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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News sees some mid-week rugby, a Wallaby under an injury cloud, the RUPA ask for a ‘please explain’ over the Tui incident and Sonny Bill is set to fight again.


NSW derby boosted by returning Wallabies

Can they break their duck against their NSW rivals

Can they break their duck against their NSW rivals


Rugby fans have been treated with a rare mid-week fixture tonight with the Sydney Rays hosting NSW Country in an all NSW derby in the National Rugby Championship.

The mid-week clash serves as a catch-up match for both sides as the late finish time of Sydney grade competition ensured that they both started a week later than fellow teams.

Both teams have been winless throughout the competition and are eager to break their duck and win bragging rights over their fellow Waratah teammates.

“I think it’s one of the biggest games of the year,” Country flanker Will Miller said. “Outside of finals, it’s a rivalry and something big that’s a huge opportunity to give it to the City boys so all the Country boys should be excited.”

This sentiment was shared by Rays outside back Curtis Rona who noted that trash talk between the two sides had reached a boiling point in the lead up to the match.

“It’s going to be a massive occasion for us because all the boys are really pumped because we’re versing each other,” he said. “We’ve trained with each other all year and there’s a bit of banter going on in the gym in the weights room, so we’re looking forward to it.

There’s not many texts (going around), there’s just a lot of shouting. It’s good – gets us motivated to play each other and test our skills.”

Both sides are boosted by the return of their Wallaby contingent, with Ned Hanigan, Tolu Latu and Tom Robertson returning for the Country side whilst the Rays welcome back Rob Simmons for the clash.

Having covered both Rays games on this site, I think this will be closer than some people expect. Despite losing their first two matches, the Rays have shown their fight and class in both second hands and will go close if they start strongly.

However, I think the inclusions for NSW Country will be the difference in this clash, especially Robertson and Latu as the Rays main weakness this year has been at the set piece. Prediction: Country by 8.

The sides are as followed:
NSW Country
Alex Newsome, Jaline Graham, Apolosi Latunipulu, Will McDonnell, Alex Gibbon, Mack Mason, Jake Gordon, Sam Figg, Will Miller, Ned Hanigan, Emmanuel Meafou, Sam Thomson, Tom Robertson, Tolu Latu, Paddy Ryan, Reserves; Mahe Vailanu, Matt Gibbon, Chris Talakai, Sam Ward, Nicholas Champion De Crespigny, Mick Snowden, Rohan Saifoloi, Seb Wileman

Sydney Rays
Tyson Davis, Rob Buaserau, Curtis Rona, Harry Burey, Latu Latunipulu, Will Harrison, Mitch Short, Hugh Sinclair, Jack Hayson, Lachie Swinton, Ryan McCauley, Rob Simmons, Cam Betham, Damien Fitzpatrick (c), Matthew Sandell, Reserves; Rory O’Connor, JP Sauni, Shambeckler Vui, Connor Vest, Nick Palmer, Nick Duffy, Enoka Muliufi, Tim Clements

Samu cloud’s Cheika’s selection

Who should cover Wallabies' Mr Fixit

Who should cover Wallabies’ Mr Fixit


With Lurkham Tui still expected to miss the Wallabies brief tour to South Africa and Argentina, Michael Cheika faces selection dilemnas with fellow loose forward Pete Samu under an injury cloud.

Samu suffered a knee injury during the clash with Argentina last Saturday and has been waiting in Canberra for the results of scans on it. He came off holding his knee after 43 minutes against the Pumas, before being replaced by Ned Hanigan.

The flanker has started in the last two internationals for the Wallabies, having being called into the side to replace David Pocock (neck) and Michael Hooper (hamstring).

With the Wallabies squad set to be annouced on Friday, there are signficnat concerns around the fitness of our loose forwards, especially Samu before the tour.

Queensland’s Caleb Timu is expected to be the next backrower to step into the team if Samu is absence, with the no. 8 being apart of Australia’s squad in recent weeks.

However, Cheika could potentially call upon an abundance of options that have been firing during the early stages of the NRC competition to cover our injury plagued backrow.

Melbourne’s Angus Cottrell was recognised for his strong form earlier in the year with inclusion in the Super Rugby player’s team of the year and has carried it into the first couple of matches for the Rising.

Sydney flanker Jack Dempsey was one of Australia’s breakout Test stars last year and made a very strong return from injury against Brisbane City. However, the 24-year-old is short on game time, having only featured in 31 minutes of action in the past 11 months and it’s best to slowly bring him back through the NRC.

The wildcard option for this position should be Force flanker Chris Alcock. Alcock has been impressive throughout the NRC and World Series Rugby and would not put a foot wrong if selected, if Cheika remembers that players exist outside of the east coast.

Who do you think should be called up if Samu is unavailable?

RUPA provide Rugby Australia with a ‘please explain’

Lukhan Tui, before the incident

Lukhan Tui, before the incident

The Rugby Union Players Associaition have criticised the lack of a security presence which led to the confrontation between Lurkham Tui and a fan.

In a letter sent out to all Super Rugby and Sevens players, the RUPA criticised the security provided for the Wallabies whilst calling for the disgruntled fan to be educated about the incident.

This has come obviously come to light as a result of the well-publicised altercation between Lurkham Tui and a fan, in which Tui was heckled to “play with more heart” and he reacted after his sister was pushed during the incident.

In his letter to Australia’s rugby professionals, RUPA’s interim CEO Toby Duncan told the players their safety was paramount.

“On Saturday night, multiple Wallabies players were subjected to completely unacceptable levels of verbal abuse and physical intimidation from a member of the crowd.

“All players should feel rightly proud to represent their country on the world stage and deserve to have their physical and emotional wellbeing protected on international duty. Players set aside their time immediately after the conclusion of a match to interact with fans regardless of the result.

“It is completely unacceptable that security was not present to provide protection for players and their families. We understand that the identity of the fan has been established and trust that appropriate action will be taken to educate this person regarding their behaviour.”

The fan should never have been this close to Tui in the state that he was in and security should have recognised the danger that he could have presented before the incident occurred. Hopefully, this review ensures that incidents such as this do not occur again and the player’s safety remains paramount.

SBW’s boxing dream turns into reality

Wallabies v All Blacks, Suncorp Stadium, 21st October 2017
Sonny Bill Williams will continue to fulfil his boxing dream by taking on reality ‘star’ Stu Landry on December 1st.

Williams is foregoing the huge potential payday of fighting NRL star Paul Gallen to raise money for two charity foundations in a fight that’s being promoted as the “Banger under the hanger” on Sydney Harbour.

The charity fight will see Williams take on Landry, who rose to D-list fame by winning the Bachelorette a week after the All Blacks are set to finish their European tour against Italy.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has stated that he sees no problem with Williams fighting so soon after he will potentially play three Tests for New Zealand overseas.

“Look, from my understanding I think it’s a very, very low-key fight and it’s about raising money for the homeless in Sydney and for the Auckland City Mission,” Hansen said.

“He is pretty confident, I’ve spoken to Khoder [Williams’ agent Khoder Nasser], and Khoder’s confident that what’s going to take place won’t be of hindrance to him, so you’ve got to back their judgment and from what I understand it shouldn’t be too much of a task.”

His opponent has tried to light the fuse before he gets knocked out by Williams stating “All my wealthy mates better watch out because I’ll be gunning for them…I’ve been throwing drunk guys out of pubs for 30 years. Sure some of them are drunk, but some of them are monsters”

Whilst this is clearly a publicity stunt, it’s fascinating that Williams would commit to a fight so close to the end of the season since he’s been injured for most of the Rugby Championship.

  • Ben Fox

    Angus Cottrell wouldn’t let the team down. If playing at 6 it would be nice have someone actually playing in his SR position

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Cottrell spent half the season at 7 :P. But, yes, I agree completely mate. Would be a very capable 6 at international level I think.

