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Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News covers Hooper in, Thomson out, Thomson in, the newly named rugby “luenaigoune” and the emerging state champs finish up.


Hooper Back in the Game

Michael Hooper is probably back this week

Michael Hooper is probably back this week

There’s a song by a band called Airbourne called “Back in the Game”, it’s the sort of neck-acne rock that you’d expect American soldiers to listen to before they bring freedom and democracy to whomever they deem in need of it.

It’s bold, aggressive, unrelenting and raw, everything the Wallaby backrow wasn’t last time out against Argentina.  As best as David Pocock tried to inspire the piggies they just weren’t the same pack of hyenas, pilfering balls and disrupting breakdowns across the park, that Wallaby rugby has prided itself on since days of yore.

But in better news for the men in gold, signs are looking good for a return of their skipper Michael Hooper for Sunday morning’s (AEST) clash with the Bokke in Port Elizabeth.

Sidelined by a hamstring injury, Hooper’s been back at in training and according to coach Cheika, it looks like he’s going okay, “Hooper’s run full speed this week, he should have a full week of training under his belt”.

The return of Hooper solves one backrow problem, the Wallabies are still to figure out who replaces the injured Pete Samu (knee) and the absent Lukhan Tui (bereavement) and there’s also the age-old Wallaby dilemma of who to play out of position?

Angus Cottrell was drafted into the squad two days ago as cover for, there’s also the option of bringing Caleb Timu back in to plug some gaps but the money is on Hannigan getting the nod.

Cheika wasn’t giving away too much though, saying, “We’ve got Ned who had a good run there last year and starting to get back to a bit of fitness.

“And Cottrell’s here – he’s not coming for fun and I imagine he’ll put his hand up at training.

“We’ve got Caleb as well who played in the Irish series.”

Whatever transpires, the backrow will be looking to follow the directions of Joel O’Keefe,
“Go another round in another town, I strike and then I’m gone”

The League of Union

(Or something like that)

WRCEOBrettGosper

Gosper and friends brain storming in Sydney

Despite the ongoing confusion in some circles about what’s rugby and what’s rugby league it’s been mooted that World Rugby might be further adding to the confusion with a new “League of Nations” tournament to replace the traditional November tours.

With the history of southern hemisphere teams heading north to take on the home nations traces back over 100 years.  The Kiwis and South Africans sent their first teams to the Isles in 1905 and Australia weren’t far behind, a touring squad headed over in 1908 for a total of 39 matches including the thumping of Cornwall 32-3 to win the Olympic Gold medal.

The idea behind the push is to add ‘value’ to the test matches contested.  Brett Gosper, (WR CEO) described the issue world rugby are looking to counter in saying, “At the moment 56 per cent of the games in international rugby in the world are friendlies and that’s what we’re looking at and maybe swinging it back towards more meaningful, competitive games and that may be even with interaction between north and south”.

Details on the proposed north/south match ups weren’t forthcoming beyond the tournament’s rough outline.  It’s set to be contested between the top 12 teams in the world so there’d naturally be some north vs south that would come about.

Gosper went on to add, “We’re looking at how can we give more meaning to international rugby to ensure that the values are high” although maybe’s it’s the cynic in me suggesting that international rugby holds a little more “value” these days given the Olympic Gold medallist isn’t decided by a boat race at the clubhouse after a foggy, Monday arvo tour match….

Leadership Spill

Brumbies mixing it on and off field.

Brumbies mixing it up on and off field.

Knock-knock
Who’s there?
Peter
Peter who?
Scott Morrison

This time it’s not the political parties ditching yet another leader, instead, the Brumbies are getting in on the act.

Brumbies Chief Executive Michael Thomson, who has held the position for two years is stepping away from the role as he looks to spend more time with his young family.

Speaking on Monday he described his timing for all involved, “This felt like the best time for me and the organisation,” Thomson said.

“The other part is with a soon-to-be 11-year-old and soon-to-be 14-year-old, this is a great chance to spend a bit of time with them”.

Michael Thomson will be replaced by Brumbies Chairman Phil Thomson, a move that surely both provide some continuity AND save on stationery.

The savings on not reprinting business cards might just keep the in the black, although profitable for the last two years, they’ve only made just shy of $67,000 and it was the first time in 10 years they’ve managed consecutive years without heading for the dole queue.

