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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s rugby news has more Beale discussion, the new NRC laws, AAC’s word of warning and the Springboks team selected.


Beale ready for playmaker role

KMP-WAR-CRU-2519New Wallabies five-eighth Kurtley Beale has insisted that he will be ready for the responsibilities of the position in Saturday’s opening Bledisloe Cup Test. Emphasising that he will not try to overplay his hand, the Waratahs playmaker said, “I’ve got some really good players in and around me, so my key role is to try and give them the ball as much as I can, and try and direct the play.”

With Foley out of the team, Beale may also be called upon to take up the kicking duties. McKenzie said that he would make the choice in the upcoming days between Brumbies halfback Nic White and Beale, who said he has been practicing all year and would be ready to step up if needed.   

NRC law changes announced

National Rugby Championship Official Media LaunchThe NRC competition has announced new law changes which are designed to reward attacking rugby and reduce frustrating stoppages. The IRB has said that it will monitor the success of the changes, with some measures potentially being adopted throughout global rugby. 

The changes include a 30-second clock on scrums, quicker goal-kicks, less stringent policing of crooked lineouts, increasing conversions to three points and reducing penalties and field-goals to two.  “It’s all designed to make sure on the one hand make sure we retain the core fabric of the game, but on the other make sure it is played the way want it to be played,” ARU boss Bill Pulver said. 

AAC delivers warning

aac vs italy The NSW Waratah said that taking out the Bledisloe Cup will be a near-impossible task if Australia do not win the opening Test at ANZ Stadium, with the team playing the All Blacks at Eden Park the following week.

AAC also emphasised that Australia’s Super Rugby form will flow into the game, reflected in the team’s style of play. “The framework that we believe in and that we’ve got is to go out there and just attack and attack the All Blacks and take on the best,” he said.  

Springboks team announced

And less of thisThe Springboks have named their starting line-up for the opening match of the Rugby Championship against Argentina on Saturday. A notable change has been the promotion of inexperienced flyhalf Handre Pollard, named ahead of Morne Steyn. Damian de Allende will also make his Springbok debut in the centres alongside returning captain Jean de Villiers.

Pollard won his first cap in South Africa’s last international against Scotland in June after Steyn was withdrawn from the squad by his French club and both Pat Lambie and Johan Goosen were injured.  

  • Luke Amasi

    Surprised to see Pollard star for the Boks. Considering Meyers form of picking experience over youth it is refreshing to see him pick a young fella!

    • Patrick

      Hee is young but yet to miss a beat. I think it is an ominous sign for us if he plays well!

    • Ryphon

      It’s a good surprise. Pollard had a cracking JWC and took out the 2014 Young Player of the Year award. He also went well against the Scots too in June. With SA’s lack of dynamic 10’s (sorry Morne) and Lambie’s inability to fire at an international level, it’s good to see players like Pollard coming through the ranks.

      • Rugbykid

        It is good, and really good that he has the confidence of the coach already. Its like Jake White said of Bismarck du Plessis when he made him Sharks captain, “he is a winner”. Ive heard that Pollard has never lost to NZ.

  • Nutta

    I am choosing my words carefully here

    I am desperate for the Wobblies to beat the AIB’s

    And I think Beagle is a gifted player capable of the most mecurial things when the sun is just right, Mercury is in the correct orbit and the breeze just there-abouts
    But I feel sad for Foley and can’t but think this may be a glaring error

    Foley has done everything asked and more – even addressing the issues that the 2nd French test brought up about standing too deep against a rush defence. He takes it straight to the line – not crabbing, he makes his tackles – esp front-on, he backs up and gets his 2nd touches to create the extra man (re the Skelton try vs ACT).

    If he was over-looked for the ACT 9-10-12 connection I would understand. Not like, but understand given the importance of combination in a short preparation window.

    But to bring into 10 behind a pack that will be under immense pressure (so a lack of clean ball) a bloke who has played 12 & 15 all year and has a history of patchy performance when the pressure is on gives me a Deans-esque feeling and regurgitates all the baggage I thought discarded with the over-reliance/belief in the Amigo’s all over again.

    I support our coach. He is a proven canny operator. I hope he is right and validates why he is national coach and I am some timid know-nothing too scared to take a punt to grasp the win. But Geez you’re making me nervous with this one Link…

    • Braveheart81

      Saying Beale has played 12 all year is correct in terms of jersey number but he’s been the Tahs first receiver as much if not more than Foley.

      I agree with you that Foley has done everything asked of him but Beale’s form has been on another level.

      It’s a great position for the Wallabies to be in that players who are in good form are being relegated to the bench by players in even better form. It’s been quite a long time since that’s been possible. The same can be said about Tevita Kuridrani. His form has been great but AAC’s has been just brilliant.

