Thursday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursdays Rugby News sees Salary Scandal in England, Review and Selection Panels and Samu extends his contract.




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English heavy weight club Saracens, have been docked 35 competition points and fined over £5 million (A$9.3 million)  for breaching the salary cap for several years.

After a nine month investigation and five-day hearing, the independent panel concluded that Saracens had breached the £7 million a year salary cap.

The statement from Premiership Rugby did not disclose by how much the club was in breach of the cap, but under the salary cap regulations it must exceed £650,000, which is the amount which triggers the maximum 35-point penalty.

“The decision of the Independent Panel is that Saracens Rugby Club failed to disclose payments to players in each of the seasons 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19,” read a statement from Premiership Rugby.

“In addition, the Club is found to have exceeded the ceiling for payments to senior players in each of the three seasons. The Panel therefore upheld all of the charges,

“The Salary Cap Regulations stipulate that a points deduction may be imposed in the current season (2019-20) only,

“The sanction has no bearing on any other domestic or European competition.”

Saracens, who finished last season on 78 points before winning the final against Exeter, will now start the fourth round of this season on -26 points.

The clubs chairman Nigel Wray announced it would appeal the sanction.

“For over 25 years, I have put my heart and soul into the game I love,” he said in the statement.

“Together we have created something incredibly special with the Saracens family, both on and off the field.

“This is absolutely devastating for everyone associated with this amazing group of players, staff, partners and fans.

“It has been acknowledged by the Panel that we never deliberately sought to mislead anyone or breach the cap and that’s why it feels like the rug is being completely pulled out from under our feet.

“We will appeal all the findings.”

Saracens provided nine players to the English squad for the World Cup, including captain Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and the Vunipola Brothers, South Africa’s Vincent Koch, Wales’ Liam Williams and Scotlands Duncan Taylor. 

It is also home of former Wallaby Will Skelton who is currently experiencing a career resurgence at the Championship club.

Chief Executive of Exeter Tony Rowe, whose team lost the final to Saracens back in June has called for the London club to be relegated. 

“They should be relegated,” Rowe said. “It just leaves a sour taste in the mouth when you go to Twickenham and we just didn’t quite have enough firepower, you know? And that’s because we didn’t break the salary cap and pack our squad full of international players.”

Saracens posted an operation loss of £3.89 million at the end of the financial year, and if the judgment is upheld the club would struggle to maintain its top tier talent and dominance.


A fitting way to send off Bullet

A fitting way to send off Bullet

What does an Ex Wallaby, a Cricket executive and an olympic rower have in common? They have the pleasure of being the review panel to look into Australia’s International Rugby program.

In a statement from Rugby Australia, it was announced that former Wallaby Nathan Sharpe, former Wallaby and prominent sports administrator and executive Pat Howard and four-time olympic rower and high performance professional Bo Hanson will form a panel and work with Director of Rugby Scott Johnson to conduct a review of the 2019 Wallabies season.

The panel will not be involved in the selection of the new Wallabies coach, but (sadly) it was confirmed that the new head coach appointment will happen by the end of the year.

The panel will interview all 2019 Wallabies players and staff members with the view to recommending steps forward in all realms of the program, ranging from coaching and planning to the selection process.

Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle released a statement regarding the previous reviews, the newly appointment panel and the long term goals.

Twelve months ago Rugby Australia completed a restructure of its High Performance environment and whilst we’ve made significant progress in a number of areas, the new structure is only in its early stages and still needs time to bed-in completely and show long-term results.

“The review of the recently-completed Wallabies season will be led by a three-member panel who combined will offer significant expertise and experience from both within and outside the sport, and from both an on and off-field perspective.

“Pat Howard has experienced Rugby at the highest levels as a player, coach, and High Performance leader both in Australia and overseas, and will also bring extensive learnings from his time at Cricket Australia, having completed dozens of post-campaign reviews.

“Bo Hanson is one of the country’s leading High Performance experts and has led similar review processes across several sports, including Rugby, over the past two decades.