Just missing the finals after a mid-season resurgence, things were looking up on the field for the club in Canberra and Thomson sees more good things from the team named after the song, “We’ve got an exciting squad and coaching team locked in, and there’s been growth in rugby in our region, plus turning a profit. The launch of Super W and our reconciliation action plan … those things are really pleasing”.

For the sake of the game in Australia, let’s hope things continue on the up.

If we’re going to be “stronger as four” we need everyone to pull their weight.

 

Emerging State Championships

I searched "grass roots" and got this image

I searched “grass roots” and got this image

South Australia have built on the back of their success in the SANFL to win the emerging state championships that they were hosting.

Successfully fielding the maximum 15 players at a time, rather than the state’s preferred 18 (or 19 in the case of the Roosters) the Black Falcons took on the Mosquitoes in the final match to determine once and for all, well, once and for this year, who the greatest non-traditional* rugby state/territory is.

*excluding WA and parts of Victoria

Both teams went in to the final having crushed the competition in their lead up matches.  Neither team had conceded double figures in any match so far and they did their best to keep the scoreboard attendants busy as they ran in huge scores.

The Territorians got on the scoreboard after only 45 seconds thanks to a sniping intercept by Mozzie fly-half Robbie Butcher who ran 22 metres to score untouched.

Within minutes the Mozzies were over the line again, but the ball was spilled before it was grounded and the push and shove started from both sides as the unlucky ball carrier (Sulata? Sitala? Couldn’t quite catch his name) was a former Falcon who now plies his trade up north.

SA finally got on the board in the 17th minute through a try to Marshall after several phases hammering away in the 22.

NT quickly hit back with the winger Watson, “the Rockstar” getting in for his second try making the score 17-7 after 26 minutes and leaving the Falcons with barely enough time to scratch their heads before Butcher completed his brace in the 33 minute and all of a sudden it was 24-7.  However, it was SA finishing the half with the ascendency grabbing a late try to go into the sheds down 24-12.

Ten minutes into the second half the BFs were on the scoreboard again and the deficit was down to seven with half an hour to play and after another try with 20 to go it was 24-all and anyone’s game.

Streaking away with 2 tries and a penalty in the last 12 minutes the South Australians won the match and with it, the tournament.

 

 

  • Andrew H

    Morning gang, keen to hear your thoughts about-
    Hooper’s back, what impact will he have? What back row will we play and what’s our most effective back row?
    The end of year tours giving way in favour of the new “league”, better? Worse? Who are the winners and losers (off-field) out of all this?

    SA and NT played an amazing final in the emerging state championships, get around it.

    • Custard Taht

      I thought Hooper injured his hamstring, but it doesn’t surprise me his back is injured. Afterall he has been carrying Foley and Beale’s weight in defence, and not to mention Cheikas Wallaby coaching career since the RWC. That is enough weight to break even Atlas’ back.

      • Andrew H

        I do love some good semantics. Well done sir.

    • Fatflanker

      Glad to see him back on the team sheet. I’d still rather have him coming on to replace Pocock but that ain’t going to happen.

      • Andrew H

        A few other folks have suggested that too. I wonder what would need to happen to get Cheiks to implement it? Perhaps if we had rampaging 6s and 8s that couldn’t be ignored they might? Pocock’s so good you can play him out of position and he still rips it up.

        • Huw Tindall

          The chaps on The Rugby Ruckus pod (highly recommended by the way – best analysis going round along with Nick Bishop on The Roar and Wayne Smith right here on GAGR) were all for the Pooper and noted the benefits of Hooper slowing the ball down A LOT of the time even if he isn’t getting pilfers. With the laws as they are the pilfer is harder than ever and a lot of coaches look to ‘disrupting’ opposition ruck ball as a key indicator. More importantly however they really wanted to see how the Pooper goes with a legit 6 like Fardy, Cottrell, or Dempsey. The makeshit 6s, including Tui, just weren’t helping anyone. The way they talked about 6 it was a much more important tactical position than 7 or 8 with a good 6 needing much better game smarts and all round ability. If you weren’t playing the Pooper they then suggested starting Hooper and bringing Poey on to close things out in a Herculean 30-40 mins in the second half. Their wish list was actually Fardy, Higgers and Hooper! I’m more likely to get a cap at this stage than Higgers however.

