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Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News has the latest stuff on Twiggy’s new comp as well as the movement of Force peeps to new Super clubs, a Wallabies squad update and Laurie’s take on rugby development.


Neo NRC

matt hodgson andrew twiggy forrest dave wessels

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Andrew Forrest’s new Indo-Pacific comp may very well be a re-imagining of the NRC.

In fact, they take it one step further and claim that Twiggy is in ‘formal’ negotiations.

“Forrest has met with the ARU’s hierarchy about putting millions into his newly proposed Indo-Pacific Rugby Championship, and he could effectively replace the NRC with this tournament but keep many teams,” says the article.

“One of the big appeals for Forrest is that because the ARU owns the “Western Force” name, he could work in conjunction with them and replace the Perth Spirit with the Force, thereby preserving the identity of the franchise that was axed by Australia’s governing body last week.”

Forrest’s proposed comp would run at the same as the NRC, which most importantly means it wouldn’t compete with Super Rugby (for the last 2 years of its existence). Any players not called up to the Wallabies would be able to play in the Twiggysloe, as they now compete in the NRC.

The gorillionaire also plans on luring back many overseas-based Wallabies – OH! does that mean Jesse Mogg? – and of course including a few Asian teams.

“There is much water to go under the bridge before a deal between Forrest and the ARU is reached, however the Daily Telegraph can reveal that Forrest will make a public announcement about his plans on Wednesday,” the article continues.

“Forrest wants to potentially bring in teams from Singapore, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, so negotiating which NRC teams are axed and who remains will be a key element of ongoing discussions.”

Rebels Forced

David Wessels has been appointed head coach for the rest of the Force season

The same DT article also says that Dave Wessels and co are buggering off to the Rebels next year.

It also confidently states that Wessels’ move east will be a journey also travelled by Dane Haylett-Petty, Adam Coleman and “a host of Force stars”.

The Rebels are currently without a coach, after they punted Tony McGahan. McGahan’s mates at the Reds got him a job as an assistant coach to Nick Stiles, who many are gossiping may be replaced by McGahan if he fails to deliver.

Wessels, who Force fans may not remember, was appointed to the Force job by the ARU. In particular, it was the work of now-departed COO Rob Clarke.

The Australian’s Wayne Smith regales with a tale of how Clarke set Smith with a challenge.

“In my first phone interview with Wessels,” Smith writes, “he vowed he would not be the Force’s last coach, but certainly if the intention was to shut down the club, he would be the easiest and most convenient “fall guy”.

“That’s when the phone rang. It was Rob Clarke, at that time the chief operations officer of the ARU. He had been the person most responsible for appointing Wessels and he set me a challenge — to call in on the Wessels while I was in Perth for the Argentina Test that month and then call Clarke back with my impressions.

“So I did. And when I made the return call, it was with a whole new mindset.

“The ARU has come in for all manner of criticisms regarding its dealings with the Force, many of them justified, but the head coaching appointment was one thing it did do exceptionally well. Indeed, the whole process in which they put experienced coaches around Wessels in the shape of Joe Barakat, Shaun Berne and Kevin Foote, has become a case study for Australian rugby.”

WBs Squad Update

kane douglas towel original

There has been a bit of moving and shaking in the Wallabies squad post-Perth, with none of the moving done by everyone’s favourite players (namely, Jed Holloway, Ross Haylett-Petty, or clones of the Ella twins in their prime).

Stephen Moore has swanned back in after his wife birthed another squeak – his reason for missing the Springboks test – which means that Tolu Latu has left the WBs camp again. Which is a bit mean. Can’t Tolu just hang around and learn and stuff?

Kane Douglas, who was rather humourously spotted in a towel while the Wallabies were doing their pre-match huddle in the dressing room, has also been punted in favour of Reds teammate Lukhan Tui. Tui was in the June squad, but injury had so far precluded him of having any chance of being in a Rugby Championship squad.

The Canberra Times is bounding with excitement to announce their other inclusion, the Brumbies’ Tom Banks. Banks is in as DHP has gone off to have his arm operated on.

“We’re not just bringing him in to fill numbers, yes he’s certainly in the right place at the right time with the Vikings playing here… but on the back of his NRC and Super Rugby form he’s earned his spot in this training squad,” Stephen Larkham told the paper.

