Wednesday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby
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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s rugby news has the ARU to review its strategic plan, no expectations for Will Genia, Wallabies moving on from Scotland quarter final and player of the year nominees announced.


ARU Review

The ARU has committed to a review of its strategic plan following a meeting with representatives from across the game on Tuesday.

The meeting was a result of a number of former Wallabies and coaches expressing their concerns about the ARU’s commitment to grassroots rugby.

ARU chairman Cameron Clyne and former Wallaby Simon Poidevin chaired the meeting which resulted in an agreement for the ARU to examine its policies across the plan which was initially created with input for groups across the Australian rugby community.

Ex-Wallaby Brett Papworth who has been particularly vocal about his criticism about the ARU attended the meeting despite rejecting previous offers to meet with the ARU.

No Expectations

Will Genia has no expectations about what may happen during the Wallabies Spring tour.

Genia is currently available for the next three Wallaby matches but may be forced to return to Stade Francais for the Wallabies match with England.

“I’m available for three games, that’s all I’ve been told so I’m here for this week, the French week and then Ireland,” he said.

“I’m just doing as I’m told.

“I’m grateful he’s (Stade president Thomas Savare) allowed me to come here and still be part of the group, because we’ve got a couple of injuries at Stade Francais, we’ve only got two available halfbacks.”

Scotland QF Forgotten

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is not speculating about the emotions surrounding the Wallabies match with Scotland.

The Wallabies controversially won against Scotland in last year’s World Cup Quarter Final.

“It’s hard for me to say because I’m not in their shoes, I’m on the total opposite side,” he said.

“If you looked at us, we we were in the World Cup final over a year ago and then we lost five games in a row so things change and we can see that we’re looking at things more going forward than looking backwards.

“That’s been the approach and that’s the approach we’ll stay with. I try to keep myself exclusively within our team’s mindset.

“Trying to think what the opposition is motivated by is not going to work, not going to do you any good.”

Player of the Year Nominees

The nominees for World Rugby player of the year have been announced which included three Englishmen, two New Zealanders and one Irishman.

Owen Farrell, Billy Vunipola, Maro Itoje, Beauden Barrett, Dane Coles and Jamie Heaslip were all nominated for the award.

“It’s awesome to see Colesey getting nominated for that,” New Zealand prop Crockett said.

“He has been playing great footy all this year and the last couple of years so it is thoroughly deserved.”

Crockett jokingly added: “He probably gets a little bit more kudos than some of his propping mates!”

  • Dud Roodt

    It’s always a joy to see who the northern hemisphere deems to be player of the year each year and how many Kiwi’s they’re forced to put in the shortlist.
    15 or 16 very pissed off Englishmen sitting at home having missed out by the width of a pubic hair

    • Joe Launchbury must be livid he missed out on a nomination.

      • mikado

        I think the knowledge that he’s better than the entire Australian team will be satisfaction enough for Joe ;)

  • Huw Tindall

    Rubber arm Bill Pulver yielding to the old school tie brigade? Shute Shield is not the way forward. Great traditions but we need more vision to develop the game. Hopefully it’s more of a reconciliation than bend over.

    • Joe King

      I agree, that it wouldn’t be productive to simply yield to particular SS desires, but I can’t see them undoing everything they’ve now put in place. All the new structures and systems (especially the NRC) need time more than anything, to bear fruit. However, something even better may come of it: more effective investment into getting kids into the game, and real investment into training more coaches who are probably the key to growth at a grassroots level. Give them a bigger vision for their role. Then no one could complain the ARU wasn’t investing in the grassroots.

      • Pearcewreck

        Personally, I think the top 3 or 4 Shute Shield & Brisbane clubs should compete in the NRC, so ditch current Sydney & Brisbane NRC teams

        • Thoms

          Agree

        • Fleet

          Agree, Shute Shield, etc should be the foundation for a national CLUB rugby comp. Replaces the NRC and follows on from the local club comps. Picks up the best clubs from Syd, Bris, country and interstate to make a truly national comp. Maybe add a couple of (privately funded?) barbarian teams to pick up other talent.

        • Muzz

          I don’t like the sounds of that. Is there something wrong with having a level between club and super rugby?

        • Huw Tindall

          Absolutely not! NPC and Curry cup are just that…only difference is their is more tradition in those comps. I believe that in time it can develop that tradition…the quality of the rugby sure is good enough!

        • jamie

          I’d like to see the NRC drop their names and just be referred to by their states/cities. “Victoria” sounds more subdued and more likeable than something trashy and fake like the “Melbourne Rising”. “Northern Sydney” likewise. Only one I like are the Country Eagles and Qld Country. Would probably allow a bit of culture to develop too. The WA team could’ve been known as the Piggies had they not had to play under the Horrid Spirit name.

          That’s the thing I’ve noticed most about the long lasting competitions in Australia: the fans create the name, and in essence, they create the club. The Essendon football Club in the AFL was only known as the Bombers from the 1940s due to its proximity to the old airport, and the fans came up with it, and the club embraced it. It almost “gives” the people a say.

