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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at Cheika’s attempt to buck recent trends, Hanigan looking towards the Springbok clash, the introduction of regular competition for the Wallaroos and calls for greater incentives out of the NRC.


Cheika looks to Buck trend and bounce back

2018-Wallabies-v-Ireland-23
As the crowds and forums continue to call for his head, Michael Cheika will stand his ground, won’t be turned around and won’t back down.

After slipping to 7th in the world after the embarrassment that was last Saturday’s loss to Argentina, there had been reports that Rugby Australia are considering the appointment of an independent voice such as George Gregan or John Eales to assist the coach.

However, Cheika has denied any knowledge or thoughts of this occurring, believing that criticism of a coach’s methods is the standard during a down period and shouldn’t be motivation for his upheaval.

“Part of it is understanding when the right time is to move the dial, not to be too stubborn, and move the dial sometimes when things get to a certain situation,” he said.

“You’ve got to understand exactly what it is that you need to move before you just move to appease others. There’s a difference between moving to appease others and moving to actually get the outcome that you want.”

Cheika notes that the loss against Argentina will not scar the Wallabies, whilst recognising the obvious need to learn and move on from the clash.

“I agree totally that we are inconsistent,” he said. “Sometimes it doesn’t go right, does it? You can’t cry about it.

“I know everyone loves to look back because you can pick the bones out of that, whether it’s positive or negative. The real art is to look forward because that’s all that counts — that next game.”

His plea for patience in his coaching methods continued, citing the revival that Nathan Buckley and Collingwood have had in making the AFL Grand Final this week in his calls for patience.

“I think the year we won the European Cup with Leinster (in 2009), six months before everyone was saying ‘you’ve got to give that guy (Cheika) the boot’,” he said.

“They wanted to cut (Magpies coach) Nathan Buckley’s head off last year didn’t they and he’s in a grand final this week. That’s the way it goes…It’s about who holds their nerve.”

Whilst this comparison is a strange one, there are some similarities between both sides as like the Wallabies, Collingwood struggled to beat teams ranked in the top 8 this year but managed to pull it together when it mattered. Hopefully, this trend can continue into the 2019 World Cup and Cheika and the Wallabies can pull it together heading forward.

Ned looks to put dead performances to bed

2018-Wallabies-v-Springboks-Captains-Run-8
Speaking of the Wallabies, fan favourite (to bag) flanker Ned Hanigan is looking to turn around the fortunes of the side and put in a strong performance against South Africa.

The clash comes at terrible times for the Wallabies, with the Springboks full of confidence after downing the All Blacks, whilst having not lost a match at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in their last 5 matches.

Taking a leaf out of the Honey Bachelor Nick Cummins, Hanigan believes that the side must “grab it by the balls” in order to propel the side forward towards future success, particularly the 2019 Wolrd Cup.

“We can’t be sitting there kicking stones and letting it just get worse, we’ve got to grab it by the balls and try and turn it around,” Hanigan said.

“We’ve obviously got a dream of winning the World Cup, it’s 100 per cent what everyone in the room wants to do…But if you just have that dream and no process about getting there you might lose your pathway. We’ve gone back to, starting yesterday, nailing our processes and that starts individually.”

When asked about the review processes after the game against Argentina, Hanigan noted that they must move forward and learn from their mistakes if they are to be successful.

“You review it but you can’t leave it behind,” Hanigan said. “We’ve obviously had a few hard conversations and [spoken about] the learnings to come out of it. The performances on the field is what we’re delivering. It’s such an excuse it’s easy to point [the blame] at someone but the 15 blokes that walk out, it’s our responsibility to do what we say we’ll do.”

As Andrew noted in yesterday’s news, Hanigan is expected to slot into the No. 6 jersey and was optimistic that he could do the job and jersey proud if he is selected to start.

