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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s rugby news has Australia working with a new kicking coach, a TV deal on the horizon, re-signings for the Force and more bad news for Halfpenny.


Wallabies work on kicking

nic white kick wallabies

After arriving in England, the Wallabies have begun to see the benefit of their new kicking coach Chris Malone, who holds a decade of experience in the midst of UK conditions. Malone amassed 775 points in 140 Premiership games as a goalkicking five-eighth, with Michael Cheika commenting, “We wanted someone a bit more game orientated.”

Goalkicking will be a decisive factor in the World Cup, but the Wallabies have shown worrying inconsistency recently. In the last three tournaments, just 15 tries have been scored in the three semi-final and final matches — but 36 penalties have been kicked.

TV deal in the works

Bill Pulver

SANZAR is understood to have finalised a new broadcast agreement which will come close to doubling the ARU’s $20million television revenue. Interim SANZAR chief executive Brendan Morris also emphasised that a Japanese team will line-up in the expanded 2016 competition.

SANZAR will also use the momentum of the World Cup to investigate the possibility for a United States team to join Super Rugby in the future. “Rugby is the fastest growing game in America at the moment, there’s huge potential for us to look into those markets,” Morris said.

Force sign two players

Luke Morahan

The Western Force have announced that wing Luke Morahan and utility forward Ross Haylett-Petty have signed new deals with the Perth-based outfit. Morahan – who has re-signed for one year with the option of a second – was the club’s leading try scorer in 2015 (five tries) and has said, “I’m really excited about where the club’s heading and it made it a very easy decision to re-sign.”

Rising young lock/back-row Ross Haylett-Petty will remain with the Force for a further two seasons after making his Super Rugby debut in 2015. His maiden Super Rugby season followed in the wake of a number of standout performances for the Australian U20 squad in the 2014 IRB Junior World Championship in New Zealand

Halfpenny out for 6 Nations

Halfpenny passes in Lions vs Force 2013

Leigh Halfpenny is unlikely to feature again for Wales until after the next Six Nations, with the Toulon fullback revealing he would be out for between six and eight months. Halfpenny injured his cruciate knee ligament 10 minutes from the end of Wales’ Rugby World Cup warm-up against Italy 10 days ago and will undergo reconstructive knee surgery.

Halfpenny — the third high-profile Welsh back to ruled out of the World Cup following Jonathan Davies and Rhys Webb into the treatment room — admitted he knew his tournament was over as soon as he heard his knee snap. “I heard the sound of it snap and I just remember being on the floor in agony,” he said.

  • onlinesideline

    Its the INFIELD kick and chase that needs serious work and could be a MAJOR problem for us coming into the bigger matches. Whenever we have been under the pump in previous years by the media and all eyes have been on the Wallabies next match, it has been no coincidence that the win was hallmarked by really enthusiastic kick and chaseddown pressure.The surest sign of a pumped footy side on the day.

    Have we addressed this at all during Cheika’s reign so far ?

    • Chris

      agreed our kick chase is pedestrian at best. if the chase is on song – you will probably get back 30-40% of contested kicks in which case distance is less relevant. Genia box kicks would be less terrible if there was 1 or 2 in air challenging them.
      We should have got one of our back 3 to play AFL for a few years an learn the trade…. oh….

      • Chinese Dave

        Absolutely right. And pedestrian is being generous. I’d go for lazy, or even negligent. Folau is the only one who tries to contest kicks and he can’t be everywhere, there’s no reason why two backs can’t go after every single bloody kick.

        • I’d go further. Homocidal! Sociopathic!! We’re doomed.

  • Kiap

    “Malone amassed 775 points in 140 Premiership games”

    So that’s basically two straight kicks a game.

    Anyway, hopefully he’s a good coach. Our kickers sure need one.

    • Spank

      Certainly seems to be a weakness in our game and exacerbated by the fact that rarely does anyone (except AAC at times) chase the kick. In contrast when the ABs kick they will have two players on the spot to pressure the receiver – as will England.

  • Seb V

    Really don’t understand why we haven’t recruited a general play kicking and catching coach from the AFL. These guy probably spent 10 years+ playing AFL kicking full-time and then 5-10 years coaching others how to kick and catch. Who would possibly have more experience then that? and right on our doorstep too.

    • npivag

      AFL coaches can teach the skills of kicking/catching in general play to an extent, but they can’t teach our back 3 how to circumstantially use those skills.
      Things like how to work together to mark space, and how to return serve, etc., are completely foreign concepts to an AFL player/coach.
      Additionally, they have no skills around kicking off a tee, which seems to be this fellow’s specialty.

      • Duncher

        But… Don’t the ABs use an old afl guy themselves?

        • npivag

          Sure, but I believe he got taken on as a skills coach and slowly began to understand rugby structures and now does a bit more than skills. It panned out well for them, but we can’t exactly call in a guy like that as a WC consultant, that sort of understanding takes years to develop.

      • Funk

        that’s what the other coaches are for “tactics…tactical kicking” the AFL style kicking coach is needed to teach them how to get the most out of those kicks.
        When your opposition kicks 60 odd metres and we return it with a 20-30m kick there are some issues that need addressing. I’m getting rather sick of our pop-gun kicks. I’ve said it before, I really miss Latham’s torpedoes.

        • Braveheart81

          Is the torpedo really that prevalent in the modern game from any country since the law changed and kicks that go dead in goal result in a scrum from where the kick took place?

          I think there’s been a huge reduction in their use since that law change.

        • bad ass

          They are good when kicking for the side line.