      • Gary Bird

        Cottrell has the character and mental toughness of his grandfather and father.
        What is required by the Wallabies?????
        He would be an outstanding success

    • Dud Roodt

      As the boys on the poddy mentioned – maybe getting someone like Cottrell in who might not win you a game through freakish athleticism but is a hard grafter who will do his job, is just what the dr ordered.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Best of luck to Sonny Bill Williams. Always comes across as a kind and good man. It’s great to see someone putting so much into life to achieve what they want to achieve.

    I hope Samu recovers, but even if he does I hope that he isn’t picked again. He wasn’t good enough to start for the Crusaders. He was, in fact, probably the 5th choice loosie, and it shows. He is another 7, and we already have enough 7s.

    Alcock is another very class player. I actually bumped into Cheika after the Brumbies’ victory over the Reds in Canberra last year (he was in the crowd) and when I asked about whether there was any chance of George Smith making a return to the Wallabies Cheik told me it was ‘possible’ but ‘that bloke Alcock tonight made a really strong case to be in the team’. Chris had a great season from then, improving even, and yet was still overlooked. Another example of Cheika’s poor selections, in my opinion, as he was Australia’s best 7 last year I thought. But at the end of the day, he is still a 7.

    Cottrell, Timu, Cusack, McCaffrey, Higginbotham – these are the guys we need to start looking at. Why was Timani released early from his contract?

    Great to see Dempsey return last week. He seems to have bulked up a bit, but still possessed great feet and good hands. Hope he pushes for a spring tour spot as he would be a really quality addition to the back-row.

    • IIPA

      Yep you’ve nailed five good back rowers there. I’d add Phillip to that. We saw what PDST did last week as a backrower and Phillip is around the same size. May not be as mobile as PDST but more mobile than Tui.

      Agree with you on Alcock too.

      Not sure how this game at Leichardt will go down. Result wise and crowd rise. Country look stronger but are resting plenty of Super rugby players who started last Sat.

      Sam Figg eloquently teed off at the selection policies in the Sydney teams, the involvement of colts and 2nd grade players and NSWRUs involvement and he’s starting so I wonder if there’ll be some interesting conversations out on the field.

      One second grade player to watch for is Manny Meafoa. A Skelton-seque giant who rearranged Phipp’s ribs when he came on as a replacement in the Shute Shield grand final.

    • Brumby Runner

      Dempsey must surely tour on the EOYT if he remains fit, but on last week’s short showing, I’d also like to see Valetini included in the EOYT. He had a large impact on the game last weekend after he came on, with a couple of steals, a couple of tackles leading to the ball carrier being held up for a turnover, and some good runs. Valetini is all round class and his strength at the tackle/breakdown will be an asset for the Wallabies when he gets there.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I wouldn’t take Valetini except as the development player, if that continues. We need to support his development slowly, not rush him in and significantly shorten his career due to injuries.

      • Missing Link

        Dempsey is the man, but I’d be cautious to bring him back so soon after a serious injury. get him through NRC, get him up to speed over summer and give him a super season to get back to his best.

    • Dud Roodt

      Hadn’t Alcock already signed overseas for next season quite early on?

  • Brumby Runner

    Timu should come in for Samu and cover No 8 from the bench. He really should start but that would require one of Pocock and Hooper to be left out, and Cheika won’t do that barring injury. BTW, how is Hooper’s hamstring? Will he really be fit to tour?

    I’d like to see Cottrell come in for Tui and play No 6. Anyone who watched his game on the weekend will realise he won’t lessen the lineout and will bring his normal abrasive game style with him.

    Alcok had a particularly good game against the Vikings but he is essentially another No 7. Two No 7s at the same time is a concern, three would be catastrophic. He will be a good replacement for Hooper if Hooper can’t travel. but only on the bench at best.

    • Missing Link

      Agreed, Cottrell should come into the squad at least but give Timu first crack.

      • Hoss

        What chance Fardy resigning with Oz team for crack at 19 RWC ?

        Whats his contract status up north ?

        Would seem a cosy fit him playing in gold on EOYT ?

        • Huw Tindall

          It’s my wet dream

        • Nutta

          Stop making sense and go back to cycle-counting.

        • Hoss

          I can only count to 21, 20.25 on cold days…..

        • Brumby Runner

          It shits me to see all the love for Fardy now that his omission is dramatically evident, when all the Cheika acolytes here were so vehement that his time was up and that Cheika was doing the right thing in blooding Hanigan to replace him for the RWC. Where are they now?

    • laurence king

      What bothers me about Pocock is, he’s so good. To get him of the ball the opposition have bash him. I like to see him rested in some games, playing 40 minutes or so every now and again. Otherwise imo he’ll be using a walking frame by the WC.

      • Brumby Runner

        I agree LK. Hooper needs to play all 80 minutes against selected opponents while Poey plays against the more physical teams. But they need to both play the No 7 spot, not together in the Pooper formation.

      • Patrick

        Or play Fardy, who would take some fo the pressure off.

        • Nutta

          Stop talking common sense. I’m hurting enough.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s. Well BL got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning so prepare for an epic rant. Because I have decided that I am fucking sick and tired of mediocrity. The time has come to do something. BL mad and pissed ramblings for Hump Day Wednesday.
    – As Edmund Burke said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”? And that is where we are at. We are now so accustomed to shit, that we are too lazy and apathetic to do anything about. Cant sack Cheika because there is no one else available, so we will just do nothing. Cant sack Cheika because we cant afford it! Well can we afford to keep him, Grey, Larkham? There are a few of us hanging on by our fingernails here fellow GAGR’s. At least a bold step demonstrates that we are not acceptant of mediocrity any more. Because to keep doing the same means we will kill of what is left of the fan base below critical mass level. They are destroying the game in Australia.
    – We need a one year contract for a new coaching set up to get us to the world cup. This is not a permanent solution, but a solution to revitalise the fan base, and improve our results. We are not going to win, but we can give it a much better shot than the fucktards running the show now.
    – Whilst this one year stop gap is in place we put in place a Go to Market for a new coach. We aim for the Joe Schmidt’s of the world. Aim big.
    – RA. There aren’t enough swear words to describe these clowns. So I will leave that entire topic alone for today. But they are soooooooo much a part of the problem. There fear and timidity, to act, to stand up and do something is pathetic. Everyone of them should be ashamed of themselves.
    – RUPA. Go and get fucked. You are part of the problem not the solution. All these years you have been taking your members’ dues and done fuck all to help players that we know are lacking the skills. These are your players. Hand over some of your ill-gotten gains and help your player base. Do something or fuck off. Don’t sit there and whinge about player security at matches and issue please explains, you knob jockeys!
    – The squad will be issued on Friday. If Foley is 10, Beale 12, Phipps still in the squad, and Topou not starting, and Toomua benched, I wont watch this game. I will be done.

    Too quote Public Enemy (that lovely 80’s Rap band). It is time to fight the power. Rant over.
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Dud Roodt

      Comin’ in hot today BLL

      • Brisneyland Local

        Definitely.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      You are gold brother.

      Mate the problem with the coaching is also “who the fuck would want this gig?”. I know the guys on the podcast were talking about the job being up in the top 4 or 5 of the world wide jobs coaching rugby , but I’m not so sure. You’d take on a job where RA hands over a 6 year deal as captain with a bloke who actually isn’t that good in his position, is a crap leader and who was party to player power sacking a previous coach. And who by the way is earning over $1M a year so they won’t let you sack him because then they’d be paying that money to play club rugby. You’ve got a player who wants to play 15 and who’s wife gets on board tweating if he’s moved and yet despite a number of years in the game, can’t kick, can’t pass to the right, doesn’t pass that well to the left either by the way, doesn’t understand the game and know where to position himself and only gets involved if the ball is handed to him on a platter. You take on a team that has been allowed to wallow in the past with no development in critical positions such as 9 & 10, and you work for an organisation that is so far up it’s own arse that it can’t see the issues that are ocurring.