“Nathan Sharpe is one of the most accomplished players in the history of our game and was universally-respected as a player and an on-field leader. He brings recent experience in the Wallabies program having retired from international Rugby in the past seven years and has maintained a close involvement with the game through his role with Network Ten.

“Having these three individuals leading the process will provide a well-rounded perspective on the Wallabies program and enable us to take forward any key learnings for delivery into the major tournament preparations of all of our national teams over the next four-year cycle.”


Peter Samu off-loads Canberra Vikings v QLD Country NRC 2019

Brumbies backrower Pete Samu has extended his contract to the end of the 2022 season, even with one more year still on his contract. 

The former Crusader was brought across to Australian Rugby by former coach Michael Cheika, with the goal to have him for the World Cup, but that didn’t work out for Samu who narrowly missed the squad.

Instead Samu shined for the Canberra in the NRC, where he was one of the Vikings best players.

“I am very excited by the opportunity to extend my current Brumbies contract and commit myself to the Brumbies for the next three years,” Samu said of the announcement.

“I feel I have settled in well in Canberra and I have enjoyed every minute of my time here. We have a strong bond within our playing group and a lot of quality in every position and I am looking forward to being able to contribute towards the club’s success.”

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said the Samu had made himself a highly valued member of the team.

Pete did an excellent job for us in his debut season and we are delighted that he has committed to the club long term,” he said.

“He has settled into the group well, played some outstanding rugby last season and is quickly becoming a leader within our team.

“His improved physicality is nicely complemented by very good skill, speed and rugby smarts. All traits that suit and complement how we want to play at the Brumbies.

“Pete also offers versatility which is so important to have within a squad over the course of a season. He epitomises the modern backrower with the ability to cover 8, 6 or 7.”




NZRU have formed a new selection panel to find a replacement for Steve Hansen, with New Zealand netball royalty being included in the panel.

Former Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumanu, NZR chairman Brent Impey, incoming CEO Mark Robinson, coaching legend Sir Graham Henry and NZR head of high performance Mike Anthony make up the five person panel that will select a new head coach.

Like Rugby Australia, they hope to have an announcement by the end of the year. 

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster has long been believed to be the natural successor for Steve Hansen, who had been the assistant coach to his predecessor, but after the All Blacks exit from the World Cup, his appointment might not be so clear cut.

Other names up for the job has been Crusaders coach and amateur break dancer Scott Robertson, who has been a dominate force at the Crusaders, and Jamie Joseph who took Japan to their first ever World Cup final after they topped their pool. Dave Rennie is also up for consideration after the worst kept secret that Australia were interested in him for the Wallabies job. 

Chairman Brett Impey did not mention any names in his statement but did confirm that they had spoken to serve candidates about applying. 

“This is a hugely exciting time for New Zealand Rugby.  We know that the All Blacks and New Zealand have been served well by exceptional coaches, so we are well aware of the importance of the task ahead,” he said.

“We believe we have an excellent group of people on the panel, balancing the experience of winning high performance teams and leadership with external perspective and experience.

“This is an official employment process, and therefore it’s confidential.  We are looking forward to announcing the next head coach of the All Blacks next month.”


  • Nutta

    My understanding is Bo Hanson is a good operator so this may be interesting. Although that said I struggle a bit to understand how many fkn reviews and consultants one organisation can have. Maybe if we actually held them to account over a P&L (!!) and god-forbid that EBIT translated to something akin to a club dividend expressed as a payment back to clubs based on their membership multiplied by where they finished on their respective competition ladder – y’know actually serve the grass roots? But wait… that would mean someone would start a club in western Sydney, and another club in Canberra and likely recognise the player base in Perth etc. Yeh, well, nup. Can’t have that can we?

    Pat Howard? I dunno.

    Hey does anyone know how to spell nepotism?

    Pete Samu I luv your work. But you’re wasting your time here. You only came back as the epitome of product of the most successful franchise team in the history of rugby. That means you continually remind Oz rugby types of their resounding inability to recognise, keep and develop talent. Pack your bags and head north man.