        • npiva

          The fact is, this guy has been brought in primarily for goal kicking. AFL player don’t kick off a tee. I don’t really understand what’s being debated.
          Additionally, the length of the Wallaby kicking game is not the primary issue. The fact is, we make our kicking decisions badly and it puts us under pressure. Why couldn’t you use a rugby-developed kicking coach to prevent that? AFL players aren’t bombing it long to packs any more anyway, they’re generally using astute mid range kicks. Not rugby relevant at all.

        • Parker

          This is not an either or proposition. It’s place kicking AND kicking for touch or territory that should be improved, in which case an AFL coach would be great for the reasons already stated.

        • Seb V

          @npiva. Kicking accuracy and catching IS a huge weakness. An AFL coach is the best person to fix that. They can work in conjuction with Larkham who can handle the tactical side, and a goal kicking coach which they already have now. Not sure how you can argue this wouldn’t be valuable – especially when and AFL coach could be easily accessible here .

        • dane

          I think most of our blokes can kick 50-60m no problem. The issue comes from the fact that the kickers arent 100% sure what their tactical kick choice should be. Long/Short; Low/High; Left/Middle/Right. This leads to a less than committed kick which invariably is not as far as it could be and is generally right down the throat of a class kick returner such as Ben Smith, Milner-Skudder or Willy La Roux. The Boys need to kick for space, for touch or hoist it up and get the line moving through to contest the ball (another area where we lack).

          Sometimes the touch finders dont find much territory, I reckon this is due to lack of confidence with accuracy. They tend to play it safe and get only 20m to make sure the ball is out (and not be able to be thrown in quickly) instead of going for a good 40m touchfinder.

        • Funk

          There is a difference between being able to kick 50-60m on the training field, and having the skills to pull it off regularly, accurately and under pressure…this is what I think is missing, along with some tactical nous and a decent chasing game.

    • Pedro

      I agree. Larkham would know as much as anyone about the positional stuff. Get someone who can add some range and accuracy. I think getting fresh faces in here and there with different perspectives can shake things up in a good way.

      • bigbagjc

        The article is about goal kicking. Did anyone read it?

        • Pedro

          Pfft no…. But the question still stands.

        • bad ass

          The coments from others provide for more informative, unbiased and unbridled reading than the article. The article only serves to get the first few comments started, then it becomes pointless. I wait for Nutta and others to make a point to read and only go back and read the article only if necessary.
          To answer Pedro partly, I agree, an AFL kicking coach can teach some, especially Foley, how to torpedo punt to get distance when kicking for touch.

        • MattyP

          Ever seen a torpedo punt in an AFL game in the last 20 years? They went out with over the ankle boots.

        • Nutta

          Yeh. And a damn shame to. I still wear over the ankle boots and make a point of kicking a few ankles of opponents up-front who don’t wear them and I’ll keep kicking them if they wearing fkn blades or/with any fluro colours (“Oh, sorry mate!”). I even have an old pair with a lone stud up the front. I wore them in a game this year and the ref (who was a tad younger then me) didn’t say a word (although I’m not sure if that was because he didn’t think there was a problem or if he was just a bit wary of the old cranky guy) But that said, I also still wear cotton jerseys as well (whenever possible – synthetic ones piss me off and rub my nipples raw)

          New-Age bullshit.

        • Bizzare

          Have to import hi-top and mid cut boots, but my son likes them, doesn’t seem to make any difference to his ability to break a tackle, but that could be more to do with being 183cm and 85Kg, he was only 13 mid last month. Kicking is an interesting one, I coached an U10 who would kick a size 4 ball out of the hand further than I can kick a size 5, never was much of a kicker, I just wander if you can coach accuracy, but those real long kickers are just something a bit different? I could just, obviously, be an awful kicker.

        • bad ass

          Yes, they are done for distance sometimes where as they mostly kick for accuracy and ease of catching otherwise. When kicking out of the box with no unmarked players, or close to the bell towards the opposition goal our away from your own goal.

        • Nutta

          Awww shucks BA… I’m getting all emotional now.

    • Stin

      Been saying ad nauseum – we should throw all our money and attention at former swan now ABs kicking/attack coach, Mick Byrne. I know he’s open to it but apparently never been approached by any Aussie coach with the exception of Cheika who almost got him to the Tahs.
      http://m.foxsports.com.au/rugby/bledisloe-cup-why-all-blacks-skills-coach-mick-byrne-is-the-one-that-got-away-from-australian-rugby/story-e6frf4pu-1227472829523

    • Adrian

      Probably Rugby League kickers since Wally Lewis and Peter Stirling.
      Andrew Johns, and more recently Cameron Smith and Jonathan Thurston come to mind.

  • Chinese Dave

    I wonder what “game orientated” means in the context of goal kicking (as opposed to open play kicking). Is he going to stand next to the kicker and boo them, shine lasers into their eyes, and pressure them by having two goons beat them up if they miss? I’m asking, because it would be awesome if the answer is yes.

  • bad ass

    Our tactical kicking is crap overall, our distance on returns and kicks for touch under pressure and for penalties are far too short, our attacking kicks over a rush defence are lacking and limited to poor chip kicks by players outside the 5/8 at the death (despite having Folau in the side), our half back box kicks are poorly timed and poorly chased, and our conversions could be better. No one man can teach all this.

  • Swandive

    How about Mark Garrard as open-field kicking coach. That guy could get some distance….and they were normally nice and low and flat.

  • Swandive

    Sorry…..Gerrard.

  • Involving the USA in Super rugby would be great.

    • Gavin Oh

      I don’t think that World Rugby will ever sanction it because of the hemisphere split

  • Patrick

    And in the most dissappointing news of the day: http://www.planetrugby.com/story/0,25883,3551_79835,00.html

    The Waratahs Rugby have confirmed the signing of former All Black Zac Guildford for the 2016 Super Rugby season, on a short-term contract for 10 months.

    hmm.

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