      Not sure any of that is a scenario that would make someone want to bea part of or where they see it making their CV of coaching look better.

      • Greg

        What an opportunity for a coach. To succeed in that situation would look great on your CV!

        I still think that RA needs to be looking at what they can do to support/guide/constrain Mr Cheika. It seems unlikely he is going anywhere. How d we do better with him… perhaps not with Messrs Larkham and Grey

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          mate I agree that both his assistant are a big part of the problem. However, he picks them and it’s more about his own style and knowledge having a limited shelf life.

        • Missing Link

          Correct, it’s like the prime minister picking their cabinet. If he’s going to select someone as the minister for defence, they sure as hell need to defend! the honourable nathan grey has allowed our try line to be invaded by insurgents from across the tasman for far too long now. He was Cheika’s pick, if Cheika is going to stick with him then Cheika needs to go too.

          I don’t necessarily want Cheika to go, but he’s picked people to do jobs for him and they aren’t delivering. Larkham isn’t exactly pulling his weight either.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          and everyone else mate, not just us Kiwis

        • Parker

          Clean house completely. Out they all go.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Concur.

        • laurence king

          Mortlock made a comment on Fox about ‘robotic attack’. Larkam I imagine has something to do with that.

        • Huw Tindall

          How do you fix over coaching? Endless games of touch?

        • laurence king

          Hi mate, Hoss made an excellent point about engagement and ownership of the game plan by the players and I quote,

          “I would ask the players for their input – what are they feeling, what do they see / feel. I recall that the players designed and made the plays for the Irish Series. Look at the level of play there v that since. I can cop a last pass series loss to a legitimate World #2 – fair enough. Compare that v the quality of our play (not results) since – we have regressed massively in quality of performance.

          For mine – coaches, take a step back. Perhaps approach it along the lines of -‘heres where we see team X’s weaknesses – how do you think we can exploit them ?’ Get real player engagement, get them to own the systems, processes and structures and be accountable for the effort – get the cohesion.

          That’s not to say a clever coach cant say – ‘great idea guys, but have you thought about maybe a,b,c’ and gently nudge the plan in a preferred direction.

          But for mine you get engagement, ownership of the bigger picture and empower the players to own the process & effort and then sit back and fill up the trophy cabinet.”

          Sounded like a pretty sound argument to me. Cheers

        • Huw Tindall

          Interesting. Would be good to know a bit more about how the ‘review’ sessions are conducted on a Monday morning and what tactics and planning sessions are like. Who are the sesh fiends in the team? We need a ‘Mr Rugby’ a la Mike ‘Mr Cricket’ Hussey. A real rugby nerd.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          That would be a great approach and from what I’ve heard is part of the NZ scene at Mitre 10 and above.
          In the Army the better a unit was the more the planning occurred like this. Get team buy in and your plan is 100% better from the start.

        • laurence king

          Treat men like men and you have brothers, treat them like their beneath you and you have passengers, treat them like numbers and you have cannon fodder

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Nicely put mate and so true

        • laurence king

          Ta mate. People only grow with responsibility

        • laurence king

          And a selection panel who won’t just rubber stamp what he wants

        • Brumby Runner

          Larkham and Grey may not be world beaters but it would smell entirely of scapegoat-ism for them to be sacked and not Cheika. The head coach is ultimately responsible for the performance of the team, and he should be the first to be held accountable when they fail.

          I doubt there are many who would defend Nathan Grey because the issues with the defensive patterns have been very apparent to all. But Larkham probably needs to be assessed under a different head coach to see whether his input into the attacking structures was greater or less than Cheika’s.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I agree with that first paragraph mate. Making scapegoats of those two would be very poor.
          Not so sure I’d give Larkham any more love than Grey

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          If you could. I agree that if you got them and managed to turn the team around and bring them up to 2 or 3 in the standings and stay there then it would be great. Just not sure that under the current setup that is possible

      • IIPA

        Hypothetically if Hooper ended up not playing for the Wallabies next year say due to injury or non-selection how much of the $1mill does he really get? How much is made up of Wallaby test match payments and other kpi triggers? Plus you’d reckon at least half if not more of that figure is refelective of continuing to be captain and a key player for the Waratahs.

        The other fact is that Poey I reckon is unlikely to go past 2019.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          well judging by the amount QC is getting I’m not sure RA are clever enough to do that

        • cantab

          Hey, as of 2015 wallabies match fees were 10,000 per game. I doubt they would have increased much. But there are also super rugby match fees

          So i’d Say Hooper would be looking at around a 800k base salary.

        • NickAJW

          Do we know this for sure? I had a chat with my ex-Wob mate and he reckoned the payments weren’t too shy of that when he played in the 90s.

          Maybe just a reflection of something else and the Wobs had to pay more when the game was amateur.

        • cantab

          Yes RA publicity stated in 2015 that match fees were $10,000.

        • Brisneyland Local

          the contract does not include match fees. They are separate.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Really! Wow that is such a great contract for him. Can’t blame him for agreeing but I think the guy setting it up is an idiot

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep. I would love to see who is writing the Standard T&C’s on the RA and SR franchise rugby contracts.

        • mikado

          Does seem a good contract doesn’t it. I wonder if it’s indicative of the pressure that the Southern Hemisphere is under from NH clubs. basically, pay up, or he’s off. In which case RA is damned whatever it does. Let him go and see the player pool diminish further, or stump up and be locked in to a player for a millennium in rugby years.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate I have no doubt that’s part of it. I think it’s the wrong response though. Neither the win against the Boks or the loss against the Argies were due to his availability to be on the field so I’m not sure they’re getting value for that contract

        • John Miller

          I believe it is 6 mill for 5 years so actually $1.2M per year. Base versus match payments, not sure.

      • disqus_NMX

        I’d do it. I have neither the track record, nor the boys club connections, so it’s merely hypothetical, but I’d do it in a heartbeat.

        • Greg

          What about defence coach?

          Post your application/rant on facebook/twitter and see if you get a call? It has worked before!

        • Parker

          Yet again, John Muggleton.

        • John Tynan

          Les Kiss?

        • Greg

          Tony Abbott!

        • Hoss

          Couldnt be Dutton – he’s fucked at numbers.

        • Greg

          He would only need to count to 23 here. 43 proved to be problematic.

        • laurence king

          lol

        • Hoss

          and our line-out would lean to far to the right, there’d be no PI’s in the team.

          But fuck me the players kids would be looked after by all those Au-pairs

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Gold mate

        • Brisneyland Local

          We would get Au Pairs for the players kids though!

        • Who?

          That’d work – if the opposition were in boats!

        • Brumby Runner

          You’ve got a hide trying to palm him off onto the rugby community at large. He’s yours and you can keep him.

        • mikado

          Completely underwhelming at Ulster, I thought.

        • Who?

          As head coach, but I think the suggestion is as defence coach?

        • mikado

          True but I can’t think of any aspect of Ulster’s play that’d recommend Kiss to me as a defence coach.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          And you’d probably do no worse

        • Brisneyland Local

          I second your nomination!

      • juswal

        Kiwi rubber glover. Sigh.

        Every time I start thinking you’re behaving, and might actually be a decent bloke, you post something grossly offensive.

        Here we have a New Zealander telling us that nobody would want the job of Wallabies coach because it’s not high-status enough and the wins wouldn’t come easily.

        That’s a shitty thing to write on an Australian rugby fan web site. Get this: any job with the Wallabies is a privilege, and a highlight to be proud of for life. Don’t agree? Get off GAGR.

