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Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News has good and bad news for Queenslanders, Springbok squad announced for the June tests and some more fall-out from Willemse’s walk out.

Eales to be Immortalised

Eales

With state-based parochialism building to fever-pitch in Queensland due to this week’s announcement of the team for an upcoming series of some other sport, the QRU has picked the perfect time to unveil plans for a statue of John Eales.  He will be the first rugby player recognised with an installation at Suncorp Stadium (nee Lang Park).

In an effort to have the statue stand out from the four rugby league ones also as the ground, the pose chosen has Eales being suspended in mid-air, pulling down a line-out.

QRU Chairman Jeff Miller has oddly described the installation as “interactive”, the statue alas will actually remain motionless, but it does however afford fans the opportunity to just pretend as if they were assisting in the lift, which should in time prove more popular than actually having to hoist the 300kg likeness of Eales into the air.

Miller was also full of praise for Eales at today’s announcement saying, “As a player he was a phenomenally gifted and courageous athlete, but he also possessed an uncompromising sense of fair play which epitomises Rugby Union”.

Summing up the day eloquently, Miller described Eales as the stand-out player of the modern era.

“He is the stand-out player of the modern era associated with Suncorp Stadium.”

-Jeff Miller

Despite voicing his usual modesty, he seemed to accept the appropriateness of both the statue’s subject matter and location. “I was privileged to play here, represent my country here and to play with some great Australian players here in some great and very memorable matches, as well”, Eales said.

Footing the bill for the statue are Queensland Rugby Foundation, (the philanthropic arm of the Queensland Rugby Union), Stadiums Queensland, AEG Ogden and the Queensland Government.

Cooper Cooked

Quade Cooper

In something of a relief for Quade Cooper fans, the former international fly-half is no longer available for Wallaby selection after picking up an injury on the weekend.

The former #10 injured his medial collateral ligament and will miss up to a month of football he announced on twitter after the match.

Cast aside from the Reds this season and told he would need to move to another Australian super rugby franchise to be considered for Wallaby selection Cooper instead chose to stay in Brisbane and play for Souths in the premier grade competition.

Still contracted to QRU Cooper is probably the best-paid player in premier rugby and his influence at the club sees the Magpies as ladder leaders, with 6 wins from 8 matches after not even making the finals last year.

With the 70-test veteran out of the mix it remains to be seen who will make Cheika’s final cut when the team is announced later this week.

Stay tuned to Green and Gold for all the latest on the squad announcement.

Bokke Squad Announced

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With 4 tests during the June test window South Africa have named a 43-man squad featuring a mix of local and international players, with 17 potential test debutants.

The Boks kick off their internationals with a match against Wales in Robert F. Kennedy stadium in Washington D.C. before the host 3 tests in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Cape Town against an English team no doubt stinging after their thrashing at the hands of the Barbarians.

Forwards:

Nizaam Carr
Bismarck du Plessis
Dan du Preez
Jean-Luc du Preez
Pieter-Steph du Toit
Thomas du Toit
Jason Jenkins
Steven Kitshoff
Siya Kolisi
Wilco Louw
Frans Malherbe
Bongi Mbonambi
Oupa Mohojé
Franco Mostert
Tendai Mtawarira
Ox Nche*
Sikhumbuzo Notshe*
Trevor Nyakane
Marvin Orie*

Chiliboy Ralepelle
Kwagga Smith*
RG Snyman*
Akker van der Merwe*
Duane Vermeulen

Backs:

Lukhanyo Am
Curwin Bosch
Damian de Allende
Faf de Klerk
Robert du Preez*
Aphiwe Dyantyi*
André Esterhuizen*
Warrick Gelant
Travis Ismaiel*
Elton Jantjies
Jesse Kriel
Willie le Roux
Makazole Mapimpi*
Sibusiso Nkosi*
Embrose Papier*
Handré Pollard
Frans Steyn
Ivan van Zyl*
Cameron Wright*

*denotes potential test debutant.

Tensions ease then boil then ease again in South Africa

Kolisi and Etzebeth

After last week’s on-air walk out by former Springbok Ashwin Willemse the reaction from the network was swift without being in any way decisive.

All three presenters involved in the stoush have been stood down (on full pay) pending an investigation into the matter chaired by Senior Counsel Vincent Maleka.

A statement from SuperSport reads “We are committed to getting to the bottom of this serious issue. Advocate Maleka SC has been asked to make findings and recommendations by Monday‚ June 11‚ 2018.”

This seems to fly in the face of SuperSport CEO Gideon Khobane’s comments from Monday where he’s quoted as saying “We are positive that this was not a racially motivated issue because all parties were very courteous during our discussions that started this morning.”

