Wallaby 2019 RWC Squad Announced - Green and Gold Rugby
Rugby World Cup

Wallaby 2019 RWC Squad Announced

Wallaby 2019 RWC Squad Announced

Michael Cheika has announced his final RWC squad for this year’s tournament in Japan.  The Rugby Australia selection panel looked to have a relatively easy decision making process after a record win over New Zealand in Perth a few weeks ago.  That was turned on its head when the All Blacks returned serve with a dominant showing in Auckland, with many Wallabies under performing.

The big winners would seen to be in the centres where teenage rookie Jordan Petaia has been named, despite limited game time this year, alongside the veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper who will be part of his fourth RWC squad having first appeared back in 2007. AAC sits just two tries behind his old mate Drew Mitchell on the all time RWC Wallaby tryscorers list. David Pocock has also returned from injury and earned selection after a long and uncertain break from the game.

Notable absentees include Tom Banks, Peter Samu and Luke Jones while Dane Haylett-Petty, Bernard Foley, Jack Dempsey and Jordan Uelese secure spots that may have previously been under contention. There was no last minute selection of Will Skelton.

The 31 man squad is:

Hookers – Tolu Latu, Jordan Uelese, Folau Faingaa

Props – Scott Sio, James Slipper, Allan Alaalatoa, Taniela Tupou, Sekopu Kepu

Locks – Rob Simmons, Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda, Rory Arnold

Backrow – Jack Dempsey, Lukhan Salakai-Loto, David Pocock, Michael Hooper [c], Isi Naisarani

Scrumhalves – Nic White, Will Genia

Flyhalves – Christian Lealiifano, Bernard Foley, Matt Toomua

Centres – Samu Kerevi, Tevita Kuridrani, James O’Connor, Jordan Petaia

Back three – Marika Koroibete, Reece Hodge, Dane Haylett-Petty, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale.

Additonal players have been picked to be part of an extended training squad, and for the final test pre-RWC against Samoa on 7 September. They are Joe Powell, Tom Banks, Liam Wright, Luke Jones and Tatafu Polota-Nau.

The Wallabies RWC are in Pool D in Japan with their matches being as follows:

Saturday 21 September v Fiji

Sunday 29 September v Wales

Saturday 5 October v Uruguay

Friday 11 October v Georgia

  • onlinesideline

    I cannot belive DHP over Banks
    Not suprised Dempsey in Jones out
    Stoked Ulesses and Patai are in
    Really find ACC hard to justify

    • OnTheBurst

      What has Dempsey done to deserve selection? Honest question…

      • Andy

        Good player but have no idea how he can be selected over Samu and Jones. I would be so gutted if I was those 2

        • onlinesideline

          But Dempsey is an 8, Jones was either 6 or lock.

        • Andy

          Dempsey is an 8 if you believe in unicorns or work in Moore Park.

          In the real world he is a skilled but small 6 at best

        • Ron Moloney

          I agree Andy, Dempsey’s reputation is built around stepping around a couple of tired All Blacks a couple of years ago. He plays like a butterfly with no sting. We need a good ball runner that also does some grunt work. Maybe he should be replacing AAC on the wing??

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Quality comment. I will say that a few yeas ago Dempsey looked like he could develop into a quality player, but he has offered nothing for years.

      • onlinesideline

        mate, I cant argue with the fact that Samu on Super form deserves it.
        But I really think thats not how he Cheika works. I think its more he compares the best of one guy in recent good form V the best of another guy before injury and just makes a call. In saying that I really like Dempseys footwork for a big guy in and around the loose play. We desparately need the forwards linking close in and up the guts and he is a good stepper and offloader.

        • AllyOz

          I don’t mind Dempsey’s selection. I would prefer that LSL was picked as a second-rower – and we pick another genuine blindside/8 option – I am not sure if that is Jones or he is more a lock than can also play on the side like LSL. The blind side options look pretty bare. That probably hints towards a return (at least at times in the game) to L-R loosies combination (rather than open – blind) with Pocock and Hooper – keeping Naisarani at 8) at least for some games. I would rather Pocock wasn’t used at 8 but was used either to start or to come on to replace Hooper.

        • Max Graham

          Yep. Pocock and Hooper will be the flankers. No one is close to either of them.

        • Brumby Runner

          Dempsey a big guy? 1.91m and 108kg.

          Valetini is 1.93m and 113kg and a much stronger ball carrier and defender. And at least has form on the board in this year’s Super comp.

        • AllyOz

          I don’t think it’s necessarily a choice between those two. Take LSL or Jones as a lock who cover 6 for injury, drop Simmons and pick two of Dempsey, Valentini, Liam Wright (193cm also).

        • Max Graham

          If you’re picking on form, Simmons is on the plane before LSL, Jones or Coleman. Also by far the best line out operator out of those you listed.

        • Keith Butler

          I had Valentini in my Hoss’s RWC selection as back up for Naisarani. I suppose that the squad was predictable with Cheika still having a few favourites. Personally would had either either LSL or Jones instead of Simmons and then gone for a genuine 6 but they seem to be as rare as hens teeth. And as for the back three (ex Koroibete) well fark me.

        • Max Graham

          I rate Valetini and would have taken him; however he didn’t play that much in 2019. He showed great potential but didn’t get that many minutes.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Dempsey is literally a lighter and less skilled version of Lachlan McCaffrey. Guys who can play 6, 7 and 8.

      • John Tynan

        Add Uelese to that list

        • Ads

          Exactly. Ulesse, Petaia, Dempsey ,even Pocock have no form. He/they obviously see huge upside/potential. Most of us see the same thing for most of those guys.

        • Brisneyland Local

          WiIl argue the fact that Pocock is a demi-god and even 90% is still one of the best 7’s in the world.

        • Ads

          Agree 1000%. I also agree with selections of Petaia and Ulesse. I’m saying you can’t pick those 3 but then argue Dempsey “has no form”. None of them do. He reckons Dempsey has upside potential.

        • onlinesideline

          And in defense of selectors though, picking guys like Petaia and Ulesse doesnt mean they will be in starting side in big matches. He obviously sees the future in these guys and will play them sparingly. If they play the house down, then great.

        • Ads

          Absolutely. I hope Petaia ends up on the other wing to address the serious lack of pace.

        • Zippo

          A bit hard to talk about the future when cheika only has 5 games left as coach

          I hope Rugby Australia has a massive shredding machine to put cheika’s files/notes through

        • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

          Nah – let’s publish them. It will be the funniest thing anyone has ever read.

          It could even be a movie – with Cheika played by Jeffrey Tambor. Or Eric Cantona.

          Anyone else want to nominate cast members?

        • Hoss

          I nominate Milo Kerrigan for the lead.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWwMufDBipQ

        • Brisneyland Local

          Milo Kerrigan, my all time favourite Shaun Michallef character. Couldn’t agree more Hoss

        • Max Graham

          Eric Bana might be a good shot.

        • Zippo

          What about Kevin Spacey given his “shenanigans”.

          Sort of a parallel with cheika and anyone from the waratahs

        • Max Graham

          i bet Petaia, if fit, will start all the big matches.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Dempsey did not play well this season in Super. Petaia in the ,limited matches he played played well. And TBH Ulesse I am not sure on. That is my take on it anyway.
          Simmons, AAC and Kepu, well I think enough has been said on them already! ;-)

        • Ads

          It’s a sliding scale for sure Bris, with Poey at one end, then Petaia etc.

          Dempsey “at potential” addresses a lot of the criticisms of LSL at 6.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep

        • AllyOz

          Petaia’s limited matches were ultra limited. 1 full game and 5 minutes of the next. Still I get your point. I think one or two of these is worth the risk, particularly if they were able to capture the form that the Kerevi/Petaia combination had in that first game.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Agree

        • formerflanker

          That assumes he is named for the Samoa Test, plays a good 60 or so minutes, and survives injury-free.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I think against Samoa they will use his and test him for 40-50 min max. And not risk the injury! But pennies to a pound he pilfers like a bastard.

        • AllyOz

          are bastards particularly well know for their pilfering ability?

        • Brumby Runner

          They surely are. Just ask the opposition when they play against the likes of Pocock or McCaw.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Absolutely! Look at McCaw! ;-)

        • AllyOz

          case closed

        • Brisneyland Local

          The Prosecution rests Your honour!

        • Brumby Runner

          Wouldn’t it be heartening BL to see Poey actually play No 7?

        • Brisneyland Local

          I would be a truly happy man!

        • Keith Butler

          Don’t worry BL the Pooper will return. The Nearlies are playing two 7s and the SDs are doing the same against the Paddies this weekend.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yes, but they will be able to balance their backline and second row when they do that. we wont!

        • Happyman

          Me too

        • Brisneyland Local

          ;-)

        • Who?

          Remember the last time that happened in Gold by choice? Poey and Fards with a ‘B’ team, schooling the French… Great memories.

        • Damo

          And there are crazier things than giving Hooper # 6 so this could happen- because Cheika is going to select Hooper no matter what other selections are made.

        • Who?

          More likely that Hooper retains the 7, Pocock gets the 6, and they play their natural roles (i.e. we end up with Saffa style jersey numbers – openside at 6, blindside at 7).

        • John Tynan

          I thought I was the only one on Poey. It’s a big chunk of squad played very little footy this year.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Putting Dempsey in that group is absurd. Both because he does not have the asme upside as those guys, and because the other three have been injured and unable to show form. Dempsey has been uninjured plenty of the season, but he form has been terrible.

      • Zippo

        he’s a waratah.
        – imagine if Pete Samu was a waratah!!!!!!
        – lucky foley is a waratah, he should not be there and we could’ve picked an outside back with pace instead

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Dempsey has done nothing. It is just Cheika picking his favourites despite form. Again.

    • Brisneyland Local

      WHo plays Samoa and doesnt get half their squad injured!

    • formerflanker

      Foley was included because he has a strong history at test match level, and he is a better 5/8 than Toomua.
      I’m not saying he is great at international level, just that he is experienced in tough games and he is one of the best we have.

      • Who?

        Not sure if you’re serious there? He has a long history at 10, not a strong history. Look at his win/loss ratio. He was the 10 behind a pack that is, largely, unchanged this year, and was able to provide a 21 point win over the ABs. But last year we won what, 3 games? It’s not all on his shoulders, far from it, but it doesn’t point to a strong record at test match level.

      • onlinesideline

        mate he slotted the goal against Crusaders for the win and against Scotland for the win and Cheika will forever remember it. He hasnt be strong. Hes tried damn hard to play the best he can with what the Almighty has given him but he is just limited athletically. We have lost many many games with him as general.

        Im not sold on Toomua I must admit.

        • Alister Smith

          I think Foley is probably the best back up option and I think having the last month off and not playing in the loss to the ABs might help freshen him up.

      • Trouble is, if Lilo is the starting 10, you’re not (Cheika might but you wouldn’t) going to put Foley on the bench. In Cheika’s mind he adequately covers 10, but neither Lilo nor Foley really cover anywhere else (Cheika might disagree). TwoCows is not superb 10, but he’s adequate bench cover, he’s decent cover for the centres and he’s probably OK cover for 15 too. So your team sheet goes 10 Lilo, 22 TwoCows.

        You don’t need Foley… if there’s a serious injury to Lilo, you call up Foley as the 48 hour replacement deal. Alternatively, and kind of crazily after the RC, you kick Lilo to touch, and start with Foley, bringing Lilo in on the 48 hour replacement deal, TwoCows on the bench again. Still only 2 tens.

    • AllyOz

      Hopefully all the players we don’t like will play against Samoa and get injuries with 10-12 week recovery time frames.

    • Gipetto

      Ulese has the advantage of playing very little football due to injury so his reputation is intact.
      https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-union/uelese-ready-for-action-after-rollercoaster-run-with-injury-20190716-p527uw.html

  • laurence king

    Slowest back three in world rugby,Ridiculous

    • onlinesideline

      yep this will be our achilles heel all tournament.