        It’s also a dumb and ignorant comment. For a professional coach, a Tier 1 Test gig is what it’s all about. It’s well-paid, high-profile, resourced and supported all the way. And taking on an under-performing squad is a challenge any ambitious pro would relish.

        • laurence king

          I think he’s just dismayed and upset at what he sees transpiring, like the rest of us.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zANq9Dusk6Y

        • juswal

          He’s not dismayed and upset. He supports NZ.

        • Missing Link

          Go and spend a week on The Roar, you’ll come back with the impression that KRL is fair and balanced.

          Here’s a sample of the quality of post which appears on The Roar …. in an article which has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with NZ rugby!!
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8e445c1bac77908d1b76b677123d573928536c3836ccc68cff7e41ece0aae874.jpg

        • laurence king

          But I would agree with it

        • Missing Link

          Yeah, I’m sure it was well intended, but also gift wrapped in a reminder of who the greatest team and the greatest fans in the world are :)

        • mikado

          Mate any normal person could spend a week on GAGR and conclude that KRL is fair and balanced. You don’t need to cite worse people on Roar.

        • juswal

          It’s easy to find worse behaviour on the internet. That doesn’t make his conduct ‘fair and balanced’.

        • Custard Taht

          I am Australian and I agree completely with what KRL wrote. Right now, any coach taking over the reins of the Wallabies would be inheriting a poison chalice.

          The current coaching staff and RA have presided over an initially steady decline post RWC, that now has gathered momentum and is rapidly turning into a train wreck.

          We are currently ranked 7, and the chance of us slipping even further is very real. There is nothing to suggest the current coaches and administrators are capable of righting the ship.

          I disagree that the best coaches would would want to climb aboard the current ship, unless they were given free reign to select and develop the players they want, without RA interference. There is no way RA would yield this power.

        • HK Red

          Totally agree. I made exactly the same comments to a mate after the game on Saturday. Cheika is going nowhere because RA have left it too late to give a new coach a fair crack, also all the good options are currently locked into contracts and happy. More importantly, given the shambolic administration that you’d have to work with, who would want it and would we want those that do???

        • juswal

          On the podcast, the panel discussed the theory that there would be no candidates for the Wallabies coaching job, were it to be advertised. They made the points that:

          1. The Wallabies have been ranked in the top four or five over time.

          2. Coaching jobs for top-five nations are rare opportunities.

          3. There is a big pool of professional coaches, many of whom would apply for this job without hesitation.

          KRL thinks those points are wrong, and you agree with him.

          Points 1 and 2 are demonstrably true, with reference to history and facts.

          Point 3 can only be appraised hypothetically, because the job isn’t being advertised now. There is ample historical precedent that all national head coach jobs are coveted and when advertised, draw applications from home and abroad. There’s no reason to think that this case is different, except if you’re habituated to denigrating all things green and gold.

          Do you still think that the podcast crew were wrong and KRL is right?

        • Custard Taht

          Historical performance is not an indicator of future performance. Sure we were all those things, but now we are not. Any coach coming in now would be assessing the situation as it currently stands in conjunction with what has caused our slide, and what strategies are in place for the short, medium and long term. As it currently stands no top coaches would likely want the job, too many strings attached, pulled by too many people. I doubt even Jake White would be interested. We would have candidates if advertised, but they most likely won’t be the top of pyramid.

        • juswal

          “Historical performance is not an indicator of future performance” but it is a matter of fact. Australia has, over a long time, been one of of top four or five-ranked rugby nations. Why are you trying to say otherwise?

        • Who?

          I think the job is highly undesirable, for a few reasons:
          1. There’s not much time to the RWC, and the Wallabies are a basket case.
          2. The organization is broke.
          3. The organization is completely dysfunctional.
          4. The Deans experiment and White’s tenure at the Brumbies – wrongly – left a sour taste in the mouth for foreign coaches and for Aussies about foreign coaches. So foreign coaches (and let’s be honest, the ones we’d want are of Schmidt quality – people like Cotter, Rennie) will factor that in.
          I can’t see any Aussies who’d be worth considering for the role. There’s no one coaching Super Rugby who’s ready, I don’t consider the assistants to be the solution, and there’s no one overseas who’s in a head role. There’s a few in assistant roles, but I’m not sure they’d be happy to leave secure, well-paid employment in teams that generally are improving, in order to risk saving the Wallabies.

        • John Tynan

          And if as an Australian I happen to agree with him AND love the Wallabies? Where should I go? Not The Roar, as evidenced by ML…

        • juswal

          GAGR is a great place for Australians to post their opinions about Australian rugby. Why are you looking for another site?

        • John Tynan

          Just “sticking up” for KRL who lives in Oz, referees rugby in Oz, loves rugby and provides balanced opinion, but happens to originate from Un Zud and supports his country of Origin – two black (haha geddit?) marks I won’t hold against him.

        • juswal

          I don’t get why you asked me “Where should I go?”

          Nobody needs to go anywhere.

          I don’t expect anyone to comply with what I want, but I will continue to tell kiwis to shut the fuck up when they repeatedly denigrate the Wallabies and Australian rugby here on GAGR. It’s shitty, offensive behaviour and it should not be tolerated, much less applauded.

        • Human

          That’ a bit stiff, mate…I am sure that plenty of Aussies agree with him

        • juswal

          Agree with his demonstrably false statements about international rankings and professional coaching?

          Agree with him that a job with the Wallabies is not enviable?

        • Patrick

          I’m Australian and so is my whole family for generations and at least four of those generations agree with KRL, even if my halfwit brother likes NSW so doesn’t really count.

        • juswal

          I shouldn’t have to explain that I don’t mind what Australian rugby fans think. Some opinions are good to engage and tussle with. Some fly in the face of historical facts. Some are dumbly partisan. It was always like this.

          What I object to is having New Zealanders on GAGR denigrating, repeatedly and at length, Wallabies players and coaches.

          Why is it important to them to do this?

          I thought the Springboks were hopelessly rooted under Peter de Villiers. I didn’t visit South African fan sites to tell them that.

          I thought Graham Henry murdered his team’s chances at the 2007 RWC. It was like he designed a way to get them eliminated. But I didn’t visit NZ fan sites to spell it out for them.

          How I laughed when the Wallabies dumped Stuart Lancaster’s old-fashioned England team out of the last RWC. I enjoyed it—but I didn’t visit an English web site, within hours of the match’s ending, to gloat, and lecture them on what had gone wrong.

          It’s a very New Zealand way of behaving. I dislike it, and I’ll continue to object.

        • Patrick

          I don’t get it. I don’t care what nationality someone is as long as their comments are reasoned and in good faith – effectively some Kiwis poms etc come here to gloat and I’ve happily told them to get rooted.

          But KRL’s comments are well-reasoned – so much so that I agree with lots of them. I think this place is better off with him than without him.

          And I don’t see anyone agreeing with your little crusade either, so maybe you should take it the roar??

      • Brisneyland Local

        Who ever comes in needs to have authority to act. If you come in with limitations or restrictions posed upon you, you wont take the job.

      • Patrick

        I’d do it. I have a proven track record of coaching U16 and U14 teams to less wins than victories, so what else would you want? I was even somehow there when some of them learned to love the game..

        But seriously, “likely to say yes” includes Jake White and Eddie Jones. And frankly at this stage are we in a position to turn our nose up??

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          “to less wins than victories”. You’ve mastered the art of obfuscation. You’ve got my vote.

    • Kiap

      Mediocrity shits me.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Here here!

    • Hoss

      And from the Paddington end, Mr Briz, right-arm hoss-tile…………

      Ready ? Play………..

      • Brisneyland Local

        To quote Big John McCarthy:
        “Are you ready? Are you ready? Lets get it on!”

        • Hoss

          First ball, back of a length and rising, searing into the rib-cage of RA, i think its safe to say they know their in the contest now.

