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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursdays Rugby News sees Another Cheika Fit Camp, Petaia injured again, All Blacks RWC Squad and New signings at the Rebels.




Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika

If Michael Cheika fails to pick up a coaching contract next year, he appears to have enough of a test reel to kick start his own version of The Biggest Loser as photos began to emerge of the Wallabies training camp in Noumea.

The Wallabies moved operations to Noumea to get away from external pressures, to acclimatise themselves to Japanese weather, and run stairs with weights.

Wallabies loose forward Jack Dempsey gave FOXSPORTS the inside look at the training schedule for the Wallabies during the 10-day camp.

“We’re up at the crack of dawn, 5.30, going straight into individual work-ons in training,” Dempsey said.

“Then refuelling and getting ready for our big morning session on the field.

“We’re getting the k’s up there and the boys are really making some big gains while we have the time.

“And then we finish with a gym session, the local gym here next to the field and that’ll be a two day cycle.

“Then we’ll have a day off on the third day, a heavy recovery day for the morning and then rinse-repeating.

“It’s a bit hotter, more humid than back home at the moment and looking forward to Japan, trying to mirror the environment that we’re walking into there.

“You feel it at training but you know you’re working for a good cause.

“It’s right up there, the intensity, very Michael Cheika like and that’s something I’ve been around since the start of my professional career.

“The times we’re getting up in the morning and the times we’re getting to bed, there’s a lot of hours that we’re putting into this, a lot of effort.

“A World Cup gives you a boost when you’re sucking in the big ones.”

Considering the last Michael Cheika led fit camp resulted in four players suffering the same soft tissue injuries, and with some players returning from injury, Wallaby fans will be hoping that the more educated minds prevail when it comes to player loading and training, rather than a bullish Remember the Titans style of coaching.


Jordan Petaia

Jordan Petaia

World Cup bolted Jordan Petaia has had another injury set back, ruling him out of contention for the match against Samoa.

Petaia tweaked his hamstring diving for a tackle during the Wallabies training camp in Noumea.

He was on the first flight back to Sydney on Wednesday morning to get scans and start his treatment in an effort to make sure he is ready for the World Cup.

Petaia has had a luckless run with injuries, with a hamstring injury setting his debut against Italy back last year, whilst a lisfranc foot injury ruled him out for the large majority of the Super Rugby season.

Though he will miss the match against Samoa, officials are still claiming he will be right for the World Cup.

Despite his minimal rugby over the past 12 months, former Wallaby Rod Kafer believes Petaia is the best option on the right wing for the Wallabies.

“I first saw him at a training session for the Australian under-20s about 18 months ago and he’s one of those players who instantly stands out when you see him,” said Kafer, a member of the world champion 1999 team who observed Petaia while working for Rugby Australia.

“Just on the training pitch you know he’s very good.

“There aren’t too many bolters in the squad but Jordan Petaia is the obvious one.

“It is an area, our outside backs, where we don’t have a great amount of pace and he could add that, particularly on the right wing.

“Reece Hodge has been playing there in the last couple of Tests and maybe there’s an opportunity for Jordan Petaia to slot straight into that right wing position.

“I think he could do very well there.”


Photo Courtesy of Keith McInnes

Photo Courtesy of Keith McInnes

The All Blacks named their Rugby World Cup Squad on Wednesday with a few notable omissions from the squad.

Perhaps the biggest is Ngani Laumape being over looked despite his form during the Super Rugby season, in favour of Ryan Crotty, Jack Goodhue, Anton Lienert-Brown and Sonny Bill Williams in the midfield.

Another notable omission was 108 capped Owen Franks, who despite inconsistent form was expected to be picked in the squad.

Liam Squire was over looked despite reports he had made himself available, after he withdrew from the Rugby Championship.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said selection decisions were certainly not easy.

“As always, we’d also like to take a moment to respect the effort and disappointment of those who’ve missed out,” he said in a statement.

