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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s rugby news has Matt Giteau denying retirement rumours, Cheika’s plan for Bernard Foley, Pocock inspired by Paralympian Kurt Fearnley and Dan Carter cleared of doping


Giteau Denies Retirement

Matt Giteau has denied a reporting claiming he will retire at the end of the European season.

A report from French newspaper Midi Olympique claimed the 34 year old is set to hang up his boots.

A twitter user asked if the report was true to which he responded ‘pas vrai’ which is French for ‘not true’.

The ARU has also not heard as to whether Matt Giteau will be retiring.

Giteau is currently recovering from an ankle injury which he sustained in the Wallabies first Bledisloe test match this year.

Cheika’s Plan for Foley

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says a decision on Bernard Foley’s role in the Wallabies will be made by the end of the season.

Foley has been forced to play inside centre this season following injuries to Matt Giteau and Kurtley Beale.

“I think we’ll decide that by the end of the year,” Cheika said.

“We’ll decide if that’s a viable, if we think we’ll go that way or go back to 10 depending on where we’re at with our playing stocks.

“We’ve had a pretty exceptional year in the playmaking area.

“We’ve lost three guys that we didn’t expect to be losing in those key areas …

“It’s just a been a bit of working on it until some of our younger players that we’ve been looking at start stepping up and look to take a position in the team.”

Pocock Inspired

Whilst recovering from a hand injury, David Pocock says he has been inspired by Paralympian Kurt Fearnley.

Pocock read the biography of the three-time Paralympic gold medallist whilst overcoming consecutive knee injuries in 2012 and 2013.

“I don’t know, there’s plenty of cliched ‘take the money’ athletes out there and to see someone like Kurt, he’s just real,” he said.

“He tells it how it is and he just lets the raw emotion be seen and I think that’s pretty special and pretty rare now.

“I guess, like it or not, you’re a role model to kids. I remember being a kid and idolising guys who played for the Springboks or the Wallabies.

“I guess you’re conscious of that and you want to just try and be yourself.

“I think there’s a lot of overly curated Instagram accounts and all the rest.

“It’s pretty easy to hide behind that. We’re all guilty of it.

“To try and actually, not just show the glamorous, cool stuff but some of the other stuff.”

Carter, Rokocoko Cleared

Racing 92 pair Dan Carter and Joe Rokocoko have been cleared of doping allegations.

The pair as well as Argentinian Juan Imhoff tested positive for corticosteroids following last season’s Top 14 final in which Racing beat Toulon 29-21.

They allegedly had clearance to take the substance to help with their injuries.

French sports newspaper L’Equipe reported that Carter has been cleared following an investigation by the medical commission of the French Rugby Federation.

Rokococo and Imhoff “will probably have been informed of the same outcome”.

  • Sambo

    slow news day…

    • Pedro

      Hey man! Pocock read a book a few years ago man! Show some respect!

      • Huw Tindall

        In rugby league reading a book would be groundbreaking news…

        • Pedro

          Classic.

        • Hoss

          Is the ‘form guide’ a book, if so they would be insatiable readers, the ‘Cat in the hat’ would be ‘Ulysses’ to a mungo

  • John Tynan

    Midfield mediocrity for end of season tour. Lucky for Foley he isn’t a second rower, he’d have been publicly dressed down ages ago.

    When I take my tongue out of my cheek for a bit though, Foley is a prime example of what will happen as guys are provided with these “flexible” contracts – the other day I saw a replay of the England game a little while ago where Foley tore them a new one, and he’s not a shadow of that player after continuous rugby for a couple of years.

    • harro

      Yep, he’s played almost constantly since the start of the 2015 SR season. I’d leave him out of the end of season tour if it wasn’t a Grand Slam tour. He should be taken as a back up

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Yeah I wonder how much the continual playing has affected his form. Mind you I also think that regardless of what Cheika says, he is not a 12 and this is causing as many problems as the lack of rest.