          Alot of spunk form this young quasi-Queenslander, he’ll ruffle a few feathers here today i might add.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Marvellous effort that!

        • mikado

          I’m reading that in a Ritchie Benaud voice – completely wrong, I daresay, but it works!

    • whatwouldberniedo

      can we get dave Rennie?

    • Keith Butler

      Don’t hold back BL. Unfortunately, I reckon we’re stuck with Cheks and his motley crew until the RWC. Wearing my Rebs hat, Wessels might be in with a shout if they do well in the 2019 Super comp but no changes until after the WC. England (my home country) in much the same position. Wheels have pretty much fallen off. Uncle Eddie has only just confirmed a defence and attack coach up to the RWC. With a foot in both camps we could both be screwed.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Thanks mate! I think you are right, and the purpose of my venting this morning is to ask, What damage will we incur if we keep the current set up.
        Bringing in mentors now isnt going to help much either. Putting lipstick on a pig, doesnt change the fact that it is still a pig. Just one that looks less piggy!

        • laurence king

          Three more losses like we’ve had and I think the crescendo of of criticism may actually do it. Every Wallaby fan site is full of much the same dismay at what is transpiring

        • Brisneyland Local

          I think one more loss and the baying will ramp up. I dont think that RA has the contractual mechanisms to get rid of him. So someone has to convince him in the benefit of him leaving, on his “own terms”!

        • Huw Tindall

          Wouldn’t be surprised if Cheika walls if we lose the rest of the games in TRC. He seems to care too much to simply hold on without signs of his input improving things.

        • laurence king

          I imagine he’s hurting a lot more than the rest of us. It certainly not just a job to him. Read what Hoss wrote at the top of the board half an hour a go, great stuff

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          He looked shattered at the post match press conference last week. I have no doubt he is hurting

        • Brumby Runner

          So he’s hurting, so we keep him on. A great bunch of sadistic bastards aren’t we?

    • Huw Tindall

      Think the usual suspects will be in the squad…the side will be named next week before the match I hope. Pedantry aside I agree with the sentiment wholeheartedly. Take some bold steps ffs!

      • Brisneyland Local

        Thanks Huw.

    • NickAJW

      Completely agree with everything…apart from starting Tupou. By all means bring him on earlier than they have, but he is (although fantastic) green at test level, and I think THP is one of the positions where that inexperience can hurt the most.

      For my money play out the RC with him on bench then give him his first start in the EOYT (perhaps italy) and then give him a couple in the RC next year to mix it with the big boys.

      That should have him able to start in the RWC.

    • Patrick

      BL I think I’m developing a mancrush. Re the squad, I agree completely – I won’t be able to justify it to my wife.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Thanks mate.

  • Mart

    Stu Laundry? is that legit? Can’t be the guy looks like hey weighs about 60kg.

    Call the undertaker

    • Dud Roodt

      It’s for charity, not a legit fight.

    • Huw Tindall

      I hope pulping a reality TV Z Grade celebrity is not SBW’s boxing ‘dream’ as i’ve seen some headlines describe it

    • Fatflanker

      Hey, its probably Quade Cooper verses Pauline Pantsdown on the undercard!

      Bit of a shame – I was looking forward to SBW taking on Paul Gallen.

  • Timbo

    Surely Holloway should be looked at? can play 6,8 and second row. Timu, Holloway, Cotrell, Valentini… etc

    • Mart

      Spot on. Holloway is probably the best 8 in Aus. Just gets played everywhere. No time to develop in the position at the higher levels

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Holloway needs to boost his work-rate, but I agree he looks like he could be the best person to pair with the Pooper assuming Cheika is going to run it. Big bloke, high impact, good ball-runner and very good line out jumper.

  • SuckerForRed

    Since BL teed off this morning I may as well chuck some of my toys as well….

    I was thinking last night that I hope the “incident” on Saturday night doesn’t effect the interaction of the players with the fans. My fear is that with the above reaction from RUPA that is exactly what is going to happen. The fans and players will be separated, there will be less opportunity for the juniors to get up close and personal with their rugby heroes, and some in the organisation will see a money making opportunity by charging fans for the privlege to shake the players hands and get an autograph. This will lead to more of a view that Rugby Union is elitist and doesn’t give a shit about it’s fans, (who are the ones who pay the bill by the way RUPA/RA/QRU/NSWRU/WR?and-anyone-else-that-is-listening), and consequently even less juniors coming into a system that needs to support the top heavy system that we are currently being squashed under. God I hope this is just my pessimist paranoid coming out.

    As to who should replace Samu on the tour. Personally I think that Timu should come into number 8, Poey should stay at 7, and bring Cotrell in for 6. Leave Hooper on the bench or at home to have a break. Obviously the hamstring is not 100% and perhaps he should be given the chance to get it right before it screws up royally and is not available or comes into the RWC next year with 3/5 of fuck all game time behind him.

    Coaching – I has been saying for years that our coaching and administration is one of the biggest problems we face in Australian Rugby, and hence we are in the currently connumdrum. Although I am not particularly anmoured with Chieka as Wallabies coach, as many people have pointed out – Who else is there? One of the biggest issues is that any person who takes the job faces, same as the CEO’s job, is the absolute resistance of the board to step out of the dark ages and restructure the whole box and dice with a long term view to saving the game in this country. We are screwed for RWC 2019 anyway so why not make the hard decisions now? This goes for ALL levels of the code by the way. I am sick and tired of the same things being done over and over again with the expectation that miraculously something will turn out differently. Well fellas, and I use that gendered sterotypical term diliberately, you have had your go now get the hell out and let someone else have a chop before there is nothing to save.

    Breathe…..

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Nice rant although I think BL has more anger.
      You are 100% on the money. Do the same thing you’ve always done and you’ll get the same thing you’ve always got. There needs to be big chances in the whole structure of rugby in Australia or the decline will continue.
      I agree RWC 19 is almost lost now so start the rebuild already. Trouble is that unless the bigger changes happen the rebuild won’t either.

      • SuckerForRed

        Exactly! Yes I think BL has more anger. I have moved past anger to resignation I think.

        A number of years ago I heard a quote out of a climate change conference which I think applies to this situation and many others.
        “Either lead or follow, just get the hell out of the way.”

        I just wish I knew who said it so I could attribute it to them.

        • Greg

          General Patton I think.

          “Lead me, follow me, or get the hell out of my way.”

        • SuckerForRed

          Sounds good to me.

        • Greg

          and a few others form the same source….. Some might resonate with the ex-military eople here.

          https://www.wearethemighty.com/articles/general-george-patton-quotes

        • Kiap

          It was Papua New Guinea’s delegate Kevin Conrad at Bali in 2007.

          Well said too.

        • Brisneyland Local

          SFR, I have recycled. I was at resignation, but then have re- entered the cycle at the beginning. “Lead Follow or get the fuck out of the way” is a military saying. I was taught it when I first join the military. And my next door neighbor who died at 104, a Gallipoli and Pozières veteran recalled that saying to me from his experiences in WW1.
          Knowing my cyclic rate, I will move into cold clinical vengeance tomorrow.

    • Missing Link

      Reduced player interaction is going to suck, one of the best thing about going to the rugby is meeting the players after the game. I’ve even chatted to some of the All Blacks after they smashed us without getting up in their face like the tool on the weekend. It just goes to show it was an isolated incident, don’t punish us all for an individual’s action, especially not the kids who want to get up close to their heros.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        absolutely

    • Parker

      Couldn’t disagree more with your first point. RUPA’s recognition of the need for better security is spot on. Having worked security at large rock concerts many years ago where the number of seriously intoxicated punters outnumbered those you’d find at a rugby match, I can tell you the judicious interpolation of a security person who leads the offender away from the point of conflict long enough to defuse the situation and give the boofhead an opportunity to come to their senses works wonders. It’s a classic case of “If you’re going to behave properly you can go back to your seat, but if you continue to misbehave I’m going to march you out. Which would you like to choose? Behave. Ok good. I’ll be watching you to make sure you keep your word.” BTW, I didn’t see the incident, but who pushed Tui’s sister? Where is security that should be protecting the safety of innocent punters?