    How is anyone other than Ian Foster even being considered for the AiB job? The guy has done the interview and the trial and even the internship for ffs. The AiB have established a solid and sound progression plan pathway so why even consider mucking about with it?

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Surely it would be madness to go with Foster. Bloke never did much at the Chiefs and has been part of an All Blacks coaching staff steadily going backwards since the last World Cup. Foster’s responsibility (attack) has been particularly poor against rush defences.

      Who would take him over a Robertson, Joseph or even a Rennie?

      • Nutta

        In isolation your point may be valid (depending on how you judge such issues). However my point is that if those other guys were judged better by the stewards of the game in NZ, then why weren’t they the Asst Coach/es sitting with the big man in the big box through the Bill cycle, getting their feet under the table, soaking in the experience and god-forbid so there is consistency, predictability and calm in the transition of leadership as opposed to rip, tear, fk-everything, lose 6mths in reviews and transition and then start afresh? These guys have the highly enviable position of actually having a functioning programme. So use it – particularly when the organisation is performing well and doesn’t need to be blown up and rebuilt. Bringing in such outsiders would cost them 6-12mths and a whole heap of pissed-off people lost/transitioned from the infrastructure. Our model of blowing shite up continually is not one to emulate.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Why would you want consistency when results and performances have steadily and consistently declined over the last 4 years?

          The All Blacks’ circumstances are such that a change rather than business as usual is required.

        • Yowie

          According to an unnamed source close to the Wallabies’ campaign (under the pseudonym “Mr Akiehc”) “more business as usual but more intensely” is actually the answer when performances have steadily and consistently declined. It’s the Australian way.

        • John Tynan

          “more business as usual but more intensely”

    • Yowie

      I struggle a bit to understand how many fkn reviews and consultants one organisation can have.
      Perhaps that issue needs to be looked into by a review panel.

      • Nutta

        Should we hire some consultants for a scoping? Maybe a white paper?

        • Yowie

          This is starting to read like an episode of Utopia on the ABC*

          [*Sorry “trigger warning” to the Murdoch/Bolt/Jones subscribers]

        • Nutta

          Whaddoyamean ‘like’?

        • AllyOz

          I do occasionally try and get my 8c/day’s worth after shelling out $3 for the Oz and I spend it on Utopia. If I watch Q&A I start shaking and get the guilts for being the cause of all the worlds problems.

        • Who?

          Q&A? I believe the phrase – most weeks – is “Ok Boomer”. But this week, it was, “Ok Misogynist.”
          Utopia, Gruen… Wednesday seems to be their day.

        • AllyOz

          I watch both those and a fair few .uk crime dramas

        • Yowie

          I can’t stand Q&A.

        • Perth girl

          Needs a spreadsheet

        • Nutta

          Nah, power-point kills slower.

    • LBJ

      There are THREE Shute shield clubs in western Sydney. Including ‘Western Sydney’ and ‘West Harbour.’
      Honestly – I’m just soooooo booooored of bashing Sydney Rugby for no reason.
      There are very good rugby people working their arses off for free (and have been for many years) to try and build the game across that region – they deserve respect, not derision.

      • Yowie

        I’m just soooooo booooored of bashing Sydney Rugby for no reason.

        Move to Qld and become a Reds fan, then it never gets boring to have a go at Sydney Rugby.

      • Who?

        How many are there in the West..? I don’t mean ‘West’ as in ‘West Harbour’, or the original location of ‘Western Suburbs’ League (Ashfield), I mean the real West.
        I’d say that would be… One club.

        • LBJ

          So you meant the Greater Western Sydney Giants, who are 1km down the road, are NOT IN THE WEST?!!!!
          Scoundrels! Outrage! Call the lawyers – this is FALSE ADVERTISING!!!!

          Honestly, the effort you go to, to try and offend people who are supposed to be on the same side is astounding – but you are good at it i guess…

          You must, be a HUGE Brett Papworth supporter – like him, you seem to have great dedication to rugby in western Sydney.

        • Who?

