Tuesday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News

The last edition of Tuesday’s Rugby News for the year celebrates the WR Award winners, the final standings for the year, a BIG retirement and the last instalment of the repechage.

Also, a note from the author.

I’d like to express my warmest regards to all the folks from GAGR who not only gave me the opportunity to waste their Tuesday morning train trip reading my scribblings but it was also a lot of fun to go back and forth with you all in the comments sections.  It’s been a wild ride.

Enjoy the break and I’ll catch you all next year for more of the same.  (well, hopefully not from the Wallabies….)


World Rugby Awards

Angus Gardner edged TJ Perenara for referee of the year

Angus Gardner edged TJ Perenara for referee of the year

World Rugby had its night of nights.

Without further comment, the winners are-

Men’s 15s Player of the Year: Johnny Sexton (Ireland) 
Women’s 15s Player of the Year:
Jessy Trémoulière (France)
Team of the Year:
Coach of the Year:
Joe Schmidt (Ireland)
Breakthrough Player of the Year:
Aphiwe Dyantyi (South Africa)
Men’s Sevens Player of the Year:
Perry Baker (USA) (ok, one comment, this guy can run, worth a youtube stalk)
Women’s Sevens Player of the:
Michaela Blyde (New Zealand)
Referee Award:
Angus Gardner (Australia)
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service:
Yoshiro Mori (Japan)
Award for Character:
Doddie Weir (Scotland)
Spirit of Rugby Award:
Jamie Armstrong, The Clan (Scotland)
IRP Special Merit Award*:
Stephen Moore (Australia) and DJ Forbes (New Zealand)
IRP Try of the Year*:
Brodie Retallick (New Zealand v Australia)


Hall of Fame inductees, (which were announced a while ago): Stephen Larkham (Australia), Ronan O’Gara (Ireland), Liza Burgess (Wales), Pierre Villepreux (France) and Bryan Williams (New Zealand)

*awarded by International Rugby Players’ Association

Rankings Update

Kiwis demonstrating roughly how far ahead they are.  (not shown: Ireland)

Kiwis demonstrating roughly how far ahead they are. (not shown: Ireland)

Now, if you’re writing your thesis, don’t use Twitter as a reference, I can’t stress that enough.  However, if you’re an unskilled rugby writer who’s given almost free reign to write about what you come across, you just might….

Anyway, the last test matches for 2018 have been played and that also heralds the last changes in the world rankings for the year.

The Kiwis, unsurprisingly, pick up an early Christmas present by hanging onto the #1 ranking.

Neither they, nor the second placed team, Ireland, should see any change in their points remaining on 92.54 and 91.17 respectively.

Third and fourth placed Wales and England both move a bit more than half a point ahead of the teams they vanquished in the last tie, in South Africa and Australia.  While the Scots retain their seventh although their win over the Pumas only earned them .28 of a point.

Eighth is filled by the giant-slaying Fijians.  Their win over France on the weekend was monumental in so many ways.  It was their first against that opposition, their first over a tier 1 nation since June last year and the 1.55 points they pick up also propelled them ahead of their victims into their best ever ranking of 8th.

The top ten is rounded out by France and Argentina.

What does this all mean less than a year out from the RWC?  Potentially nothing, but the home nations must be champing at the bit after the southern hemisphere’s lockout of the semi-finals in 2015.

Schmidt Calls Time

Joe doing his famous "Uncle Schmidt" pose.

Joe doing his famous “Uncle Schmidt” pose.

Coach of the year.

Coaching the team of the year.

The team of the year that’s home to the player of the year.

He’s been in charge since 2013 and now Joe Schmidt has decided enough is enough and will step away from the position next year after the world cup.

*And the script writers sharpen their pencils*

He hinted at his decision last week saying, “I know I can’t continue to go backwards and forwards. The family I have probably committed most to is this family that I live with in Carton House [Ireland’s training base] as much as it is the family I have at home”, and it was wondered if this meant it was time to return to New Zealand, potentially to replace Steve Hansen.

Instead, Schmidt is calling time on his coaching career and the role will pass to Andy Farrell.

