Wallabies v All Blacks Match Preview - Green and Gold Rugby
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Wallabies v All Blacks Match Preview

Wallabies v All Blacks Match Preview

Between you and me, I reckon the Wallabies are the underdogs this weekend as they take on the All Blacks in the first Bledisloe Cup match of the season. Call it just a hunch, but I think we fans need to be wary.

The reality of this match is quite conceivably season defining.  If the Wallabies put together another insipid type of performance we saw in June then a hammering by the darkness will follow. If that happens in front of an apathetic Sydney crowd then the flow on for the rest of the season will be significant.  Ticket sales will struggle for upcoming tests in Perth, Canberra and Brisbane and the game could sink even lower than where it currently is.

But if the opposite happens….Let’s say the Wallabies were able to do the unthinkable and produce a performance similar to the 2003 RWC Semi-Final. Of such controlled possession and intensity that they manage to defeat the kiwis in the most unexpected of scenarios. Well that may just provide the disgruntled rugby fans in Australia (well, probably just Eastern Australia) that one reason go to sleep Saturday night with just a glimmer of a smile and some hope.

If only…

Team News

The Wallabies enter this match with an entirely new three-quarter line from the one that took on Italy a couple of months ago. Kurtley Beale plays his first Wallaby test since the 2015 RWC final and will partner Samu Kerevi in one of the more attacking Wallaby centre combinations in recent times. Western Force winger Curtis Rona wins a test debut as a replacement for his injured team mate Dane Haylett-Petty.

The pack remains as per Italy except for Sean McMahon starting at 8 over the benched Lopeti Timani. Rob Simmons as the reserve lock is probably the biggest controversy and somewhat of a surprise given the media surrounding young Izack Rodda this week. Simmons is on the verge of signing with the Waratahs, allegedly, so some will suggest his selection was purely a contractual obligation…

The All Blacks have made plenty of changes to their side from the one that drew their last test against the British and Irish Lions. The dynamic Damian McKenzie has earned his first start and will wear the 15 jersey on Saturday as Bun Smuth reverts to wing. Of significance also is the selection of Sonny Bill Williams at 12 with Ryan Crotty outside of him. This will be Williams first game of actual, real-life, no-mucking-around rugby since his red card against the Lions.

As per the Wallabies, there aint a lot of change in the pack as Jerome Kaino is dropped and Liam Squire selected instead.

Retallick, Crockett, Whitelock and Read prepare for a lineout.

Retallick, Crockett, Whitelock and Read – formidable.

Key Match Ups

Will Genia v Aaron Smith – Ok Will. You’re the most experienced scrumhalf in Australian Rugby. You’ve just re-signed to play here for the next couple of years. You are part of the leadership team. You owe us. so give us your best George Gregan and just verbally give it to Smith! Sanchez  you should be just constantly in his ear about “snecky toilet action” and calling him “sawn afterdavid”.  Look I don’t know if it will work but we’ve got to take the ascendancy off the All Blacks and attack any weakness. Smith’s mental state has to be up there.

Kieran Reid v Sean McMahon – Reid is one of the finest players in the game and just another in the long line of highly respected All Black backrow leaders. Sean McMahon burst onto the Australian rugby scene as a schoolboy when he opted to play for the Australian 7s team rather than going to Schoolies.  A former Australia Under 20s captain, Super Rugby Rookie of the Year, and NRC Player of the Year he’s been on the path to ‘greatness’ for a while. With 15 caps under his belt he’s only shown glimpses of his abilities at the international level and with an overseas contract looming, this may be his last chance to show Aussie fans he’s up to it. We need his physicality and running impact to match it with this kiwi pack.

Photo credit: Peter Mitchell

This aint Super Rugby anymore – time to step up, Sean. (Photo credit: Peter Mitchell)

Prediction:

The only way the Wallabies will win this match is if each and everyone of them play the game of their lives. This can’t be about promise anymore. Ned Hanigan has to show the aggression and skill to match his look. Sio has to recapture the form that saw him push his claims to be the world’s best a couple of years ago. The pack needs to follow Adam Coleman. The backs need to be just absolutely clinical. We’ve picked a team to score more points than the kiwis (ala Ireland last year) rather than out muscle them (ala the Lions). There will be no room for missed passes and dodgy kicks. Precision play all game.

If the Wallabies can do all of this then they are a very real chance to upset an All Black team that failed to win its last two tests, has a backline that has little combination and a couple of potential targets for pressure application.  It’s worth noting that the best of the British Isles (sans Scots) were the last team to beat the All Blacks. It’s also worth noting we have the best of the British and Irish Isles (sans Scots) controlling this match. Fate perhaps?

All Blacks by 25.

