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Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s rugby news has the Wallabies unwinding, Test hopefuls staking their claim in the NRC, SBW given a free pass and Welsh rugby back on the agenda. 


Wallabies look to relax

KMP-WALLvAB-1832

The Wallabies will be given plenty of down-time over the next week to “mentally relax” after their huge loss to the All-Blacks. Captain Michael Hooper was bitterly disappointed in the performance but also emphasised, “we can rebuild, we get away for a week and mentally, really recover” ready to take on the Springboks in two weeks.

While asserting the requirement of taking stock after any poor showing, Hooper also diminished the selection talk. “One to 23 are all really class players and matched with the All Blacks,” he said. “It was our systems let us down there on the weekend.” 

Test hopefuls look to NRC

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A number of former and fringe Wallabies will be auditioning for call-ups through the new NRC this weekend. Ewen McKenzie has admitted he’s looking closely at a range of changes and will observe a number of potential selections this week including Ben McCalman, Matt Hodgson, James Horwill and Liam Gill, all playing in Brisbane City’s game against Perth Spirit. 

“I think everyone has got a point to prove,” said Gill. “Both teams want more players in the Wallabies squad and both have a handful of players who will really want to step up to make that (team).” McKenzie will also have the option of releasing his Test bench-players such as Will Skelton and Scott Higginbotham. 

SBW fast-tracked to All Blacks

quade and sbw

Sonny Bill-Williams will be granted a special dispensation by the NZRU to be included in the All Blacks’ end of year tour squad, enabling the dual international to forgo the usual requirement of playing in the national provincial championship.

Williams has signed to play for Counties Manukau in the domestic competition, but his Sydney Roosters are assured of making the NRL finals, making it possible that he will be unable to return in time. Counties Manukau’s regular season winds up four days after the NRL grand final on October 5.  

Welsh peace imminent

wales win 6n 2013.01

After prolonged negotiations where both sides showcased seemingly incurable disagreement, the Welsh Rugby Union and the Regions have finally settled on the major elements of a new Participation Agreement. This ensures the continuation of regional funding to run for the next six years. The remaining work until the deal’s official conclusion is reported to be purely administrative.

The new agreement will introduce dual contracts for top Wales stars, with a 60-40 WRU-Regions funding for those contracts. As well as the already centrally contracted Sam Warburton, nine others are said to have been earmarked for those deals by Warren Gatland. 

  • Bill

    So, is that Hooper saying the coaches let us down. Or is that the OP wildly misinterpreting Hooper because it kinda somehow sounds just a little illadvised….maybe not so unexpected from a former brumbie, but hey, lets not muddy the waters with player power, that might be a qld plot.

    • Train Without A Station

      No. You’re just looking for it to be. He said a comment that could be construed a number of ways. He could mean their execution of said systems let them down. He could even mean that the players had input into said systems and that was the issue. The point is you don’t have any idea what he actually means, other than saying that he doesn’t think the All Blacks as individuals are vastly superior and unbeatable, and therefore the opportunity is there to defeat them, the Wallabies just need to improve as a team, in execution and in achieving potential to do so.

      • Patrick

        improve by a lot. …

      • Bill

        ….Yes minister.

  • AndrewWA

    The Wallabies have a big problem if the Captain truly believes that:
    “One to 23 are all really class players and matched with the All
    Blacks,” he said. “It was our systems let us down there on the
    weekend.”

    As highlighted by Tah Dan in another place in both games against the ABs the Wallabies were:
    +Lacking effective on-field leadership;
    +Lacking energy and fitness;
    +Lacking effective and organised defence;
    +Lacking any consistency in support play; and
    +Lacking guts and determination.

    If all of the above can be summarised as “systems” then I agree with Hooper’s appraisal.

    If a 20:51 thrashing as follow-up after a drawn game, which the Wallabies should have won, is the efforts of a team which is “matched to the All Blacks” then he is simply delusional.

    • Train Without A Station

      That line says to me he is not willing to throw out the Deans cop out that the All Blacks are too good and just can’t be beat, but that they got the job done and we fell well short.

    • Braveheart81

      i.e. Hooper is saying that they didn’t lose because they are crap players and are nowhere near as good as the All Blacks. They lost because they didn’t play well enough.

