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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s rugby news has Cheika flexible with his halves, the Waratahs coaching staff solidified, some promising re-signings at the Brumbies and Warran Gatland trash-talk


Halves combination left open

Australia's Bernard Foley passes to Adam Ashley-Cooper, who scores Australia's first try

Bernard Foley has hinted that Wallabies coach Michael Cheika may not settle with one halves combination during the World Cup. “I don’t know if it is ever going to be set,” Foley said on Tuesday after Wallabies training, where combinations were still being switched. “The way Cheik wants to play … I think it’s a bit of a horses for courses mentality.”

Foley also said that the squad’s preparations had further intensified as they grow closer to the World Cup. Saturday’s Test against the US is the Wallabies’ last game before their World Cup opener against Fiji on September 23.

Nathan Grey re-signs

Grey - happy with the chess pieces

Nathan Grey will stay on as assistant coach of the NSW Waratahs for the next Super Rugby season, working under new head coach Daryl Gibson. The former 35-Test Wallaby will work alongside new coaching recruits Cameron Blades and Chris Malone.

Grey said he was looking forward to shaping the next generation of incoming players after some senior departures including centre Adam Ashley-Cooper, prop Sekope Kepu, No.8 Wycliff Palu and halfback Brendan McKibbin. “There is a vacuum there, so we will be looking to our younger players to get stuck in straight away and really stake a claim with how they train and play,” he said.

Contract extensions at Brumbies

Ruan Smith in space

The Brumbies have announced that wing Lausii Taliauli and tighthead prop Ruan Smith have both signed contract extensions with the Canberra-based outfit. Former Australian Sevens representative Taliauli signed a new one-year deal while the promising front-row prospect Smith has signed a new two-year deal.

Brumbies CEO Michael Jones emphasised that the retention of both Taliauli and Smith adds great depth to the Brumbies squad, saying “Ruan is one of the best up-and-coming tighthead props in Australia,” while saying of Taliauli, “His pace and size make him a dangerous player to mark for any opposition.”

Gatland dismisses English chances

Gatland warm up   in Lions vs Force 2013

Warren Gatland has turned the heat on group rivals England, saying they have plenty of questions that must be answered heading into the Rugby World Cup pool of death. “We are much more settled,” said Gatland after naming his 31-man World Cup squad. “England have got the problem of which way they want to play and who they want to play.”

The Wales coach cited the uncertainties for the English team in the halves, midfield and backrow. Gatland still has some major concerns going into the tournament, with niggling injuries to Alun Wyn-Jones, Luke Charteris and captain Sam Warburton.

  • OzEd

    Gatland, like Hanson, appears to be fair knob

    • Chinese Dave

      As hard as it is to ascribe the word sophistication to Hansen, he’s far more sophisticated than Gatland. Hansen doesn’t talk badly about the opposition, instead, he’ll butter them up with some transparent crap, just like him saying Cooper played well against them at Eden Park. Gatland on the other hand, loves to talk trash about the oppo, he probably fancies himself a Sir Alex Ferguson or some shit like that. How he wishes he could have Feguson’s or Hansen’s results… A right knob for sure.

    • Tommy

      Like you OzEd. Still angry after that 3rd Lions test hiding, or is it all those Bledisloe Cup bitch-slappings pal?

  • muffy

    If you have a fluid selection policy based around game plan, does that not give your opposition a heads up as to your plans? Not criticising, just asking.
    .
    Gatland, has always been a wanker – sorry GAGR policy – I rescind, that last comment and replace it with: seems to have all the hallmarks of a prize wanker.

    • Chinese Dave

      Probably nothing they didn’t know already. Also, these player comments are always one-sided, as in, we never know the question they were asked. He was probably asked about which halves combo we were going with, and rather than making some stuff up, or giving a bland “it’s up to the coach” truism, told the truth as he perceives it. I doubt he ventured out on his own to tell the world about the halves situation.

    • Ian

      But how does an opposition team prepare for one 9/10 combo in the first half and an entirely different one in the second? It also impacts the oppositions strategy, and who they play on the bench, and it certainly forces the opposition to come up with a selection of back up plans.

      I like the fluid selections. It makes the preparation required of the opposition much greater.

  • PC Joy

    I think Gatland is just telling the truth. England’s preparations are disjointed and the team doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon. The team is unsettled and lacks size. The selection of Burgess won’t fix it.

  • Contender

    Seems the Welsh (or Gatland at least) think it’s either them of England who will progress. That assumption is very generous to the wallabies. England at home and Wales in current form (beating Ireland in Dublin)… could be us packing our bags come October 10.

    • Ian

      Do you mean, he thinks it will be Wales or England that won’t progress?

      I think we could see any of England, Fiji or Australia not make it through. Wales will beat Fiji and England, Fiji should beat England, so I reckon Wales are in. We need to be on our game to overcome the refs and beat Wales and England. We will not receive any favours there.

      • Spank

        Two chances for Wales to beat England – None and Buckleys.

  • Nick

    Can we ban anyone named Tom, Tommy or Timmy? May as well add Tammy just in case. I have a bad feeling about this…

  • porpor

    My team vs England:
    1. Sio, 2. Moore, 3. Kepu; 4. Simmons, 5. Mumm; 6. Fardy, 7. Hooper, 8. Pocock; 9. Genia, 10. Cooper; 11. Speight, 12. Giteau (k), 13. Kuridrani, 14. AAC, 15. Folau

    16. TPN, 17. Slipper, 18. Holmes, 19. Skelton, 20. McMahon, 21. Palu, 22. Foley, 23. Mitchell.

    • Dom Par

      Palu, and Mitchell offer very little, and even less off the bench. When combined with Foley (who needs to be there), that’s 3 slow starters off the bench. I’d pick Beale (can’t believe I said that) over Mitchell, and McCalman over Palu. But other than that your team looks good.