Team lists & details


Australia

1 Scott Sio
2 Stephen Moore
3 Allan Alaalatoa
4 Rory Arnold
5 Adam Coleman
6 Ned Hanigan
7 Michael Hooper [c]
8 Sean McMahon
9 Will Genia
10 Bernard Foley
11 Curtis Rona
12 Kurtley Beale
13 Samu Kerevi
14 Henry Speight
15 Israel Folau

Reserves:

16 Tatafu Polota-Nau
17 Tom Robertson
18 Sekope Kepu
19 Rob Simmons
20 Lopeti Timani
21 Nick Phipps
22 Reece Hodge
23 Tevita Kuridrani

New Zealand

1 Joe Moody
2 Codie Taylor
3 Owen Franks
4 Brodie Retallick
5 Samuel Whitelock
6 Liam Squire
7 Sam Cane
8 Kieran Read [C]
9 Aaron Smith
10 Beauden Barrett
11 Rieko Ioane
12 Sonny Bill Williams
13 Ryan Crotty
14 Ben Smith
15 Damian McKenzie

Reserves:

16 Nathan Harris
17 Wyatt Crockett
18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi
19 Luke Romano
20 Ardie Savea
21 TJ Perenara
22 Lima Sopoaga
23 Anton Lienert-Brown


Details

Date: Saturday, 19 August

Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Kick-off: 8:00pm (AEST)

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Andrew Brace (Ireland)

TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

  • Andy

    Like the selection of Rona. Really rate him. But my worry is up front. The difference in quality in the packs is so significant it’s scary. To be honest, I couldn’t see this Wallaby pack bettering a single NZ S15 team. It is that weak imo. I hope I’m very wrong.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I couldn’t disagree more in regards to the tight 5, I think they match up quite well. AAA is as good as any All Black THP, Coleman and Arnold while not quite All Black quality are as good as Romano in my opinion and Sio is excellent around the park even if not a fantastic scrummager. Moore is… Well, he’s 2017 Stephen Moore…

      The back-row is where we are about to get pumped. We’ve picked two 7s (like the Pooper) only neither of them is as good as Pocock. To compensate for our undersize back-row, rather than pick Timani (who is a monster) Cheika has selected an insipid wet lettuce at 6 who seems to have learned his physicality and ruck inspecting qualities from Dean Mumm.

      The backline’s defence will be atrocious. Neither Foley nor Beale know how to make a tackle. Kerevi has issues with defensive reads as well, so I wouldn’t pair him with anyone but a strong defender at 12 so he can simply look after himself. Unfortunately, he will have to cover for the two turnstiles inside of him. And so we are doomed in the 10-12 and 12-13 channels on turnover ball.

      None of our back three can kick, Genia is constantly charged down, and Foley has the worst kicking game of any international 10 I have ever seen. Remember the 2015 WC final where they pinned us in our 22 with kicks?

      • Will

        That was a brutal but very accurate summation! God help us!

      • Who?

        Great post. Very much agree with your points about the tight five – I reckon they’re the strongest part of our team. Even with Squeaky being a bit past his best.
        When our tight five is a strength, it means one of two things. Either we win RWC’s, or we’ve completely lost our way. For our tight five to be our only strength, I believe it’s the latter… I mean, it’s great we have such a strong tight five, and that we’re actually developing depth there. We’ve got Tui, Rodda, Philip, Staniforth, etc all coming through in the locks. We’ve got Kepu on the bench at THP, and some promising young props behind him (with work to be done building depth at LHP, but the cupboard’s not bare – it’s not 2004). And hooker, Taf’s still there, Latu’s coming along, Ready looked good last year (hopefully he can step up), I don’t mind what I’ve seen of Abel, Uelese’s in the squad…
        But we’ve gone from having impossible depths of riches in the backrow – primarily at 7 (Pocock, Gill, I’d include the regularly overlooked Alcock and Colby Fainga’a, even Jordy Reid) – to fielding a player who’s heading overseas (McMahon – in spite of Cheik’s constant statements about not selecting people who won’t be available for 2019) and picking a bloke for his fourth Test seemingly locked into a Test spot when he’s not even convinced himself that he’s ready to be there yet, let alone anyone else. And our backline…
        Scary thing is, if we really wanted, we have real potential, across the whole team. But selections and tactics leave us thin, consistently thin. Selections, it’s barely any personnel changes, it’s more positional changes and maybe one person swapped. Try Beale to 15, Folau to 14, Rona to the bench, Kuridrani to 13, Kerevi to 12 – really not hard! Suddenly our midfield defence goes from being a sieve to being rock solid (because Kerevi doesn’t need to make as many tough defensive decisions at 12 as at 13, and TK’s an excellent defender at 13). Our attack stays strong, because Beale can contribute just as easily as a playmaker from 15 as he can from 12, and he can return kicks from there (an extra attacking threat! Or just clearing the ball – something Folau/Rona/Speight can’t do). That may well happen, he may well switch back to 11 on defence with Rona in 13 and Kerevi moving into 12. But the labelling of jerseys does impact on where players switch in Grey’s overly complicated defensive system. Because Rona’s not necessarily going to be on the correct side of the field when he suddenly needs to start defending at 13, when he’s attacking on the wing. The same goes for considerations of who’ll kick. We really do present less than our best, and it’s not the players’ fault. Or even a lack of depth. And for all the talk of, “Cheik should play a power game,” there’s no better way to play a power game than to have Kerevi/TK/Folau all on the field at once!!!