South African rugby will be hoping the issue isn’t racially motivated too, given they’ve just announced Siya Kolisi as their test captain for the upcoming series against England.  It will be the first time* in their 127-year history that South Africa will go into a test captained by a black player**.

*Kolisi had filled in as captain in lieu of Eben Etzebeth last year when the Etzebeth was injured during a game.

**a 2006 match against a world XV where SA was captained by Chiliboy Ralepelle did not receive test status.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Morning Andrew, thanks for this. Good to see Eales being recognised like that he was a fantastic player, I so hated him at times :-) He did that documentary on the Haka and I was really impressed at his attitude and the way he got on so well with the NZ players he played against. A real gentleman and such a legend competitor.

    The Boks team looks interesting. After the debacle against the Baabaa’s the England team is going to be trying to prove a point on this tour. It’ll be very interesting as to how it pans out and what will happen should it go tits up on them. I think England have got some real problems and the inclusion of a player like Shields, who was never going to be an AB – or a reserve at best – really displays a level of problems that are being glossed over.

    I think Cheika will be secretly breathing a sigh of relief with Cooper injured. Now he doesn’t have to think up a story as to why he’d either select him or not and can concentrate on the rest of his players. That whole story is like a “Days of our Lives special” the way it has been panning out.

    • Andrew H

      Thanks mate. Yeah, you gotta love Eales, prototype forward for the early professional era, and like you said, the perfect gentleman to boot.
      The England/SA series will provide some interesting viewing I’m sure, lots of uncapped Boks and who knows how England will after the Baabaa game?
      Hahahahaha, like sands through the hourglass indeed.

    • Richard Patterson

      Well said as always KRL. John Eales was a magnificent rugby player and a great role model on & off the field. One though is left wondering at his inability to command the same presence as a Director of RA. So many of the recent / current issues have emerged under his watch — yet on too few occasions have I seen him take the lead in the resolution of so many of them.

      • Fatflanker

        Very true. For a captain that was prepared to make a stand and take his players off the field in the face of foul play, he has been very quiet in the boardroom.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Almost like being a good player doesn’t mean you have the necessary skills and expertise to be a sports administrator…

        • Fatflanker

          Fair point but knowing when to make a stand should transfer over easily enough.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Taking a stand when you’re confident you understand the situation is easy, as he did on the field, if you have the fortitude of character.

          I don’t think he lacks for fortitude of character, he might just be out of his depth and had to contend with a lot of conflicting and contradictory claims and even misinformation. I still don’t understand the whole Force scenario there are so many conflicting claims.

          I don’t envy having had to make decisions to do with it. I generally agree with what you say though.

        • Gareth

          There are so many issues facing RA, with zero good will by parties involved. Half of the ideas i hear that make complete sense get shot down as soon as you speak with RA. Just about every issue is overly complicated.
          Its almost like we need a complete restart similar to the A-league rebirth.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah that has been disappinting. I would think that it’s partly the board structure where he may not have much of a say and also maybe a captain of the Wallabies and all round nice guy doesn’t give you what you need on a board.

        • Adrian

          Nor do bankers etc.

          The thing RA totally miss in this professional era is people who understand both professional sport, and how to run a small to medium business.

          Professional RL and AFL teams, whether they be clubs or governing bodies (eg ARL, NRL, QRL, NSWRL, AFL, VFL, WAFA etc) have both ex players and small–medium business people (eg motor dealers, builders), who know how to manage businesses. Sometimes ex-players know about small–medium business too.

          There should be room for guys like Eales, but Rugby is top heavy with the highest echelons of business (CEOs of big Cos, bankers, stock brokers). These top level of business people understand billions, but not millions, thousands, or hundreds

        • idiot savant

          Very true Adrian. The sad thing about Eales is that his achievements really ended with his playing career. He has not built a business or rose to prominence in a profession as an adult. He was clever to use his connections to get him into consulting about ‘leadership’ and into board director roles. But real life is nothing like the leadership lessons taught at exclusive private schools. Thats a theory. Adult leadership is forged in the much harder school of life. The kind of school that the board directors you speak of – who run SMEs and have risked all they have – come from. RA has to turn away from the Clynes and Eales – people who are smart about using the systems – to people who have really achieved through vision, drive and personal risk if they are to provide the kind of real world leadership to save the game from decline. It is an indictment that a real achiever like Twiggy Forest has lost to the board of RA.

        • Who?