        • Muzz

          What about the quality players not in one of the best Sydney or Brisbane teams? Let them bolster the other NRC teams?

        • Attizar

          I’m not sure that’s the right model for a National Comp. I think this encourages players at lesser performed clubs in SYD and BNE to move to one of the “big” clubs to increase their exposure.
          Just a musing but perhaps an FA Cup style knock out comp may be worth some consideration.

        • Joe King

          I’m not against that. But not all the best players in Sydney are in just 3 or 4 SS teams. We need all the best players to get the chance to mix it up SR players to develop depth.

    • Thoms

      Shute Shield is the only positive thing I can see about rugby in NSW though. Means something to communities. Youth rugby does not, Super Rugby does not, School rugby is elitist, NRC isn’t really catching on…

      • SuckerForRed

        Means something to Sydney. There is a whole big state outside of the Northern Beaches….
        Hopefully the review process will look at ALL of the rugby community. If we step back into the “Shute Shield is the only place you can find players” mentality we are well and truly screwed.

        • Thoms

          I agree and disagree. The Shute Shield is an amazing competition. I’d leave as is and it would grow organically if the ARU put its time and effort into underage rugby. This will roll up to all levels above it, including the Shute Shield and below (subbies etc) and beyond (top level).

          I think that we certainly should not be putting our sole focus on Shute Shield. In my opinion our priority, for ARU and NSWRU funding should be underage rugby (and I exclude private schools from this).

          I also believe that ultimately this should filter up to state (Shute Shield) sides (and by extension NRC). Also believe we need to look at our top level competition being something that we can market, which Super Rugby is not.

          At the end of the day, the duty of the ARU is to get people playing the game and watching the game.

        • SuckerForRed

          Yeah. I guess that we outside of Sydney have just had enough of the “Shute Shield is King” being shoved down our throats. Your second comment much better. :-)

        • Huw Tindall

          On point here Thoms exanding on your original point. Shute Shield is great – as evidenced by the 10,000 at North Sydney oval for this years final! It doesn’t however meeting ‘growth’ criteria for rugby in Australia. Yes support it but not at the expense of the NRC and ploughing money into the kids development and junior clubs. Shute Shield has a place but we need to go broader to ensure success of rugby in Australia.

      • McWarren

        You should get out more. Plenty of good rugby in NSW outside the Shute Shield. Plenty of positive rugby played in rural areas which rural communities cling to and support. Plenty of positive things in non shute shield urban rugby.
        I get the shits with this attitude their is something wrong with School rugby because it is played in private schools predominantly. Yes we need to expand the school base but that doesn’t mean private school rugby is a negative. Its a valid source of talent and a positive community rugby tradition, whether you have a chip on your shoulder or not.
        My concern is that Poidevin, Papworth etc are only concerned about the gate and bar takings at Gordon or Randwick. Can we get Bill over to Perth or Melbourne for a pow wow with club officials?

        • Thoms

          Seems an unnecessarily confrontational comment mate.

          I see plenty of rugby and I’m heavily involved in Subbies.

          No issue with private schools rugby, only that it doesn’t need to be a financial priority of the ARU.

          Don’t see any of this as being in any way unreasonable?

        • McWarren

          and I quote “Shute Shield is the only positive thing I can see about rugby in NSW”. I take issue with that and carte blanche comments about rugby elitism, about the SR being a waste of time. You are constantly having a go at the rugby community in oz and SR. You are claiming in your comment above that youth rugby, school rugby, super rugby and the NRC don’t mean anything to communities. I find that highly confrontational.
          A lot of people have invested a lot of time, paid and unpaid, into rugby in this country outside of the Shute Shield.

        • Thoms

          Youth rugby etc does not mean much to communities, it lags behind other sports and where it should be. Is that not a fact? It is not what I want, I’m just highlighting a problem. The priority should be youth rugby.

          The NRC has not caught on yet. Is that incorrect? I want it to a great success.

          My point is that the Shute Shield, in NSW, is the only thing that seems (in my opinion) to be working well and is not the problem.

      • Missing Link

        We desperately need a national focus and the Shute Shield doesn’t provide that. I’m not sure what the answer is but if you ask anyone outside of Sydney what the Shute Shield is, they’d ask you “who got shot?” back.

        • Thoms

          True it doesn’t have national focus. I was just talking about NSW and the flak it seems to be getting.

  • Tahs_Man_Fan

    I think they’re pretty fair nominations for player of the year. For me it would have to be Dane Coles. He’s had an almost mistake free year and is really contributing to a shift in the skill set and running game that is coming to be expected of prop forwards. Itoje would be my next pick. The bloke is an absolute mongrel, and for a player that is so young he has a very bright future

    • Braveheart81

      I think Beauden Barrett is a huge favourite to win.

      • Thoms

        He’d get my vote, I just wonder if the split of the NZ nominations could see Itoje nick it?