“We’re in a situation where positionally it’s not really up to myself,” Hanigan said. “You’ve got guys coming in like Angus Cottrell, who has had an awesome Super Rugby season. Caleb [Timu] has been performing in the NRC. I try to just make sure that whatever role I get given in the team I just make sure I do it to the best of my ability.”

Hanigan has not endeared himself to the public with his performances in the gold jersey as many believe that there are much better options (and probably rightly so). But with Cheika firmly set to start him this weekend, hopefully, we can see a solid performance and the side can pull the upset off.

Wallaroos set for expanded competition

Wallaroos pre-game (Credit Keith McInnes)
In good news for the Wallaroos and women’s rugby, World Rugby is set to build a competition similar to the Rugby Championship for women sooner rather than later to ensure consistant levels of competitons.

This was the word from women’s rugby boss Katie Sadleir who said an expanded international program, and extra funding help from World Rugby was a key priority in talks held earlier in the week during workshops during their visit in Sydney.

“We had a whole day’s workshop looking at the international competition calendar,’ she said.

“We’re talking about boosting what actually happens at a regional level and we’ve got six regions but we’re also looking at the potential for cross-regional competitions and I know that New Zealand has been having conversations with Australia.

Currently, Northern Hemisphere nations play a women’s Six Nations tournament in correlation with the men’s tournament but Southern Hemisphere teams have lacked regular Test matches, with Australia and New Zealand the only regular XVs programs in the region.

Despite the difficulties involved with the distance from their six nations counterparts and the lack of South African and Argentinian programs, World Rugby is still looking at options to introduce a regular competition as Australia and New Zealand gear up to bid for the next Women’s World Cup.

“There has been no competition (in the Southern Hemisphere) so we’re picking up the international competition calendar and sitting down with the top unions and saying, ‘What makes sense here?”, Sadleir said

“It’s really hard when you’re in the other side of the big Six Nations up there to get those opportunities so we are really seriously looking at what is possible.”

World Rugby officials have been in the country to also examine the combined Australia/New Zealand bid for the 2023 Women’s Rugby World Cup with Sadleir believing that the key aspect of the bid would be the legacy that it leaves behind.

“I’ve had a look at both bids. There’s a New Zealand and Australia bid- they’re both very impressive.”

“I’m particularly interested in the impact beyond and I think the things that both of the bids are trying to do are really good in terms of developing rugby within the union but also looking at the wider Asia-Pacific region, so fantastic.”

‘Tell me why, should I play in the NRC’

2018-QLD-Country-v-Western-Force-5
Everyone’s favourite anonymous rugby reporter is back at it again, with Johnny Football continuing their quest to improve the viability and incentive to play in the National Rugby Championship.

If you missed his initial article about the decline of the NRC, especially in NSW, I suggest reading it as it articulates why second-tier players within Australia rugby continue to take opportunities overseas rather than play in the NRC along with bringing to light how little they get paid for the 8 week period ($2000).

Their newest article responds to Waratahs football manager Tim Rapp recognising the criticism about the lack of opportunities for older players to win Super Rugby contracts from the NRC and admitting that they are still trying to work out how to give players incentives to play in the tournament.

The writer believes that the system must face an overhaul in order to provide incentives for older players to actually play in the tournament, rather than rule themselves out with an ‘injury’ or take a short term contract up overseas, such as the return of an NRC ‘barbarians’ team like they had in 2015 to reward strong performances.

“I recall great excitement amongst the club players that the tour was taking place, and I can tell you that it provided incentive.

“Do it again, right now. Pick a Barbarians to play a Televised game against the Wallabies, select a side of uncontracted players to tour, invite 10 players from across the NRC to join the Wallabies for pre-spring tour preparation. The standards of incentive are so low that anything helps.”

The author also believes that sides should leave the majority of their emerging player squad (EPS) and potentially a couple of their Super Rugby spots open for players to play towards.

