilliant defensive centre, and AAC’s also done a great job for many years.
          .
          And I think the concerns were valid – because Hodge and Koroibete kept turning in. And it wasn’t because JOC wasn’t doing his job – it was trust. They got better at trusting him as the game went on, and that trust will only increase after the result and with more time together.

        • Hoss

          Spot on mate. I reckon JOC is the most vocal of all our potential 13’s and combined with his new humility and awareness 13 is his to lose.

  • GeorgiaSatellite

    There’s more than just the Bled at stake for the Darkness on Saturday, according to Rugby Pass. 2009 – that’s a long time at the top. https://www.rugbypass.com/news/world-rankings-shake-up-all-blacks-could-fall-to-worst-ever-ranking-with-another-loss-to-wallabies?fbclid=IwAR22xN0xQauJSF3MwsFR33a0pbc6yY2636INduZIO6lAqi0e0F9yLpLvtxc

  • Cole

    Ok. I’ll likely change my username by then…BUT mark my words. At some stage in the next 5 years new zealand itm sides will beg to join Australias nrc.

    • laurence king

      OK, I’ll bite. Why? Is it because their comp has problems, or do you think the NRC will flourish?

  • Red Block

    Hey I cant wait to see Ukalele play and watch Harry Potter weave some magic on the wing.

Rugby
@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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