      That’s a whole lot better than saying we don’t have good enough players to beat the All Blacks.

      • PiratesRugby

        But the truth is that we don’t have players good enough to beat New Zealand.
        Don’t get me wrong, I love the Wallabies and I absolutely hate losing to the All Blacks. They beat us al the time now. We have to hope that they have an off day and we can play above ourselves for 80 minutes. Sure, it can happen.
        If I played in the NBA, its hardly the fault of the team’s systems if I can’t slam dunk the basketball.

        • Braveheart81

          Is that what you’d like the Wallaby captain to be saying after a thumping loss?

        • PiratesRugby

          Just don’t say anything.

        • Braveheart81

          Not really a reality in the professional sporting world where broadcasters contribute a large portion of the revenue and press conferences are held after matches and training.

        • onlinesideline

          BS, BS , BS , BS , B#$%#^&T

          We have a tonne of good players – I firmly believe that and always thought the “no cattle” excuse is pure crapola

          The kiwi rugby culture – religion – main sport – black jumper – approach to breakdown – ITM cup – level of coaches – the whole shebang – is the difference.

          we DO have the players – look at what Cheika did – if that isnt an example I dont know what is !

          personally I think Ewen has shown his true colours – he buckled under pressure – do ppl seriously seriously think he is same calibre of coaching level as Cheika ?

          BTW – One More – difference – if this was score in reverse kiwi coach would be under immense pressure – even after only 18 months – media would be savage

          pple too tired to admit this after Deans and can’t face this reality – obviously all this is own opinion – obviously

          thoughts ?

    • Seb V

      As a Captain you can’t exactly say “our players are crap” can you!

    • Luke Amasi

      Any team in the top ten can beat the All Blacks, you just have to be specifically good at everything for 80 minutes. Wallabies were off that entire game, but we can’t take anything from the ABs performance which was phenomenal.

  • Vinnie Gorham

    Can we fast track Henry Speight or Nick Cummins? Bloody New Zealand

    • JPQ

      You’re confusing two different issues. Speight was ineligble due to IRD regualtions. SBW is eligable under IRD regulations but the NZRU has a general policy of requiring New Zealanders to play for a provicial or club team to be eligable for the AB’s.
      THE NZRU waived that policy. If the ARU has a similar policy, it can do that too.

      • Toadflax

        True. But Kane Douglas is eligible. And what did we do…..,,,

        Time for a more pragmatic approach.

        I love being a Wallabies supporter. Think Deans was rubbish and that Shrekah is a God Among Men

        Talk to me when The Darkness have won two World Cups away from home.

    • RubberLegs

      Rocket Rod is raring to go!

  • Mart

    “Wallabies look to relax”…. yeah take a load off. No need to focus extra on your “systems” or halves combinations….

    • We know what ‘relax’ means to some.

      Let’s hope it’s not that.

  • Robson

    The Wallabies and their coaches should forget about relaxing. They should be absolutely focused on how to get switched on and in the zone, because the difference on Saturday night was the All Blacks cold mindset against the Wallabies muddled mind fragments.

    • Train Without A Station

      You’re right they should be thinking about this 24/7 so by the time the game rolls around they are burnt out from just thinking about it…

      They should relax. They have experts who use scientific data to determine their training load and rest periods. Rest up and relax and as soon as they are back into training time to knuckle down and make every minute in camp count.

      Nobody can maintain motivation 24/7. Look at McCaw, he took a 6 month break last year to refresh and relax.

      The important thing is maintaining that motivation at 100% for 50% of the time at the right times is better than maintaining it at 50% for 100% of the time.

      • Purce

        He never said anything about 24/7 mate, pull your head in. Instead of them relaxing he has suggested that they focus on “HOW to get switched on and in the zone, because the difference on Saturday night was the All Blacks cold mindset against the Wallabies muddled mind fragments” which is absolutely spot on. The Wallabies were beaten before the whistle even blew, you could see the difference in their focus and attitude after the anthems. Perhaps the “Wallabies AND COACHES” (as Robson put it) should spend some time getting their heads right instead of having time off to relax. I’m quite sure the ABs (players and coaches) didn’t relax after that 1st test….. it was eating them alive and they played like men possessed on Saturday night. Focused and driven.