“It’s a tough time in anyone’s career. The selectors wanted to point out that it wasn’t a case of anyone not being good enough to be selected, but more the fact that we can only take 31, so there was always go to be some very talented athletes that would miss out.

“Having said that, as we know from previous Rugby World Cups and other campaigns, we may have injuries so those players who missed out may get an opportunity.”

Despite not holding the No.1 spot anymore, Hansen knows that Kiwis have a target on their backs as heavy favourites to win the cup for a third time in a row.

“Yes, it will come with massive expectation and therefore pressure,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to tackling that pressure head on and enjoying everything that comes with it.

“We know it’ll be tough and that we’ll need to earn the right, every time we play, to continue throughout the tournament.

“However, that’s exciting and knowing we’ve faced that pressure before gives us confidence.  There are no guarantees in sport.  However, with talent, hard work and mental fortitude, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

New Zealand World Cup squad



Dane Coles (32, Hurricanes / Wellington, 64)

Liam Coltman (29, Highlanders / Otago, 5)

Codie Taylor (28, Crusaders / Canterbury, 44)


Nepo Laulala (27, Chiefs / Counties Manukau, 19)

Joe Moody (30, Crusaders /Canterbury, 40)

Atu Moli (24, Chiefs / Tasman, 2)

Angus Ta’avao (29, Chiefs / Taranaki, 7)

Ofa Tuungafasi (27, Blues / Auckland, 29)


Scott Barrett (25, Crusaders / Taranaki, 30)

Brodie Retallick (28, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 77)

Patrick Tuipulotu (26, Blues / Auckland, 24)

Samuel Whitelock (30, Crusaders / Canterbury, 111)

Loose forwards

Sam Cane (27, Chiefs / Bay of Plenty, 63)

Luke Jacobson (22, Chiefs / Waikato, 1)

Kieran Read (33, Crusaders / Counties Manukau, 121) – Captain

Ardie Savea (25, Hurricanes / Wellington, 38)

Matt Todd (31, Crusaders / Canterbury, 20)



TJ Perenara (27, Hurricanes / Wellington, 58)

Aaron Smith (30, Highlanders / Manawatu, 86)

Brad Weber (28, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 2)


Beauden Barrett (28, Blues / Taranaki, 77)

Richie Mo’unga (25, Crusaders / Canterbury, 12)


Ryan Crotty (30, Crusaders / Canterbury, 44)

Jack Goodhue (24, Crusaders / Northland, 9)

Anton Lienert-Brown (24, Chiefs / Waikato, 37)

Sonny Bill Williams (33, Blues / Counties Manukau, 53)

Outside backs

Jordie Barrett (22, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 11)

George Bridge (24, Crusaders / Canterbury, 4)

Rieko Ioane (22, Blues / Auckland, 26)

Sevu Reece (22, Crusaders / Waikato, 2)

Ben Smith (33, Highlanders /Otago, 79)



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You’re a Rebel Harry! #HarryPotter is coming to Melbourne for 2020 ‍♂️

A post shared by Melbourne Rebels (@melbournerebels) on

Sydney Uni outside back Harry Potter has signed a Super Rugby contract with the Melbourne Rebels, and sharing a name with one of the most famous fictitious characters in the world has lead to the internet having a lot of fun. 

Or as one Rebels and Harry Potter fan put it “(It’s) going to be a long year,” After he was tagged in his third meme in two days

Potter insists he’s used to all the jokes, being born in England would mean there’s plenty of them, though if FOXSPORTS Rugby is anything to go off he might be in for a shock.

“But it’s nothing I haven’t heard before so it’s easy to laugh it off,” Potter said.

“I’ve seen all the movies but haven’t read any of the books, which is quite disappointing for a lot of people because they make jokes I don’t understand.”

Potter was a sensation for Sydney Uni, with the winger leading the competition for total defenders beaten (117), made more clean line breaks (45) and total metres (1446), which was more than any other player for the year.

