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Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News has a selection dilemma for the Wallabies, James O’Connor admitting he mucked up, The Grubber God of Thunder resigning, and the AB’s self-post-mortem.


Selection Direction

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Michael Cheika and the panel face a selection dilemma, after the did such a great fucking job on the weekend.

They must decide whether they prioritise the Bledisloe Cup (yes), putting out the strongest squad and potentially beating a front row-deprived, locks-deprived Kiwis in Eden Park for the first time in donkeys and taking the bounce of win the Bledi-fucking-sloe Cup RAH for the first time since I was a wee lad (true story), or they could keep the powder dry for a World Cup campaign that’ll end in a quarter-final loss to Scotland.

Even though he puts the Bledisloe as the third most important trophy, behind the World Cup and the Lions tour, Dan Herbert – who played in the last Bledisloe win – reckons Cheika should stick with.

“I wouldn’t put much daylight between them but there’s nothing bigger than a World Cup. The next biggest is the British and Irish Lions and then I’d have the Bledisloe,” Herbert told the SMH. “Having seen that team perform so well last week, I’d be in the camp of seeing them get another opportunity.

“There’s a chance to get a significant boost of silverware this weekend and you’d like to think that based on Perth you’ve already got the bulk of your combinations sorted for the big games in Japan, all things going well.

“Those guys (the selectors) first and foremost need to be recognised for the job they’ve done, selecting that team for Perth.

“Far be it from me to give them idea on what they should do this weekend. They made pretty brave selections last week and I, like most people, was thinking, ‘Why are we making changes this close to a World Cup’. But they all came off, to a man. The entire team played out of their skins.”

Last World Cup cycle, the Wallabies beat the All Blacks in Sydney only for Cheika to change almost the whole team for the Eden Park trip.

Back then, he justified his decision by saying it gave everyone a crack before selection for the World Cup.

“This year, just like in 2015, we were always going to give guys chances,” Cheika said. “I copped a bit of flack after we beat New Zealand and then went and changed the team for the second game.

“But when we got to [selecting for] the World Cup, everyone had had a crack at it. And then the 31 that were in the World Cup [squad] understood where it was and what they had to do to get in the team and stay in the team. That’s a bit of the same here, maybe we’re just using it in a slightly different way this time.”

Brand Update

joc

The Brand, also known by his mortal name of James O’Connor, has reflected on his advertisement in the first Bledisloe and has released a statement that admits that he mucked up.

“I made a lot of mistakes when I was younger and I’ve learnt from it now,” O’Connor said to the SMH, in a leather jacket purchased at boutique Sydney retailer Mathieu von Tuscany ($300).

“I guess I have a bit of wisdom on ways you can do it better so that people don’t follow what I did and waste five years of their career and their life. It’s just been so special to come back and be a part of it.

“There was doubts, for sure, but once I went away I guess I just realised how much I miss the place. It took me a bit longer than most to actually get the courage and put it out there and [find] what I wanted and to go for it.

“I’ve been dedicated … and really chased what I wanted. [I have] put it out there and have the guts to fight my ego and come back and do what I love.”

Far from signing late-night autographs down at the local Hungry Jack’s, O’Connor now spends post-game looking after number one – himself.

“I’m just going to back and enjoy it with the boys at the hotel,” O’Connor said. “Speak to the missus and an early night for me. I’ve got an older body now, I’ve got to look after it.”

O’Connor, who has won only 2/13 times when playing the ABs, is looking forward to getting a redemptive crack at Eden Parque. Last time he played there the Wallabies lost 22-16.

“I had a shocker … dropped the ball maybe twice and got whacked, so there’ll be redemption coming,” O’Connor said. “We’ve just got to keep building on this. There’s a lot we did right but quite a few things we could have worked better on.

“We’ve already spoken about controlling the ball and a couple of things we want to tweak but it’s all positive. We know they’re going to bring it but we’re going to bring that as well. We’re going to bring the energy and let’s face them there.”

Grubber King

Taniela Tupou 

Taniela Tupou, the original Fat Australian Thor, has signed on for four more years since yesterday.

With 14 test caps and 50 appearances already racked up for the Reds, the 21-year-old has burst onto the scene, initially for his scrummaging ability and massive calves, but has also since become renowned for his ability to flatten blokes.

“I’m very excited to sign for the next few years. Queensland and Australia offered me the first opportunity out of school and I feel I have more to do to repay that faith,” Tupou said, according to rugby.com.au

“I only started playing consistently in the last two or three years, so I think there’s still more for me to offer in Australia for the Reds and Wallabies.

“We have a really good young group in Queensland who have been working hard the last few years and I know we’re heading in the right direction.”

Tupou has previously said he feels that he “owes” it to Australia, and that he felt he could pay that debt back by signing on.

“Obviously growing up as a kid, watching them, and now being able to pull on the jersey is an honour.,” he said.

“To know that I will be here for the next four years is exciting because it means I may have the opportunity to pull on the jersey again if I continue to work hard.”

With an extra large seat more or less reserved on Alan Joyce’s personal Qantas jet that will fly the Wallabies to Japan, Tupou has said that he’s really grown with his teammates since the start of the year, when he wasn’t even thinking of the RWC due to some personal issues.

“Start of this year I went through a lot, some personal stuff, and it was really tough for me,” he said.

“There was one point there when I didn’t think about the World Cup, I just forgot about everything.

“But finally I started to speak up about it and talk to people and finally spoke to the coaches and they realised what I went through. We did some work on it, I had to miss some games, off the bench and stuff, just to help me get my head in the right space.

“Now I’m enjoying my footy. To be honest I didn’t even think I’d be in a team because in my head I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t enjoying it, but I did the right thing in speaking up.

“Now I’m happy being around the boys and they know what I went through and they’ve been so helpful. I’m so glad I spoke up.”

Why We Lost

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Dane Coles and Sam Cane were dropped in the deep-end, fronting the media in Auckland to explain how and why the All Blacks got smoked on the weekend.

