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Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News sees Larkham is out but has a new job, Super W is back, Foley wants clarity and Tim Walsh open to XVs players in Sevens.


 

 

LARKHAM OUT

Photo by Keith McInnes

Photo by Keith McInnes

Stephen Larkham has been sacked eight months out from the World Cup

It appears the World Cup winning Wallaby no longer has a place on Michael Cheika’s coaching staff after it was announced today he will be moving to a new role.

Larkham joined the Wallabies coaching staff in 2015 ahead of the World Cup as the attack coach after serving as the head coach of the ACT Brumbies.

With the announcement of Scott Johnson stepping into the role of Direct of Rugby, and the Wallabies record for 2018, non of Michael Cheika’s assistants had their safety guaranteed, with early report suggesting Larkham and Simon Raiwalui would be on the chopping block.

It appears though that Larkham is the only casualty of the season review, citing “difference in attacking strategy” between himself and Cheika as a reason. 18 months ago Cheika had all but pegged Larkham as his heir apparent.

In a statement Larkham said: “Ultimately Michael is responsible for the performance of the team. We have differences in attacking strategy and overall game philosophy. We couldn’t agree on these key points and it is in the best interest of the team that they receive clear and consistent messages from their coaches.

“I am obviously disappointed with this outcome as I had chosen to pursue the experience of taking the Wallabies through to the World Cup, however I am pleased to be able to continue coaching and contributing to Australian Rugby in this new role.” 

It is interesting to note that even though axing of Larkham has occurred under Scott Johnson’s watch, the decision predates his appointment, with Michael Cheika making the call.

“During the post-season review when they came back and obviously looked at the Wallabies performance, everyone identified that the Wallabies didn’t play well enough this year or consistently enough and therefore deliver results,” she said.

“So when they sat down and had those conversations there was a philosophical difference between the attacking styles and ultimately they agreed that for Bernie (Larkham) to move on was the right thing to do.

“Michael consulted with Scott and explained to him what he was going to do and his rationale so he was involved in the process.”

Castle claimed that the pair had tried to work through their differences, rather than rush the decisions. 

“When you’ve got two coaches with great experience and really good depth of knowledge whether it be attack or defence, you want to try and work those things out and you also don’t want everyone to agree all the time,” she said.

“You need challenge and differences of opinions to make sure that what you do in the final outcome is grow and develop it but ultimately they didn’t think that the core elements of attack was aligned and so ultimately that’s where they believed it was the right thing, Michael believed the right thing for Stephen to move on.”

According Raelene Castle, it is a lateral move to the position National High Performance Coaching Advisor, a role that will focus on coach mentoring, coaching and skills development across the Qantas Australian Sevens program, Junior Wallabies, State U20s Academies, and Buildcorp Wallaroos.

Castle said “We are very pleased that Stephen has agreed to take on this role. He was one of our greatest ever Wallabies and has developed a strong depth of experience during his coaching roles with the Brumbies and Qantas Wallabies.

“It was very important from Rugby Australia’s perspective to retain Stephen’s services and to ensure his experience is used to grow and develop coaches and players in our next generation.   “We will also look to support Stephen in his transition into another Head Coach role,”

Castle has claimed there will be no rush to find a new attack coach, though one will be appointed prior to the World Cup.

SUPER W IS BACK

QLD Women post match photo

Super W is back with a beefed up format, new televised set up and even more double headers.

The new format will see only the team that finishes first on the ladder guaranteed a spot in the Grand Final, with second and third playing off for the final spot.

The opening weekend see the defending champions NSW taking on the Brumbies in Canberra, with Melbourne hosting Queensland in Victoria.

Every match will be broadcast LIVE on Kayo Sports and RUGBY.com.au, while FOX SPORTS will show matches that are apart the double header with their male counterparts. 

There will be three Super Rugby – Super W double headers this season; Brumbies vs NSW women, Queensland vs Rugby WA women and the Melbourne Rebels vs Rugby WA women will all be played and shown a head of the Super Rugby matches.

Raelene Castle Super W is having a positive impact on Womens XVs and will continue to see growth.

“The hype of last year’s competition has brought forward a new era for Women’s Rugby in Australia, and we’ve seen a 20% increase in female XVs participation since Super W last year,” she said.

“That growth is part of the reason that all the clubs are taking matches back to their grassroots, to continue to promote the game and inspire our next generation of Buildcorp Wallaroos.

“The competition gives our players top level game time, week-in, week-out which will hold them in the best possible stead for an action-packed international calendar in 2019.”