“My time in Sydney has been great for my rugby development but Melbourne is home.  The Rebels have always been my team growing up, and now I want to contribute to the future of the club and take my rugby to another level.” Potter said.

“I couldn’t be happier to be returning to Melbourne,

“My first representative honours came with an underage Victorian state team, so to now get the chance to return to Melbourne and to work hard for the opportunity to play at the Stockade makes my journey feel like it has come full circle.”

He was a former Brighton Grammar and Moorabbin Rams star before he moved north to study and play Shute Shield rugby.

Rebels GM Nick Ryan was pleased another Victorian could join the growing list of Victorian players in the Rebels squad,

“Harry was always spoken of highly by our pathway coaches here in Victoria when he was coming through the youth programs,” Ryan said.

“We are genuine in wanting to build a local pathway and it’s always pleasing when a player chooses to come back to Melbourne to pursue their rugby ambition. It’s only by building a world class program that you can capture the best talent.’

“Along with guys like Jordan Uelese, Rob Leota, Trevor Hosea, Pone Fa’amausili and Fereti Sa’aga, we’re beginning to really show that there are opportunities here for young and hungry Victorian players. The NRC is a big stage for other prospects to show us if they are ready for the leap to Super Rugby.’

“Harry will be surrounded by experienced and talented outside backs and we are committed to taking his game to another level.”

The Rebels also announced the signing of former Aussie Sevens player Boyd Killingworth, who has been playing XVs for Warringah and is coming off a loss to Potters Sydney Uni.

“It’s not just getting back to fifteens, I’m super excited to be joining a Rebels squad with so much talent,” he said.

“I’ve always thought the Rebels are a Club with huge potential and I want to play whatever role I can in making that a reality.

“The competition for back row spots will be immense, but it’s a challenge I’m really looking forward to and I know that’s the kind of environment that will get the best out of me.”

Nick Ryan, impressed with Killingworths professionalism said he was someone on the Rebels radar for quite some time.

“From his time in the Sevens program, we know that Boyd has a great physical capacity but it was his competitiveness that caught our eye,” he said.

“Although he will be coming into a Super Rugby environment as an uncapped rookie, he has been a professional player for around five years, so he really leads the way in terms of his professionalism and work ethic.”



  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Dylan,

    Sounds like another Cheika special and the Super teams not having the players fit enough for the Wallabies. I just hope there are no further injuries out of all this and that they’re also doing a lot of work on tactics, plan B & C and how to implement them in a game and where to target the opposition they’ll be playing in a very short time. Bloody bad news on Petaia and I do hope he recovers in time to get to the tournament and prove his promise that he’s displayed.
    I’m pretty happy with the ABs. I think Luamape is veru unlucky and with the history of both Crotty and SBW I’m expecting a call up during the tournament. I like that they have not wasted positions on loyalty and while I agree that it is sad to see someone like Franks miss out, I’m glad they have the integrity to put the team first.

    Let’s hope that the Rebels actually show up on some of the promises that their list of players displays. It’s definitely going to be a changed squad next season but this may not be a bad thing as people will need to step up rather than rely on the big names to get them through – which never happened anyway.

    • Greg

      Just a few more injuries an the Sunshine Band might be playing!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah but there are backups for most positions and while the back up players aren’t as good – obviously or they’d be picked – they are a step above a lot of teams backup players. We’ll be fine.

    • Cunning Linguist

      What the AB’s continue to see in SBW baffles me? Apart from his offloading skillz, what does he really offer?

      • Greg


        • Mica

          Hokey beard

      • Geoffro

        Agree.Much prefer Laumape but Hansen is big on the loyal
        ty thing and Sonny seems to be one of his faves (Franks not so much)

        • From NooZealand

          KRL in previous comment said (and I think KRL is 100% correct): “I like that they have not wasted positions on loyalty and while I agree
          that it is sad to see someone like Franks miss out, I’m glad they have
          the integrity to put the team first”.