      • Parker

        We are showing a whole Achilles leg.

    • Jarrod Arnol

      Why do we need 6 outside backs, let alone 6 slow ones?

      • laurence king

        The man doesn’t learn, he’s a dill

      • formerflanker

        Because we are going to play 10-man rugby from now on. We need outside backs who can make an impact at the breakdown, not burn the grass.
        (sarc off)

      • AllyOz

        you haven’t exactly gone crazy with your ranting Jarrod. Feel free to let it out. You are with friends.

        • laurence king

          He’s had to line up, because 400 of are already doing it

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        You call that a rant? Mate you need to step up

    • From NooZealand

      Maybe that the “in-predictability” that Mr Cheik wants to bring to the game.

    • Max Graham

      Beale, Koroibette and Petaia isn’t as slow as the back 3 we had in 2015. It’s not slow at all.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        That’s the quickest back-row we could go for, but will be embarrassing under the high ball. That’s the problem. For all his “X-factor”, Beale’s lack of high ball and tackling skills mean he should never start as Wallabies fullback again.

        • Max Graham

          Agree. He can’t catch. But he’s not slow.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He’s not quick for an outside back anymore either.

      • Seb V

        All poor kickers and all poor under the high ball (actually not sure about Petaia).

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Petaia played fullback a bit growing up, but he looked no better than okay there when he played fullback in the NRC last year. He looked much more comfortable at centre. I wouldn’t say high ball taking or kicking are particular strengths of his.

        • Max Graham

          Petaia and Beale aren’t poor kickers at all.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Beale’s kicking is generally poor. Big weakness for the Tahs this season.

          I’ve never seen Petaia kick a football from memory. He’s a player that looks to run.

        • Max Graham

          I agree that Beale’s not kicking well in 2019, but the man has played 10 at all levels and has a kicking game that isn’t awful. It’s lightyears better than Folau or Lote Tuqiri – I think we need some perspective what ‘poor’ really is.

        • Seb V

          Beale’s kicking has been poor for some years now. Just because he kicked okay in some good games 5 years ago does not make him a good kicker today. You hit the nail on the head, his kicking in 2019 has been poor all season. Are you not worried every opponent we face will play the territory game and out-kick us easily?

        • Max Graham

          I am far more worried that teams will just kick high balls and score tries off the dropped pill. We’ve had Folau fullback for 6 years so Beale’s kicking game seems like a big step up.

        • Who?

          I’m with you on this one. He’s not Banks or Hodge, but he’s far from our worst. Further, this year, he was the key reason why the Tahs out-kicked the Rebels in their second meeting. The stats from his kicking in terms of possession/territory (overall metres gained from kicking duels) turned a slight win from Genia/Cooper (two blokes who can kick, as they did for the Reds, and as they did TO the Reds in their Suncorp clash – I don’t know about you Max, but to me, their kicking that day felt like the 2011 versionof themselves in the other colour jerseys at the same stadium) over Gordon/Foley to a noteworthy win for the Tahs, which ended up putting them into territorial advantage, resulting in the win.

  • The Jackal

    The best that we have in reality with the exceptions of AAC being in there for I’m guessing experience around the group and a start against Uruguay and the fact that the form forward of the last 6 weeks in AUS Super Rugby Pete Samu not getting a look in this year because he chose to go to a wedding over a training camp, that’s tough.

    Seeing it on paper the thing that jumps out is our lack of players with top end speed. There is Marika and then perhaps Petaia is second fastest, Hooper third? Compare to say England who has speed in Daly, Watson, May, Nowell, Cokanasigna, Slade and all their halves outside Farrell have good pace.

    Wallabies are going to be much good in cover defense when Reece Hodge is running in honey to catch a breakaway. Hoping Petaia impressed enough to steal that 14 jersey and what will be will be.

    • onlinesideline

      its scary isnt it. We gonna get smoked. Thor actually is the fasted over 20 meters.

    • laurence king

      Well, the two new selectors haven’t done the back three positions a hell of a lot of favours.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I am wondering after the shellacking in Eden Park, Cheika had a whinge about his choice of players?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think Cheika still gets the team he wants for every test. He is just forced to listen to people who won’t be Yes Men, before he decides.

        • Brisneyland Local

          You are probably spot on there.

  • OnTheBurst

    No Banks, no extra-Bledisloe bolters like Speight / Naivalu. But it’s OK, we have the slowest back in Australia, AAC.

    Every opposing team will be salivating about the opportunities to go around the outside the slowest back 3 in world rugby.

    • laurence king

      It is unbelievable really.

    • The Jackal

      Reece Hodge would like to have words with you about the title of worlds slowest back

    • Hoss

      I thought the idea of a ‘versatile’ player meant you could take more ‘specialist’ players. We have picked three versatile and slow backs in Hodge, DHP & AAC, yet leave a specialist, in form, with gas Fullback at home – i dont get it ??

      • onlinesideline

        Its really unfathomable. The guy was in absolutely fantastic form ALL season. Commentators were / are wowed by his speed, He breaks tackles, is bloody strong, has guts and burns them once hes in teh clear. He has a good boot. He knows hwo to play FB and he gets winged then dumped for playing averagly on the wing.

        • Hoss

          Yep. If ive got a Ferrari in the shed, why would i drive the Datsun !!

        • onlinesideline

          lol – datsun. They were actually incredibly reliable cars.

        • laurence king

          Bit like Hodge and AAC really

        • AllyOz

          AAC is a Ferrari to be honest – just he’s a 1960’s vintage model with only a little gas left in the tank and balding tyres (greying or balding – same thing).

        • Hoss

          And the front shockies are shot and the injectors are blocked

        • AllyOz

          I don’t think he passes the “bounce” test where you bounce on the front shocks

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          2 cylinders not firing and the fuel pump crap

        • Keith Butler

          Change to a Trabant (East German People’s Car) and you’ve got it right.

        • From NooZealand
        • Keith Butler

          That’s the fella. I personally would go for the GT version with the massive 1lite engine.

        • Fatflanker

          Fully blown with chrome-plated grease nipples, of course!

        • AllyOz

          spiffy

        • Brisneyland Local

          Has Cheikmeister written all over it! Here we will dump Foley because he has been a really crap 10. We will bring QC in to play 10. Oh we will put Foley at 12. With logic like that, this isnt a stretch!

        • onlinesideline

          Foley will be there near the latter stages of the comp. Mark my word.

        • Who?

          Agree… Provided we’re not already knocked out. ;-)

        • From NooZealand

          Hope that OLSL doesn’t mean latter stages as final games in the group.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep.He will be bought in to rest CLL. And we will get walloped during that game.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          With that team it’s unlikely that a latter stages of the comp will be an issue

        • Custard Taht

          Agreed……Although I do think the rest of the world are pretty good, but yeah, overall the Wallabies should not struggle during the latter stages.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Hahahaha great comeback

        • Bernie Chan

          I was about to say the same thing…QC got blamed because Foley played at #12 and was crap. Now Banks gets canned because Cheika picked him out of position on the wing? So many utility players for the vital back-3..
          We could get burned such is our lack of speed. Fiji’s back-3 must be smiling…

        • laurence king

          I’m starting to think that Banks is out simply because Larkham favoured him, Quades out because he was competition for Foley. Could he be angling for the side he’s always been angling for irrespective of what the other two selectors want.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I would be. Even their 10, volavola is faster than our lot.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate not just Fiji.

        • AllyOz

          Do the selectors still get to pick the match day squads on tour. I remember in cricket the selectors would pick the squad but then it would come down to the captain, coach and one other to pick the match team for each test. I hope that isn’t the case.

          My big question marks are around 6 and 11/14. I can only see one genuine winger amongst all of them and he is an ex-leaguie with a nonexistent kicking game (but should still be picked to run on). As someone else (Hoss perhaps) points out we have only few specialists and quite a few generalists and I don’t think the balance is quite right.

        • Brisneyland Local

          AO. Spot on the balance isnt right. And never has been with a Cheika squad.
          I think the selection panel picks the game day 23, and Cheika works it from there. But I could be wrong.

        • Custard Taht

          But the problem is, with the Wallabies being sponsored by ASICS, there is no way Cheika is going to bring New Balance to the RWC.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure gold CT. Complete tip of the hat!

        • laurence king

          Doesn’t like him, maybe because Larkham liked him. To even pick him may have been too shattering to his ego.

        • Brumby Runner

          Probably explains Powell’s omission too. Bernie very early on nominated Joe as a future Wallaby. Cheika wants nothing to do with it.

        • laurence king

          I think that Cheika fantasizes how a game will go, (only his favourites are in the fantasy of course) and plans accordingly. He’s managed to get all his favourites in, except Hannigan and I think that he could in all likely hood be planning exactly that scenario. He probably utterly believes he’ll win the world cup as well.

        • Custard Taht

          That sounds about right. Unlike other coaches who think plan b means switching to different tactics, Cheika thinks plan b is just plan a with different players.

      • laurence king

        What was the thinking of the two other selectors. I can’t understand the love for AAC, Hodge, DHP, Foley. Really, the only one he couldn’t fit in was Hannigan

        • Keith Butler

          Cheika’s cunning plan. He told them selection panel would be in Brisbane and selected his side in Sydney.

        • Keith Butler

          Or Simmons.

        • AllyOz

          They have all been training well in camp. Some excellent sessions ;)

        • moaning expat

          AAC because of his experience and hi ability to slot into a number of roles. (I always backed him back in the day when many didnt -and was a fan). However now he is too old, slow and well past his prime but more importantly he takes a slot from someone else more valuable now and in the future.
          I think he made a deal with Cheks to come back if he guaranteed him a place.

        • Bert

          I completely concur with your views on the production teams I think it actually become the 16th man in terms of influencing the game

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          AAC’s greatest experience is being losing sides. Maybe he’s in to help the other players deal with the inevitable losses that will come.
          Obviously biased but if you think the game was lost because of the referee’s calls the I think you’re missing too much to even discuss it

        • Who?

          Exactly. As I said of the game last weekend, what did he bring? He’s won, I think, something like 4 or 5 in games in 30-odd Tests against the ABs (2008, 2010, 2011, 2015, and maybe a game in 06/07 under Connolly? Think Connolly went 1 from 4 against the ABs). Meanwhile, he was playing Whitelock and Read, who’d both just suffered their fifth loss in 34 or so Tests (same games, except they swap in 2017 for the Connolly era, given they aren’t as old).
          .
          The irony about all this is that, whilst Hoss calls Kepu Methuselah, AAC’s much older, and plays a position where pace is important!

        • moaning expat

          Read what I wrote again. My major point was the influence of the TV production on home games – not the ref. I can understand as an ex referee or current one you may have taken that personally.
          And I think you’re one of the least biased kiwis I hear or read.

          And although I didnt say it above. any game is significantly decided by a referees calls. ( Especially one that that is so weak as to pull a forward pass up not because he thought it was forward but becasue he saw the guilty look on the throwers face as the player turned to look at him. And Jayco said so to him on the mic. That’s poor. )

          AAC time has come and gone but I think he was a good player in his time.
          In his time.

          AAC

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Sorry. It was the comment Swayed Ref that got me. I can see where you’re coming from to a degree but not sure it’s a big factor. Absolutely the referee decides a game but I think they’re a lot more neutral these days than people give them credit for.
          I agree the home team production guys are getting clever at the replays and it’s something that needs to be addressed. Not sure on the answer but I do think some referees need to be more decisive and ignore the replays as they are all out of context and biased.

        • laurence king

          Mate I agree with what you’ve said, however, we were exploited because some of the selections were wrong, that is, we needed a proper winger instead of Hodge and we needed a proper 6 instead of LSL( I think he is a beast but should be in the second row). We lacked pace. Also Kurley is flakey under the high ball. The ABs squeezed and kept on squeezing these pressure points because they got even possession as opposed to the previous game. And they got that because we didn’t compete very well at the break-down. Yeh some things went against us, but good teams cope. The ABs scored 26 points, had no possession and only 14 players, we got zip.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          All evidence is that the other selectors are advisors. Cheika makes the calls.