    • Huw Tindall

      The ‘league’ sounds like a sh!t version of the world cup and would regularly starve some supporters (as the host duty moves from country to country) of test matches when they lose the current tours. I do understand the need for a more financially viable game and that is what seems to be driving this talk – how can we best balance playing schedules and finances improve the viability of the international game? I don’t know the answer but this ‘league’ as currently described is a bit meh.

    • Ian Rodger

      We will probably play the pooper + hannigan but i think it would be better to let Hooper sit out. The bloke has had 2 hamstring injuries in 3 months and if he snaps it completely we’re in deep shit. The RC is gone anyway!

      I would play 6. Hannigan 7. Pocock 8. Timu
      And then get Cotrell of the bench.

  • laurence king

    Grey must be doing cartwheels, so joyous is he that he has to only hide one turnstile, however, with talk of Kurtley going to fullback and Foley getting back on the park, there must be a few nerves. Why oh why would you move him there. He can’t tackle someone who’s running at him at pace, he nervous under the highball when the opposition are within 10 metres of him.
    What’s the love affair with him, he may, or may not provide some brilliance in a game, but his defensive frailty is a magnet for opposition. There’s a saying amongst architects, ‘form follows function’, in other words, make sure it can do the job before you tart about.
    Ditto Foley.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      To be fair, I wouldn’t take any advice off the post-war architects. Obsessed with function to the detriment of beauty and form. How many post-war buildings in the West are going to be remembered fondly in 50 years? How many are remembered fondly now?

      The architectural wonders of the first half of the twentieth century, and before, are what fills us with a sense of joy and beauty.

      That being said I agree with you, we have too many defensive turnstiles. I’ve long thought that you can handle a maximum of one passenger. No more.

      • laurence king

        I blame Picasso

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          :)

      • Who?

        Posted my own brief complaint about architects before I saw yours – we’re agreeing far too much lately! That said, I do give some credit to mid century modern (post war, but more than 50 years ago).

    • Dud Roodt

      I reckon Grey is doing cartwheels for a couple of different reasons. The major one being that he has the safest job in the world apparently.

      • Garry

        That could be Cheika’s new alias, “Weatherman”. He can make the wrong calls seven days a week, and still retain his job.

    • Damo

      Mate, you have just given me an image of the Wallabies backline moving up in a flat line and, at the command of the defensive coach, all doing cartwheels. Crazy, but it just might work!

      • laurence king

        And nude. lol

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Except that was only Cully’s preferred team and luckily for all of us it won’t happen.

    • Who?

      You had me until you gave credit to architects. I’ve seen too many architectural failings over the years to give them much credit! :-P

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Meh, a profit is a profit. How many professional rugby clubs around the world turn a profit? I’m going to hazard a guess that it isn’t many.

    McKellar seemed to really get the team gelling and playing positive rugby by the end of the season. Some of the last few matches of the season were reminiscent of the golden age. If the team can continue that form next year I suspect crowds will swell considerably and the team will be able to turn a larger profit. That being said, the larger the profit the greater the taxes that must be paid.

    • Ed

      So make a loss and don’t pay taxes?? Or paper shuffle like many of the big companies do to reduce their tax payable?

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I see little evidence that professional sporting teams are good money making ventures for the most part. It seems that they usually, at best, seek to break even. Owners may even accept losses year after year as they love their team.

        And in answer to your above question, both, probably. I imagine clubs invest in order to get profits down also.

  • Dud Roodt

    I really do think we missed Hooper against the Argies. For all the criticisms on here of him (which sometimes borders on the ridiculous with some people thinking he’s not worthy of subbies 2nd division), he brings an intensity to everything he does that isn’t rivalled by many. We looked so unenthused in that game.