          Gotta be fair to Eales, he was also national Sudoku champion. I once read that Kearns – who was mad on Sudoku – took Eales, who’d never played it before – to the national titles in Perth in hopes of humiliating him. So Kearns went out early and Eales won the thing…
          But point more than taken. :-)

        • Adrian

          Agree, but if going to have Twiggy, also need smaller (medium size) company people too

    • Fatflanker

      Ah, memories of an era when everything just seemed to go right for Oz. I still reckon they introduced lifting in the line-out to nullify ol’ Nobody, (I’d say the same about the new ruck laws and Pocock but that would be slightly paranoid).

    • Dud Roodt

      I always thought it was weird, but great, how close some of the AB’s and Wallabies players were back then. I remember reading that George Gregan would stay at Justin Marshall’s house and vise versa when they were playing.

      And when Andrew Merhten’s house burnt down, he and his family moved in with George.

      My dad was good friends with some Wallabies back in the day (70’s) and went on a few tours with them. He said all the players were very close with the players in other teams.

      Not sure how much of that still goes on, but it was always a special part of our sport that, I thought.

      • Missing Link

        It still happens today demonstrated by the smiles, laughs and carry on our boys have with the humble All Blacks after losing to them by 50 points

      • Richard Patterson

        Surprisingly, it was Robbie Deans in his tenure as Wallabies coach that put an end too much of the traditional off-field / after-match socialising and camaraderie between the Wallabies and All Blacks. I think the respect still exists – but these days of night test matches means the opportunities don’t exist like before. A touring ANZAC team similar to the B&I Lions would be a wonderful advertisement for rugby Down Under. Sadly these days of compressed schedules means it will never happen.

        • onlinesideline

          There were complaints then that we were too social after a loss if I remember. Seems suppressing that has failed though – now there are prayer groups. I think its a great thing. The players need some perspective after 80 mins of controlled violence. Denying them that and making them player 10 months a year and then expecting them to be perfect role models – piffttt – admin can fuke off

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Alan Jones did too. I remember Nick far Jones saying how he got told off for talking to the enemy when he went and had a chat with Ian Kirkpatrick, who was a legend and part of the AB mentoring team at the time, after one Bledisoe Cup game.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I always thought it was great. Some of my best friendships moments in rugby happened in the bar discussing the game with the opposition. And promising to get the first punch in next time lol

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Really happy for Kolisi. I thought it might be Vermuelen but better to go with a domestic player, and with Kriel and Louw injured Kolisi is clearly first choice flank. He’s a good man and I think he will captain the side well.

    I’ve got to say, from what I’ve read it seems the Willemse thing sound like it could have just been a sad misunderstanding. I hope that’s all it was.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I think the whole quota issue is creating divides that are being covered over. You can just imagine the snide comments that this would cause, especially on social media or from disaffected team mates who’ve had friends miss out. I understand the reasoning behind it but really think it hasn’t been fully thought through

      • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

        I think it’s a well thought idea. The white SA rugby community, with a lot of historical ingrained inherent racism, has a choice. It can either put resources into developing top class rugby players from the massive population of black South Africans, and thus end up where they are never in a situation where “disaffected team mates who’ve had friends miss out”; or they can suffer the consequences of having to have sub standard black players in the team. Simple and effective.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          That’s the macro argument. However, I don’t think that would be particularly nice for either the white players who miss out due to hiring practices that exclude them on account of the colour of their skin or, as you put it ‘sub standard black players’ who have to contend with claims of being quota players their whole career, and wonder if it is true. The claims seemed to have gotten to Willemse.

          Like so many ideas it is fine when you exclude the fact that these people are human. When you consider the feelings of the human beings involved I’m not sure it necessarily works. Perhaps better to just put resources into ensuring there are no discriminatory hiring practices and ensure funds are devoted to boosting participation amongst black people.

          I do see the argument for quotas though. So it isn’t, as they say, black and white in my mind.

        • Missing Link

          Forwards aren’t human mate, they’re another breed altogether :)

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          You’re right, the whole situation is not very nice.

        • IIPA

          What’s the expected number of colored players in a Springboks 23? Is a quota even necessary now at that level ?

          I can’t think of any non-colored back three player except Combrink who might be considered then you have guys like Am, DdeA in the centres, Willemse and Jantjes at 10. Papier at 9 is exciting. Most of the loose forwards and even Orieni would say are there totally on merit. Things get a bit murky in the front row looking at Nche and Bongi ( but then Samuels at the Stormers has really improved this season).

          Or am I just being naive ?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          With Kitshoff, Faf de Klerk, Robert du Perez, Pollard, Steyn, Le Roux, JL du Preez, Vermuelen, Marx, Bismarck it is very contentious I think.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think if they’d done it that way so that players could develop and prove they were good enough to get in on merit alone they wouldn’t be in the situation they are now. What they actually did though was say that by a certain date the % of black players had to be playing. There was nothing there about how they’d grow that many or develop them it was just a black and white (pardon the pun) decision and that is not well thought through at all.