      • SuckerForRed

        I am not saying that the security was adequate, I am saying that I hope it does not get so severe that it further isolates the fans from the players. Should the d!ckhead have been removed before the incident escalated? Yes. Should the security/police have been the ones to deal with said d!ckhead rather than other players and spectators? Yes. Should we put a great big fence (wire, human or otherwise) between the fans and players so that getting photos, autographs, handshakes or just having a chat is impossible? No. That is where they need to draw the line.

    • Brisneyland Local

      SFR, as always well put. You are the precise, I am the sledgehammer! thank you!

      • SuckerForRed

        Sometimes you need a sledgehammer. #JustSayin

        • Brisneyland Local

          #TotallyAgreeing

  • Brendan Hume

    Didn’t Timu miss the game in Townsville with injury?

    • SuckerForRed

      I thought he missed it because he was with the Wallabies squad. I could be wrong though.

  • laurence king

    Hi guys,
    Little update on the Last Chance Saloon. Well the man in black, Hopalong Cassidy has had a lovely chin wag with his mates from Headquarters, Gregan and Eales, and they’ve all decided that he has his shit together. Hopalong. and co have walked out in the morning sun, put on their stetsons ready to mount their stallions for the ride westward. Topper, what a wonderful horse, fine inlaid saddle, lasso neatly coiled, silver plated Remington repeater rifle in it’s holster on the side. ‘OK you hombres mount up and lets hit the trail’
    “Hoppy there’s a problem with Topper”,
    “There’s nothing wrong with Topper”
    “Look”
    “Toppers fine, he’s resting that’s all. Get up Topper it’s time to go”
    “Hoppy, Topper’s not fine, he’s on his belly, his legs are splayed out sideways and he has done shit his self boss”
    Topper’s FINE I tell you ……..

  • laurence king

    Mortlock has come out and backed Cheika. He said there’s ONLY four areas that need to be fixed. Defence, robotic attack, discipline and long running line-out problems.
    Only those four. Easy peasy, that’s a relief.

    • Greg

      OK but he, and we, say that those areas are fixable. The question is why it is not happening?

      The players and the coaches carry blame. More and more I wonder what the board and/or CEO are doing. When there is under-performance in any business mgt needs to step in. They don’t necessarily need to swing a big axe but they need to cause some change.

      Perhaps we have started to see something with the team selections last weekend. I expect more.

      • laurence king

        Agreed, but we need to see something. And not more spin

      • laurence king

        I don’t think it’s lack of practise or a lack of effort but there is a complete lack of cohesion in this side at the moment and a lack of initiative

        • Adrian

          Agree 100% Laurence
          Somehow “over-coached” too

        • laurence king

          Clearly everybody is trying, coaches included, nobodies dogging it. But things aren’t working, and there are clear mistakes being made, selections a case in point. I’m a painter, and sometimes I just have to put the brushes down, put the canvas aside, get out another one and start again.

        • Adrian

          Exactly Laurence
          Treat the whole thing as a greenfield site so to speak

        • laurence king

          I think in terms of coaching, definitely

        • Damo

          And we fatally lack a core of players who have a rugby IQ higher than the number on their jersey. Serious rugby smarts has been the defining characteristic of our most successful eras.

        • laurence king

          Yeh, coolness under pressure and clinical when opportunities arise. It’s what kept us competitive with the ABs and our sides had their respect and it’s why they have their foot on our neck now, they know what Australia can produce.

        • Damo

          I was quite involved in coaching teen age group rugby for quite a few years but have been out of it for some time now. I just have to wonder if there is something broken in the pathways today that is stopping quality and smart players reaching elite level. I also wonder if we have gotten too formula driven in our coaching structures at that elite level. Whatever the reason there just seems to be a lack of confidence and lack of instinctiveness at both SR and national level. These young men love the game and they are bloody talented. They just seem to be stifled by something. It’s hard to believe how many games we have lost in the last few years simply because we have failed to take opportunities that have presented themselves.

        • Huw Tindall

          Yeah those players who rely on smarts and technique get pasted by teenagers the size of men and throw the towel in. At teen level talent can’t yet beat athleticism.

        • laurence king

          You need structure don’t you, all that stuff in place. But that’s not the aim is it, it should just get you to the place where you can fly.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I remember Grey saying defence was an easy fix after Bled 1 last year. Not sure what went wrong

      • Human

        Geez KRL, you are a doubter. He thinks he has fixed it!!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Bahahawahaha

      • Fatflanker

        His fixes were even easier to break!

  • Adrian

    A few things comrades!

    Did I notice Dempsey not in Sydney team? Maybe on big bird to SA?

    Cheika probably can’t afford to play a team of all fresh players next week, because I (of all people) suspect he’ll be ditched if we don’t win one of the next two games and/or play brilliantly

    Despite what is generally said here and elsewhere, the style the team is playing is nothing like the style he is good at. It isn’t “ball in hand” he’s good at, that’s just bullshit spin. He’s good at flat backline behind huge running forwards that run-on to the ball. That’s it, not very complicated.

    Because the Pooper worked at first, and the backs fluked it at the WC, he abandoned the only style he’s good at. Cheika hasn’t been Cheika since he took over the Wallabies,…he thinks he is too smart for that sort of simple stuff.

    Cheika being Cheika, not Cheika being the professor would select the following in 2018:
    Alaalatoa, Latu, Tuopo, Skeleton, Coleman, Dempsey, Hooper, Naisarani, Gordon, Duncan P, Naiyaravoro, Hunt, Kerevi, Folau, Beale,…TPN, Kepu, Sio, Roda, Pocock, Genia, Foley, Kurandrani

    • Adrian

      I meant 2019, ..fixed now

    • Missing Link

      “Despite what is generally said here and elsewhere, the style the team is playing is nothing like the style he is good at. It isn’t “ball in hand” he’s good at, that’s just bullshit spin. He’s good at flat backline behind huge running forwards that run-on to the ball. That’s it, not very complicated.”

      so true, and he should know it… he won a super rugby title with it. The question is why are we passing the ball to forwards that are standing still? We’ve been doing this for years!!

      • first time long time

        Simplify it even more and this might be controversial but I don’t think the Tahs would have won in 2014 without Jacques Potgieter.

    • Silver Ghost

      Even in the darkness, Adrian can find a possible light source!
      I’m with you brother, though i wouldn’t pick all the same players as you. Things can and do turn around quickly if the right strategy is adopted.
      A simplified game plan, that includes big runners receiving the ball at pace and bending the line is key. Add in some pick and drive.
      Only give it to backs once the mismatch is created.
      Stop all these over complicated moves that end up with Beale running cross field.
      Simplify the defense and make it desperate, as the Boks did to the ABs. Commit to driving over the breakdown and slowing the opposition ball.
      KISS principle.
      Let’s turn this ship around.

      • Adrian

        Agree Silver.
        I STILL think that we have the right cattle, if used the right way.
        As someone else said, they are simple things, and easy to fix.
        Running into the ball is easy to practice and do, but requires coaching as well.
        Honestly, many players look too scared to do the obvious thing.
        Cheika is ultimately responsible. If Larkham or Grey or anyone else thought up this bullshit, then Cheika has to ask Castle to sack them

    • Fatflanker

      Very interesting perspective. I’m vaguely guilty about bringing Naisarani into the Wallaby fold but his presence alone would/will make a big difference to our go-forward.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        A team least he’s a rugby player not another over rated League player

        • Fatflanker

          Yeah very true. Silver lining to being broke is that we couldn’t afford another RL transfer anyway.