      • John Tynan

        Agreed.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Very true there KRL. I am worried that without even a demonstration of form improving that there is even a consideration of moving him back to 10. Scary stuff.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          One thing you have to credit Cheika with is his loyalty to his players – or rather some of them. I wonder how Cooper felt reading that bit of news.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I agree. That was just a stupid comment to make publically. I think loyalty is a great thing. Like you and I from our old uniformed culture understand. But that must come with performance.

        • Tim

          You would hope foley gets dropped

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Personally I hope he stays for this game because it would make the AB’s job easier. But I certainly don’t see him as a 12

        • Tim

          Yeah the all blacks have so many options to attack the wallabies. A short list could include the 10-12 channel, the number 9, the ruck, the scrum, the lineout. As we are normally hit or miss in those areas

        • harro

          Cheika didn’t say he would drop Cooper

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          No he didn’t but he certainly made it clear that Foley and Cooper would be competing for the same position. Should make next years Super games a bit more interesting

        • harro

          Right, so Cooper would feel like any other player that has to compete for his spot.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Which isn’t a bad thing but to me it seemed to say Cheika considers Foley to be higher than Cooper. I may be reading it wrong but that’s the impression I got

        • Joy

          The Australian yesterday…

          “Cheika said he expected to know by the end of this year whether the Cooper/Foley inside back combination was a long-term option for the Wallabies. “We’ll decide if we will go that way or we’ll go back to (Foley at) 10, depending on where we are at with our playing stocks,” he said.”

    • Seb V

      Or maybe he just doesn’t perform as good without Beale next to him.

      • John Tynan

        Interesting thought.

      • harro

        Two matches after Beale was injured the Tahs smashed the Chiefs, 45-25, with Foley at 10 and Horne at 12.

        • Adrian

          True, but Folau was at 13, and Skelton and Palu were on song

        • Seaweed

          Beale was injured in first minute of the Chiefs game.

        • harro

          Nah, it was the Bulls match, 14 May

      • Hoss

        Have to agree Seb – KB seems to be forgotten man when the Wallbies woes are discussed. We have not been half the threat in attack we were last year when Beale was on song.

      • onlinesideline

        everyone seems to look better next to kurtley

    • Garry

      With the amount of team members playing out of position, and Cheikas love of Foley, it’s a wonder he hasn’t been asked to pack down.

  • James

    Is Chekia implying that if Giteau and Beale were healthy and ready to play this weekend, Foley would move back to 10 and Quade would be dropped?? I don’t think anybody with the slightest bit of rugby knowledge can possibly argue that Foley has outperformed Quade at 10 this year or done anything that warrants another shot at fly-half. I wanted to give Chekia the benefit of the doubt all season considering he took us to the world cup final a year ago…but this is getting beyond ridiculous. Two of the worst players on the field week in and week out (Moore and Foley) are guaranteed starters the remainder of the season regardless of how they perform…Pocock will likely be coming off the bench this week while Dean Mumm gets yet another undeserved start…Nick Phipps gets another go despite his mounting tally of horrific performances and embarrassing antics..the next couple of years are going to be painful…We’ll be playing Beldisloe matches at Ballymore before you know it if the fans keep switching to other codes at the rate they have been the past several years

    • Pearcewreck

      I agree with you James, especially about Quade outplaying Foley, and I think even the QC haters have to admit the same.
      But in the article, I don’t think Cheika was saying Quade will be dropped, just that Foley may be considered a 10 now, so maybe Foley on the bench.
      Also. I have been a big fan of Moore for a long time, but you are right, this year he has been poor in comparison to other years. He needs to be dropped.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Here here James. Very well put!

    • Tim

      I hate ripping on people but we have a lot of talent in those areas. Moore will be lucky to be starting against ready next year. Dean Mumm is god awful im surprised his in the squad. Foley is just cheika’s child and he wont let him go

    • Braveheart81

      No. He’s saying that Foley would just be considered as a 10.

      The lineout has improved with Mumm in the team and that is why he has been starting. I agree he has had a couple of average performances (before a better one against Argentina) and I too would probably bring Fardy back. Fardy has had form issues as well which is presumably why Mumm has kept the starting gig.

      Moore has been a lot better in the last few games after being awful earlier in the test season. He is coming back into form.