“All the franchises have to do is not sign anyone to these contracts until the NRC is over. Make it known that there are spots up for grabs. Watch the players you have an eye on play in the tournament, they might struggle, they might excel. Paint a picture that you’re watching.”

The article goes into further detail about other suggestions such as increasing the pay from $2,000 to $10,000 and I really recommend anyone with an interest in why certain players have become disillusioned with the ARU/NRC to read it and leave in the comments what you make of their suggestions.

  • Ian Rodger

    Good afternoon GAGR’s,

    It’s good to see that the wallaroos are getting more games. They can only get better with more games. I didn’t see any of the games but i read the interest for the double header bledisloe was pretty good.

    I feel sorry for Hannigan sometimes. The bloke tries his heart out and gives everything but he was thrown in to the test arena before he was ready and now everybody sort of shits on him. He should bulk up and play some more super rugby and then maybe in a year or 2, he will be test match ready.
    But then again who would say no i’m not ready if you get a wallaby call up. I wouldn’t, not that i’m anywhere near good enough lol!!

    • Andy

      I agree he’s not there yet but he does have the makings of a good international 6. He’s definitely improved on last year so a few more down the track and he’ll be very handy to have. I also think Dempsey is probably ahead of him on ability. Intelligent player with good technique and great feet.

      • Ian Rodger

        Agreed, he could be a good 6 for the wallabies if he bulls up a bit and with bit more experience.

        Dempsey was ahead of him last year but he has had a year out with a big injury. So it’s always the question how you come back from that but hopefully he comes back like he left last year because it looked like we found our long term 6.

        • Ian Rodger

          Happy with what?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Based on Dempsey’s NRC cameo that I saw, he’s still an incomparably superior player to Hanigan

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Yeah, Hanigan acted like any of us would do in his situation, took his opportunities with both hands and played his heart out. His attitude is wonderful to see.

      All the blame rests with Cheika, and his incompetence in selection that had utterly ruined a nice kid’s reputation by playing him way, way before he was ready. If Hanigan will ever be good enough at international level I don’t see it being before 2020.

      • Gipetto

        Cottrell is the victim.

    • IIPA

      I’ll go a step forward and say that’s a pretty cheap news article featuring Hanigan’s comments.

      Throw in the dig at him ( ” a fan favorite to bag” ), the editorializing suggesting he’s likely to start ( you don’t know that ) and the Honey Badger comparison and GAGR is basically teeing it up for an all-in click frenzy of Hanigan insults.

      • Nathan Williamson

        The dig was tongue in cheek in reference to the abuse that he receives across all social media, not just GAGR which are much more sensible as evident by the support he’s received in the comments. The suggestion that he is starting is drawn from the collection of articles over the 48 hours that have suggested this.

        • Who?

          I think Hanigan’s position as a bagged player is improving, and it’s partly because we’ve been rubbish for long enough for people to stop focusing on players and start focusing on the coach. If we were winning now, then his failings last year would consign him to a position of being a hack, perhaps being portrayed as not trying hard enough. Whereas the fact we’re still not winning means people are reflecting more, and we realize he’s a good kid who’s just being asked to do more than he’s capable of doing at this time.

        • IIPA

          Fair enough – I was probably too easily “outraged”. But just feel given his mere selection in the 23 is enough to get some irate, basing 1/4 of today’s news around a couple of Ned Hanigan sound bites was a bit like waving the red flag to the internet bulls. All good!

    • Nathan Williamson

      The quality of the Wallaroos is higher than people think from what i watched, some big hitters in both sides and I’m surprised that they don’t have a regular tournament to play in. Hanigan seems to be social media’s favourite punching bag, I personally think he’ll be a solid choice at 6 this week and will be integral for our future when he bulks up a little

  • mikado

    Good news for the women! And Johnny Football seems to have some very good ideas. Thanks for the report Nathan.