Super W 2019

Round 1

Saturday February 23 – Brumbies Women vs NSW Women*, GIO Stadium Canberra, 5pm AEDT

Sunday February 24 – Melbourne Rebels Women vs Queensland Women, Box Hill RFC, Melbourne, 3pm AEDT

Round 2

Saturday March 2 – Queensland Women vs RugbyWA Women*, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 4pm local, 5pm AEDT

Sunday March 3 – Brumbies Women vs Melbourne Rebels Women, Seiffert Oval, Queanbeyan, 3pm AEDT

Round 3

Friday March 8 – Melbourne Rebels Women vs RugbyWA Women*, AAMI Park, Melbourne, 5pm AEDT

Sunday March 10 – NSW Women vs Queensland Women, Leichhardt Oval, Sydney, 3pm AEDT

Round 4

Saturday March 16 – Queensland Women vs Brumbies Women, Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane, 5pm local, 6pm AEDT

Sunday March 17 – RugbyWA Women vs NSW Women, Curtin University, Perth, 3:30pm local, 6:30pm AEDT

Round 5

Sunday March 24 – RugbyWA Women vs Brumbies Women, Wanneroo Rugby Club, WA, 2pm local, 5pm AEDT,

Sunday March 24 – NSW Women vs Melbourne Rebels Women, Sunday 24 March, 3pm AEDT Anne Ashwood Park, Bathurst

*Denotes doubleheader

Playoff

March 30/31 – 2nd vs 3rd

Super W final

April 6/7 – 1st vs winner of 2nd/3rd

XVS INTO SEVENS?

Quade Cooper australian sevens

Current Aussie mens Sevens coach Tim Walsh says that despite being happy with his current crop of sevens players, he wouldn’t rule out reaching into Super Rugby and bringing across a star a head of the Olympics next year.

Australia will be looking to try and finish fourth in the world rankings in an effort to automatically qualify for the Olympics, a position they will most likely be competing against England and South Africa for.

The Aussie team looked promising throughout the tournament, and took the game on against Fiji, opening the scoring and fighting to keep scores eve before the Fijians ran away in the dying minutes of the match. Final scores were 22-17

Australia managed to make it through to the fifth spot play off after beating France 17-14, but lost their play off to South Africa 12-10.

“We wouldn’t say no to some of the best players in the world, which are in Australia, but happy with what we’ve got and where they’re progressing to,” Walsh said.

Last Olympic Games saw the attempt to bring across XVs players, with Quade Cooper, Henry Speight and The Bachelor Nick ‘the Honey Badger’ Cummins, all putting their hands up for the shot at the games.

Ultimately the experiment did not work, with former coach Andy Friend opting for specialist Sevens players.

But Walsh has seen the benefit of players who know both games, with his recruitment of Michael Wells and Nick Malouf, players who played XVs before transitioning to the shorter game.

Maybe some time in a different game would be good for some of the Wallabies, help them learn to play smarter rugby and adopt better skills.

 

FOLEY SEEKS CLARITY

Wallabies v Ireland Game 3 23 June 2018 1st Half-7

Waratah’s and Wallabies fly half Bernard Foley has ask for clarity around Rugby Australia’s plans to rest Wallabies players during the Super Rugby Season.

Foley says players in NSW have no idea who will be rested and when.

“Hopefully, there is a plan and we’re not just playing it by ear,” Foley said.

“There needs to be a balance around the amount of football we play and getting the right amount of rest.

“You’ve seen the All Blacks do it well, but it’s going to be tricky (to balance) and we need a plan to make sure both campaigns (Super Rugby and World Cup) are maximised.”

It is believed that Rugby Australia has already begun discussions with the four franchises regarding resting Wallabies stars for multiple Super games.

The move is to mimic other Rugby nations policies to rest players, in particular in the UK due to the length of their seasons, and New Zealand because of their success.

Foley was one of the players invited to Michael Cheikas January preseason camp, which Foley said focused on fitness and bonding a head of the World Cup.

Foley said at the time that there has been no discussions on a new structure or whether the assistant coaches would be sticking around. 

“That might be finalised once Scott is finished with Scotland (as director of rugby in March),” he said of the coaching set-up.

“We won’t get much time together as a group after the Super Rugby season, so the camp was a valuable chance to get together, do some hard work and talk about what it’s going to take (to win in Japan).

“We haven’t spoken about it but it’s definitely the goal; we don’t want honourable defeats.”

Foley was rested when the Waratahs played their first trial match against the Highlanders last Friday, and will likely be rested again when his side faces the Brumbies in Goulburn for the final trial match on Thursday.

 

  • I am wondering whether his demise is because he didn’t agree with Chieka’s failing plan or he was sacked by the master coach because his plan was dodgy. I would like to hear what Bernie was wanting and how that differed from MCs opinion. They won’t sack him because hes on a motza. Larkham sounded pretty defiant. I am really confused about how Grey has not been the first coach (other than MC who should have gone already) to be shown the door. At the end of last year, RA stated there would be a review. Many were hoping for action as soon as possible so as to prepare for the RWC. Obviously, this has not been done and again, RA is pacing further undue pressure on the preparation. Unfortunately, not surprising.

    • Dylan Langes

      What has probably happened is guys like Grey have agreed to get in line.

      I honestly believe we are too close to the RWC for change. Traditionally teams perform better after a coaching change, new coach brings in new players and players who think they are safe work harder for a spot. The problem with this is just like 2015, it masks all the problems. Cheika came in as the new coach that everyone loved because the Wallabies performed better than expected.
      I believe if we bring in a new coach the same thing will happen, we will outperform everyones expectations at the RWC, RA will offer a massive long term contract to the coach and in 4 years time we will be in the same place.

