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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News sees the Wallabies side become clearer, the All Blacks celebrate their centurion (sort of), the Springboks welcome a huge return and the impending loss of a sevens star to the AFLW.


Hodge, Pocock look to hunt for Bledisloe blood

Reece Hodge scored an early intercept try

Reece Hodge is set to be named as outside centre after Israel Folau emphatically ruled out any shock move to the position.

It had been widely speculated that the Rebels centre would step up into the role after the omission of Curtis Rona, however there had been lingering talks about shifting Folau to the position, a point which Hodge brought up earlier in the week.

“There’s still a few guys in the squad who can play 13,” Hodge said. “Izzy’s [Folau] still an option as well

“At the moment, throughout the preparation, the last few weeks have been about trying as many combinations we can to get comfortable playing next to everyone who’s in the squad and I think it’s going to be really important for us come game one.”

However, Folau has looked to shut the door on any possible speculation and mind games regarding his selection, positive that he will be starting at fullback.

“I’ve been training at fullback, I haven’t been training anywhere else,” he said.

“Obviously whatever decisions Cheik makes in the team, it’s what’s best for the team but I probably don’t see myself playing any other position other than 15.”

Meanwhile, another Wallaby is gearing up for his Bledisloe return as flanker and future saint David Pocock is set to return and his return has put the All Blacks on high alert.

His influence over the ruck was a key talking point for the Kiwis, with coach Steve Hansen continuing his role as chief advocate for the Wallabies (for some strange reason) by praising his skill at the breakdown.

“He’s a great scavenger of the ball,” Hansen said. “He’s somebody that we’ll have to be aware of at the breakdown…If we’re not he’ll come in and pinch the ball, so that would be painful.”

Pocock’s opposition number, All Blacks flanker Sam Cane, was also acutely aware of the danger posed by the powerful Wallaby.

“The way he continually bounces back and plays at such a high level is pretty outstanding,” Cane said.” “It just creates an awareness. We’re on more high alert than normal around the breakdown.”

Hopefully Pocock can been instrumental in causing a boil over in game 1 and breaking a drought that has been going for so long that there are nearly more Australians alive that have never seen the Wallabies win the Bledisloe, then the entire current New Zealand population.

Even the All Blacks hate themselves

KMP-WALLvAB-1926
As the All Blacks ramp up their preparations for the first test, halfback TJ Perenara has honoured upcoming centurion Sam Whitelock by letting everyone know his hatred for him.

That may sound like a weird thing to say, but Perenara has delivered this backhanded remark to Whitelock to praise his intense work ethic and style of play that made the two fierce rivals growing up.

“It’s funny with Sam, I grew up playing a lot of my footy against him before I was in this environment and I hated him,” Perenara quipped.

“Every time I passed it he’d just clean me out and hold me down on the ground, but he wouldn’t be reactive to it, I was like ‘what’s this dude up to? But he does it the same here, in training, it’s just a process for him and it’s part of his job, If there’s a defender next to the ruck, his job’s to take out the nine, so he takes out the nine.”

Whitelock has been a consistent part of the All Blacks side since his debut in 2010 and TJ has put this down to his killer-like mindset.

“Getting in the environment and getting to know him, his work ethic, his love for the game, his ability to just flick a switch and be in this killer mindset out on the field — it’s something that you want to be a part of and it’s something that you want on your team.”

Perenara was weirdly philosophical about why this was the case when quizzed about why this dislike had occurred.

“I don’t think it’s just as players, I think as humans we fall into that perception,” Perenara said. I think a lot of people who watch the game would have a perception of me as a person and they don’t know me as a person.”

“But they’d see what I do out on the field and judge that person — make that interpretation that he’s like that as a human being. So not just as footy players, as humans we do it.”

His leadership and influence on the team were also praised by winger Rieko Ioane, who said that Whitelock had been an inspiration for younger All Blacks coming through the ranks.

“He’s got a huge voice in this team, especially amongst us younger players,” said Ioane. “He’s the one paving the way for us to follow. His leadership is the biggest impact he has on me as a young fella and the core young group in this team, and for him to lead us by example, rather than voice, is the way he goes about things.”

Whitelock has seemingly been apart of the furniture for All Black and Crusaders success for the good part of this decade and continues to be a major threat for opposition teams, especailly the Wallabies.