        • jamie

          Amazing analysis. Well done.

          For a country known for its amazing backline ability throughout the decades, we sure seem thin at the moment. Yet all the pieces of an attacking, equally balanced backline is there. For me, with no injuries, I’d go

          Genia
          Cooper
          Folau
          Hodge/Kerevi
          Kerevi/Hodge
          Naivalu
          Beale

          I count 1 weak defender, and 1 defender who tackles too high.

          Cooper, Hodge and Beale gives us a terrific kicking spine. As does Foley at 10, I suppose. Nowhere near the length Cooper has, and nothing on Hodge.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I see Hodge as a longterm 13 or 15 more than anything else. He isn’t strong enough in the heavy traffic to play 12 successfully, in my opinion, and while he has decent vision he doesn’t have the hands for 12 either.

          That being said, as I said he does have good vision and awareness to be able to open up his outside backs, and that is easier from 13 where he has more space. Also, while not being super strong through contact he is very quick. Therefore, I think Kerevi, due to his better hands and offloads and being much stronger in heavy traffic and having better footwork would be a superior 12 and Hodge a superior 13.

          He needs to play a full season at SR at 13 before he is an option defending there internationally though, in my opinion.

        • John Tynan

          “Beale to 15, Folau to 14, Rona to the bench, Kuridrani to 13, Kerevi to 12 ”
          Copy that, that’s how I’d line them up too.

        • Sevenwithasixonmyback

          Really good breakdown of strengths and weaknesses and how we overcome (many) gaps with the cattle we currently have. Like the fact you mention Jordy Reid. His time in a gold jumper must come. Aggressive. Always puts his body on the line. So strong since his step up from Marlins. Took to SR training really well. Ate it up. Became a beast. Wallabies need a beast or two. Intimidate opposition as we are regularly intimidated. We rely perhaps too much on twinkle toes and set pieces that we fail to complete. A bit of monster out there has been missing, perhaps since Owen Finegan…
          Morbid curiosity indeed. But I do love a Bledisloe. Wallabies will never be top tier in my eyes until we start beating the Kiwis.

        • Braveheart81

          I’d bet my house that Jordy Reid will never play for the Wallabies.

        • Sevenwithasixonmyback

          Is that ‘cos Poey’s coming back, there’s too many flankers in the wings or you just don’t rate him?
          By rights he’s a Number 6.
          Put Poey in again at 8 (not ideal but he’d perform as 7 in the breakdown), a big menacing 6 (your choice) and keep the Cheikmeister’s Hoops at 7 where he can niggle and provide defensive support to WG and Bernard (where it’s needed) at the breakdown instead of fluffing the pilfer. Might allow them some kicking room…
          As a class 7, Hoops is still better on the fringe than in the guts.
          Three Flankers. Each a specialist. Jackal. Monster. Dash and bash.
          In saying that, I’m still excited about Hanigan and McMahon’s efforts tomorrow.

        • Braveheart81

          He plays with plenty of passion and mongrel but ultimately I don’t think he is nearly good enough. He’s not enough of a lineout option at test level to play 6 and I don’t think is big enough to play 8 and doesn’t have the other upsides that make a non-ideal 8 work (like Pocock or McMahon).

      • John Tynan

        hehehe “ruck inspecting qualities”.
        Fine Australian Gold, my friend

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Wasn’t sure whether to go with ruck inspecting ‘qualities’ or ‘qualifications’.

          Either way, Dean Mumm was the Master and Ned Hanigan his Padawan. Hopefully he doesn’t permanently take the position of permanent passenger in the Wallabies’ forward pack previously occupied by Mumm.

  • Moose

    Thanks for the preview Reg.
    My heart has such high hopes, but my brain has such low expectations. Prove my brain wrong you magnificent bastards. Go Wallabies!

  • Simon

    Any bookies taking bets on how long into the match it takes for the Wallabies to get charged down? My bet is 10-20 minutes.