      I would urge people to embrace the pain because change right now will leave to even more long term pain going forward.

      • It’s too late now to ditch the clown and unfortunately I think he is the problem. It should have happened in November or earlier. Imagine how much it’s going to suck if the wallies actually pull it out of their asses come RWC. They have no chance but as you said, it will just prolong the long term pain…

    • Brisneyland Local

      Are we surprised.

      • Nutta

        No we are not. He kept Rawuli and Grey – his boys – and axed the outsider. He had to do something after 2018 to show RA and his new Boss he was The Man In Charge.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep. And further entrenched mediocrity. Not that Bernie was high form.

        • But was he allowed to be in anything other than poor form. Is he bucking Chieka’s poor plans or is Bernie the issue? That was my initial point. who is acutally pulling the wrong strings here. Have the “yes men” been able to keep their jobs while someone who is identifying issues and speaking out being smashed?

        • Brisneyland Local

          Definitely the yes men have been able to keep their jobs. My shot at Bernie is in relation to the fact he wasn’t really a coaching superstar at the Brumbies, se we dont know how high his coaching high tide mark is.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Not really surprised but bloody disappointed and resigned to another bad year.

        • Brisneyland Local

          It does not bode well.

    • Huw Tindall

      BLL gave some insight to a similar thread I had on Monday’s news. Without putting words in his mouth it was along the lines of Bernie not being able to deliver a plan that was in line with the way Chek wanted to play. Chek’s way or the highway then meant Bernie is managed out. To your point though, how the hell did Grey not come under more scrutiny is anyone’s guess.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      To be fair, it has been obvious for some time that the Cheika master plan is as dodgy as Kiwi in Bondi on welfare so he should have pulled the pin ages ago to save himself being tarnished by the rest of the rock show. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for him in this position as he continued to suck the golden spoon without having to have any consequences.

      I’d take the road that he stopped being a “yes Man” to the Cheika god, but I also don’t think he contributed much and has limitations in his own coaching that he needs to address.

  • Mart

    I’ve heard the view that the Wallabies attack is struggling because they are so gassed out from the mad cap defensive system that has been devised. And I’m inclined to believe this from viewing. The defense was shit before larkham got there. Absolutely baffling as to why Grey wasn’t the first head to roll a while ago.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Because Grey is the Cheika love child.

    • Huw Tindall

      Grey must be able to sell ice to Eskimos.

      • Parker

        More likely has pictures of the boss with Eskimo Nell.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Absolutely. I think Grey must have some of the photos that Foley and Beale have

      • Ed

        Agree.
        The past three years – 2016 to 2018 – have been the leakiest seasons for the Wallabies in the professional era. In order – 2017, 2016, 2018 are the three worst average tries conceded a test by the Wallabies since going pro.
        For the next set I removed the RWC years as they have several pool games which inflate tries for and deflate tries against. The average tries per match scored was 2.88, which 2017 exceeded but 2016 and 2018 did not.
        The average tries conceded a test was 2, which the past three years exceeded with 2016 and 2018 more than one standard deviation greater while 2017 was more than two SDs.
        Dreadful I know but I guess it does not help when there are many defensive weak links in the Wallabies backline.

    • Hooper and Hanigan are supreme examples of this. They runs so much and seem so tired they make errors and their accuracy just falls apart.

    • Wallabrumby

      From what I have been told is that Larkham had very little say in either actual attacking structures or selections for the last 1.5 years and that was constantly butting heads with MC.
      So it would appear he has agreed to walk away.
      Ask the All Blacks, Ireland (England to a degree after the weekends game) what makes them score so many points. Its not from set play attack, its from defence.
      Hard to coach a good counter attack when defence is rubbish in the first place.
      Assistant coaches are there to assist the head coaches in their implementation of a plan – so ultimately a

      Larkham has done well to move on in my opinion and his new role in Aus rugby development will only serve as a positive for Australian rugby. Imagine a under Schoollboys, Under 19s or just club player coming through the system being able to pick his brains. Can only be a good thing

      • st saens

        IMHO this is great news for S Larkham. Rumours that Cheika and Larkham were not even on speaking terms are virtually ‘confirmed’. The Cheika ‘cluster puke’ is down to one man…Mr Michael Cheika.
        Waiting, waiting, waiting for Michael Cheika to fall on his sword…fat chance!!

    • Quite possibly true. But the Larkham statement is, I think quite true. Cheika wants “Australian Rugby” but if you look at what he says he wants then who he picks, he doesn’t really give Larkham the tools to deliver.

      I’m not sure Larkham has the nous to deliver that either, if you gave him the right players, it relies on creativity and imagination, Larkham seems to be of the start of the generation of play your patterns and coaches like it. Instant culture clash when Cheika wants the rugby of the 80’s and Larkham wants a more modern style…

      Not saying Grey shouldn’t have gone too mind you.

    • Parker

      Spot on Mart

  • Brumby Runner

    Credit to Foley for raising the issue of rested players. If he, and presumably the rest of the players in line for Wallaby selection, doesn’t know what’s going on, then it’s all starting to look like another massive FU by Cheika and RA.