“The hard thing to take is that we lacked intent,” said Coles (via Stuff). “They were really desperate to win and you could see it the way they played. Our physicality and attitude wasn’t where it needs to be.

“A lot of it is just about [heeeeart]. We really lacked that on Saturday and they brought a real hunger and were desperate to get the Bledisloe Cup. There’s a bit of soul-searching for the week. We need to find what it means to be an All Black.”

Asked why the superior Wallabies pack had beaten the inferior All Blacks pack, Coles responded:

“Maybe we took it a little bit for granted, if we’re being honest. We spoke about that. As an All Black that’s pretty tough to take but we’re lucky we get another opportunity to prove to everyone in New Zealand how much this Bledisloe Cup means to us.

“They had a lot of hunger and were desperate, and we didn’t show that. Maybe we did take it for granted because we lacked intensity. We missed 20 tackles in the first 20 minutes. It’s that desire not to let down, not just the chance for the Bledisloe, but respect in that All Blacks jersey.”

Cane for his part thinks along the same lines:

“We got beaten up a wee bit in key areas. When a team shows up like [the Wallabies did] you can only put it down to a little more intent and attitude … That hurts. Any successful All Blacks team has a physical, dominant forward pack. We know we can deliver it but we were below par on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, New Zealand are back to #1 after a 27-hour absence after an experimental England side beat Wales 33-19 at Twickenham.

Also – check out Brian Smith’s Analysis.

  • laurence king

    Thanks Nick. Well good news about four more for Thor and it’s heartening to see O’Connor has grown up and the bonus is, he’s playing well and for us.
    Also good news, three selectors are better than one and as a result, Cheika’s plan now resembles a plan
    And gee what a laugh, Coles and Cane are making excuses for last Saturday, trying to bolster the lagging spirits of the faithful, by saying we didn’t have our minds on the job, that’s why we lost, we’ll be better next game.

    • Parker

      What were you expecting? Some Pommie-styled public self flagellation, which I must admit is a pleasure to watch. Best to let the Poms at least to win at that.

    • onlinesideline

      The articles are coming out of NZ thick and fast. The best one I read was that when Kerevi bounced Barrett, once could accuse Kerevi of the same offence as bigger brother Barrett. They seemed to ahve forgotten Kerevi was the ball carrier.

      I think they’re rattled.

      • Tah Tragic

        I read that NZ article and to the Kiwis’ credit they generally rubbished it in the comments section. A ball runner is trying to evade the defence and it is the defence that is trying to make contact. If the defender puts his head in wrong spot then that is his/her fault. Also, if that did become a law, then this would just encourage bad tackling technique as you could milk a penalty. Stupid article.

        Also, I hope they keep the same team for Sat night. Despite the win there are still a lot of new combinations that need time together.

    • Custard Taht

      The Kiwis are looking and sounding like the 2016-2018 Wallabies. Picking players out of position, giving away stupid penalties and most importantly, saying they need more intent.

      • Greg

        it’s only one week. Let’s have this conversation next week!

        • Custard Taht

          Nah……I am all in.

          Later this week we will hear how the All Blacks have trained well .

          We already know they weren’t beaten by the better team, they were beaten by their own lack of intent.

        • laurence king

          We’ll take every opportunity, lol

      • Brumby Runner

        But how’ve they been going on the training track?

        • Custard Taht

          We will find out on Thursday when they tell us how well they have trained.

  • sambo6

    Much as I love the bloke, im not sure Dan Herbert is besy placed to rank the importance of the Bledisloe Cup versus the World Cup…How can that be you say? he should be perfectly placed to lecture me (a couch potato) on such matters….But, while his generation of wallabies are some of my favourite people, they dont know the desperation of being sh!thouse, because they were the opposite of shithouse…(“un-shithouse” if you will)…..of the 8 years that Dan the Man played for Australia, we were world champions for 5 of those years, and we also held the the bloody Bledisloe for 5 of his test playing years as well……

    You dont know what you got til its gone Dan….,gone for 17 years…..

    My ranking theory is scientifically known as ‘Cross that bloody bridge when you come to it’. A chance to win the Bledisloe is in 5 days time….that makes it the most important fucking thing to Aussie Rugby right now…after it’s won or lost, then worry about how we prepare for a World Cup…cross that bloody bridge….

    • Patrick

      I agree fully with crossing the bridge in front of you now and worrying about the others later!

    • Ads

      With RA in charge it often feels more like we will burn that bridge when we come to it…

    • From NooZealand

      Absolutely. I am with you all the way. That’s the Wallabies we want and need.

  • onlinesideline

    any takers to upload a full replay on youtube ?

  • Hoss

    Thor more years boys. Thor more years.

    • onlinesideline

      haha – brilliant

    • Who?

      Thicc Thor Four – will we see Love and Thunder?

      • laurence king

        Do you have a wisp?

        • Who?

          Yes, but not when I type! :-P
          Love and Thunder is the official title of Thor Four in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chris Hemsworth’s last confirmed movie. It will be released in 2021.
          And I believe ‘Thicc’ is a new way of saying ‘attractive with a large posterior’. Or bootylicious. Or something like that… I’m getting old!

        • Hoss

          Kiwi’s being Sledged by Ita Butrose.

    • Keith Butler

      But when will he get a regular run on spot or will it be Thor more years as back up to 7As? He needs one soon and it maybe Samoa.

    • laurence king

      Channeling your inner Steve. lol

  • Keith Butler

    Indeed a dilemma. Wouldn’t surprise me if Cheika went for broke and picked virtually the same team to try and win the Bledisloe and give a big moral boost to the squad. Balance that with a word of caution. The ABs will be up for the return even with a depleted side. Just watched a supposed Welsh A team being beaten by an England B team and they lost Anscombe with an ACL injury and have already lost Toby Faletau. Therein lies the danger. I’d probably go for it, hope for no injuries and then select a new team for the Samoa game.