    • Will

      You mean a Genia-Box-Kick-Charge-Down-Special…. more like 20 seconds.

      • Simon

        I’m working on the assumption it’ll take at least 10 minutes for them to hold onto the pill long enough.

        • I don’t want to up vote this, but it made me laugh.

        • Brisneyland Local

          GO on you know you want to!
          You are only human!

        • I’m not human, I’m a perfect lesbian unicorn snowflake :p

    • lee enfield

      Why not make it a multi bet and throw in:
      1. Genia box kick charged down.
      2. Foley charged down.
      3. Foley fails to find touch on penalty.
      4. Wallabies receive a yellow card for dangerous tackle.

      And as a value special, Cheika has a rant about the ref in the after match presser and takes no accountability for the loss (should the wallabies lose).

      • Missing Link

        I started to laugh at this because it was funny, then I realised it’s likely to come true

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah me too. Now I am already drwoning myself with beer and the game hasnt even started yet!

      • Simon

        We could actually get a pretty good game of Wallabies Bingo out of this. Throw in a few more:

        5. Moore finds grass with a lineout throw
        6. Moore gets told to go away by the ref (even though he’s not captain)
        7. Hooper makes a line break and gets turned over because there’s not another Wallaby with 10 metres of him
        8. Wallabies go 10+ phases with no net gain in territory
        9. Halftime interviewer says “Well, (player) disappointing first half, what do you have to do to turn it around?”

        • John Tynan

          5 should be “Taf finds the grass”
          9 wouldn’t get odds

        • Brumby Runner

          I would add,
          10. Beale gets YCed for a high tackle (probably the first time he attempts to stop SBW).

      • 11. The AB jump on a Moore throw and you’d swear that was the called throw it looks so good.

      • Brisneyland Local

        You could also add:
        – Cheika smashes phone / window of coaching box.
        – Phipps throws a bad pass.
        – Phipps has a brain snap and pushes a medic in the back.
        – Foley actually gets a kick more than 20 metres.
        – Beale sends an innappropriate Whats app message.
        – Beale punches his captain in the face on the bus.

  • Tim

    Both our wingers cant kick. Izzy isn’t a great kicker. Nz will just kick deep pressure us on the break down the whole game. We are fucked

    • Braveheart81

      Given how many tries the All Blacks score returning kicks, I’m kind of glad our back three aren’t likely to kick much.

      • Brumby Runner

        Ahhh. Cheika’s secret plan disclosed at last.

  • idiot savant

    Reg for mental coach! I want to hear Will ask Aaron if he’ll give a ‘sawn afterdavid’ that he will feed the scrum straight. Cum to think of it, theres a whole world of double entendre opportunity in this match. We’ve got a nice looking hooker with a tight head, or if he prefers a loose head. We can touch, bind, and engage before putting it in. Apparently Aaron loves that.

  • Gottsy

    My heart is full of hope, but my brain says this will be but a training run for NZ.
    Our back row is all over the place- I would like to see Coleman and Arnold playing out the match, then Simmons and timani coming on at 6&8 to tighten things up a bit when we are down by 20 with half an hour to go.
    Pretty keen to see how Beale and kerevi go in the midfield, Rona is a good prospect too

  • Tommy Brady

    Thank you Reg – well written. If the 2015 RWC final was the most significant match for Australian rugby in many years, I believe Saturday’s match could be it’s most important. As we have all witnessed, the sport has suffered enormous credibility damage this year and Saturday shapes as a wonderful opportunity to reclaim some of that lost credibility.

    I believe too the match shapes as an enormous test for Michael Cheika. His Wallabies regressed in 2016 and have shown little improvement in 3 tests in 2017. His decision last year to prepare for this same match with a 3 week camp flopped. What changed in the 2017 camp to ensure a far better outcome? These are also highly emotional times for rugby in Australia. Saturday feels a time for meticulous planning, quiet constructive thoughts, cool heads and poised, measured action in the battle. It doesn’t feel a time for old-school motivational hype, expletitive laden team talks and emotional rants that form the backdrop to ill-disciplined on-field behavior. Has Cheika learned, or is he a one trick pony?

    The All Blacks are angry about the B&I Lions series. They targeted excellence and were not. They claim to have reviewed thoroughly and Saturday will be their first measure of that review process. This will not be a confident All Black side – but they’ll target accuracy and efficiency. They’ll be predictable. Has Cheika prepared for predictable? Have his Wallabies learned to be calm in the battle? Have skill levels responded to focused training in their extended camp? Will all the recent conditioning work bring late yield, not heavy legs? There is plenty to play for. The near term future for rugby in Australia feels to be riding on it.

