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ACT Brumbies

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News looks at Brad Thorn’s problem with the Tahs, that Brumbies scrum hiccup, the best code hoppers, and a hard road for the Rebels.

Brad’s not happy!

So, we all know I’m a mad reds fan but, when Brad Thorn mentioned the Waratahs kickers dramatically falling over to win penalties I didn’t agree.

I will agree that they didn’t get hit very hard and the hits were either slightly late or ‘too’ late depending on your point of view but most 85kg backs are going to end up on their arse when a very quick 130kg ball of muscle runs into them. Even when it’s a glancing blow.

But Brad doesn’t agree.

“Rugby’s a tough game. I’m not a huge fan of that sort of stuff,” Thorn said.

“I think players that go down for that and they’re seriously injured … HIA, that’s my opinion, because, clearly they were fine.

“On my side as well, I don’t want my players going down with a dramatic fall.

“Take what’s there, get up, get on with the game.”

Reds skipper Liam Wright was a little less forgiving of Nella.

“We probably wanted to slap ‘Nella’ around a bit, but it’s one of those things and you’ve just got to move on,” Wright said.

“We were just talking on the field (about) … last 10 minutes of a brutal game, guys were tired, busted, but what a story if we hold off with 14 men and we come back and get the Cup, and our boys were bloody awesome.”

Would I have carded Nella for the late hits? Nah, I didn’t think they were that late or dangerous. But I also didn’t have a problem with Nic Berry’s decision either. What do you think?

Brumbies Scrum Talk

Allan Alaalatoa having a chat.

There is nothing quite as pissed off in rugby as a tighthead prop whos scrum hasn’t quite done what its supposed to have done. Brumbies captain Allan Alaalatoa is that tighthead this week. But it would be a brave punter who would suggest that he would let the Brumbies pack misfire two games in a row.

The Brumbies got pinged six times in the match with four of those penalties clocked up in the first 20 minutes. The Brumbies have a bye week to sort this out and it’s hard to see such a professional outfit or Allan Alaalatoa not fixing this.

I think it was a combination of a lot of things. It’s definitely something for us we need to look at going forward, but we managed to get there towards the end.

“It was a combination, the first two were pre-engaged, and the first couple in the second half, we lost our footing there. There was one where we pushed them over the ball and we got pinged for that as well.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar says conceding a try from a maul for the second time also was “not good enough” but was rapt with his side’s maul attack.

Fans in the Canberra Stadium stands were few and far between with a cap of 1500 in place as the ACT government slowly eases restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I hope so, just for our families, our supporters, sponsors, just to be able to get here and enjoy the rugby again live. That’d be nice,” McKellar said.

Was Brad Thorn The Best Code Hopper?

I know, I know. Two Brad Thorn articles in one daily news. It’s too much and it’s my fault. But I don’t care.

So let’s get right down to it.

Is Brad Thorn the best code hopper ever?

Short answer: Yes


No other player has succeeded in the engine room of two sports. The skill sets of a League prop and a Union lock are not interchangeable. It’s a feat no other player has achieved or is likely to achieve. Thorn is a legend.

Thorn wouldn’t give two hoots for British critic Stephen Jones’ quip he was a “willing donkey forward’’ who he would “draw the curtains” on “if he was playing in my back garden’’. That’s not what he was about.

He’s not Anthony Kiedis! He’s Flea and Chad Smith rolled into one.

And that’s why he was no1 in Stuart Barnes’ list of code hoppers in the Sunday Times but didn’t make the antipodean hating Jones’ list.

Barnes claimed no player had followed William Shakespeare’s “men must endure’’ line “quite as literally’’ as Thorn.

“Now coaching the Queensland Reds, the former Kangaroo and All Black international has done it all in a 22-year career that has seen him become the only man to win the World Cup, Super Rugby and Heineken Cup in union while throwing in a sequence of State of Origin efforts for Queensland in league.

“Trans-Tasman, Cross Code, there will be a flashier but never a more enduring career in both forms of rugby.’’


The Melbourne Rebels Long road Trip

The Melbourne rebels have the toughest gig in the sport right now. Unexpectedly force to stay on tour and not return home to their homes and families.

Yes, there are a lot of people doing a damned lot worse than a bunch of sportsmen. That was never in doubt. But I’m not here to talk about that.

The Rebels look set to shift their home game against the Queensland Reds to Brookvale Oval on Friday night, with the squad likely to stay in Canberra, where they were based for a week leading into round one, until Wednesday.