    • John Tynan

      Last week I was convinced Foley would get a run in Auckland regardless. This week I’m hopeful he sees the benefit to the members of the rugby community that are outside of the hotel if he gives the same mob a crack.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Lets fucking hope so JT. Lets hope so!

    • Who?

      Cheika’s big word before the Bokke Test, in every interview between the end of the Super season and the Rugby Championship was ‘Momentum’. He was pretty clear that there wouldn’t be as much experimentation as people expected. Some said that was because you can’t change the whole team, because you’ve got to work with the guys who understand the game plan. But Cheika’s changed both the attacking plans and defensive plans (well, Grey did that one). So it seems to have been (mostly) about picking players who fitted the philosophy of the game plan (many of whom were existing Cheika selections, but not all).
      .
      Often coaches can obfuscate with these things, but, for the most part, everything Cheika’s said has been accurate.
      .
      So I think you’re right – I think he’ll make far fewer changes than last year, he’s ‘bought (himself) a ticket to Auckland,’ and he’s going to try for the win. We might see Pocock on the bench, we may see Petaia on the bench (though I can’t think of many worse places to make your debut!), but I think it’ll be basically unchanged, providing everyone is fit (thinking Arnold coming off holding that shoulder…).

  • AllyOz

    Not meaning to be a wet blanket but it is in my nature so that’s what you’re going to get. It was a great win on the weekend. We should celebrate it BUT unless we follow it up with another strong performance (that doesn’t necessarily have to be a winning performance) then it doesn’t mean a great deal in the whole scheme of things. We have to judge ourselves, not just on the results, although these are important, but on the process of achieving that. However, we played magnificently on the weekend and there does seem to be a significant improvement in tactics, skills performance and attitude. This was particularly evident in the work of Korobeite and Hodge. I don’t think I have seen two wingers look for work and opportunities more in any game I have watched previously and they weren’t alone in this.

    For the All Blacks, however, there are some worrying signs. They struggled against Argentina in Buenos Aires, drew against South Africa at home and had a record loss against us in Perth. That isn’t the CV you want to present to become a World Cup winner. That doesn’t mean they don’t turn around and beat us by 30 points this weekend but even if they do it doesn’t mean they are back on track.

    We don’t have the same standards to maintain so any improvement for us in noticeable. The All Blacks set the highest standard in the game and the TRC games haven’t met that standard. I am not saying they won’t win in Japan but I think there are a few sides that have really closed the gap.

    On the send off, I don’t disagree with the decision and the referee explained his rationale very well. I personally would have been more comfortable with a yellow but I think the ref justified his decision and I am not sure a yellow could be justified. However, it does worry me a little about how easy it is to give away a red card and how much it can impact on the game. Barrett’s shoulder was almost or could almost be accidental and its a big penalty to pay. I am just not certain about it and I see both sides of the argument here and I agree with both TBH.

    • onlinesideline

      Im against red too but like you say them the rules at the moment. But one has to ask what is a bloke actually doing going into this situation with the side of his body. It wasnt a cleanout, he knew it. It was against a bloke JUST being tackled. No ruck was formed yet. If it was instinctual. thats a worry isnt it. Why does he have instinct to squash a tackled guys head with his shoulder straight away ?

      One theory is that this has crept into the cleanout part oft he game and its now overlapping into loose play as well. I think smashing the opposition of the ball with your shoulder at cleanout time has become so important that the top of your shoulder (legal) has morphed into side shoulder. Its a peristant trend that keeps on reappearing. Its reffed out somewhat but comes back 2 years later, or even a year later.

      • Andy

        The latest vision on the fox sports website shows it was a pretty deliberate should charge to the head. Worth a look. I have no issue with it being a red. Just plain dangerous.

        • onlinesideline

          Its not that I dont think its a red level of behavour, Im just against the game being torpedoed considering blokes are taking the family and forking out $500 bucks for the evening.

          There must be alternatives. Like 10 minutes + maybe 5 points deducted and 2 games out for that player. What do you think of that ?

        • Andy

          Yeah I get that and agree it ruins the spectacle some what but last year a French player had his scull fractured without sanction or even a penalty. Techniques need to change and consistent punishment is the only real way to do it. Maybe you are correct. Deduction of points and a ban of minimum 6 international matches for the offending player would seem reasonable.

        • onlinesideline

          yeah I remember that – that was criminal intent.

        • moaning expat

          Interesting point- Give the team an option- 10 minutes and replacement and costs you XX amount of points 2,4,7? or a red card for the game?

        • Who?

          That shouldn’t be an option given to the infringing team. If anything like that were ever to be implemented, it would need to be given to the team that had suffered the infraction against it. Why should they have the other team choosing how to minimize the impact on themselves..?

        • Braveheart81

          I still think it comes back to the players not doing the wrong thing. If you err too much on the side of ensuring the entertainment is maximised for the paying customers then you can diminish the sporting contest. The penalties have to be sufficient to deter the dangerous play.

          As it was, the All Blacks played with 14 players for 40 minutes. With 20 minutes to go the margin was still only 7 points. I don’t think the red card destroyed the spectacle for fans.

          That said, I’m not against the orange card idea. I think it is a good middle ground. There has to be a sufficient benefit for the opposition in the game when there is an action that is going to warrant a multiple week suspension.

    • AllyOz

      there was an opinion piece at news.com.au today that had the following:

      “I’m just here to give you one teensy warning. Please, for the sake of your mental health, don’t get carried away just yet.

      Think of 2008, when the Wallabies beat New Zealand 34-19 in Sydney, then got spanked 39-10 at Eden Park the next week.

      Or how about 2011? They won the Rugby Championship with a 25-20 win in Brisbane, then got dominated 20-6 in the World Cup semi-final at Eden Park.

      Then there was 2014. Australia was the better team in a 12-12 draw in Sydney. The optimism was palpable. At Eden Park a week later, they lost 51-20.

      A year after that, the Wallabies won 27-19 in Sydney, then faceplanted 41-13 at Eden Park.”