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          Yes KRL, all very well in theory, but in practice would that ever happen? How are the black players ever going to develop the skills and knowledge of the game if the white rugby community has no incentive to develop them? And would the black players ever get picked, even if they were good enough, if the administrators are white racists? No f’ing way. The quota enforces an incentive for the development, and enforces selections.

      • Andrew Luscombe

        If you think of apartheid as a 100% white quota, all SA players have been “quota players”. Not sure that any of them should be using it as a derogatory term.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          slightly different context mate

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Yeah, you’re right – very different contexts. But the point is how can anyone work out who has been boosted or held back unfairly from a rugby or life perspective at any point in SA’s history? There’s probably no one who hasn’t been affected in some way.

          There’s always something people can point to if they want to “explain” why some person is some place they shouldn’t be. If it wasn’t a quota, the same people would be pointing out the player’s school, club, state, suburb, religion, contacts, parents, father’s contacts, friends, or some other familiar sounding rational.

        • Adrian

          Everything now, flows from then.

          Patience is needed to overcome something that was entrenched for over a hundred years.

    • onlinesideline

      What happend to Markyyyyyyy Markssssss ?

      • Missing Link

        injured. fair to say he would have been in otherwise

        • onlinesideline

          hell yeah – he is an awesome player. That boks v kiwis test last year in SA was an absolute epic.

        • ozrugbynut

          For sure! That performance against the ABs last year was just ridiculous.

  • Missing Link

    Nice Bokke squad. I’m hoping to see an injection of some new blood into the team and not just the same old heads. In particular Kwagga Smith, RDP, Gelant and Bosch who have had half decent super rugby seasons deserve a shot.

  • 22DropOut

    As ludicrous as it is that Quade Cooper isn’t at one of the 4 Australian Super Rugby sides, it is equally ludicrous that there was a call for him to be included when he is playing semi-pro regional QLD rugby. As good as he is, he’s out of the intensitiy of day to day training with elite pros, under top level coaches and he is playing against low-level opposition.

    His people and Rugby Australia need to sit down and nut this issue out, stubbornness on all sides is depriving the game of a Wallaby.

    • Dud Roodt

      Unfortunately, while Quade is unwilling to play anywhere but QLD, and QLD (read: BT) are unwilling to have him, I’m not sure what sort of resolution they can come to.

      • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

        The situation will resolve itself when either Quade’s contract runs out with Qld and BT is still coach, or BT gets moved on.

        Regardless, Cheika is obviously not interested in picking Quade no matter who he plays for, so the idea that Quade won’t get picked while not playing for a SR team is just a furphy.

        • 22DropOut

          I don’t think that’s obvious. What’s obvious is he wanted him back in Super Rugby and was instrumental in that happening, and as has been the case with a few of his recent coaches he wants to see some changes before he selects him. Why would he have a grudge? It doesn’t make sense.

        • disqus_NMXfOrw5ot

          I think it’s obvious on the basis of: last year’s test season; and his comments that QC has to be playing SR, when we all know Cheika has picked guys from club rugby before, and thus it’s obviously a bullshit explanation of why he’s not going to pick him this year, but means Cheika has his answer already in place if anyone asks him about QC again this year. I don’t think there’s a grudge, I just don’t think Cheika rates him anymore.

        • 22DropOut

          “and thus it’s obviously a bullshit explanation of why he’s not going to pick him this year, ”

          I want Quade Cooper back as much as the next man but it’s not a bullshit reason not to select him. It’s a valid reason and everyone knows that.

          He’s playing low-level semi-pro level a year after an out of sorts campaign in Super Rugby. He’s not in condition to come in for a series against the form team in World Rugby and then in a few more weeks the Bledisloe is here.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate, I’m not sure it’s a grudge, but Cheika was the guy who didn’t select Quade last year and sent him back to Super rugby to “learn to enjoy the game again”. He had Quade at 10 and Foley at 12 – which was an unmitigated disaster and all the blame seemed to go Quade ‘s way as he was the one dropped. I think Cheika would like Quade at Super rugby so he has a back up if Foley gets injured but I don’t think he’d pick him anyway.

        • joy

          All down to the rise and rise of the Neanderthals.

    • Alister Smith

      Regional Qld might be a touch harsh…Brisbane is the state capital :) and its the premier rugby competition so on a par with Shute Shield but your point is valid …and also while the have won 6 from 8 I think he has missed one or two of the wins with injury and now another month off.

    • Who?

      Do you really think Cheika was ever going to pick him? Given he didn’t pick Cooper for TRC or the EOYT last year, I don’t think there was ever the slightest chance he was going to wear Gold this year. Regardless of Foley’s form or fitness.