Victoria is experiencing a major spike in COVID-19 cases which has forced Victorian-based sporting clubs across Super Rugby, AFL and NRL out of their home state.

“The challenge is for those guys who have kids, that’s fine for probably two, three or four weeks, but if it’s going to be up to the end of the comp, we need to find a way to get guys connected to their kids.

“I was pretty proud of the guys actually, we’ve been through a bit over the past 14 days and we didn’t get to train a lot last week because we were prevented from training and had to travel and get ourselves sorted.”

There is a fear life on the road could grow difficult, as it has for the New Zealand Warriors in the NRL after they were forced to move to Australia to keep the competition alive.

“We’ve just enjoyed each other’s company, it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s also an opportunity for us to spend a bit of time together, so we’ve enjoyed that,” Haylett-Petty said.

“Everything is up in the air at the moment, it’s been easy to just focus on the game throughout the week and we haven’t looked too far ahead. Now we’ve got a six-day turnaround … we’ve got to get onto the next job.”

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s. GReat to be discussing Aus rugby again. Thanks Sully for all of your efforts, we all really apreciate it, and probably dont thank the contributors enough. Todays random thoughts whilst imbibing legally addictive black hot substances:
    – I very much agree with Sully. I thought the hits were a little late, and a little stupid and I can see the merit of a card with them. But on the other hand, I think there was a little bit of academy award seeking behaviour or embellishment as I would call it. But Tongan Thor has developed a bit of a reputation for this, so he needs to ensure he is uber clean!
    – What the fuck went wrong with the Brumbies scrum. Any team with Laurie the Hippy on the coaching staff should have a top tier scrum.
    – Am looking forward to seeing what the Western Force have to produce. I am so wishing them to be strong and successful. They deserve to be back in the comp.
    – Lots hope this week we see a lot of the rust blown out and the stupid skill fades gone.
    – If I were the Melbourne Rebels I would be complaining why they arent in Twin Waters like their Rugby League counterparts! Who the fuck wants to be in Canberra over winter! ;-)
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Geoffro

      Harrison was so unbalanced that he would have gone over if TT had breathed on him and the push was nothing really but as you say,Thor has such a bad rep he is probably getting booked on suspicion these days.A card was harsh.

      • Brisneyland Local

        When your reputation is crap you have to be squeaky clean. Although probably unwarranted I think it was his rep and the previous warning that made the referump take action.

      • I think two late hits on a kicker – when you should be aiming for his kicking foot and not his body – are both stupid penalties and a repeat offence that probably deserve a YC when it’s the same player.

        If they’d been a brush, he’d made contact with the falling leg on the route he’d chosen to try and block the kick, a penalty would be unwarranted (although with a bad reputation he might have got one) but these were straight body to body contact. It wasn’t about Harrison being off balance, it was about a fly-half being body-checked by a prop.

        • Geoffro

          It was clumsy for sure but if Tupou had hit Harrison with intent he wouldnt have got up given the position he was in.Fairly innocuous for mine but yes , outside the law.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Tupou needs to stop reading his press and trying to prove how tough he is and start developing his game further. He shows a lot of potential but lacks discipline. With you on the Rebels, Canberra would not be my first choice at all

      • Brisneyland Local


      • Huw Tindall

        Imagine how good he’d be if he was in the NZ rugby system the last 3 years……

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover


    • Thanks BL. The News team will take all the love we can get!

      • Brisneyland Local

        And it is deserved.

    • idiot savant

      I cant see that allowing Thor to attempt charge downs or pressure the kicker is in any way a percentage play given his size. Thorn should just accept the political reality of it regardless of whether the adjudication is right or not. Ban him from charge downs and he won’t get carded for it. Its pretty simple really.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Keep him practicising it! Just dont let him execute that he can demonstrate for multiple training sessions that his judgement is on.

        • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

          He needs to learn that a properly-executed chargedown does not involve a push to the shoulder or chest. That’s just a disaster waiting to happen.

          Done right, it’s both arms straight out in front, targeting the ball, not the kicker. And done that way, it’s much easier to pull out (as the actress said to the bishop). I’ll see myself out.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure Gold!

        • Keith Butler

          Might break a few crash test dummies. Where’s Rodda when you need him!

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep. I reckon we will see Rodda back in G&G soon enough.

        • John Tynan

          Rodda can fark off!

        • Brisneyland Local

          That is probably true. But if Rennie gets some exemptions to the Giteau rule, the second row is where we are struggling.