In a statement he said, “I have decided to finish coaching and will prioritise family commitments after the RWC in 2019”.

Boasting 3 6 Nations titles, the latest of which a grand slam, a first-ever series win in Australia*, a first-ever win over the All Blacks (followed up by another) and an 11-1 record this year it’s fair to Schmidt’s successor, and current defence coach Farrell, has big shoes to fill.

IRFU performance director David Nucifora, praised the outgoing coach, “Joe’s contribution to Irish rugby is broader than just the success achieved with the national team. He has had a hugely positive influence on the entire professional system with both his rugby intellect and his eagerness to invest in and develop both players and coaches throughout the country.

“We are all clearly aware and thankful of the better place that Joe will be leaving Irish Rugby in post the Rugby World Cup.”

Will this further steel the Irish ahead of a tilt at Bill next year?
Personally, I doubt it.
Ireland are far too professional under Schmidt and I don’t think emotion comes into their performances much.

Repechage Wrap-up, Kenya Crushed, Canada Qualify

The 15s programme is yet to reach the height of the 7s

The 15s programme is yet to reach the same heights

The final team to make up the World Cup next year has been decided.

Officially, we will be cheering for-

  1. Australia (maybe)
  2. Anyone playing New Zealand (unless it’s England, whereby neutrality will be permitted)

And lastly,

  1. Canada, eh

The first two are pretty obvious and the third join them by having won the repechage tournament.

We did a little run down on them a few weeks ago so we shan’t delve too much further into their route to the Cup. Suffice to say they won all three of their matches in style and as such, will play in their 9th World Cup.

To finish off our squiz at the teams that were vying for the last spot it’s off to Nairobi to have a look at how one of the powerhouses of middle-distance running got within 240 minutes of qualifying (you’d think they’d cruise it in from there….but I digress)

Having teetered on the precipice of being the best “non-South African, non-Nambian” team in Africa for a while, Kenya was always going to be part of the Africa Gold Cup tournament between June and August this year.  The overall winners, Namibia, qualified directly and as runners-up, The Simbas booked their ticket to France.

Where did it all go wrong for them though?  KRU Chair Richard Omwela had a few ideas,

“…like it or not, Kenya wasn’t ready considering the inadequate preparations, lack of funding and quality build up matches,

“It says a lot about our level of fitness. We can’t sustain pressure for 80 minutes,

“Our endurance preparations is [sic] close to zero.”

“15s rugby hardly gets sponsorship and that is why the government’s funding is required. We need to start identifying boys at primary and high school level,” he added.

Unlucky lads, it’s been fun to follow your efforts this year.



  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Thank you, Andrew, in a bleak period for Australian rugby, I needed this morning of good news.

    Schmidt and Sexton are both good, kind human beings, and thoroughly deserve all their success and accolades.

    Great news for Fiji too, even when being pillaged by Australia, New Zealand and France they’re still so unbelievably talented that they can accomplish things like this. Although, could it mean Australia won’t make it out of their World Cup pool?

    Regardless, a good day’s news, thanks.

    • Andrew H

      Thanks mate!
      Yep, Ireland deserve everything they got this year, I wonder how they’ll view their solitary loss to the Wobs in the future?
      Fiji scares me, has the NRC influenced their results?

      ps. I hope you enjoyed my odd references to the Great Man and Great Song throughout the year.

      • RF

        As the starting team in the first test, only game they lost, was mostly 2nd and 3rd choice players given development time, they probably view that game as vital in their World Cup preparation!

        Great work on the site

      • Bakkies

        The NRC hasn’t the side was mostly overseas based players.

        • Andrew H

          I think there was just the one player from the team, but the exposure of Fijian rugby to the 15-a-side game on a more regular basis might have helped? In steering the coaching and tactics behind the scenes? Just a thought.

        • Bakkies

          Not yet with a year round professional program next year due to participation in Twiggy’s comp. That will help develop long term depth.

      • Bakkies

        The NRC hasn’t the side was mostly overseas based players.

