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Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News establishes Pocock as the lead No 7, Cheika prepares for the World Cup, the retirement of a former Wallaby prop and the Springboks look to a win at all costs against the Wallabies.


Pocock shakes off Hooper as the chosen (00)7

Photo by Keith McInnes

The Australian Super Rugby player’s choice team of the year has seen David Pocock overshadow his Wallaby captain, Michael Hooper as the country’s elite openside flanker.

The team was organised in conjunction with the players association and had players vote for the stand out players from the Australian Super Rugby teams regardless of their international availability or nationality.

One of the main takeaways from the poll was that Pocock was the preferred option over Michael Hooper, who missed out on the team as there were no options for the dual opensides to be voted on, currently a staple of the make up of Wallabies side this year.

Openside flanker Hooper was one of nine incumbent Test starters who didn’t get into the side chosen by players from the four Australian Super Rugby franchises, with the majority of the side either unavailable or selected on the bench for last Saturday’s loss against the All Blacks.

The selection of new Rebels pairing blindside Angus Cottrell and Isi Naisarani is a positive sign for their future Wallaby selections, with the latter becoming eligible for the Wallabies in March, just in time to push his case for the 2019 World Cup.

It was fascinating to see how many players in the side were either injured or not available to be selected for the last Bledisloe match.

Naisarani joins Kuridrani, Folau, Tupou (injured) along with Taqele Naiyaravoro (taking the $$$ in England) as being unavailable for selection for last Saturday’s clash against the All Blacks.

This is quite damaging and provides an interesting perspective for the struggles that the Wallabies have faced, it’s very difficult to take on what I believe to be World Sport’s greatest international team when a third of our ‘form’ team unable to be chosen.

The side is as followed: Israel Folau, Jack Maddocks, Tevita Kuridrani, Kurtley Beale, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Isi Naisarani, David Pocock, Angus Cottrell, Rob Simmons, Rory Arnold, Taniela Tupou, Folau Fainga’a, Scott Sio

Cheika sets World Cup plans in motion

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Michael Chieka is hoping that the consecutive losses to the All Blacks can be the ‘watershed’ moment that helps the side bounce back for the rest of the Rugby Championship and put the side in the best position for next year’s World Cup.

“Sometimes you have to use these times, the harder times, as watershed moments, to make some changes in a certain direction, because they were hard games to lose. But we’ve been here before, we’ve bounced back, and we will again.” Cheika said.

Chieka is already putting preparations in place for next year’s event, with Cheika planning to meet with Rugby Australia officials to outline his plans for the next 12 months.

Despite constant pressure surrounding his tenure as coach, this meeting will not discuss his future in the role, rather look at how the Wallabies and Super Rugby sides can manage their resources and work together for the future.

These discussions will essentially focus on the workload management of players expected to be selected for the World Cup squad, hoping that early planning can avoid the calamities that arose when he asked the Brumbies to stand down Pocock, Sio and Alaalatoa ahead of the Ireland test series on short notice.

Cheika will look to introduce a similar system to what New Zealand and Ireland have put in place, providing himself and high-performance boss Ben Whitaker with the ability to rest players when they deem necessary in the attempts to deliver a fitter and fresher Wallabies side.

This comes as New Zealand Rugby Union reached an agreement earlier in the year that would see Super Rugby sides forced to rest players two weeks before the June Test series, whilst the Ireland Rugby Football Union infamously made fly half Joey Carbery leave Leinster to get out of the shadow of Johnny Sexton to gain valuable experience ahead of the World Cup.

Considering the success that both these sides have had over us this year’s, especially apparent with the comparative higher fitness levels of the All Blacks, we would be crazy not to implement a similar system before such a huge tournament.

Big Ben calls it a day

Farewell to Big Ben

Farewell to Big Ben

Bulging prop Ben Alexander has annouced his retirement from the sport at age 33.

The 72-Test Wallaby and most-capped player in Brumbies history made a low-key retirement announcement on Monday, fitting to his down to earth character and the type of player he was.

Alexander played an incredible 154 games for the Brumbies, passing the records set by Australian rugby greats George Gregan and George Smith to be at the top of the list with the prop happy to earn just one cap after his career was derailed at the beginning by a broken leg and blood clots.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be good enough to play a game for the Brumbies or Wallabies,” Alexander said.

“I just kept playing every weekend because I enjoyed the game so much. So I guess what I’ve taken most out of this whole journey is to just give what you love doing your best shot, even if you don’t think you’re good enough … you might just surprise yourself.”

Alexander made his debut for the Brumbies against the Reds in 2008, with Alexander making his debut for the Wallabies in the same year against France in Sydney (Fun fact, I was one of the ball boys for that match).

His debut coach Laurie Fisher, was full of praise for the prop, who is one of two players (himself and Christian Lealiifano) to still be at the Brumbies from when Fisher was the coach.

“Through the whole time, I’ve really admired Benny because he’s a great club man,” Fisher said. “His desire for the Brumbies to do well, his desire to win a Super Rugby championship here … he had no ambition to go anywhere else. All he wanted was for this team to be successful. He has always been selfless with the way he’s managed himself around the Brumbies environment.”

Alexander has been a stalwart for the Brumbies and the Wallabies for the past decade, and his contribution to Australian rugby should not be undervalued.

Springboks fired up for Wallaby clash

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With the Bledisloe series finished up for the time being, its now time to look ahead to our next clash against the Springbok. If their coach’s words are anything to go by, the Wallabies are set for a fiery clash against a side prepared to ‘win at all costs’.

The Springboks were embarrassed by a clinical Argentinian side, falling 32-19 in Mendoza last Sudnay after their seemingly comfortable win in the first match in Durban.

This loss has prompted any plans for experiments with their lineup from coach Rassie Erasmus ahead of the two sides clash in Brisbane in under two weeks, with Erasmus lambasting his side for their performance on the weekend.

“We had certain plans that we wanted to try against Australia, but that’s out the window now,” Erasmus told reporters. “We have to get back to winning ways again, it’s win at all costs now.”

“This puts us back quite a bit. We wanted to win this game and give a few other guys a chance against Australia but we can’t do that now.”

The Springboks were blown out of the game early in the clash, trailing by as much as 20 at halftime, with a dominant second half partially restoring the dignity of the side which was hampered by a mountain of errors.

“I’m not going to look for positives after a performance like that. We have no excuses, we knew exactly what to expect, we prepared for it but we just didn’t handle it,” Erasmus said “We played like a team that’s playing club rugby,” he told broadcaster SuperSport.

“I must point the finger at myself. When you play like this, the coach did something badly wrong during the week.”

The Wallabies must be wary of a hungry side looking to bounce back from this performance, this clash should provide us with a better barometer about how we currently stand within World Rugby and hopefully we’re up for the challenge.

  • GeorgiaSatellite

    Thanks Nathan, especially or posting so early that I get to be the first commenter for a change. Usually it’s all been said by the time I can get here. Farewell Ben, great career and good luck to you. Hmmm, the provincial players know better than The Autocrat. Go figure. He’d better beware of a rattled Rassie. The latter may be able to come up with a varied game plan.

    • Geoffro

      Should be a tight game between the two most underperforming teams in world rugby.Well played Ben ,maybe would look forward to a media career perhaps in partnership with Fat Cat.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Thanks, Nathan.

    It isn’t like the team has been building well since the start of 2016 and just fell on hard times – this is exactly as poor as we’ve been since the last WC. Cheika is like teflon, nothing sticks to him and he never takes responsibility. This isn’t good enough.

    Sad to see Ben retiring. Great bloke and great Brumby.

  • Custard Taht

    Glad to see Cheika putting his world cup plan in motion….fail to plan, plan to fail, in all. However I don’t see planning for a Group Stage exit as a plan.