      • Damo

        I reckon the Thor YC masks what might be a bigger concern i.e. that it was on both occasions a prop who arrived first on the scene to pressure the catcher. I reckon the kick chase in both games on the weekend was pretty shit- along with some very poor kicking as well. Less kicking as a planned tactic and more of “uh oh, now what am I going to do”.

        • Brumby Runner

          Exactly. JOC was under pressure all game and his kicking in general play bordered on horrendous.

          For all the criticism Tupou is receiving, I reckon both incidents were fair and did not involve foul play at all. I most assuredly do agree with the YC to him.

  • I agree with Thorn. Like Phil Kearns as a commentator or RA CEO, diving for penalties is not something we need in the game. The point made that it was 130kg v 85kg was an obvious one. I wonder how possible it would have been for Tupou to actually pull out, taking into account the speed he gets up to getting to the 10? Like turning an oil tanker? Yeah, he probs shouldnt have pushed the poor little fellas, but that is the part of the issue rugby needs to address. It is rugby union right? It wasnt dangerous or significantly late. Does this mean that every push in the game needs to be penalised? I am glad to hear Thorn expects no diving from his men; I look forward to seeing the Reds chaps play like the players they need to be.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I think he needs to be more aware of where he is and what he’s doing. If he can’t get there before the kick then he needs to stop or move away not keep going and then blaming his “committed” as an excuse. Agree 100% with no diving and watching that Argentinian do it a few years ago was gutting. Go play soccer if that’s your game.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Sully, Brad is definitely old school and while I do see where he’s coming from he would be better off working with the referees to get his team meeting their standard rather than criticising them when his players don’t. TBH I think he has always had a discipline problem with the Reds players and he needs to realise this and work on it. At the same time I agree that he’s probably the most successful code hopper we’ve seen. I loved him playing for NZ and it must have been gutting to see from an Australian perspective. I wonder how much of the hate for him is residual hate from those decisions.

    The more I hear McKellar the more I like him. No nonsense, no blame and an acknowledgement that he needs to work on things. If he keeps this up I can see him going far in the coaching world.

    Bummer for the Rebels, I think like the Crusaders after the Earthquake a few years ago this could be a bonding issue as much as a disruption but it will be hard to manage and I wish them all the best going forward.

  • Happyman

    Hi all

    First post in a while so it might be a bit of a ramble.

    I enjoyed both games and while much has been made of the supposed gap between us and our NZ cousins I would make this point. I think much of the perception can be laid at the feet of the commentary team. The constant negativity from all of the EXPERTS just leaves me cold.

    With Tupou I think both things can be true it was silly and a dive and he ultimately got what he deserved.

    Reds were better than the Tahs and left some points out there and the Tahs took everything they could.

    Brumbies are still the favourites for mine

    I hope the force boys go well as we need them.

    NZ and Aus rugby need to just kiss and make up as we need each other now more than ever, with the new Japanese comp structure and the Safas leaving we are about to be totally left behind.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Great to have you back mate. I think Aus and NZ will do ok together and it’ll be interesting to see how the competition develops going forward. NZ would like to keep with SA as they believe the SH is stronger when we all work together. I think they fear that if SA goes with the NH competition it will leave both Australia and NZ vulnerable to the whims of the NH private clubs influencing World Rugby in a direction that will not benefit either of us. I think they are pretty much on the money there as has been shown with the way NH have refused to look at any changes to the current schedules.

      • John Tynan

        The saffa’s really play a Nth hemisphere power game anyway, but with the cattle to back it up. It’s up to NZ and Oz to play it how it should be played with brutality AND beauty in the same spectacle.

  • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

    Anything Stephen Jones has to say about anything should be filed under “things not even Phil Kearns might try on”.

    Code-hopping backs – meh. It’s much harder to swap in the low numbers. I tried mungoes for a season in the early 80s and I was hilariously bad.

    I’m surprised neither of the UK pen-pushers found a place for Dai Young in their best code-hoppers. Playing front row in both codes at test level, including for the B&I Lions, takes some serious ability, as well as a couple of wildly different technical skill sets. And he’s had a decent coaching career too.

    But just like in the after-match bar, it’s the backs who get most of the attention.

  • juswal

    Thorn’s reputation as a player was built on his open-door access to the most successful club and national teams in each code. It’s easy to look like a winner when you step into a winning side.

    If he had played rugby in Australia and league in NZ he’d have a different record.

    • John Tynan

      Mate, we don’t agree on much very often, but a great comment here.

ACT Brumbies

Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to http://www.onesully.com.au

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