Thursday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby news sees Cheika come under fire (again), John Howard break out the Green & Gold for our World Cup bid, Super Rugby AU teams update their squads and a potential trans-Tasman comp take a step closer.



Fighting words

Michael Cheika revs up the Wallabies.

Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has hit back at the criticism levelled at him from Michael O’Connor, who labeled the Wallabies World Cup campaign as shambolic.

O’Connor came out swinging after being released from selector duties by Rugby Australia due to financial constraints. He took aim at Michael Cheika, telling the Sydney Morning Herald the players should have stood up to Cheika.

“It was brought up quietly by a few players that the high-risk strategy (wasn’t working). Somebody needed to stand up. We had some reasonably strong personalities but we didn’t have a strong enough group.”

O’Connor also described what sounded like shambolic training sessions.

“I’ve never seen as much dropped ball from a national team. That was disturbing,” he said. “Situations where you’ve got Sekope Kepu trying to tip on balls in midfield like he’s Mark Ella, front-rowers playing like centres when they should be hitting the ball up…you train the way you play.”

Cheika has responded telling that he was disappointed by the fact that O’Connor was airing his grievances so publicly months after the tournament wrapped up.

“Being a selector for Australia is a prestigious position,” said Cheika. “I think it shows the disregard for it when that person’s talking like that about stuff that’s close to the team and is not really qualified to make those comments.”

“Since the whole thing (the World Cup) finished, I…spoke at the end of the tournament and I did one interview in the Times, where I spoke about my accountability, I’ve not slagged anyone, not spoken poorly of any other person inside the organisation and I don’t want to,” he continued.

“At a certain point sometimes where the line is crossed on what the truth is you have to stand up and say, ‘This is not right and that person shouldn’t be talking like that.’ This concept that I could dominate the selection process is totally ridiculous, it was a vote of three every time.”

Cheika resigned after last year’s World Cup following a strained relationship with Rugby Australia and former CEO Raelene Castle. Towards the end of his tenure, Cheika was often criticised for not being able to develop a Plan B. The latest reports suggests he is in the mix for the head coach role at Premiership side Gloucester.

World Cup bid

John Howard strutting his stuff.

Rugby Australia has formed a new advisory board to help boost Australia’s bid for the 2027 Rugby World Cup. Former Prime Minister John Howard, and past Wallabies skipper John Eales are among those on the board, and other members joining them include Sir Rod Eddington AO FTSE, who will will chair, Rugby AU chairman Hamish McLennan, General Sir Peter Cosgrove, Fortescue Metals Group Chief Executive Elizabeth Gaines and Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth.

The inclusion of Fortescue Metals chief executive Elizabeth Gaines appears to be an attempt to repair Rugby Australia’s relationship with Twiggy Forrest, who owns the company.

Hamish McLennan unveiled the Board this week, wasting little time in attempting to change the negative narrative that has engulfed the game for much of 2020.

McLennan, who officially began his tenure as chairman on Monday, has been an advocate of pursuing Australia’s third World Cup.

“The 2027 Rugby World Cup is an incredible opportunity for rugby and for our country and we have signalled our intentions clearly by bringing together some of the greatest minds in Rugby, politics, business, and the tourism sector to deliver a winning bid for Australia,” he said.

“As I announced after I first agreed to become chairman of the board, the 2027 Rugby World Cup bid was one of my top priorities and today we have taken a giant step towards laying the foundations for a successful bid.”

The 2027 and 2031 World Cup hosts will be announced in 2021, with Australia going up against the U.S. as the main contenders following Argentina’s decision to pull out of the race to secure Australia’s vote for Pichot in the recent World Rugby elections.

Squad updates

Kyle Godwin playing for the Force.

With Super Rugby AU set to kick off on 3 July, there has been a fair amount of squad movement. Following the Western Force’s inclusion into the domestic comp, they have continued to bolster their squad, signing local products Kane Koteka and Jordan Luke, returning home from playing stints in Japan and Brisbane respectively. The Force also officially confirmed the return of Jono Lance this week. Lance has rejoined the team after UK employment law red tape foiled his agreed move from Worcester Warriors to Edinburgh.