        • Geoffro

          ” Hansen told a large gathering of media in south Auckland that Williams had nothing to prove other than his physical readiness for a tilt at a third World Cup. He was a key impact player off the bench in both the 2011 and 2015 triumphs.” – Part of Hansens presser back in May.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I think if you look at his last game his defence was very good, that try he scored was very good and he took at least 2 defending players with him every time he received the ball. I actually prefer Luamape myself but more as the guy for the future, I’m actually ok with SBW and Crotty except that I do think both are injury prone a bit.

        • joy

          Do they blame Hansen for the injuries?

        • Kiwi rugby lover


        • They do tend to get injured actually on the pitch, during play… not in training camps. Prolly helps.

      • Wonky Donkey

        Big shoulders

      • Missing Link

        benevolence towards child pitch invaders

        • Mica


        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Hahaha yeah that’s it

      • Jason

        I agree they have other options who are probably better but you have to admit SBW has been a big game player, he’s not going to let you down and unlike say an AAC he’s at least close to being their best player in his position.

      • Max Graham

        I reckon he offers enough to walk into every test team in the world, bar none. Freak of a player.

    • Jason

      Sounds like another Cheika special and the Super teams not having the players fit enough for the Wallabies.

      Well I know the Reds have been giving Cheika unprecedented access and influence over their training regimes — you can even see it with Tupou who was very slow to start the season obviously because he’s trying to make sure he’s peaking for the RWC. So I’d say if they ‘aren’t fit enough for the Wallabies’ Cheika might have unrealistic expectations, and I get the sense that Cheika is the type of coach that no matter how fit you are it’s not enough.

      He had Phipps, Pocock and Coleman out for big chunks of Super Rugby with his start of season camp, and having followed Pocock since High School I can safely say there aren’t any players who are more bit than him! So if Pocock isn’t fit enough I don’t know who is going to be.

      I’m really worried about the patter we are starting to see emerge — Cheika is injuring our players by pushing them too hard, I’m very glad he’s going after the World Cup.

      • Dud Roodt

        While the 3 injuries during the pre season camp were bad – I don’t see how a pattern is emerging?

        • Who?

          Twas 4, Dud, Jason’s missed DHP, who also did a calf. 4 out of 30 with the same injury in the same part of the same training session.
          Others have detailed injuries from Cheika’s previous training camps.
          I’ve got no issue with the idea of a training camp – but a Cheika-run training camp, that has me nervous about player fitness. Based off the history of injuries at these camps, which seem to be trending up (I don’t recall injuries in 2015, but they seem to have become more common as he’s pushed harder over time).
          Perhaps today’s author Dylan, as a qualified sports scientist, might like to remind us all..?

        • Dud Roodt

          Yes 4 injuries from one camp is not great, but as I said, it’s not a “trend”, it’s a freak occurrence.
          I don’t remember any other major injuries from his camps (but I could well be wrong).

          It’s not like he’s ended careers at his camps a la Eddie

        • Who?

          4 in a single session in January, Petaia this week, Petaia last year, Hodge broke his ankle at training last year, Robertson needed knee surgery after injuring it at training last year, Coleman did his groin at training last year, Maddocks broke his finger (but played in spite of it in SA, then returning home rather than going to Argentina, as he’d further damaged it by playing). Taf failed to play in SA because of a hamstring injury…….
          I’m happy with a training camp, but I’m nervous, and I’d feel better if we didn’t have such a rotten recent track record, and we had someone with a more scientific view managing it all.

        • Dud Roodt

          I think to say Cheika is the cause for those might be a stretch (not saying you are), but it’s a contact sport, and I’m not sure how you can avoid broken ankles and fingers, and torn ACL (unless of course he was dropping weights on said bones). That stuff happens in a contact sport.
          Agree the 4 in the one camp this year is not a good look. He obviously flogged the fuck out of them.