    • bad ass

      NZ may test Cooper, (as they would any of our 5/8s), but England and Wales would have serious problems playing against him.

      • m0b1us

        I think the last time Cooper was in a side that beat England was back in 2010. Aus are 1/5 against England in the last
        5 years. Of course this matters not a jot but I don’t think England are overly concerned with Cooper.

        • bad ass

          Not true. The Wallabies, with Cooper at 10, and Toomua inside, ripped through the northern hemisphere on the EOYT in 2014. They beat every one except England, but well and truly beat England every where but on the score board due to very suspicious refereeing, and England know it. They would be very worried about Coops. England will put their hopes on the forwards and the scrum. If the Wallabies keep it down England’s end, they are toast.

        • m0b1us

          ‘They beat England everywhere but the scoreboard’ – wow, that’s a
          classic. Did you even watch that game?

          England would much rather have Cooper at 10 than Toomua.

        • bad ass

          Toast

  • galumay

    Gatland talking about England’s chances just distracts from the problems Wales face. Based on the match against Ireland they really showed nothing in attack, the defence was very good and they were gifted a lot of turnover ball by Joubert completely ignoring the laws around the breakdown. I think Fiji will be a real threat to them, an attack that is a lot more creative than Irelands. I also think the Wobblies will have their measure.

  • Patrick

    Some bloody good players on this list who won’t be featuring in September / October, a real shame: http://www.planetrugby.com/story/0,25883,3551_75901,00.html

  • Chinese Dave

    Thing is, nobody has to talk badly of their opposition. Being under pressure is neither reason nor excuse for the kind of shit Gatland gets up to (I recall his comments about Australia during the Lions tour). It has nothing to do with the ability of the team, but all about the personality of the coach. And Gatland has a shit personality.

  • Hambone

    Add to the list the quality of assistant coaches he has at his disposal and its pretty easy to sit as pretty as he does, but fair call about the measure of a coach bringing a team from below to the glorious highs, I don’t think Hansen can claim to be as good as he does

  • Nutta

    I agree in principle. Leaving banter aside, in a professional environment slagging off opponents is completely unnecessary. However rolling the occasional hand-grenade can be useful for distraction and pressure purposes. To that end, based solely on what is written above (and ignoring things like BIL comments from the past), is Gatland slagging? It’s not abusive or patently untrue. He was asked questions by a journo and he gave an opinion. We may not agree with that opinion – I’m pretty sure you or I would mumble something noncontroversial or a simple “no comment” but does that make what he said slagging because it’s not what we would have said?

  • Nutta

    I’m not being smart, but where is the evidence that Hansen thinks he’s the bomb? Has he actually said something to that effect?

  • Tomthusiasm

    He was assistant to Henry for seven years and has improved the All Blacks since taking over, so maybe he’s better coach than you think?

  • Tomthusiasm

    Ok mate.

  • HJT

    You mean like when all Wallaby fans rejoiced in 2007 when the NZRU gifted Robbie Deans to Australia? That worked out well.

  • JPQ

    Hansen has coached several other teams, albeit I think he’s probably grown in ability since then. Google is your friend.

  • Chinese Dave

    Well, he was highlighting what he thought were problems with England’s team and set up. Call it what you will, I call it trash talking the opposition. Now, I get it can have an effect, much like sledging in cricket. But I think both are crappy acts. You haven’t heard Lancaster or any of our coaches do it. It reeks to me of false bravado. After all, if Wales were all that under him, they wouldn’t have been seeded third in a group with England and Australia. Let your Rugby do the talking.

  • Tom C

    Hansen has said nothing. In the same way Deans, McKenzie or Cheika has ever said anything in return. It just seems that Wallaby rugby fans really struggle with coaches or players who regularly beat them. Hansen, Henry, Gatland (with the Lions), McCaw. It’s boring.

  • Hambone

    Hansen in my opinion is as smug as they come, apologies to those i offend. yes he has a right to sit pretty, he has an unbelievable record, and i mean unbelievable, but i believe in being a tad humble at same time, maybe im wrong, but he just rubs me the wrong way, unlike the team he has under him

  • HJT

    Remember all those frothing mouths at the time of Deans announcement as Wallaby coach? Then the Wallaby victory in Sydney in his 1st test against the All Blacks? Priceless!

  • Nick

    Regularly beat them? You throw Gatland in who has beaten us twice with the Lions. The rest are fine but Gatland has no place in this list.

  • bad ass

    Yeah, but nah, Gatland and Wales are regularly beaten by the Wallabies.

  • Tommy

    You’d love either to be involved with Australian rugby. Judging by the current state of the coaching ranks, both would be quite an uptick.

  • Avid

    We also need to recognise that Deans good legacy is that he broadened Australia’s player depth to the luxury that Chieka now has available.

  • El Jocko

    Yeah, right.
    If there were 10 teams all jostling for Top Dog status, then ALL you’ld hear about would be Ref Bias/Player Cheating.

  • Hambone

    there is no denying jabba is all powerful and mighty, look what he nearly did to luke skywalker. all im saying here is the calibre of his assistant coaches definitely iron out any creases in his collar…

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