“Disappointed to not be able to experience Edinburgh and the Champions Cup,” Lance wrote in a Twitter thread. “Good luck to Edinburgh in the future and one day I’ll get to try that haggis in town.”

Going the other way, former Queensland Reds lock Izack Rodda has signed with French club Lyon, while Isaac Lucas and Harry Hockings are exploring their options overseas, with Lucas expected to head to Japan. Meanwhile, it has been reported that new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has sought to shore things up with Reds recruit Suli Vunivalu after the departure of Henry Speight to France next year.

At the Waratahs, veteran hooker Damien Fitzpatrick hooker announced his retirement effective immediately, after more than a decade in the sky blue jersey. “Entering into this Super Rugby season, I was treating it as though there was a high possibility it would be my last. Ideally, it would have been nice to play out a regular season and sign off that way before finishing but that’s life,” Fitzpatrick said.

“With all that has transpired with this pandemic [COVID-19] and the nature of my contract period, I felt it was appropriate to call stumps on my playing time. I am excited about what lies ahead for me personally and I think the timing will benefit the team and organisation. It will give an opportunity to our younger hookers to show off their talents and allow the Waratahs to prepare for the future.”

Meanwhile, Nic White has wrapped up his time at English club Exeter, but might struggle to feature at all this season for the Brumbies, with the recent birth of his child keeping him in England for up to eight weeks before he endures a two-week coronavirus quarantine period on his return to Australia.

Down in Melbourne, the Rebels have drafted in Seven’s stars Jarel Skelton, Lewis Holland and Lachie Anderson after COVID-19 hampered their Sevens World Rugby Series and the 2020 Olympics campaigns. On the departure front, Melbourne born and bred prop Fereti Sa’aga has announced his retirement at the age of 25, while Jermaine Ainsley will head back across the ditch after signing with the Highlanders for 2021.

Trans-Tasman hospitality

Will Genia passes the ball to Kurtley Beale.

In an interesting development this week, the five NZ Super Rugby bosses have reached out to their Australian counterparts to invite them to a Zoom conference on Friday to discuss the possible shape of next season and beyond, indicating that the Kiwis envisage a joint future.

Invites were extended to Paul Doorn (Waratahs), David Hanham (Queensland Reds), Phil Thomson (Brumbies) and Baden Stephenson (Melbourne Rebels). Mark Evans, the Western Force CEO, was aware of the meeting but had not yet been formally contacted. It is being reported by The Australian that discussions will include a proposed trans-Tasman competition.

“I thought it was a great initiative and we can see what we can learn from each other, about what they did last weekend (when NZ became the first country in the world to play post-COVID-19 matches) and what their thinking is,” Baden Stephenson told The Australian.

“I got off the phone quite enthused that they want us in, we want to be in it. There is a lot at stake for all of us and we all need to know pretty quickly.”

Where a trans-Tasman competition fits into the proposed global calendar remains to be seen. World Rugby remains hopeful of achieving a global calendar change for 2021, but is getting major push-back from European clubs.

Representatives from national Unions, professional clubs and club competitions joined a digital conference on Monday to discuss how a new global calendar might work.

It has been proposed that the July window be moved to October from 2021 allowing for back-to-back months of Test rugby and, potentially, some form of the Nations Championship proposal that was voted down in 2019.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the 2020 season was also discussed, with the World Rugby Council set to vote 30 June to create an adjusted window from October of this year, where postponed international and club games can be completed.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Jack, I was waiting for Cheika’s reply and it was far more muted than I expected. Good luck to Gloucester but unless he’s changed considerably they can expect to go backwards under his reign.

    2027 RWC here would be massive. Good luck and I hoe it works out.

    Good to see the Force with some clever recruiting and I hope they actually do ok in the competition. I’d laugh if they won but I can’t see it as I think they lack depth.

    I think a Trans Tasman is about all that’ll be on offer for the next few seasons as even if the travel bans lift, no one has enough money to really expand beyond that. It may open the door to a PI team but I still have my doubts about their ability to provide the governance necessary to have a workable budget for this to occur. Maybe Japan which would actually be very good

    • Yowie

      I was waiting for Cheika’s reply and it was far more muted than I expected.