          It’s clearly a juggling act how hard you prepare them for tournaments, and as I said, Eddie has copped a lot of flack for injuries to his team

        • John Miller

          Cheik’s disinterest in modern sports science is also pretty well documented DR. DJ’s pumping out acid house on top of 15 foot sand dunes might not classify as “old school”. But the blinkered logic of such high intensity sessions, first out of the traps following a long post-season bespeaks a training mentality anchored in the amateur era. Cheika can’t be disengaged from accountability and his training sessions are quite rightly under the microscope as a result.

        • Who?

          As John’s said, it’s the combination of a few factors that have people nervous. I didn’t bother looking before September. And you’re going to get the odd injury – it’s a contact sport. But it’s about managing it, and when you see a run like that – 11 inside a year outside of games – then you start to wonder if he’s got the balance right. It makes people nervous, understandably (without necessarily going further, though obviously others are going further).
          One thing that doesn’t look good is when we’re apparently relying on our young guy to add some pace, but he’s a lisfranc injury this year and he’s done his hammy twice under the national coach in the past year.:-(

        • Dud Roodt

          As I said I agree the injuries that may be due to not being managed well (like tweaked hamstrings and torn calves), we can certainly scrutinise Cheika for.
          But broken bones and torn ACLs are another thing altogether and are very hard to avoid in rugby.

        • Who?

          It’s more about perception than actual injuries, though. It’s like all the head knocks in cricket. There’s been only one concussion, but the appearance of a heap of head knocks this Ashes series has everyone talking up how dangerous cricket is. Yet I’d contend that it was far more dangerous facing Lillee and Thommo without helmets, without near as much padding and with much smaller bats than facing Archer and Broad today. But, other than one poor old blokes genitalia being squashed through the tiny casting/breathing vents in his box in Perth in 74/75, I can’t recall too many blokes actually getting injured by Lillee and Thommo.
          Perception doesn’t have to match reality.
          That said, you don’t normally expect broken bones at training…. If you’re getting broken bones at training, you’re doing it wrong. I remember some bad (contact) injuries from games, but nothing like that at training…….

        • RedAnt

          I saw Thommo break a few toes!

        • Dud Roodt

          Hmm I disagree. A broken bone can happen literally any time 2 bodies connect in contact.
          Look at the injuries sustained in training at any given NFL team any day of the week.

          An ACL can be torn by rolling your ankle as you jog (like Benn Robinson at training in 2011).

          Fingers can break and dislocate incredibly easily (have done many myself, 2 dislocations at training alone).

          But I agree with your point about perception. These things become essentially a form of confirmation bias

        • Jason

          Point is it looks like Cheika might be pushing his players too hard, perhaps not listening to his sports scientists/physios etc.

    • Keith Butler

      Strong ABs squad and Laumape’s omission was a surprise. Not so much Franks though, great player but looked like he was on the way down so time for some new blood. Also thought Squire and Frizzell might have been in with a shout as they were putting in some good performances in the Mitre 10 comp. With all the movement at the Rebels there can be no excuse for playing players out of position. Luke Jones back to lock, Meakes and Hodge at centre, DHP at full back and Maddocks and Koroibete on the wings. Half backs will be the real challenge though. Without a decent set and good back up we’re stuffed.