Springboks boosted by giant return

Eben+Etzebeth+E0wKsnIzJrlm
In news from the seemingly forgotten Rugby Championship match, the Springboks are set to be boosted by the return of Lock and real life Hulk Eben Etzebeth.

Etzebeth has been sidelined since November after suffering shoulder nerve damage in their loss against Wales in November.

His recovery has been marred by setbacks to the nerve, assumingly due to how large it must be considering the size of him, that kept him out of the entirety of the Super Rugby season.

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus confirmed that Etzebeth would be considered for selection against Argentina for the Rugby Championship opener at King’s Park.

“We just received the clearance from the specialist, Eben has been training full on with us ever since the end of the Stormers’ Super Rugby campaign‚ but we’ve been waiting on this.” Erasmus told the media in Durban

However, Erasmus was coy on the level of involvement that he would have if selected.

“Eben’s match fitness is a concern. It’s for that reason that we won’t see him playing much more than 60 minutes this week. If we start someone else and then there is an injury in the first minute‚ we might be in trouble.”

Erasmus was also hesitant about the selection of overseas players Willie le Roux, Faf de Klerk and Francois Louw.

They remain available for selection under Regualtion 9, which forces clubs to make players available during international windows, but Erasums was not looking to abuse this loophole.

“There aren’t any arrangements yet but there is an understanding with the clubs. In the first four games, we’ll try to use Francois and the others as much as possible.” Erasums noted.

“I want guys like Marco (van Staden) and Cyle (Brink) to learn as much from him as guys like Aphiwe (Dyantyi) and S’bu (Nkosi) learned from Willie or Ivan (van Zyl) and Embrose (Papier) from Faf”

“We don’t want to be selfish, and we want to grow this team with the World Cup in mind. We will handle it on a case-by-case basis. There’s a chance those players will go back after the Australasian tour, a good chance. But if we have a lot of injuries and are under pressure after a few bad results, we may keep them.”

Sevens star set to sing the Blues

AON-Uni-7s-Round-3-2
In a damaging blow for Women’s rugby and the sevens program, star Chloe Dalton is set to defect to the AFLW after reportedly being on the cusp of signing for Carlton.

Dalton had been on an indefinite break from the sport earlier in the year citing personal reasons, however, it seems that she will spend this time off by trying her hand in the AFLW.

She is expected to be signed as an ‘other sports rookie’, and she will be eligible to play from round 1 as part of the sport’s collective bargaining agreement, which has looked to attract more talent from the other codes to boost its level of competitiveness.

Dalton had tried her hand at the sport earlier in the year, lining up for the side’s VFL team in early May and was excited about the new challenges ahead.

“When the opportunity came for a trial and I knew Carlton was interested, it all fell into place,” Dalton said earlier in the year.

“It’s been an awesome few months and my goal is to play AFLW. To learn the game this VFL season and work really hard there and try to earn my spot into the AFLW list hopefully as a rookie”

“We hope to see her playing rugby sevens in the future,” former national sevens coach Tim Walsh said. “It’s just her decision.”

“Throughout the time that I’ve been involved, we’ve had players leave, players come in and that’s the nature of professional sport and that’s the ability of a team as well, just knowing that’s what it is going into it but, also as a team how you react to it and (the mentality that) nothing’s a problem for us, no one’s bigger than the game and we just move on.”

It’s believed that Dalton has not ruled out returning to rugby ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and let’s hope she returns in time to defend our title.

This news must be worrying for Rugby fans alike as the exodus of rugby stars infiltrates the women’s game after reports last month about the Broncos intention to sign star Charlotte Caslick for its WNRL side and it’s something that needs to be addressed by the ARU to ensure the future growth of female participation in the sport.

  • Archie

    “…there are nearly more Australians alive that have never seen the Wallabies win the Bledisloe, then the entire current New Zealand population.’

    That’s an incredible stat. Thanks to whoever dig that out!

    Massive Congratulations to Whitelock… what a legend. Immense player and will go down with the greats like Ian Jones, Victor Matfield, John Eales (and his own tall timber in crime Brodie Retallick)

    • onlinesideline

      Considering 99.999% of those people don’t give a shit, whats even more incredible is that we beat NZ last time we played them.

      • Archie

        Only 240 people in Aus follow rugby! Wow didn’t know that. World Rugby should really update their erroneous statistics

        • Greg

          Well it is actually 250 according to the ABS.

          And I, and my 249 friends, follow it with a passion Archie!