      • There hasn’t been this clear of a favourite since Poey last year. Oh wait…

    • Nutta

      Props are experiencing a subtle move away from the behemoths of a decade ago to a more athletic shape surely. Hookers though are being forced by the height of the scrum to go back to the 70’s style of being much more nimble. For a while there we almost saw hookers being bigger then props when it was the 4-part call and it was all about the hit. Now the height of a scrum makes it hard for units the size of (say) Taf to even strike. What this does also do is allow the shorter school-aged flanker to have somewhere to go as they transition to mens and bring their skill-set along. Think of a Phil Waugh or George Smith moving to 2. So whilst hookers have always been expected to be more open players and especially tacklers then props, I think we are seeing that gap becoming even wider now.

      • Funk

        I remember we had a chat last year about Coles, and how I thought he was overrated and there were a number of better hookers around…what a difference a year makes, he has has a fantastic year. It’d be a tough decision for me between Coles an Barrett both have been the outstanding player in their position.

        • Nutta

          He has certainly come along as a hooker. Still plays too loose for me and the Irish capitalised on that, but no doubt he is good. For me Retallik is the worlds best ATM. His absence on the weekend was profound.

        • Missing Link

          Coles has exploded – He was behind Hore and Matu’u at the Hurricanes one year, then went to starting for both the Hurricanes and ABs in no time, now possibly the best hooker in the world.

      • muffy

        On the money, I have always thought Pocock would make an excellent hooker. You cant move him in a ruck, imagine him in a front row!
        I see the role of openside being understudied in the modern game by 2 and 12. and seeing Coles makes me even more convinced of that.

        • Nutta

          The body shape of Poey would be good on a 2 absolutely. But for me he is simply the best no7 on the planet so we need to forget playing him as an 8 or a 2 or anything else but just let him be 7. It reminds me so much of what happened to Burke – fantastic, worlds-best 15 so we moved him to13!

          I agree with the idea of a centre having a good ground game esp if one is the 2nd distributor then the other would do well to be a forager. But meat & potatos first – he needs to be a centre first

        • Missing Link

          Excluding the specific skills of a hooker like lineout throwing and scrummaging, I see more similaries between Coles and Hooper than Coles and Pocock.

        • Nutta

          Throwing can be taught. It’s like snooker – you simply have to put in the practice hours. Scrummage can also be taught to eg Kepu was a no8 until he was 19. But the biggest issue in scrum is to have the will to engage in such an illogical act!

        • jamie

          Think I’ve stated this before, but when I was moving up the age grades in rugby, playing U13s and U14s, our 7 and 12 were brothers: one could kick, one could not. Guess which was the 12 ;-)

        • Haz

          You see that as well in players like Thacker at Leicester

    • mikado

      A little too England-centred for me, I think. England had a good year, but NZ even better by anyone’s standards.

      As ever, everyone will have their own subjective views on who should have got the nod. Of the nominees I’d go for Coles. I think that Itoje will be a shoo-in for the breakthrough player award but he’s not the best lock in the world – Retallick is. I don’t think that Billy Vunipola is the best player in the Vunipola family and I’m struggling to identify Heaslip as better than, say, Read or Kaino.

      Still, all good fun.

  • Pearcewreck

    Itoje had an outstanding year.
    Across all competitions (Eng, Scaracens) he went for well over a year without losing a game that he started.
    Just to reflect on how bad Stuart Lancaster was, Itoje was not in their RWC 15 squad, yet Sam Burgess was.

    • Thoms

      RFU and coaching staff pushed Burgess. Lancaster should have had the balls to say no perhaps but he’s an outstanding coach.

    • Braveheart81

      Apples and oranges. Burgess wasn’t selected as a forward. Another centre missed out because Burgess was picked, not Itoje.

  • Billo-Boy

    There was is much the ARU can do at grassroots, but I agree that it’s all about increasing participation. The most significant step the ARU should make IMHO would be to make kids rugby weight-based rather than age based. At my kid’s club we have had numerous skilled but smaller kids no longer enjoying, and eventually dropping out of rugby in the 10-14 age groups years when they get crunched by kids who might be the same age but are physically almost men. Think this is the way the kiwis do it too….

    • Huw Tindall

      Well overdue. Rugby needs to be fun for kids first and foremost. We want people growing up as fans as well as future players.

      • Missing Link

        You can probably sub any junior sport into that. Too many parents hell bent on their child being the next super star they get caught up in the moment.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate I can’t believe this isn’t being done. Been in place in NZ for years and made a huge difference. I’ve referreed over here and in NZ and it definitely works

    • Xaviera

      It is definitely being looked at. The logistics of it are more complicated that you may think, and in NZ, where it has been implemented (and note, it’s not a universal process in NZ), they have the advantage of having a lot of players, which helps with the maths and team allocations. Also worth noting that weight based dispensations, as I’ve noted previously, already exist in Australian rugby, and I have seen several this season. I realise it’s not the same system, but there is a mechanism in place.

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@Hughadams01

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

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