      It has echos of the moral high-horse riding that went on after the Fiji world cup game as expressed so eloquently: “I don’t find the way that they brought that in the spirit of the game at all, which is something you know from Fiji”

      • laurence king

        One thing about the high moral ground, those who engage in it often suffer from oxygen deprivation to the brain. Cheiks is a dill. Maybe when the Wallabies move back up the ratings and are playing an attractive and successful brand of rugby, the man will have some realisation of the damage that he has caused and exhibit some humility.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          You’re being kind mate. he’s an egotistical fuckwit with no integrity and a complete and utter loser. His way or the highway and his way was completely fucked. If he had any integrity whatsoever he would have resigned at the end of 2017 When it was obvious he was out of his depth. I will never forgive him for fucking the Wallabies over

        • HK Red

          Can’t add anything to that. Captures my rage, disappointment, disgust perfectly.

        • laurence king

          lol, all of that stuff is in that big blindspot

  • Rugby Truth

    The evidence is quite clear.
    – Strong personalities but not a strong group. For starters, it was hooper and the waratah that led the change room revolt to oust Ewen McKenzie. Allegedly, Scott Fardy “spoke” to Cheika, and what happens next? We lose a hard nosed back rower in favour of mumm, Hannigan, and Dempsey – funnily enough, all waratahs.
    – From day 1, Cheika has always favoured selecting under performing waratahs, how else do you explain the selections of; Robertson, Simmons, Hannigan, Mumm, Dempsey, Phipps, Hooper, Foley, Gordon, Mitchell, Beale. There’s a strong quorum that 1 individual can’t compete with. Even when the waratahs have been the worst performing Australian team, they always dominated Cheika’s selections.
    Ps. I include hooper in this list, as the poor performances of the waratahs and the wallabies coincides with hooper selected as #7 and captain – coincidence? I think not.
    – whilst we’re on hooper, he spends more time running up and down the sideline than the linesman. Tactical deficiencies right there!
    – having a 2 week training camp in South Africa (cost $2 million) and the a 1 week training camp (cost $1 million) in the RWC year, plus all the other state based camps is more evidence the tactics, plan, didn’t work at all. All that money spent so we could beat Georgia, Uruguay and Fiji at the RWC. That money could’ve been better utilised at the grass roots.
    – going from #2 in the world to #7 in the world, just more evidence of Cheika’s failings.

    • Timbo

      you need to change your name to Rugby Opinion

      • Rugby Truth

        Fardy gone in favour of Mumm, Hannigan, Dempsey – TRUE
        waratahs dominating Cheika’s selections – TRUE
        hooper on the wing – TRUE
        a huge investment for the RWC to beat Uruguay, Georgia, Fiji – TRUE
        Wallabies #2 down to #7 in the world – TRUE

        • IIPA

          Poor old Jake Gordon. Played all of about five minutes under Cheika – still part of the conspiracy.

        • formerflanker

          hooper on the wing – TRUE
          Nope. It’s an urban myth.

  • Yowie

    “….I’ve not slagged anyone, not spoken poorly of any other person inside the organisation and I don’t want to,” he continued bullshitted.”

    Corrected above.

    • ATrain

      ” “….I’ve not slagged anyone, not spoken poorly of any other person inside the organisation and I don’t want to,” he continued bullshitted (as he put his fist through a nearby window).

      Just added some further context

      • Brisneyland Local

        Very accurate context.

    • laurence king

      Is talking oneself up, God’s gift, making excuses for one’s own failure like not being allowed the free hand to bring the great Plan to fruition; is that actually slagging others? I mean Cheika is about Cheika, mentioning other’s names to slag would actually be wasting good self congratulatory time.

      • Yowie

        You would think so, but according to my copy of “Coaching out of your depth For Dummies” slagging-out others is a good way to distract people from one’s own inadequacies.

