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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s rugby news has Christian Lealiifano glad to be home, Rebels going chase for Quade Cooper’s signature, Wallabies to bounce back and Chiefs beat Wales.


Lealiifano Back Home

Christian Lealiifano has admitted that it is good to be back in his hometown of Melbourne as he chases the starting inside centre position for the Wallabies this weekend.

“It’s always special (playing in Melbourne),” Lealiifano said.

“Growing up here in Melbourne, unfortunately there was no Super Rugby here at the time. But to come back and play here is always special. You have family and friends who have seen you grow up and play junior footy.

“They are fond memories for me, the Lions series. They are memories that I will never forget. But now it is time to make some new ones.”

Rebels Join Cooper Chase

The Melbourne Rebels have reportedly begun to seek Quade Cooper’s services for next year.

Cooper is currently based at French club Toulon but he has also been linked to a Super Rugby return with the Reds.

It is understood that the Rebels will attempt to tap into Cooper’s friendship with former Reds teammate Morgan Turinui who is now assistant coach with the Rebels.

Mike Harris has filled in at five-eight for the Rebels this season but has signed with Lyon for next year possibly opening a door for Cooper.

Wallabies to Bounce Back

Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau has promised the Wallabies will bounce back from their defeat against England on the weekend.

The Wallabies need to win in Melbourne this weekend to set up a decider in Sydney the week after.

“You always see the true test of a person’s character when you’re down and out. I think people think we are ​(down and out) ​but at the end of the day it is about how we bounce back and reply to the situation,”Polota-Nau said.

“We are more than capable. If anything, they have woken up the beast, which is great. When it comes to training, we have to have no illusion that they’re going to be physical. We have to make sure that we give it to each other. That’s how it is going to be on Saturday.”

Chiefs Beat Wales

The Chiefs have claimed a historic win over Wales beating them 40-7 in Hamilton last night.

Wales only started two players who played in Saturday night’s test against the All Blacks but big names such as Sam Warburton, Jamie Roberts and Taulupe Faletau played large portions of the match.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie was delighted with his team’s performance.

“I’m not sure if it says anything about New Zealand rugby,” he said.

“What it tells you is that we’ve got a pretty tight group who work hard for each other.”

“Look, we knew we had to front big time obviously missing the All Blacks, who have carried a lot of game time for us,” he said.

“We knew it was going to be watched by massive numbers around the world

“It was a pretty special performance, because we played a fair chunk of the game without the ball. There was a hell of a hot of scrambling.

  • Patrick

    Couldn’t they have had no illusions last week at training? ? Can we get Dave Rennie as coach?

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Man, the Welsh must be feeling smashed. Half the team from Saturday spent some time on the field and now have to back up again this week. Apart from hoping they get smashed this week I almost feel sorry for them.

    • John Tynan

      You sure you’re a kiwi? That’s two lots of empathy in two days! Yesterday, you actually wished the Wallabies good luck! ;)

      • Dud Roodt

        I’ve been wondering this about KRL for a while too!
        I think the NZ tourism board planted him on this site after the 2011 RWC to make us think all Kiwi rugby fans wouldn’t just spit on us in the street

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Absolutely! You will see a lack of empathy for your team in the Rugby Championship matches against NZ. You may even see some smart arse remarks and pictures about how long you haven’t had the Bledisloe Cup, however when it’s anyone else except the All Blacks the Wallabies will always get my support.

        Besides I did say “almost” I’d actually love to see us smash them by 50 points

    • Simon

      It does make me wonder whether the Welsh starters from last week were under orders not to overexert themselves, and treating it like an opposed training run.

      Chiefs had a blinder but six tries to one while missing their own ABs is just… odd.

      • Chinese Dave

        From an article far far away (actually just at the top of this page):

        “Wales only started two players who played in Saturday night’s test against the All Blacks”.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah but as the game progressed they played others who came on as replacements

        • John Tynan

          goes on to say “but big names such as Sam Warburton, Jamie Roberts and Taulupe Faletau played large portions of the match.”

    • Tomthusiasm

      Their 14 & 15 had a good game, Roberts and Falatau made an impact and Charteris lead from the front. I just think it was maybe an attitude issue for Wales and also maybe we should field that Chiefs side for the next ABs test?

    • Keith Butler

      As an Englishman who was on the receiving end of many a Welsh boot in my playing days, I find it very difficult to feel sorry for them. Having said that I thought that put up a bloody good fight last week up to the 60 min mark before the ABs superior fitness and organisation took over. After the mid week debacle it could be either a slaughterhouse.

  • blueboy11

    They may have just lost a superb generation, but this next crop of potential ABs (aged about 20-22) looks frighteningly good. Obviously you have guys like Savea jnr. and McKenzie who are already in and around the team, and look set to be superstars, but it’s the quality and depth that stands out the most.