    • From NooZealand

      Hi KRL, took the liberty to copy part of this, your comment in a reply to Geoffro below. It is in regard to loyalty and integrity in the AB camp. I have given you the credit for the comment. Hope it is OK.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        No problems mate. Anything on the internet is there for the taking

  • Nutta

    Morning All

    Cheks and his camps – part of me loves the idea of folk working for their supper and it certainly builds teams through shared pain. And then we see Jordan Petaia et al injuries… But to be fair, I often feel injuries we see to the likes of JP and Ulysses etc are as a result of over-exposure of young frames too early to overly-intense training. The answer? Play matches. Rack up the minutes and it keeps the body & brain hard & sharp without over-developing muscles which then break tendons/ligaments/joints which aren’t ready for it yet. I keep thinking of free-range chickens vs the caged ‘juiced-up’ monstrosities who can’t even support their own bodyweight. One has fantastic stats on paper and the other one can actually perform…

    AiB squad – I’ve got to say I was dead set shocked to see Franks left out. The guy has been their go-to workhorse and he just came through a fairly impressive Rugby Championship to then get dropped from the squad entirely? I’ll quote Cher: ‘That’s way harsh Tigh.’ i hope he goes to France and makes a squillion the poor bastard.

    Harry Potter – great to see a Victorian push on.

    • Crescent

      I hear that. Maybe I have to acknowledge that my laps around the sun are starting to accrue, and that I might be a bit old school – but all the fitness work in the world is no substitute for match fitness – taking and receiving the knocks, working on preventing the “loose carry”, getting combinations together and improving handling skills – all things that win matches that don’t show up on stat sheets.

      In fairness, this may be happening as well, and just hasn’t been covered – but from what we see on the field I suspect they are too skewed to gym work and not enough work on the field.

      Happy to see them training in Noumea and working on some acclimatisation for Japan. One more week until the match against Samoa at Bankwest, so be interested to see when the squad will jet back into Aus to prepare for that one.

      • Nutta

        And I’m not even necessarily talking actual matches but contact sessions at the very least. Get gym’d and fatigued in the morning then go into contact sessions and build the callouses – both physical and emotional. Then you can sleep the sleep of the just.

      • Keith Butler

        Did my fair share of hills and such like in pre season back in the UK but that first match. Ouch!

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          Were they sand hills, KB, or mostly pebbles?

        • Keith Butler

          Greenwich Park in S E London from the bottom to the top, about 75 – 100m, jog down rest 1 min and repeat again and again. A darn sight easier than dunes but hard graft none the less.

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          I’m sure it was/is, and I’m glad it was you and not me! Just making fun of British beaches whilst still smarting from that Ashes loss :-)

        • Keith Butler

          Very nice beaches in Devon and Cornwall. My folks used to live in Bexhill on Sea in E Sussex. We called in Bexhill on Pebble, can’t imagine why.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I’m with you on match fitness. Nothing beats actually playing

    • Geoffro

      like the chook analogy,long as they dont turn into the headless variety weve seen in a few games in recent times

    • Keith Butler

      Cheika and his training remindsme of the old Queen song ‘Another One Bites The Dust’

    • pretty sure Pococks injury originated at a hardcore Chieka preseason?

      • Nutta

        Yep. I shuddered when I saw the shoulder bars whilst climbing steps. Doesn’t strike me as particularly well thought through…

      • Nutta


    • From NooZealand

      Franks spoke of his emotions about being dropped from the All Blacks:
      “I’m disappointed,” he told Newshub.

      Hansen revealed at the team naming that he had briefly spoken to Franks over the phone to address his culling from the squad. “[It was] pretty short .. but I don’t have long conversations with a lot of people,” Franks said of their conversation.
      Franks remained philosophical about his decade-long tenure in the national set-up. “I really can’t sit here and complain. I’ve been to two World Cups and been lucky enough to win two medals,” he told Newshub.

      With no international obligations required of him, Franks will now turn his attention to the Mitre 10 Cup, where he will play with Canterbury for the remainder of the season before departing to England.

      • Bernie Chan

        Amen…2-from-2 is a bloody fine record!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Classy response from a classy guy

      • Nutta

        Noble words and I would expect little else. But if memory serves me, Franks did 30min without a breakaway in the Championship. Now please believe me when I say trying to play TH against any even semi-competent LH without a breakaway behind you is about as fun as tossing with a cheese-grater and one of the hardest things you could ever physically do. So considering that and STILL getting punted, I think my first words going through my brain on continuous loop would be closer to ‘Fk You’.

