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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News has the Aussie u20s squad named, the Lions squad about to be named, the Brumbies looking forward to the Canes and Nathan Grey reckons the Waratahs’ D will A-Ok.


Aussie U20s Squad Named

“ELEVEN QUEENSLANDERS NAMED IN AUSTRALIAN U20s SQUAD FOR OCEANIA RUGBY U20S CHAMPIONSHIP,” booms the Queensland Reds website, which really isn’t surprising given their QLD U20s dominant performance in this year’s U20 state comp.

GAGR’s very own Lee Grant has written all about the U20s squad over here, so following will just be a few quick details.

The U20s Oceania Champs will be played at Bond University, in the Gold Coast, in May. Australia will face Samoa (Fri 28 April), Fiji (Tue 2 May) and NZ (Sat 6 May), and all the matches will be streamed live on rugby.com.au.

Here’s the squad:

Forwards: Dan Matthew, NSW, Harry Johnson-Holmes, NSW, Harry Chapman, NSW, Va’auli Fa’amausili, VIC, Tom Horton, NSW, Efi Ma’afu, QLD, Sama Malolo, WA, Harry Hockings, QLD *, Angus Blyth, QLD, Ryan McCauley, NSW, Darcy Swain, ACT, Lachlan Swinton, NSW, Angus Allen, ACT, Liam Wright, QLD, Angus Scott-Young, QLD, Reece Hewat, QLD

Backs: Harry Nucifora, QLD, Ryan Lonergan, ACT, Theo Strang, NSW, Hamish Stewart, QLD, Nick Jooste, ACT, Tony Hunt, QLD, Jack McGregor, VIC, Dylan Riley, QLD, Len Ikitau, ACT, James Ramm, NSW, Semisi Tupou, VIC, Jayden Ngamanu, QLD, Jack Maddocks, VIC

Lions Squad Named Soon

The British & Irish Lions team, set to be beaten by the Kiwis 3-0 in June, is about to be named by Warren Gatland. In 24 hours, this story from the rugby.com.au says.

The BBC, the first letter of which stands for “British”, leads with the line that Joe “Man of the Match” Launchbury and Jonathan Joseph are set to miss out on the 37-39 man squad.

“About 14 Englishmen are expected to be in the 37-39-man party, including prop Kyle Sinckler and centre Ben Te’o,” reads the BBC report.

“But England captain Dylan Hartley’s chances are rated as 50-50.

“Other stalwarts of Eddie Jones’ side, such as flankers James Haskell and Chris Robshaw, and fly-half George Ford, are also thought to be unlikely to force their way into Gatland’s plans at this stage.

“Despite finishing fifth in the Six Nations, Wales are still set for a strong contingent of up to 10 players, with the likes of Alun Wyn Jones, prospective captain Sam Warburton, Taulupe Faletau, Rhys Webb, Jonathan Davies and George North among those highly likely to be included.

“Conversely, winning three of their five matches in the Championship seems unlikely to have helped Scotland’s representatives, with full-back Stuart Hogg the only selection certainty.”

The rugby.com.au article also says that Sam Warburton, who is only scheduled to be fit again 3 days before the squad flies out to NZ, is the leading contender for the captaincy. Also, England captain Hartley and Ireland captain Rory Best will be duking it out for the hooker spot, let alone the captaincy.

Brums v Canes

The Brumbies reckon they can take on the Canes this weekend, despite they lost, repeat LOST against the Rebels on Satdi.

“Instead of jamming in, it’s reading players and making sure we shut down those offload channels,” captain Sam Carter told rugby.com.au. Wait, why are you telling the media your plans?

“Don’t clock off on the inside because that’s where Kiwi teams hurt us.

“If they spread the ball three wide there’s always someone on the inside so we have to identify that on Friday and shut it down.”

“They’ve obviously got great skill, great ball runners,” Carter continued. “They like to spin the ball around and their offloads can really hurt teams.

“We’ve been practising that and how we defend it over the last couple of days. If we can put pressure on them for 80 minutes we can get a good result.”

Then Scott Fardy chipped in. Funnily enough, they didn’t even raise the spectre of Beauden “Worse Than Bernard” Barrett being binned three times this season already for the same offence. Is that their secret plan?

“They deserve their writing up and all that stuff they get because they have been dominant versus Australian teams, versus South African teams and versus Japanese teams[not hard tbh – Ed],” Fardy said.

“It’s a big challenge to go over there and win but I think you’ve got to look within yourself rather than looking at the opposition.”