  • John Tynan

    Thanks Andrew, enjoyed your take on the news and banter.
    re: Referee Award: Angus Gardner (Australia) – does anyone else reckon this is a world rugby “thanks for letting us hang you out to dry all the time” consolation award?
    I tend to think that while Angus is a very competent “technical” ref, he is not a very “sympathetic” ref – if there can be such a thing when a ref is basically a person without a soul – and I shudder every time he has the Reds in SR. However I digress – he really seemed to cop the lubeless reaming at a couple of key points this year.

    • Andrew H

      Cheers John, as a Reds and Wallabies fan I need the bants to soften the blows.
      As for Angus, I think his greatest strength is his communication with the players. Watch a match he’s in charge of and he’s constantly telling the players what he wants.
      Good point about the consolation prize, he’s been in the mix a few times when it’s all hit the fan.

  • Patrick

    Mate it’s been great, and I’ve appreciated every one of them. Thank you for taking the time.

    • Andrew H

      Too kind. Thank you.

      • Patrick

        Not too kind at all!

  • Bobas

    No article about the most amazing thing of all time? http://www.rugby.com.au/news/2018/11/26/matt-burke-calls-for-change-wallabies-world-cup
    Matt Burke making some sense, although he doesn’t read it to you and butcher the words.

    • Andrew H

      I should have written about it, just so I could use those memes you and your brother have been pumping out this week….

    • Custard Taht

      It does seem as though the pitchforks are out for Cheika now, and rightfully so. As well as Cheika, stick a fork in Grey, Larkham, the random forwards coach whatshisname, Hooper, Folau, Foley, AAC, Beale, TPN, DHP, Simmons, Hannigan, as they are all done.

      Going to give Genia the benefit of the doubt, mostly because he is asked to run the width of the field in attack and the width and length in defence. And, because playing under Cheika with the dross he calls a game plan, would be extremely de-motivating.

      Then tell the rest of the powder puff fowards they are on notice to toughen up or fuck right off.

      This bunch of pampered princess’s have been unaccountable for far too long.

      • Geoffro

        I’d grab the best performing SR team and send them to the WC Since it wont be the Tahs you’ll get rid of most those guys and they’d probably be a more cohesive unit than a squad Cheika will select.

        • Brisneyland Local

          in 2019 it is likely to be the Melb rebels!

        • Brumby Runner

          Give them the Brumbies’ front row, Pocock and Kuridrani and let it rip.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep and maybe Tongan Thor and Samu Kerevi.

        • Geoffro

          Maybe, Brumbabys or Wallabels for mine.They’d be allowed a couple ringins to cover ineligible players and include their own coach.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Works for me! As long as Hooper, Folau, AAC, Farking Foley, Beale and Phipps are no where near the squad we have half a chance. And dont start me on Ned Fucking Hanigan!

        • Huw Tindall

          A lot of punters were saying the Tahs would struggle in 2018. That didn’t happen (at least in an Aus conference sense!). Are we so confident they’ll suck next year and guys like Hooper and Folau and Beale aren’t still cutting it up in Super Rugby. I think the problems with the Wallabies are more so about the coaching team, Chek included, but more importantly the final result of a f#ucked pathways system and state based bullsh!t. Maybe 2-3 players shouldn’t be there but in general we have had the best players there or thereabouts. The hoopla of Banks is a case in point of a bloke who had half a good Super season being touted as the next Chris Latham with people sh!tting on DHP who has been on of the most consistently good Wallabies since RWC2015. Cattle is not our main issue.

        • idiot savant

          Agreed. Gibson and Cron showed they are a top coaching duo last year and the Tahs topped the Aust conference. They easily accounted for the Rebels and the Reds. There is no reason to expect the Tahs wont win the Aust conference again next year.

        • Geoffro

          I can’t see it.They’ve decided to sit on their heels and have lost more quality than they’ve gained while the other franchises have actively recruitedThere’s nothing dynamic about their style of play now and I don’t think their recent philosophy of grinding and relying on flashes of brilliance (from players I reckon are now on decline) is going to serve them this coming season.

        • Huw Tindall

          Don’t see how you could describe the Tahs style as grinding when they were by 3rd top try scoring team at the end of the regular season in 2018 finishing only a couple of tries behind the Crusaders and Lions! They carved it and not just because individual brilliance – and all this behind an average pack.