      Phipps has done a couple of dumb things but also did some good things off the bench against Argentina. He put in a beautiful flat pass to put Alaalatoa through a gap. With Genia playing very well he has had limited minutes during the Rugby Championship. There is no logical reason to pick Frisby ahead of him to start this test though. Genia will take the starting job back when he is available.

      • Adrian

        Agree with most of this Braveheart.

        Re Frisby, those pleading for him should check out some of his games before just promoting him because they hate Phipps. He was just awful and slow at everything in 2 SR games I watched this year. I hate criticising players too

    • DrewB

      Agree with Braveheart. He isn’t saying he’ll be the ‘starting’ 10, he’s just being moved into the pool of players to select from at 10. Quade would welcome the competition too.

    • McWarren

      I’d love to go to another Bled at Ballymore. I don’t think my mate works in the bar any more, so i’ll have to pay for my beer!!! Ah well, one can only dream of car park bbq’s, free beer, Wallaby wins and being in the south east corner of the hill on the day Lowe broke Carozza nose!!!! Thanks James that memory will make me smile all day.

  • Tomthusiasm

    Did anyone see Deans’ selections for the Barbarians squad?

    Brad Shields, Michael Fatialofa, Reggie Goodes, Richie Mo’unga, Jordan Taufua, Matt Faddes and Luke Whitelock. Along with Taquele Naiyaravoro and Will Skelton. Does this mean Skelton is not going on the end of year tour with the Wallabies?

    Link: http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/international/85493904/british-barbarians-call-up-seven-new-zealand-super-rugby-players-to-take-on-springboks

    • Adrian

      I think Korebeti, Roar’s new recruit from Storm is in it too.

      I think there is no significant thing about Skeleton being picked. I think he’ll be in EOY squad. This is just more practice for him

      • Tomthusiasm

        They’re playing three matches though, in London, Prague and Belfast. If he’s in the squad he’d be available for all, I imagine…

        • McWarren

          Who they playing in Prague?

        • Tomthusiasm

          Czech Republic in Prague and Fiji in Belfast

        • McWarren

          Sorry mate, just got off my lazy arse and looked myself.
          That would be some end of season trip. If my numbers come in tonight I’ll be in Prague for November. Prague, a great rugby destination.

        • Tomthusiasm

          Imagine the beer at the stadium, no Hahn Super Dry 3.5 there!

    • McWarren

      One can only hope.

      • Tomthusiasm

        Preferences aside, if Cheika’s going for a large squad then you’d imagine he’d be a shoo-in.

    • Chinese Dave

      Too many Tahs!

    • Canuckruck

      Looks like an interesting squad….Does anyone call them the “British Barbarians”? I’ve always thought they were the Barbarians? Maybe I’m in the wrong half of the world…..

  • The Genius

    On a slow news day I am willing to make a prediction… I think Saturday night at Eden Park will be a special occasion. Not because the All Blacks break any winning record, but because it will be an epic test match played in the right spirit between 2 great rugby teams. Ahead of NH tours for both sides, the match will remind all those up north they must compete with 2 sides thoughtful in their preparation, skilled in their execution, physical in their work and athletic in their movements.

    The match will be a throwback to old days when proper camaraderie existed between the All Blacks and Wallabies. When guys would play hard, but always shared a beer and time together afterwards. When both sides prided themselves on leading the world in all areas of innovation and attacking rugby because worthless niggle and other nonsense belonged to the lesser skilled nations

    New Zealand rugby needs Australian rugby to be strong – it always has done. New Zealand benefits from competitive Australian schoolboy sides, Under 20 sides, professional super rugby franchises and of course the Wallaby side itself. New Zealand likes when Australia produce clever, intelligent coaches like Dwyer, Jones & MacQueen, and smart creative players like the many we all know. There was a common bond connected by mutual respect and common philosophies on the way the game should be played.

    Here’s hoping we see that Saturday night because the opportunity is there for both sides. Here’s hoping the mutual respect between the 2 sides is there for all to see and the rugby played illustrates it. The rugby world will be tuning in. I hope they are left with clear awareness of where leadership in the game is – and always will remain. Dare to dream.