  • John Tynan

    Why is this “watershed” moment any different to the last 4 or 5 annually recurring “watershed” moment?
    My eyes are farken shedding too much water at the moment, crying myself to sleep again…

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      What he said ^

    • onlinesideline

      mate agree – this year is different, because we had been building and we all accepted that there would be some hiccups along the way but this year we were entitled to not believe but to expect. We were told to be patient and we were unconditional. But the rugby public has had enough. Deans, Link fiasco and then this Cheika era. Its been 14 years of by and large dissapointment after dissapointment. I know the last 2 weeks has changed me. Oz rugby has lost me in terms of being proud because honestly I’m not.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Personally, I was proud of the team for most of the period from 2008 until the Link episode.

        Sure, there were some bad results, but I was generally pretty proud and happy.

        No anymore.

    • st saens

      This is more a “water closet” moment than a “watershed moment”. We are truly in the shitter (head down in the bowl), and the Right Honourable Mr Michael Cheika, E.G.O and bar, Minister for Arrogance, Stupidity, Wallaby Border Protection and Ignominy has led us there. Our chances of getting out before the next World Cup??…zero/zilch/nada

      • Wato

        Maybe he confused it with “waterboarding”? That’s what it felt like watching the wallabies on Saturday.

    • laurence king

      There was a certain inevitability about watching last Saturday’s game. Like watching an old black and white Keystone cops show where the goodies are being chased by the baddies but the camera keeps on panning to the wobbly (Wallaby) back wheel. You know what’s gunna happen, you put your hands over your eyes, but one eye can’t help but look and there is this overwhelming sense of dread. And the only reason they prolong the agony of expectation and horror is the director’s macabre and nasty nature

    • Parker

      Drowning in the watershed

    • Alister Smith

      For the All Blacks, losing in the 2003 WC semi was a watershed moment but they performed even worse, bundled out of the 2007 World Cup in the Quarter Finals. One of the differences is they won most of their games in between those two world cups. Interestingly the stuck with their coaches after the 2007 loss and that proved to be a good move. For us, this could be a watershed too but we have to make real change, but not just the coach and playing group, it needs to be root and branch along the lines suggested by John Connolly’s article https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/sport/2018/08/bledisloe-cup-wallabies-fighting-a-battle-they-can-t-win-against-the-all-blacks.html
      I am not sure that changing coaches now does anything but potentially set up the next coach behind the 8 ball. i know a lot of people don’t like Cheika and his stats now are hard to argue with though they have been better at particular periods during his careet. Anyway, I can’t see a coach on the immediate horizon. We know Cheika is gone if he doesn’t win the next World Cup, a very remote prospect at this stage. But if we start someone else now we risk (1.) destroying someone before they have even started (2.) have a similar thing happen that happened to John Connolly (3.) getting in someone who gets an early bounce and has a good run through the World Cup and we are then stuck with them (a la Cheika). And none of these options fix anything other than the coach. Nothing about how players are developed, nothing around issues with the coaching and skills development at the provinces, nothing about a selection panel and how that might improve things. So we will have got a new coach but it might be just wallpapering over the cracks when we need to take out the wall and do a full rebuild.
      Oh, and someone mentioned waterboarding rather than watershed – yes I heard the drip, drip, drip of my soul slowing dribbling down into a pool on the living room carpet. I am not sure how to get that stain out but the confidence slowly recovering and I am sure the boys will bounce back in Brisbane in a fortnights time.

  • Alister Smith

    I wish the Springboks hadn’t lost last weekend. They will have something to prove now.

  • laurence king

    IMO the Wallabies are a bit like a jigsaw puzzle with a few of the pieces actually belonging in another game and a coach who thinks he’s playing snap. A ‘watershed’ moment would be for the coach to change his game plan and select players in their best positions with the proviso that the first skill that they need to demonstrate is the ability to defend.
    We have an underweight prop, we have two 7s who are picked to cover the defensive frailties of our inside backs, one of whom is a poor organiser, can’t kick accurately or long. The other, while brilliant at times in attack provides moments of jollity being bounced off opposition runners and dropping high balls. We have a bit of a young brute at number 6 who would be better in the tight 5 and a certain piece plying his trade and winning awards in Ireland because of his ability at 6. I’ve never played rugby but I’ve been an enthusiast for over 50 years, so tell me if I’m wrong here.
    We’ve got an excellent winger who is the supreme aerialist of the rugby world and is just begging to have high balls arriving in try scoring positions. Unfortunately, he is picked as a fullback and there is no one currently in the side who can kick like that anyway. We have two excellent fullbacks being picked as wings, one with jet shows and can’t get on the park (at least for more than a few minutes)and the other pulled off the park when he is having his best game for Australia in two years. Can you sense the annoyance? We have a 9 who looked the other night like he was on slow pills and was outplayed by his replacement who incidentally has been rightfully condemned for his poor passing under pressure. We have a hooker who looked short of a gallop picked ahead of players who will be way ahead of him by world cup time. We have a 13 who while playing reasonably well and in possibly the position that suits him best, is not the best passer in the world and is being touted as a potential 10 (maybe because he is as poor an organiser as the incumbent).
    And this is all managed by an obviously nice guy who loves Australia but who has poor control of his emotions an who is trying to coach to an ideology of ‘running rugby’ without clear understanding of how to get there. Tad frustrating

    • Gun

      Good analysis mate. The woes of the game here are many and various. I’ve said it before but I believe we need a ground level rebuild which starts at the bottom of the game and ends with the high performance aspect.
      To do this though we need to seperate ourselves from the Kiwis and compete for players and fans with AFL/NRL.
      Get out of Super Rugby. In the early days of the Super Comp we only had two teams. That was just before the ‘golden era’. Maybe even reduce Bled tests for a few years till we’re competitive.

      • laurence king

        Thankyou Gun, I don’t know enough about the wider issues or the state of the game at the lower levels, I live down here in the wilds of Tasmania far from rugby. I do know that we have some decent players who with the right approach could let the ABs know that they have had a serious and prolonged contest.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      “A coach who’s playing snap” Gold mate

    • idiot savant

      Are you sure you never played? You’re Alan Jones right?

      • Adrian

        Ha ha

      • laurence king

        Alan Jones! That pedantic, long winded know all. LOL ha ha, I do resemble that I must admit. And no, never played, and the biggest write-up I’ve ever had on the sporting field was about me falling over unassisted and breaking my ankle.

    • Parker

      Excellent observations, though can you remind me when the last time was, prior to Saturday (I haven’t seen the full game yet), that KB dropped a high ball. I think a lot of the criticism that is reflexively leveled against him doesn’t take into account improvements he’s made over the last few years.

  • Brumby Runner

    That is a particularly interesting team nominated by the players themselves. I am especially chuffed to see Cottrell in the No 6 spot. I’ve been suggesting this as an option for the Wallabies since the RC began this year. He has had a very strong year for the Rebels and wouldn’t let the side down if given a chance in a test match.

    Folau Fainga’a’s elevation as the preferred hooker is also very encouraging. With just a handful of games, he must be doing impressive things on the field to be recognised like this.

    I will put my hand up and say I am very surprised by the inclusion of Rob Simmons. Lineout operations are clearly more important to the players than I think.

    I have often wondered what a team would look like if GAGR posters were invited to nominate the best players in each spot with the caveat that they cannot vote for any of the Super team they support. I would be certain that Poey would again fill the No 7 spot, and almost as confident that Tupou would fill the No 3 spot. I am just as sure the team would look quite different to any that Michael Cheika has put out in recent years.

    On Benny A. I have been a fan since he turned out in the ARC back in 2007 (that long ago?). What longevity. Think he was somewhat badly done by when moved to the TH side. His form around the ground when playing on the LH side was outstanding. But always gave his best to the Brumbies and Wallabies and is a credit to himself and the game. Well done Ben.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Simmons had a shocker on the weekend but does a lot of things right. He doesn’t usually make the highlight reels but he contributes a lot.

  • Gun

    I’ve often wondered to what level our coaching staff take a ‘Moneyball’ approach to player identification and selection. Those defence statistics of someone like KB lend credibility to the notion that they don’t look at stats at all. A test level 12 has to be able to defend but we know his defence has always been poor.
    Even if data was used selectively would you take a player with less ‘x factor’ (the X factor doesn’t appear to be doing much for us) but a more complete skill set?