  • Dud Roodt

    Before we all lose our minds over a pre-World Cup fitness camp, let’s remember that all the teams will be doing the exact same thing. Gatland will probably take his team to Poland to train in sub-zero chambers, Eddie will probably have England in Portugal doing BJJ and Judo.

    • Geoffro

      The Springboks fly to Japan this weekend having their final tunup against the blossoms.Dont know their training regime but gives them plenty of time to acclimatise to conditions

      • Dud Roodt

        It appears there are definitely two schools of thought on when to arrive before a tournament.
        One seems to think the later you get there the better, and the converse of arriving as early as possible.
        At least I don’t think there are any grounds that high above sea level that they would require acclimation on that front.

        • Geoffro

          They may need to get their stomachs tuned unless they’ve taken a huge supply of boerwars and biltong with

        • Dud Roodt

          I hope they hired Shane Warne as their nutritionist. Baked Beans by the pallet load arriving at Tokyo Haneda any day now.

        • Geoffro

          haha,warnie-ever the internationalist.,but I do think there may be a dire shortage of wagu beef locally with the Bokke in town.

        • Dud Roodt

          Fuck, all this talk of boerewors, biltong and baked beans has got me farking hungry. Now you go and mention Wagyu!

      • Huw Tindall

        Apparently New Caledonia is a pretty good prep spot for Japan in Sept/Oct. One of the articles said the heat/humidity was about the same. That and a chance to really get away from the spotlight and create some shared experiences of course.

    • Gatland has already had the team in Poland.

  • Bobas

    Noumea has some of the finest hills, with Cheik at the bottom and tah man up the top I fail to see how we can lose.
    It will also be very handy if we ever encounter a hill during a game.

  • Bernie Chan

    Yikes…the mere mention of a Kamp Krusty Fitness Camp sends many Oz rugger fans into a deep spiral…

  • adastra32

    “I first saw him at a training session for the Australian under-20s about 18 months ago and he’s one of those players who instantly stands out when you see him,” said Kafer, a member of the world champion 1999 team who observed Petaia while working for Rugby Australia. “Just on the training pitch you know he’s very good.”

    So Young Petaia joins the long list of Cheika’s training ground “heroes”. I’d be very worried that no-one has seen him yet in the white heat of a RWC game (or even a common-or-garden test match)…

    • Max Graham

      No one saw any test player before they played a test. Petaia has starred at super rugby level and it’s untrue to say otherwise.

      • adastra32

        Not saying he is not up to it at SR level. I’m sure he is. But there really has been very little or nothing to judge whether he can step up to the next level successfully before the biggest world rugby event of the last four years is played. The WBs are now left with a major risk if he is required.

        If you want a point of comparison, Joe Cokanasiga is a winger, not much older and a rookie but has now played six times for England in the last year or so. The management team (and others observing) now have a clear idea of what he can do well at international level and what are his ‘work-ons’. Petaia is certainly going to have the same mixture. Unfortunately, Cheika will be finding them out in real time and therefore quite possibly too late.

        • Max Graham

          Fair point, but if Petaia is fit, I believe he’s far better than any other option for the right wing. He’s the most exciting emerging Oz back talent I think I’ve ever seen. Most of Australia’s greatest ever players didn’t gradually become awesome – it was obvious and they drafted into the top side early. Plenty doubted Horan was up to it after a few state games. Kearns was spotted in reserve grade. If he’s not fit, or should I be wrong and he not nearly as good as I expectthere’s still plenty of time to trot out a journeyman utility who’ll no doubt try his best. Maybe it’s a coincidence that almost all World Cup winners have an all-time great on the right wing.

        • adastra32

          When/if he plays, it will definitely be an interesting watch. Let’s hope that the faith in him is translated quickly, almost immediately into performance. It is a big ask of the young man.

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