        • TimG

          What a load of rubbish. One of those “other selectors” is Cheika’s boss – literally. That may be harmful to his ego, but you can’t say Johnson wouldn’t have had any influence. The level of hatred in this place for Cheika is seriously out of control. Simple reason for AAC to be there is experience – he’s old, he’s arguably taken another player’s spot, but he’s reliable and can be undoubtedly useful. Also, keep in mind that a number of those other players who could have slotted in instead of AAC will have another opportunity – and traditionally the way that works is that non-selection spurs them on to greater things. That may not be a reality as much these days, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t. Truly great players will always find a way.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Nice rant. But please go and look through the various media and reporting around the selection panel. It’s all about ‘discussions’ and ‘advice’. Further, it’s about proving different views. It has never been confirmed it’s a democratic vote.

          Johnson may be director of rugby, but he came in after Cheika’s contract was signed. Unless Cheika agreed to vary his contract significantly – which there is no indication of – I suspect that Johnson is Cheika’s boss in name only. This may change with the next coach.

        • TimG

          There’s a lot of assumptions in both of our arguments but I doubt Johnson’s influence is as limp as you seem to suggest. The media are hardly the most reliable point of reference for such a subject (although I grant you we have little else to refer to). The point about hatred of Cheika remains however. I’m no great lover of the bloke, but seriously, people need to just pump the brakes a bit. Of course everyone is free to have their opinion of him, but the level of discourse is just base, unnecessary and unhelpful.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          No, there’s no assumptions. There is only analysis of the facts. RA provide quotes to friendlies at the Australian and SMH, and of the sites in which articles are published is owned by RA.

          Again, no assumptions about AAC. Only analysis of his play this season. He could surprise me and have a great tournament, but he still took the place of younger and better players, who earned their spots.

          I’m confused – please point to where in my initial or subsequent post I displayed hatred of Cheika?

        • laurence king

          Mate, yes we don’t like Cheika. He is the worst coach that Australia has ever had in regards to win/loss record. The amount of spin that this guy has dished out over the years has left us a little maybe just a little cynical in regards to anything that comes out of his mouth. So any conclusions we’ve jumped to, assumptions that we’ve rather quickly arrived at, are based on his past performance since the last world cup. At the end of the day, it’s Cheika’s team and Johnson and the other selector recognize that.

      • laurence king

        We sure as hell know where Fiji will be running back the ball, we could be knocked out right there

        • AllyOz

          Sami Radradrah in full flight is going to be pretty difficult to contain and they have more attack weapons than just him. Getting out of the pool is going to be a genuine achievement.

        • From NooZealand

          Getting out of the pool is going to be a genuine achievement. You don’t mean being disqualified, do you?

        • Keith Butler

          Particularly if the Fijians and Welsh have pulled down their budgie smugglers.

      • formerflanker

        Do we call Beale versatile too? FB, IC, wing – he covers them all.
        He is quicker than the others though.

        • Hoss

          I just reckon that DHP, RH & AAC are all exactly the same type of player – so we have picked 3 of the same. On what planet could Banks possibly miss out ??

          Cheik shafted a Pony last RWC in Mr White and history has repeated. Does Banks need to go away and ‘find himself’ in Europe too………..

        • Dud Roodt

          Glitch in the matrix Hoss?

        • Damo

          Just got back from meetings this morning to see this squad. Shaking my head, no more to say- everyone else has covered it. Although WTF… back 3: 1 wing, 3 Clydesdales and a turnstyle. Back row: 1 x serious marauder who is only 50/50 on fitness, Jack Dempsey, who has played no real role in the RC, in and Wright, who can be the breakdown threat if Poey is not fit, is out.
          Oh dear.
          Looks like Cheika will bet the house on his three 10’s and a pair of nines.

        • From NooZealand

          Well you added your comment right on the spot:

          “WTF”

        • Alister Smith

          that’s why he’s got an AAC up his sleeve….

        • From NooZealand

          “…. are all exactly the same type of player” … how unpredictable is that? /s

        • Fatflanker

          The trouble with Beale is he tries to play all those positions every time he gets on the field!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        It’s got me fucked mate. This could get ugly. Rock on December and the changes that’ll come

      • Fatflanker

        Always been a fan of ACC -in his day one if the best fends in rugby and great defence. I believe he is in the team now to take a few tries against a ‘minnow’ and take the RWC leading try scorer tag. It is just wrong.

    • Hoss

      Footage has emerged of the backs training today – AAC really labours at the back of the pack……

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti6tHKD2778

      • Who?

        But he’s showing great INTENSITY! :-D

        • AllyOz

          until the battery runs down

        • Who?

          Oh but you’re wrong!!! When the battery’s dead, the INTENSITY goes up!!! That’s when he starts shaking his fists and shouting at random strangers passing by!!! ;-P

      • Missing Link

        Adam Ashley-Cooper almost didn’t make it to the announcement (watch video on mute)
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_8HcuYVWcc

        • laurence king

          Gold!

        • Hoss

          Factually incorrect mate. that gents showed great evasion and a few passes……………..

      • Brisneyland Local

        But he trained oh so well.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Yep

    • Parker

      Perhaps Banks made the mistake of saying he admired Fardy’s play within earshot of Cheika. Personal prejudice rather than form has long been the selection policy for the Wallabies.

      • Who?

        Exactly. And that’s not even solely a Cheika thing. It was known in 2012 that, if you wanted to be selected for the Wallabies, your best bet was to go stand up paddle boarding around certain areas of Sydney Harbour… Because you could get an hour one on one with Robbie.
        It’s human nature.

  • Jcr

    What rights do the extended training squad have in relation to getting called in , if any ?

    • laurence king

      Getting injured against Samoa

  • ballymoreburning

    wow, how one of the form loosies of all super rugby can miss out completely is astonishing, especially in light of LSL’s form. if Dempsey is fully fit and ready to tear it up, I can see the rationale behind it (i.e one or the other) but Samu is entitled to be hugely disappointed.

    • onlinesideline

      I hope the couple whose wedding he attended stay married for a while

      • Brumby Runner

        Weird isn’t it. Miss a training camp to attend a wedding and then on the outer for the rest of the year. Go overseas and have nothing to do with any Wallaby training camps and be welcomed back in an eye blink.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep but Samu was never a Wallatah!

        • laurence king

          At least he didn’t get injured at the wedding

      • Steve

        You and I both know he was never getting picked.

    • Seb V

      Lack of line-out ability Samu’s downfall I think.. probably means he’s considered a 7 for the wobs.

  • The Jackal

    Can players outside of this squad play against Samoa & would you want to do that?

    • RugbyReg

      yes, happened last RWC too. we played USA and a few non squaddies played

    • formerflanker

      Additonal players have been picked to be part of an extended training squad, and for the final test pre-RWC against Samoa
      Specific details of who plays are yet to be announced.

  • I Should be Coach

    Fucking Foley

  • Zippo

    I think it’s a cunning plan by cheika.

    gone are the days of no game management/tactics/etc.

    he’s now banking on scoring a few points while every other nation – including Uruguay – are rolling on the floor laughing at our squad

  • Andy

    Big players missing are Jones, Samu and Banks for me.

    AAC, DHP, Dempsey and Uelese all very lucky to be there. Clearly players don’t pick players as they have been harping on about.

    • onlinesideline

      I wonder if Banks was dished for his poor performance on the wing. If so its just ridiculous. The guy is a FB and a good FB. Wish he would stop messing with players in this Wing – DB area. Utilities like AAC are useful in games getting us to the big matches but come Poms, Saffas or darkness its going to be embarassing.

    • AllyOz

      I like all three you have selected but my question mark around Jones is that he, like LSL, is more a lock that can play 6. For Samu I wonder about line out – he isn’t a particularly tall backrower – perhaps not a genuine jumping option like Fardy was (and I am not sure after reading here if Dempsey is either). Banks – I don’t know how he missed out. He would have been able to play either 15 or wing and would out sprint all with the possible exception of Koroibete.

  • ballymoreburning

    just playing Polyanna for a moment before submitting to despair. Fellas, there is only 2 months more of this before we get to move on. praying and excited to see what Dave Rennie can do with Australian rugby. pretty sure he understands that you can’t be elite without elite speed. coaching 101

    • laurence king

      I’m getting my fishing gear ready, check the motor on the outboard, etc, I think we will be eating a lot of flathead during the WC. I’m already arranging with my lads to watch a test on the mainland next year sans Cheika

      • AllyOz

        Don’t worry – the group games only take a month – the second month is finals so it might be that you only have Cheik for that first month and can fish for the second while watching Eddie’s men take it out (I so hope not).

        • laurence king

          How did we get saddled with this dill?

        • Brumby Runner

          He is an oaf.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          But the ABs aren’t Eddie’s men. Not sure I understand this

        • AllyOz

          I was going for “worse case scenario”. As I am quite used to the ABs beating us and winning RWCs, “Shag’s men”, is more of likelihood than a inconceivable nightmare. In any case, if and when the Wallabies bow out, I will probably follow the ABs and Scotland (though I think Scotland will be gone at a similar or earlier time than us at this stage).

          “Rassie’s men” also a distinct possibility but for me personally, the worst thing I could conceive of would be not making the finals and then having to sit by and watch an Eddie Jones coached England win a World Cup. This is my personal nightmare, you can pick your own alternative.

        • Patrick

          Or the South Africans

    • Alister Smith

      we haven’t actually signed him yet have we. Serious question. I have seen a couple of people mention Rennie today and I thought I might have missed his signing/

  • Bernie Chan

    AAC, Simmons, Dempsey and LSL ( to a degree…he has been in the starting side so one assumes Cheika is a fan..though he’s not much of a Test #6…) lucky. Samu, Wright, Jones and a couple of wingers a bit stiff. Koroibete the only player with ‘gas’ so our lack of speed may hurt us? Banks should be in the squad as a fullback…(in lieu of AAC…)? Saving grace is he didn’t pick Robertson or Skelton. Foley was always going to the RWC…

    • Who?

      Or Banks over DHP. There’s two guys in that squad who should be behind Banks, not just AAC.

      • Bernie Chan

        Yep…too many “utility” backs.. and not enough speed. Hodge probably another that should be behind Banks in the back-3…? If he is valued for his long kicking then I hope he kicks…

  • formerflanker

    Additonal players have been picked to be part of an extended training squad, and for the final test pre-RWC against Samoa on 7 September. They are Joe Powell, Tom Banks, Liam Wright, Luke Jones and Tatafu Polota-Nau.
    They must be thinking “so this is how 4th place in an Olympic event feels like.”

    • Steve

      I prefer to think that long term it’ll be more like a huge bucket of shit landing on the guy next to you, while you walk away spotless.

  • Nicholas Peacock-Smith

    Salakai-Loto at a world cup, really Cheika? He had 1 half decent game when they entire team played well. Yes he can jump in the lineout but so can Naisarani, Loto better learn to catch a ball before the 1st game.

    Banks should be in the squad and in every 23 whether he starts or is on the bench. He catches the high ball, good defensively and has speed for days. Picking him would have meant Beale can cover 10 if there’s an injury so we don’t need a dedicated #10 taking up a spot on the bench.

    I’ve been a big fan of AAC his whole career but he shouldn’t be in the squad, we have enough experienced guys to be in the camp with.

    Hodge better kick a few 40-50m penalties to warrant his selection.

    • Max Graham

      Pocock will wear 6.

  • onlinesideline

    Question is do we a white hot starting 15 out of this 31 to play 60 mins and beat the darkness, saffas or Poms at pointy edge of comp if we make it that far assuming all fit and healthy. Is there a world beating team in there ?

    Sorry to say but our FB and Wing says no. I hope Marike stays fit because if he goes we are cactus. The Saffas will be spinning it wide all match.

    • AllyOz

      depends if they play like Perth or like Auckland. They have proved we have the squad to beat the ABs at least once – we haven’t proven we can do anything with any great consistency.