      • 22DropOut

        If he was playing well in Super Rugby then he would have selected him the squad without a doubt, and he would have gotten a shot at the shirt at some stage.

        • Who?

          The same way that Fardy was picked over Mumm when Fardy was clearly the form 6? The way that Foley was dropped for Cooper in 2016 when Cooper was getting better results at 10 in the Wallabies? The same way that Robbie Deans picked the form Super THP in 2010 and 2011 (Al Baxter)..?
          Cheika’s written Cooper off. The messaging from Cheika and RA over the past 12 months has been horribly inconsistent and inaccurate. “We’ll pick him when he’s enjoying his Rugby.” Instead they pick Paia’aua (a 12, he’s not even a 10 for the Reds under Thorn – Thorn chased back Jono Lance because he didn’t want Duncan at 10 for the Reds!) and Hodge over him. Early this year, they say they might have to look at the tapes of club rugby when it’s clear that Thorn won’t pick him. Then in May they start saying he’s got to play Super Rugby to be eligible.
          The only reason they’re saying that he’s a shot if he’s playing Super Rugby is that it makes them look terrible that he’s playing park Rugby on a national top up salary. Because they want him playing Super Rugby, to get SOME value out of him. But I’m sure he’s figured out the deal with the national squad. He’s happy in Brisbane, he won’t be in the Wallabies, why move for no financial benefit, but in fact at financial cost?
          And then, having complained in the press that they don’t get to control state selections and regretting signing someone to such a long contract (3 whole years), they go chasing Hooper trying to get him to sign a 5 year contract… They’re geniuses these people, I tell you!

        • 22DropOut

          Come on man no need to build a straw-man here.

          Of course Cheika would include Cooper in the squad if he was playing well in Super Rugby, why on earth wouldn’t he? There is absolutely no reason why he wouldn’t. He’s not an idiot or evil.

          He rates Foley as the #1 choice at ten and like everyone I don’t see that changing either.

        • Who?

          Why would Cheika not include Cooper if he was playing well in Super Rugby? Because he’s decided that he can’t use Cooper. The same way that Robbie Deans decided he couldn’t use Baxter. That doesn’t make him evil. Idiocy isn’t decided by a single selection disagreement (there’s plenty of them across much of the team, along with stylistic choices, which can be used for that argument).
          Not understanding how to use a player is a fair reason for not selecting them. And Cheika doesn’t understand the way Cooper thinks or plays. That’s obvious from the comments he’s made for years. He still seems to see Cooper as a Beale style player. But he’s not. Beale is a ball runner who sets up players with his ball running. Cooper is a passer who’ll run if needed. So if you don’t understand how someone operates, you’re not going to get the outcomes you want from them.
          And while you say Cheika would include Cooper if he were playing well in Super Rugby, Cooper didn’t play horribly last Super season. The Reds issues were around fitness, defence and the pack being consistently dominated. Doesn’t matter who your 10 is, if you have an exhausted pack, your 10 needs to kick the ball to give them relief, rather than asking them to work hard to run it out of their own half. Cooper was pilloried for that last year, but he was doing the right thing. And he was clearly in the top two 10’s in the country (given no one else playing 10 was eligible, and other options weren’t rated as 10’s by their provincial coaches). Yet he wasn’t selected. So I don’t accept your premise that Super form is the key. If it were, why did he say that he’d look at club tapes back in February?
          I don’t see Cheika changing from Foley any time soon. There’s no alternative. He understands how Foley works. So he’ll want a similar style of back up. Hence why he’s looking at Paia’aua (who’s a 12, not a 10), Hodge (another 12), Beale (again, not a genuine, traditional 10, unless heavily programmed). All are ball runners rather than passers. Beale will play with the most width, but that’s because he’s the fastest and runs sideways the most.

        • 22DropOut

          I disagree with your appraisal of Cooper last year but that’s life.
          I don’t accept that Cooper would be excluded if in form and playing at an acceptable level of rugby. You disagree, fair enough.

          Also the Fardy stuff is revisionism to suit a narrative. Fardy played every game in the World Cup. The following year he lost his place after 2 horrendous pack displays against New Zealand and when the team was shaken up we went on a winning streak. The following year he was off to Europe.

  • onlinesideline

    Pete Samu just signed with Brumbies – is he good ?

    #freeTommyRobinson

    • Missing Link

      That’s awesome. possibly a sign that he’ll be in the Wallabies squad named on Wednesday night and we get one back from NZ too!

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Very good player, but why is he going to the Brums? We have Pocock, Cusack and McCaffrey, the former two are natural 7s and the latter can play all three back-row roles. We also have ball-runners in Naisarani and Valetini.