    • laurence king

      Gun, I’m not impressed with the Waratah inside backs, what works well at Super rugby is found out at test level by coaches who know how to analyse and exploit these weaknesses. Cheika holds these two in such high esteem he has invented the Pooper to paper over their frailties. And that just moves the weakness into the forwards which would be absolutely catastrophic if it wasn’t for Pocock’s rock-like status over the ball and Hooper’s energiser bunny’s ability to almost be constantly in two places at once. But it’s found out at the set piece.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan. I met Ben a couple of times in Canberra and found him really pleasant to talk with and engaging with the fans. Congratulations on a great career and good luck with the future.
    Boks are going to be pumped after that loss and quite possibly very dangerous. Wallabies will need to be on top of their game but should take this one.
    While recognizing a watershed moment is good, what’s crucial is doing something sensible about it. Cheika needs to admit his mistakes, stop pandering to the players and their agents – eg Folau go to the wing or fuck off – get rid of the current shit defense structure, find someone who can actually create play and move forward. He hasn’t got the cattle to play the expansive “Australia Way” so modify the plan to suit what you have.

    Pretty damning results from the players but actually pretty fair

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Question for Aussie fans is this. Is a home loss to an out of form South Africa actually the better result? If we win I fear all will be forgiven and nothing will change. The last time it felt like there was momentum building for a change was after Bledisloe 1 last year, but the Wallabies’ return performance in Dunedin really silenced that.

      In reality though nothing had changed. We just kicked the can down the road for another year.

      • laurence king

        I would hate to see us lose but I know what you’re saying. That Bled 2 result last year proves the quality generally of our players (not all mind). But our players find it difficult to play to a structure that is inherently unsustainable and is more ideology than an actual plan.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          ‘But our players find it difficult to play to a structure that is inherently unsustainable and is more ideology than an actual plan.’

          Best sentence I have ever read on the topic. I might use it in the future if you’r not opposed to my doing so? The ideology part is particularly pertinent. Great comment, Laurence.

        • laurence king

          Most welcome

        • Damo

          And I think Laurence that fixing the ideology v actual plan may not mean we beat the All Blacks in the form they are in right now but it is absolutely at the heart of the 2 losses to Scotland last year – particularly at Murrayfield. A frenzied side to side running game that inevitably fell down to basic skill failures. The series losses to England and Ireland had similar characteristics. The opposition know what we are going to do and , completely inexplicably, I’m pretty sure the Wallabies know they know- and we still go ahead with it. This is why it is unacceptable to simply say “Oh well, the All Blacks are too good”. And as a last thought. You see the big fast kid in Under 13’s running through the opposition almost at will and scoring 4 tries. It should not happen to a top 5 test defensive unit, against the All Blacks or anyone.

        • laurence king

          I think that maybe the ideology is more of a pyramid scheme and the ABs could see it. They just had good defenders in their right positions, attacked the set piece, bashed Poey, overwhelmed Hooper and then were able to exploit the known weaknesses as things began to fall apart. And when it did, everybody was in the correct place to take advantage.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        That’s a bit like my “let it fail before it’s fixed” scenario. The risk that is here is that it will turn off many more supporters to the other codes and you won’t be able to bring them back.

  • Wallaby Dave

    If we’re all unhappy with the team, what are the answers? Obviously Poey @ #7 is a start but what is everyone’s idea of our best 15 / 23?

    • Happyman

      Mate for Mine I am actually quite happy with the team apart from
      7 Should be Pocock
      8 Should be Timu Naisarani when he is eligible
      10 I would actually go with Maddocks (Unfortunately Quade’s time is done)
      Wing Banks for Koriebette (I am sick of picking league players pick a rugby player to play rugby) Folou to the other wing.
      15 DHP

      To be honest our front and second row are pretty good. You have to realise that The AB’s front five has about 450 caps experience and are very well balanced Whitelock does the dirty work and Retailck does the flashy stuff.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      1. Sio
      2. Polota-Nau
      3. Tupou
      4. Simmons
      5. Coleman
      6. Tui (Dempsey if back to his 2017 form)
      7. Pocock
      8. Timu (might be Naisarani by next year)
      9. Genia
      10. Toomua
      11. Beale
      12. Hodge (or Kerevi depending if you value attack or D higher)
      13. Kuridrani (English until recovered)
      14. Banks
      15. Folau

      16. Uelese (Faingaa until Uelese is recovered)
      17. Slipper
      18. Alaalatoa
      19. Arnold
      20. Hooper
      21. Powell or Gordon
      22. Kerevi
      23. Quade (if in form, if not, Foley)

      Fardy, Jones, White, Tomane, maybe even Harris would be in the 23 if they hadn’t left on account of not being looked at seriously.

      • Brumby Runner

        Getting close DBTB. IMO the best team is:

        Sio, TPN (atm but probably overtaken by RWC), Tupou, Coleman, Arnold, Cottrell, Pocock, Timu, Genia, Toomua, Banks/Maddocks, Meakes (until Kerevi is fit), Rona (until Kuridrani is fit), Folau, DHP. Reserves : Fainga’a, Ala’alatoa, Kepu, Rodda, Tui, Powell, Petaia, Maddocks/Banks.

        I realise that there’s not much cover at 10, but towards RWC time I’d like to see Maddocks given time to develop there.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Does Cottrell jump as well as Dempsey? Dempsey is a bit like Peter O’Mahony, not super tall, but extremely athletic in the line out.

          I am not at all convinced with Meakes, Rona and DHP over Hodge, English and Banks, but I wouldn’t be against seeing them. I agree your side would be a massive improvement over what we have now :) .

        • Brumby Runner

          I believe Cottrell is as good jumping at No 2 as Higgers was/is. He is lighter than Tui and, as you point out, a lighter jumper who can get into the air quicker would be an asset. But combine that with his abrasive type of play otherwise, and we would have a very good fill in at 6 until Dempsey can prove to be better, and then as a backup.

          In the backline, I would on reflection put Hodge back in at 13 in place of Rona. I am still inclined though to think that Hodge’s best spot could prove to be 15 and then we could have DHP, Folau, Banks, Maddocks, Koroibete and Naivalu fighting out for the two wing spots.

      • Wallaby Dave

        Some interesting thoughts there, not unwarranted. IMO I think we need someone who can kick at fullback, Banks or DHP. Born is the King should be 14 not 15………

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I actually agree that 14. Folau, 15. Banks is likely to be the better option longterm. However, I do think that Banks needs to be eased into the position, and it is easier for him to serve an apprenticeship until the end of the season at 14.

          Come 2019, he can be fullback and Folau can go to the wing.

          To me DHP just doesn’t offer enough in attack anymore. Has lost too much speed and elusiveness. I liked Reg’s suggestion that the Rebels try him at 10 though.

      • Ads

        Don’t really see how that’s any real change Vs what we have?
        Tupou would have been playing if uninjured – probably starting last week. Simmons & Coleman have been playing and have been average. Tui and Timu haven’t really ever offered more than Hooper when playing, but granted this might improve lineout slightly. They aren’t game changers to me. Pocock will be Pocock regardless. Genia has been slow and disinterested. Toomua has looked pretty average in the 3 games I’ve seen in his return. You have no creativity or distribution with your 10/12/13. I reckon the outside backs would get no ball. Kuridrani and/or Kerevi woulda been playing if not injured. Same for Folau at 15. And it’s probably tedious to revisit the Cooper/Slipper stuff. It’s very similar to Cheika’s first choice team except for Hooper, Foley, both of whom you have on the bench anyway? I guess I don’t see Toomua and either Tui or Timu as likely to change much as the only significant changes.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Pretty fundamentally different team. Players at 10-12-13 that are all dominant defenders rather than attackers.

          Tui and Timu make the line out far stronger than Hooper. To call it ‘slightly’ shows an underlying bias.