          No, I don’t mean some AFL team. I mean the real west. As in, Parra and beyond. So, the Two Blues are in the west.
          I didn’t realize the Giants had abandoned Blacktown (I’m not unhappy – I wish them no success!), but Homebush isn’t ‘West’. You’re right – it’s false advertising, they’re not playing in the west, certainly not in GWS. But the AFL has enough cash that they can do whatever they want – like play Collingwood home games in Jolimont, and Carlton games in Jolimont, and Richmond games in Jolimont, and…..
          The AFL lives off TV revenue, and they invest it in Tullamarine and Altona and Blacktown. Because Collingwood and Carlton are secure. Rugby doesn’t have the same level of TV revenue or exposure, and they don’t invest in Sydney outside its heartland. That means that kids in Altona still want to go to the G and want to play for their local club, whereas kids in Cabramatta generally don’t know that Rugby exists.
          I didn’t go to much effort at all, and the intent wasn’t to offend. It was to once again – like Nutta – point out that Eastwood and West Harbour aren’t ‘west’.
          I lived just west of Bankstown for a while as a kid. So the Bulldogs were my local League team. Kids at school hated Parramatta, Penrith was way out northwest (past Australia’s Wonderland – RIP), and Wests had figured out they’d better move to Campbelltown if they truly wanted to be understood as the team for the western suburbs (the whole fibros/silvertails bit – which was before my time). So, if I were still living between Bankstown and Liverpool, who would be my local Shute club? Parramatta? The suburb so hated in my childhood (Stirlo vs Mortimer)? Maybe Sydney Uni..? There’s just no connection there.

      • Nutta

        Sorry mate – who is Western Sydney? Where are they on a map? It may be illustrative to look at West Harbour and then work out where they sit both in terms of the larger Sydney geographic basin and then certainly in-terms of socio-economics. That’s not west. The most western of any club is Parramatta and living west of those guys is close to another 2million people who are systemically excluded from the game. The next closest west club is Eastwood and I note the irony in that name.

        You’re right. There are heaps of good people working hard in rugby particularly in clubland. You/I don’t blame them for supporting their club. You don’t kick a dog for winning a fight. I come from country-rugby origins where things die real fast otherwise. But why gawdfkme why does nothing get done to actually grow and support the game where the ROI would be so easy?

        Why does all the spend and trappings go to folk east of ANZAC Parade or Lane Cove Rd?

        Dude there are over 750 schools between Parra, Richmond and Cambelltown. They have ONE development officer servicing them. ONE. Do you want me to tell you how many are deployed east of Parramatta?

        We have ONE subbies club in western Sydney that has defied the odds and bashed their way up from 3rd Div into Kentwell Cup in recent years. ONE. I can tell you EXACTLY how many times they have received a promo visit or coaching clinic from the powers that be in the 15-20 odd years I have known them. Wanna guess? Go on… I’ll give you a hint… it’s less than 1. And at the same time I have watched about 6 good, sound clubs from the same rough area quietly dwindle away…

        And yet it’s somehow ok that even when folk like Twiggy come knocking to establish stuff in the west folk like out eastern suburbs cashmere wearing toss-pots shut him out?

        Yep. Fair enough. I’ll stop talking while my subs pay for another round of consultants and reviews.

        • Happyman

          Mate Brisbane has the same issue Lots of great people but all of the Premier Grade clubs are so close together you could throw a blanket over them.

          Apart from Bond no club is more than 15 K’ms from the CBD. At least Brisbane has better roads so guys can actually get to training if they live more than 5 k’s from the clubhouse.

        • AllyOz

          In the past we tried to bring in teams from Ipswich, Logan, Kenmore and the Sunshine Coast. Same as Sydney has tried with Penrith, ACT and Newcastle. I can’t comment on why it hasn’t worked but I suspect it has something to do with player depth and financial resources

        • LBJ

          Thanks for the offer Mate, but i really don’t need a lecture on the geography of Sydney.
          The Shute Shiled has absolutely NOTHING to do with ARU and while the NSW RU is marginally more engaged, I wouldn’t take this as a defence of them.
          – Combined, they give negative support for the competition and i see no development on the ground – where they should be engaged. I’ve been trying to get a development officer to manly public school for 4 years – no result, but you’d think it would be low hanging fruit.