    For what it’s worth, my team for this weekends loss would be;

    1. Sio
    2. Faingaa
    3. Tupou
    4. Simmons (can’t believe I just typed that but something has to fix our lineouts)
    5. Coleman
    6. Cottrell
    7. Hooper
    8. Pocock
    9. Genia
    10. Toomua
    11. DHP
    12. KB
    13. Hodge
    14. Folau
    15. Banks

    16. TPN
    17. Robertson
    18. AAA
    19. Arnold
    20. Timu
    21. Gordon
    22. Maddocks
    23. Koroibete

    • Hoss

      A lot to like there Dud.I am a fan of Toomua at 10 and Gilbert at 12. Maybe we are a bit skinny on the pine for loosie cover, Brian will go 80, but Lee Magors first run back from a spell will struggle (is the game at altitude ?) and Gus Cottrell wouldnt go 80 in his first test i reckon. Apart from that get ‘Cant-get-right’ (Koribete) off the bench and you have my official endorsement.

      • Ed

        This weekend at sea Hoss. Next week at 1150m in Argentina.

        • Hoss

          Cheers Mr Ed.

      • Greg

        Toomua at 10 seems worth a run. We are done and dusted in the RC. No point in reverting to what has not worked before over a long period of time.

    • nick51xx

      Great team – only thing I’d change is TPN for BPA. Otherwise that’s about as good as it gets with current squad.

      • Dud Roodt

        I’m inclined to agree. I am a big fan of TPN and hope he makes it to the world cup, but he does look a yard short of pace (and a lot of other things)

        • Andrew H

          Plus you get BPA’s anthem performances.

        • Dud Roodt

          Not since the tongue-talkers in Scott Morrisons church have I seen such passion

        • Who?

          BPA’s affiliated with the same group of churches.

        • Dud Roodt

          Well needless to say I’m happier having tongue talkers playing footy than running a country!

        • Huw Tindall

          That anthem was worth a 3 point start in the first Ireland game

      • Fatflanker

        Good team. Is Kepu injured?

    • Brumby Runner

      DR I think it’s time for Hooper and Pocock to share the No 7 spot starting with the player whose style will most suit the game the opposition will play. Something like Hooper for Argentina and Pocock for the Saffas. I still think the backrow will be stronger without the two of them out there simultaneously. A backrow minus the Pooper needs to be established and persevered with to allow it to grow and develop. My preference would be Tui or Samu at 6, Pocock or Hooper at 7, and Timu at 8, until the likes of Dempsey, Valetini, Jones, McMahon and Naisarani come into contention.

      For the next test, I’d go with Cottrell, Pocock, Timu.

      • Dud Roodt

        I can certainly understand the thinking. And I wouldn’t be opposed to it. My feelings on the matter though relate to the old cliche of picking your best players in the team first, and work back from there.

        For what we lose in height, I feel having them both working on the field gives us an advantage over a lot of other teams when it goes well. if you look at the first Ireland test (which I would say was the best the Pooper has worked since RWC ’15), Hooper did a lot of the first up tackling, which allowed Pocock to do what he does best – sit back and intelligently decide when to attack the ball.

        Why that doesn’t work every time they’re out there I’m not sure.

        So does moving one of them to the bench (even though they are clearly head and shoulders above most of our backrow options) give us an advantage in height and a disadvantage everywhere else?

        Either way, I’m not opposed to seeing both options given a good run out.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I’m not convinced Pocock will make it to the RWC if he plays 80 mins of every test from now until the RWC. I think it’s time to allow them both to play a half each. I would always start Pocock as he is better at grinding out a game, while Hooper is the better impact player. I keep thinking back to that performance vs Wales in 09 when Pocock played the first half and George Smith the second, and it was one of the best performances the Wallabies have put on since 03, with two perfect open side performances.

        • Brumby Runner

          Pocock and Smith – two of the top five Aus players of all time. Hooper. perhaps top 20. Bit of a comedown from Smith to Hooper.

          Having them share the game 50/50, would be like giving up one of the bench spots in the match. I’d rather one play the whole game and the other sit it out completely.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Then we’re going to have to decide which matches we want Pocock to play, because unless world rugby decides to crack down on the neck roles on him it is very possible he won’t make it through to the RWC.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Maybe it doesn’t work because they aren’t the best players in their position. Whether Hooper is better than Pocock or not is irrelevant, the issue is that neither is the best 8 or 6 and so putting them both out there isn’t following the “best player” mantra

        • Dud Roodt

          I could make the argument for Pocock being the best 8 we have at our disposal. Certainly no other 8 is making that argument

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Except that he doesn’t play the No 8 role on the field even when he wears that jersey. Far too many 6 playing 8, lock playing 6, 6 playing lock ……… and no one actually developing their game in the specialist role. No wonder it’s so unbalanced and ineffective