    Just last night, the way guys like Anton Leinert-Brown, Taleni Seu and Atu Moli played…. The aggression and accuracy in defence and the skill in attack was well above and beyond that of Welsh players who are close to (or even in) the test side.

    • Callum

      For a super rugby team missing so many front line players to hammer an international side like that was rather surprising. The Chiefs defence and accuracy were fantastic. The Lions will be in a fight to get any wins on the tour, never mind the tests.

      • blueboy11

        Haha, I think they’ll win a game, but to schedule every super rugby franchise in the country, plus the Maori…

        Those games in the past have been treated a tune ups, even a second or sometimes third string lions side has almost always been far more talented than their club opposition, and it was only a matter of time until they just ran them over. That’s just not the case with these NZ super rugby sides anymore; even when they’re missing all their ABs, and dealing with plenty of injuries like the chiefs are currently.

        There are obviously plenty of reasons why the chiefs won last night (including prep times, intensity etc.) but one is that they were more talented than the Welsh, especially in the backline.

  • wilful

    Please Rebels don’t do that. O’Connor, Beale, Cipriani, what a waste of money they all were. Cooper would be worse. Lilo, now that would be great, sounds like he wants to be in Melbourne.

    • npivag

      He does and he doesn’t. Lilo has too much loyalty to the Brumbies set-up for the faith they showed to him as a young man and the way they stuck with him through injuries.
      He’s got family in Vic but plenty of them moved to ACT with him too.

    • Davo

      What happened to Jack Deb?

      • muffy

        Its been a bit sad to see the decline of a real future prospect. I hope whatever it is. its fixable, he was potentially going to be a great option.

    • Train Without A Station

      Why would he be worse?

      He has very little history (especially recent) of off-field indiscretions. He also have very little history of unprofessionally managing injury recovery.

      These were the 2 main issues with Cipriani, Beale and O’Connor in Melbourne.

      Sounds like you just like him less than them.

      Though with Jack Debreczeni already there it would be silly to spend much money on Cooper.

      • Baz

        Cooper does not feel like a step in the right direction. Cooper’s peak came with the 2011 Reds where we had a good pack of forwards in front of him and Will Genia on top of his game inside him. He has too many faults in his game to ever make a modest side like the Rebels any good.

        • Train Without A Station

          He played pretty well behind a modest Wallaby forward pack in 2013 (Missing Moore, Pocock, McCalman, Palu, Fardy among others).

          But again, I would pursue him if I was the Rebels. He will cost $$$ to some extent and JD offers the better value option and has performed quite well at times.

        • Simon

          Agree that he’s past his peak, but he is still a quality 10. Just not a world-class 10 any more.

          Unfortunately his leg injuries seem to have put paid on his gazelle-style running game. His tackle style has started attracting penalties now too.

          But his passing game is still world class and his kicking game is decent. I think he’d be an asset for either the Rebels or Reds next season, as long as they don’t overpay. That’s the real issue here.

        • Train Without A Station

          Again that’s rubbish. He was able to play great tests in 2013 (such as his MOTM performance vs Wales and a great performance vs NZ at Dunedin).

          He’s perfectly capable of playing that well again.

          It just remains to be seen if he will, or if he can stay injury free enough to play well.

          That is the huge concern. Considering he missed 50% of games he could have played between the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups I wouldn’t blame anybody for proceeding with extreme caution. In fact I’d go as far to say that unless he was released at the end of this French season and didn’t play in Japan before Super Rugby I’d be concerned about his signing.

        • Simon

          I don’t think it’s rubbish at all. His all-round form in 2013 was excellent but his footwork was nowhere near his 2010-2011 highlights reel. And it’s not 2013 any more, it’s three years later and he’s 28.

          It’s exactly what you’d expect. Accumulated knee and leg injuries and general age take their toll, no player is agile at his age as they were at 22 or 23. The truly world-class older 10s, the BODs and the Carters, make up for what they lose in agility with more experience, better tactical decisions etc.

          It’s possible he could get up there. Perhaps the time in France will give him a new perspective. But I think it’s pretty hard to argue he’s a world-class 10 without significant improvement in his decision-making and other facets of his game.

          In fact I’m surprised I’m even having to defend my comment that Quade is not currently a world-class 10!

        • Train Without A Station

          It’s rubbish that he’s past his peak because of injuries. His 2013 form showed that.

          And yes it’s not 2013 anymore, but with regard to Quade does it matter considering the amount of rugby he’s missed since then due to shoulder injuries?

          I find it laughable that you consider a 10 past his potential peak at 28. Because of his form in 2 very injury affected seasons?

          You don’t have to defend your comment that he’s not a world class 10 right now. Pretty hard to say he is based on the amount he has played alone. The comment that he’s past his peak is what you need to defend.