      • laurence king

        We had all the ball in that game, their is no way known that against NH sides or SA that is a possibility

        • Brisneyland Local

          True, and NZ demonstrated that even with 14 players and 30% possession that they can still score tries. Last week we demonstrated with 15 men and 50% possession we couldnt.

        • laurence king

          Cheiks makes his plans according to what he wants to happen, he doesn’t seem to consider how the opposition will play. That is a major flaw when the opposition will most likely get 50 percent of the possession. How’s Cheika’s plan going to work when Raradra burns Kerevi on the outside and then passes to a very fast winger who is already in behind Hodge or AAC?

        • Bernie Chan

          Cheika is on record saying the opposition tactics don’t matter…in fact he doesn’t even review the opposition! As long as the Wallas go hard, have intent (?), enthusiasm etc etc apparently they’ll be fine. F…

        • laurence king

          That’s fine isn’t it,assuming of coarse that the opposition don’t play with equal intent enthusiasm. The man is a dill

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Personally I reckon that’s bullshit and he’s saying it to try and enhance is aura.

        • Bernie Chan

          I’d be very surprised if it were true…and it would be the stupidest coaching concept ever…to ignore what the opponent is bringing to the game. One of the key aspects of coaching is to prepare for the different challenges posed by different teams.
          He speaks like a politician..with a forked tongue…

        • Brisneyland Local

          100%

      • Zippo

        Just remember with Perth, we had all the ball, all the territory, all the decisions, and it was 13-12 until the red card.

        The Perth test match made the All Blacks an even better side

        • Cornchips

          Probably being pedantic but even if you don’t think it was a red, it was still a penalty and so I’d suggest it was 16-12 until the red card had any impact at all

        • AllyOz

          Yes but I still got to feel like a winner for a week and that is better than the other 51 weeks of the year.

    • Patrick

      This is my problem too. I can handle dodgy selections like Foley but we actually don’t have a first fifteen thanks to the lack of 14 and 15.

      • laurence king

        Patrick, I believe that Petaia is the best winger in the squad, though not picked as such. He played wing last year and did quite well. He has electric speed, good handler, can kick and can burn anybody with his acceleration. Two problems, one, would Cheika pick him and two, Beale would still be at 15.

        • Patrick

          I was a bit unfair to Petaia there. I would be quite happy with him, Korobieiete and Banks, for example.

          But I don’t see that happening, not least because Banks is not even there!

          So in fact we have at least two players that none of us would pick, Hodge and AAC, when we could have at least Banks and everyone would have been m7ch happier.

        • joy

          Strap HP to Beale’s back and spin him around when the ball goes up.

        • Patrick

          Yes agree as I acknowledged elsewhere but he is hardly our first choice as he hasn’t even played. I would have liked him to be our “versatility” outside back with Marika, Sefa/Speight and Banks starting and Petaia challenging Beale for a bench spot.

      • joy

        Koro and O’Conner are first fifteen. Chance Petaia at outside centre. HP to fullback with instructions to distribute the ball. Otherwise pray for snow.

  • Uncle Tony

    Not much for me to add that hasn’t already been said here. Samu, Banks, Speight, Naivalu left right out … AAC, Foley, LSL, Hodge in. FFS.

  • Ah well. There will be a few very disappointed guys in Australia especially including Pete Samu and Naivalu. It is true that Adam Ashley – Cooper and Rob Simmons played very well in Super Rugby BUT is either one genuinely good enough at World Cup level. AA-C was an exceptional player a few years ago I agree.

    • Who?

      I’m not so sure AAC was all that great in the Super season. How many G&GR TOTW selections did he receive, compared to Simmons..?

    • Cornchips

      I think AAC and Simmons were mediocre at best, AAC particularly shouldn’t be in the squad.

  • AllyOz

    From an article in the Fairfax papers

    “It is understood Haylett-Petty’s ability to play multiple positions and safety under the high ball, in light of Kurtley Beale’s poor showing in wet conditions in Auckland, worked to his advantage in a decision unlikely to go down well with Brumbies fans.”

    DHP can play multiple positions? OK Fullback and wing at a stretch. Banks plays fullback and wing. The decision on Banks isn’t likely to go down poorly just with Brumbies fans but with anyone who has thought about who should go. And it shouldn’t be just a straight comparison between the two. Look at AAC for instance. He is being selected to cover OC/wing. JOC, Kuridrani, Petaia and Kerevi can all cover OC. Kerevi, Toomua, Beale, JOC (Kuridrani at a pinch and Foley has been used in the past but God forbid) can all play 12. We have JOC, Beale, DHP to cover fullback. We have one specialist winger with any amount of pace. That is where I think there is a real lack of balance in this squad, there should at least be one bloke other than Koroibete who can run out of sight on a dark night (if you are reading racial overtones you are mistaken).

    • AllyOz

      And a point I should have made, what if Koroibete picks an injury that would put him out for 2 weeks in the Fiji game (assuming we pick our best side for the opener). That means you either have to drop him from the squad altogether never to return or go into the Wales (world’s number 1 ranked side) game with perhaps Petaia on the wing to debut and one of the other slow coaches on the other. Either that or go with AAC, DHP and Beale (assume Kerevi/JOC is our best IC/OC combination) I think Petaia will handle it but it will be a big pressure game to debut in.

    • Max Graham

      Banks doesn’t play wing. He’s an awful winger. He hasn’t made a tackle on the wing. Tupou would be a better winger and AAC and DHP are fat better. He’s a good fullback but he offers no versatility.

      • laurence king

        Banks I agree shouldn’t go as a winger, he is far and away our best fullback and he is fast. Hodge was just as poor in defense as Banks on the wing, but for a different reason. He lacks top end speed and acceleration. The same problem as AAC. Beale is completely flakey under the high-ball when under even the slightest pressure, but he is worth a place on the bench. We need specialist wingers and fullbacks

        • Alister Smith

          I think there is something in this. Banks might miss a tackle, Hodge is too slow to get there to make it.

        • laurence king

          On the wing at any rate

        • Max Graham

          Agree

        • Seb V

          Well said, i’ll add DHP to the list of winger who are poor defenders.

      • Brumby Runner

        You don’t contemplate that his defensive lapses on the wing might be to do with lack of familiarity with the Wallabies’ defensive structure? Any half decent coach (even a mini bus like Cheika) should have known to trial players in their usual spots until they become familiar before moving them around.

        • Max Graham

          He was standing on the wing and let guys run around or over him. There weren’t issues about structure. He fell for a dummy from a forward. He can’t tackle.

        • Who?

          To be fair, even the best can make mistakes. Hodge threw a dummy to an empty wing on his right in Perth. Beauden Barrett fell for it!
          With JOC at 13, even Hodge and Koroibete were coming in to support him where they’d trust TK. JOC had to earn their trust (even though he was calling to stay out, they still came in). It’s even less surprising if a bloke even more out of position than Hodge does the same thing.

        • Max Graham

          Okay, you’re right. But have you ever seen Banks play well on that wing?

        • Who?

          I haven’t seen him given opportunity to develop into that role. Cheika made up his mind before TRC that Hodge was his first choice, and he’s failed on the wing. If Banks had been given that time to develop, who knows?
          .
          I do recall DHP’s first few tests on the wing. He was abysmal. I couldn’t understand how he could miss so many tackles. Then I realised that, not only were we asking a fullback to defend on the wing, we were actually getting him to defend at 13, because with Foley and Beale both dropping back, we were pulling our wing into the outside centre position.
          .
          The issue for Banks on the wing is that Cheika didn’t give him that much opportunity. He got a bit over a half against SA (he played well). He then barely saw any time against Argentina and the ABs. So it’s arguably a failure of planning on Cheika’s behalf that we’re going into a RWC with only one player with gas, and the player seen to have taken the spot of a speedster has done literally nothing to justify his selection as a back three player (given he didn’t play wing all season and has, as is normal, lost a fair chunk of pace).
          And selecting slow wingers is something of a tradition for Cheika. Or Full Backs. Neither Folau nor DHP were ever that quick. We’ve played, under Cheika, AAC, Hodge and even Horne on the wing. All are (at a minimum) good, honest players who gave or give their best. But it’s about suitability for the role, and I don’t see that having multiple slow back three players is ever suitable.

        • Max Graham

          I don’t remember Latho getting too many runs on the wing. Don’t get me wrong, I think Banks was hard done by. But considering him as a player that can cover wing in a test match is a big stretch. The only time he’s had there he’s looked awful. Beale, Koroibette and Petaia aren’t slow by any means and Hodge has been playing well lately. If I was selecting. Naivulu would be on the plane – he’s faster than all of them andis a good winger. I like Speight too. There must be 15 better wingers in the country than Banks.
          But to address your point – I agree that he wasn’t given an opportunity.

        • Who?

          I largely agree. I’m not sold on Petaia – each time he’s been primed for a debut, he’s been injured. So he doesn’t have many runs on the board, and nothing recently. It’s the opposite situation to Pocock – Pocock’s got no time on the park this year, but he’s got a record he can point out. Petaia and Uelese don’t have that (yet – though I hope they can build it, along with Valentini). And I also see Petaia as a 13. Fourth choice (lack of experience) on this trip.
          Koroibete’s got gas, Beale has had gas (his pace seems to vary with his confidence – if he’s confident, he’s lithe, lively and extremely light footed).
          .
          But the issue is AAC’s seen as being picked over Banks. So we’ve got a (5th choice) outside centre (behind JOC, TK, Kerevi and Petaia) picked as cover for the wing over arguably our second choice 15 (and a good number would have him there over Beale, with Beale on the bench). So it’s about optics.
          .
          I’d definitely have Sefa or Henry there. A second specialist winger would be awesome… Cheika just seems to have a history of not valuing them.

        • Max Graham

          Get on the Petaia bandwagon before there’s no room left. He’s gonna tear this tournament up.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think it’s unlikely anyone from the Wallabies are going to tear this tournament up. Especially a guy who has barely played, as he is constantly getting injured at a level a long way below international rugby.

        • Max Graham

          In 5 years you’ll look back and laugh at the time you wanted Lachie McCaffery and Banks in the squad and Petaia left at home.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          That’s probably unlikely given I’ve never said I didn’t want Petaia in the squad. Do you even bother reading the comments you’re replying to before you write your comments?

        • Who?

          I’ll get on the Petaia bandwagon when he’s had a chance to do something. We’re far too ready to hail the next young player as a world beater, and hail guys who’ve been around a long time and done all but nothing as world class test players.
          .
          Petaia’s played one season, one game and five minutes. He was selected for the Wallabies last year and got injured at training that week. Yet we’re going to place on him the expectation that he’s going to dominate the tournament playing out of position (he’s a 13)..? That’s really unfair to the kid. It creates unrealistic expectations. And then we wonder why we, as fans, get cynical and bash players who genuinely are doing the best they can under the direction they have.
          .
          I’d rather be pleasantly surprised by a player who had potential than be disappointed by a player failing to live up to their potential.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He only played about half a season last year, and was okay but not great. Was hard for anyone outside backs to shine in Thorn’s 2018 Reds.

        • Max Graham

          Google the bloke and you won’t be surprised when he rips it up. I hate surprises!!

        • AllyOz

          Strongly agree with your comments there particularly around looking at Naivulu/Speight. I wasn’t looking at Banks as a winger, I was suggesting that the news article that said that DHP was picked for his versatility over Banks was stretching things a bit because they both have been selected for the Wallabies at both wing and 15. Anyway, your critique has stimulated some great discussion so thanks.

        • Patrick

          Ok but Folau was a bit sui generis in that he broke more tackles than the rest of the team combined and, something we are just starting to remember the value of, he caught the ball.

        • Who?

          Which is why I didn’t whine about him (though I spent most of his time in Rugby thinking he should’ve been wearing 14, not 15).
          I think you can get away with one slower player in the back three, but they have to balance other points. His finishing skills surpassed his lack of pace, his security under the high ball meant he should always have been in the back three (but not at 15, given his kicking wasn’t ever fully developed – good boot, just inconsistent execution and targeting).