        • idiot savant

          Agree. There was nothing grinding about the Tahs last year. They played a very smart brand of football based around their strengths. In defence they committed very few to rucks, fanned out and had good line speed and were Australis’s best defensive side. In attack they concentrated on speed of ball with their loose forwards Wells and Miller drawing defenders in the 13 channel and passing to their wingers. Their scrum was competitive even tho they were lightweight and they let Simmons run the line out to advantage. Their game plan was effective and able to be executed by the players.

          The Tahs were the best coached side in the conference. Contrast the Tahs with: the Reds whose defence was worse than under Stiles and whose ball was so slow their attack was impotent – both problems never fixed by the coach; the Rebels whose impressive list never gelled and remained a team of individuals with no apparent game plan; and the Brumbies who never got their act together until the last 4 weeks of the season and for the umpteenth season in row had no attack strategies that threatened anyone. Gibson and Cron won the coaching battle in the Australian conference last season hands down.

        • Huw Tindall

          Agree mate. Gibson and Cron won the coaching honours last year. I expect the other franchises have more upside moving into 2019 with more stable squads and bolstered coaching ranks. Should be an the most even Aus conference in a while.

        • Huw Tindall

          As I said above to another response, Naiyarovoro is a massive loss, literally and figuratively! He made so many metres down the left flank, let alone the 14 tries (equal top scorer). Nobody in Aus rugby close to his destructive skill set. Even Kerevi can’t steamroll people like Naiyarovoro. Can’t believe they let him go to be honest. Even his positioning and defensive game had developed last year to the point where he wasn’t a liability anymore.

        • Brumby Runner

          As one of the very few to pick the Tahs to win the Aus conference in the Predictions thread for 2018, I have to say that I have them fighting the Reds and Sunwolves for bottom place in 2019.

          First of all, in 2018 the main attacking play was to get the ball wide to Folau and Naiyaravoro and let them weave some magic of just steamroll over the opposition. That option will not be there for them in 2019.

          Folau looks to have lost the spark that set him aside as the best No 15 in the country. He is now playing like someone who only has one particular skill, which is to take the high ball. He will be less effective next year.

          Beale and Foley are both on a downward form spiral that will see any edge they had this year nullified.

          The forward pack will again be undersized and will struggle against the three other Aus sides.

          On top of all that, with the preponderance of Tahs in the Wallabies, the effect of stand-downs will affect them more than any of the other teams.

          Rebels and Brumbies to fight out the conference.

        • Huw Tindall

          Think you very well could be right but I wouldn’t be surprised if Gibson and Cron got them firing again. They seemed to be building something really good at the Tahs last year. Naiyaravoro will be a massive loss though. I’d think about 25% of their tries came directly from his massive metres down the left flank. There is no replacement for him in Australian rugby. Kerevi may be more dynamic but he doesn’t steamroll people like Naiyaravoro can.

        • onlinesideline

          without the conference advantage the waratahs were on points no where near the kiwis or saffas.

        • Huw Tindall

          Still ahead of all the other battling Aus franchises!

        • onlinesideline


        • Alister Smith

          I pretty much agree with your read on this Huw…so i upvoted you…but that didnt seem enough at the time. I am not a Tahs supporter necessarily but it doesn’t make much sense to me that you would pick a Wallabies team and not pick any players from the best performed Super Rugby team in the year doesn’t make much sense. People say below if you take away the conference advantage the Tahs had they would be anywhere near the Kiwi teams. Well sure that’s fine but it makes the performances of all the other sides in the Australian Conferences even worse. I also agree with your comments re: DHP. There are some (major) issues about how we are playing particularly around quality of execution and that is perhaps both a coaching issue and a strategy issue – playing a strategy that is currently beyond the capacity of the players to complete satisfactorily (or in the case of defensive patterns that is potentially pushing endurance and fitness levels of players to comply to them). The pathways and the state based BS is a major problem as you have identified and as Eddie Jones recently and I think also Robbie Deans previously has identified. On those issues I have a little more confidence that Cheika is working hard to do the best he can in the limited time he has. I am not so confident in his selections and I am uncertain about the effectiveness of both the defensive and attacking strategies we are currently employing and the capacity of the playing group (or perhaps any playing group) to be able to pull it off. Everyone looks very “busy” both in defence and attack but without being effective.