        No one suggested they should think about it 24/7(except you) but perhaps, just perhaps they should put a renewed effort into getting their heads in the right space for test matches. After all they can all catch, tackle, run correct lines, scrum, organise, communicate, support and work off the ball. Why couldn’t they do it on the weekend? What was missing on Saturday? They weren’t switched on. Perhaps some time working on this instead of having plenty of down time to relax would be better for them, especially considering they’ve got a 2 week break.

        • Train Without A Station

          I doubt they relaxed either as they didn’t have a 2 week break to maintain their motivation over.

          But yes. Focus boys. Maintain that strict focus for these two full weeks in total until they’re ridiculously wound up. You’re right. That’ll work. And if they’re not performing, coaches just need to yell at them. That’s how you motivate people!

        • Mickey

          Don’t try telling me that at 6-6 after 15 minutes and Richie McCaw banished to the sin bin that the Wallabies did not think they were right in that game. It was their inability to deal with what came at them after that that caused the slide. Those were the actions (or lack of them) that deserve the greatest scrutiny.

        • Purce

          It may not have come across but that was pretty much the point I was trying to make. The ABs were prepared for that, they were in the right headspace. It was evident right from the get go. Nothing was going to stop them from winning that game. They were ready to deal with anything the Wallabies threw at them. The Wallabies however, not so much.

      • Robson

        The main difference IMHO between the ABs and the WBs (and most other professional international rugby teams to my knowledge) is that they have a sports psychologist who they respectfully regard as the “keeper of their culture” ie their culture of winning. Sports psychologists don’t “wind” their players up, they prepare their MIND SET and It’s high time for the Wallabies to do the same; although I was saying this throughout Robbie Deans reign as well. I’ve proven to my own satisfaction after being closely involved with an Auckland premier grade club side that you don’t have to wind them up to get them tuned in – in fact the last thing you want to do is wind them up. But if you want to win and keep winning you do have to create a collective mental synergy about the task in hand. In the Sydney test that synergy was missing from the All Black game. All they had to do for the Auckland test was to rediscover that and, given the Wallabies lack of mental cohesion, the win was a given. Skills vary, but everyone is capable of producing maximum cohesive effort. The All Blacks, regrettably, proved this in Auckland handsomely. The Wallabies proved the reverse of it.

        • Train Without A Station

          That’s a good comment. Agree it’s a resource that the Wallabies as an entity could benefit from.

          Whilst the players let themselves down on the weekend, I’m just intolerant of any discussion as though they are heads in the clouds primadonnas too worried about their social lives to focus on the game.

    • PiratesRugby

      I don’t think the ABs relaxed after Sydney. They might be relaxing a bit now though.

    • Bring back the biff

      I’d fly them all to Perth today and get them doing laps around the field with a commentary of Saturday night’s game in this ears so they can all listen to the shame they bought on Australian rugby. 1 fucking lap for every fucking point conceded which is 51 fucking laps. And the 1st guy who came up and said “this is not the appropriate way to treat the modern day Wallaby rugby player”, I’d make them do 10 fucking 400m sprints with 15 fucking killer dogs right up his arse. I’d fucking tell him that they spent most of Saturday night running away from 15 killer dogs so why should he fucking stop now!

  • SuckerForRed

    Guessing the hookers in the NRC will come under special scrutiny…..

  • Richard

    I sense the greatest trait the Wallabies and their supporters can demonstrate right now is patience. This is still a group of players and coaches in the formative years of their development together and things are going to take time. Saturday night was a big wake-up call and a major speed bump that caused all sorts of mental and physical damage. Supporters are entitled to some angst and some explanation but reactions based on dropping this player or changing that player feels driven much more by emotion than logic. They will need to re-group and move forward because you know the ferocity SA will bring in Perth. Finding a base to work off though is typically a useful starting point.

    • SuckerForRed

      Bring logic to a Wallaby/All Black arguement is like bringing a knife to a gun fight. You had want to know how to use the bloody thing. ;-)
      But, yes you are correct.