    • Who?

      I’m not sure that an All Blacks team with DMac starting for the first time can be completely predictable… If Barrett, McKenzie and Ioane can combine well, they could be truly unstoppable. I think you’re right they won’t be confident, though – I think they’ll come out angry and focused.
      But a great post. Great questions.

      • Alex J

        Great post Tommy
        Who? I tend to agree on the unpredictability point as to some of the players on debut or early in their international careers. There are a few players trying to prove themselves worthy of the all black brand. They have no doubt been coached on a mantra of discipline and control, but we really don’t know what they will do.

        It seems likely that tactically they will be a step ahead of us again as we have some structural weakness in how we need to arrange oursleves defensively, in a kicking tertitory battle for example, which they should be good enough to exploit. I also cant see us being dominant at the breakdown so posession and field position will be hard won and need to be treasured when available.

    • Joe King

      The NZers deserve respect. They rarely have a bad team or game. They are always highly motivated and focused. I doubt anything will be different. It is a privilege and an honour to be playing them. Looking forward to the challenge. I hope they bring their best because should the Wallabies win, the victory will be sweet. But all the best to our Kiwi cousins across the ditch. Deep down we really love you guys.

  • MungBean

    Australian rugby is toast. I’m now just hanging around out of morbid curiosity.

    • onlinesideline

      “morbid curiosity” – lol – thats it

  • jamie

    Small (but not quick) pack. Laughable back row. Beale the only decent boot in the backline. 3 Blind wingers, one on debut, in the back 3.

    NZ licking their lips.

    I can understand 11,12,13,14, it looks electric. Very weak defensively though, especially when you add 10. But fuck, does Cheik not understand the point of kicking?

    If it ain’t the ARU making it hard to love rugby, it’s Cheika.

    Ah well, my Colts grand final on the weekend.

    • Who?

      Um, no, he doesn’t. :-(

    • Pedro

      A pack containing Arnold and Coleman couldn’t really be described as small.

      • jamie

        Moore, Hanigan, Hooper and McMahon offset that.

        • Braveheart81

          McMahon is the only backrower giving up significant size to his opposite. Hooper is shorter than Cane but not much different in weight.

          I think they’ll fare better than you’re expecting.

        • John Tynan

          I’d like a blind side with another 10 kegs on him. Macmahon is strong, agile, quick, and I wish the rest of the team could show the same level of effort (probably Hooper aside) but there’s a reason he keeps getting injured, and it’s got nothing to do with ticker.

        • Braveheart81

          I would too, but looks like Cheika has gone with Hanigan to sure up the lineout. I would have rolled the dice with a starting backrow of McMahon, Timani and Hooper for maximum impact in general play.

          Hopefully Hanigan develops into a good replacement for Fardy in the short term and/or Ross Haylett-Petty gets involved in the squad as I think he has lots of potential there. In the current squad and in general in Australian Rugby, we are lacking options at 6 who really fit the bill as a big bodied player who is a strong lineout option.

        • John Tynan

          A big 10-4 to that. Hannigan definitely has the potential, probably not ever going to be as good as Fards over the ball though. He has just been rushed, is all and (IMO) isn’t quite ready for internationals – but the difference is probably only one more preseason in the gym – both bulking up but also keeping explosiveness/mobility with the extra weight – and one more S12/15/18 season.

        • Braveheart81

          I would have kept Fardy around for these tests as he is the best option right now after showing good form this season (far better than his form last season). That said, he’s leaving and won’t be back so biting the bullet now and working on the next player in line makes reasonable sense (I know a lot don’t agree that it should be Hanigan, but it is what it is).

        • Brumby Runner

          BH, I think you are falling into a trap in denying Fardy’s form from last year. All through 2016, he was the form No 6 in the Aus franchises but missed playing for Dean Mumm of all people. I think (you may have suggested this before) that Cheika sees Hanigan in the same light as he saw Mumm, but that has led to two years and counting of poor selections and lack of competitiveness at the breakdown.

        • Braveheart81

          I think his form was average last year, particularly at test level. Mumm’s wasn’t much better but he had some good performances early in the season against England which got him selected ahead of Fardy. Fardy was not in strong form last year. He was way off the player that made him an outstanding Wallaby in the years prior to that. Whilst he could have been brought back in to start ahead of Mumm later in the season there wasn’t really any compelling show of form that demanded that.

          I think Fardy was right back to that top form this year.

        • Brumby Runner

          I absolutely disagree. Mumm has never produced a dominant performance at test level, and his form over a number of seasons of SR and overseas never really warranted his call up to the Wallabies.

          Again, I say you are selling Fardy short on his form last year, probably due to seeing less of him than perhaps I did, and maybe just following the lead comments from other posters who ste the bandwagon running.