        • Hoss

          The fringes are real strong for the gold – Naisarini, Valentini, Dempsey and Holloway. All worth an investment

    • mikado

      I agree Adrian.

      I think part of the issue with the current team is that it has a very attack-minded back line, with the insistence on a ball-playing 12 and accommodation of defensively-weak players such as Beale, Foley and Folau. That setup is fine if the attack is functioning well but at the moment it isn’t. Whether that’s all due to Cheika’s lack of comfort with a ball-running strategy, I don’t know. Your lineup would stiffen the defence a bit, I think, but you could go further and, for example, retain DHP and Hodge for Beale and Folau.

      The huge-forwards still isn’t necessarily a winner a Test level. I think it’s easier to pull off at lower levels but at Test level the opposition are physically up to the challenge. The Irish have a very forward-oriented game but I think that their success is more due to excellent skills and organisation than the size of the players.

  • Hoss

    The case for the defence.

    I get it, I really do. I was a self-confessed, full blown, ‘how dare you criticise’ Cheika disciple.
    If the great man bought a fillet-o-fish I reckon he could feed the masses, if he said the ‘Greek would inherit the earth’ who am I to doubt it.

    I drank the cool-aid and was in – hook, line and Cheika.

    I liked the fire and brimstone, loved the passion and heart on the sleeve stuff I liked how he revved the boys, he lived every tackle and shared the pain and anguish of every defeat – always deflecting any blame to hi troops, the blame and pain were his alone.

    Recent times have seen that sheen come from the coach and I also admit, I have slipped towards ambivalence with a growing chunk of apathy darkening my soul. But the fact is, I want to believe, I want to scream and shout and beat my chest and just experience the joy of being a Wallaby fan, so let’s start at the beginning.

    What are my expectations ? What are my realistic expectations based on the data available ? The last 4 years, the talent available, the coaches and the cattle? Now let’s overlay that with a sprinkling of pixie dust of hope, good fortune or just plain ‘bounce-o-the-ball. Then add a dusting of historical context and that of former Wallaby Sides and then come to a conclusion of just what do I expect from this side?

    Spoiler warning – this piece contains not one reference to Quade Cooper – you usual suspects can switch over to live coverage of the House of Rep’s now.

    Let’s start with my expectations, me, as a lone punter, based on the state of World Rugby and the various stages all other nations currently sit:

    – I do not expect to win the RWC, but I expect to be in the Semis as a low point, the Final as the high point
    – I expect to be second in the RC
    – I do expect a win ratio during any period of 70% plus
    – I do expect to be a top 2-3 ranked nation
    – I expect to be entertained by the quality and style of our play

    That’s my expectations. I understand there are structural issues, grass roots issues – fuck, there are more issues than Women’s Weekly – but I can’t control, nor influence those, so I choose not to invest emotionally in them. Yes, I know they play their part, but I am focused on the pointy end only.

    So here I sit, slap bang in the middle, from once proud promoter, to mid-table neutral, perhaps slightly tilted just over to detractor.
    But…………all is not lost. I love the game, I love the team and I want to rekindle that passionate affair again. That’s what hurts so much – I know they are better than what they have trotted out this year, perhaps the last 2 years.

    None of my expectations will be met over the coming days – not one. But the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Take enough single steps and all of a sudden the distance to redemption is a lot shorter and I’d like to taste the cool-aid again, I really would.

    • Brisneyland Local

      As always great post Hoss. I have calmed down from this mornings rant. But the rant had to happen. I love the game, I fucking hate losing. I want us to be back where we should be.
      As my legendary old boss used to say:
      “You dont have to be good to start, but you have to start to be good!”
      We havnt started until change is made!

      • Hoss

        Completely agree mate.

        All the words on these pages are born of frustration, Everyone on here is a fan of the Wallabies. Every single one of us wants the boys to do better. We may differ in who, what, how, when and who will make us better, but we all have the same finishing point.

        I suppose my piece was really for me – what are my expectations and to stay the course as a fan.

        I often talk to myself, work wise it can be the only intelligent conversation i have during the day.

        Thank Jehovah for this site.

        • Greg

          So without a rant… what is the single, small change that needs to be made to start the journey.Is it as simle as a selection panel?

          Sacking the team/coach/board/government/IRB are not small changes and probably don’t start the journey.

        • Hoss

          Great question.

          I will leave selections out for a moment as they are largely subjective.

          I believe we now have the talent and coaches to reach my expectations – as above. The fact we don’t have those results would suggest a number of broken structures, systems, procedures and most important – cohesion.

          I would ask the players for their input – what are they feeling, what do they see / feel. I recall that the players designed and made the plays for the Irish Series. Look at the level of play there v that since. I can cop a last pass series loss to a legitimate World #2 – fair enough. Compare that v the quality of our play (not results) since – we have regressed massively in quality of performance.

          For mine – coaches, take a step back. Perhaps approach it along the lines of -‘heres where we see team X’s weaknesses – how do you think we can exploit them ?’ Get real player engagement, get them to own the systems, processes and structures and be accountable for the effort – get the cohesion.

          That’s not to say a clever coach cant say – ‘great idea guys, but have you thought about maybe a,b,c’ and gently nudge the plan in a preferred direction.

          But for mine you get engagement, ownership of the bigger picture and empower the players to own the process & effort and then sit back and fill up the trophy cabinet.

          As Disney say, you can tell people what & how, but until they own the ‘why’ – your pissing in the wind.

        • laurence king

          Beautifully put, ownership by the whole playing group would go a long way towards solving the cohesion problem

        • Hoss

          Yes mate. There is a certain art to running a fascist democracy. The skill is in getting the masses to believe they arrived exactly at the point they (you) wanted them too naturally – engagement and ownership, with subtle Jedi mind control along the way.

        • laurence king

          Yes Master Jedi, it is as you say

        • Hoss

          Thank you Padwan.

        • Greg

          Just looking up Ms Castle’s email address so that I can forward a link to the above. Doesn’t sound complicated.

        • Hoss

          Its like anything mate. The natural tendency is to fix 100 things at once.

          But you don’t build a strong house unless the foundations are strong, so start there.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Fantastic post mate and an absolute must. The Wallabies need total buy in and you get that with total involvement. I can’t understand why it’s not happening now.

        • Brisneyland Local

          MAte couldnt agree more. I listen to a wise man who once told me:
          “Never argue with idiots, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience everytime!” Therefore I rarely talk to the poeple who work for me unless I have to.
          GAGR is my mens shed! So to speak!

        • Greg

          Sounds like a tough day at the office today!

        • Brisneyland Local

          MAte that is everyday. When the client is government, you get what our taxes pay for.

        • laurence king

          lol, are you saying, only idiots work for you?

        • Brisneyland Local

          The people I emply in the companies I own are nnot idiots, or then I would be. BUt the people who work for me in the Govt Departments that I am conducting reviews of, are. Actually that is a lie. To call them idiots is an insult to all the idiots out there.

    • Huw Tindall

      My biggest head scratcher in all this is how did we fall so far the first Ireland test?? Amazing defence and hints of new attacking plays.

      • laurence king

        For years our first test of the year has been crap and we’ve tended to get better after that. Obviously, someone’s reading the script upside down

      • Hoss

        Good morning – you are an early Northern Riser aren’t you HT.

        Yep – me too and that’s my point, there seemed to be more ownership by the players and to be frank, they seemed happier.

        I am always hearing that defence is about attitude, so what does an average of 30 missed tackles / game since that series tell us ? It tells us that behaviour has changed and to change behaviour you must first target and change attitude.