      • onlinesideline

        The BLACKOUT is very real and previous blackouts should be replayed to the team clockwork orange style for 48 hours.This gets down wholly and soley to Cheikas man management skills. He needs to take them into a unique phscological state of clarity re occasion, roles, pressure, being relaxed, being ON. This is where Cheika has NO excuses in my book. He and Co have picked a good team – NOW PREPARE THEIR HEADS PROPERLY

        • AllyOz

          will this involve golf clubs??

        • onlinesideline

          mate he needs to put his 9 Iron away and put on his Dr Freud hat. Because as we all know its whats between the earoles that counts.

        • Damo

          Gather round me little droogs. WATCH AND LISTEN!

      • AllyOz

        Just for a bit of fun (well it didn’t turn out to be much fun as you will see in a minute) I ran the margins from the games listed above through the TREND formula in an Excel spreadsheet. Unfortunately, it forecasts that Australia will lose by a margin of 27.2797 on the weekend. Lets round down to 27 for good measure. I am hoping in this case that my spreadsheet is as good as the one that Bill Pulver and his mates used to get rid of the Force.

    • Andy
      • AllyOz

        Yes that makes it look pretty clear. I would have to agree.

        I must say that I did admire (admire is the wrong word sorry but I can’t think of the one that is more apt) how Scott Barrett took it. He didn’t question the decision, he apologised to his team mates and he ran off, rather than walking or skulking. That might be evidence too that he knew he was in the wrong.

        However, sometimes a single frame (not saying in this case – it looks pretty clear) can be very damning but other shots and angles less so. When we were looking at the Israel Folau high balls against Ireland I thought there was a lot of ambiguity.

        I can remember training for this situation (20 years ago) and trying to drive and lift (with clear use of the arms though – working like a forklift effectively) so that you got under the ball carrier. It would have been the more appropriate and perhaps more effective technique.

        I certainly don’t support foul play and the head should always be sacrosanct. I do agree that the ref was correct in his application of the law (as I said above) and your photo is certainly damning. I am still a little uncomfortable with the red but much less so.

        • Greg

          Interesting also to watch his reaction immediately after the shoulder charge.He turned his back and walked away. He knew he had made a mistake. When he heard the ref say “I want to check for a shoulder charge” he knew he was in serious trouble.

          Why the lengthy judicial process. Not fair on him or his team…. unless a fix is in.

        • Braveheart81

          My assumption is that they were checking to confirm/agree his upcoming schedule to work out when the suspension finished.

          There would have been no uncertainty regarding him being unavailable for this weekend. He pleaded guilty at the first instance so a suspension was always definite.

          In reality his three game suspension is really only one game. The second and third games are Mitre 10 Cup fixtures which it is hard to conceive that he would have played. He’s already had a long season with the Crusaders winning Super Rugby, he’s part of the All Blacks best 23 and his importance has increased following the injury to Retallick.

        • AllyOz

          3 weeks – sounds fair I guess

    • Who?

      Isn’t it funny that the fourth AB in history to receive a red card – for his second shoulder charge on the opposition captain’s head in the game – is a tragedy. Yet we didn’t have half as much complaining when Drew Mitchell copped a second yellow and therefore Red for rolling the ball into the advertising signs in another 21 point margin game back in 2010…
      .
      Attacking the head has never been permissible in Rugby. Tackles without arms haven’t been legal in years – way more years than Scott Barrett’s been playing at a high level. I don’t see why we’re complaining about the management of the game finally enforcing its own rules. Drop the shoulder out and it’s only a YC (high shot = red card, but mitigating factor of falling player = yellow card). It was very well handled.
      .
      Also worth noting that half of the ABs RC’s – ever – have come in the past 3 years for shoulder charges and have been handed out by Garces.

      • UTG

        I can’t believe the discussion over the place of RCs in rugby is so robust in such a clear cut example of foul play. I could understand it when a player doesn’t appear to have malicious intent, such as an aerial collision that goes pear shaped, but, as you say, the Barrett incident was handled perfectly.

        • Who?

          The place for the discussion was after Drew Mitchell’s RC in 2010. Not (as you agree) this time.

    • Custard Taht

      When other teams get Red carded, there are whimpers for change, but overall, the sentiment is don’t give the ref the chance to make a decision.

      Along with the inevitable don’t blame the ref and stop whinging and whining.

      When the All Blacks get a red card, the sky is falling, rugby is soft, changes are needed.

      It is pretty simple, don’t tuck your arm in at the side and lead with your shoulder, i.e don’t shoulder charge…..it ain’t a new rule.

      Further more, don’t attack the head and neck, once again, not a new rule.

      If the players and fans don’t want the contest ruined by a red card, guess what, the players should stop doing dumb shit.

      • Custard Taht

        I should add, it is pretty retarded to commit an act of foul play, and then claim to be the victim.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Bang on mate. The referee isn’t the one ruining the game, it’s the dumb decisions by the players that is ruining their teams chances during the game. I have heard so much on this lately and most of it is crap. I do agree that there is a case for a 3rd level between Red and Yellow where the team loses someone for 10 minutes and the player can be replaced but not return as opposed to being down to 14 for the entire game but I think more work needs to be done to determine the line between this and a full red card where you lose someone for the game. It needs to be very clear so there is a minimal amount of ambiguity on the decision. I think this is something the WR needs to address before they start looking at all tackles below the waist or other stupid rulings

        • Custard Taht

          Agreed, a punishment between yellow and red is needed. The difference between a yellow and red is often a small margin, yet the difference between the punishments is a massive margin.

        • Greg

          Really?

          Rugby is criticised as being too complex. Try explaining a game of soccer or aussie rules to a newb. It is very easy. there are few rules and they are simple.

          As a (once upon a time) ref, even i find it hard to understand decisions. Do we need more nuances?