        • laurence king

          Brilliant, Yowie

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Hahahahaha that’s gold

        • Hoss

          I reckon the ‘orange-one’ has a copy of that on his bedside dresser and his aids read it to him.

        • Yowie

          I dunno, slagging people out seems to come more naturally to him than something learned from a bedtime story.

          (also, did you mean “aides” or has a devastating disease become self-aware and literate?)

  • Yowie

    Invites were extended to Paul Doorn (Waratahs), David Hanham (Queensland Reds), Phil Thomson (Brumbies) and Baden Stephenson (Melbourne Rebels). Mark Evans, the Western Force CEO, was aware of the meeting but had not yet been formally contacted.

    Even alphabetical order has a pro-Waratahs bias! Typical.

    • Timbo

      even blue comes before red on the colour wheel! its disgusting

      • Yowie

        Also, why is the sky “sky blue” a lot more of the time than it is red?

        It’s a NSW-centric conspiracy.

        • Timbo

          I put on a blue tie this morning. I didn’t even think about it. In fact, I have more blue ties than red ones.

          Its no coincidence that the police wear blue.

        • Yowie

          Well, the cops are about as popular as the Waratahs, so that bit makes sense.

        • Damo

          And The Thin Red Line would never garner much confidence- apart from maybe in the old DDR.

        • ATrain

          Are you part of Tony Abbott’s ministerial team?

        • Timbo

          as an employee of Australia, I am A-political. But Al Baxter, AKA el pres, is my boy

        • Yowie

          as an employee of Australia, I am A-political

          Quick, someone tell the Murdoch press so they can issue a few corrections on past items.

        • laurence king

          You have a tie? I have to chase up a tie when there is a wedding or a funeral lol

        • Timbo

          you can get away with anything wearing a tie

        • laurence king

          Explains my rather dull life

        • Yowie

          Apparently James Bond was just a normal bloke until he put on a bow-tie. Then it was all explosions and shagging models in speedboats.

        • laurence king

          I’ll have to get a tie and upgrade from my tinnie then

    • ATrain

      Was it the five NZ teams that sent out the invites? If so why are they ostracising WA, I guess you can’t get more East Coast-centric then NZ.

      A part of me doesn’t want the Force to stay beyond this year’s domestic season because i would really like to see what would happen if GRR is given 5 years or so to develop and I like the way they have approached it to date. I personally would like to see the Melbourne Rebels transferred to GRR and just have three teams in the

      I have written elsewhere on this on another forum that rhymes with F*ckus. I will rewrite it for this site and add some further ideas if anyone from the page admin is able to contact me and let me know if you think its interesting. I will also prepared to partner with Yowie and include some of his haiku about the women’s 7s team if you think that will improve the content. I believe he is struggling to find something to rhyme with Casslick….

      • Yowie

        …no matter how many times anyone tells me that haikus aren’t the ones that rhyme

        • ATrain

          d’oh I forgot that they don’t rhyme:

          Writing comments
          Tried to be funny
          F*cked it up

          (I don’t think I even got the rules right there)

      • Reds Revival

        I saw your article on the other site and started writing a comment, but wasn’t sure if it was you, ATrain. As I have commented previously, I think your idea about the Rebels joining GRR is on the money, and works well to develop the standard and quantity of local rugby in those states. One would assume that the Wallabies and fringe Wallabies from the Rebels would try to move across into one of the other SR franchises, which would create the depth that we need to compete against the Kiwis.
        Well done on putting it in to writing, and I hope that Nick W, or Rugby Reg get in touch with you about getting your article up on GAGR.

        • ATrain

          Thanks Reds – yes that was me. Sometimes you have ideas and think the sound good but they aren’t but you don’t know until others have had a chance to read it.

        • Brumby Runner

          The big advantage I see with the Rebels joining GRR is that the Wallabies and fringe Wallabies moving to other Super sides will actually strengthen those teams. In the case of dismantling the Force, the transferring players in effect just moved the franchise to Melbourne and there wasn’t an overall improvement in the quality of the other Super teams.