          You’re doing the whole Cheikaphile/Tah thing. We have absolutely no attack whatsoever with the current 10-12. Foley is no playmaker, doesn’t have a kicking game and doesn’t even play as first receiver. Beale is a running back with an average pass and neither of them can defend.

          Fundamentally different team going back to basics with a 6 and 8 who will be breakdown enforcers, line out jumpers and ball-runners; a 10 who can defend in the line, has a tactical kicking game and playmaking game; a 12 that is a big defender, will straighten the attack, has a big boot AND can pass.

          Fundamentally different team to playing a bunch of lightweights and running threats at 10-12 who can’t defend or kick.

        • Ads

          The strengths you suggest will come in, have not been seen by the players you suggest they will come from when actually playing. It’s fundamentally the same team, with fundamentally the same results likely. You will never out-defend the AIB’s. You need to score more points. Your team has reduced attack.
          I’m actually open to a change of coach, so it’s not a cheikaphile thing. Those players are ok. The problem is the lack of plan B, and poor strategy/tactics. Cheika, Larkham and Gray have been crap. That’s where the problem is.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          No, it isn’t.

          The team is built around playing ‘running rugby’ with fast reloads and work-rate.

          My team would look to play a more set-pieced orientated game, to kick for territory, to play in the right parts of the field and to defend.

          It isn’t all out attack like Cheika’s.

          “You will never out-defend the AIB’s. You need to score more points. ”

          Fundamentally untrue. Go take a look at the scores ww’ve conceded against the All Blacks in our wins in our wins since 2003. You do beat the All Blacks by defending, not attacking. And that’s definitely how you beat the home nations.

          I also don’t think the attack will be that much worse. In our last 7 tests our attack has been crap with 10. Foley, 12. Beale. Neither of them threaten the line and are far too lateral.

        • Ads

          The bulk of your proposed pack is the same as the current pack bar a swap of Hooper for Timu. Our set piece has been shit. I’m not sure how Timu will suddenly allow us to have a set piece game plan. It makes no sense. The front row, second row, pocock Tui have all been there. And it hasn’t been pretty.
          Yep and I think we covered off the out-defending the AIB’s the other day with the All Blacks Fibonacci stuff. Agree it might help Vs Scotland or some of those games we’ve lost, but again most of that was down more to a lack of adaptation from us.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, and our current pack has done pretty well. Not in Bled 1, but in Bled 2 the line out mostly functioned and the scrum basically at least had parity with the All Blacks. We lack ball-runners and enough back-row line out targets, but that’s solved via the back-row.

          You’re just factually wrong in thinking that we beat the All Blacks by attacking. If you go and bother to check the results 2010 is the only win we’ve had that we’ve won through an attacking game-plan.

        • Ads

          Our current pack hasn’t done well. Our lineout and scrum were less poor in Bled2. And I still question the idea of having a set piece game plan if the line out “mostly functions” and the scrum “basically at least had parity”. There’s a ringing endorsement and something to base your game around.

          It still makes no sense that Timu will vastly improve our lineout, breakdown and ball-running, with the rest of the pack as-is. One guy will make all these improvements suddenly possible?

          It doesn’t need to be a zero sum game of attack or defence. Your team is all about defence. It is likely to have similar results to a team all about attack. We beat the AIB’s when we have both, and even then not that often. In the past 15 years we haven’t beat them scoring less than 20 odd points. It is simplistic to say it’s only about defence. I can’t see your backline scoring anywhere near 20 points. I’m not against giving it a try, it just seems weird to say the current team is shit and then largely suggest the same team as getting significantly different results.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Actually, our scrum was good in Bled 2, despite Tupou’s injury, and the line out was okay given we have three heavy jumpers (Coleman, Rodda and Tui) and no one who can get off the ground quickly like Read, POM, Fardy or Dempsey.

          Timu obviously helps a lot with the ball-running, and he is a line out target who gets off the ground quickly.

          I also said I would add Simmons, who is by far our best player in the line out.

          Not really. It has an attacking back three (Beale, Folau, Banks), a 10 who is a playmaker but more balanced than Foley and a 12 who can run, pass and kick. I don’t think the attack will be much worse than 10. Foley, 12. Beale, who don’t threaten the line and just go laterally.

        • Ads

          No worries. I disagree mostly. Timu and Toomua will make little significant difference on the evidence of recent outings as your only significant changes. Probably no point going around it circles though.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yes, we evidently have very different opinions of Toomua and Hodge as players.

        • Ed

          Defence has been a big contributor to our wins against the ABs since we went pro in 1996. The Wallabies have won 16 of 63 tests against NZ, in where we were victorious in two tests conceding more than two tries. Cheika’s two wins against the ABs have had the Wallabies let in two tries in each test, and kept NZ under 20 points.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, only people who are ignorant of the facts claim you beat the All Blacks by playing an attacking orientated game.

        • laurence king

          I agree, imo our fundamental problem is trying to cover our defensive frailties in the backline, this is one of the reasons imo for the Pooper, but this just moves the problem to the forwards and specifically the set piece and it unintentionally puts the emphasis of our pack on defense rather than being more evenly balanced. Our musical chairs in backline defense also means that our backs can’t respond effectively to turnover ball. Change the inside backs and you can ditch the Pooper and have one of them (Hooper) on the bench. Having major structural weakness is not sound and is too easy to exploit and it is why the ABs expected the Wallabies to crack at some point

        • 22DropOut

          Agree. Coaching needs to improve, the issue isn’t the selections.

          Picking a slightly inferior team isn’t going to fix anything.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Nah, no issue at all that Foley has no tactical kicking game, and missed the fifth most tackles in Super Rugby, while Beale missed the most…

          No issue at all that our inside centre missed the most tackles in SR.

        • 22DropOut

          And unfortunately Foley and Beale are the best in their respective positions that we have.

          Like most I do view Foley as somewhat of a weak link and wish that Quade Cooper took his rugby seriously* so that we could have had a potentially world-class 10 on our books. He does not, and we do not.

          Kurtley Beale, on the other hand, is a tremendous player and I am glad that he is in the team, he is just collateral damage in the anti-Cheika throw-any-mud schitck.

          * I know I am inviting the fantasy revisionism that QC has, in fact been amazing and that there’s a conspiracy against him, but we’ve heard it all before so please don’t

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          ‘And unfortunately Foley and Beale are the best in their respective positions that we have’

          Again, extremely subjective.

          Beale is a tremendous player, but he is out of form and is a crap defender.

        • 22DropOut

          To you and the usual suspects no doubt it is.
          But everything here is subjective, it is the whole point, and cherrypicking statistics doesn’t change that.

        • Who?

          Kerevi is our best 12. But he doesn’t play there enough. Beale is the stronger playmaker in the Wallabies, but that’s selecting a 12 based on the failings of a 10. Which is no method of selection.
          It’s revisionism to say that Cooper doesn’t take his Rugby seriously. He’s probably learned more trying to help Souths this year than any of the Wallabies have learned playing Super and Test this year…
          And when you say “took his rugby seriously,” I assume you mean, “Was willing to take a massive pay cut to pay to move to another city away from family and friends in order to have the illusion of Wallaby selection dangled in front of him before Cheika yet again ignored him.” Reality is that Cheika’s mentally marked him not for selection. That’s fine, Cheika’s the coach. But to think that it’s solely Cooper’s fault is just ludicrous. No one person carries all the blame for the situation, though some have more capacity to change the situation than others.
          KB is an awesome player, but he’s not done that well the last two weeks. He’s dropped passes when open that he’d normally swallow. His tactical kicking – one missed kick aside – has probably been his best effort the last couple of weeks. I still think he’s better suited to 15, or, with a very strong game plan, maybe 10 (he did ok there under Link in 2008. But Deans’ lack of structure in 2012 didn’t help him at all).

        • 22DropOut

          It’s hardly ludicrous to hold Cooper accountable for his career.