          Fardy missed out on selection last year and this for reasons other than form. That is as clear as day. Right now, I would hazard there isn’t more than a handful of people who think he shouldn’t have been the starting NO 6 for the Wallabies in all tests this year. Unfortunately, the one who counts is measured in that handful, but is not being held accountable for his non-selection or the totally unwarranted selections of Hanigan, Dempsey and Phipps in the Wallabies this year.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          100% agree, see above.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Anyone who watched a significant amount of rugby in 2016 and 17 knows that Fardy is the form pick at 6 (I suspect even Cheika knows) and the only reason not to select him then and now were non-rugby reasons.

          The moment he and Cheika’s relationship broke down was in Bled 2 last year. Fardy is having a great game and Coleman is yellow carded for a late hit and Cheika uses it as an excuse to take off Fardy. Wtf, he had been one of our best performing forwards until then?

          Mumm came on and proceeded to do sweet shit all. The ruck inspector himself came on and watched rucks from afar rather than getting involved like Fardy and immediately our breakdown work was compromised. He was niggly and lazy and lacked physicality and immediately started going poorly.

          This continued for the rest of the international season with Mumm doing what he has always done – catching line out balls and then being absolutely useless to atrocious everywhere else. He flat out lost Australia the Irish game (and I say this as an Australian-Irishman) through his stupid unforced errors.

          He has no physicality, no gravitas and no impact. He tries to make up for this through niggly play. News flash, Dean, you can’t get away with this unless you’re a hard man like Bakkies Botha, and you’re not.

          Some of Fardy’s 2017 games were the best performances by a blindside flanker we have seen since Elsom before his Irish stint. He has a physical presence, makes a lot of dominant tackles, is a leader and organiser and is our best forward at the breakdown now that Pocock has gone away. He is also tall and a good line out option. In short, he is the perfect compliment to someone like Hooper, allowing Hooper to play his looser game without sacrificing the breakdown.

          Fardy deserved the 6 jersey in 2016, his form for the Brumbies was decent and he put on a few average performances in June, whereas blokes like Foley, Moore, Phipps, Mumm and Skelton were allowed numerous garbage ones. After this, he was barely given another chance except vs France, in which the Wallaby back-row functioned much better than it did otherwise.

          He deserves to be playing 6 in 2017. I know it, I bet you know it, even Cheika knows it.

          The allegations against Fardy’s form in 2016-17 is based purely on fantasies. The problem with nonsense like this though is that when enough people repeat it it tends to become accepted as fact, despite being BS.

        • Who?

          This line is absolutely key:
          “In short, he is the perfect compliment to someone like Hooper, who likes to play looser.”
          I’ve always said the reason Hooper had such a blinding start to his international career was that, in 2013, whilst he was already a Tah, he was playing (under Link) in a loose forward trio that knew each other inside out from their time together the year before at the Brumbies, and that perfectly complemented each other through their own strengths. We had Mowen and Fardy hard over the ball at every breakdown, which then worked with Hooper roaming wider. We had Hooper running the ball heaps, where that wasn’t Fardy’s strength back then. Back in those days, none of those blokes would’ve made a World XV, but as a loose forward combination, they worked brilliantly together.
          It’s a perfect example that selection isn’t about picking the best players, but about picking the best combinations. And that’s not about where they play, or played. It’s about complementary skillsets. Since then, we haven’t had as balanced a combination around Hooper. Because whilst Pocock’s a fantastic breakdown player, he’s not got the height of Fardy and Mowen, who were both excellent lineout options (Mowen, along with Simmons, being the best lineout operator in the country at the time, meaning we had a loose forward trio that ensured we had four genuine lineout options, making our lineout the envy of most countries around the world). Without Pocock, Cheika’s tendency is to ignore the ball on the ground… Which is where Fardy has it over most every other blindside. Which is part of why Cheika doesn’t see value in Fardy…

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Absolutely agree, brilliantly said.

          Letting Mowen go was one of the stupidest mistakes Australian rugby has made. I don’t care that’s perhaps he wasn’t the best 8 in terms of skill set, Australia hadn’t seen his sort leadership ability his since Eales and Gregan. I doubt all the Link rubbish would have gone down with Mowen in charge.

        • idiot savant

          I think if McMahon gets injured, Check might have no option but to bring Fardy back in.

        • jamie

          My issue is though, is that Hanigan in gold when he’s (to me, clearly) not ready means he’s not in the gym, and gets a shortened preseason. Playing rugby more will help his fitness and development as a player absolutely, but I doubt he’ll get much stronger while playing 6 and (presumably) only having a maintenance style gym routine.