“They have an incredibly hard-working pack,” Fardy added. “They perform week-in, week-out and play energy efficient rugby.”

Grey Ideas

Nathan Grey, the Wallatahs defence coach, has pretty much brought up every issue except the most obvious one when talking about changes to the Tahs defence strategy to Fox Sports.

“It is something that is frustrating and disappointing, from my perspective,” Grey said.

“But it is also something that is a great challenge, to ensure that the guys are confident in the way we are defending and the way they defend together. That is something that has been lacking.

“Defence is a team thing. Those one-on-one misses are things you need to own and whatnot, but your role in looking out for one another and working hard, they’re things we haven’t been consistently delivering this year.”

This season so far, the Waratahs have let in an average of 4.4 tries and 33.9 points per game, and they’re as bad as the Reds (that’s pretty bad) when it comes to effective tackle rate, which is at 71%.

“There have been subtle changes but nothing dramatically that is going to cause guys to be confused or to not buy into it,” Grey said.

“That’s why it gets frustrating from our perspective because when they’re training the guys are doing well defensively and it’s quite strong.

“But in game, whether it’s a little bit of lack of confidence and a lack of belief and a little bit of fear of failure, that creeps into the guys’ minds.

“And they don’t need to have that because all these guys are very competent defenders and have done a very good job in the past.”

But it’s ok, cos Grey says so.

“It is one of those things that you can’t quite put your finger on but we feel after the bye, we have reset, we have refocused and the guys are very clear around what we want to do,”

  • phil peake

    3 things that could help fix Tahs defence:
    1. Stop shuffling the positions around in defence eg foley at hooker in defensive lineout, Folau shuffling back to 15 in defence but 13 in attack
    2. Stop the last man in defence (wing mostly) coming in to tackle the 2nd last man leaving an overlap – this has cost us dearly for 2 seasons already
    3. Select players with more emphasis on defence eg don’t pick Taqele he doesn’t tackle. Folau at 15 doesn’t read the game. Rarely makes a try saving tackle.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      absofriggenlutely mate. Sadly Nathan Grey has just proved time after time that despite his stellar career in the Wallabies he is a shit Defence Coach. Time to move on.

      • Missing Link

        100% the common denominator between th Waratahs and the Wallabies shit D is none other than N.Grey himself. Time to put the feelerd out for someone decent

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Damn right mate

        • Brumby Runner

          I’ve been saying for a couple of years that the problem with the Wallabies’ defense has been the structures put in by Grey. People have focused on individual players suggesting they are lacking in their abilities, but it really has been the system as a whole that is broken.

          I don’t mind if the Tahs want to keep him in the role, but FFS he has to be replaced at the Wallabies’ level.

        • phil peake

          I think in terms of selection and overall tactics, Gibson has to take responsibility too. He seems to have great knowledge and as a Kiwi I would have thought he would have gone back to basics more with the Tahs, but he’s stuck with the musical chairs thing in defence and they wonder why they always get caught out of position.

        • Brendan Hume

          Wasn’t Matt Taylor’s name thrown around for the Reds? If he was available he’d be a great fit. Just had a cracking season with Scotland. Was dynamite with the Reds c.2011 – completely turned their fortunes around, and instilled an attitude that took the Wallabies to the semi finals of the RWC. They didn’t perform in that world cup in attack, but only conceded 77 points in their six games (95 including the bronze medal match).

        • Missing Link

          The Wallabies conceded 301 points last year and only scored 254. they conceded less than 20 points on 3 occasions. Despite that, they somehow managed a 50% win ratio. This just isn’t good enough for a top 3 test team.

          In an ideal world, the Wallabies would have beaten England 2-1, taken 1 win away from NZ, and beaten SA in SA where they lost 18-10 (a game to forget), along with their other wins to make it 9 for the year. This is pretty much where they need to be aiming for and it would have given them a +ve points for and against.

          It would have kept up the momentum from 2015 and indicated Cheika was building towards something big. I think Cheika is safe, Mick Byrne is safe, Larkham needs to step up big time in cracking opposition defences, especially NZ, realise that they kill the ball when up against it inside their 22, how do you take 7 points from this situation instead of 3 and don’t bother relying on the ref? and Grey should be replaced, the Wallabies defence has been found wanting on too many occasions, which has led to some big losses against NZ and losses in other games which we should have won.

          The only time I’ve seen the Wallabies defend well was with 13 men against Wales in RWC2015. That’s another point, how many yellow cards do we have to give away?