“Whether he gets a game this year we’ll have to wait and see but we’ll be keeping a close eye one how he goes at training this week.”

With regards to Tui, fellow lock Rory Arnold was asked his opinion.

“Two or three years ago in that second row spot we didn’t have much depth there and you look at it now with all the young locks coming through it’s something that Australian rugby is slowly getting their depth back in,” Arnold said.

“Absolutely I’m looking over my shoulder with all these young bucks pushing through for selection and Lukhan has had a great year with the Reds and I’m sure he’ll be putting his hand up for selection this weekend.

The Lord Giveth

lord laurie Fisher

Ye Bucket Hatted One, Laurie Fisher, has slamdunked the state of the game in Australia, telling Fox Sports last week that “the arse has fallen out of our development systems.”

“I think the arse has dropped out of our development systems,” Fisher said.

“Certainly at the Brumbies there is no academy.

“We had academies that were funded by the ARU — it was centralised — and when they ceased that centralised model they handed the academy system back to the provinces, but with zero funding, and we all know the funding issues that each of the five teams have.

“It seems to have fallen by the wayside.”

Fisher has just come back from England, where the game is booming – nay, roaring – and reckons it’s about time Australia did something similar (by appointing an Australian coach, Laurie?).

“It’s really heavily funded and to me the academies are the crux of their development,” Fisher said. “They’ve just got so much depth now and they’re continuing to come through. They’ve really got it right over there.”

Academies were dissolved in 2013 in Australia, and was replaced by a national u20s comp. Many peeps think academies take away from clubland (shock horror! not clubland!) but Fisher don’t think so.

“I think there’s a misunderstanding that academies take guys away from club football,” Fisher says. “I think club football is fantastic, but I think to have that extra work in skills, in conditioning, in a range of other areas has been really absent over this past period of time.

“Ideally you start nice and young at 14, but probably at least to start them at 16 to get them in and again, it doesn’t have to be an unbelievable amount of work.

“If you got them in twice a week and did a range of things, you identify talent and it doesn’t preclude you from late developers and all those things.”

  • Bakkies

    Gandalf is spot on in regards to his comments about player development. The academies are important, Cheika and McGahan had huge inputs in to the Leinster and Munster academies respectively. The Leinster academy is now pumping out ridiculous amounts of talent and yes to the Shut Shield types they are still playing club Rugby. Of course the club types still object to the amount of A level fixtures but those level comps and games are producing more match ready players and coaches. Peter O’Mahony, the Scannell brothers, Simon Zebo, etc came through the A level squad for Munster. This was at a key time for Munster after the retirement of several top level internationals.

    The likes of Garry Ringrose, Luke McGrath, Rory O’Loughlin, Tadhg Furlong, Josh van der Flier, James Ryan, Andrew Porter, Joey Carbery have come out of the Leinster Academy in recent years and are now internationals. All key position players. That type of talent flow is no longer occurring in Australian Rugby and the Super Rugby teams and Wallabies are paying the price for it.

    The academies are funded by sponsorship and supporters club membership monies. Sponsored academies were around in Australia before O’Neill closed them down to centralise on Sydney and Brisbane.

    • mikado

      Yes the Leinster Academy is ridiculously successful. It’s just a conveyor belt of world-class players.

      • Bakkies

        Yep also boosted by the likes of St Michaels who unlike certain schools in Munster and Ulster like to develop rounded players by putting a lot of emphasis on playing skillful Rugby rather than sticking it up the jumper to win titles.

        How many players have come through Scots College since they started invested money on hyperbaric chambers and winning titles? Very little I say. They have invested money on destroying the five game (yes that’s right five games) competition. That’s all.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Why did O’Neill do that? What was the logic/point? Was there any?

      • Bakkies

        Cost cutting and Sydney club politics. The Shut Shield wanted to be the third tier. The worst thing about is that he brought in a 5th Super Rugby team while he was at it then took a golden handshake for ruining Rugby in Australia.

        Before that the HPU system at the Brumbies turned out Daniel Halangahu, TPN, Fainga’a twins, AAC and Sam Norton Knight. Bar Halangahu all ended up in the Wallabies.

        Halangahu and Norton Knight ruined their development by signing with the Waratahs.