    Top players are being rested by their SR clubs from trial matches. Is it likely that the missed trials will form part of the plan to rest the Wallabies? If so, that is no different from how the SR clubs have approached the trials in the past. You’d think that with the season proper starting in just over a week, the PLAN would have been clarified and set in stone by now. But we all know about Cheika and his Plans.

    Taking the recent Wallaby tests as a starting point, it would appear that those to be rested from each of the SR teams are likely to be :

    REDS : Tupou, Rodda, maybe LSL, maybe Timu, maybe Petaia, maybe Naivalu;

    TAHS : Kepu, Latu, Simmons, maybe Hanigan, Hooper, Dempsey, Phipps, Gordon, Foley, Beale, Folau;

    BRUMBIES : Sio, Fainga’a, Alaalatoa, Pocock.

    REBELS : Coleman, maybe Naisarani, Genia, maybe Cooper, DHP, Koroibete, maybe Maddocks.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some rather awkward discussions going on atm between Cheika/RA and the Waratahs about the impact of this policy this year.

    • Huw Tindall

      Wallabies players usually out of first 1-2 trials as their season ends so late they need a proper off season. On top of that they’ll miss some super games. There was a figure of 20% bandied about last year so that’s 3 games in the the 16 game Super season. What’s the bet every sunwolves game will be sans Wallabies!

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        That sounds reasonable to me, although it could lead to some embarrassing losses.

        • Huw Tindall

          Yeah it’s really going to test depth in Aussie Rugby – which is a test we are really going to struggle with

      • RugbyM

        The Moondoggies managed to beat the Reds last year even when they played with their Wallabies contingent

      • Brumby Runner

        If that eventuates, then the Moondogs would surely be an excellent bet when playing the Tahs, without 10 or 11 of their starting group – all Wallabies.

    • Nutta

      Yes and no. We don’t have centralised control. If we had centralised control then Cheks via RA would tell the Franchises who to rest and when. But because we don’t have centralisation, Cheks must essentially ask with ‘cap in hand’ and await a response. The Franchises are motivated only by Super success so they will only accommodate Cheks if it doesn’t hurt themselves (logically enough).

      I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just saying how it is.

      • Brumby Runner

        So, the PLAN is essentially not a plan at all.

        • Funk

          Business as usual…

    • Singapore Sling

      With the exception of Pocock, Hooper and the front row(ers) the rest of the contracted Wallabies need more rugby not less. The RWC squad needs to be selected on form not reputation or whatever sick selection policy Cheika employs.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    This situation makes me very disappointed in Raelene Castle, and sadly makes me think it is business as usual for Cheika and rugby Australia, despite lip service about change.

    Castle and the board steadfastly defended Cheika agreeing with Cheika that no change was required, until the disastrous spring tour (which was in many ways no worse than 2016 and 17). Despite these results, they maintain Cheika with the only difference being curbing his selection power.

    The Wallabies have a number of problems, including:
    – The overall team philosophy is flawed.
    – The defence leaks like a sieve.
    – The forwards went backwards under the Wallabies.
    – The set piece is awful.
    – There is no kicking game.
    – There are evidently cultural issues in the team (the entire KB/AAC cover up situation, etc).
    – Selections make no sense.
    – Plenty of capable senior leaders have been exiled in favour of yes men.
    – Attack was stagnant last year.

    Many of those issues are the sole responsibility of Cheika (for example, philosophy and selections) and even for all the rest that appear to be the responsibility of the assistants, the buck ultimately stops with Cheika. Imagine telling Grey to make the defence work against the All Blacks with 11. Speight, 10. Iceman, 12. Beale, 13. Kerevi, 14. Rona, 15. Folau. Grey is time and again given poisoned chalice. Equally, Larkham is set up to fail with Cheika’s philosophy and selections.

    I do question whether the poor attack was Larkham’s fault. The Brumbies under his coaching made the semifinals in 2014 and 15, and even after the mass-exodus of players coupled with the injuries and illnesses of 16 and 17, he made the finals every time, and the Wallabies attacked spectacularly last year.

    I don’t think removing Larkham was necessarily wrong given the attacking results this past year. However, this was then worst possible scenario: the man truly responsible, plus the two assistants arguably doing a worse job than Larkham avoid all responsibility, while Larkham is left to take the fall.

    • Andy

      I don’t disagree with the call to get rid of him. But I also think he is unlucky given the flaws of every other aspect of the team, most notably the defence.

      The most telling thing to me however is his commentary post the decision. For a guy who comes across as fairly passive and respectful his comments were really damning on Cheika. There was no real “I wish the coach and the team well” or “it was the right time for me to take other opportunities and the team needed a fresh approach”, the usual PR nonsense you always here. Rather, the strategy was floored as is the playing philosophy. Arguably the 2 main things a coach are assessed on.

      We have all been led to believe by the staff and players that despite the poor form that this is a really tight group and a great culture. Clearly that is not correct and all complete bs.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Yep, I’d say there have been a fair few incidents over the last 12 months that indicate the culture is not very good.