        • Huw Tindall

          Agree with you Alister (and myself!) more endemic problems that ‘a few too many Tahs’ in the team. Also DHP absolutely carved for his 70m run in the lead up to Folau’s try on 80 mins! That tackle was a shocker though. Got in the wrong position and got the big hip bump. Those are the tackles that need to stick.

        • Custard Taht

          That would be the best option, then supplement the squad with best players in their position from other teams.
          It would probably demolish any Cheika selected team.

        • RF

          Can we leave the state-bias aside when discussing the Wallabies?

          Why won’t it be the Tahs? They finished 8 points clear at the top of the Australian conference, have another year under Cron and Le Roux Roets might add more steel to their pack.

          I’m hoping that the Rebels push on and that Thorn sees some rewards with the Reds but I see no reason to write-off the Waratahs.

        • Geoffro

          If It was state bias I’d be touting the Waratahs to take top spot being a rabid NSW supporter all my life.My opinion is that the Brumbies will top the conference.Tah’s have recruited next to nobody (Roets has played a couple of super rugby games and some Currie Cup , I wouldn’t be counting on him too much) and are relying heavily on the players whose most recent form has been substandard.Do you think Gibson is just going to say righto guys its business as usual now you can go back to being world beaters.I hope they do for the sake of the only state side I will ever support but I dont see it.Bloody Cheika will probably be pushing Gibson to rest them a few games which won’t help the cause

        • Huw Tindall

          Hadn’t heard about this Le Roux bloke. He is listed as 200cm and 135kg! Tahs have certainly missed that bulk, assuming he can cart it around.

        • Who?

          I think that state bias should prove the importance of quality coaching. There’s not many Tahs I’d consider best in their position. Not many at all. But they were well coached, and worthy conference winners this year. They’re a great example of a team that actually performed as a team, better than the sum of its parts.
          The hilarious thing is that there’s players who are apparently not good enough for the Tahs, yet they start for the Wallabies… The Tahs’ efforts were, relatively speaking, superior to the Wallabies this year.

        • Huw Tindall

          Very true comment about them being more than the sum of their parts – that’s got to be coaching and culture. They did well with a limited pack that’s for sure. Average front row besides Kepu. No big bopper locks. Short backrow without Dempsey or Holloway for all/most of the season. Next year should be better with Holloway reinventing himself at lock, Shambeckler Vui coming off a barnstorming NRC. Kepu still packing a punch. Hopefully Latu with his head screwed on. Then a backrow of Hooper, Wells and Dempsey that’s not half bad. Will Miller and Hannigan on the bench isn’t the worst either at Super Rugby level.

        • Huw Tindall

          State bias thing gives me the sh!ts. Chek loves the Tahs. 1 Tah ragularly in the run on pack – Hooper. Hannigan was behind Tui, Simmons bench or not in the team, Kepu bench 50% of the time, Latu a couple of starts behind BPA, Fa’ainga and Taf.

        • The Jackal

          To cleanse Australian rugby maybe interim coach Jake White can run out this current Waratah free team at the RWC, everyone is available for selection world wide. Can’t see it hamstringing us in any clear areas and you rid yourself of the player power cartel (although Genia is still there).

          1 Sio
          2 Fainga’a
          3 Alalatoa
          4 Rodda (c)
          5 Philip
          6 McMahon
          7 Pocock
          8 Naisarani
          9 Genia
          10 To’omua (vc)
          11 Naivalu
          12 Kerevi
          13 Petaia
          14 Banks
          15 DHP
          16 Uelese
          17 Slipper
          18 Tupou
          19 Skinny Skelton
          20 Gill
          21 White
          22 Barnes
          23 Kuridrani

        • Who?

          Great team. I’d swap TK and Petaia (I still think everyone undervalues TK). I’d love to see White come back to Australia, and I reckon White would make it happen. He may even start White over Genia. I think he’d have Cooper in there over Barnes, too – not sure if he’d start or go on the bench, and all pending form.