      • Nutta

        Fair points all BH81 – especially having some skill depth and a little size in our Backs (Good God that’s been a long time coming hasn’t it?). Ok, it’s not a mob of monsters, but it’s a long way since the Mosquito Squadrons of not too long ago.
        Look, we’re Oz. We’ve always had the loosies and backs to compete at the end of the day. For me it will come down to Tight5 and the Will to take & hold, break or be broken. Like it always does…

      • first time long time

        Will be interesting to see the defensive set-up as Beale has not been defending in the front line for the Warratahs.
        Am assuming Horne will step in and Beale and Folau will combine at the back.
        A tactic that was previously used well with QC at the Reds but not as successfully in Wallabies.
        Hoping for a cracking match. Both teams look like they have plenty of running in them. Especially our back three, cause there aint much kicking talent there.

    • Nutta

      BTW – Link I will be there Sat night and I’ll bring my boots just-in-case. I realise I’m retired and all but I promise I’ll throw straight and I’ll give it everything my busted up over-weight relic of a physique has got left in it. With the Hooking stocks the way they are you never know, it just might be my big break…

    • Ads

      Agree with the sentiment Nutta. I am however happy to see Beale’s words focusing on the guys around him, and not himself – maybe he has made some changes in attitude which will help him and the team. We will see Sat!

    • Cramps

      Fair points Nutta. I’d rather think of it that KB is the fly half that will run on, but I’m sure Foley will get a good amount of game time. Just like Phipps will come on to help fire things up in the last 20.

      To be fair, KB has had a big impact coming onto the field this year. He has done well at lighting up our back line.

  • Brendan Hume

    Can’t understand Higgers getting a spot on the bench over McCalman…

    • Nutta

      Better lineout option. Remember we have to cover Skelton and Palu…

    • RubberLegs

      When the Force played the Rebels, Higgers won the battle.

      • boby

        He has x factor ben has none. He has scored more trys in super rugby than almost anyone else in the wallabies starting side., I actually think he might have the most. If we have 10 min left and we are down I want flair not, boring uninspiring mccalman

  • Richard

    I find the AAC comments quite extraordinary and highlights the considerable work still needed on the mental state of this bunch of Wallabies. Even a proven veteran in the team such as him seems to have conceded defeat at Eden Park a week before the match has even been played. So AAC all this bravado talk of attack, attack etc can only happen this week in the nice comforts of their own home ground and with their nice home fans cheering them on? How about stepping up again the following week on the road and doing it at their place too? That’s what the great teams do!! The record at Eden Park is poor. It is quite obvious why!

    • harro

      Perhaps he’s wary of encouraging complacency? If it is stressed how difficult the next match will be then the boys will be more fired up for this encounter. If he’s still saying the same next week then I’d be inclined to agree with you. The Kiwis’ record at Eden Park IS pretty formidable, so to come out and say anything different to what AAC has would seem a bit over confident

    • Braveheart81

      I think he’s being pretty realistic. The Wallabies have to be desperate to win this weekend because you don’t win the Bledisloe and you don’t win the Rugby Championship by losing at home. There’s no warming into this series. It’s do or die from the first game.

  • Younggun

    Link’s playing mind games. I’m saying this now but I think Toomua will do a lot work at 10 and Beale at 12.

  • chisel68

    3 doesnt go into 2. That’s the simplest way to understand why Link put Beale at 10. I think Foley is long term our better option at 10 – better defence, takes on the line, good long pass and running game and has now got good game control. But as much as I’d like to have seen Tahs from 9-13, the 10-12 channel would have been a biiiiig chink – particularly in this game. He doesnt lose anything with Toomua at 12, he of course gains. But it must’ve been a close call and probably the 40-odd caps that KB has, swayed it his way as both he and Foley have been in great form. While Foley showed maturity in the final and great nerve, KB’s has done the same (v SA, v Wales 2 years ago) so maybe that swayed it.

    But, this all means nothing if our pack doesnt front up. They simply have to play themselves to a standstill. Palu needs to be on the sort of form he was in in the finals – smash it up and smash it in defence. Same for Kepu & Slipper. If they do this we have a CHANCE to beat them. And probably the best chance we’ve had in a while as well.

    Complete speculation this, but maybe Link said to Kurtley at season start “to get your crack at 10, you’ve got to impress on/off the field and in attitude. Not one week, but the whole SR season. Make it impossible for me not to pick you”. If so, KB has pretty much done that. The difference between this KB and the one from 2 years ago is big. With the Tahs winning the final maybe he’s realised (like QC did and hopefully JOC will) that just because you make it to the top side, doesnt mean you’ve made it.

  • bad ass

    There has been much said about Beale at 10 and poor Foley, but I feel this belittles the worth of the bench players and whole squad. They all have thier part to play in the victory, and McKenzie did say that early in his coaching tenure. These days the bench is often used for impact, and sometimes the better player will be used off the bench with a lesser or more conservative player starting. In this case, a more conservative player is on the bench, perhaps to close is out? Maybe to avoid a brain snap late in the game after a dynamic first half? Introducing an “out of the box” Foley at the right time? Who knows. McKenzie does use such thought out tactics with his “a la cart” coaching style. The whole squad should be very proud of their position and jersey and do all they can to assist in the victory. I am sure Foley is, and will. I would be happy to hear more “well done Foley” for his spot in the team and less of the counter view.

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