  • The Jackal

    More surprised that they decided on dropping this news announcement yesterday and not the news that the NRC has been scraped (at least for this year).

    • Huw Tindall

      wait what?

      • The Jackal

        whispers at this stage but what the broadcaster wants the broadcaster gets. Don’t want to run a competition parallel to the RWC with games on at the same times, whether they have the rights for the RWC or not.

        • Huw Tindall

          Can see the argument but would want to capitalise of the ruby publicity at the same time. Also, isn’t this the last year of the broadcasting agreement? Fox can’t get all bolshie until they have locked in future rights surely. If so, give it to free to air or free streams with BarTV Sports.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      That is a surprise. Where is this mentioned?

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Dylan, certainly a day for some long debate on the merits of what has occurred. My comments on this are below in other posts so won’t say much more than FFS and Cheika and Grey are still there!

    I’m not so sure getting XV’s into &’s is a good idea. The games are so different these days that I’m not sure the swap over is as easy as people think. I know in NZ it’s almost a new development line right from college and you go either one way or the other. I don’t think Quade would be that good at it either. Good on attack but a liability on defence, especially as the positioning is so important and needs to occur instinctively which you don’t get for a while.

    Looking forward to the Super W games. I’d love to see a Trans Tasman clash for this level and I hope we get there one day. Women’s rugby is coming along in leaps and bounds and I’m really enjoying it.

    Foley sounds like he’s starting to feel the pressure from a bit of competition. Maybe he should stop worrying about the rest period and worry about;
    – How can I pass to the right?
    – How can I kick the ball further?
    – How can I learn to tackle?
    – How can I not be a prat?

    • Dylan Langes

      I actually think someone like Samu Kerevi or Sefa Niavalu would be really good at 7s. Maybe even someone like Gus Cottrell too.

      As I wrote, Grey would be Cheikas yes man so he’s not going anyway, but I also don’t want them to sack Cheika (I really don’t like him but I have my reasons), its in another post.

      Wow wow wow KRL don’t ask too much from poor Bernard haha

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Only what I’d ask of any 10 mate

        • Dylan Langes

          And thats too much of Bernard unfortunately

        • Brisneyland Local

          DL, Make sure we all use Hoss’s appointed name of Spanners!
          Because Hoss is correct.
          Everytime he touches the ball my nuts do tighten!

        • Huw Tindall

          But Spanners discriminates against the fairer sex who do not possess nuts to tighten. We need a gender neutral nick name. Get on the Woke Train already. -_-

        • Brisneyland Local

          We will have to throw to Monsieur Hoss for that one.
          I am sure with his razor sharp wit he will be able to come up with one for that!

        • Parker

          Call him Gasp, cos that’s what all genders do when he gets the ball.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Parker, great suggestion. Hoss?

    • Ed

      Other Wallatah test backs could learn those skills too – KB, IF.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        absolutely

      • Andy

        Pretty sure Beale is getting line speed training from Corey Norman these days.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure Gold.

    • Happyman

      Good Morning KRL
      Mate I agree on sevens.it is a different game the amount of running and cardio required is just amazing. A friend of mine has a son in the system for sevens and while his club is wanting him to put on a bit more size the sevens are happy with where he is. The bigger players in XV’s just cannot carry the muscle mass around for the amount of games required and end up with soft tissue injuries.

      Super W is just awesome it would be great to see it go into a trans tasman event but we will see.

      Foley is correct on seeking clarity on rest for the players but your four points are particularly correct

  • Human

    Fortunately for Chek, Grey, RA and the Pirate (though she was channeling Cleopatra yesterday), Bernie agreed to the sideways move. Had he not, RA could not have gagged him and the truth about the Wobs under Chek might no longer be hidden.

  • Happyman

    For mine Larkham being out of the attack coaching position is a positive move. My points on his contribution would be as follows.
    1 great player whose ability on the field should always be recognised.
    2 responsible for the coup at the Brumbies that got rid of Nucifora which INHO started some of the real problems that still exist in Rugby today.
    3 did not really serve a proper apprenticeship in coaching at club level so does not have a grounding in making teams successful.
    4 promoted to the Brumbies top job to soon and led a stagnate attack with no flair or development.
    5 promoted to the Wallabies also far to soon and while he may come back from this he was clearly out off his depth.

    It has to be recognised that very few world class players make world class coaches. Most world class players just see the field faster and play the game at a different level than us mere mortals, Most cannot then explain why the space exists to players who are not at there level (Foley). Most successful coaches are journeyman players who had to use ever part of there ability and intelligence to be the player that they were.

    PS Giving Larkham a job for the boys is just beyond belief get him to go out and get more experience so that potentially he can become a Wallaby coach of the future no some cushy job on the North Shore.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      While I agree, I think it’s an absolute disgrace that he is held accountable and not the clown running the show.

      I doubt if this year is going to bring anything but more of the same rubbish we’ve seen for the last 4

      • Happyman

        Mate I disagree while I think MC has deficiencies many goo judges north of the equator believe him to be a fine coach. I just think he was given to much power after the shafting of Link and has used it poorly.