      • RF

        I think that negative sentiment towards the management team is skewing perspective here.

        The players you mention are not “all” done.

        Hooper, Folau an Beale are world-class players. Foley an DHP are serviceable test-quality players. Hannigan is a prospect, Simmons is ok. AAC and TPN can still do a job in this world-cup cycle.

        But they are performing poorly in a poorly coached and managed side. In a well-managed, well-coached side they would perform better. Most (all?) of them will be in the Rugby Championship squad named by the next coach (Jake White?) next year.

        • Custard Taht

          Beale is not world class. He would not make into any team ranked higher than us, nor Argentina, Scotland or Fiji. Maybe Italy, and the minnows.
          Hooper is not the best 7 in Australia, and his selection forces arguably the best 7 in the world to play 8 and then unbalace the back row. I doubt Hooper would make it into the starting 15 of 1-6, Scotland and Argentina. He is a bench option.
          Folau is a myth, and a lazy one at that. As a stay on the wing and wait for the ball winger and catch a high ball, he is world class. As a 15 or winger who looks for work, can defend, kick and pass, he is a plodder. None of the aforementioned teams would start him at 15, a few may at wing. Ultimately, there are more complete players available then him.

        • Custard Taht

          I should also clarify that done, is also in relation to off field behaviour and the history of, as well as poor leadership in regards to Hooper. Folau not included in off field behaviour, his is straight up limited skill set and laziness.

    • Larry Jorgensen

      I lost interest after the Jake Gordon comment.

      • Bobas


    • st saens

      Matt Burke is from Mars, I am from Venus. Catchy title for a tretise on ‘sexual relationships’?? Nonetheless…I think Genia has been one of our best this year (at least until v England). Problem is, he is getting older and slower…he was shown up several times defending at fullback. So who’s fault is that Michael C??? We should have been preparing for a smooth transition from Genia to Gordon across this entire test calendar. Instead we have persisted wasting time with the bovine sprinkler. Who’s fault is that Michael C????
      Kudos Will Genia, thank you for a great career.

  • Custard Taht

    Whispers are that Cheika will be safe. He has sucessfully argued that he should stay on, because he is the most record setting coach of all time.

    He has convinced the board that he can not only continue, but build on his excellence, and break more records next season.

    He thinks a pool stage exit at the RWC is achievable, with the right selections and game plan. He believes that he is on the verge of completing a grand slam of firsts, that no coach has come close to achieving.

    • Brisneyland Local

      CT pure gold. I just sprayed my coffee all over the desk!

      • Custard Taht

        Not sure why people keep upvoting it. RA are monitoring this and the upvotes will be put into a spreadsheet and shown to the public as evidence of it being the right thing to do.

        • onlinesideline

          how would identify who the “dud roodt” was ?

        • Custard Taht

          He would be the only one left failing to launch…….

        • Dud Roodt

          I was called?

    • Mike Thompson

      Cheika also pointed out that adversity makes you stronger, and that with tremendous adversity comes tremendous strength. The current hardships and the upcoming RWC atrocities and embarrassments are setting the Wallabies up for a truly golden era. “Embrace the scar tissue”, he bellowed.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s from pissing rain Adelaide Hills! A lovely part of the world, great wineries, nice scenery and if you dont end up a body in a barrel even better! BL mad ramblings for the day:
    – Andrew H, thanks for many great reads have a great break.
    – If RA are not hocking all of their furniture and everything they own to attempt to get Schmidt as the next Wallabies coach they are fucking idiots. Which means they are doing nothing, as they are fucking idiots.
    – The ranking seem pretty fair. Well done Fiji.
    – My early tip is Fiji for the Semi’s.
    – I so hope that Cheika does go! I want to see all those players who deserve to be there on merit actually get there, before we destroy another whole year of Aus rugby.
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • RF

      Would Schmidt touch the job with a barge pole?

      Despite his claims of “retiring”, I expect NZ is a done-deal. Taking the Australian poisoned chalice would probably permanently rule out him taking the only job that is a step up from his current one.

      Otherwise, England and France would be prepared to make him the highest paid coach in rugby history.