          The Shute Shield is about self-reliance, if you cant provide the players in the depth required – you cant play in the comp.

          They had a Penrith team on life support for ~15 years, but it simply didn’t work.

          I love Twiggy, but he had no interest in growing the grass roots of the game in w.Syd – he just wanted a professional outfit in the location for his comp. I would have liked it to proceed (for ex if he had provided the funds to Parra or West Harbour to provide the team), but he didnt, which i understand and as a result, I understand why it didn’t work out.

        • Nutta

          I think we are arguing different points. I am not abusing SS Clubs for looking after themselves. To be even more crystal, I am not abusing SS clubs at all. I would do exactly the same if I was one of them. As I said, we don’t kick dogs for winning their fights.

          What I am well & truly jacked-off with is money being pissed on walls via ‘reviews’ and consultants and study-tours, in an environment of fierce competition for shelf-space in-front of the consumer, as we then have nothing left to actually promote the health, sustainability, inclusion and reach of the game. And then I hear whining from mid-level rugby bureaucrats in sponsored tee-shirts they can’t do this or that because the player-base or the cash isn’t there whilst they stuff another free pie and beer in their gobs when there are dead-set fkn goldmines of players and opportunity on their doorsteps. That’s the job of the likes of ACTRU, NSWRU and RA.

          To be even more definitive I am vocalising my displeasure with ACTRU, NSWRU and RA for abrogating their basic duty to the game – it’s health and sustainability – to grow it and reach beyond its current myopia and incest.

    • Tomthusiasm

      Fozzie bear is wocka, wocka wocka. It’s time to throw the baby out with the bathwater in NZ, more of the same isn’t going to cut it as the rest of the world has caught up. Need innovative coaches like Razor or Tony Brown involved. Ideally, Jamie Joseph gets the gig and builds a mongrel pack that won’t get smashed by Poms!

    • GeorgiaSatellite

      Sharpie might’ve had a bit of a Four’n’Twenty stuck in his teeth.

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    Sharpie is a good choice. Like to know if the report will be made public or not. Will jot change much as the problem is leadership that is outside their ToR

    • John Tynan

      Haha! Public! Good one!

      • Kiwi rugby lover


  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Dylan,

    Good to Samu sign on. He shows a lot of promise and I hope he keeps getting better.

    Let’s hope the review doesn’t go on too far. We could almost write it now; a coach out of his depth with a stupidly written contract, a coaching team that couldn’t, stupid selections and an inability to identify talent and develop it, only one game plan that the players and coaches didn’t know how to adapt to a different game, players who never improved because they didn’t need to to be picked, lack of oversight and no penalties for shit performances, no care for the fan base who keep the game relevant………

    Going to be interesting who they pick for NZ. What isn’t reported so well is who are the other people on the team and I think that will be the critical bit. Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown for me but not sure if they want to come in just yet

    • Yowie

      That just about sums it up – and you just did the review for free rather than the hundreds of thousands they are probably paying the collection of Old Boys and celebrities.

    • Happyman

      Mate the Kiwi’s are just screwing with everyone else.

      Ian Foster will ge the job they learnt after 07 that continuity is key if you look at other sports. NFL Pattriots, NRL Melbourne Storm, Super Rugby Crusaders. All with long term coaching structures and good succession planning.

      Look at the clubs that have gone away from this when they have had a long term structures in place. Manchester United, Brisbane Broncos both are in a bit of trouble at the moment.

      The big issue for them is I don’t think your depth is what it once was for the first time this year I looked at the Wallabies bench and the AB’s bench and think we are fucked. I think you are going to have to get used to losing more often certainly not all of the time but more often.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I’m not so sure Foster is as respected as Hansen was and it will depend as much on who he brings in as part of his team. I’m sort of hoping he can team up with Razor but haven’t heard if that’s happening yet.
        I think the depth is in NZ but maybe not brought through yet. I also think some who’ve been brought through need more time. Like Jordie

        • Happyman

          KRL you are not going to be Wallabies bad but realistically a proper world XV does not have ten AB’s in it anymore. The playing field is getting more even.