    • Bakkies

      We discussed it a short while ago it is amazing that the Wallaroos aren’t touring. They need to be playing England, Ireland and France not just the Kiwis. While it is probably too late as the European teams have already announced fixtures. England should be playing a double header against Australia at Twickenham yet the England girls will be playing Ireland after the men play the Wallabies. An opportunity missed there.

      The French girls are playing the Kiwis at Top 14 grounds Stade des Alpes (Grenoble) and Stade Felix Mayol (Toulon) they will probably get close to filling both grounds as their women’s team get good crowds. TV ratings are good too.

      • mikado

        I agree it’s a huge shame the Wallaroos aren’t touring. England Ireland will be a good game, but they play each other in the Six Nations so it would have been good if England could have used the slot to play someone else instead.

        With England going to a fully professional tam from January, I hope they’ll get some additional internationals in the course of the year.

        • Bakkies

          Maybe the other teams have been booked out. Wales, Scotland and Italy have got games lined up. It is not easy with SA and Argentina being behind in their programs. Spain are probably ahead of those two countries.

          I often get emails from the FFR about tickets they have already sent out an email promoting ticket sales for these games. No wonder the RA are so far behind.

        • mikado

          Spain would have been a good choice – they looked to be on a par with Italy at the last RWC.

          Public support for women’s sports in France looks excellent. Good crowds for football too.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Cheika has been looking to bounce back since the England series 2.5 years ago.

    When are we going to accept that this dead cat ain’t gonna bounce?

    • Bobas

      So you’re saying we need to bring in an Italian physicist to help get Cheik moving again?

      • Greg

        The connection is an Italian physicist…

        Did you know (or care?) that the guy who invented the battery also did the earliest recorded experiment in neuro stimulation (eg as used in cochlear implants). He connected together the equivalent of 4 car batteries and stuck the wires in his ears!! He noted that there was an “unpleasant sensation” and a sound like “thick boiling soup”.

        For some reason he seems not to have repeated the experiment.

        • Bobas

          Cauliflower soup links it all together

        • Schrodinger was German

        • Greg

          Leider nicht. Er ist in Wien geboren.

        • Should’ve googled it :)

        • Bobas

          I was originally talking about galvani getting energy out of dead things. Shrodinger would be a good consultant too though.

        • John Miller

          Dr Frankenstein might be more appropriate for M Cheika

        • Happyman

          However at the moment we know what the cat will look like when we open the box

        • mikado

          I like where you’re headed with the Quantum Mechanics. There exist two states; one on which Australia is the greatest rugby team in the world, and another where it is not. These two states exist simultaneously until someone looks at the match results, at which point the waveform collapses and only one of those states remains. So basically, we can keep Australia as the best rugby team in the world simply by not looking at the match results!

        • From NooZealand

          Who was this physycist. Like your comment. Thank you, you replied belos.Cheers

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s! Well after a few days of a heavy work schedule, I am back on GAGR where I belong rather than dealing withthe latest round of incompetence to spew forth froma government agency. Fuck this particular one is starting to make Cheika and his Wallabies look like a high performing organisation. BL early morning ramblings:
    – Cheika “Shut the Fuck up!” talk when you actually have a performance to back up anything that you say. Since the Tahs won the title that is about the last thing you have to crow about. Since then other than potentially one or two games in RWC 15, all we have from your is losing, poor selections, appalling behaviour, douche bag statements to the media, whinging, continued poor selections, stupidity, and blatant favouritisnm of out of form players. Either start winning, or fuck off.
    – Hannigan, you poor bastard. You drew the short straw, your turn to face the media and trot out o more of the same dross we have recieved from everyone else. I know it is not your fault, and I genuinely feel sorry for you being put in the team before you are ready, and being made to face the media.
    – I hope the NSWRU changes its tune about the NRC. The matches I have been watching have been most enjoyable (Go Drua). The stronger the NRC, the stronger that our SR teams will become and then hopefully our Wallabies. That is when we bring in decent coaching staff.
    – Being wednesday we have one more day til the team is announced and we get to see what lunacy the Lebanese Silk trader is going to pull out of his ass this time.
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Morning mate.
      I think Cheika is starting to feel the pressure a bit. Mind you if he genuinely didn’t hear of RA’s plan to send him some help before he was questioned about it he’s probably got every right to be a bit pissed.
      I think RA has really dropped the ball with the NRC. This competition has the potential to really bridge the gap between club and super rugby but is being so badly mismanaged it’s not achieving that. Maybe RA should leave Cheika alone, he’s not going to accept anything anyway, and put their effort into sorting out the NRC. TBH I think they can almost write off the RWC and start focusing on how they move forward from 2020.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yeah I want to believe that there will at least be some attempt to right the ship before the RWC.