        It was a disaster for the Force players ending up on the other side of the country after May to play club Rugby and they didn’t see them again until pre-season no wonder they went from mid table to the bottom of the table. Bad ARU player development and Richard Graham being foisted on them set them up to fail. They only really recovered this year with players actually coming through and developed in the Perth system that should have been there all along. The ARU also had no interest in boosting the Perth club competition.

        How could you develop and condition your players when they aren’t there playing in competitions on the other side of the country with the vast majority of games not televised? It was hard enough for the Brumbies when players were going up and down the Hume to boost the likes of Randwick, Easts and Southern Districts.

  • Julie T

    Thought the Future a Force Foundation ( private sponsorship including quite a bit from Twiggy I understand ) over the past couple of years was just starting to bear fruit. Dickie Hardwick, Scoble & Koteka were the first intake. All gone on to play Super Rugby. But of course it’s damn hard to maintain a Future Force if there is no Force.

    Love the fact that the ARU now seems to be getting all the credit for the Force appointing Dave Wessels. Yes they approved the recommendation. But I think you’ll find Rugby WA tell a different story to the one Smith & Clark are spinning

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Good to see Banks in the squad, he should have been in there from the outset. Hopefully he gets a run off the bench. He is probably the fastest player in the squad with Naivalu out, above Kurtley at this stage even.

    Tui is another good one. Although I am concerned that he may not be quite fast enough, surely he is a better option at 6 than the other options in the squad.

    • Who?

      Simmons to 6, Tui to the bench?

      • Bakkies

        Simmons would get done like a dinner in defence at 6.

        • Who?

          I’m not so sure. He’s generally among our best defensive forwards (i.e. tackle completion rate), and he’s played there more than Tui has. His issues are more around his ball running (work rate and gain line), but playing 6 even that would be improved (the defence isn’t as tight out wider, and his games at 6 have seen him running more freely).

        • Bakkies

          Watch how Pieter-Steph du Toit got destroyed by England playing at 6 and he is far more mobile than Simmons.

        • Who?

          But we’re not talking Simmons or PSdT – we’re talking Simmons or Hanigan. :-(

        • Bakkies

          du Toit was picked for the Boks at 6 due to the same rationale for moving Simmons there. It would be a disaster.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Who, I am inclined to agree with Bakkies. Higginbotham, RHP, Fardy, Korczyk, McMahon and Dempsey should all be considered before Hanigan.

          Fardy was obviously the pick, but Cheika burned that bridge so Fardy is no longer an option.

          Higginbotham is option number 2, but Cheika doesn’t like him. However, it should be Higgers.

          RHP is option number 3 but apparently he is now injured.

          McMahon is no blindside blanker, he is a number 7, but he is more of a 6 than 8 and far more effective than Hanigan at 6, and Hanigan is hardly doing well in the line out anyway.

          Korczyk and Dempsey both should be nowhere near the squad, but are better than Hanigan.

          Is Tui fast enough to play 6? I would doubt it.

          You know what? I can hardly believe I am going to say this given I have loathed his selection since Cheika took over more than any other, but I would actually take Dean Mumm over Ned Hanigan.

          Cheika needs to swallow his pride and get Higgers back into the team now that Fardy is no longer an option.

  • Gottsy

    Instead of going up against the NRC, would be good to see twiggy really inject some cash into the existing comp, with some tweaks. Keep the Force going, along with all the other teams that are viable, have it go for a little bit longer and MAYBE get the fkn thing on tv!
    Eventually (if SR survives) you could see the super teams really become more like the rep teams they are supposed to be.
    If the NRC could be boosted by his bank account, the Force would still be relevant in aus rugby

    • Huw Tindall

      This seems to be the best compromise and let’s be honest, it is only going to be a compromise for the final 2 years of Super Rugby and then who knows. Could see wholesale change. With people banging on about grass roots funding I’d like to see some investment go to non-Super Rugby…just like the NRC.

      • Bakkies

        There is three years left of the Super Rugby competition as the new tv deal kicks in to play in 2021.

        • Huw Tindall

          My mistake. 3 years counting down to demise if Super Rugby as we know it.

      • Gottsy

        Yeah exactly. The kiwis were playing hardball with a trans-Tasman comp but once they realise the saffas have different interests I reckon they’ll have a change of heart and super rugby as we know it will hopefully focus on Asia-Pacific

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I agree, while I understand the anger and a desire to give a big “fuck you” to the ARU, I’d like to see the NRC grow and I think that would give more benefit rugby in Australia.