      • Brisneyland Local

        If he doesnt get the NZ job, yes! He is leaving Ireland because he is too far away from home and family. Next to NZ, Australia is bloody close.

        • Bakkies

          Schmidt has got a son with severe epilepsy and elderly parents. His goal is to spend more time at home not less than he already does.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah I know. But Aus is 3 hours. NZ is home but he would still be away from Parents as they dont live in Auckland. He is after the AB job, if he gets it great. If he doesnt Aus is option two!

        • Who?

          Reports today also note that the son with epilepsy has a brain tumour… :-(

        • Bakkies

          He had one removed when he was three. He went on the Late Late Show before he started the Ireland job. He said the Irish job allows more time at home than coaching and that his son was having over 100 seizures a day. They had to take him to France where he was diagnosed and they reduced the number significantly but it was still high.

  • Bakkies

    The Australian Schools tour to Ireland and Scotland starts this Friday. The first two games are against Munster Academy and Ulster Academy I have massive concerns about these fixtures as some of these boys they will be two or three years out of school and playing against grown men on a weekly basis. I know some of the Ulster Academy boys have made their pro dèbuts due to their high injury toll.

    They should be playing Schools or Under 19s teams as Aus schools are a under age side playing under age scrummaging laws.

    • Geoffro

      Thats crazy stuff.Some of our schoolboys have suffered devastating injuries just at their normal level.

      • Bakkies

        That’s what Fairfax reported. ASRU said it is the Munster under 18s they are playing I hope that is the case. I wouldn’t like them coming up against players like Gavin Coombes who is 21 played Irish under 20s and Heineken Cup this season.

    • Andrew H


    • RF

      How can this even happen? The Academies in Ireland are post-school. Was there a mis-communication? Surely it is the provincial U18 Schools team?

      • Bakkies

        Quiet possibly. I will keep an eye out from Munster during the week they are far more professional.

        • RF

          I can’t see a touring schoolboys team playing an Irish academy side under any circumstances. It is men (elite athlete men breaking into some of the best rugby teams in the world) against boys. It must be their U18 schools teams.

        • Bakkies

          Me neither. The big three Irish provinces split their under 18 rep sides in to clubs and schools. There are under 19s sides which include both. The Irish age cut off is usually Jan 1.

  • Hot take: The fact that Cheika isn’t sacked yet suggests there is something the public does not know about Cheika’s contract.

    • RF

      What could there be though? If RA want Cheika gone then they should pay out his contract and cut him loose.

      My gut tells me that they will want to have a successor lined up when they do announce his departure which will take time and probably requiring external finance. Ratify on Dec 10th.

      My prediction is that we will see leaks of names to test the water in the coming days and we will see Jake White appointed on a 2 year deal on Dec 10/11.

      • onlinesideline

        Thats my gut feel too and Im quite happy for that to happen. He is a world class coach and dont think his old rep of Jake ball will apply today neccesarily.

        • I think a 2 year contract is a mistake as it throws us out of the 4 year cycle again.

        • But I am very hopeful the general scenario you are describing plays out. White has shown he understands the Australian players. I do think the ‘systems’ in Australian rugby underly our woes, but there’s too much damage in the Wallabies right now to stick with Cheika.

        • Brumby Runner

          There are pros and cons. A four year coaching tenure from the mid point of the RWC cycle could be a better arrangement to manage than the current cycle which commits to a particular coach until after the WC. A mid-term review with the option of extending or cancelling with two years to go would at least give RA the opportunity to divest itself of an underperforming coach (like Cheika) with time to rebuild for the new coach.

    • Bakkies

      I doubt he will get sacked. Matt Burke has a strong point. Cheika has the RA over a barrel.

      • RF

        Seems like a meaningless sound-byte from Matt Burke that sounds great, appeals to the masses but lacks substance.

        The Rugby Australia board are generally captains of industry. Blue-chip CEOs and people who have excelled at the highest end of their industries.

        Cheika is not going to have them under a barrel.

        The loose-change from their pockets could pay-him off and with creative accounting probably wouldn’t set them back a cent either.