        Reds, Rebs and even Tahs would surely need a player like Samu more?

        • Missing Link

          Lolo is gone and there could be some movement of other players to compensate. I hope he brings some NZ knowledge with him.

          Also note that Pete was born and raised in Melbourne, great to see Vic Rugby “grass roots” producing another potential Wallaby.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Even so, we seem to have way too many talented back-rowers and not enough backs…

          Would have been great to see him go to the Rebels given that Mafi is leaving at the end of the season. Not the same player at all, obviously, but I assume Timani will go to 8 and then you need two flankers.

        • Braveheart81

          Maybe they want Valentini back who is also from Melbourne?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Valetini has already re-signed with the Brumbies.

        • Braveheart81

          Naisarani was only a one year deal, Valentini was a two year deal for 2017 and 2018 and Lachie McCaffrey was only a one year deal so potentially they’re not keeping all of them.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          It’s possible, but at this stage it is a bit baffling to me. I guess I assume that most will stay, although with Mafi leaving Melbourne they will probably try to lure Naisarani.

        • Bakkies

          Ben Hyne might be out the gap.

          There is a good article in the Canberra Times last week. Will Goddard was interviewed about the Brumbies Academy.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          He’s a lock mate not a loosie

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Might need to check that one, mate, I know googling him says he is a lock but he is only 185cm and 102kg…

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Fair call. He’s in the Crusaders as a 6.
          Who friggen knows

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He’s a good player, I think he covers 6 and 7 pretty well at Super Rugby level, but at international level I would think that 7 would be his spot. One of those guys like McMahon and Taufua who plays above his weight though (although not to the extent of Taufua).

    • Tomthusiasm

      He’s immediately eligible for Wallabies selection, but has signed a NZR contract so they might try to block his release if Cheika names him in the squad. Which of course he will because why announce his signing the day before the squad is named if you’re not going to include him?

      • Missing Link

        Do you think Hansen will come out and say “I was going to pick Samu in the All Black squad” after Cheika announces him in the Wallabies squad?

        • Tomthusiasm

          He’ll at least mumble something about it.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Only because it’s a good shit stir and for some reason these coaches think they’re funny when they do that.

        • Who?

          It is fun, and they are funny. Gotta make it into a circus, something that gets media attention.

      • Jerry

        He might not even be eligible for NZ (he’s been here for longer than 3 years but has probably left for long periods in the off season and it may have reset). If he wasn’t eligible for NZ he wouldn’t be under a clause like Shields and NZ Rugby would have no choice but to release him. Also, the reason they kicked up a fuss over Shields is that they were trying to send a message about other Unions picking NZ talent, which wouldn’t apply to Samu, obv.

    • Adrian

      I think he’s more lock than backrower. Was in Tahs squad a few years ago I think.

      Brums need a lock.. IMO

      • Ed

        Samu is 185cm, 102kg. If Cheika picks him, it will be as a reserve as he is too small to start in the backrow with the Pooper.

        • Adrian

          Yes, I don’t think he’ll be picked just now. Maybe some other time to lock him in. I guess he’s a chance for the squad, but not the 23

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate he picked Hannigan who was not only light weight but also ineffective and yet kept playing him. At least Samu is showing some go forward.

        • Ed

          Yeah, the one benefit of Ned over Pete is the lineout. Neither Poey or Hooper are lineout options, and I wouldn’t consider Samu a target either. Such a small (in height) backrow would allow Ireland to double team our two locks and pressure our young hookers to throw long if they were worried about being intercepted.
          But with Cheika, anything is possible.

        • Andy

          Crusaders play with 3 guys in the back row all around 100kg. And they are arguably the most dominant back row going around in S Rugby at the minute. Samu, for a 6 is a bit like McMahon and even Tafua. Plays 10kgs above their weight

        • Patrick

          McMahon isn’t bigger than Hanigan but as you say somehow hits like two Hanigans.

          They should base selection for the Wallaby pack on your ability to make the gain line in offense and defense in 1 on 1s in the five-metre channel against McMahon.

        • Patrick

          Although then we might not have 8 forwards.