        • ATrain

          I see little improvement if we merge the Brumbies and Melbourne. We potentially lose what is good about the Brumbies and gain nothing from locating the game in Melbourne. The Melbourne crowd will feel they have lost their team, the Brumbies will feel that the most successful team in Australian SR has been punished for nothing.

          People say Canberra is too small but its 396K people vs Christchurch with 381K and the Brumbies now manage the southern part of NSW.

          I think GRR would be a better platform for a developing Melbourne team. They have produced some decent players over time. Elsom, Ioane, Stiles, McKenzie, Lloyd Johannson, Ben Tapuai, Christian Leilalifano (though a number of these finished boarding in Brisbane or Sydney in Yr 11 & 12). They have a 1st Div and 2nd Div Schools programme and a GRR team would provide a professional pathway. So adding in some of the Rugby Roos stuff and focussing a bit more on development to spread the game into the public schools system and country areas through both 7s and 15s. There are a few body types that don’t seem suited to AFL that might do well in rugby and there appears to be a relatively large polynesian community (by the list of names above and crowd shots at the Rebels games).

        • HK Red

          Stiles might have been born in Melbourne, but pretty sure he was a year below me at Terrace and started year 5. Reg should be able to confirm.
          I get where you’re going though, that Melbourne still produces the odd good player, through their rugby systems.

        • ATrain

          Yes honestly I don’t think it’s a lot. to be fair I think Elsom was pretty young when he came up too – I think Leilifano might have come to finish 11 and 12 and there is probably an opportunity for more to come straight into a Rebels team now there is one.

          I was playing rugby in country NSW and was, at the time (mid 1990s), considering two job offers – one in Brisbane and one in Melbourne. Our coach, a former Wallaby said that he thought the Melbourne competition at the time was a good standard (I took the job in Brisbane so I don’t know).

    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      Nothing has changed. Different people same mentality!

  • Perth girl

    Once again RA seem to think the way forward is to sign league players and not put the money and effort into our own up and coming players

    • Timbo

      they’ve even added rules to make it more league-esque. soon to remove scrums because they’re ‘turning fans off’. Pretty sure thats the administrations job

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      It shits me that they do this and for some reason they get a free run at the top as well. Koribete wouldn’t make any other national team because whilst he is good with the ball going forward his defence, positioning and enthusiasm to be in the right place is sadly missing. I hope Rennie has made it clear that Vunivalu will only be considered for higher honours if he first proves himself at the lower level.

      • Happyman

        Mate it shits so many to tears as all too often these league guys come back and cannot do the instinctive things that they need to play the game. It wastes precious resources and turns off up and comers.

        Unfortunately there is a term and that is money plays. It happens at every level the player recruited by a coach gets the inside track.

        • Yowie

          plus some of them don’t even have their vaccinations.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover


        • Happyman

          The question is if they played Rugby as a junior and went to league. How do you undo a labotomy

      • Geoffro

        for years it has been a one way street of our talent going to league so have no problem the other way.Even Rennie was chasing the 16 yo leaguie that the Rabbitohs just signed for 1.6 mil

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I’m ok with them being chased. It just shouts me when they get a free pass into the Wallabies, especially as most of them are crap over all with a few good points

        • Geoffro

          fair enough,see where you’re coming from.I think the mentality used to be that if the big bucks were spent on them yhey wanted to see if they could earn that money at elite level.Timana Tahu was one of the biggest fails in that mindset if I recall

      • Perth girl

        When RA have just gone begging to world rugby and have had to get a loan from a bank they think it is ok to spend 1.8 mill on one unproven player! It doesn’t seem to matter who heads up RA the result is the same. Nothing changes!

  • Reds Revival

    For those of you who enjoy rugby podcasts, there’s a really good interview with Rob Clarke on Nick McArdle’s podcast (The Playmaker’s Playbook). I like where his thinking is at. It actually gives me reason to be a little more optimistic about the game going forward, especially with the story today about the NZ franchises reaching out over next year’s comp.
    Sorry to see Izaac Rodda go, but undoubtedly there will be others who rise to the challenge, even if a takes a couple of seasons. I get the sense that Dave Rennie will be quite happy to mould raw talent into what he wants.