        • Custard Taht

          For me it is only as complicated as they write it to be. Pretty much leave yellows as they are and reserve reds for acts of dangerous or malicious play, such as biting, stomping, eye gouging etc and clear and obvious deliberate dangerous attacks on the head and neck area.
          So a lot of things being red carded now, would be an orange card.
          An orange card is the player is sent from the field for the rest of the match, and after 10mins down a player they can bring a replacement on.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Good proposal. I prefer that the severest infringements are dealt with by large suspensions after the game, where you can really weigh things up and also go to town on punishment, but this orange card proposal is pretty good.

        • Who?

          Yep. Minimize the advantage to the team that’s actually suffered the infringement, allow players to be sent out with direct targeting instructions (i.e. “Go smash White – don’t care if you kill him, it’ll only cost 10 minutes and we’ve got someone more skilled to replace you then”), and leave it all to the consistently opaque and inconsistent judiciaries around the world to enforce the real punishment……
          .
          The orange card idea has been discussed for years. It’s a poor enough idea that it’s incredible that World Rugby didn’t implement it years ago!

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Is there any evidence that this has ever happened in one of the many sports that don’t have sending off?

        • Greg

          I think many in the bad old days of rugby and mungo ball.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Both of which have always had sending off, haven’t they.

        • Greg

          more “flexibility” in the old days. If you weren’t caught read-handed…. there was no sending off.

        • Who?

          I hear all the time from my misguided mates who follow AFL that they wish they had a send off rule, for exactly that reason. They complain that the team to benefit from the punishment of the villain who took out their player is the team they face next week. That the aggrieved team suffers through the rest of the game a player down (an important thing when running rotations through an AFL team), where the other team has their full complement.
          .
          And this discussion comes off the back of clear foul play. No one’s saying that it was legal. It was two offences that are capable of seeing a player sent off individually (high tackle and no arms tackle) – let alone combined. No one in NZ complained about a RC being too harsh when Drew Mitchell rolled a ball into advertising boards to prevent a quick throw in Melbourne in 2010 and copped a RC.

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Those are different points. Do they believe that poor players are picked for the purpose of, or instructed to, “take out” top players from the other team?

        • Who?

          They believe that there are clear hit men selected whose job is to push the laws. They’ll try and avoid giving away a 50m free, but that’s pretty rare to see. Part of it is considered ‘gamesmanship’ – because it’s seemingly fine to stand at the other end of the field bumping and hitting each other (such a bizarre concept for those of us who follow Rugby, where contact only occurs at the contact zone), as an attempt to frustrate players out of focus and to physically intimidate them out of the contest.

        • Keith Butler

          I’m all for applying the Barry Hall method. A classic that would have been worth several red cards had it been rugby.

        • Who?

          What – sending out hitmen? :-D
          Might not help that some of my colleagues who love AFL are Eagles fans…

        • Keith Butler

          No I meant it the context of AFL. I hate that niggly off the ball stuff, elbows, punches etc. In union back in the day before ARS, TMOs etc the offender would be looking for his teeth. Back in the dawn of time when I was playing, there were definitely hit men and they were well known.

        • Greg

          Another interesting discussion is what matches shoudl be counted in a suspension. If you are snet off in a test match…. should teh suspension have to be served in test matches?

          Seems reasonable and avoids people being “scheduled” to play for reserve grade or similar just to get the numbers up.

        • Keith Butler

          It would be interesting. Open to all sorts of interpretation.

        • Who?

          There was a lot of ‘interpreting’ done last time the ABs copped a RC, too. Remember the discussion as to whether SBW would be eligible for Bledisloe 1 after his 6 week ban? And they got it approved that he’d have been eligible to play in some Mickey Mouse trial, which then counted…..?

        • Custard Taht

          The example you are using would still be a red card, as it would be clear and obvious dangerous play.

        • Who?

          Barrett’s RC on the weekend was clear and dangerous play. It was high contact (Automatic RC, though arguably able to be a YC through the mitigating factor of height), and a no-arms tackle (automatic RC).
          .
          Anyone who argues otherwise has no care for the laws of the game. Both actions (high contact and no arms tackles) have been illegal for years. There’s no excuse.
          .
          An orange card may have been appropriate for Drew Mitchell in 2010 in Melbourne. He copped a RC for rolling a ball into an advertising board. Anyone saying that getting a RC for a shoulder charge to the head is Rugby going soft needs to wake up to the reality of the longstanding laws, of player welfare, of legal liability, and the reality that this isn’t remotely close to the softest RC in history.
          Oh, and the margin of that 2010 Bledisloe game? We lost Mitchell for 50 minutes (10 minutes in the first half for the first YC, and then the entire second half), and we lost by 21 points. The same margin as last weekend.

        • laurence king

          If you want an orange card, make it 25 minutes before they come back on. And a week on the sidelines. That’s a pretty good deterrent

        • laurence king

          If you want an orange card, make it 25 minutes before they come back on. And a week on the sidelines. That’s a pretty good deterrent

        • Keith Butler

          Some have commented in an earlier thread “ where is the penalty if a replacement is allowed on” which is a reasonable point. Would just add that the incident should be subject to post match review and further sanction applied if warranted.

        • Custard Taht

          The penalty is that you lose a player for the rest of the game, so are you are playing the rest of the game with 22, and you are playing 1 man down for 10 mins, or as someone else has mentioned, make it 20mins.

          A Red card would still exist, so the potential to play with only 14 would still exist, but it would be reserved for the clear and obvious grubby and dangerous play.

          The idea of an orange card is to provide an option in between a red and yellow. The Orange card is essentially a yellow card that rubs the offending player out for the rest of the match, instead of just 10mins, and then allows the contest to continue evenly with 15 a piece on field.

          The Barrett incident I would consider an orange card. Most people agree the Red card was correct under the law, however it is not unanimous that the punishment fit the crime, as there were plenty of people saying a yellow was appropriate.

          I would go further, and say a yellow card is a 1-3 week suspension, orange 3-6 and Red 6 onwards, and the match review panel can upgrade as warranted.