        I personally believe LArkham is a divisive character and they are well rid of him.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I hear you mate. Mine is more about Cheika not being accountable. Regardless AIF Larkham is decisive, Cheika is the boss and yet he’s not held accountable. I find that a disgrace

    • Missing Link

      nailed it right here:

      “It has to be recognised that very few world class players make world class coaches. Most world class players just see the field faster and play the game at a different level than us mere mortals, Most cannot then explain why the space exists to players who are not at there level (Foley). Most successful coaches are journeyman players who had to use ever part of there ability and intelligence to be the player that they were.”

    • Adrian

      Agree 100%, and bearing in mind the decision to keep Cheika had already been made.

      Larkham was my preferred 1st can off the rank to go, but after him I would have ditched the other 3 starting with Grey.

      I don’t think any of them have done anything useful

      Now we await what (if anything) will happen, and probably won’t see much until SR is over.

      After Johnson appears in 6 weeks we might see a 3rd selector which will be interesting, as will the attack assistant coach, who should be called the High Performance Attack Coach as someone in here said yesterday

    • Huw Tindall

      I agree. Regardless of whether you think Chek should have been let go at the end of last season (which I do) you have to look at this decision to move Bernie on through a separate neutral lens. Your points capture this perfectly. Given where we are at, and what we can’t change, is replacing Bernie a good move on balance? Yes it is. Sure Grey should go as well but that’s irrelevant to the question at hand.

  • andrewM

    Is Larkham just being moved sideways into a new position within the ARU or is he displacing someone else?

    • Dylan Langes

      Honestly Im not sure, I thought this was the role that Rod Kafer was meant to have. The High Performance manager has resigned but Im not sure if there is a connection

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well good morning GAGR’s. Most informative reading below. My points in no particular order:
    – I don’t want to sound defensive of Larkham here, because I think his deliveries have been sub-standard. But it is a little stiff that he is the scape goat. I truly believe all 4 coaches should be gone. But in particular, Grey, as our defensive issues have been the worst. But at the end of the day the buck stops with Cheika the Ass Clown. And like the poor leader he is, hangs his attack coach out from the yard arm for a public hanging, instead committing ritual Hari Kari himself! Own it you clown!
    – I am glad that Larkham at least put in a polite but well directed parting shot! The “ultimately Michael is responsible for the outcomes of the team!” Very poignant.
    – I cant believe there are people on here still advocating that we should ‘embrace the pain” and it is too late for change. It is never too late for change.
    – Foley has just further proven that he is an ocean going variety of bellend! WTF? The rotation policy. Fuck me. As KRL said, learn to pass properly, learn to kick more than 20m, learn to structure and attack. In other words learn to be a 10. Because you aren’t. SO shut the fuck up, go away, learn to do your job, then compete for your position. Knob jockey.

    Well GAGR’s I tried to be an Adrian and start the year on a positive note but alas after yesterday my positivity is gone.
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Hoss

      Spot on mate. The only change you ever regret is the one you didnt make.

    • Waz_dog

      Same shit different year. Couldn’t bring myself to comment for the majority of last year and I’ll doubt I’ll do the same this year. This saga is like the doco “FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened”. I hope people use that doco and meme the shit out of Cheika because what happened there is what’s happening to ARU. You just can’t sell blind hope and expect people to buy it.

      The more things change, the more they stay the same.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep you are preaching to the converted there mate!

    • RF

      I agree that Cheika should have gone, but he hasn’t gone and he is here for 2019. Changes need to be made and there are big question marks over Larkham. By his own account his position was untenable in the setup anyway.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep agree. But attack was worse than defence and yet Grey has remained. And whilst Grey and Cheika remain our defence will be shite. Especially if they keep trying to hide players that cant tackle. Like Foley and Beale.

        • Adrian

          Re Grey, I’m not saying it will happen, but in his last half season with Tahs, he was more or less sidelined by Gibson, dealing only with things like technique.

          Gibson called the D shots himself, and used a simplified rotation as per most SR teams.

          Grey then left and went on to a full–time Wallaby job…but that’s another story!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate that makes it worse not better

        • Adrian

          IMO the worst is Grey being there and coaching.
          Second worst is Grey being there and not coaching
          Third worst is no defensive coach at all.
          Best is a proper defensive coach…
          …. though I prefer back and forward coaches rather than attack and defence, which implies demarcation and transition periods

        • Parker

          With all the money the ARU has, it can afford a coach to do nothing in order to restrict the damage he could do. Sarcasm alert.

        • Brisneyland Local

          YEs, I remember that well. I am worried that Cheika himself cant set a defensive pattern. Cheika is a motivator, an alleged people person. He is not the tactician. Problem is, until we get an attack coach, there is no tactician in the coaching set up.

      • Parker

        If Larkham’s position was untenable, how is Grey’s acceptable?

        • RF

          I wouldn’t have Grey (or Cheika for that matter) but Larkham himself has said that the difference in opinion with Cheika was irreconcilable.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      And breathe……….