          He showed that despite any affects of his ACL injury and not having the same footwork apparently, he was capable of playing at a World Class level. What is going to stop him from being able to do that again? He may not due to not being fit long enough, or his own mindset, lack of focus, etc. but good footballers don’t suddenly lose the ability to be good footballers without a significant athletic impairment (injury – nothing permanent has occurred since 2013). In the right environment, there’s no reason it’s not possible for him to return to previous all round form.

        • Simon

          Good footballers don’t suddenly lose the ability to be good footballers, no. But they all gradually go into physical decline due to age and injury. They also gradually increase in experience. At some point in time, each footballer’s increase in ability due to experience becomes offset by their accelerating decrease in ability due to age, and they peak.

          This will tend to happen earlier for backs than forwards, and for someone of Cooper’s playing style and injury count, it is likely to occur earlier rather than later.

          Ultimately you are suggesting that his reduced performance caused by injury is temporary and almost totally reversible. I’m suggesting that while he can definitely recover to some extent, he will never have the same physical ability that he had in 2010 or 2011. To me this is pretty self-evident.

          So can he get back to his peak effectiveness as a true world-class 10? Yes, if he can improve the other aspects of his game to the standard of BOD and Carter. Will he be able to do that? I think he certainly can improve from where he currently is, potentially significantly. But can I see people arguing this time next year about whether Cooper is the premier 10 in the world at the moment, as we were in 2011 (at least prior to the RWC)?

          Because that’s where he needs to get back to in order to regain his peak. While I’d love for that to be the case, I don’t see it happening.

    • Hambone

      I would love cooper in town for rebels..

  • James

    Such “made for the press” wisdom from Tatafu Polota-Nau. Maybe you are capable Tafata as you outline. Does that suggest you chose not to display it last Saturday or were you all feeling so comfortable after 15 minutes that you thought the remaining 65 minutes would be straight forward? For 1 hour last week the Wallabies were belted up front — the place all key test matches are won and lost. To believe England has “woken the beast” feels little more than cheap talk. Many of those same Wallabies will have to lift this Saturday to levels they could not display last week only this time, they’ll have to do it without their best forward. It’s certainly all very possible. Let us see the benefits of the “new Wallaby environment” that was created under the Michael Cheika regime. Somehow it was MIA for much of last Saturday night in Brisbane.

    • Henry Dissmissinya

      jesus your positive, one test loss after 7 months of no game time and a heap of injuries vs’s a fully gelled auzzie-run english squad and your throwing wet towels around like a caffeinated man in a sauna. Life sounds like fun for you my friend

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I almost snorted my coffee reading this – Gold. Although I do agree that TPN’s comments do ask a question about his commitment last week. I’m sure the Wallabies will come back stronger and kick some English arse.

        • Henry Dissmissinya

          haha I’m glad I could be of assistance :), but yea i also agree about TPN’s comments and what that meant to the the last week of training. i just don’t get panic buttons being rung around by a few “fans” which just displays a toxic aspect of rugby fans we don’t need.

      • James

        I would suggest the only wet towels getting thrown around are by the Wallabies. We’ve heard Cheika parroting on about building hardness in the Wallaby team, yet when it was required last Saturday night they could not deliver. Now we have all this fighting talk from Polotu-Nau and we are expected to all feel good. This Saturday in Melbourne will be fascinating. I hope the Wallabies can step up their physicality and compete more effectively in the crucial forward battle. Looking at the squad Cheika has selected, I am not hopeful.

  • Gavin

    Curious move by the Rebels. I think the comparisons with Beale, O’Connor and Cipriani are lazy as Cooper won’t have the same off-field issues, but he is too old now to get by on his potential but he will come with the cost of an established star. He never fulfilled his potential and it is unlikely that he will. Meanwhile, the Rebels have one of the best young #10’s in Super Rugby

    • Kevino

      JD had a standout season last year. This year his been rubbish.

    • Keith Butler

      Hate to disagree but last year JD was nothing special just played up by the media as the next G&G 10. I thought that Hegarty was a better prospect but we lost him to the Tahs. JDs best position for me is at full back.

  • Nickwaiheke

    As another rabid kiwi fan, I was massively disappointed with the result on Saturday. After the first 15 I thought yes but WBs just lost control. It’s another weekend ahead so go OZ!

    As a Chiefs fan I’m still on cloud 9 :) irritatingly happy

  • jamie

    MCMAHON IS AT 8!! I’m excited but slightly concerned.

  • Train Without A Station

    Jack’s been carrying an injury since the Hurricanes game.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Damn right!

  • Kevino

    Hawkins I think, injured as well.

    A lot of Rebels fans, myself included were very annoyed letting Hegarty go at the end of last season. I know his injured at the Tahs but was a good back up.

    In the last 2 years we lost Woodward, Hegarty and now loosing Harris. All 3 have been key squad members when they depart.

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@Hughadams01

Wallabies, Waratahs and Northern Suburbs supporter. Twitter: @Hughadams01

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