        • Keith Butler

          Very interesting discussion points on this subject. Where there is ambiguity between yellow and red and the officials cannot decide you could go down the orange card route with maybe an extension beyond 10 mins off the pitch. On a lighter note, with all these cards floating about better test that the ref isn’t%’the colour blind

        • moaning expat

          Why not up it to 20 minutes off? Just saying… the thing about it is you need the deterrent. If you are able to replace in 10 minutes (and particularly for a team with huge depth like the ABs) I dont think youll see much change.

        • Hoss

          There are rules in AFL ?????????????

        • Who?

          Sure. Run constantly, show lots of skin, don’t eat pies. Rugby’s much better. :-)

        • Greg

          don’t forget tight shorts.

        • Who?

          That’s where my ‘show lots of skin’ thing started, but then I remembered the news reported on the weekend that Hawthorn weren’t allowed to wear their long sleeves even though they were playing in snow!

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Yes. Several of them.

        • Missing Link

          believe it or not, there are rules in normal ping pong too Hoss

        • Hoss
        • Custard Taht

          The only rule I am aware of is the, if you miss you get a point for trying. AFL the original participation award sport.

        • OnTheBurst

          Hey, I was born to answer this question. Mrs Roberts my Kindy teacher told me all about it.

          What we need is an ORANGE CARD. Check it out if you don’t believe me:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/29a55f789030ae22da86c2fe1f8593a8deb443995b2390723b3f94aeb869ca4a.gif

        • idiot savant

          Just dont give Richard Loe a blue card.

      • Hambone

        They are seeing the long term effects of head knocks and trying to stamp it out, full stop. Whether we all agree it’s where the game is heading, player welfare is not such a bad direction.
        I read the next RWC they are toying with the idea of waist height tackles in ’23.
        they were lining hooper up all night, he was marked. The dumb fullas forgot the amount of camera angles. Ref right there to witness and hear the contact.
        Always going to end badly for the offending player.
        What’s killing me is the whinning in the press and social commentators. But that is the world we live in today.
        Still smiling from that glorious battle in Perth though . What a win

      • Bernie Chan

        Is Eddie Jones arcing up because he fears Farrell is almost a cert for a red card if this refereeing approach continues…?
        It ain’t the Ref’s fault if players f@#k up…Don’t want to go down to 14? Make sure your players don’t commit a red card offence…
        Like football, the red card sanction is harsh…but for good reason. Doesn’t happen very often…

        • Custard Taht

          That was my first thought when I heard Eddie say it.

    • Keith Butler

      Good post. For first time in a very long time the ABs look exposed. Their front row is underperforming, losing Retallick (though he may be back in time) and Barrett will leave a big hole, Read is running on petrol fumes and they don’t appear to have a 6. Could be completely wrong but they are there for the taking. Re the Barrett send off, the more times I watch the replays the worse it looks to me at least. Originally, I thought it was a badly timed clean out at a ruck but I was wrong, there was no ruck just Hooper being tackled. Barrett appears to lock his arm in and target the neck/head with his shoulder. Where have we seen that before? Straight red and at least 4 weeks in my book. No doubt the NZ RUFC will plead in mitigation that Hooper was going down but that doesn’t wash imo.

      • AllyOz

        If it doesn’t make contact with the head then I don’t think its a red, maybe not even a yellow (Owen Farrell) but I think now (after reflecting on the other comments here) as soon as it involves head and neck it is a red card regardless of whether it is accidental, reckless, negligent or intentional. Those extenuating circumstances should determine the length of any further penalty and if it is something he has done earlier in the game (as someone suggests below) then that too should be taken into account in framing the penalty.

        • Braveheart81

          There are potential mitigating circumstances that can reduce contact with the head to being a yellow card rather than red.

          1. Tackler makes definite attempt to change height to avoid the head.
          2. Ball carrier suddenly drops in height.
          3. Tackler is unsighted prior to contact.
          4. It’s a reactionary tackle and they immediately release.
          5. Head contact is indirect (starts elsewhere and slides up and the contact with head/neck is minor).

        • AllyOz

          haha…now I am confused again. I think, in this particular case, maybe 2 might be a consideration but no so much the others.

          I am glad I’m not a ref. There is a lot to consider in an instant when you haven’t perhaps got a full view of what’s happened.

        • Braveheart81

          I don’t think Hooper drops in height suddenly that would warrant it being a mitigating circumstance to reduce the red card to yellow. He had low body height to begin with.

        • Who?

          Agree. Plus that’s ONLY about contact with the head. Then factor in that there’s no arms, and it’s a very clear red.

        • moaning expat

          Another great point- Own Farrell- clearly a few shoulder charges in consecutive games and nothing…

        • Greg

          He (OFF) is indeed an anomaly. Perhaps he has incriminating photos of someone.

        • moaning expat

          Always to the body which saved him but geez at least 3 in a row last year and not a thing. blatant and obvious- even my pommie mates were a bit surprised by no penalty or card.

          Thing is hes gotten away with so many times (except RWC 2015) he may come a cropper this time again as youd think he may feel he was invisible or what he was doing was ‘different’ to everyone else. . Especially as theve given the ABs a red itll be on the refs radar from here on me suspects. Hes central to the English team and losing him will be a blow.

          I’ll throw it out here just quietly. I was on the same table at a lunch (of about 50 people) with Cheika a month or so ago and managed to speak to him one on one. I said i never rated Nic White- why did you bring him back? He agreed but said he had a stella time overseas and was on form. I shrugged and nodded ok. Made me take a step back now and think he did know what he was talking about… Had a good dig at the ARU too which was nice to hear. No love lost there.

        • Who?

          If Cheika agreed he never rated Nic White, that would make me question him more… He was far from terrible when he left, I had him ahead of Phipps (Phipps is a better defender, but that’s not the primary role of a 9).

        • Brumby Runner

          Arguably better cover defender perhaps, but not otherwise. Nic hits with a lot more effort than Nick.