        • Dud Roodt

          My counter to that would be to say there isn’t anyone currently playing 8 that (for mine) would force Hooper or Pocock out of the team.
          I think to lose a player of either of their abilities because they aren’t what we consider the archetypal #8 would be foolish.
          Now, if there was an archetypal #8 who was also a sublime footballer waiting in the wings, I’d be all for it.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah I sort of get that but how many 8s are saying “no point in trying hard at 8 because pooper’s got that covered, I’ll try for a 6 or lock”
          Lame I know and I’d certainly not agree with it but I think since Cheika has come on board and persisted with selections of people like Mumm, KB at 10 instead of a real one, pooper, Foley, Hanigan before he’s ready, TPN etc regardless of their on field performance it has caused people not to waste time pushing

        • Dud Roodt

          I’m not so sure anyone is making that call prior to getting to the top of the SR pile.
          And realistically, Cheika has only had Beale at 10 for 2 games (hopefully that will be the end of it). We want him to experiment, we can’t be upset with him when he does

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah that is true we do, I just wish it was more than just using his favourites in different positions

        • Dud Roodt

          I agree with you mate. I think we all know Beale is a far superior 12 than he is a 10.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Pocock definitely isn’t our best traditional number 8. The question for me is whether the back row is better with the Pooper, or with one of them +
          Timu

    • Andrew H

      We’re all about bordering on the ridiculous here at GAGR.

      • Dud Roodt

        It was one of the major reasons for me getting on board the GAGR train

    • Greg

      “I really do think we missed Hooper against the Argies.”

      We certainly seemed down on enthusiasm and Hooper was missing… I do wonder whether the lack of urgency is more to do with being mentally fatigued. Hooper’s energiser-bunny presence perhaps camouflages the issue rather than solves it.

      • Dud Roodt

        Perhaps. But thinking back to my playing days, when you had a bloke in the team who was going nuts, it did lift everyone around them. I mean, not me, as I was already near cardiac arrest, but others.

        • Who?

          I agree that we absolutely missed Hooper’s energy and enthusiasm, but I also think Samu didn’t play at his potential due to his knee injury, and had he been able to play most of the game fully fit, we’d have looked better than we did. Due to his injury, it was probably his quietest performance in gold. And poor Hanigan being selected and playing alongside Tui meant we finished with a backrow of a 5.5, a 6 and a 7. No 8.

    • Huw Tindall

      Nice! Only tinkering I’d consider is Latu for TPN on the pine yo combat Marx et al. And I’d swap Arnold to run on with Coleman on keeping a seat warm.

    • Adrian

      Ok by me, but I’d have Kepu somewhere Dud

  • IIPA

    “Gus is not here for fun and I will imagine he’ll put his hand up at training”…..

    This is from the guy who has Joe Powell in Wallaby camps for about 9 weeks a year and on the odd occasion he selects him, still doesn’t play him. Bill Meakes has a great collection of Wallaby training merch but nothing else.

    No Michael, 40% the guys currently in Sth Africa are there “to train”. You just don’t want to admit it.

    • Bernie Chan

      Agree with the sentiment…alas…

    • Bernie Chan

      On the RA PR channel, Cheika apparently says he “won’t be bullied into change …”. I guess he’ll roll out the same selections that have done so well thus far….

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I saw that. Look good on him for sticking to his guns but it’s got potential to backfire.

    • Adrian

      Well of course he does use opposed training, and often you can work out who is who from the squad. He seems to get guys of similar style (not necessarily ability) to run as the opposition.

      Not so obvious with this squad.

    • Adrian

      I do feel a bit sorry for Powell, but only a bit.
      He was 3rd string Brumbies half back a couple of years ago, and has been in or around the squad ever since, getting Wallaby wages.

      To be honest, I think Cheika has kept him because he (Cheika) might look silly if he did stick with his highly unorthodox original selection.

      IMO Powell is an honest toiler who’d look good behind a great pack, and inside a great 5/8. That isn’t the case

  • Nutta

    Whilst i have technical and positional reservations about Hooper that i wont back away from, his energy and commitment cannot be questioned. And right or wrong the team seems to respond to him. As such, after the embarrassment of the Argies game he is welcomed back.