        • Adrian

          Agree

      • joy

        We could pair him with Hooper at lock. Samu’s is 1.85m and 102kg

        • Adrian

          I wouldn’t have him at all.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s! I apologise both for my absence and my tardiness! But anyway, Happy Tuesday everyone. BL’s points in no particular order:
    – Well done Ealsey on getting a statue, so well deserved. You were a legend of a player, a legend of a Captain, and from all reports so well respected by other nations players and fans. As is evidenced by our foreign friends commenting here today. I know this may sound petty, but I will say it anyway, I am still so dissapointed in Ealsey for his role on the ARU board and its destruction of the Western Force and steering us into the path of mediocrity.
    – the Cooper issue is to bed for this Test series. But if Foley gets injured, or proves to have a shite series which is a 50/50 bet at this stage, the debate will rage on. There is Foley and Cooper, and there is daylight to a replacement. Beale or Hodge at 10 will help us limp through 15 mins of a game, but is not a viable 80 min solution.
    – Bokkies squad is starting to look dangerous again.
    – the Ireland squad scares the crap out of me.
    Lets see what the Cheikmeister dribbles out in the coming days. Over to you GAGR’s!

    • onlinesideline

      Quade was never going to be picked IMO mate. Larkham made it pretty clear. But look at the ABs in 2011 with Stephen Macdonald which btw still amazes me. Seemed like a biblical story unfolding at the time. “Hey Beaver, what ya doing. Well if ya bring some of that whitebait up to Auckland, you could find yourself in a RWC final’ – With us obviously not the same, but these situations create opportunities. I like this Hamish Stewart kid personally.

      #freeTommyRobinson

      • Brisneyland Local

        OLSL, I agree with him never going to be picked. I was talking about ability! I like you also agree the Hamish Stewart looks to be the future. However as shite as Foley is, he is it! But if he does an ACL, we are screwed!

      • Braveheart81

        Is this hashtag seriously in support of an English white supremacist?

        • onlinesideline

          most defnitely not – its supporting a guy who was arrested for doing nothing but filming accused pedophiles walk into court (whose names were all previously publised by the BBC ), who asked them as they walked into court about the alligations against them, and who never stepped onto the court steps. Just suporting a guy who was arrested for absolutely NOTHING.

        • Missing Link

          I was ignoring it to be honest. The last thing we need around here is an iFolau 2.0 type of situation

        • onlinesideline

          thats true – im not going to go on about it….probably a mistake

        • Missing Link

          It’s all good mate, you are entitled to your world views. You are free to support whoever you like for whatever reasons, I just don’t want to detract from and divide this forum from what it currently is. It’s a bit like All Blacks fans, I can’t understand why anyone would support them, but I respect their choice bro :)

        • onlinesideline

          yeah I agree…its not the place -this is for rugga (generally speaking).

        • Dud Roodt

          Wow is this a confusing little thread for someone who didn’t see the original comment…

          How the fuck did we get onto pedophiles?

    • Richard Patterson

      I personally have to think Michael Cheika will be feeling a whole lot more relieved than what he was 3-4 weeks ago BL. The Waratahs have struck some form, the Rebels have stabilised after a mid-season slump, the Brumbies just had a nice away win at a venue Australian sides traditionally struggle and the Reds are young – but continuing to learn. Confidence levels are well off the low points seen earlier in the season and that will form an important base to begin preparations from. There are clear weaknesses in the Wallabies squad – but there are some genuine threats as well. I am not convinced (yet again!) that conditioning levels will help offset some skill deficiencies – perhaps Cheika is waiting until 2019 to fully load up on that technique. Conditioning though should be a way of life. Players should know at what levels they are A/ sub-standard B/ moderate C/ superior. They should not need a professional trainer to measure output for them to know. Or did someone say there’s not enough competition for places to drive that level of desire? Just sayin’.

      • Brisneyland Local

        RP, yep agree. I think there are some genuine strengths and weakensses in the Walabies. But again it all depends on who he picks in what position / role.
        – If we want to negate the referee’s poor interaction with the side, then we need Pocock as Captain.
        – Are we picking players where they should be like Pocock at 7? Where does folau sitwing or Fullback.
        – Is the 12 Beale or Kerevi? If it is Kerevi do we move Beale to FB, and then Folau to wing?
        So many variables.

        • Richard Patterson

          Indeed. Wasn’t Kerevi tried at 12 versus England 2 years ago and found to be a defensive weakness? Do you consider him a smarter defender now or is there a risk the same results will emerge? Won’t Schmidt / Ireland will go after Kerevi if they know he’s there to be exploited?

        • Brisneyland Local

          He has been tried at 13 and found to be defensively flawed.
          I dont remember him being tried at 12 in the Wallaby set up but I could be wrong. He can defend at 12 quite well, because he knows where he has to be! At 13 he is lost.

        • Richard Patterson

          I thought they paired him with Kuridrani versus England in 2016. It’s very tough now being a front line defender. You have to be thoughtful, accurate in positioning and effective in technique. The poor one’s get burned. The really poor one’s get hidden somewhere — only to get torched when found.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Dont rememebr that, but mind you I have suffered lots of head knocks. You can hide one bad defender, but you cant hide Kerevi, Kurindrani, Beale and Foley!

