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Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s Rugby News

Thursday’s rugby news has the Tahs losing Potgieter, White’s position in jeopardy, Gill turning to 7s possibly and a major English injury blow.


Potgieter heading home

dennis potgieter

Jacques Potgieter will return to South Africa in 2016, citing family reasons for his decision to leave the Waratahs. ARU rules dictate that marquee players such as the South African flanker can only be signed for two seasons, but clubs can apply for a one-year extension if it can be shown that there is no impact on the development of local players.

“We couldn’t be more impressed with what Jacques has done on the field and off the field for us,” coach Michael Cheika said. “But with players coming from overseas, they’ve got to be happy away from home, I have played overseas and I know that it can be difficult.” The Tahs already lost Wycliff Palu to a lucrative overseas contract and notably failed to sign Ben McCalman, meaning that their back-row depth will be tested next year.

White feeling the pressure

Nic White Brumbies_Cheetahs_040415-4

 Nic White has conceded that the ARU’s new eligibility rules will put his World Cup hopes in jeopardy, but has said that he is determined to nonetheless totally focus on his last five games of Super Rugby. The versatility of former Wallaby and current Toulon star Matt Giteau has led to suggestions that Test coach Michael Cheika may forgo selecting a third specialist halfback.

The Brumbies halfback will have to battle it out with Nick Phipps and Will Genia if that is the case. “It doesn’t change the way I play or the way I prepare,” White said. “I’ve had a think about it and you prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” White returns to the starting line-up for ACT this week after three weeks off with an ankle injury

Gill contemplating Rio switch

Brisbane City v Qld Country Liam Gill 2014140928_110

Liam Gill may forgo next season of Super Rugby to play with the Sevens squad at next year’s Rio Olympics. While Gill has played well in a dismal Queensland team, it is unlikely that he will be picked ahead of other Wallaby 7 candidates Michael Hooper and David Pocock.

Gill emphasised his positive experience at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. “Commonwealth Games was extraordinary. Olympics would be ridiculous,” he said. “It’s a very hard decision to make. I still think I have a lot to offer in the 15-man game, both provincially and at Test level.” Sevens coach Geraint John will require potential 15-a-side inclusions to commit fairly soon, wanting his squad settled early in 2016.

Tuilagi in RWC doubt

Tuilagi runs 2 in Lions vs Force 2013

Manu Tuilagi remains a major doubt for England’s World Cup campaign because of injury, Leicester’s director of rugby, Richard Cockerill, has said. Tuilagi has been hampered by a groin strain sustained in October and missed targets for a return in December, January and February because of the continuing nature of the problem.

Now Cockerill has confirmed that Tuilagi will not play again this season and is unlikely to be fully fit until June, the same month as England’s World Cup training camp. Cockerill has also re-emphasised that England’s policy of not selecting players based abroad is the right one even if they are performing at a world-class level.

  • Cramps

    They’ll miss Tuilagi. Even if they intend to stick to 10 man rugby.

    • Chinese Dave

      Ha! 10 man Rugby, love it! That’s the forwards, the scrum half and the goal kicker?

      • Ads

        Hopefully aus has moved on from our version of 10 man where we ignore the front and 2nd row!

        • Nutta

          We have a looonnnnnggggg way to go before we are that mature…

      • Cramps

        Yep, standard Pom default plan.

        And to our shame they schooled us last year, by doing just that, even though we saw it coming! They’ll try it again at the RWC.

  • Rob McKay

    No-brainer for Gill, assuming John picks him. It’s not like the Reds are likely to do anything in the next little while is it (although they can still make the finals…) and with a host of 7s from which to choose, the Wallabies will survive without him. Good luck to him – it’s a wise move.

    • John Tynan

      But it only takes one injury and there he is. I don’t think Saia was planning a little European tour mid way through the season last year.

      • Chinese Dave

        Still, Saia didn’t have the option of battling for a gold medal in the Olympics, Gill does. It’s a bit much to ask/expect him to hang around in case someone gets injured. At best he’s fourth in line behind Pocock, Hooper, and Hodgson.

        • Train Without A Station

          Saia has played Aus 7s FYI.

        • Chinese Dave

          Ah, I didn’t know that! Cheers.

        • Rob McKay

          Plus a few other Mexican number 7s as well, so no shortage of back row stock. A bit harder to make it in the 7s circus, so given his experience, he’d be higher up the 7s pecking order than the “seven” pecking order. Confusing isn’t it? As to 7s, the coach has said players coming from 15s (or anywhere else for that matter) need to be training by January 1st 2016 at the LATEST (i.e. get here earlier and you’ll increase your chances). It’s a bit of a shame for the regular 7s guys who may miss out, but that’s what happens in professional sport. Some of the 7s guys have done rather well (e,g, Bernard Foley), so it cuts both ways.

      • I’m sure Gill would rather take a shot at winning an Olympic medal than hang around with his fingers crossed that someone gets injured just so he can play a couple of games for the Wallabies. He can play next year with the sevens team then return to the XV man game in 2017, 3 full seasons before the next WC.