    • ATrain

      Izaak Rodda leaving reminds me a little of Kane Douglas. Leaving early in his career and perhaps a little unsettled personally at the time. Kane Douglas came back – though admittedly never quite the player he was in that first stint.

      • Geoffro

        Its difficult for me to have much sympathy for these young blokes that have jumped ship because I feel they could have shown a little loyalty to the organisations that have shaped their careers thus far.I understand all the blah about having a limited window in which to earn some bucks but it’s not ordinary times and rankles a fair bit.Douglas ? meh, he was never really on my personal radar even when he started out

        • ATrain

          Yes I understand. Rodda lost his dad 12-18 months ago and Douglas mum died in a similar time frame before he left for Ireland. it is a pretty early time to lose a parent in this day and age and it might have figured in their thinking.

          I read somewhere today that Rodda has actually signed for less than what he was on at the Reds and only for a season and, given that he was one of the players granted a sabbatical clause in their RA contract, he could have stayed in Australia and still been able to take a short term deal OS to shore up his contract.

          I just think they have been badly advised by their management personally but it is hard to tell without fully understanding all the detail. I look at Hockings and Lucas and wonder if they have potentially cost themselves the chance to ever play for their country (which down the line could make them a lot more attractive to an overseas club).

        • Yowie

          There is a book about Tiger Woods’ later years (forget the title, it’s at home) where they discuss TW’s funny period of trying to train to be a navy seal etc.

          The author links it to Earl Woods’ death and quotes some NFL coach on the subject to the effect of “I see it all the time. These young men lose their father then need to disappear for a while on some sabbatical – eg. going back to their dad’s home town to live for a while, dabbling in their dad’s trade for a while. Usually they come back”

        • Geoffro

          I reckon Harry Hockings is a special to wear gold eventually, Lucas not so much

        • ATrain

          Dave Rennie’s comments re: Rodda
          “He’s signed a 12-month deal, so it doesn’t mean the door is shut on him to come back. It was very messy, but if you do right by your players some of those guys come back because they know they’ve been looked after in the past.”

          “What’s been portrayed lacks accuracy,” he says. “He’s a good man and he wants to be a Wallaby. I’m not going to go into all the issues around the contract and the tactics that were used to potentially get him out of this contract, but you query whether that was the best way of doing it.

          “Izack had a sabbatical in his contract that meant he could have gone away and still been available this year and next year for the Wallabies. I certainly haven’t closed the door on him.”

  • There’s always a risk of a disgruntled ex-employee speaking out after being fired, even if they were fired because the company is in dire financial straits like RA.

    But this one rings true, just because you look at the litany of complaints, you look at the Wallabies performance under Cheika and you think “Well I say all those things too.”

    And as others have pointed out, there’s a core of players who owed their continued selection to Cheika. The team wouldn’t speak out because a core of them owed him too much. Even if the squad improved, which it did, with the selectors there was still that core of Cheika loyalists and weird calls.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      hey Eloise, nice to see you back mate. Love your eloquent posts and your thoughts

      • I’ve been here and reading, but usually a day or two behind. Catching up on work that Covid-19 disrupted and it kind of threw my routine, including reading G&GR for my sins.

    • Who?

      Hi Eloise. In the full SMH article, O’Connor was very positive about the future of Australian Rugby. He said that Cheik basically got what he wanted (he and Johnson basically vetted what he did, asked to be sold on it, then basically gave him the team he wanted), that there’s some excellent young players coming through, and he’s looking to be involved again. He very definitely didn’t come across as a disgruntled ex-employee.
      O’Connor also questioned why Cheika needed to drag the players out of Super Rugby to teach them this new secret plan, which he found underwhelming (basically questioning what the point of it was, as he didn’t see anything new in ‘the plan’). He was absolutely scathing of Cheika, but clearly gave the impression that all was as we all suspected – that Cheika was being overseen to lead his failed campaign in full knowledge that it would be a failure, and that any perceived external interference would result in even more negative outcomes. He fully acknowledged that Cheika was picking his favourites, guys who’d done it for him before (2015) or back in Super Rugby. Which felt to me like justification of Foley and Beale.
      The only thing I found surprising was his criticism of senior players for not speaking up, when they apparently clearly didn’t agree with the game plan, didn’t agree with the game plan. But that criticism shows a lack of memory of the history of what happened to players in the Cheika era who did that. They were called Cooper, and Fardy, and Higginbotham. And they were marked, “Never to be selected again,” regardless of the fact that they were often the form player in their position.