        I reckon Cheik really has nothing to lose at present, so why not revisit ‘player power’ from the leadership group and coach them according to that (player) plan. Sure, drill them on skills, fitness and basics but allow the key people to set the plays. After all a good leader navigates, they say ‘ here’s where i believe we can go, now what do you need from me to get us there ?’

        • Huw Tindall

          Got to teach the new grad intake the 101 of consulting so have to be first in to make sure everything is setup.

          Do we have the leaders to have some player led coaching though? Brums had some l
          Serious experience. We’ve got Genia who has expressed his lack of desire be a captain and then Spanners who seems like a nice bloke and did ok leading the Tahs end of season but that’s it. Poey can’t run the back line plays at training!

        • Hoss

          The combined group isnt too bad.

          From the forwards:

          – Coleman
          – Brian
          – Lee Magors
          – Kepu

          Backs

          – Sanchez
          – Spanners
          – Beale
          -Toomua

          There’s Rugby smarts in gold, i have no doubt of that – but no cohesion

        • Huw Tindall

          Experience yes but smarts? They are all from the pro era and terrible Aussie pathways and far removed from the halcyon days of Rod Macqueen. I’ve never coached a team nor undermined the coach so don’t know what’s involved with player power!

          If it’s just cohesion then is that not more a case of stick with the combinations and keep working on them? Clearly Beale to 10 and Toomua fresh off the plane was always going to struggle for fluidity.

        • laurence king

          Huw, imo the cohesion is about team unity, therefore ownership, respecting each other. My biggest successes as an art teacher often were when I simply got out of the way and let the kids help each other.

        • laurence king

          They were good enough to get into the side, so they all must have something. The thing about ownership is, you don’t have to have the whole plan, just feel like you have had some input, been listened to and been truly respected. You don’t feel like a dill then

        • laurence king

          Not knowing who all these players are, I’ll just have to believe you lol

        • Greg

          Brian=Pocock (not the messiah)
          Lee Majors = 6M dollar man = Hooper
          Sanchez=Genia
          Spanners=Foley

        • laurence king

          Much obliged

    • Fatflanker

      I can live with being trading places with SA in the RC and RWC rankings periodically but I otherwise share your expectations.

      A lot of the rugby commentariat are suggesting those expectations are now unrealistic and that Oz has to accept relative mediocrity in the face of a lack of cattle and a changing rugby world order. I say, that’s defeatist, surrender-monkey bullshit.

      • Hoss

        Yep mate. Believe you can achieve and your right. Believe you can’t achieve and your also right.

        • laurence king

          As you think so you are

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Great post mate. I actually think the expectations are a bit low. I know I am and always will be a die hard AB supporter expecting a win every game. However, I am also a Wallaby supporter against everyone else, mainly due to 28 years in the Army working with some fantastic Australian soldiers, sailors and airforce all over the world and in some pretty shit places. My expectations are:
      – win more tha 70% of your games,
      – beat the ABs ocassionally (good for both teams as much as it hurts at the time)
      – Win the RC every 3 or 4 years and be 2nd at least in one of the years you don’t win
      – Win the RWC if the ABs don’t
      – Be at the most 1 behind us and challenge our position
      I love this game, I love that I can be deadly rivals on the field and great mates off it, I love that it brings so many people from all parts of life together and I love the banter and discussion on this site – so much better than the ROAR.
      But things here are really bad and I’m not sure they’ll get better without major changes that I don’t see happening.

      • Hoss

        Hard to argue mate and certainly the expectations you mention are attainable, for me, not just now, but certainly the ones I outline before are a starting point. A reference to attain and build from there. Ultimate ending in total world domination. But first walk, then run.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah fair enough, then again aim high and even if you miss you’re up there

    • mikado

      Good stuff Hoss, but depends what you mean by “expectations”. If you mean “targets” then sure, they’re good. If they are “minimum requirements” then I think you’re being over-optimistic. You’re right to expect Australia to be good, but it’s disrespectful of all the other nations to think they’re not going to try equally hard to be good.

      • Who?

        Given we haven’t seen a coach with a win ratio over 65% since Macqueen, I think it’s a bit tough to have 70% as a minimum. But I think that 65% isn’t unrealistic as an acceptable figure, that 60% should be a minimum, that RWC SF’s are a minimum (which yes, means that 95 and 07 were unacceptable results – but we knew that already, didn’t we?), and why can’t we expect to be in the top 3 in the rankings, given we’ve been there – other than very short diversions – for years..?

        • mikado

          Past form doesn’t prove much about the future. Based on player stocks and wealth, Australia has no right to be any better off than SA, England, France or Ireland.

        • Who?

          We’ve never had any right to be ahead of those nations. But it shows that there’s capacity to be at that level, and there’s been momentum to stay at that level. So why should excuses we’ve never needed before become valid and important now?

        • mikado

          I think professionalism has levelled the playing field, allowing the NH to catch up with the SH. I think it’s partly that NH clubs let alone national teams are equally well equipped with coaches and support staff (which can be recruited internationally of course), partly that NH club salaries are drawing good SH players away from their national teams, and partly that the modern game seems to have higher player attrition than used to be the case, meaning that national teams have to draw deeper on player pools. I think also that increased international competition has also caused the bar to be raised in the NH. Lots of other things have changed over the years too, but I think it’s harder now for Australia to be top three than used to be the case.

          That’s not to say that top three is not a suitable goal for Australia – of course it is (or, for that matter, top one). It’s just not something to be expected of right (any more than England, say, can expect to be top three of right).

    • Custard Taht

      I think the hardest news to digest is RA passing the poor results off as the Wallabies rebuilding…..maybe that is a good excuse for the 1st year after a RWC, but seriously troubling the year before a RWC.
      We should be consolidating and fine tuning this year, not bloody well rebuilding.
      I want to believe, however I have accepted the fact we are number 7 and trending down. I think as things currently stand, the odds on us being knocked out at the group stage are shortening.

  • Kev Brown

    Seventh ok if the team was in the building phase….. not really
    RA let’s cut a team we’ve got financials up the watoosy- let’s give 6 million on a 5 year deal plus plus
    Oh while we’re at it 3 players same franchise let’s give them a rest in club rugby…..drugs -tear up the deal.
    Players with no heart no brain which way to the yellow brick road.
    I’m not an expert or a test chap so that probably cuts me out of opinion but what more will need to transpire before a coach who has had really only one RWC success be given
    Loss after loss to tier one country’s and to be frank very close to tier two
    Some things can be forgiven
    But honestly this is like sitting at the dinner table until you’ve finished that god awful liver and kidneys with broad beans Brussel sprouts and you’ll sit there until you’ve finished or so help me you will eat for breakfasts
    I like rugby I like rugby a lot
    We don’t ask for much just the simple stuff
    We don’t need to win all the time just maybe we could have a team that kinda looks like they have an idea

  • Gipetto

    Timu should be there, even if Samu is available.

    If, like the Reds’ Coach Goon Thorn, Cheika must be kept, the assistant coaches must go. In Queensland, Carozza was dumped. On recent performances both Grey and Larkham should be sent off to coach the U20s.

    If Quade will not move to Melbourne , make him play Sevens.

  • Wallabrumby

    ” Both sides are boosted by the return of their Wallaby contingent, with Ned Hanigan, Tolu Latu and Tom Robertson returning for the Country side whilst the Rays welcome back Rob Simmons for the clash”
    It seems like the Rays got a bit dudded with the one

    • jamie

      Eh, Hanigan is a serious negative for any team to have to be boosted by ;-)

  • Jack

    Umm I think the entity that books the stadium (so RA) are also responsible for booking and paying for the security – the soccer clubs have long had lots of security about. I don’t understand why RA haven’t thought of the need for security before now. It seems they have been riding on the coat-tails of fan goodwill, Well that ship has sailed folks.

Rugby
@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, watches Matt Dunning's dropkick on repeat

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