      • Pfitzy

        Need to bring the Premier Rugby clubs in from the cold then.

        Firstly: growing the NRC means a longer season. That means a shorter Premier Rugby season.

        Secondly: as soon as Sydney Uni, Eastwood, etc hear the word “cash” they start thinking their existing NRC setup isn’t such a great idea, in retrospect, and maybe they should go it alone and oh-wow-look-at-the-trickle-down-benefits!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate, I’m not suggesting it’d be easy but overall better for Australian Rugby

        • Gottsy

          With a cash injection I think you would also see the mutual relationships between nrc teams and premier clubs grow naturally. If players were being payed better you would naturally see more competition for spots as the attractiveness of the comp increased.
          The negativity towards a national comp in favour of supporting premier and club rugby has its merits but is ultimately detrimental to aus rugby, we really need this to work

        • rugby

          What makes any of you guys think that is something Andrew Forrest is interested in. He became involved to settle an injustice. Not to feed the already relatively well supported east coast system. He’s rich, he’s not stupid. Its about ensuring a pathway for WA players because at present they no longer have one. That in turn will make Australian rugby stronger

        • Huw Tindall

          The $10m-$50m talked about was for the Australian Rugby Foundation which is mostly concerned with grassroots and not controlled by the ARU. If the Indopac comp is a goer then it’ll need funding from somewhere and ultimately a financial return. Running international rugby comps isn’t cheap – in fact it’s one of the downfalls of the expansion to Super 18. The travel costs are astronomical. You’re talking about 30-35 people on planes, flights, transport, living expenses for at times multiple weeks. I just really struggle to see how the comp could make enough money. Twiggy is a well known philanthropist but I’m not sure that extends to throwing money at sport with no financial return.

        • Gottsy

          I’m not actually sure what you’re argument is..? (Sorry I’m not being argumentative I just don’t get what you’re trying to say)

          If the nrc is more relevant and more attractive, and the force are a major player, then the pathway is maintained.

      • Gottsy

        Yeah mate I agree.

  • ForceFan

    The EARU has shown that it has no interest in maintaining a professional rugby union team in Perth.

    Twiggy has indicated that he is willing to back a professional team into a new international competition.
    If the top team in Perth is the NRC team then there is no real pathway nor chance to keep top players in Perth – they will always be lured East or elsewhere just as was the case in the past.
    The NRC was/is an ARU initiative and it should work harder to make it a success.

    A NEO NRC is unlikely to attract Twiggy’s $$s.

    Since 2013 Dave Wessels was already an Assistant Coach under Michael Foley. Yes he was appointed Head Coach by the WF/ARU as the Alliance was in place. It should NOT be presented as just an ARU decision.

    • jay-c

      Let’s not forget that up until this year, the force board showed no interest in having a professional team either.
      I’m totally against cutting the force, but the way the force board carried on with foley and graham for years and the disrespect showed to the competition shouldn’t be forgotten.

      • Bakkies

        They had both coaches there to satisfy their mates within the ARU.

    • Kevino

      Mate I wanted Force to survive.

      But that new international comp would be a weaker quality than the NRC. If Twiggy is all about improving rugby in Australia and not just Perth making the NRC a home and away season is the best thing he could do.

      WF beating teams from Asia by 50 points each week is not going to help rugby in Perth. Llayers want competition to test themselves.

      • Bakkies

        Kevin the ARU has not provided an alternative for the Force and even if they did they would get little support from them.

        • Kevino

          I agree they have not provided a alternative. But a second class comp that is weaker than all Australian domestic comps is not going to attract fans and work. Force fans will soon get fed up with watching them win by 50 and turn back to club rugby anyway. None of the other sides I have seen listed will even come close to competitive in professional comp.

        • Bakkies

          Forrest has no alternative but to press ahead. The NRC won’t cut it in its present form and the ARU are already laying off staff in Perth.

      • Andrew Luscombe

        If he throws enough money at it, it can be a high quality comp. If the money is distributed right, it will be an even and competitive comp. If it draws enough crowds it’ll be self sustaining.

        Players don’t need to be from where a team is based. In many sports most players aren’t. Rugby people in the southern hemisphere appear to be the only sports fans in the world who don’t realise this. Still stuck in amateur days. That’s why SR is stuffed.