        • Bakkies

          This is the de Clyne led RA we are talking about here. The bankers especially the NAB are being torn apart now. They were muppets then and they are muppets now (puppets are more apt).

          Cheika has got everything he wants so far including a cheque to bring back on contract players from overseas, sole selector rights and no other coach including Macqueen never got. He also has that presence that makes them run for the hills.

          Burke has a point.

        • RF

          Perhaps, I think that Burke is talking rubbish with his conclusions.

          These individuals may be muppets but they are sharks, not sheep. With the WASP-y attitudes prevalent in Australian Rugby I would say that many of them look down people, like Cheika, not from the same socio-economic background. They’d have no problem stabbing him in the front or the back.

          Also Burke’s talk of bringing in a selection panel is dangerous and would be such a monumental step back to the dark ages. If you don’t back Cheika to make these decisions, and I don’t back him anymore, then get rid of him. Don’t change the structures as a knee-jerk reaction to our current predicament which will restrict the capabilities of our next management team.

        • Bakkies

          You are giving the RA too much credit. Selection panels are good enough for the All Blacks than no Wallabies coach is above them. Cheika’s selections and mix messages have driven players overseas therefore reducing depth.

    • Missing Link

      He signed his name on Pulver’s ass with a tattoo gun?

    • Custard Taht

      Yeah, it probably has no performance clause(s) and maybe a no early termination clause for any reason. Because if it did, the performance this year would have to be grounds for termination.

  • Bakkies

    I wonder if the Rebels and the RA know that Wessels has been out interviewing


    • Keith Butler


    • RF

      Very interesting.

      It is a logical step up and puts him in the market for an international job after this but his job in Super Rugby is nowhere near finished. I think that it would reflect poorly on him to abandon ship.

      I would view the Heineken Cup as a step up from Super Rugby and the Scarlet are trying to make that extra step. Pro 14 tougher than the Australian conference and the games against Leinster etc would equal the tough games against the NZ sides too. But wet Friday nights in the Pro 14 in Wales do lack the glamour of Eden Park etc.

      • Silver Ghost

        Agree, jumping ship early would reflect poorly on him.
        Particularly, he’s given he’s been involved in the recruitment of a pretty strong team now (on paper at least) and 2019 looks promising for the Rebels.
        Having said that the attraction of getting paid in pounds sterling and being out of the toxic environment of Aus Rugby would be tempting.

        • Missing Link

          You don’t assemble an army and abandon them before they take the field of battle. The story about Wessels going overseas has to be hot air

        • Custard Taht

          Maybe RA told him he is free to shop around, or he got wind of the plan to parachute Cheika into the role of Rebels head coach, to avoid paying him out for being punted from the Wallabies, by keeping him on the RA books.

      • Bakkies

        He probably knows the RA books for all sides are running out. We also have no idea over the state of the Rebels’ books as they haven’t been published since 2015 and the major sponsor is facing wind up action from ASIC. Australian Rugby is also a toxic cesspit.

    • onlinesideline

      That would be incredibly dispirting for the players to hear about this, especially the ones who just signed up on hearing Vessels plans and strategy. Its a weird old game. Seems that the lack of player loyalty has spread to the coaches. Its all about the bucks. Cant blame em – they are no different to anyone else.

      • Bakkies

        The fact this occurred three weeks ago makes you wonder about whether he has spoken to other clubs.

        Scarlets aren’t flush with money but in comparison to the Rebels they are well off.

        There is also the matter of more coaches coming on to the market in June next year.

    • sambo6

      Just for clarity….this would still mean he has the rebels in 2019…..Pivac is taking over from gatland as wales coach after the RWC…..

      • Silver Ghost

        Good point Sambo.
        Easy to forget the seasons for south and north are top and tailed.
        let’s hope he get the Reb’s up next year either way!!!

    • Silver Ghost
  • Silver Ghost

    For those interested in game analysis – which shows how bad the WB game strategy is, this is a worthwhile (but depressing) read:


  • phil peake

    Great selections from The Barbarians for their clash with The Pumas – Tom English and Luke Jones! Both would be in my Wallaby starting XV. Hope they get lots of game time.

  • juswal

    Thanks Andrew, and Merry Xmas.


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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