        • Hoss

          Got his hands dirty in a fair few rucks to BR, secured the pill 2-3 times when we were about to be turned over, including once stealing it back from A-Ron just as he had pilfered it from us. White was sensational all test.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Remember Phipps’ effort on Muirhead in Brumbies vs Tahs in Sydney 2018? One of the worst tackle ‘attempts’ I’ve ever seen.

        • moaning expat

          Perhaps agreed was too strong. He said yeah fine or words to that effect then He said hes been in great form since he was overseas playing. I wasnt sure how he rated him but as he wasnt picked much toward the end (and he had genia) I got that impression. He wasnt surprised by my comment tho at all It seemed. Ie he didnt look at me and say nah he was great and only just got pipped by genia.
          I’d rate white over phipps too but at the time there was serious daylight between white/phipps and genia. And yes I’d take white over phipps but not by much at the time.
          He and phipps were fighting out for 2IC after Genia and j guess he thought quite rightly better off overseas rather than play second fiddle.

    • From NooZealand

      I do not see any reason for the Wallabies to drop the ball in the Garden of Eden. Yes, they could loose, but not because they cannot sustain the momentum.

  • AllyOz

    another random comment and it may be complete bullshit but I thought I noticed something different in JOC’s body language on the weekend…less strut perhaps. I always imagined him previously walking to a soundtrack of the BeeGees “Stayin’ Alive”, lavender jacket across held across one shoulder, wearing a neck scarf and a t-shirt. But on the weekend he just…well he just walked, no strut.

    • onlinesideline

      it all gets down to self acceptance and feel secure enough just to be himself. This was a clear case of too much outer world and no inner world. If people only know and affirm your footy skills then that will be your “go to” or platform from which you connect with the world. What he hadnt worked on (obviously because the former was so all enveloping ie wallaby at 18 + media) was connecting with the world with his real self. Its sort of like the “imposter syndrome. We all are subjetc to it and I dare say we all need reminding to speak to the world from our real face and not the externals that garment us.

      • AllyOz

        I don’t claim to have any inside knowledge but I worked at Nudgee when he was there as a student and, in some ways, I think it would be incredibly hard NOT to emerge from the system (not the school) without being a bighead. He was in the 1st in either year 10 or 11, amongst the first picked for the Australian schoolboys, one of the youngest to sign a super rugby contract and amongst the youngest Wallabies. Every press article at the time was talking about X factor players and 3 amigos, companies are throwing dollars at you to appear in ads and you are being interviewed on TV. That sort of thing doesn’t come to every Super player, it just comes to a handful and some, like Pocock and Hooper, appear to handle it reasonably well and others less so. There must be, as you say, a temptation to look to others to work out who YOU are.

        I don’t pretend to know what that is like but I must say I don’t think my EQ at 17/18 would have handled it any better. And I wonder, after spending my fair share of time on rugby buses as a uni student and a 20-30 something player, about some of the comments we sometimes see on here if others are projecting the maturity of their 40-50 year old selves onto their 18 – 25 year old selves rather than seeing the reality of what they were then. I must also say that, in my years growing up, apart from some blokes smoking weed at high school and uni, I had virtually no exposure to drugs what so ever. My mates with teenage children these days say I have no idea just how prevalent and accepted they are in the youth culture. So I have enormous admiration for JOC if he is able to continue as he has in turning things around and TBH, even if he stumbles again, I wish him all the best.

        • onlinesideline

          yeh 100% mate on all points. well said.

        • Who?

          Great post. Great post.
          The schools are supposedly focused on producing great people, but the reality is that there’s an elitism that comes from those establishments which is nigh on impossible to avoid. It has to be fought tooth and nail at every step. My kids aren’t in a Rugby school, they’re in a small private school, and even there we find a massive battle against entitlement. With our kids, who aren’t nearly as privileged as some in that school. Who aren’t nearly as privileged as you’ll find in the Rugby schools.
          .
          I’m not saying the schools want to produce people with big heads, or teachers. The teachers are (more often than not) great (though they also become institutionalized – I was once told by a HOD at one of those schools the reason why other people had issues with his school was jealousy, when the real issue was their arrogance, self importance and inflexibility), but the institutions themselves breed unreasonable (and arguably un-Australian) elitism… You don’t go to Hogwarts and come out thinking you’re not better than a muggle.

        • AllyOz

          Yes mate I agree mostly. My experience of Nudgee as an employee in the Boarding area was a little bit different than you suggest. I have to say, apart from a couple of exceptions, they were a great group of boys and the staff were very committed to making them well rounded young men. These though were generally the country kids and also we didn’t see what they were like when they were out at parties and night clubs.

          That differed to my personal experience. I went to a small Catholic school in a regional area run by the Marist Brothers, there was no risk of getting ahead of yourself there. When i went to Brisbane and you were out at the pub the first question you were asked was what school you went to and, for some, if you didn’t have the correct answer then that was as far as the question went (and it wasn’t just the sheilas who were trying to avoid me). I see with my own friends kids these days similar things where schools seem to be chosen second on performance and first on status and “networking capacity” in later life.

          Certainly, I think rugby needs to move past (or widen its influence beyond) the private school system if it is going to thrive but, to be honest, I was talking more of the pathway then the particular school system. Even back in the early 2000’s, boys went straight from school firsts to Reds Academy players, maybe played a half a dozen games of 1st Colts in club and then were fast tracked into Super or A Grade/Premier Grade Squads. For someone like JOC he would never have had the “opportunity” to have mucked up in the clubhouse and have been pulled into line by senior players or many of the character building experiences that I had.

        • Who?

          Really need to be clear, I think the majority of the employees and teachers aren’t looking to impart that elitism. They’re trying to turn out good people – like the vast majority of teachers, coaches, etc. It’s just something that is historically (less intentionally than previously) embedded in the system.
          .
          The kids in the team I coached? Those who went to a ‘Rugby’ school didn’t go there for networking. They almost universally (having spoken deeply with the parents) sent their kids their for Rugby. To make rep teams. Which is horrible, that it’s seen that to have your kids make a (regional club) rep team, you need to spend $$,$$$ pa on school fees.