          Razor might be a good coach but the Canterbury system is so good I think a coach from there needs to almost prove himself outside of Canterbury to show he is capable of the next level. Blackadder struggled at Bath with more resources and Deans struggled to get buy in at the Wallabies although he was shafted.

          The issues is in the forwards Retallick and Whitelock are getting older. Scott Barrett is not the answer and I do not see another number 8 at the moment. Backs are great but you need Piano movers before you can have Piano players.

        • disqus_NMX

          Deans wasn’t shafted. He shafted himself. He took a backline that was absolutely carving up and winning with exciting play, and just before the WC, inexplicably inserted a journeyman winger at 12, killing our backline with this boring hit-up merchant, and alienating himself from the players. I still to this day scratch my head wondering if it was a deliberate hobbling of the Wallabies in order to help the Nearlies.

        • Yowie

          I dream of a day when the Wallabies would need to be held back by skulduggery so NZ has a fighting chance of winning.

        • disqus_NMX

          Fair point, but how else do you explain what Deans was thinking in putting McCabe in at 12?

        • Gipetto

          And the bulk of GAGR pundits blamed Quade for the team’s poor performance.

        • Garry

          Yowie, remember that up until then, NZ were the perennial RWC chokers. Something had to be done to arrest it. Dingo, with his crazy selections (the Bens on the wrong sides of the front row, DMumm at lock) will always have a asterix next to his WB coaching credentials.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah I tend to agree especially on Robertson needing more exposure first. I almost think a gig outside NZ is needed before coming back and taking the ABs.

          I’m confident we’ll get players to replace the ones there now. I guess the real issue is how they are integrated into the team and brought on. Also I think they need to be prepared to try some, but if they don’t measure up then don’t keep pushing them. Send them back with things to work on and try someone else

        • Tomthusiasm

          100 % with you on Joseph and Brown coaching team, if the top brass want continuity then Scott McLeod makes sense to stay on. Would love Razor involved as well.

      • Who?

        It’s hard to argue that continuity in coaching is a definite winner. The teams you’ve mentioned – the Pats, Storm, Man U, Broncos – they were successful under long-serving head coaches. We don’t know what happens to the Pats and Storm when Belichik and Bellamy move on. We know what happened at the Broncos after Bennett left – and even his return didn’t fix it.
        The Crusaders are the anomaly, but they’re not even proof. They went 8 seasons between titles under Blackadder. The year before he was there, they won. The three years after he left, they won. To me, that’s about having great systems behind the coaching team, but perhaps the coaching team weren’t up to it. After all, whilst they didn’t play full time, they did have Carter and McCaw for most of that time, and Read the whole time that Blackadder was coach. And Whitelock, and………..
        Coaching succession only works if you’ve got the right people in place. And being a good assistant coach doesn’t make you a great head coach – look at Wayne Smith. Not a great record as a head coach, but no one questions that he improves ANY coaching team he joins.

        • Happyman

          That then moves the argument into another sphere Smith is a great technical coach. He scouts opposition and worked on weaknesses and makes his team better. Being a head coach is a different beast entirely and

          Your argument about the Crusaders is incorrect in my view. they have not made the finals once in about 20 years. That is sustained success. Every other team in any sphere would settle for a title every eight years.

        • Who?

          Agree on Smith – he’s a great technical coach. But it shows that being part of the coaching team – even an integral part of it – doesn’t mean you’ll make a good head coach.
          I agree the Crusaders are a great organisation, but the fact they couldn’t win under a coach and the other coaches had multiple titles, even (arguably) whilst rebuilding… Doesn’t reflect well on Blackadder. Robertson wasn’t a continuation of Blackadder – he wasn’t Todd’s assistant.