        • fatman

          Add Folau to that list

        • Brisneyland Local

          Forgot about that!

        • joy

          Which one`s playing on the wing?

        • idiot savant

          You don’t have to hide TK. Hes the best defender in the 13 channel for a long time.

        • Who?

          I remember him being paired with Kuridrani. I didn’t think it was a defensive failing, I thought it was more that our attack didn’t fire because our 10 couldn’t figure out how to unleash the backs with so many dangerous ball carriers in it, and our forwards played an awful lot of one out running like League, so we had nothing but slow ball all series.

        • Adrian

          Exactly Who.
          There was no Beale in those English games, and no-one else to set up the backs. We threw it side to side for 80 minutes, without penetrating

        • idiot savant

          Yes Kerevi did play at 12 against England here while Beale was injured/away. He also played there last spring tour when Folau had time off and Beale went to full back. He defends much better at 12 than 13. Essentially the further out he is the worse his defence is. He will tackle you if you run at him but struggles if you run around him. You hear a lot players talking about how they need to get their feet as close as possible to their target when defending – this is what Kerevi doesn’t do. He has poor technique. If his opponent steps, he plants his feet and throws his arms out rather than keep running towards his opponent.

        • Adrian

          Yes, agree idiot. It seems a technical thing with Kerevi, not that he cannot tackle.
          He played 12 v England in 2016, and 12 at the end of last year (Beale FB) as you say. Without going into it again, Kerevi 12 and Beale 15 doesn’t work.

          From memory, Kerevi displaced Kurandrani at the end of 2017 and was generally good.

          My tip is that Kerevi is a certainty in the 23, but will be a super sub

        • idiot savant

          Yeah I agree the bench is the place for Kerevi with the players currently available. Mind you if its close hes a risk. If we play like the Tahs and move the ball with the same confidence, I think we are a big chance against the Paddys. That means ensuring the Tahs backline core is playing, particularly seeing there will only be about 3 or 4 practice sessions before the first test. I think Foley, Beale, Folau, and Rona all have to be on the park.

        • Adrian

          Yes, on the bench it could be decided at the time where to insert him. He is a very good player, and might be needed as injury cover. If we are on top, he’d blitz from 13.
          It’s crucial though, that we use the guts of the Tahs backline to start,
          ….10,12,13,15…

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Morning mate. I must admit I have been disappointed with Eales performance on the board. I’m thinking there just may have been too much going on and whilst he was a great player and captain of the Wallabies, that doesn’t necessarily mean he has the business acumen to be a good board member.

      Mate, you guys are fucked at 10. I know there’s been all sorts of options posted but your current player is hot and cold, and even hot he can’t kick tactically for shit or tackle. Worse, there is no current backup ready to step up. I will say that Cheika may yet surprise us and pull someone in to do this job but I haven’t really seen anything so far that suggests he will do this. I guess I’ll just wait and hope that the rest of the coaching team have talked some sense into him on this issue.

      Boks look interesting and I hope they go well against England. England are hurting at the moment though so they will be ready for some mongrel. Should be an interesting series.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep. I think the thing that dissapointed me about Eales is he never publically stood up one way or the other. He was just silent. That was dissapointing.
        Yep at 10 we are right royally screwed. Dont get me wrong, I want Foely to prove me wrong and play the house down. But I dont think he can. And as I said [reviously, we have temporary solutions but not an 80 min one.

        • IIPA

          The Force stated before the start of World Series they hoped to get some players named in the mid-year Wallabies squad. Deegan off the back of what I saw in the NRC in 2016 and the two games for the Force is probably neck and neck with Lance as next cab.

          But Cheika will 100% revert to Beale or Hodge if Foley gets hurt.

        • Perth girl

          Deegan has played well in the two games we have had.He has combined well with Rodney Iona who has been picked in the Manu Samoa squad. I don’t expect Cheika will pick any Force players

        • Tomthusiasm

          Now we know why they call Eales “Nobody”.

        • Kev Brown

          Eales was a great servant to the jersey. …… and was gifted the team to be so in his captaincy.
          With his participation at the loss of the Force a complete reversal of his previous rep standard
          Pay check or social positioning speak louder when options are as they are
          Spend the statue money on a grass roots program and call it the Eales scholastic achievement award
          Everyone a winner

        • Brisneyland Local

          Good suggestion there Kev.

  • joy

    I can`t take any positive spin Cheika puts on Cooper seriously. The national coach`s track record in this regard is abysmal.

Rugby

Turned to writing for GAGR before my over the top rants about rugby landed me in hot water. Hoping this will keep me a little more measured.

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