        • Missing Link

          and the 250th was sent to Yenda to get beer

        • disqus_NMX

          What’s this Yenda meme about, I missed it?!

        • Missing Link

          it’s an add on foxtel that airs ad nauseum during the rugby. it consists of a group of wallaby fans watching the rugby, then they call his mate to see where the beer is and he says he drove to the town Yenda to buy beer instead of buying the beer called “Yenda” at the local shop. yes it’s ridiculous as it sounds

        • laurence king

          Yenda is a town 16km outside of Griffith in the MIA where I worked for 25 years. Surrounded by wineries and a boring tit of a place.

        • Missing Link

          in fairness, the beer is nice, it doesn’t leave a bitter taste in your mouth like their marketing and creative agency does :D

        • disqus_NMX

          Ah thanks… I watch most of my rugby on Youtube… with AddBlock installed :)

    • Missing Link

      Are you going to use it to make a meme and post it on facebook on the Wallabies page?

      • Archie

        Great idea Link…

        • Missing Link

          don’t forget the Nokia 3310 with the caption about what phones looked like last time the Wallabies won the Bledisloe

        • Archie

          Yes that one’s gold

        • Hoss

          Or the 19 Prime Ministers we’ve had since then. Oh wait, what…..

    • Nathan Williamson

      Thanks, personally the last time I saw a Bledisloe cup victory I was just starting school so I decided to look into it and it was fascinating to see how close the gap has become.

      • Archie

        I actually thought the aggregate pts margin diff in the series has increased in recent years, courtesy of the annual Sydney blowout

        • juswal

          Someone hand Archie a tissue, he’s nearly ready to shoot.

  • IIPA

    Hopefully Cheik isn’t really considering Hodge for “inside” centre as the article claims!

    Chloe Dalton is an ex basketballer with a good kicking game. Tailor made for AFLW. So she’s not really born n bred rugby. But RA I’m sure are aware of the impending threat of mungo and Aussie rules, both poaching their talent and poaching the talent from other sports ( touch, athletics, rowing ) that they themselves would like to poach.

  • Timbo

    “Every time I passed it he’d just clean me out and hold me down on the ground, but he wouldn’t be reactive to it, I was like ‘what’s this dude up to? But he does it the same here, in training, it’s just a process for him and it’s part of his job, If there’s a defender next to the ruck, his job’s to take out the nine, so he takes out the nine.”

    So Whitelock has been cheating his entire career?

    • Ian

      It is so accepted now, that they just casually talk about how they cheat, directly to the media…..

      • Parker

        Where are the refs?

        • Ian

          If you watch the video of that interview, I think you can see them just to the left of screen with their autograph pads in hand.

      • disqus_NMX

        Still waiting for Archie to have a cry and claim that players from all countries casually talk about how they cheat, directly to the media…..

  • Brumby Runner

    I like the quote from TJP about Whitelock being able to flick a switch to get into a killer mindset on the field. Just the sort of player needed as a lock in test match rugby. We have a couple, but continually pick a non-aggressive nice bloke because he calls the lineout. Ha! When will we ever learn?

  • John_R

    Hodge at 12?

    Soooooo.

    9. Genio
    10. Folo
    11. Koroibeto
    12. Hodgo
    13. Folau-o
    14. DHPo
    15. Bealo?

    • Missing Link

      Hodge will play 13. Cheika will not disrupt the Foley – Beale – Folau combo at 10 – 12 – 15.

      • John_R

        Would expect the same mate. Just a bit of smoke and mirrors to keep the opposition second guessing surely?

    • Braveheart81

      It’s a typo above. It should say outside centre. It isn’t even smoke and mirrors.

      • John_R

        Ah got ya, cheers braveheart

      • Nathan Williamson

        Yeah should’ve said outside, thanks for pointing that out it’s been fixed, expect the team to be similar to that but Beale at 12, Hodge at 13 and Folau at 15

    • John Tynan

      Based on “Nard” (which always makes me think of “nads”):
      9. Ill
      10. Nard
      11. Riko
      12. Lee
      13. Eece
      14. Ane
      15. Rail

  • Brendan Hume

    Congratulations to Sam Whitelock on the upcoming 100th test. Without him and Brodie Retallick doing the grunt in the middle, the AB’s wouldn’t be able to have the likes of Read or any of their world class hookers as a constant threat out wide. A tough, smart and uncompromising lock, the likes of which any champion team requires to be a champion team.