    • harro

      Stirring stuff!

    • Adrian

      I agree 100%

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      be nice to see mate and spot on with what NZ actually wants from Australia

    • McWarren

      A tear to the eye!!

    • DK

      Nice stuff. A result either way is pretty big for world rugby. Either the ABs break the record wins or the Wallabies break a world rugby “hoodoo” at Eden Park. The Schoolboy test this year was a cracker, The 20s had 3 great games between each other throughout the year, the only real times the NZ super rugby teams were really tested was against a Aussie franchise. Sure the NZ teams have the upper hand at the moment but it is important for the Aussie teams to continue to improve and innovate.
      Should be a cracking game but looking at the tests this weekend surely the showdown between Denmark and Norway or even Latvia and Luxembourg should draw attention :)

    • Chris Dunn

      Greatly written and this is how rugby should be played. It would be nice to see more grass roots rugby played with the same respect, often which is being forgotten in our game.

    • Keith Butler

      Sadly those days are long gone. I fully expect this game to be no different from the first two tests. Full of nasty niggle. If as Adrian has predicted Coleman and Skelton lock the scrum, can’t see it happening myself, then one may/will be seeing yellow. It’s Cheika’s game plan to get in the opposition faces by fair means or foul. Nevertheless, I’m hoping for a Wallabies win but I can’t see it happening.

  • Adrian

    Wallabies team for Bledisloe 3 will be named tomorrow . Here’s my team:
    Sio
    Moore
    Kepu
    Skelton
    Coleman
    Mumm
    Hooper
    Timani
    Phipps
    Cooper
    DHP
    Foley
    Kerevi
    Hodge
    Folau
    Latu
    Alaalatoa
    Robertson
    Arnold
    Simmons #
    Pocock
    Frisby
    Kurandrani
    Naivalu #
    # Depending on bench configuration

    • harro

      Here’s mine

      Sio
      Moore
      Kepu
      Arnold
      Coleman
      Fardy
      Pocock
      Timani
      Phipps
      Cooper
      Folau
      Hodge
      Kerevi
      Naivalu
      Haylett-Petty

      Latu
      Alaalatoa
      Robertson
      Mumm
      Hooper
      Frisby
      Foley
      Kurandrani

      • AN

        If only, would love to see that run out

      • McWarren

        This could get me shot, but, I don’t think we should be scared to drop Folau out of the squad altogether. The boy needs some space and attitude re-adjustment. Apart from his high ball takes he isn’t giving us what we are all expecting or being led to believe he delivers. Other than that I like the above.
        Actually this will get me shot as well. Mumm is playing better than Fardy, but neither should be in the Wallabies 23.

        • harro

          Who would you bring in in place of both Fardy and Mumm?

        • Chinese Dave

          Stop asking difficult questions, the typical G&GR poster’s job is only to fault existing players and not to actually be required to offer solutions (unless it’s the new Best Player from the Force or Rebels).

          Jordy Reid!

        • McWarren

          see above smart arse

        • McWarren

          Good question, and one I can’t easily answer.
          Assuming Pocock is fit and playing this weekend I’d put Timani there. If Pocock is on the bench you probably have to go with Mumm, when he gets it right he is an asset, but when he gets it wrong he is complete shite.
          Long term I think McMahon, Cottrel even Luke Jones, Jed Holloway need exploring. I think all of these guys could be developed into quality 6’s.
          I wasn’t really clear above, I think Mumm and Fardy are your options this week as no one else has been ‘groomed’ and we have injuries to McMahon and possibly Pocock, but I don’t think those two are our 6 option threw to the next RWC.

        • Adrian

          Agree Folau is right down on form. Thing is that he’s great under the high ball, which was a big issue for Wallabies pre Folau,….so I’d keep him somehow. I have a gut feeling that on Saturday, Folau will swap a bit with Foley, who is ok under high ball, if also a bit down on form. Cheika did this with Tahs a bit, though Foley was 5/8. Need to do something to inspire Izzy though

      • Adrian

        Yes, good team.
        My reasoning for having Skelton is about a style that Cheika can coach, as distinct from one he’s not good at. I can’t explain why I put Simmons in my team, just a hunch I think.
        So here is the rationale:

        It is possible to beat them

        Of course it will be hard, but let’s give it a crack. It’s an opportunity to stand up, and let them know they’ve had a game, not just a training run.