      • Brisneyland Local

        I find it cathartic.

    • Parker

      !00%, especially point 3. I think those are the people who are hesitant about even changing their underwear.

  • Larry Jorgensen
  • juswal

    That is such an unflattering photo of Larkham (at the top of the page) He looks like Prince Charles after a stroke.

  • Greg

    Have we opened the discussion regarding a balance back row yet this year?

    Just wondering….

    • Brisneyland Local

      No but am happy for you to kick it off! It is a favourite of ours.

    • Huw Tindall

      I’m gonna bite. This will be the year of peak back row balance chat. With Naisarani finally eligible there is a big ball running 8 who the majority believe fits the bill. Alongside a full season for Dempsey and Luke Jones in the mix somewhere the Pooper will come under intense pressure. Someone will also talk about Fardy and lament his loss. Can’t wait to re-debate all this sh!t…not.

      • Hoss

        My roughy is Valentini as well. But none of this is worth a zot if we continue to play Brian and Lee Magors in the run-on side

        • Huw Tindall

          Yes I get the hype the Valentini is not on my radar as he seems to get injured just thinking about rugby and isn’t a legit lineout target.

        • Hoss

          I am also a fan of Holloway’s potential at 8.

        • Huw Tindall

          Can’t believe how easily we’ve been sucked back into backrow chat. Holloway’s potential is interesting but he and Gibson both commented in the press the other week that he is gunning for a second row position this year – that’s where they see his best work and opportunity being. Maybe have to put his #8 hopes on hold although with our penchant for selecting out of position he’ll probably be a lock at #8 this year.

        • Brumby Runner

          Huw, Rob took some good lineout ball in the trial against the Rebels. Are you sure you’ve seen enough of him to make such a judgement?

        • Huw Tindall

          Absolutely not but my word would he be a bolter with 0 Super Rugby seasons under his belt to date! Would need a blinder of a season to usurp the others in the mix.

  • Hoss

    Good afternoon members of the Rugby Republic.

    Not a ball kicked in anger and already Shit-fest 2019 is well under way.

    There had to be a sacrifice to the Rugby Gods for the Wobblies – something to appease the gods, show Mandrake you have a handle on things and are in control, but…………..

    Interesting to note that the same attack coach who got us an average of 31 points / game in 2017 somehow lost his ability, flair and creativity 12 months later ……………….FFS, really ?? Is it just me or does that also coincide with a large Argentinian leaving the Wobblies setup at the same time to return home and coach. That same Argentinian who turned our scrum into a solid platform, our set-piece reliable and our forward play competitive – you remember him dont you? It must be pure coincidence that we hire a new dude for that role and end up with shit served up for an entree and we are told its caviar, but of course its the attack coaches fault – he has to go.

    I remember year 8 science FFS – The Cause & Effect Principle. We cant win our own pill, secure our own seed, cant pressure the opposition at all and gift them possession and territory with a 10 who kicks it less than the female 7’s players i saw on Sunday (i shit you not) – Albert, i like wild hair, fucking Einstein couldn’t calculate a formula for an attack coach to counter that colossal cluster-fuck – but yep, attack coach – gotta go.

    I have fluffed around the corporate world for a few years and seen it first hand. Skilled, dedicated, ambitious and talented people. People with desire and ability who are great for companies, shafted because of inept managers, scared to cede resources and independence, scarred to invest money and more importantly belief in these people and watch them blossom and the company benefit – nope, control it all yourself, strangle the life blood out of staff and the company and then bemoan results – sound familiar ?????????

    • Brisneyland Local

      Amen brother!

    • Keith Butler

      The G&G are my adopted team and I share your anger. Unfortunately it’s too late to make major changes to the coaching set up and it looks like Larkham was sacrificed on the alter of expediency. If Cheika does one thing before the RWC ffs play players in their proper positions and that means getting rid of the Pooper for good. No wingers playing at FB or centres at FH. Cheika should watch the Ire v SDs game. For the first time in ages we had a balanced back row and a dynamic front 5. The match was closer than some might think but the telling stat was that the SDs made over 30 tackles before the Paddies could get over the gain line and that won them the game. Also, unfortunately, it’s unlikely the Cheika will make any changes the Pooper will stay along with Foley. Cutting his nose to spite his face and an ugly one at that.

      • Huw Tindall

        If we want to stop people getting over the gain line they won’t cut Hooper!

        I’m really hoping the selection panel stops some of the whack positional selections. That’s something everyone agrees on. Foley should never had played 12. Beale never 10. Stop swapping Kepu around between propping positions. Don’t play a second row at 6 in the first ABs test of the season.