        • John Tynan

          What does the 7s pay, compared to a SR contract? Or would ARU subsidise/top up? What does that do to the blokes who have been battling away to qualify the team and find themselves (I assume…) earning much less?

      • McWarren

        What are the rules with declaring for 7’s next year? If he declares does that rule him out of RWC or just next years S15’s? My feeling is either Hooper, Poey or Smith will be injured this year and Gill could get a rails run into the RWC match day 22.
        IMO he is better than Hooper as a number seven.

    • DReido

      Gill has nothing to lose except getting away from a shit coach.

  • hps

    Personally I would take Stirzaker as a third 9 ahead of Nic White anyway.

    • Pedro

      Fair enough but he’s just another Phipp’s type half back. It’s good to have a variety of styles, rather than a less experienced version of the same player.

      • Ads

        If you knew you were planning a certain style (as cheiks seems to have done) wouldn’t you also pick reserves/back-ups of a similar style? Otherwise the new bloke comes on and either the plan has to change or he has to play a style he isn’t as strong at. Now if the bench half back is there for plan b if plan a fails, I’m more with you.

        • Pedro

          Surely you have to have a plan b during a world cup. I think white can do things the others can’t and he has some experience at that level. Stirzaker is the future but I think he may have to wait.

        • Chinese Dave

          Our plan B should never ever be to box kick the ball to the ABs with 2 minutes left and a sliver of a lead.

        • Pedro

          Yeah instead put someone in who is yet to make an error at test level. Good plan. Why not debutantes in every position? That way we go in with a clean slate, no one could have any argument against any selection.

        • Chinese Dave

          Implying the Nic White has learned from that mistake. Seeing his continued (mis)use of the box kick should have disabused you of that.

          Your argument that we should not have anyone who made a mistake is your strawman, not mine. I am not saying we shouldn’t have him because he made a mistake, I’m saying we shouldn’t have him because he continues to so the same thing (it’s not the first time he box kicked us into trouble). Unfortunately he and Jesse Mogg have been ruined by Jake White.

        • Pedro

          If Nic White has been misusing the box kick then where is your evidence?

        • Chinese Dave

          Watching him play is my evidence. Bottom line, he kicks the ball away far too much. Since JW took over the Brumbies, it’s become his go to instinct. Whenever he’s in trouble he looks to kick whereas Genia and Phipps look to pass or take a quick run.

          If we are to at all be in a winning position in a Test against top opposition, it is going to be a tight one, we’re not going to go ahead by 20 against the Kiwis or Saffers. I don’t want a scrum half whose instinct is to boot the ball back to the opposition when he’s under (the inevitable) pressure.

        • Pedro

          Just remember Stephen Donald “lost” a test match for the all blacks then “won” a world cup.

          my impression of this season is that prior to injury White had the best form of the Aussie half backs. You can argue Phipps is better but there’s no way Genia has played all that well and Stirzaker is just too green. White is in the top 3. Stop living in the past.

        • Simon

          Genia USED to look to run, but since he got injured he’s become a habitual box-kicker and it’s proving a very difficult habit to shake. He’s as bad as White now in that regard.
          The only time either of them should be box kicking IMO is off a quick turnover when the opposition’s line is up, or when they have runners of their own ready to chase. Right now, all the box kick achieves 80% of the time is to gain 20m but hand back possession to very dangerous back three runners in open play – often with disastrous consequences.
          Starting with the Bulls game, Genia has started to run it a bit more with very good results, but then I think he got told off by Graham for not sucking enough, because he was back to his kicking ways a lot more in the Canes game.

        • Henry Honiball

          No one should ever execute a box-kick, these should be outlawed and the defending team awarded 3 points without having to even have a shot a goal.

        • Ads

          Yep agree Pedro on the need for plan B. I guess i was (poorly) trying to say you have Plan A run on and Plan B on the bench but def in the squad depending on opposition. Third choice should prob also be plan A, as A is most likely injured, and in the style you want to play. I dunno how big a deal White’s test experience is, but he had been around the squad a fair bit I guess. I also think his combo with Toomua and Kuri is worth something too, possibly more than his experience.

        • Pedro

          I am comparing him to stirzaker in experience. White has played in the Super rugby finals that last two seasons. Stirzaker played well in the NRC but looked spooked in the only knock out game he has played in.

    • Third? Second Maybe?

  • Nutta

    I’m a bit torn on the Anthems vs Gits debate. A specialist vs a generalist in such a critical position when we saw what happened last Bill with no spare 7. Normally I would always go specialist as this is rugby and not mungo or afl. However ATM I would go Gits because of 3 factors: his experience, his versatility and the extra space for an extra forward.

    As for LFG, I say go for the 7’s son and make your own mark. Use it as a platform to build your reputation and then cash it in with a spell in Europe post Olympics. Then come back to Oz after a year or so and Hoops and Poey have either smashed themselves to bits or swapped out to Europe themselves. Then you are primed for a tilt at Bill. Look after yourself son as whilst I hate to say it, the national love just ain’t there for you or Sean Mc right now.