        The squad of 31 is ok, given who is available and who isn’t. I’m not picking from outside the squad.

        I obviously don’t know who Cheika will pick, or what tactics, but I suspect that he could be at least be thinking of adding a couple of big bruisers to to the game day 23, without making wholesale changes.

        The idea is to bend their line (and offload to the backs), whilst at the same time keeping a functional lineout.
        This probably means a 6:2 bench.
        Assume McMahon’s not quite fit.

        Assume Sio, Moore, Kepu in front row.
        Maybe, Robertson, LATU, Alaalatoa on the bench. Latu hits and runs very hard.

        Cheika hasn’t put Skelton in the squad for nothing, so it wouldn’t surprise if he’s picked.

        To get 3 lineout jumpers on at all times Cheika might try Coleman and Skelton as starting locks, with Mumm at 6, Hooper at 7 and Timani at 8.

        The forwards bench could be Arnold (replacing Skelton), Pocock replacing Timani. Even with a 6:2 bench, Simmons would only replace Mumm or Coleman, ….if necessary. Ideally Coleman would play the full 80.

        Having 3-5 heavy runners (Skelton, Timani, Coleman, Sio, Kepu, Alaalatoa, Latu, and perhaps Robertson) on the field at any one time, we will bend the line.

        With any 2 of Coleman, Arnold, Mumm, Simmons on the field at any one time, supported by Timani should be enough to retain our lineout ball.

        To clarify what I mean, Skelton will only be on with Hooper, and will go off at the same time as Pocock goes on.

        In the backs, Cheika will probably stick with the same guys, except for Phipps replacing Genia. Oddly enough, Phipps functions best behind the heavy runner forwards strategy, and is good at backing up the runners. Phipps also won’t be taken by surprise by a quick tap by the opposition.

        During the match Cheika might get Foley and Folau swapping places occasionally, rather than DHP and Folau swapping, as happened a couple of times last week. Cheika likes guys who are good under the high ball at fullback, and knows Folau is the best, and better than DHP in this regard. Foley is better under the high ball than most.

        The backs bench would be Frisby and Kurandrani, with Naivalu or Speight added if its a 5:3 bench.

        Having said all of that, it wouldn’t surprise if for this game only, Cheika put in Kurandrani for Foley to strengthen the defence in the centres.

        The main job of the backs will be to seize on offloaded ball when heavy forwards make a half break, as well as to attack on their own, particularly if the defence is backpedaling or disorganized.

        The above team has only one unforced change and one forced change to last weeks run-on team, and only 4 changes to the 23 (2 unforced, 2 forced by unavailability)

        It’s the tactics that are different.

        Cheika definitely knows how to use these tactics, having done so successfully at the Waratahs. He hasn’t seriously tried them with the Wallabies.

        If we play the “bend the line” in attack, brutal defence way, and the All Blacks have an off day, we are a chance.

        If we just play a mindless pass the parcel game we are no chance, even if the All Blacks have an off day.

        What do we have to loose?

    • Seb V

      you lost me at Skelton.

      • Adrian

        Understandable, …but he’s in the squad for a reason, and IF he has a good day (eg like v France in 2014, or v Chiefs this year) he’s a game breaker.
        We have to take risks

  • Adrian

    I wouldn’t read too much into these comments from Cheika. He’s just “musing”.

    Ideally he’d like 2 guys covering every position, and that includes 5/8.

    He’s just fishing when he talks about Beale. Clearly he wants Beale for England game, but his club doesn’t have to release him, because its outside of the “window”. Cheika will try and do a deal,…which might involve him not playing in November tests, but playing against England. Beale could be at 12, 15, or bench, but he’ll be there if possible.

    • Tonald

      Beale is the best player Australia has. He’ll be the first name on the team-sheet. At 12.