        In the Ireland game the Soap Dodgers played what I think is their best game ever under Eddie Jones. They played the same old game with big bruising forwards, kick for territory, and capitalise on opposition mistakes in their half. They are less creative than an accountant but jeeze they nailed that game plan and Ireland had no answer. Couldn’t do their usual control the game through 10+ phases as England kept smacking them about and disrupting the ball even if not securing a turnover. Granted I think the ref was too lenient at ruck time with coming in from the side and so on but can only play to the whistle. It’s exactly the type of game the recent Wallabies cannot play against.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          The Pooper doesn’t stop people getting over the gain line. For all is enthusiasm and dedication Hooper is the most ineffective dominating 7 in world rugby. He tackles and runs absolutely but in contact he is never dominant in either attack or defence and to be honest I have no idea what his role is and what he is meant to achieve. Pocock is very good but stymied by having to play 2 roles and Hannigan – should be Hannican’t – is only ever worse than Mumm. The whole Pooper is a piece of tiolet

        • Huw Tindall

          He can’t be that bad. According to these stats he was #6 in the 2018 Super Tournament in ‘dominant tackles’.
          https://www.alloutrugby.com/stats/?seasonid=40&view=player&action=round&roundno=22&player=10427

        • There is still a big difference in the class of the players between SR and test rugby.

          I would add to that the possibility of selection bias. There isn’t a clear definition of a dominant tackle – hell there isn’t a consistent definition of a head high tackle for a penalty, yellow card or red card and you’d have thought that would be clearer! If the people scoring Hooper are fans, they’ll score him with more dominant tackles than someone who doesn’t rate him and he will move up in the stats list.

          The problem with the Pooper, is the team ends up with an 8 who is often the best 7 on the park, a 7 who runs around and looks spectacular but rarely achieves much. Depending on who is selected at 6 there may or may not be a good 6. There is never an 8 playing well there. It’s not a recipe for a good balanced back row, and if the 6 goes AWOL, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Lies, damn lies and statistics

        • Goose Step Ghandi

          Preach. I couldn’t agree more.

      • Parker

        I am so sick of hearing the “it’s too late to make changes” truism. It is never too late to improve. The sooner we start the better because we have seen game after game that there has been no improvement with the current head coach. What are you sacred of Keith Butler? That we might change our winning ways?

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hoss you are 100% correct. Larkham is the sacrificial lamb. My only comment is that this has been coming for some time and he should have actually left a couple of years ago. As it is he will forever be tarred with the same brush for staying around and that really is his fault.

    • Parker

      The horrifying thing is that while the attack coach’s approach wasn’t aligned with Cheika’s, apparently the defence coach’s is. Fabulous, we have crap standard as our defining metric for retention.

  • Adrian
    • Brisneyland Local

      Adrian, gee that is a pretty delusional article.
      And if Cheika viewed our attack as complicated how the hell did he view our defence?
      Or was it a case of anything to hide his non-tackling love children.

      • Adrian

        Yes, well BL, the article is simplistic, but overall from the people who I know, it’s mostly on the money.

        I don’t disagree that Grey should go too by the way, along with the other two.

        I think that he was told that the blind loyalty to a handshake just had to stop.

        The decision to keep Cheika has already been made. My interest now is to make the most of what is left.

        IMO it can’t/won’t get any worse,…and could get better.

        People around Cheika who don’t believe in fairytales will help.

        I’m waiting to see Cooper selected, revised OS rules, an attack coach who fits the players and a 3rd selector that knows something and can hold his own.

        All possible…if not probable!

        • Ed

          It could get worse – first time to not make the knockout stages of a world cup. I’d back Fiji’s backline over ours and if their pigs perform like they did against France last November, we could be in trouble.

        • Huw Tindall

          With no loyalties at stake and a third selector how about a Genia, Cooper, Hunt, TK, Folau, Hodge, Banks backline. Experience, flair, hard hitting defence, speed, a kicking game. The piggies too could benefit with Ned and Simmo finally put aside with a back 5 of Rodda, Phillip, Jones, Poey and Naisarani.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate not only is there potential to get much worse I’d almost put money on it happening. None of those decisions have any indication of making the situation better. All they do is confirm that if you suck up to Cheika and be a yes man you will survive.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I hope for all of those things.
          BUt I am worried it can get worse.
          If Cheika and Johnson end up in open warfare then it can and will get worse.

      • Who?

        Mr Harris clearly doesn’t watch or understand any rugby……….
        The only thing that can be described as accurate is that the relationship should’ve been ended years ago.
        But what’s fascinating is that the first thing that happens in terms of contracts after the appointment of Scott Johnson is that Cheika flexes his muscle by forcing out a bloke who could’ve had removed at any point in the last 4 years. It smacks of, “This is my team, I’ll do what I want!”
        I can’t see this thing improving. Cheika had supposedly already done most of the planning for the year before Johnson’s appointment was announced (according to quotes from Castle and Clyne at the time), and he’s shown no competence. He’s also shown a long history across multiple teams of having favourites, of being stubborn in judging players, in being unable to use players who sit outside his preferred styles. Which is a major failing as a coach – a coach’s job at the top level isn’t to recruit players to his style, it’s to find a style to suit the best players available. And he’s shown a complete inability to do that.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Who, couldnt agree more!

  • muffy

    Tinfoil hat alert…

    What’s the bet Stephen is replaced by a NSW person of dubious credentials?

    I know, I know, crazy talk, but I’m putting cash up folks…

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@DylanGLanges

Once captained the 3rds Rugby team, but then again so did Nick Farr-Jones

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