    • Chinese Dave

      Good advice Nutta, but love (or the lack of it) isn’t the problem. Unless you think that Gill is better than Hooper and Pocock and should be selected ahead of them, in which case, I respectfully disagree.

      • Nutta

        It doesn’t matter if I think he is good enough or not. He’s not getting selected regardless – both him and Sean (btw I watched your little exchange the other day over Sean… wow…). Ok, so I say to LFG stop bashing your skull on a brick wall and find another route/path. That is of course unless he is happy doing what he is doing and willing to resign himself to it (maybe he is). BTW – I’m a Poey guy (seems like there are two types of people in the world atm).

        • Bobas

          McMahon will surely be in the WC squad as he’s been in blind-side for the wallabies and in super rugby.

        • Nutta

          Agree he would make the squad. But the poor bugger won’t get anywhere near a spot unless some pretty significant injuries go “his way” (so to speak – no one wants folk injured). Think about it. Cheks likes destructo-players in the pack. So esp with Tats struggling with head-knocks that will mean Skelton & Palu are in the 22 (provided they are fit) for sure. Front row is pretty much squared away. Hoops or Poey at 7 and the other on the bench. So of 8 run-on and 6 reserve forwards (14) that means 10 are spoken for (4xprops, 2xhooks, 2×7’s, Skelton & Palu). That means the other lock and the blind-side are must-have go-to jumpers and the remaining 2 bench guys must also be go-to jumpers. Now assuming Big Dog is NOT covering 8 (which would leave only 3 spots left) then the likes of Simmons, Fardy, Carter, Higgers, Coleman (maybe), Jones (maybe), Horwill (maybe), Timani (maybe), Big Dog (maybe) and a few others will be lining up for 4 spots (2 run-on and 2 bench) of which all are primarily needed as designated jumpers (putting squeeze on Big Dog and Timani). LFG – as much as I love his gusto along with Sean Mc – will get squeezed out.

        • muffy

          There are two types of people – those that value as tight playing, immovable, ball stealing 7, and those that are wrong.

    • wilful

      Hey it’s not like the Olympic 7s team is some dash for cash over a jersey anyway – he’ll get more “national love” in total by helping bring back a gold medal.

    • Braveheart81

      It would only be as the third halfback position though who is unlikely to get any game time there anyway (although if Giteau is picked as third halfback you’d expect to see him played as a 12 in a matchday 23).

      Last RWC Phipps was the third halfback and his only appearance was a cameo on the wing against one of the minnows.

      If one of the first two halfbacks got injured, they’d get replaced by a specialist halfback.

      • Bruce Lyle

        We are in a semi v England, French ref, Skelton gets a yellow for collapsing a maul on the 5, ref says some thing about next time it’s a penalty try, England go for another line out. Who do want asking the ref about the call? Slipper/hopper in Aussie slang come on mate they are milking it or gits in French with guy he might know – monsieur, pourriez-vous s’il vous plaît regarder les joueurs blancs de blocage si le joueur vient non liée
        Ref Managment kills us when we get on the wrong side.

        • Chinese Dave

          What if it’s a Japanese ref? Bring back George!

          This is an interesting selection policy, I wonder how many languages we can cover? Anyone play in Argentina? Georgia?

        • Bruce Lyle

          BH so only the captain ever talks to the ref as you are walking up to a line out? But valid point.

          Dave have a look at the roster for WC, three french refs and two ARs, one ARG AR you can bet they won’t be in the French pool.

        • Braveheart81

          Giteau won’t be captain of the team if he makes the squad so I’m not sure what your point is.

        • Chinese Dave

          Good point! It will have to be a ventriloquist act, Moore will be the puppet.

  • Bruce Lyle

    If gill can make the 7s he’s got to go and he can always have a crack at WC 2019 although I can’t see 7s getting smaller.

    • Bobas

      Gill, Mogg, Coleman, Hegarty, Morahan, English, Inman. There’s 7 players, unlikely to make the WC squad, who would all be very handy on the team.

      • Bruce Lyle

        But all of them have a crack at a super rugby title next year. Well maybe not luke. What’s gill got to look forward to?

        • Bobas

          I don’t think they should miss out on all of the super rugby season, The 7’s coach is trying to lock in a team way too soon.
          They should be allowed to call up non-wallaby squad members for 7’s duties.

  • Older I Get

    A pity to see the smiling Jackpot go home. He has been a crowd pleaser and shown the team the way forward – with no fancy sidesteps. He had one blemish when he let that pesky Nick White get under his skin and he called him a faggot in reply. Then he showed his contrition by doing a training run with the convicts. I dips me lid.

  • RobC

    Thanks for Thu news Zeb. Looks like a few players going to miss out a few things. Sydney, RWC

  • Cramps

    Amen brother.

  • Bruce Lyle

    How great would that be as a line out call against the French.

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