          Preseason matters when you’re his age more than they matter when you’re fully developed (i.e. Timani, Fardy. Pocock)

        • Pedro

          Haha Moore is small?

        • jamie

          Well he certainly doesn’t hit like a big man…

        • Pedro

          Spoken like someone who hides behind a computer screen.

          As someone who’ll be on the sidelines for the test I can’t make such brave comments.

        • jamie

          Oh that’s right, because I’m a not wallaby I can’t criticise them, let alone one that should’ve hung the boots up 2 years ago.

        • Pedro

          You’re a Wallaby?

        • Pedro
        • jamie

          Yep. Typo. Changed. Your point?

        • Pedro

          Just added so my reply made sense.

        • Brumby Runner

          Don’t know Jamie. Think I’d rather be hit by Simmons, a big man, than by Moore.

        • Funk

          After a quick Wiki search… Wallabies pack 906kgs
          aigs 916kgs

  • Adhesi

    Wallaby Players which have previously played/currently play in the centres:
    Bernard Foley
    Curtis Rona
    Kurtley Beale
    Samu Kerevi
    Henry Speight
    Israel Folau
    Reece Hodge
    Tevita Kuridrani

  • So half-backs that tactically kick poorly and a back-three that seem unable or unwilling to kick. This isn’t going to be painful to watch at all.

    Can that pack really stand up and produce ball against what we have to say is a pretty battle-hardened All Black pack. Quite is the only one there that didn’t start against the Lions after all and that AB tight five didn’t take a step backwards that I saw when all the pundits said that would be part of where the Lions would beat them up. Moore is old and unless he plays loads for the Wobs than he has all year, he’s not going to outperform Taylor, Alaatoa in his first test against Moody – those are serious GAG goggles if you back any debutant against an experienced prop like that. Miracles do happen but lets wait and see. Sio against Franks… maybe but he’s going to struggle on his own I think.

    Given McKenzie kicks his goals, you can’t even say there’s an edge in goal kicking. This might be messier than the prediction line. What’s the betting like?

    • Stin

      I agree. Except Alaalatoa has played 12 times for Wobblies so he’s not a debutant. First game against Moody though maybe. Nevertheless – Brutal.

      • Bah, I’m going mad. Sorry Alaalatoa I should have remembered that.

  • Queenslander

    Saw a couple of ABs trying on some rubber gloves in preparation for the 80 minute prostate examinination they are about to conduct on us. Deep breath and just accept it as necessary for our future development

    • Missing Link

      I hope you spotted a tube of lubricant as well, that’s the least they could do for us

      • Jasper Sapien.

        I just hope they call afterwards.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Hey Qlder, saw that as well. But they peeled them off and threw them away, and got out the vetenary glowes. the ones that go all the way to the shoulder! Because we are about to get fisted!

      • Queenslander

        LOL that is funny shit

        • Brisneyland Local

          I try my best!

  • Stin

    So what happens…? Beale goes to open side winger in defence and Rona and Kerevi slide in? At least gives us at least one exit kick option plus 0.25 for Folau. Oh God!

  • Bernie Chan

    Cheika has said that the Wallas won’t copy the Lions…fair enough. Frankly, we could not replicate what the Lions did as we don’t “have the cattle”….However, is it symptomatic of our ills that Cheika is solving our “defensive frailties” by appointing Grey as the full time Defence Coach after the same man coached the worst TAHs defence in recent memory? Can we not see the forest for the trees…?

  • Brumby Runner

    No room for missed passes and dodgy kicks, Reg? I am anticipating many dodgy kicks from WG with one or two leading directly to tries, and missed passes will start to rain down when Phipps enters the fray.

    If only those were the only issues we need to be afraid of. I also anticipate more than a handful of missed tackles in the mid-field leading to some spectacular NZ tries, at least two or three breaks by DMac down his outside flank leading to another couple of almost field length tries. And then, of course, there will be the constant pressure through the forwards where our two undersized backrowers and the imitation No 12 will simply be run over by their grown up, fully man sized opponents.

    Go Wallabies. And after that, Go Cheika – the hell away from our national treasure.

    • Queenslander

      100% Brumby, I don’t think I can stand to see another charge down kick. Friggin slow learners and unsure why the coaching staff have not told Sanchez to shove the box kick where the sun don’t shine. However my tip Wallabies by 10

  • Woolfe

    With the EARU destroying the national game this is the first time in my life I have not been excited about a bledisloe. I suspect I am not a lone wolf here. Very sad.

    • John Tynan

      I think you meant **lone Woolfe**

    • Missing Link

      Are you still supporting the Wallabies?