          He was at a cross-roads after winning Super Rugby. He could have perfected his game and gone on to be one of the best in the world. He did not fix the glaring gaps in his game, fell out very publicly with Deans, got involved in boxing, had a catastrophic spell in Europe, returned to the Reds who were happy to pay him a fortune not to play for them, and he is now plying his trade in Queensland club rugby.

          Cheika has had no role in Cooper’s demise. He was instrumental in bringing him back to Australia.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          ‘Cheika has had no role in Cooper’s demise.’

          And you accuse others of pushing secret agendas?

        • 22DropOut

          Yes please regale us with more stories about how he outplayed Foley in 2016, lit up the world stage, and was not in fact on a path to lead to a cash-strapped Queensland Union to pay their marquee player a fortune to stay away. And how Cheika was pulling the strings in this.

          Because clearly that is all true and makes the other mudslinging at Cheika very credible.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Again, pushing your agenda there.

          QRU didn’t want to get rid of Quade, the new coach of the Reds, Brad Thorn, did.

        • 22DropOut

          What secret agenda do I have then?

          If you want to believe that the QRU wanted to keep QC then knock yourself out. If they did he would be there.

        • 22DropOut

          And I’ve never accused anyone of pushing a secret agenda.

          Many people have legitimate criticisms of the coaching team, as do I. Some others have agendas as clear as the nose on my face.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/agenda

          “a secret aim or reason for doing something.”

          You still haven’t said what our ‘agendas’ are, beyond criticising a coach for his poor results, and pointing out that things, in their opinion, have to change.

        • 22DropOut

          I didn’t name any names as being agenda-driven, however you have. So what is my agenda?

        • Who?

          Oh, so you’re not referring to the current situation, but to the deep, dark past. Fair enough. You know what? If you’re talking defence, you’re right! If you’re talking game management and attack, you’re not. The best performances any 10 has displayed in the Gold 10 in the last decade were Quade’s performances from Dunedin 2013 through the EOYT. He didn’t overplay his hand, he distributed, kicked his goals…
          In terms of falling out with Deans, that was immaturity, but I’m sure it came out of frustration at Robbie’s complete incompetence. And Deans fell out of my favour during the Giteau/Barnes era, before Cooper. He scapegoated every 10 he ever picked bar Carter (there’s still ABs fans who are angry with the way he treated Merhts). No Aussie 10 succeeded under him. Deans was an idiot who should’ve been sacked immediately after the debacle of the 2011 RWC, if not well before.
          Getting involved in boxing? I’ve got no issue with that, given it is good for fitness and focuses discipline.
          Europe? I don’t blame him for trying that, given the QRU had hired Woody, who proved by 2015 that he was exactly the same quality of coach I predicted he’d be in 2013. The only issue was he didn’t find a club that suited his style. So that was a mistake, but an understandable mistake.
          The Reds wanted him back. The debacle of him playing club rugby now is on Thorn, and Thorn alone. He could play Cooper whilst trying to trade him elsewhere. What’s really bizarre is it seems the QRU are happy to pay full price for Cooper rather than subsidise his contract on a transfer for him to play somewhere else. Sure, he’d be an asset for the Brumbies, but better him being an asset there and receiving less money from the QRU than having to pay full price for him.
          Cheika did have a role in Cooper’s current situation. His excuses for not picking Quade last year were obfuscating and shambolic. If he’d just said, “Quade’s style doesn’t fit my style,” then there’d be no reason for people like yourself to pretend that Cheika would pick him if he were playing Super Rugby. Cheika bringing a player back to Australia doesn’t mean he’ll pick that player, certainly not for more than a season. Just ask Kane Douglas, Leroy Houston, etc.

        • 22DropOut

          Our line-out has only been an issue for one game in 2018, and aside from that our stats have been on par with the best in the world.

          It’s the least of our issues. There are fundamental issues with the coaching of the team, this is not one

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Too many times since 2015 it has been too easily disrupted by the opposition. Ever since the 2015 RWC. Especially often against the Boks and New Zealand.

          At best we aim for mediocrity, not for a world class line out. We should be aiming for the latter, not the former.

          And the Pooper still has issues at the breakdown and in ball-running.

        • Who?

          For 2018, you’re actually right. However, 2018 is a very small sample size. On the whole, Cheika’s sides have never been great at lineout. I recall a rather hilarious article on here based on the Tahs 2014 preseason, where Cheika spent much time confusing the poor G&GR correspondent with his constant barrage at his forward pack about the ‘rucking lineout’. The poor correspondent couldn’t figure out what a ruck had to do with a lineout (it was rather well written, much better than my summary).

      • laurence king

        I would agree with Hoss that regime change is a necessity. I would also make some key changes:
        Sio/Slipper
        Any of 3or 4 young hookers
        Tupou
        Arnold
        Coleman
        Fardy (New regime should go cap in hand and beg him to come home)Tui
        Pocock (but not asked to play a full game for a while otherwise someone will kill him)
        White/Powell
        Quadey (I know, I know but he can put a person through a gap without having to rehearse it, he can kick to the wings, he can organise, he can pass)
        Maddocks
        Toomua
        Kuridrani/Ashley-Cooper/Kerevi
        Folau
        Banks

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          If I could have the overseas based players left my team Fardy would obviously be at 6. :)

        • laurence king

          You can here.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate, If you’re going to play, go big. That team isn’t really a change from what’s out there now and I can’t see that it’ll provide anything that you don’t already have. I would look at a new back 4 with perhaps Folau at 14 if there isn’t anyone else. Toomua at 12, anyone of the other Super 15 flyhalfs at 10, One of the young hookers, Arnold and Coleman at lock, Samu, Pocock and Timu as loosies.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          You often criticise Australians for wanting to play playmakers at 12. The fact is that Toomua is, really, a playmaker with a long pass and a tactical kicking game who can defend like a 12. The majority of his rugby has been at 10. You’re not advocating for the very thing you’ve railed against in Australia for years: putting a playmaker at 12 rather than a big bloke who will straighten the attack and defend.

          Hodge is, really, a 12. Like Kerevi he’s a centre, not a 10. He’s closer to a Jean de Villiers or a Ryan Crotty.

          Whether Folau is at 14 or 15 it doesn’t make a huge difference the way modern 14s/15s interchange. I do agree that after Banks is used to international rugby get him at fullback though.

          Polota-Nau was our best forward last year. None of the young hookers are ready.

          Unfortunately since neither Rodda or Arnold call the line out well enough and we have no back-rowers capable of calling left in Aus anymore Simmons needs to be in the 23. If you’re going to have one of Simmons or Arnold come off the bench to make an impact, Arnold is the on that is going to make an impact.

        • Who?

          And which other Super 15 10 is even an option anyway? It’s Hodge (you’re playing him at 12), Debreczeni (not sure he’s even signed by anyone for next year, given he’s playing NPC), Lance (gone!), Stewart (green), Leali’ifano (I’d play him at 12 outside Toomua if I were picking him), Hawera (Kiwi!), Foley (isn’t the goal an alternative to Foley?), Hegarty (not there). Cooper’s not an option, didn’t play Super, and Cheika doesn’t know how to use him anyway. Plus, if you kick out on the full in Auckland, you’re apparently rubbish (even though Beale did it this game – very few comments), and you’re not supposed to cross kick in your own 22 (but no one told Beaudy).
          Of the options Cheika has available to him, if he’s going to leave Foley, there’s no better option than Toomua. He’s an excellent, experienced player whose only supposed shortcoming is that he’s not as crazy creative as King Carlos and Quade.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          While Toomua is a playmaker, he also has that ability to straighten the line that is missing with Beale. Kerevi has it and if he was not injured I’d have him there. I wouldn’t have Hodge at 10 as I think that is a proven failure and he’s a better 13. I’d probably look at the best of the young ones and provide some dedicated training to bring them on or maybe Toomua at 10 if Kerevi is at 12. I don’t agree on it not making a difference with Folau at 14 or 15. He needs to be somewhere where he doesn’t have to kick or pass to the right as he can do neither very well. 14 is the only position left but to be honest I’d rather a better player who could do both. Not sure you need a lock to call lineouts – why can’t the captain or halfback do this as all it needs is someone to read the play and call with what’s wanted. Happy with PN at hooker but why not bring on a youngster who can grow?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Hodge’s best rugby has been at 12. I hope he grows into 13 as I think he could be great at it (although his kicking is better utilised at 12), but at the moment he hasn’t really shown that he understands the running lines of 13 like he does at 12. He’s probably our best defender at 12 after Godwin, but isn’t as good as English or Kuridrani.