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          His lack of passing skills were worse for me. I still think that, overall, had a net negative impact on the team’s attack. We became so predictable with ‘give it to Folau’. And then while Folau would certainly end up on plenty of highlight reels, so many tries were blown by his inability or unwillingness to pass.

        • Who?

          But stick him on the (right) wing and his issues passing to the right are reduced.
          Further, I still maintain that his efforts to look for the offload were fair, but often bombed by the standard Australian outside backs’ failing to maintain depth. We’ve seen it from Hodge (creating the knock on and first try at Eden Park), Newsome, plenty of them far too often.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Looking for the offload is fine. But knowing when and when not to offload is huge. Jeez he conceded a lot of turnovers from it.

          I agree he could have been one of the world’s best wings, if he had stayed there, but he was only ever an okay fullback. His weaknesses were huge there.

        • Who?

          The issue with the offload and Aussie outside backs always being too flat is that, too often, if we go to ground, with the winger wide and flat (too flat for the offload), we have no one behind to clean out. So retaining possession and taking the tackle is just another way of turning over the ball. :-(
          .
          This is the sort of thing – positioning with depth – we should be training at Under 8’s. But instead we see Wallabies and Super players who have no clue. It’s frustrating.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The offload often isn’t a good idea. Argentina offload more than anyone, and their attack is terrible. Teams that offload occasionally, when it is on, tend to do well with the tactic.

        • AllyOz

          If Folau was available I would go with him and Koroibete on either wing and Banks at FB. That combination has all the elements required in a back three, though not necessarily in all the individual players.

        • Patrick

          Yep that would be a really cool back three, and opposition talks would not relish it at all

        • Seb V

          @AllyOz that would be my back-three too. Awesome balanced combo. Too bad we can’t see it.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          So falling for a dummy means you can’t defend? That’s honestly the worst logic I’ve ever heard.

          His tackle percentage was about 60% over super rugby according to Fox rugby stats (and higher according to others). It was close to 75% in the second half of super rugby.

          Your perception doesn’t make it true.

      • Patrick

        So f#%^& what about versatility?? We don’t really have one single convincing FB except DHP.

        Who else can play there against Wales or Fiji?
        Beale? Can’t catch, so no
        Hodge? He’ll catch dust all day
        Foley? Why not he can’t do less than at 10
        JOC? Probably our best option actually

        • Max Graham

          I would have taken Banks as a fullback. I agree with you about Beale and think he’s suited to the bench.

      • I appreciate you’re replying to comment about his versatility. But honestly I don’t care if Banks is versatile or not. I think he showed he’s a genuine quality 15 in his appearances to date. He’s still young and adjusting to the differences in the speed and intensity at test level but I think he’ll make it. I think he’s got the potential to be a great full back we won’t know now until 2020/21 I guess.

        Cheika had the chance to pick him at 15, stick with him at 15 through this RC and Bled II, give him that experience. Instead he put him on the wing and hung him out to dry. Right out to dry in fact. Let me just point over the ditch – Ben Smith is in most people’s argument for the best 15 in the world. He’s certainly not someone you can just ignore in that debate. On the wing, a few years ago, he was OK, but as he’s got that bit older and lost his rocket shoes, well he was bad enough Shag dropped him. If I was picking the AB starting side against SA you’d see Barrett at 10, B. Smith at 15. I don’t care that he can’t play wing any more, he’s still a brilliant full back.

        In a world of “what ifs?” we don’t know what would have happened if Banks had started at 15 in all those matches. But I’m willing to be he’d have dropped less high ball and missed fewer tackles in Eden Park… And in a 31 man squad not all the back three choices have to be super versatile.

        • Max Graham

          I rate Banks as a 15 and would have him on the plane.

        • Fair enough.

        • laurence king

          Absolutely nailed it. Cheika’s treatment of Banks highlights everything wrong about the man’s coaching.

        • Patrick

          I agree I getting to the point where I never want to hear the word versatility again.

      • Seb V

        DHP isn’t much better, has a history of missing a load of tackles on the wing and his lack of pace will probably mean he will miss more. Hard to judge Banks ability on the wing by 15mins at the end of a Test match – but even so, if defence is what your worried about… DHP ain’t much better.

        • Max Graham

          Hard to judge Banks’ ability as a prop either. That’s why I don’t want him selected as. And defence is what I’m worried about. Aren’t you?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Obviously, there are far more similarities between wing and fullback than between props and outside backs.

          What was the point of that comment? Just to be obnoxious and condescending, and detract from the quality of the discussion?

          DHP and Beale are two of the worst outside back defenders I’ve ever seen play international rugby for Australia, certainly worse than Banks. Koroibete, too, while he can make good tackles misses millions due to being out of position (which don’t even count as missed tackles as he doesn’t touch the man) and cannot kick or catch a high ball either.

        • Max Graham

          Banks has done worse in his only efforts on the wing – I can only judge him on that. I wouldn’t choose DHP and Beale on the wing either for what it’s worth, and I don’t think either was selected as one. Banks is an awful winger. No amount of whataboutery, even if he’s your favourite Brumby, can change that. I would have him on the plane as a fullback.

          And if you think DHP is one of the worst defending Oz wingers you’ve seen, you’re a lot younger than me. I haven’t forgotten the likes of Campo, Rod Davies, Eto Nabuli, Jack Maddocks or Cooper Vuna. As a winger, it is nonsense to suggest Banks has anything on DHP in defence. I don’t know if Banks has ever made a tackle at any level playing on the wing.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          So that’s factually untrue. Banks’ efforts on the wing haven’t cost the Wallabies tries. Compare to DHP’s performance against South Africa. He’s played a few minutes on the wing only this season, and has cost the Wallabies nothing.

          Nabuli played on Test. DHP is worse than those guys – including Campo – in my eyes. He is a quality footballer, but I’m yet to be convinced he knows how to tackle.

          The problem with you is, you pontificate a lot, often based on nothing, and are generally condescending, as per your moronic straw man response to Seb. And you are also fairly ignorant. Your comments denigrating Scotland’s flyhalf stocks was evidence of that.

          If you don’t understand the similarities between playing wing and fullback in the modern game, you don’t know anything about rugby.

        • Seb V

          I’m definitely worried about defence… which is why I’m an advocate for Banks at FB, and 2 specialist wingers (maybe you can carry 1 winger out of position as a maximum or as cover only). Prop comment doesn’t make sense. We are comparing DHP’s and Banks wing abilities and both are poor – but IMO at least Banks is a better FB right now on form, and if forced on the wing due to injuries has speed to burn.

        • Max Graham

          I agree that Banks is the best option at 15. But he should never be considered for a spot on the bench or a run on the wing in a test until he shows far more than he has. I saw 9 better wingers at Woolies this morning.

        • Seb V

          That’s a fair call, but same goes for DHP.

      • AllyOz

        Fair point. I was more comparing Banks for versatility vs DHP as the article I quoted from suggested DHP was more versatile. Both have played two positions for the Wallabies. Banks didn’t have a good game on the wing. However, I was more arguing for a specialist winger to be selected as we only have Koroibete with real pace and he has some limitations in his game around kicking.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        You’ve said that before. Still a pointless comment, backed up by no evidence.

        Also, he has played wing before, at multiple levels, and played well. Out of all of our ‘fullback/winger’ hybrids, he is the only one with enough speed to play wing.

        • Max Graham

          When did he play wing? I’d like to check it out. From what I’ve seen he’s absolutely hopeless, but I’ve been wrong before.

    • Bobas

      Koroibete is injured and has been replaced by Tom Carter in the WC squad.

      • Brumby Runner

        Think I’d prefer TC to present day AAC.

        • Bobas

          Cheika himself would at least dig-in you-know-what-i-mean

      • AllyOz

        Wasn’t Greg Martin available?

        • Who?

          Were you the one who voted for Brendan Moon in Hoss’ survey? :-D

        • Bobas

          Not from NSW

    • Damo

      Not a Brumbies fan here, but a bleeding Reds supporter. Banks should have been there. In fact Banks should have been given every minute possible in the RC to settle him into the custodian (15) role that we are going to need in spades in this tournament. Now we will have KB playing all of the key games/minutes and every opposition 9 and 10 will be putting it up in the air to him accompanied by menacing footsteps.

      • laurence king

        Yes, exactly. If we remember back to the beginning of last year, Kurtley came back from Europe and was brilliant. The Waratah backline was on fire and a joy to watch. Played against Ireland and were pretty good there as well. We got destroyed in two games against the ABs and Beale’s form plummeted. In short, he was found out, as was Foley.
        Come to this seasons Rugby Championship and Kurtley was decent of the bench and bloody good in Perth.
        But when the ABs had decent possession at Eden Park and were able to target him, he was again exposed. Brilliant but flakey. Banks is the better fullback by a country mile. Cheika is thinking of Beale on a good day when everything goes right for him, thing is, Kurtley can’t live up to that

        • Patrick

          Spot on. I said before that we’ve been down the same road with Beale before, and it ended in tears.

          I’m still traumatized by watching us be torn apart by simple kicking to absolutely anywhere because it was more likely to be knocked on than caught.

        • laurence king

          Yes,he is brilliant of the bench and can win us a game against anybody no question. But not a starter.

        • Seb V

          Beale was only good in Perth in the last 20 minutes – against tiring defences and more broken play. This is his bread and butter. He should be an impact player from the bench, not a starter as he will be found out time and time again (on his poor defence, kicking, catching, poor decision making – always throwing that 50/50 pass)

        • laurence king

          Absolutely

      • Seb V

        Every team in world rugby will out-kick us and out-pace us. Such an easy strategy – territory game and high balls, how are we going to stop them? :(

      • AllyOz

        all Reds supports are bleeding. You don’t need to state it separately, its a tautology.

    • Seb V

      DHP can only play one position well – FB. and on current form thats nothing to rave about. Slowest winger around and has a history of missing a load of tackles – so I’m baffled how this can be seen as something that get him ahead of Banks who is the form FB this year and pace to burn.

  • Dud Roodt

    Alright, while the vast majority of you are going apoplectic over this squad, I thought I’d run my eye over it and give me expert opinion, player by player;

    Allan Alaalatoa (34 Tests, Brumbies, 25)* – Automatic Selection

    Rory Arnold (22 Tests , Brumbies, 29)* – Automatic Selection

    Adam Coleman (33 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 28)* – Automatic Selection

    Jack Dempsey (11 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 25)* – obviously this is a top 3 most controversial selection. I don’t hate it. I can certainly see the argument for not taking him given time on the field, but I think given LSL’s obvious struggles, Dempsey has a lot of upside at 6 given his link work, footwork and athleticism

    Folau Fainga’a (11 Tests, Brumbies, 24)* – Automatic Selection

    Michael Hooper (c) (95 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 27) – Automatic Selection

    Sekope Kepu (105 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 33) – I wouldn’t say an automatic selection, but close to it given his experience.

    Tolu Latu (15 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)* – same for Kepu, but given his showing over the past 2 games, we see what he is capable of and he is clearly top 2 hookers in the country

    Isi Naisarani (4 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 24)* – Automatic Selection

    David Pocock (77 Tests, Brumbies, 31) – Automatic Selection (even with his injury/lack of gametime, he has to be there)

    Izack Rodda (21 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)* – Automatic Selection

    Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (15 Tests, Queensland Reds, 23)* – for me this is a bit tougher. obviously at the moment he is the incumbent, but he wouldn’t have been in my squad

    Rob Simmons (97 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 30) – I’ve arguably been Simmons biggest critic over the years, but it isn’t a terrible selection given his set piece ability and his experience. could come in handy late in games (or alternatively he comes on and drops an easy ball to lose us the game)

    Scott Sio (58 Tests, Brumbies, 27) – Automatic Selection

    James Slipper (90 Tests, Brumbies, 30) – Automatic Selection

    Taniela Tupou (15 Tests, Queensland Reds, 23)* – Automatic Selection

    Jordan Uelese (3 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 22)* – again, like Dempsey, he’s a a controversial pick. But fuck he has some upside. They must know he’s ready to go or they wouldn’t have taken him. he’s an incredibly dynamic player. Hopefully he gets some gametime against Samoa

    Backs

    Adam Ashley-Cooper (118 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 35) – Automatic Selection (hahaha, I just heard the collective pop of 50 heads around the country). The most controversial of all. If it were my team he wouldn’t be there. I would say they’ve got this pick wrong.