    • PiratesRugby

      We’ve been patient since the final of the 2003 RWC. Its all been “building” since then. Jones, Connolly, Deans (ugh) and now Link. We’ve had a enough “wakes ups”, “reality checks” and “speed bumps”. As supporters, we are certainly entitled to some explanation but all we get are platitudes. Each player should prepare a highlight reel of all of their mistakes from the game with their commentary on what they should have been doing and why they didn’t do it. Instead, they’re “relaxing”. What for? Most of them only played a half a game of rugby.

      • Richard

        But too often patience has been replaced with unwarranted optimism which has been subsequently punished by the cruel hand of reality. We saw it in 2011 when the Reds won the Super15 which was somehow the supposed springboard to beating the AB’s that year to the RWC. We saw it last year when Deans was fired and McKenzie was bought in as the apparent saviour for Australian rugby and the Wallabies got torched by the AB’s and Springboks in the Rugby Championship. We saw it this year when the Waratahs win the Super15 and suddenly the Wallabies have the test players to beat a good AB team and win back the Bledisloe Cup. If Hooper is to be believed then the Wallaby “systems” failed them on Saturday. That tells me those “systems” were flawed from the beginning and need upgrading. That takes time. What also takes time is the development of players into proven test quality talent and the training and playing of settled combinations on the field. Hype and quick fixes allow victories over lesser countries. In the last 15 months, the Lions, England, South Africa and New Zealand have shown you need a whole lot more.

        • The Cheat

          Agree with you Richard, but I’m siding with PirateRugby. Every year since 2003, it’s been like groundhog day and it’s the sole reason a lot of our fans have walked away from the game. Enough is enough, we’ve been patient for far too long. Fortunately the ARU have silly people like me who are a little more resilient when it comes to repeated Wallaby floggings, we keep coming back for more. We need to be in a situation where the Wallabies have a genuine opportunity to win each Bledisloe cup match they play. Nobody wants to be on the losing team and unfortunately that losing team is us when it comes to Bledisloe cups. Fix that and all the ARU’s problems will be solved. Question for you: If the shoe was on the other foot, if the AB’s hadn’t held the Bledisloe for 12 years, rarely beating Australia in that time and if Australia had won RWC2011, and if Australia has beaten NZ by 30 points last weekend how would you feel as a fan? What would you be thinking? Would you be almost tired of watching us flog your AB’s over and over again?

        • Richard

          Solid questions. A trait of successful Wallaby sides has always been very strong rugby intelligence on the playing field. I do not feel that is in existence in the same depth it once was and has proved costly. I would be asking the ARU and their coaching academies where it has gone. AU want gee-whiz type players like QC, KB, JOC or clever intelligent players like Larkham, Horan, Gregan, Eales, Farr-Jones, Poidevin.

          I would be asking hard questions of the “player leadership group” who have somehow allowed real slippage in off-field standards and values which has eroded on-field performance. Compare that to the way the AB’s enforce culture and standards and you have meaningful difference.

          Finally I would demand answers from coaching staff of this constant rotation of players across different positions. Make guys specialise in 1 position and be the best in the country at it. If you are, the Wallaby jumper is yours – if not, you don’t make the side. Been way too easy over the past 6-7 years to retain a Wallaby jumper which has diluted the desire to wear it. That needs changing ASAP.

  • Bye Bye Reds

    So NZ have Sonny Bill coming back huh. Well we have Quade returning too. I know whose ability I’d rather have to draw defenders, bust tackles, create offloads, manage pressure, defend his channel and generally behave like a professional athlete. Oh hang on a minute…

  • Greeba

    At least we’ll beat the Boks and Argies

  • Rex Munday

    I’m going to come under fire from the MIchael Hooper FanBoy Club for saying this but I think it’s not right for him to be captain at the moment. He’s a major asset and an excellent player but he seems to want to do everything himself instead of entrust tasks to his players. This undermines his own players’ confidence and makes them indecisive about their own roles. In that sense he reminds me of Lewis Moody. I had the same fears for Moore but unfortunately he had no time to prove me wrong.

    James Horwill is a better option at the moment and should be brought back in asap.

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