      • adastra32

        Beale hasn’t yet picked up a rugby ball in earnest and England since his injury. So I doubt he’ll be the Messiah you’re hoping for….

  • DK

    How can you talk about someones role in a rep team (Wallabies) in the future….doesn’t he have to play well in the selection games (Super Rugby) to be firstly re-selected. If he plays badly in super rugby and he’s not the best 10s or 12s then does he make the squad because he has a ARU contract? On form now, if all injured players were available, he would be playing NRC and not in the game day 23.
    Before you go nuts…I do know his potential, I’m actually a fan but he just isn’t playing to standard for a international 12 and yes we dont have too many other options right now, perhaps the spring tour with the NRC no.12 of the year? Would be a great reward!

    • Braveheart81

      Cheika is saying Foley could go back to just being considered as a 10 rather than also at 12 where he is currently playing. He isn’t being given any guarantees of selection.

      • DK

        Yeah I get that…and he should be fighting for the 10 spot…i was just thinking why pick a 10 at 12 instead of a 12 at 12…it was more an example of a wallaby contract protecting players over the years.

    • McWarren

      I think we have loads of options at 12. We need Cooper and Foley to be contesting the 10 position, not sharing it in games.

  • McWarren

    Glad to see to those fella’s cleared of any wrongdoing. It would have been a crying shame had Carter career and achievements been sullied by doping scandals.
    Am I reading Cheika’s comments right? He may well decide that Foley’s best position is at 10. He also alludes to a suggestion that Foley and Cooper are just caretaking the 10 and possibly 12 role until some of the youngsters step up? Which young 10 is he currently grooming??

    • Braveheart81

      Cheika is purely talking about the young players for the 12 role. “We’ve lost three guys that we didn’t expect to be losing in those key areas …” – Beale, Giteau, Toomua and/or Leali’ifano.

      I think he is making it clear that Foley is likely only a temporary fix at 12 and in the future will proably go back to just being considered for the 10 jersey when other players are available and the younger guys (Hodge/Kerevi) are up to speed to play 12 at test level.

      • McWarren

        Cheers BH. I think the best thing for the Wallabies would be Foley and Cooper competing with each other for the 10 jersey, with each a fair chance of getting the nod. Though I got a little excited thinking that Cheika was about to unveil the next Noddy Lynagh!!!

        • Chinese Dave

          No, ideally the best thing for the Wallabies is that there are five 10s competing for the spot (and five 9s too) instead of the last year where 2 teams played a foreign 9 and one team also a foreign 10, what a disgrace when we are seeing all this talent in the NRC.

        • McWarren

          I take your point about the foreign guys. Especially at 9, we seem to have no trouble developing annoying little shits with short man syndrome. With regards to super rugby, I thought the rules stipulated that we could only get in foreign players for positions in which we lacked depth (which in itself is counterintuitive), except the Force who are special.
          Personally I like seeing foreign players running around in teams, but it probably does hinder development.
          My point above was mainly to do with Cooper & Foley competing for 10 while in camp Wallaby. Get Debracini (wrong spelling I’m sorry) and Beale and hopefully Lilo and Toomua back. And who knows who will emerge over the next 3 years with the continuation of the NRC.
          I image the SR teams would have 20 or so extra super rugby quality players if the NRC in its first incarnation was persisted with.

        • harro

          I think each club is allowed one or two marque players, players who aren’t eligible for the Wallabies. Foreigners who could become eligible for the Wallabies aren’t counted in this. I know the Rebels were allowed more at first but I’m not sure that’s still the case. The Force have been in for a while so I’d be surprised if they still had special consideration

  • DK

    Ha, “Cliched ‘take the money’ athletes. Like the ones signing contracts for more money and with sabbaticals even though they’ve just had 2 years of no games….Love ya poey!!

  • Tonald

    Carter was always obviously innocent but the bigger story is the flagrant abuse of TUEs in sport, particularly in France.

    In most COUNTRIES playing rugby there are DOZENS of these granted in a YEAR. Racing had THREE within a WEEK.

    Carter was within the rules. The rules need to be, and will be, changed.

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@Hughadams01

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