      • Geoffro

        Shnozz confirmed what we all suspected (knew) of what was going on but it’s a bit late after the fact.I think he did mention he was surprised that those disgruntled players didn’t have the will as a collective group (which would reduce their chances of being singularly chastised by cheika)

  • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

    I’ve long held the view that Cheika’s coaching tactics were a bit like he was as a player – lacking in finesse or subtlety, and mostly reliant on a blunt-instrument approach. At the Waratahs when he had success, he had Potgeiter and to a lesser extent Palu as those sledgehammers.

    I also think he has a very defined shelf-life in any coaching role he’s had, usually a maximum of around 3 years, before he loses the dressing room and his game plans, such as they are, are easily unpicked by the opposition. He should have gone soon after we fluked that 2015 RWC final appearance.

    And now he’s saying others shouldn’t go public with their critiques of him, even those with intimate knowledge. He doesn’t do irony does he?

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    Why would MOC want to speak out now? What has he have to gain? Is it to set the record straight that as a selector he distance himself from the selections and the game plan? The setup looks dysfunctional and unprofessional.

    • Geoffro

      In the real world , to criticise your employer or a part of the whole is not exactly a wise move.Now hes out of it he’s had his say.I get it.

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        Still reflect poorly on him and the organisation. You would think he could have raised his issues in an exit interview instead of the media. An raising the issue now is just mud slinging….why? Who benefits?

        • Who?

          I’d wager that RA more than knew what was going on. The full interview gave context that he was still on good terms with RA and expects he’ll work with them again in better times. So I expect it’s just about setting the record straight.
          How does it reflect poorly on him? Reality is that it was an attempt to put a fence around Cheika, limit the damage he was doing to the game, try to get him to explain himself to the other selectors (I suspect in hope that, in being asked to explain his plan, he might better consider it himself), and demonstrate to the Rugby Public that RA was trying to rectify the 2018 results. At the same time, every one knew that anything that was forced on Cheika was going to be an excuse for the inevitable failed campaign, so there was no value in denying him what he wanted. In all honesty, being associated with Cheika in 2019 was only ever going to be an entirely negative proposition, with no hope of any positive outcomes.
          I’m still waiting for Link’s book.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          Links’ book will be very good reading. Should come out soon as all the major players moved on

        • Who?

          Not quite. Beale’s still around (he’s quoted the other week as talking about playing the 2023 RWC!), Hooper’s still got 4 years on his contract and may continue beyond that. He was (acting) captain when it all went down.

        • Rugby Truth

          beale off to France – apparently Rennie has no interest in him.

          can’t see Rennie putting up with a #7 who plays on the wing, especially after working with guys like Sam Cane and Liam Messam, who actually contest a breakdown.

          NB. Earlier this year, Rennie was quoted as saying;
          “wiping the slate clean for the captaincy”
          “hooper is not guaranteed a starting position”

          – hooper’s wallabies captaincy record is 44%. the only wallabies captain to lose more games than win. – hooper’s waratahs captaincy record is 37%.


Mad rugby supporter from Newcastle. Offering unbiased takes on why the Brumbies are the best team in Super Rugby.

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  • Friday’s Rugby News

    Merci christ c’est fini ! A decided gallic feel to todays news and the collective relief of...

  • The Referee Corner

    Looking at some of the referee decision in the weekend and seeing some of the comments about...

  • Thursdays Rugby News

    Week Six of my GAGR adventure My discussion points in no particular order. Want to contribute, reach...

  • Wednesday’s Rugby News

    Wednesday’s Rugby News sees Haylett-Petty’s new direction, non-whinging Poms, American Rugby keen to hose a World Cup and “thank...