          Calling a line out is actually a really tough skill. You need to understand line outs really well to do it well. Rodda might one day get there, but he isn’t there yet.

          I broadly agree with Folau, but rushing Banks in too early may not be a great idea either. Can be convinced that Banks should start at 15 immediately though, without serving as an international apprenticeship.

          I don’t think any .of them are good enough yet. I think BPA and Latu are all a couple of years away. Uelese is injured..

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I actually agree about Toomua being one of the few guys that are very good at 10 and 12. Very complete and underrated player I think. All he lacked was a bit of “spark” at 10. But that comes down to how you want to play. He would have been the perfect Springbok 10, just didn’t fit the “running rugby” style Cheika was obsessed with. But Foley’s form has declined so perilously since 2014-15 that Cheika might be forced to look at Toomua at 10.

      • Will

        I like the look of that team (except for English at 13, hes not test level). What you have suggested would mean Cheika has to give the captaincy to Pocock, Hooper needs to gracefully accept and be a team player. Foley has to leave for France or Japan…..and lastly….Cheika has to admit he got it wrong.

        None of those are every going to happen – even if it is for the benefit of Australian rugby.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think English is seriously underrated on account of playing in such a crap team for so long. I think he was statistically the best defending 13 in Australia this year, maybe even ahead of TK.

    • 22DropOut

      I don’t think that shuffling the team around will solve our problems.

      We are putting out our best teams.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        That is a highly, highly subjective comment.

        • Brumby Runner

          And out of step with most of the posters here.

        • 22DropOut

          Certainly out of step with some of the more vocal agenda-driven ones anyway.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          What’s the alleged agenda?

        • Brumby Runner

          If there’s an agenda it is to get the Wallabies to be a stronger, more skilful outfit.

    • juswal

      I had this improbable idea and I can’t let go of it:

      12. Hooper
      13. McMahon

      • Adrian

        Hooper at 12 isn’t that weird.
        Not sure McMahon is headdy enough for 13, but I could be wrong

  • Hoss

    “Watershed moment” hah ????

    So what was the Scotland grubbing – foreplay ??

    The series clean sweep loss to ol Blighty – a wake up call?

    The series loss to the Emerald Isle – a learning curve ?

    The absence of Lord Bledisloe for 18 years – making the heart grow fonder ??

    This coach and the bulk of this playing group has had enough “watershed moments” to end the farking drought on the eastern seaboard.

    Cheik – buy a mirror, therein lies a good place to start.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Here Here!

    • 22DropOut

      I don’t even understand what the watershed moment comments even mean in reality.

      How is it a turning point exactly? We were in this position a year ago, it seemed we had our “turning point”, improved, but back to square one again.

      No problem losing to New Zealand (or Ireland or England but not 5 on the bounce). The problem with NZ is that the manner of the defeats.

      • Hoss

        Agree 22. Most reasonable people could accept the results and manner of defeat if it was year one after the RWC and we were blooding the next crop. We could see the blueprint,understand the growing pain and see the bigger picture, but a year out after three years of so called “building” where are the foundations and structures ?? Leaving personalities out; the entire structure and personnel seem to be living in a bubble where underperformance is tolerated and accepted as the norm: there are no accountabilities and a siege mentality that all those who dare question the set-up are dished our disdain and scorn.

        I am a recent convert to those marginalised by Cheika and the wallabies,I fought the good fight but the reality of our situation has crushed me. Over recent weeks and I admit regime change is needed now. I would put forward (at this late stage) Larkham as head / backs coach, Cronn as forwards / defence coach and one of Dwyer, Mc Queen or Jones as Head of Coaching, on the proviso that there was a selection panel of three – Larkham and two others outside the group (Dwyer, Mc Queen ,Jones).

        It’s folly to believe Cheika, the game plans or the players (selected out of position) are capable of anymore than we currently have:

        Time to smash the wheel and start again now. I would rather a noble exit in 2019 RWC than a limo showing based on rhetoric, passion and belief – that holy trilogy has got us nowhere

      • Custard Taht

        I think it means he has finally made it through the watergate, and is now in the watershed getting changed into is bathers, in preparation for entering the waterpark in Japan next year.

        Problem is, he is getting changed into his cleanest tighty whities to keep things simples…..and will find out next year that the other kids are layering up to build flexibility, as the waterpark has many different slides and varying weather..nothing worse than strutting out of the watershed in your one size fits all tighty whities, only to be embarrassed by the cold, burnt by the sun, wedgied or dacked by the bullies or suffer a “free willy” moment on a fast slide.

        • onlinesideline

          that was bloody good

    • Happyman

      Guys my biggest concern is that the coach in waiting is Larkham this really concerns me as I am unaware of him being successful at any level.

      If you really want to know how MC is considered outside of Mordor across the ditch listen to some of the overseas pods. They really rate him after his time over there.

      If we go to Larkham we are truly F$#cked. and will drop to 10th

      For mine MC’s biggest attribute is his biggest failing in that he is very loyal to his guys.
      Grey defence is not working and has never worked.
      Larkham seems to be way to structured in his approach in Rugby has moved on.
      Mick the Kick is a good appointment as generally skills are improving.
      Super Mario was a good appointment and has progressed to a better job fair play.
      The New forwards coach is too early to tell.

      MC has taken the bullets for these guys whenever our defence or attack has been garbage.

      • Hoss

        All fair points mate. However whilst Cheik remains sole selector the rest could reasonably argue that they are hindered with what they’ve got to work with.

        • Happyman

          Mate agree you delegate the function but accept responsibility.
          The issue is if Larkham and Grey were any good they would have been offered other opportunities. I have not heard of any.

        • st saens

          Several years of crap performances…
          ->boss->block->chop
          A good boss can delegate duties, but never delegates responsibility.

      • John Miller

        In some ways I have sympathy for Grey. The musical chairs defence is totally FUBAR’d. But, if the sole selector and head coach said to me: “Right, were facing the A….ahem….New Zealand…this weekend. Procure me a watertight backline defence using: Foley, Beale, a displaced fullback at wing, a displaced winger at fullback, some bloke who’s barely played 13 at Super level and a recent league convert”, I know my reputation as an international test rugby defensive coach would suffer as well.

        Grey might genuinely be a terrible defence coach. But Wayne Smith would struggle to hold his head up using Michael Cheika’s backline selections.

        • Brumby Runner

          Too true JM. But his best defense would surely have to be to make sure all players defend in their positions and then any deficiencies can be seen to lie with the selections and not the structures.

        • John Miller

          Don’t disagree with you or KRL.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Nope. I think that’d be easier, “keep your position and tackle the prick in front of you. If you miss get up and go like hell to get back and try again”

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah while Cheika takes the main blame neither of those two are covering themselves in glory. Attack is almost non existent and defence is ineffective and confusing. TBH the whole setup just stinks

        • Darrin Briggs

          Agree the whole setup stinks..attack is just so predictable and the defence has far too many moving parts to be effective.

      • I Should be Coach

        Happy – I’m sorry. But the whole defense debacle started with Deans. Picking players (QC, KB and Spanners) who can’t tackle and then having to hide them in the backline simply doesn’t work. Very confusing for other players. This is why players are constantly out of position in defense. Correct me if I’m wrong, but between Foley and KB, didn’t they miss a combined 13 tackles this last weekend. What would Hansen, or any other coach, do with these stats. They wouldn’t be playing the next weekend, that’s for sure. Many of our players are so complacent. Doesn’t matter how shit they play, they are in until they are injured. A dropping or two and being told to fix this or that would do wonders don’t you think.