    Great to see fringe rep teams play passionate and entertaining rugby. Big ups and more of it please. I’ll watch that over disconnected and piss-poor Supers any day.

    League of Nations- play it every 4yrs counter to the World Cup so every 2yrs we get a tournament to watch. Mutually complimentary.

    • Andrew H

      That’s probably the smartest series of ideas anyone’s put forward in a long time. You’d hate to see the end of proper tours to the north so maybe there can be a compromise.
      Where do the Lions’ tours fit in amongst it I wonder?

      • Fatflanker

        Seconded, Nutta – good idea.

      • Nutta

        Well if (say) Bill is Yr2 and Yr4 that means LoN is Yr1 and Yr3 maybe we need to go 1-about on June tests with alternating north/south each year: Yr 1 the north comes south with (say) the top4 finishers of the 6nations coming to play the top4 of the south so typically Eng, Wales, Ireland, Scotland/France come down to play NZ, SA, Oz & Argies. The next year south goes north to share the love around. We could do a 3-test series against 1 opponent driven by corresponding places (eg winner of 6N plays winner of Rugby Champs then 2 vs 2 etc) and then a 4th game by agreement or we could play 1 each and have a new opponent each week. I’m easy either way. But the point is it is refreshing, circular and exciting stuff. Lions tours would fit into that neatly with the north sides only bringing the top3 finishers (negotiated perhaps given the strongest side would make up the bulk of the Lions likely making their residual team perhaps less than competitive)

        • Westo

          As long as we are in the AB’s pool and play them twice 8 days for the next four years….

      • Kokonutcreme

        “You’d hate to see the end of proper tours to the north”

        The traditional full length tour hasn’t been seen in professional rugby for two decades, all that we have now is consecutive test matches against different opponents in a month.

        @KRL “I think an annual Nth vs Sth would get boring pretty quickly and take away some of what the RWC brings to the game”

        Isn’t that what we have now? June they tour down south, November we visit the north every year sometimes it gets ridiculous when you have a three test series at home and play them again in November eg. NZ v France in 2013 and NZ v England in 2014.

        RWC will remain the premier event and title above all others. It’s not an annual tournament and nothing says bragging rights better than world champions.

        @Nutta “play it every 4yrs counter to the World Cup so every 2yrs we get a tournament to watch.”

        I don’t see any real difference to be honest. We play the same teams on a home and away basis twice in the RC.

        We play one European team at home over three tests and then up to 3 or 4 away at the end of the year, every year. This proposal is structuring these end of season tour games in a meaningful tournament that counts towards something, instead of disconnected games that only influence world rankings.

        If anything I’d like to see the RC reduce to a single test alternating home and away each year like the 6N and then play this new tournament, rather than continue the RC in present format.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I do sort of see where you’re going and in some ways I agree with a lot of it. I just think the top 12 playing each year would get old.
          I see it more of WR realising they’ve fucked up the game with the private ownership of clubs who don’t listen to them and this is more of them trying to gain some control. We only play some of the NH teams, ABs haven’t played England for about 4 years. The other issue is how do the teams 13 and below ever get up if the year is taken with the top 12 playing each other. They need some games against the higher teams both to improve their playing and also to go up the rankings. When do these games happen?

          I like the RC as a home and away, I just don’t like the way we always play each other twice before we play the other 2. I’d like us to play each other all once and only then play again.

        • Kokonutcreme

          @KRL

          Good points as usual, agree that teams ranked outside top 12 need regular games against higher ranked opposition to climb the ladder.

          We’ll have to wait and see where they fit into this scheme.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Agree Nutta.
      I think an annual Nth vs Sth would get boring pretty quickly and take away some of what the RWC brings to the game.

  • Hoss

    League of Nations – where have i hear that before……

    The League of Nations, 1920. The League of Nations was an international organization, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, created after the First World War to provide a forum for resolving international disputes.

    International disputes ah – like those farking Nearlies always offside, never penalised at the breakdown allowed to put Brian in a wheel chair with countless neck rolls, fracture French skulls with high tackles that aren’t high, throw forward passes willy-nilly and have Nigel Owen massage their feet at full time while using his lovely Welsh tilt to sooth ravaged bodies with songs o hill and dale.