      • Andrew Luscombe

        I don’t think continuity for continuity’s sake is key. Continuity of crap doesn’t happen much, because people soon realise it’s crap and try changes. Continuity of quality happens more often because there’s less need to change things if they are working. It’s more that success leads to continuity than the other way around.

        I’m with you in that there’s probably enough quality in the AB’s coaching squad already and probably no major changes are needed there.

    • Greg

      Just add a cover sheet and attach your invoice KRL.

    • laurence king

      But would they go so far as to say any of that, like, ‘the coach was shit’? That would reflect badly. Is the truth such a highly valued commodity at Rugby headquarters? Without fear or favour would be good, but will we get it?

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I tend to think not. To be fair I think that Cheika isn’t so much a shit coach, as a coach out of his depth and too arrogant to admit it. He certainly wasn’t helped by a very poor support team but then he picked them so it’s his own fault. I think Raelene would be happy to say something like that as she wasn’t part of the team that hired him or wrote his contract, however too many who were still remain and the report may reflect on their performance and they won’t like that

        • laurence king

          Yes, I agree about the hyperbole regarding ‘shit coach’, my point being they’ve called for a review that they all hope gets lost.

      • AllyOz

        I think the players, or the bulk of them, liked Cheika. I think he is the sort of bloke people will “run through brick walls for”. Unfortunately, running through a brick wall isn’t a particularly good winning strategy for playing rugby whilst kicking over the wall and playing more of your running rugby closer to your try line is a better approach. I still feel that Cheika had some good moments as a coach.

        He doesn’t with the exception of QC perhaps, have appeared to lose the dressing room.

        He used the two loosies and was much criticised for it (by myself included) but NZ adopted it and may have lost in part because they didn’t continue with it and England more or less used it and got to the final. The fact that SA so easily contained them might have been, in part, because they adopted a similar approach to what they had worked out to beat us so convinvingly earlier this year. His rotating selections were certainly hard to take and to justify and the run at all costs approach just didn’t work in the end. I don’t personally have a problem with him trying something different in terms of the aggressive running approach but I think when he has seen it fail time and time again he should have reviewed it, adapted it, refined it etc.

        • laurence king

          Yes, I agree with your points. I was a bit over the top with the ‘shit coach’ comment, a little too much hyperbole. I just hope the review is truthful and helps the Wallabies move forward. What was done at the end of last year by the board in regards to Cheika wasn’t enough, and because of that we continued to flounder.

    • Great that Pete Samu is back and would not surprise to see him named as Brumbies Captain. Got screwed by the selection panel for the World Cup.

  • Happyman

    The Saracens thing is going to be big for Rugby in general.

    It looks like they have rorted the system and have been caught. a 5 million pound fine is no snack and there will be more to come out.

    RA are moving in the right direction IMHO good group looking at the performances and good structure going forward.

    • Perth girl

      Unless the performance of the RA board is reviewed nothing is going to change

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        They are not reviewing the obvious problems as it will require obvious solutions. It is all about Cheika’s job and he will become the scapegoat for all RA problems. Poor leadership.

  • Jason

    How the fuck do you let a team systematically cheat and effectively give them no actual punishment.

    They should be disqualified from the Premiership for the years they were cheating, they should be immediately relegated and should have to immediately reduce their salary obligations to bring them under the cap.

    It’s laughable. I don’t too often think the NRL is a well run organisation in terms of integrity of the sport, but in this instance what they did to the Storm is more appropriate than what has happened to Saracens.

    • DLG

      It will be interesting to watch them battle not to be relegated though! If their appeal is unsuccessful, they’ll be sitting on -26 points with 19 games to play. Last season, they won 16 from 22, finishing the season with 78 points, including 14 bonus points. Newcastle finished last on 31. Using that as a benchmark, they’ll need to win at least 11 more games, with the same amount of bonus points as last season to hit 31 points. Definitely possible but with the additional pressure and scrutiny on the team, things could go pear shaped.