  • Bobas

    I really like TJs philosophy of judging a persons character by how their style of play and how they conduct themselves on the field.

    • Missing Link

      his bathroom must have the world’s smallest mirror in it

    • Archie

      Prrreeety sure ‘hate’ is tongue in cheek. Like a fan saying ‘I hate X player’ (because they contribute to their team losing)

  • Nutta

    Good luck to Chloe. Sport is a business and you need to be acutely aware of your shelf life at that level. She’s a professional who has been won over by a professional approach.

    It is refreshing to hear an AIB not carrying on with bullshit but simply acknowledging they train/expect/practice and play to cheat with the open admission that I t’s his (Whitlock’s) job to take out the 9 and hold him down/out of play.

  • Dud Roodt

    I’m probably getting ahead of myself a bit – but I have noticed a genuine increase in the exposure of rugby in the past few weeks (maybe even back to the Ireland test). I watched both the Ten and Nine news bulletins last night and they both had rugby as the second sport report.

    Also, this morning while waiting for coffee a big group of people (boys and girls) were all talking about the Bled Cup.

    I hope this is all building to the world cup.

    Or I’m just a hopeful fool.

    • Hoss

      I’am with you Dud. There’s a simmering groundswell around god’s game of late. Some good news stories, some smart decisions from administrators, some engagement and a settled , likeable, Wallaby squad.

      All points to increased expectation on Sat nite. If there was EVER a game to win to start riding a wave towards Nipponville – its now.

      Nothing succeeds like success.

      • Dud Roodt

        Exactly, I feel that if we can knock the bad guys off their perch this weekend, it will go a long way towards creating some serious goodwill with the Australian public.

        • Greg

          time for some cliches….. one step at a time, don’t get ahead of yourself, play what’s in front of us. The disappointment would otherwise be awful if it goes belly-up.

          Win or lose…. if we play well I am happy. If everyone plays to their best… we will win. This has also usually been the case for the last few years. We haven’t done it….

        • Dud Roodt

          Well Greggy, it’s a game of two ‘arves, and if we can score more points than the opposition, we’re a chance to win it, and all credit will go to the boys.

          While I agree with you regarding giving it their all. unfortunately for the wider public, that just isn’t enough. We need consistent success to get the numbers back.

        • Nutta

          ‘We trained really well’

    • John_R

      That warms the old heart that lark, Dud

  • onlinesideline

    I read – “HODGE, POCOCK HUNT FOR BLEDISLOE BLOOD” and thought Whatttttt Karmichael Hunt ?? – nooooo.

    Should da stayed in school.

  • John_R

    Also, some other news out NZ.

    Vaea Fifita having a dig at Hansen in the press about not being selected.

  • laurence king

    So the All Blacks are going to target Hodge are they. Well we’ll see about that. Well hide him……just like we do with with Foley and Kurtley!

    • Brisneyland Local

      Oh so true!

  • onlinesideline

    things never seem to change
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKCx4c4rQdU

    • disqus_NMX

      My biggest take away from this video…. who started the ridiculous trend of No8’s giving the second rowers a wedgie as the scrum prepares to set?! Is it supposed to make them push harder? Are they too lazy to get off their knees by themselves? Can someone make sense of it for me?

  • Bernie Chan

    See the Wallabies “Skills Coach” has said the Wallabies skills are on par with the ABs…and they’ve shown that in training. Hope that doesn’t mean the “it was a good training session…” excuse is being readied…? Really hope we are competitive and dream of a win, but on the evidence this season (Super Rugby…) our skills are not on par with the NZ players. We certainly don’t kick as well by any measure, nor ‘catch-pass’ as well…

    • Brisneyland Local

      Is there genuinely anything we do better.
      The only thing I think we may have a chance with during this round is the Scrum.

      • Bernie Chan

        Agree the scrum is one area we could attack…but as our Reds found out, the scrum alone is not enough. We have Pocock…but he needs help, and while Izzy is fabulous, he needs someone to put him into space…and who’s that going to be…? I’d expect a high number of ‘chasers’ when the ABs kick , so Izzy won’t get too much of a chance to engage in a 1-on-1. If Grey reverts to hiding Foley on the wing the ABs will target that wing….Hope he doesn’t, and the backs defend their position.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah I have a bad feeling about all of this!

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@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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