        • Who?

          Indeed it did – even before he picked those players. It started when he sacked Muggles and implemented his own system. During the implementation phase, we had THAT 53-8 loss in SA. After a while, our defence improved, but players weren’t developed in defence.
          Shuffling a key player or two isn’t unusual. Beaudy spends a lot of time at the back – how many times did he and Jordie pass between each other on kick receipts on the weekend? So I don’t see an issue with that – especially when it gives players like the Barretts, Kurtley and Quade a chance to see possession with space and a broken defensive line. But that doesn’t mean you can get away with being unable to tackle.

        • I Should be Coach

          Good point Who. I just wonder what would happen if Cheika went to one of them and said “you are dropped. Your tackling for both games was below international level. Go work on it and we will take a look at you if things change”. You know – what most coaches say to players who don’t pull their weight.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hahahaha that would assume he had the humility to admit he makes mistakes. I think he believes admitting a mistake is a weakness rather than a strength and so lives in a state of denial

    • Bernie Chan

      Ahem…on that other RA PR site (not fox…the official one…) Ralene Castle says “Cheika is safe…” until after the RWC. No pressure to succeed then…then Ms Castle points to problems with the defence, and I think Grey has done a poor job, but Cheika picks the team and his coaches. So the buck stops with him…as others have noted, anyone would have problems setting a defence to hide multiple players. Naturally another “mate of Cheika’s…” ( Bob Dwyer…jeez the cult is strong…) has come out and voiced his support…

      • onlinesideline

        Mate, hes not safe. Its the surest sign hes under watch, everyone knows it. Biggest cliche in sport is when the boss says the coach is safe. I would say the Argies and Saffas will win both home games against us, the defining games are the 2 home games. If we lose one of those and 2 away I just cant see how he can stay past the RC.

        The Argies look to be reaching their frightening potential. Comparing the athleticism, speed and power of these guys to us is scary. They are going to rip us to shreds me thinks. This will be the “watershed” moment

        • Bernie Chan

          And Sanchez seems to have developed nicely as their playmaker…of course he kicks well too. Interesting articles in http://www.rugbypass.com by a Ben Smith analyzing the state of Oz rugby and also the poor attacking phase play of the Wallabies vs the ABs counter-attacking…interesting but kind of depressing. Can’t see an immediate way out of this funk…

    • Nutta

      Careful, your messaging isn’t inline with consultant reports.

  • Ed

    Will Cheika pick TPN and Toomua for Brisbane as they would have travelled to England, possibly played this Sunday (our time) and won’t be back until late Monday night at the earliest?

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      You’d expect so. Cheika has a habit of picking players who aren’t yet up to their best after injury/travel, who then subsequently play poorly and get criticised mercilessly for it.

      Beale in 2014, Quade in 2015-16, Kerevi in 2017 and Hooper/Toomua/TPN so far in the Rugby Championship.

  • 22DropOut

    I expect us to beat South Africa next week, finish 2nd in the Rugby Championship.

    But I also feel we will have a mixed bag of results in November and I am not confident about our ability to put in a composed 80 minutes display against New Zealand.

    Putting aside subjective opinions over selections etc, ultimately what results should this team be achieving? 50% is not good enough and that pisses me off as much as anyone.

    Reserving judgement on Cheika until the end of the year. Really feel we need to back up a RC runners up position with a good EOY tour.

    • Brumby Runner

      I sincerely believe your optimism will not be matched by results in the RC 22DO

    • Adrian

      Agree 22

  • Gareth

    Having been a grade coach for years I have sympathy with a coaches plight. Players win games and coaches lose games. Chek has fixed a number of issues around preparation and being ready for the first test, What he cant change is the cattle, what he cant change is the level of fitness he receives the players, what he cant change is that for some unknown reason we play the greatest professional team in the world 3 times a year and we play them twice at the beginning of the Rugby Championship. I believe chek is a very good coach but he isn’t a miracle worker. I believe changing coaches now is foolish, let him go all the way to the world cup and then judge his tenure. Moving to Larkam doesn’t fix our main problem of the cattle, it just changes who owes the problem.

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      I’m just curious about when it would be best for us to play New Zealand. I’d of thought that getting them first up, as we do, at least gives us 1/2 a chance to sneak a win before they hit their straps. And, despite our set piece, for a while in the first test I thought we had their measure. But for our inability to hold onto the ball, I was thinking we’re a chance to take the first one in Sydney.

      • st saens

        Nice to hear your voice again BBof B.
        Best time to play the Kiwis?…never… kick them out of world rugby for good. I for one, have had more than enough of them.

        • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

          Ha, ha. Thanks mate. Yes they certainly are an annoying lot, that’s for sure. On the other hand I’m sick of seeing us drop the pill, fail to pass when there’s a player in the clear or try a really dumb arxe pass when on their line…just to see it knock on. And then a moment later [using exactly the same ball], the evil magicians from across the water……….put on a display of everything that’s good about rugby and wind up scoring off our flipping error. I mean that’s just plain rude.

          Like many Wallaby fans, I have a love hate relationship with the NZ National Rugby team. I love the way they play the game [apart from their cynical penalties]. But hate watching them lulling us into a false sense that ‘we’re a chance here’, before predictably shifting gears and leaving us in their wake.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Bit harsh mate, although I do like that “fat bully kid at the party” analogy. To be fair most of us just want Australia to step up and start challenging us again. While I enjoy the wins I’d much rather be watching a game where the opposition tested us for the full 80 minutes.

    • 22DropOut

      It suits fans, officials and players to blame the coach though.

      Every coach that Australia has had in the professional era has been a top coach and most have had the Monday-morning quarterbacks complaining, the problem now is that there is a much nastier mob-mentality where criticism has gone far beyond rationality with many.

      That said, often coaches do reach the end of the natural reign and a change does help.

      Results have, generally, been on a downwards trajectory since MacQueen left. This coincides, in my opinion anyway, with a general drop in quality of our elite players available for test-level selection. Changing the coach won’t fix this but it may give a short term bounce in results with the corresponding confidence boost of having a new coach attributing poor results to the previous coach.

  • IIPA
  • Brisneyland Local
    • 22DropOut

      Not that it means we are f***** anyway but I don’t recall many coaches seeing out their contracts after receiving the dreaded vote of confidence from the board. The substance of Castle’s comments is hugely critical of Cheika clearly.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yes but but what it means is that they cant afford (contractually speaking) to get rid of him. So now they just have to try and put in measures to assure he doesn’t do any more damage before he leaves.

        • 22DropOut

          I don’t think he should be sacked but if results don’t improve and this level of commentary comes from the board then I expect he will walk after the Rugby Championship.

        • Brisneyland Local

          22 I surely hope you are right on this one!

        • I Should be Coach

          BL – what’s his contract worth. Surely we can start a gofundme account. Glad to chip in

        • Brisneyland Local

          ISBC, you know what that is a really good idea.
          Maybe us GAGR guys and girls should start it up.
          I am in!

        • I Should be Coach

          Unfortunately BL – I think we are going to need more gofundmeaccount’s if RA continue to sign $6m shit contracts.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah next thing you know they will sign Foley up on one!

        • I Should be Coach

          I think that would be my last day as a fan of the Wobs. Probably try and find some other heritage and go with that.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I agree!

    • Happyman

      With a big pointy stick.

      I know your view on MC but for mine it is the defence, it is so complicated that when the AB’s get turnover we are trying to figure out where we need to be. That is part of the reason we have leaked so many points from turnover the Ab’s have targeted that area as a weakness for us and have exploited it mercilessly.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I agree. Everyone can see that our defence sucks ass. But the point is, neither Grey nor his boss, can do anything to attempt it. they just keep trotting the same defence out over and over again.

        • Happyman

          Actually mate from what I can see it is a different defence almost every phase. dependant on if it is a line out, scrum, turnover, place on the field and even I am confused. F^CK me.