  • juswal

    There are two questions facing the 2017 Wallabies:

    1. Do we have an attacking plan that can cope with the rush defence?
    2. Do we have an effective defensive plan that the players can execute?

    If Cheika has come up with ‘yes’ answers, there will be some good rugby to watch.

    If Cheika continues answering ‘no’, we’ll see the same results as in 2016.

    • Gilbert

      No we dont

    • joy

      Do we have better players?

      • juswal

        It’s a question worth asking but it’s a secondary issue. The first thing we need is a modern, smart, Test-level game plan. If we had better players but the same crap tactics, we’d keep losing.

        Crap Tactics would be a good name for a band.

      • jamie

        Our team, when it’s on, is probably 2nd best in the world in terms of natural skill and talent.

        Australia is probably the 2nd best country in the world when it comes to developing skillful players (somehow). They’re just not coached properly, IMO.

  • Gilbert

    All blacks by 40.. we have the finest defence coach in the world…. bunch of F**k wits.

  • Fatflanker

    “This will be Williams first game of actual, real-life, no-mucking-around rugby since his red card against the Lions.” Gold. I’m frankly a bit amazed NZ saw the need to stretch credibility on this one. Obviously Hanson clearly in a state of mild panic over Wallabies’ intangible (but massive) benefits gleaned from training at Penrith.

    This is the acid test for Team Cheika. There has been ample time for preparation and a minimal injury count going in to this test. The cattle are there to make a real contest of the line out. There is a real opportunity for the forwards to make a statement in the scrum against what is, arguably, the best national scrum in world rugby.

    Please, give us some sort of demonstration that a viable game plan is evolving and that the very evident weaknesses we’ve seen to date are being addressed.

    • Brumby Runner

      Yes, totally on the mark. But there are already so many apologists for Cheika already posting here and in the forums heaping all the blame for a loss, if it happens, on the players and not on the coaching staff and their game plans and preparation. I mostly refer to Cheika and Gray, but also include Larkham in that group as well.

      • Fatflanker

        This series has to be Gray’s last chance. Watching the highlight reel for last year’s Sydney fixture, you could only call the WB defence inept. It wasn’t tacklers falling off tackles either – more often than not, no-one was in position to make the tackle when it counted.

  • first time long time

    I am disturbed that there will be a predicted 30, 000 free seats at ANZ stadium tonight.
    Given that of the 55, 000 going, I reckon at least half will be wearing black….. What has the ARU done to fill those other seats with gold?

    Give those tickets away to kids on the proviso they wear gold and scream for their team.
    An empty seat does no one any good but even free ticket has tangible benefits for rugby;
    Atmosphere
    Food and drink purchases
    Drown out the AllBlack supporters
    And the intangible lift for the team

    Sure there will be the cries from some who have paid for the overpriced tickets but it is no different to flying on standby… You might get a cheap ticket but nothing is guaranteed unless you stump up the cash.

    This ground needs to be full and amidst the disaster of the last couple of months the ARU still has time to mobilise today and achieve at least that.

    • first time long time

      I just want to apologise to anyone who was given a free ticket because of my rant above.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well GAGR’s I have been a little quiet of late so I have saved my best for last. Though I dont think I can beat Queenslanders comments about the rubber gloves.

    I have already started consuming beers, infact I am onto my third, so if this sounds like the ramblings of a mad man then at least I can say I warned you (STRONG LANGUAGE WARNING).

    We are in all kinds of shit here tonight. I want to be proved wrong, but we are going to have things done to us tonight that you couldnt pay expensive Russian Hookers in Dubai to do! And they will do anything! (So I have been told).

    I think we are going to get pummelled. Reg I disagree with Simmons being the only real controversy is not quite accurate. Phipps, Robertson just to name two. The AB’s are going to be primed after the BIL series, where they feel they were a little hardly done by. So they have a point to prove and that is going to be taken out on our hide!

    All the potential bad things that people have listed below as betting options, are all actually going to happen. I hate being this negative, but I am so apprehensive about how badly we will perfomr that I genuinely dont believe that I can be shocked tonight about how badly we are going to fuck this up!

    Oh the horror!

    • Who?

      Well, a 20 point margin was WAY tighter than I imagined… Think the ABs left points out there – we could’ve faced a 70+ point scoreline if they’d kept going. Not sure the 20 point margin is a good thing, either – kind of sugar coats an incredibly poor performance. :-(

      • Brisneyland Local

        I agree! Wait for me comments on the match review! I will be launching of the top turnbuckle!

  • Parker

    As I’m wathcing the Bled, all I can think is that we need a real defensive coach. I long for the quality we had when Muggleton was in charge of defence.

  • mikado

    Well, this is pretty horrific :(

Wallabies
@RugbyReg

The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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