      But even the threat of relegation is not that dire. It will hurt their pride more than anything really. They’ll likely smash the Championship, even if they have to cut a number of players (their academy is a very good pipeline), and bounce back up into the Premiership the following year. They may take a bit of a hit losing TV revenue (???) but Nigel Wray obviously has enough money to throw around…

      • Happyman

        I would suggest many clubs won’t be throwing too many stones as they live in Glass Houses. The big issue for Saracens this year is the Prem is going to be closer than ever. So they will have to be careful about dropping games.

        They currently sit on 2 wins and a loss and after 3 rounds all teams have had at least one win and only one team is undefeated. For mine it looks like an even comp and if Exeter and Saracens don’t run away with it they will be under real threat. Most players will have a get out clause if they go down so if that were to happen it will be interesting to see who would stay.

        • DLG

          Depending on how things may play out, I’m thinking Will Skelton could be heading home at the end of the season. Doubtful they’ll let Itoje or Kruis go, and they’ve got plenty of depth behind them, especially with Kpoku coming up.

          Then again, I’m not too sure what the workings are with the club releasing players to get under the cap again.

        • Happyman

          Yes can just imagine the subtext now. I am missing home bullshit bullshit bullshit, They will spend too much on him and let other better prospects go. Don’t get me wrong I am glad he got hid shit together but I like the looks of out locks and INHO he is not in the best 6.

      • Jason

        Yeah the ‘-35 points’ is a bit of a crock. I don’t understand why they don’t strip titles and relligate for the next season (IMO forced religation for the duration of their breach, so if they cheated for 5 years they are forced to be relegated for 5 years).

        • DLG

          I’d like to know how they came up with the penalty of 35 points, like was it a point for every £100K they breached the cap by? Ha! (I have no idea what the actual figure is that they were over by). It seems arbitrary at best. Granted, it is also the largest penalty ever dished out, and if they are worried that other clubs might be doing similar deals, then automatic relegation could have a severe impact on the quality of the competition if a number of the top clubs get dropped down to the Championship, which I’m sure their new investors wouldn’t be too happy about, so I imagine they didn’t want to set a precedent? Obviously that does nothing to address the issues at the core of it.

    • AllyOz

      When Glasgow Rangers had their issues they were dropped 3 or 4 divisions and it took 4 or 5 years for them to get back. That was a courageous decision by their administrators as its an extremely well supported club.

  • The selection of the coach for the All Blacks and The Wallabies will be interesting. Seems that both nations are seeking a Kiwi Coach especially with Eddie Jones being out of the mix.

  • Andy

    Don’t get the point of the review of only the World Cup. It should be a review of the last 4 years.

    But in saying that, I really don’t know what they are going to learn that isn’t blatantly obvious to everyone concerned. And I bet they don’t release the full findings anyway as they won’t wont to upset the Apple cart. As much as RA moved on from Cheika 18 months ago he still holds favour with a lot of the current playing group. By announcing that he and his unbridled power were major issues that resulted in arguably the worst 4 years of Wallaby rugby in living memory all RA will do is alienate some of the players they will surely be relying on especially in the immediate future. As a result, I think this review will be tweaked for public viewing which will add no value and likely piss of fans. It’s really a lose lose. We all know what the issues were so let’s move past it and focus our attention on the next 4 year cycle.

  • AllyOz

    It must be a modern management trend to form an independent panel to make decisions that should be made by the board and the executive. Both NZ and us are doing it and I am sure it is being used elsewhere. But if you are a CEO or a Chairman and your getting your $0.75M – 1.5M or whatever it happens to be, this looks a little to me like shirking responsibility. Either you have the skills to review and implement strategy on your board and in your executive and management or you get it on/in there. If every time you have to make a big decision or review something you form an “independent” panel of experts to conduct a review from outside your organisation then shouldn’t we be asking why those people with the skills, knowledge and integrity to conduct an independent review be on the board in the first place. In this particular case, the coach is gone and a new Director of Rugby started in his position only 6 months ago – i would have thought he could conduct his own review. This looks a bit like blame shifting to me. Paying someone else to take the heat out of the big decisions so somewhere down the track if it goes arse up you can say “well the independent panel told us we had to do it”.


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

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