    Kurtley Beale (87 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 30) – Automatic Selection

    Bernard Foley (69 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29) – Automatic Selection (for mine he has to be there. Obviously has huge number of critics, but he is our only specialist 10 if CLL goes down. He had to be there)

    Will Genia (104 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 31) – Automatic Selection

    Dane Haylett-Petty (32 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 30)* – Not an automatic selection, but I don’t think it’s a hugely controversial one. He’s generally a safe set of hands. Doesn’t set the world alight but does his job.

    Reece Hodge (37 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 24)* – Similar to DHP for me. I don’t like him on the wing, but he’s versatile and his boot gets him extra points

    Samu Kerevi (29 Tests, Queensland Reds, 25)* – Automatic Selection

    Marika Koroibete (23 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 27)* – Automatic Selection

    Tevita Kuridrani (60 Tests, Brumbies, 28) – as close to an automatic selection given the nature of the tournament we’re heading to. Not versatile in any way shape or form, but Kerevi and O’Connor can’t play every game

    Christian Lealiifano (22 Tests, Brumbies, 31)* – Automatic Selection

    James O’Connor (47 Tests, Queensland Reds, 29) – Automatic Selection

    Jordan Petaia (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 19)* – really like this pick. think he’s lucky, but he has the potential to really set the tournament alight.

    Matt To’omua (46 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 29) – close to automatic selection. good versatility and reliable boot

    Nic White (26 Tests, Rugby Australia, 29)* – Automatic Selection

    • laurence king

      The main issue that most of us have is with the back three. A lack of pace and the man at FB who is gun shy under the high ball. Banks instead of DHP could have alleviated some of the nerves. He is maybe not quite as commanding under the high ball as DHP but he good and is significantly faster. And a Sefa or a Speight instead of AAC would have significa ntly strengthened the wing

      • Max Graham

        Petaia will be on the right wing and Hodge will be on the bench. Speight or Naivulu should be on the plane, but neither would make the main team or the bench, so not sure how this can be the main issue.

        • laurence king

          I would like to see Petaia on the wing, but that’s far from guaranteed. And if he’s not, or if he or Koriabete got injured they can only be replaced by cart-horses. But your right, it’s probably not the main issue. He’s up in the coach’s box. We have seriously good players, they proved it a fortnight ago but there is a certain degree of truth in the saying, ‘you’re only as strong as your weakest link’.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think Petaia will be a very good winger, and eventually a great centre.

          However, while he is moderately quick I do not think he has the pace required to be a great winger, or to make up for the overall lack of pace in our back three.

        • laurence king

          Agree that he is a centre, my point is that he’s faster than either Hodge or AAC and can actually play the position properly

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, agree that he is better than them. He may even prove to be one of our first choice wingers, but won’t know for sure until we see.

    • Who?

      Stop trying to be balanced, it doesn’t belong on the internet! :-P
      .
      Honestly, as you say, there’s only a couple of guys who are obvious questions. There’s only one uncapped player. The questions are more around balance, a little bit about fitness and form, and signalling.
      .
      Selecting Pocock’s a no-brainer – he’s been injured, but his track record when fit is in a class of its own amongst this squad. And that history includes a history of returning from breaks as if he was never away. But the other guys who are returning?
      Petaia may have a MASSIVE amount of potential, but he’s uncapped because he keeps breaking down. This is the same question I’d have raised around Valentini, had he been picked. And it’s a question for Uelese. He has massive potential upside, but he’s barely found the football field. And in tight positions, where you get more contact, that lack of regular contact can lead to mistakes in the contact (like knocking yourself out on someone’s hip).
      That question of how you return is relevant for Dempsey. This is a guy who’s had some injuries, and then wasn’t able to force his way into a forward pack that wasn’t dominating. He’s not shown any outstanding form in the past two seasons – given he’s directly comparable in his role to Samu, it’s a fair question why he’s there over Samu.
      .
      Dempsey and LSL tie into the question of balance, in the back three and the loose three. We’re lacking pace in the back three. Playing LSL as a loose forward (rather than bench cover) also raises the question of pace in the loose forwards. Dempsey adds pace, but he’s yet another 6.5, rather than a big 6 (which is the reason why Cheika keeps selecting LSL – he likes big ball runners). And given his lack of demonstrated form…
      Then add the complete lack of all forms of gas in the back three, and balance is the question, not so much the individual players’ worthiness of a cap.
      .
      Lastly, signalling. It shows how Cheika sees our team. It shows the weaknesses he sees, or doesn’t see. We just played a game where we were targeted for our lack of speed, but his selections indicate he’s not concerned about that. It shows how we intend on playing – we intend on playing like Perth. No plan B. And in spite of the fact I think our 5 locks are quite good (counting LSL as an option at lock, as he does better there), it’s pretty clear that Arnold is absolutely key for that game plan to work, as he’s (statistically) far and away our most effective at accurately executing single player cleanouts. Without him, we lose a significant amount of our quick ball.
      Signalling is also relevant when we consider that we’ve spent half this week debating whether or not Cheik should once again enter a RWC by dragging back a lock from Europe who’d never demonstrated consistent performance at the top level, and who’d recently signed to stay away from Australia. Cheika’s signalling has always been terrible. Some coaches are better than others at it, some manage to announce squads were people say, “Yeah, I’d have a few different, but it’s pretty good.” Cheika’s managed to get himself in a position where at least 25 of the selections are automatic, maybe 3 are clearly debatable, yet the reaction – based off his record (first Wallaby coach to 30 losses, still sitting under a 50% win rate), based off his language – is strongly negative and controversial.

      • Jcr

        Further to that given how he has selected and deselected players it’s meant that automatic selections are also the only ones that he let play consistently. If the new selectors have any input ,they are hamstrung by not being able to base choices on anything but Super form as Cheika didn’t let the alternative options to play Internationals . Rock , hard place for them .

    • GO THE Q REDS

      Good comment but will never agree Foley is our only legitimate cover at 10. He’s not even a playmaker and hasn’t played well for a LONG time. The rest of the world must be laughing at our backline with the likes of Foley and Toomua chosen as 10s and AAC as well…….

      • Max Graham

        I think most of the world is too busy thinking about Kerevi to laugh too hard. Wales had Gareth Ascombe ffs. Tell me the name of the French or Scottish playmakers – Foley would walk into those sides and Toomua would be captain. We’ve made finals of World Cups with weaker squads.

        • laurence king

          Probably wouldn’t agree with the last sentence. Though all of those sides that did make final also had a much better coach than the current side.

        • Max Graham

          Knuckles? Eddie Jones? Weren’t they sacked? This Cheika hate is getting a bit stale.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Knuckles wasn’t sacked. Both of them had much better records than Cheika too. Incomparably better.

        • Who?

          Eddie Jones was sacked for far lessor failings than Cheika’s demonstrated over the past few years. 2004, we were clearly second in the world, on the rise. The next year, we deteriorated, culminating in Twickers. Where we were scrummed off the park by fielding two THP’s who were both learning their trade at international level (i.e. they were the best we had, from our three Super provinces, but they were still babies internationally speaking).
          .
          But our record in 2005 was MILES better than our record in 2018. Our record in 2004 was MILES better than our record in 2017, and 2016. Our record in 2003 was arguably better than our record in 2015 (both times we were runners up, but one of them we went to extra time, the other Final (2015) we couldn’t score points against 15 men).
          .
          Cheika has the poorest international record of all Australian coaches. And he’s managed to get most of the Australian Rugby public offside over the past 5 years. When the fans can see the issues, and the coach effectively blames the players (players who we all agree are, for the most part, excellent) for not putting in (which is something I think Wallabies fans have come to realise is pretty well never the case – our players don’t walk out there and not give their best) by saying they didn’t execute, that the intensity wasn’t there (whilst selecting the team off intensity at training)… Sooner or late, everyone realises the emperor’s naked. Doesn’t mean he’s a bad bloke, just means we’re looking at The Peter Principle. Promotion beyond capacity. And people lose patience with Peter, even though he might be a nice bloke.
          .
          Cheika’s saving grace is the same as Foley’s. Foley had his mate as his selector through 2015-17, and in that time the alternatives were removed (i.e. Toomua went overseas, Leali’ifano developed cancer, Cooper had Thorn arrive). Similarly, Cheika had support on appointment, and then there’s been no realistic alternatives to promote.

        • Max Graham

          Eddie Jones was sacked by the Reds after one season. He and Knuckles were coaches during a period where our scrum became a laughing stock. Say what you want about Cheika, but the scrum is now 1000% better – if he had Stephen Larkham and Latho available we’d be close to favourites for the RWC. But since Eddie Jones was coach, Australia’s pearl-clutchers have screamed for the current coach to be run out of town. Jones was sacked. Knuckles sacked? Robbie Deans was sacked. McKenzie quit but Tahs’ fans wanted him sacked. Now it’s Cheika’a turn to wear all the blame for our fortunes. There’s a pattern, right? Meanwhile, there isn’t a single Australian coach who’s viewed as a possible successor. We don’t know what we ever want other than the current guy is to blame and should be sacked.

        • Who?