    League of Nations – yep, i like it.

    • Archie

      Or disputes like the SAFFAs still going on about how they were ‘cheated’ out of their 2011 RWC quarter final against the Wallabies

      • Hoss

        Its not cheating when we do it – only other sides.

        Have i taught you nothing ?

        • Mica

          C’mon Hoss – we need at least one token indefatigably one-eyed AB supporter who makes it their duty to hold the line for the rest of the nation regardless.
          KRL clearly has both eyes open most of the time, so he can’t take this job……. :)

    • Damo

      I’m guessing Woodrow Wilson was an All Black supporter.

      • Patrick

        Woodrow Wilson would only have supported a black anything for houseboy, he was an incredibly racist prick and ultimately completely stupid as well, as evidenced by the League of Nations which mainly just helped WWII happen.

    • Brumby Runner

      The forerunner of the United Nations and a complete failure by all reports. Just as I think the WR version will turn out.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Ouch!

    • Adrian

      Thanks Hoss
      A great chance to play Estonia too, and get bonus points.
      I’m not sure about beating Tonga though, especially if it’s Nation of Origin

  • RugbyM

    If the World Cup is mean to be the pinnacle of XVs rugby, then not sure that the League of Nations wouldn’t devalue that a bit, if it was going to be every year/second year.
    Would love however, to see some more first tier vs second tier matches. Let’s stop playing the Poms every end-of-year tour and go and play Georgia, or Samoa

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Andrew, It’ll be good to see if Hooper can get the enthusiasm that was missing up a level. I don’t think anyone can seriously question his enthusiasm and energy, although like some I’m not sure he’s as effective as what he could be. Good to see him back though.

    Personally I am not sold on the Pooper but I’m resigned to it being the only option Cheika will ever accept and we’ll just have to live with the lack of balance it creates. I’m picking Hannigan for the 6/8 depending on what number Pocock wears and I think the Boks loosies will monster the Wallabies for this clash. TBH I’m more intersted in how he manages the front row and backline as I think he is starting to question the decisions he made there for the last couple of tests. I hope KB at 10 is dead as it is a proven failure. I like Folau as a winger and hope he stays there. I’d get rid of Koribete and actually send him back to the NRC to learn how to play rugby again. I’d have Toomua at 12, Hodge at 13 and consider KB as either wing or 15 with DHP as the other one. I’d also have Banks and Maddocks in the 23. I’d also start Tupou as I think he’d create a dominant scrum that will be needed if he goes with the Pooper and Hannigan.

    • Greg

      who do you have as 10?

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate I don’t see anyone option past Foley. I don’t like him but the total mismanagement of Australia rugby has created this situation and I don’t see an alternative

        • Brisneyland Local

          You have it in a nutshell!

        • servo

          You’re right, we’re never going to get away from Foley. Personally if Chieks still want his love child playing, move him to 12 and have Tomua at 10.

    • Hoss

      Morning mate – like your suggestions bar one. 7A’s i reckon has been probably our best forward of the last 3-4 games. His set-piece is rock solid, busy on the paddock and good hands, good defender

      We all like the shiny new things, but unless you shift 7A’s to LHP (and Sio has bee doing ok as well) i dont think you can start TT. Having said that 7A, Fainga & TT to start with Sio & Kepu on the pine – now that’s not a bad bunch of Piggies. I would even opt for Latu instead of TPN.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        yeah happy with that. I agree that 7A, Fianga and TT is probably the best combo at the moment with Sip and Kepu to come on later.

    • Happyman

      Mate for mine an Openside with a Hamstring issue should be given a fair bit of time off to recuperate they can just go at any time when over the ruck with he impacts. The Trouble with Pooper is that when you win it looks awesome and when you lose it just looks like rubbish.

      Foley at ten is the real problem. One of the true indictments against Australian coaching at the moment is that Jack Debracini is playing the house down in the ITM cup. He is coming 5th in the best and fairest for the comp.

      There are options at ten but they require some good coaching and development.

      The team that would be picked and the team I would pick are so disparate it is not worth thinking about.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Happyman, if you had full open licence (no limitations), who would you pick?