    • Braveheart81

      How many teams leave the hooker standing near the sideline on defensive lineouts now? Seems like most teams have opted away from doing that.

      • phil peake

        Most have their hookers somewhere near the lineout (depending on numbers). I think the question is how many teams have their 10 standing there?

        • Braveheart81

          You have to have someone standing in that position between the sideline and the 5m line but I don’t think a lot of teams leave their hooker there now. I will pay more attention this weekend and see who each team uses.

        • phil peake

          Fair point and I think they are all different. From the weekend I remember seeing the Brumbies with the hooker there and the Crusaders with the 9 there.

    • phil peake

      And I forgot 4:
      Get wings to chase kicks harder and put real pressure on. Coming up in a line slowly might work in other codes but doesn’t work in rugby. This also only works if you get no. 3 right – players that work hard and understand the game.

  • adastra32

    Yes, Judy Gatland is expected to lead a numerous Welsh Lions cast (if not a strong one on the evidence of the 6N) in a NZ production of “Warrenball – The Final Chapter” . What could possibly go wrong?

  • #Justice4Launchbury

  • Tomthusiasm

    I’m looking forward to the Canes vs Brumbies match, the Brumbies have named a pretty solid starting 15 and should be more switched on this week. Also, it’d be good to see how Hawera goes up against Beaudy Barrett. The Canes bench, to me, looks a wee bit stronger and they should pull away late in the match, but this if definitely a banana skin game for them just before the bye.

    CANES (15-1): Jordie Barrett, Cory Jane, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi; Blade Thomson, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields (c), Vaea Fifita, Mark Abbott, Jeffery To’omaga-Allen, Ricky Riccitelli, Ben May

    Reserves: Leni Apisai, Chris Eves, Mike Kainga, James Blackwell, Callum Gibbins, TJ Perenara, Otere Black, Ben Lam

    BRUMBIES (15-1): Aidan Toua, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Andrew Smith, James Dargaville, Wharenui Hawera, Joel Powell, Jarred Butler, Chris Alcock, Scott Fardy, Sam Carter (c), Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Josh Mann-Rea, Scott Sio

    Reserves: Robbie Abel, Nic Mayhew, Ben Alexander, Blake Enever, Lolo Fakaosilea, De We Roos, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Nigel Ah Wong

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Go the Canes.

      • Tomthusiasm

        Yes!

    • Keith Butler

      The Canes, my second team after the Rebels. Beauden Barrett total class but as an ex lock, Mark Abbott gets my vote 110% for 80 mins against the Blues – fantastic. No more yellows this week BB otherwise action will have to be taken.

      • Tomthusiasm

        It’s a shame Abbott’s leaving after this SR season, really hitting his strides now. Also in charge of calling the lineout with Fatialofa now injured.

        • Keith Butler

          Where’s he off to not Europe I hope.

        • Tomthusiasm

          Sorry for the delay, he’s off to Japan. Maybe we’ll see him in tbe Sunwolves soon?

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    I wouldn’t be so sure on the lions team losing 3-0. I think they’ll be pretty focussed on winning the tests and accepting some losses in the other games. Depends on a lot of things but they have some great players to choose from and it’ll be a great battle

    • Keith Butler

      Wait til tonight. From the rumblings up north it looks like there will be some contentious picks, Jamie Roberts being one. Well past has his use by date. If they select forward units from Ireland and England in the front and second row and Welsh and Irish back rowers we will compete up front. The back are the problem. The ABs will beat us hands download in that area. We could take the 1st test but I still expect a 3-0 loss. The scores will be a lot closer than some are predicting. Looking forward to all the games. Let battle commence.

      • adastra32

        The hope is that Jamie Roberts is somebody’s wind-up. Please. Pretty please….

        • Keith Butler

          Luckily it was but our Scottish brethren are not happy and who can blame them.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Oh yes! Let the battle begin. So looking forward to this series

  • Chinese Dave

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the Tahs actually had a good defensive game without 50 missed tackles before Nathan Grey opened his pie hole? I’m sick of hearing this guy talk, he’s a hot air windbag. I still vomit a bit in my mouth when I remember his “I can fix the Wallabies defence in five minutes” drivel. Nothing’s changed since then, the man’s been riding the one good season he had with the Tahs and hasn’t done a thing since.

Rugby

Hopes to play David Pocock in the inevitable biopic. Lifelong fan of whoever Jarrad Hayne is currently playing for.

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