          Let’s be accurate. Eddie wasn’t sacked by the Reds, he resigned. There were calls for his sacking, but he resigned. He then went and was a consultant for Jake White, and was (according to White) instrumental in the Bokke winning the RWC that year. He’s far from the messiah, he has clear failings, but he also has strengths. And his Wallabies win/loss ratio leaves Cheika for dead.
          .
          Eddie oversaw the ultimate humiliation of our front row. Knuckles was the beginning of it turning around, appointing Michael Foley as scrum coach (which eventually resulted in Le Return of Le Fuse, where Baxter got his revenge on Sheridan at Twickers in 08).
          .
          Part of the issue for Eddie with the scrum was that he was a Super coach before being Wallabies coach. And the lack of scrummaging success at Super level meant we had no viable props. Resulting in him constantly selecting the same props (regardless of poor outcomes – he had no better options). So the responsibility for that lack of propping depth was partly his.
          .
          Cheika deserves some credit for improvement in the scrum, but the roots of it are the 2005 Twickenham crisis, Foley’s time with the Wallabies, and continued improvement at Super level, which eventually saw us with some great talent in the small numbered jerseys (Nutta (a long term prop, regular poster and sometime contributor on front row matters) used to regularly describe many of our props as ‘fat flankers’, he hasn’t used that moniker for a good while now). And eventually we saw Cheika drag in his mate Mario to continue to refine our front row stocks (so credit to him there).
          .
          The Reds’ scrum this year wasn’t as good as it had been in previous years (it was good, just not as good). But before it was known as a weapon, it already was one. It was solid back when Link was there. It grew stronger when Stiles became scrum coach. No one picked just how good it was, but it even managed to score the odd pushover try. It was statistically among the very best in Super Rugby well before anyone realised. This all predates Cheika’s use of those players (some of them – like Sam Talakai – still aren’t capped Wallabies, a great indicator of our propping depth at present). So while he deserves credit for bringing in Ledesma (his best assistant coach appointment by far), Cheika can’t take credit for developing the depth we currently have (remember, he was Tahs coach, how many of the squad front rowers are Tahs players? And how many of those front rowers did he sign or debut at the Tahs? Only one – Latu).
          .
          So, Jones was sacked. But Knuckles wasn’t sacked. He signed a 2 year contract, and indicated – when he signed it – that’s all he wanted. He put himself in as a caretaker, to get to the RWC (when there’d be more coaching talent available).
          .
          It’s funny you mention we’d be nigh on favourites if we had Latho available. Everyone at Qld Country used to compare Banks to Latho, back when Banks was at 15, Thorn was on the bench and coaching, and before Banks signed with the Brums.
          .
          It’s interesting you say that Tahs fans wanted Link sacked. Why? What was the justification for that? He’d been coach for 16 months (i.e. not that long), he had a better record than Cheika currently has (Cheika’s lost more games than Link coached), and there were signs of progress. The results in the 2014 RC weren’t great, but structures were improving, and new players were developing. All that in spite of key player losses – we had no Pocock for any of Link’s time, no Cooper for 2014 (quite a loss after the stellar 2013 EOYT), Captain Mowen wasn’t topped up by the ARU and left (a major mistake from them – our best backrow under Link was Fardy/Hooper/Mowen)). So whilst it was disappointing only to draw with the ABs in the first game, and gutting to lose by 1 in his last game (kick landed not too far from me), there wasn’t any on field reason for Tahs fans to want him gone.
          If it was because he was disciplining players for unacceptable behaviour, then why do those same Tah fans seem to have issues with JOC and Cooper, when it was the Tah of the three amigos who was misbehaving, and who still has the most recent misbehaviour (2018, 2014)..?
          I was very, very disappointed when Link left. He should’ve been seen as the least partisan of our coaches – Tah hero as a player, learned his coaching at the Brums (following ex-Tahs coach Rod Macqueen there), Tahs coach, Reds title-winning coach… From Victoria originally. He’d been almost everywhere. And he was our best tactical coach this decade.
          .
          I was in favour of moving on Deans by the end of 2009. I gave him 12 months to implement his plans. I didn’t scream for his head after the 8-53 result in Johannesburg in 2008, because I knew he was still transitioning the team to his systems (which is also why I give Knuckles some credit for the win in the first Bledisloe that year – because the team was still largely his team, and still largely playing his structures). But by the end of 2009, it was pretty clear the direction he was taking the team, and there were clear failings that weren’t addressed. The best coaches surround themselves with people who aren’t afraid of disagreeing with them, so for Deans to push out Foley (in 2008, and replace him with Jim Williams, who turned out to be arguably our poorest ever forwards coach), was a poor sign.
          .
          Cheika came in off the back of what to many eyes appeared to be a Tahs-led revolt, further reinforcing the impression of state bias. Then he dragged in Beale from an indefinite suspension for sexual harassment in the workplace after only 2 weeks – dragging him around the world to play on the EOYT (not replacing a player, something that was unprecedented and remains unreplicated), further reinforcing the appearance of biases. That even continued as late as last EOYT, where all the whispers were he didn’t want to stand down Beale and AAC for breaking team rules, and even after publicly banning them he was reported to have considered bringing Beale in to replace an injured forward. So that apparent bias didn’t help him in any way outside NSW (even though, given the Wallaby coach tends to be based in Sydney, a Tahs-bias is nothing new. Deans had no reason for a Tahs-bias, yet was accused of it. Link held, if anything, a Brumbies-bias, which was fair enough given they were the best side for the first half of his tenure).
          Cheika did well with his siege mentality at the 2015 RWC, but since then we’ve seen a consistent negative spiral of results until this year.
          His failings are patently obvious, often self-proclaimed (“I don’t watch much rugby,” “we worry about what we do, not what the other team does,” and so on), and his record is unmatched (the only Aussie coach in the professional era with a sub-50% win/loss record). The only coach with a losing record against England (not having beaten them since the RWC), having been whitewashed at home (where England hadn’t even won 3 games in Australia previously), losing a home series to Ireland, losing at home to Scotland…
          I wanted him gone at the end of 2016. I’d seen enough. It was already clear to me at that point that he had failings which he couldn’t address. Now, I was somewhat surprised at the outcome in Perth, but it was really going back to his 2014 Tahs game plan. Something that long term poster Adrian predicted. It worked well for them there. And honestly, it’s something we’ve had the talent to do for the majority of his entire tenure, but haven’t had the tactics or stability of selection (it’s always been musical locks). But you said we don’t need a Plan B, Cheika doesn’t care for Plan B, the ABs saw what we could do, worked us out, and we were smashed 36-0 in Auckland. Cheika’s expectation that implementing his singular game plan perfectly will be all that’s required. That his game plan is unbeatable. When that’s simply not true – no game plan is unbeatable. All teams have to be adaptable, even if only by degrees. Use your strengths, but strengthen your weaknesses with hope of turning them into strengths that can be used.
          .
          What do we want? I don’t know what ‘we’ want, but what I want is someone who has a strong direction he wants to take the team, but who also is willing to listen to those around him. Who recognises he’s not the font of all rugby knowledge. That’s something coaches often take time to learn. Graham Henry learned it from the 2001 Lions Tour. Failing, if you are willing to learn the lessons of the losses, can help you grow. We’ve appointed a few guys who’ve had nothing but success. Deans and Cheika being amongst them. Jones was one of them, too. He’s a much better coach today than he was for us, because he’s clearly failed, and had to learn from those failure. I want someone who’s learned from his mistakes, and who doesn’t feel as though his IQ is half of my own. I’m not saying Cheika’s IQ is half mine, I’m saying he presents that way, and he’s not the first coach to present that way. He’s clearly not a complete idiot – his business outcomes are exceptional, he speaks multiple languages. But he doesn’t present that way – he doesn’t give confidence, and his results on the field back that up.
          Who do I want? Honestly, I’m not sure. I’m not sure who we could get. I don’t believe there’s an Aussie coach at present who’s ready to step up. And even if they were, I’d like them to have more experience than any of the current Super coaches. That’s arguably our greatest issue.

        • Max Graham

          Agree that it’s a shame Link left when and how he did.

        • Max Graham

          Knuckles? Eddie Jones? Weren’t they sacked? This Cheika hate is getting a bit stale.

        • Who?

          And were entering into much shallower RWC’s. This is a seriously competitive event – the quality of the NH teams has jumped miles in the past four years. IN 2015, no NH team won a knockout game. But since then, Ireland has beaten NZ in 2 of 3 games, and only lost to the Wallabies once (winning a series in Australia 2-1). England rediscovered their game. Wales have rediscovered their game.
          .
          And we’ve plumbed the depths, with our poorest year in professional Rugby, sitting below 50% winning ratio, and having an incredibly poor record against NH teams (who have we beaten? Wales a few times until our latest match, not England, Ireland once here, we’ve lost to Scotland in Australia…).

        • laurence king

          It’s a big call to slate our sides that have previously made finals and state that this is a better squad. It may be true, I don’t know. But I think the biggest handicap that this side has got, is the coach,

        • Who?

          I wasn’t in any way intending to slate previous slides that made finals. But let’s be honest – we had a shocking 2014 EOYT, in total disarray after the players group split themselves (generally along state lines), Cheika managed to form a siege mentality to get results in TRC (though we still got handed our backsides at Eden Park), and with two good performances (both in the pool) we managed to get to the final, where we didn’t look like scoring against the ABs whilst they had 15 on the field. No question, the team gave all they had and got a great result for their efforts. But that level of performance won’t cut it against NH teams which are significantly better now than they were 4 years ago.
          .
          I do think this side has more depth and, man for man, is arguably stronger than 2015. But I think that, whilst our team and depth is better individually, other nations have progressed further faster.
          I agree, the biggest handicap we have is the coaching.

        • laurence king

          Yes Who?, fair enough, honestly I haven’t a clue how we rate against the NH sides currently, but we’ve been fairly stagnant over the past 4 years though haven’t we. So I find myself looking towards the world cup with a wishful thinking kind of hope rather than a hope that is based on a faith in anything that the Wallabies have demonstrated over the last few years. I do believe that in the next few years many of these players will form the nucleus of a truly world class side. Cheers

        • Who?

          I agree with that, too, Laurence. I think we’ve got quite a good group. We’ve got holes in selection or supply in a couple of positions (particularly 6 and 14, and next year, 10), but we’ve got a few guys who might not make the World XV, but they’d be close, and feel aggrieved if they didn’t make the XXIII.
          I can hope – wishful thinking hope, with you – for this WC, but I too have significant optimism about the future, with better structures, better planning, and hopefully we find a good 10 (rather than dragging back one of Foley or Cooper from Japan, who’ll both be Giteau-eligible).

        • Huw Tindall

          Finn Russell is a bit of a gun for Scotland mate but yeah agree with our sentiment. Squad is pretty strong other than world class wings or a legit 6.

        • Max Graham

          Pocock at 6 and Petaia at 14 will do me. I’d back them against most going around.

        • Max Graham

          Pocock at 6 and Petaia at 14 will do me. I’d back them against most going around.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Yeah, Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg are probably both better than our 10s. Naive from Max. I think most of us are naive about the French.

        • Max Graham

          Stuart Hogg would make the Oz team as a 10?

        • Who?

          It’s a bit crazy to think the Scots would select Foley, even Toomua’s debatable. Why would they select players from a team that’s lost to them consistently?

        • Max Graham

          Good point about Russell. Bugger!!!!

          If he was Australian and didn’t play for the Brumbies, I reckon they’d be 30 comments here each day about how he shouldn’t be in the team.

    • Huw Tindall

      100% with you Dud. People are losing their sh!t over maybe 3-4 places in a 31 man squad all of which would’t be in the best match day 23.

      • Patrick

        Not at all. Indeed the whole problem is the starting 15.

        90% of readers here would start Banks at fb, 80% would start and Sefa/Speight at wing and 70% would pick Samu at 6.

        • Huw Tindall

          Samu is injured and hasn’t played since Brums semi final so he was never going to be selected. Unfortunate as would have been in a shoe after his form at the end of the season and would be great to see what he could have done at 6 compared to LSL.

          Sefa didn’t really do anything all season so he wasn’t going to get a look in. If you want actual form wingers you’d have been picking between Speight and Rona by the season’s end. Even Cam Clark if you want a specialist winger who is always in the right spot and is great on the D reads.

          Banks is a tough one as has plenty of promise but didn’t get the game time to push his case. Would have like to have seen him get more time.

          Point is if these are the only contestable selections in 31 man RWC squad then it’s not that bad.

          None of us have picked a RWC squad so would defer to our 3 man selection panel on squad make up and positional depth.

        • Patrick

          Look fine whatever we can disagree.

          I don’t see a single recognized fb in the team apart Beale. Now I would love him to prove me wrong and show that he is a different player to the one that left me with nightmares last time he was tried at fb, but eden park suggested otherwise. So for me that’s a pretty massive gap.

          And we have only one (one!) dedicated winger.

          And the game time thing is a crock, because which muppet decided that our best (eligible) fullback didn’t get any of that game time stuff??

          Now I might not be an expert on selecting world cup squads (although I have selected teams) nor even on rugby or really anything for that matter, but I can certainly see that the Australian squad is an anomaly.

          Now that might still be fine if you could feel comfortable that there was a good strategy behind those differences… so, anyone?

          Has Cheika or the selection panel outlined any such strategy?

          Do they have the track record to justify trusting them with a clearly pretty outlier strategy?

          For me it’s no and no, and I don’t think I need any particular expertise to be able to make those conclusions.

        • Huw Tindall

          What about DHP? 15 through and through. Beale is a sphincter clenching player I agree and maybe best served off the bench. We’ll find out I guess!

          I’m more annoyed by the dedicated wingers than depth at 15 in this squad especially in a RWC where kicking (and defensive positioning in the back 3) is critical.

        • Patrick

          Oups I forgot all about DHP and I feel a tiny bit better already.

          But not much, and I see you actually seem to agree with everyone else on this site about our wingers

        • Huw Tindall

          For sure mate. Used to be open to finding a spot for our ‘best’ players but the results over the last couple of years and how other nations have approach the matter I’ve come down firmly on the side of playing players in position. Sure there could be an exception if you’ve got a world beater and the step down to the best in position player is a gulf but I don’t think that applies to the current Wallabies line up.