        • Happyman

          Happyman’s benevolent dictators 15
          Director Of Rugby David Nucifora
          Coach Michael C
          Skills Mick the Kick
          Defence Mick Taylor (Current Scotland defence coach and 2011 Reds Defence Coach
          Forwards Van Humpheries (Killing it at the Force and a lineout specialist)
          Backs Coach Don;t know yet not Larkham

          1 Sio
          2 DPA (He has the best line out and a strong scrummager)
          3 Aussie Thor
          4 Coleman
          5 Luckhan Tui
          6 Cotteral
          7 Pocock (C)
          8 Higgers or Timu
          9 Genia (VC)
          10 QC still the best 10 in the country
          11 Falou
          12 Kerevi when fit
          13 TK When Fit
          14 Beale
          15 DHP

          16 Slipper Killing it at NRC even though he is playing TH
          17 Faainga
          18 Kepu
          19 Arnold
          20 Hooper
          21 Mc Mahan
          22 Ian Prior (Killing it for the force)
          23 Hodge

          For mine it give you a pack with balance and grunt a strong set piece.
          a ten who can put some big runners into gaps a big running winger a proper fullback and a skilful stepping winger who can roam into play.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Swap Beale and Folau. Folau needs to be on the right wing as he can only pass to the left.
          I’d change Cheika, I think his reliance on passion over strategy and skill development is well passed its use by date.
          I still think Arnold and Coleman is the best lock combo, Tui needs to develop more

        • Happyman

          Sorry Mate I am a forward and as far as I am concerned the once you get past ten they re just trouble. So I could never tell the right wingers number from the left. I agree Tui needs to develop more but I think If you said to him this is your position he could be world class.

        • Who?

          Plus we’re all confused because our greatest ever right winger, Campo, always wore #11. When he retired, we adopted the international conventions for numbering in the back three.

    • Ian Rodger

      Morning KRL,

      Like the suggestions. I think the back line would be pretty good.

      I would actually like to see Foley have a run with Toomua next to him.Maybe Beale from either the left wing or full-back like you suggest. Not sure if i would play Hooper straight away after his second hamstring injury in about 3 months. Our RC is fucked anyway, I’d give him some time to heal it properly. A 7, especially one with Hoopers playing style, running around on a half broken hamstring doesn’t sound like a good idea. If he does something stupid and snaps it completely we’re in a lot more trouble.

      I hope Gordon gets a run on the bench over Phipps and actually get’s on the park. No point in bringing him otherwise.

      What would your front row + replacements look like?

      I’d have 1. Sio 2. FF. 3. 7A’s

      16. BPA 17. Kepu 18. Thor

      I know a lot of people want Thor to start but 7A’s has actually been playing really well and it would be really unfair to the bloke to drop him. I reckon Kepu over Robertson will offer us much more at scrum time and he’s good around the park!

  • Bakkies

    In other news the Rebels’ major sponsor is in the process of being struck off by ASIC.

    Name: LEGACY PROPERTY AND INVESTMENT GROUP PTY LTD
    ACN: 613 469 202
    ABN: 35 613 469 202 (External Link)
    Registration date: 5/07/2016
    Next review date: 5/07/2019
    Status: Strike-Off Action In Progress
    Type: Australian Proprietary Company, Limited By Shares
    Locality of registered office: KOGARAH NSW 2217
    Regulator: Australian Securities & Investments Commission
    View Summary (PDF)

    • Bernie Chan

      Crikey…the canoe is leaking badly…

      • Bakkies

        Leaking? There was already a hole in it.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Hey GAGR’s. Well whenever I get pissed of with the Wallabies and squad selections. I just watch the Drua and it makes me happy.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Wf3O2cCQMg
    Pure Gold. Fiji Bitter Gold!

    • Bernie Chan

      Love the ‘run-n-gun’ offence…!

      • Brisneyland Local

        I so love Fiji Rugby.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      That comeback last week was great. Mind you the Rays should have closed shop and played the close game they hate.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep they knew what to do, but couldnt do it. They got suckered into the loose Fiji game. You cant beat the Fijians in the loose. BULA

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Nope, we had lots of different island teams competing in NZ growing up. You learn pretty quickly to keep it tight

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep I hear you! Beautiful to watch!

  • kp

    I think your credibility all but dropped to zero the moment you equated Michael Hooper to Wallaby back row redemption. See you later Green and Gold…

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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