          Get in a line and trust the guy outside you FFS.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Apologies my wording was far from precise. I didn’t mean they they trot out the same defence. I meant they trot out shit every week. It is a different structure, and a different defensive play book. But it is still shit and doesnt work. If they miss circa 40 tackles a game there is a problem.
          But either way way neither of them can fix what Nathan grey said a few years ago was ” an easy fix!”

    • laurence king

      I don’t think the problem lies with Grey, he is just trying to find solutions to an gameplan of running rugby that is to be implemented by two players who can’t tackle, organise, kick in play, pass without running sideways etc., and everything heads downhill from there. It’s a pyramid scheme of a plan and the cops should take those responsible away in cuffs

      • Brisneyland Local

        Very true!

  • laurence king

    A question learned GAGRs, what will happen to MCs pyramid scheme of a plan if a certain Mr Pocock goes down injured, as he certainly may considering the way the ABs bashed him from all sides neck rolls and all. With a certain NZ coach saying ‘well he will stand over the ball and boys will be boys’. How can SA and Argentina ignore such encouragement and with the umpires and judiciary seemingly looking the other way.

  • Lens Tamanalevu

    Simple thing first, wallabies need an out and out #8. Sean Macmahon looked like the answer and then he moved overseas and I think ARU should move mountains to get him back so he can play at the back of the scrum and pocock at 7 and hooper to be on the bench and come in to replace Sean at the 55th minute for the pooper. Isi Naisarani will be eligible next March but be needs to bulk up a bit without compromising his speed and workrate to be good enough (world class) for international level rugby. The only other problem that needs solving is a better back up 9 than phipps. I see Powell from the brumbies as the better bench 9 because he will bring some point of difference; flat passes, snipping runs from rucks and he doesn’t do the silly mistakes phipps does, although I give phipps a better D and workrate around the park which are rather wants (accessories) than needs for a 9.
    Then regarding the wallabies defensive system. The current defensive system is good enough to stop any team except the all blacks. So Nathan Grey should either tailor another system that can also shut the all blacks (that can defend against counterattacks coz current system cannot shut that down) or create another defensive system only taylor made for all blacks so that the team has two systems, one only for all blacks and another for any other team. Lastly, we need a third string front row that is just as good as our top 2. We have good cover for hookers and locks, just need a better 3rd string props. This was evident last week with Jermaine Ainsley.
    I hope someone can tell cheika and ARU these.

  • Bernie Chan

    “…to make some changes in a certain direction…”? What does that mean…? Change of personnel seems unlikely given that we have been awful for a while and yet Cheika has kept picking the same players and retained his coaching acolytes. Change of tactics? That would help..eg defend your position, pick a balanced back row, best kicker gets kicking duties, attack off turnover ball and not kick the ball back…While he is meeting with RA, will the QC imbroglio be discussed and a solution found? As (apparently..) RA is propping up the QRU, surely it is high time the QRU are told to use QC as he is being largely paid by RA…the QRU employs BT so they can tell him…what a waste. Though Cheika would be reluctant to pick QC over Foley, at least there would be perceived competition…Interesting contrast between Cheika and Erasmus post match comments thus far…

  • Human

    You heard it here first folks…leading in to RWC19, B.Foley to be offered a 5 yr, $5M deal to lock him in for RWC23.

    • Brisneyland Local

      you are farking kidding right?

      • Human

        Pure speculation mate, but given the way things are, it would not surprise me at all…A bear trap for the next coach.

        • idiot savant

          Before long, club football is gonna be where the money is!

  • John R

    Guys I think it’s time. We need a montage of the Wallabies getting good at rugby, and then just continuing to be good at rugby when the montage has finished.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Even Rocky had a montage!

    • Gilbert

      Ye it will consist of a series of half games played by the Wananbies, the first half when they hung in there , not the second half when they get burned by Darkness

  • OeildeNuit Nighteyes

    No Bledisloe, no world cup, no Rc. Losses against the Irish, les anglais (beurk), the Scottish. Three big losses against the Ab in three years in Australia, same mistakes years after years. The team is still unbalanced, Foley remains the first kicker, the defensive system is too complex… Cheika must leave.

  • idiot savant

    Bold 10 selections but we both know it aint gonna happen.

    I think Cheika will pick the same side and we will win the next 4 matches, possibly all 3 spring tour games (though I suspect Wales might be due) and the proposition that the kiwis are just too good and that we are fielding our best side with our best coaching set up and best game plan will be vindicated.

    I think we would have to lose at least 2 of the remaining RC games before there would be significant change. As the forwards have been decent against both the Irish and the ABs, those changes will be in the backs. If he were to replace Foley it would be with Beale. I have no idea who would play 12. I get the impression that Toomua is only a reserve. I cant see Folau being moved from fullback and I’m not sure Folau would agree to playing wing, at least not before he signs his next contract.

    • Adrian

      In real life, I agree 100% idiot.

      I think the reality is that everyone playing right wing in the same team as Folau shares the 14/15 jumpers with him. He gets to wear it (15) because it is currently cooler than 14.

      Yes, if Beale played 10, I imagine they’d still keep the Tah style backline, feeding angled runners from 12. For me, the only guy able to maybe do that is Duncan P from the Reds. Another style of backline just wouldn’t penetrate IMO.

      The fantasy team I picked above is designed to try and use the Tah backline strategies as much as possible. Ideally Foley would be in it. Gordon is there because he can play that fast hustle game, which Genia can’t…. notwithstanding he’s a better player. Hard to use Tah backline strategies without the much improved Naiyaravoro either.

      I put Rona there because he has plenty of experience at 13. I see Hodge as an opportunistic attacking wing, full-back or bench option, and I think he is really good in that role.

      Yes, they will win a few, and aren’t as bad as they seem.

      There will be a few new (to this 2018 team) faces by the WC.

      The world hasn’t ended!

      I’d still ditch Larkham and Grey though

  • Bulldog Sing

    I have the pleasure of watching via rugby pass. So I miss the facts like TPN is quite proficient on the Oboe from Gordon Bray and I often have to listen up Ian Smith (not the good one from Erin’s Borough).

    But what I saw after the game was the players were genuinely pissed off. Even Hooper. Then in the presser when Cheika was singing the lyrics to ‘you don’t even know me – armand van held en. https://youtu.be/aIQHYb2XgeE

    Hooper says looking at him going seriously maaaaaate. Sense a players revolt coming soon.

  • Johno Muzza

    Mate we have lost at home to Scotland, England and Ireland, the only
    teams we beat were Fiji and Italy, Chekia is a 50% winning rate, John
    Eels said we can win the world cup, all players back Cheika, Michael
    Hooper is on 1.1 million a year, more money than any All Black players,
    and hes not even a world class no 7.

    Israel Folau on 2 million a
    year, World class player but not worth that, Wallabies are in the shit,
    and as for Nathan Greys defense coach, how does he keep his job.Come
    on Raylene do something, you are in charge sack Cheika, don’t tell me
    in the Rugby world that there isn’t another coach out there that cant
    coach better than 50% Cheika.

  • tREDgic

    having spent a few hours reading all the comments, I thought I woukd chime in. I dont like Chieka picking his favourites, especially the number of out of position players. However, I read an article on coach stats and it shows a steady decline, and I put it down to more than Chieka.
    10 years ago I was refereeing kids who only watched League, who knew the rules of league but not the laws of union.
    Lack of free to air TV, lack of grass roots growth, lack of a real colts development path, and letting players go to league and overseas is the real killer. Cooper Cronk was rugby schoolboys, as was Angus Chriton (sp?) and many others.
    Fardy, Mowen, Gill, McMahon, countless others allowed to leave.
    We are a decade behind in player development due to RA incompetance, but that shoukdnt take heat off Chieka.

  • Gilbert

    Go Bokke… maybe then people would realise how Chiaka is not a good coach

Rugby
@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, watches Matt Dunning's dropkick on repeat

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