          Problem is none of our wingers really looked world class this year which helped made the case for playing players out of position. A Sevu Reece or George Bridge or the like would be great to have! Still, I’d have wanted to at least give Speight a run to see what he can do. That ship has sailed though so hopefully next year we can revisit the outside backs even if that means playing Hodge at wing all year!

  • Frosty morning

    I can see the value of having AAC’s experience around the group, but surely he’s not going to play a major role in the serious games. Why not take him as an assistant/water boy to use his experience and take Banks to play?

    • Brisneyland Local

      100% agree. Coaching consultant / water booy. Strapping dude. Dont give a shit. But not taking up a spot when we have no genuine pace!

    • Seb V

      100%…. baffling decision.

  • A Dingo Stole My Rugby

    I’ve heard a lot of people justifying AAC’s selection (or trying to imagine Cheika’s justification) by saying that he’s there for his experience and mentoring.

    Firstly, do we need him there to mentor the younger players about how to undermine the coach? About how to ignore team rules and curfews? Because he has form there. And he doesn’t have form where it counts.

    Secondly, why do we need his experience and mentoring? We have a very experienced back in Genia, another in Foley, Hooper and Pocock in the piggies, and if we need an outside back mentor in particular, and one with a clean disciplinary record (unlike AAC), there’s Kuridrani.

    AAC’s inclusion is one of the worst selections I’ve seen, and costs the team the chance to include any of about 27 better options…

    • Brumby Runner

      And having guests in the room after hours?

    • AllyOz

      should have picked him as backs coach instead of Berne if he wanted him as a mentor – or take him as a water boy. With the one possible exception of Pocock, every player must be ready from the get go to play and be able to contribute something ON the field.

  • ForceFan

    Doing little to prepare the way for RWC 2023.
    Why am I not surprised??

  • Patrick

    Well I guess that’s why we’re 6th favorite to win it

  • Larry Jorgensen

    Let us all recall 2011 and Stephen Donald, in an ill-fitting jersey, kicking a penalty in the WC final. Called into action whilst catching whitebait (as a Kiwi, what else would he be doing if not playing rugby).

    If we go deep, who knows what could happen and who will be playing.

  • Adrian

    Could be worse.

    I picked 27 of the 31 in MY team, and 29 of the 31 in the team I thought they’d pick.

    The team I picked 1 year ago had 22 of the 31, as did the team I picked 6 months ago…but a different 22!

    IMO, if left to his own devices, Cheikas would have picked about 28 of the 31 that the selectors picked.

    Let’s face it, we don’t have a huge pool to pick from.

    The thing that counts is the strategy. They have a better one than they have had since 2016

    The best 23 will include the most talented guys we have, including Petaia, and in a tournament like this they have the capacity to play like they did in Perth in every match

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Ever the optimist mate. Welcome back

    • Huw Tindall

      Agree mate. Other than our shortage of world class wingers and a proper 6 it’s a bloody good squad and the team has the capacity to beat any team on their day. Japan smashed Fiji this month so expect we should go OK. Wales got destroyed by England two weeks ago and have lost Anscombe so any dynamic attack has gone. Sure they can still strangle us but would rather play Wales than NZ, England, Saffa or Ireland. Hopefully we show a bit of nous and some tailored game plans. It could go tits up or we could surprise but either way bring it on. Welcome back btw!

      • Adrian

        Thanks Huw, agree with your comments

  • Human

    I have never met AAC so may be wrong, however, if he was a man of any character he would refuse to take the spot so that a younger player could go. AAC has been to 2 or 3 WC’s and played a lot of tests, tours, etc. RWC19 adds nothing to his CV and he adds nothing to the team.

    • Max Graham

      His CV? You’ve jumped the shark.

      • Human

        I have no idea what that means, but Thankyou anyway.

    • Parker

      Agreed. Honour would dictate that he announce his retirement before the RWC. It would look great for him.

  • So, Fiji “super-fast forwards and backs” and Wales “pop-gun attack but miserly in defence” will both be trembling in their boots at this. If Pocock is fit, it has to be the Pooper to try and slow Fiji down, but any ball they get is going to Hodge’s wing and they’re going to rampage down there all day. Failing that, it will go to Koroibete’s wing and they’ll just put two big, fast guys on him and force him to make a choice, then flip it around him. Or chip past him.

    Wales will just soak the pressure all day and win a low scoring game. Hell, with the speed of that back three, and their acuity under the high ball, it might not be that low scoring. Biggar loves a good bomb and collects like a madman, North and Jones do too. Beale trying to collect with all three bearing down on him, or Hodge trying to turn and outsprint any of them to the ball or… ouch.

    I’m feeling mostly unsurprised until you get to numbers higher than 10. Then it looks like Cheika spiked the Kool-Aid with acid…

    • Patrick

      Wales could slaughter us, and I’ve never thought that before in my life, but they could massacre us just by playing rugby by the numbers :(

  • adastra32

    Contributing as a NHer, much opinion up here reckons that the WBs will “turn up” for the tourney and be a factor. However, decisions of initial selection aside (AAC being the major one), there does not seem sufficient strength-in-depth or tactical flexibility for the team to go all the way.

  • Parker

    This is so depressing. I hope Foley, Simmons, AAC and Hodge play well above what they’ve shown to date.

  • Max Graham

    Just look at all you pearl-clutches. This isn’t a bad squad. This tight 5 would beast the shite we sent in 2003, 2007 or 2011. Two good halfbacks. Two outstanding flankers. A good no 8. Centres that might end up being comparable to any we’ve ever put on the park. So what if your favourite journeyman missed the cut! It’s not exactly the side I would have picked, but I’m just some dude on the internet. But it isn’t half as bad as many of you are screeching about. I actually like it!

    • laurence king

      Max, agreed, there are some seriously good players in the side. We are not worried about most of the squad. A serious lack of pace at 6 and on the wing plus a flakey fullback. Those problem areas were exploited throughout last weeks game and it’s unlikely that Chieka will do anything about it.

      • Max Graham

        Look at the squad. Who do you think will play wing? Actually, who would you prefer over Petaia and Koroibette on the wings? Who’s better than Pocock and Hooper on the flanks? We got pasted by the kiwis who went with two opensides – only one of which is of the quality as our pair.

        • laurence king

          Max, I don’t mind those players playing those positions, My problem especially in regards to wing and fullback is, Cheika is highly unlikely to pick Petaia on the wing, which means at least one draught-horse. Beale is brilliant coming of the pine, but as the fullback, he is flakey. Now because he is flakey, Cheika will most likely pick DHP to be the particular draught-horse, with Hodge as reserve. What it means is, because of his love for Kurtley, two positions are weakened. It reminds me of the defensive solution that they used to hide Kurtley’s and Foley’s frailties. That particular solution weakened the whole team, particularly the wingers. And again, the wing position is weakened. Cheika is a dill. We have good players, but he’s a dill. If we go far into the tournament it will be because of the players and despite Cheika.

        • Max Graham

          I reckon Cheika will pick Petaia for every oz team he ever coaches. He tried to pick him last year as a 14 year old and has brought him into the squad despite being out all of the year. It’s cool to slate Cheika for his record, but it’s a bit harsh to condemn him for future, unlikely events.

        • laurence king

          Mate, I hope you’re right. But in life we make estimates of what a person is likely to do in the future by what they do in the past. So I would say that I’m realistic and not harsh. But yes, Cheika likes him and so while I’m not optimistic of Cheika using him as a first choice winger, I have some hope.

      • Max Graham

        Look at the squad. Who do you think will play wing? Actually, who would you prefer over Petaia and Koroibette on the wings? Who’s better than Pocock and Hooper on the flanks? We got pasted by the kiwis who went with two opensides – only one of which is of the quality as our pair.

      • joy

        LSL and Hodge ran shoulder to shoulder chasing Bridge in the last test. If Hodge is not fast enough to beat a slow 6 what on earth is he doing on the wing?
        There is another angle. LSL might be faster than we think.

        • Who?

          To be fair to Hodge, he did get around the outside of LSL. He outpaced LSL. That doesn’t make him fast, but we’ve got to be fair to him.

        • joy

          OK

        • laurence king

          He is a big unit, and while he has some good top end speed, it’s that first 5 metres that’s the problem in defense. He gets beaten because he lacks that initial acceleration. And in reference to Hodge, yeh, what on earth is he doing on the wing?

    • Human

      Petaia is not a wing any more than Banks is…both are good fullback’s.
      Why take Foley and AAC? Do we really need three aged 10’s and a slow old utility back as well as 2 slow, slightly younger utility backs?
      Where is the big dynamic 6? If we want 3 10’s, take a young one as the third.
      The Pooper worked in 2015 and has not worked since.
      Petaia may end up being spoken of in the same way as as Horan, Little, Hawker, O’Connor but none of the others will…Samu is going OS; TK is getting older, JOC has too little time left.
      I agree, that most of the squad is okay…as always it is only a few that are contentious.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I think both Petaia and Banks are capable of playing wing. Petaia first impressed in super rugby last year playing on the wing, and Banks has the speed to play there, and has done well at multiple levels of rugby. Petaia is more a centre and Banks is more a fullback though.

        • Max Graham

          Except that Petaia has played most of his rugby as a winger and Banks has played none.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Neither has played most of their rugby as a winger. Both have some experience on the wing, but Petaia has mostly played fullback and centre, and Banks has mostly played fullback.

        • Max Graham

          I’m a Reds fan and watch every game I can. Never seen Petaia at fullback – seen him play 2 games at centre, the rest on the wing. The YouTube stuff I’ve seen from his high school days has him wearing ‘14’. Not saying you’re wrong as I’m going on limited info.

      • Brumby Runner

        Cheika (and maybe RA) just couldn’t bring themselves to pick a young and up and coming No 10 from the Force. There is little doubt (at least in my mind) that Andrew Deegan will be the best No 10 in the country next year with CLL, Spanners and the Sunshine Band all going o/s. Would probably be the best if they all stayed.

        But the Force really aren’t part of the “picture” as drawn by Cheika. You know what I mean?

        • Max Graham

          Andrew Deegan might be good but he plays tier 3/4 rugby against make believe teams in friendlies. Let’s see if he’s able to step up to Super Rugby first. Cooper and Foley would likely look like gods if they played against the Kuala Lumpur Snow Leopards or Patong Beach Puffer Fish.

      • Max Graham

        Petaia has played wing at schoolboys level and an entire season for the Reds. I’m not sure he’s played fullback at senior level and has played 2 games at 13. Australia doesn’t have a big dynamic 6 – neither does the ABs, who used the Pooper to thrash us a week ago.

  • AllyOz

    There was a story in the Nine papers about how each player found out that they were picked and who called them with the news. That was a really nice touch I thought (though I wondered about some of the people Cheika picked to call them….always the selections it seems). Anyway, after 48 hours of hateful thoughts towards poor old Cheik I thought it was only fair that I acknowledge something that I thought he had done well. Actually, looking at the squad, the only ones I feel particularly concerned about are wing and blind side flankers/second rowers, so its really only 2-3 picks out of 31 that I have an issue with so, what’s that 90.3% correct from my score sheet – I would be happy if I got that in all my exams.

    • Zippo

      Given the outside backs and our lack of speed, I reckon Matt Dunning made those calls!

  • joy

    There’s been a lot of concern about the lack of speed and the poor defensive record of our outside backs but I believe there is an answer within the squad.

  • Max Graham

    I’ll provide a brief synopsis for those who don’t want to read 300+ comments.

    Cheika is clearly insane, because out of a squad of 31 he only selected 29 of the specific players the online community wanted chosen.

  • Fatflanker

    Just watched the England Ireland ‘warm-up ‘. My prediction if we meet them in the WC – our set piece will probably hold up OK; we will be annialated at the breakdown and cut to pieces by their outside backs.

    Yeah, call me Nostradamus.

    To have any chance TK and Pocock will need to be on the field for that game at least with Beale wearing his suit in the stands. How bad does our lack of pace on the wings look now?

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

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