        • AllyOz

          Yes I think we pretty much agree (well I do with you anyway ;) ).

          I don’t have kids so I can’t really comment but I did think a lot about it and actually had some parents ask me advice based on the two schools I had worked at (Marist Ashgrove and Nudgee). My response personally was that I couldn’t personally see the value for money in it. That, while the teachers etc do a great job, it’s the parents that have the most opportunity to shape their kids values. Hopefully the teachers then reinforce the values (around life and sport) that you are driving. I also said from my experience, having been able to get a university education, have a great experience with rugby and other sports etc without the GPS school model I just couldn’t comprehend paying those $XX,XXX’s to get that. I also read that, in some cases, while the GPS schools can earn higher ATAR scores, kids from different backgrounds who have to be more independent in high school and that sets them up better for performing at Uni and in life in general. I think, however, that this depends on the individual a bit – some that thrive in public schools or small private schools would struggle in GPS and the reverse is also true.

          There is a very interesting article in the SMH/Age/Brisbane Times papers about Andrew Kellaway that covers this topic and he is the perfect example of what I am talking about.

          https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-union/why-kellaway-ending-up-alongside-sbw-in-new-zealand-is-cautionary-tale-20190810-p52fsy.html

          His quote below:
          “How do I say this without being controversial? I don’t know if the pathway in Australia is what it used to be. And I think the more people can get out and get away from what it is, I think it’s beneficial.”

          He talked about going straight from schoolboys to the Waratahs etc.

        • Who?

          I mostly agree. I think there’s one benefit to private education – if nothing else, it shows the kids that their parents value education. So hopefully the kids will put in.
          .
          Not sure that parents drive values though. If they did, my kids would work MUCH harder…… There’s a lot of scaffolding of behaviour. Learning from classmates. So you have to watch – wherever the kids might be – which crowd they’re in. If the values of your child’s friends don’t match your own, it’s almost impossible to turn things around. But if you’re paying for that education, you hope that the kids’ friends come from homes with similar emphasis on work and education…
          .
          I’ve also heard stories about the elite schools preventing kids from sitting their OP (we get ATAR next year), to ensure those kids sitting an OP got the highest possible school marks. I’d be filthy if I spent that money and my kid was denied the chance to try an OP!

        • AllyOz

          wow! that is extraordinary but now that I think about it, certain kids at schools I was involved at were encouraged towards the TAFE side of things rather than the OP stream. I think your kids will be fine Who? if they have you looking after them.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nick,

    I’m not so sure on the Bledisloe Cup. If someone was to ask me if I’d be happy with losing the Bledisloe Cup as long as we won the RWC I’d say yes. While I hope the Abs come back this weekend and we retain the cup I’m more concerned that the preparation for the RWC goes well. I think Coles was spot on and the Wallabies had more intensity, more heart and just wanted this game more. I think for all the posturing before the game the AB’s headspace was looking forward to RWC and they didn’t get it right for this game. I’m still not sure on the selections and I think we need to play people in the right place and if a good player misses out because a better one plays then that’s just the way it is.

    Good to see Tupou sign on and I think he’s still got a long way to go. He is doing well at the moment but I think it’s more to do with his age and strength than skills and there is still a fair bit of room for further development. I think it’s great that he recognises this and I’m sure he will continue to improve.

    • Missing Link

      KRL honest question, how would you feel if I rephrased that question to: “would you be happy if Steve Hansen became the first NZ coach to relinquish the Bledisloe Cup in what are we up to? 15-16-17 years”?

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        If it’s not tied to RWC then no way. TBH we don’t want to lose it but I acknowledge we will one day and while losing it is an issue, being able to win it back is more of an issue.

        • Missing Link

          Yes and if NZ win the world cup, it’ll take them to 4 and 3 on the trot which would also rewrite history, so I guess losing the Bledisloe for a year could be considered collateral damage in exchange for a world cup.

        • onlinesideline

          its a shame its not best of 3 this year too.

      • Custard Taht

        Another honest question. Would you feel that way if you were a full time wallaby supporter?

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    I get that it was supposed to be satirical, and maybe I am just being too sensitive based on how much bad press he has gotten, but… I found the words about JOC to be a bit mean and bad spirited.

    The guy turned his attitude around, took a huge pay cut to come over and in all his interviews and play has indicated he’s a new man, a positive influence and still a great player. Why feel the need to knock him?

    • Bernie Chan

      IMHO he’s seems to be on the way to redeeming himself in the eyes of the Oz rugby supporter. No mean feat as we are a jaundiced bunch…
      Maybe he deserves to be ‘cut-some-slack’ and let his rugby be the focus instead of his past…?

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Aye.

  • Greg

    Three weeks for Barrett. Probably about right.

    I am so glad they supported the ref. The decision seemed completely aligned with his riding instructions.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/all-blacks/114920582/all-blacks-lock-scott-barrett-banned-for-three-weeks-but-still-available-for-world-cup

  • Keith Butler

    So Barrett is given 6 weeks reduced to 3 for being and good boy, owning up and being very remorseful. Well whoop de fucking do you’d be stupid if you didn’t. Irrespective or who you are, what country you represent or what team you play for it was a serious offence and 6 weeks is 6 weeks in my book. In effect he will only miss the game at Eden Park. He will be eligible to play in the ABs final warm up.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      No change from other penalties mate. They always do this

      • Keith Butler

        True.

      • Bernie Chan

        Yep…

    • Custard Taht

      They are probably organising 2 trial matches as we speak!

      • Brumby Runner

        The ABs will be truly fired up for this game. It could conceivably end in another red card if one of them loses his cool. Then we’ll see the hasty intra-squad, three way trial match introduced quick smart to ensure no one misses the RWC.

Rugby

Hopes to play David Pocock in the inevitable biopic. Lifelong fan of whoever Jarrad Hayne is currently playing for.

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