        $60 million per year will get 6 teams of European standard if the players are eligible for nstional teams. If not, he’ll need $80 million per year. He’s got the money. There’s been reports of $200 million over 3 years. If the crowds don’t show up in 3 years, he’ll probably focus on buying the Force back into SR or whatever replaces it. If they do, his comp will probably merge with SR or whatever replaces it.

  • onlinesideline

    I think its time for a four corners documentary on the state of Australian rugby and I have the perfect music for it – its that sad.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHxi-HSgNPc

    • Bakkies

      Stop crying your heart – Oasis is more apt. It’s often used when the England Football team regularly bomb out of major tournaments.

      • onlinesideline

        no wonder it’s been played 60 million times.

  • Alister Smith

    I have nothing personally against Rod Kafer. However, I would have thought someone like Laurie Fischer would have been better placed to head up the coaching and development review. Direct experience of head coaching at a super level, as an assistant for the Wallabies (I think but happy to be corrected), as a head coach at overseas clubs, lateral thinker (certainly in terms of hairstyles if not rugby strategy) and not employed by the broadcaster so no potential conflict(s) of interest.

    • Kevino

      I think Laurie still has coaching ambissions. Maybe big Jim Williams would have taken the gig.

  • Brisneyland Local

    GAGR’s just read this elsewhere and thought I would share. It says a hell of a lot to me.
    Restarts: two of six were poor – a dreadful start to the match for Bernard Foley when the opening kickoff didn’t get anywhere near the ten-metre line at the start of the match, and a poor chase in the second half which allowed the Springboks to bring the ball back unopposed.
    Restart receipts: two of seven were poor – Israel Folau was late getting to the contest in one and gave away an obvious penalty and if that kick in the second half had gone another ten centimetres, the Springboks would have won another as none of the Wallaby players had reacted quickly enough.
    Scrums: seven of 15 Wallabies scrums were poor, with the lowlight being the penalty under the posts in the 67th minute which gave the Springboks the lead late.
    Lineout on own throw: the Wallabies only won five from ten on their own throw and only delivered clean ball in four from ten, including three where the throw wasn’t straight (although only two were picked up by the referee).
    Lineout on opposition throw: the Wallabies were poor in seven of 13 lineouts where the Springboks threw the ball in. The penalty Ned Hanigan gave away in the 78th minute for playing the jumper in the air was actually the fourth time the Australians were guilty of that error, which tells you that they were late getting into the air to compete.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Still a work in progress in so many respects

      • Brisneyland Local

        Sadly. The fact that we cant consolidate and hold in one area then work on another. As soon as we concentrate on one area, all others receed!

        • McWarren

          I remember when Cheika started at the Tahs one of the first things he did was reorganise their restarts. When they won in 14 their defensive line was really well drilled and always moved up in a line just as Foley or Beale kicked. Yet on Saturday it seemed the timing and intensity of our restart chase was very poor. It’s just one element but I think it speaks to a lack of either buy in from the players or poor prep from the coaches. It may be that the line is staggered so that the hard chasers like Folau have someone to knock it back too?

        • Brisneyland Local

          Mc W, I hear what you are saying. I wouldnt thing the line would need to be staggered as that would occur naturally due to the varying speeds of the players. Heaven forbid Folau got in the way of a fat forward trying to get to a dozen donuts!

  • Bay35Pablo

    That DT article was the biggest piece of clickbait speculation I have seen, Usually Pandaram is better than that, but it almost read like New Ltd is sucking up to Twiggy to ensure they get the TV gig.
    They’d never do that, right ….?

    • Perth girl

      Pandaram is a mouthpiece for the ARU, now known as the ESRU

  • Perth girl

    You haven’t got the latest news, just misinformation again. Wessels was chosen and appointed by RugbyWA with the appointment rubber stamped by the ARU, he was already an assistant coach at the club. Wessels and some of the players have not yet decided where to go next, it maybe Melbourne but he hasn’t decided yet. He has said that he would take 2 things in consideration, his wife’s wishes and what would make him a better coach. The NRC hasn’t got any money, the ARU hasn’t got any money, the NRC may fold next year. Nick instead of relying on Eastern States papers for the latest news on WA rugby issues why don’t you head over to twf.com.au!

Rugby

Hopes to play David Pocock in the inevitable biopic. Lifelong fan of whoever Jarrad Hayne is currently playing for.

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