      • Brumby Runner

        And that is precisely why it is not too late now for wholesale changes. Perhaps it is the ideal time to bring in a new coaching panel with new ideas and the balls to replace the favourites and those on the down hill slope. There are quite a few up and coming players in the four SR teams and the Force who will make up the core of the Wallabies post 2019. Bring them in now. Rotate then through the bench but get them into the system and start planning for the renaissance.

    • disqus_NMX

      Absolutely spot on BL!

    • disqus_NMX

      I’m wondering if it’s only the NSW players that are pretending to be injured and skipping the $250/wk “play for the dole” NRC comp, or if it’s happening with other teams too. Brisbane City, in particular, seems to have half a squad that’s quality, and half that’s substandard, so I’m wondering if there’s a few Qld players that are skipping out on it too. Anyone in the know?

      • Brisneyland Local

        Not that I am aware of. With both Qld Country and Bris city in play, there are lots of spots for a lot of good players.

        • Happyman

          My tip for the next QLD signing is Tasi played a full year at Souths and killed it. he had a year at the Rabbits in Sydney and apparently did not like league.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I think you could be right. I am hearing similar discussions.

      • Who?

        I haven’t read the new article (yet), but I’d anticipate the QRU aren’t given the same $250/week salary as the NSW NRC sides. Because they’re run by the QRU, not clubs, as the NSW NRC teams are run by clubs.

        • Bakkies

          Pretty sure this year the NSW teams are run by the NSWRU.

        • Who?

          Run, or owned? The QRU owns City and Country. Did the clubs hand over ownership of the Rays and Eagles to the NSWRU? I’ve seen that there’s more centralization and all facilities are available to the NRC franchises (hence why they’re both training at Moore Park), but I’ve not see anything clearly stating the NSWRU now owns them. If the clubs didn’t hand over ownership, why would there be more money available for players..?

        • Bakkies

          Both pretty sure there is no club funding anymore.

    • laurence king

      Hi GAGR’s, I would like to take issue with a particular phrase of Mr Cheeks. He said that, ‘I know that we’ve been inconsistent’.
      The hell they have! Methinks that this side has been probably the most consistent Wallaby side I’ve ever seen or heard of. To continue such a downward spiral with the consistency that this side has managed one would think that it was following a plan. “Butt”, Cheeks says, “we will turn things around”.

      • Bernie Chan

        Good point…we’ve underperformed consistently…

      • mikado

        Excellent use of “butt cheeks”!

    • Happyman

      BL off the long run this morning. After dealing with government agencies I am surprised you did go completely postal this morning.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep, GAGR is great stress relief.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan.
    Great news on the women getting more games. I watched their Sydney test live and saw the one in NZ before the men played. The rugby is of a good standard and will only get better the more they play.

    Like a lot of people I feel sorry for Hanigan, I don’t blame him at all as I’d play even now if asked, but he’s just too small and ineffective at test level. If the Wallabies play him plus the Pooper then I think the Boks will win most of the collisions on Saturday.

    Cheika seems to be reaching a bit with those examples. I hope the team turns it around but I’m not sure they can do it with him relying on some emotional outbursts and dreams of past glory as a basis for this. Waiting with baited breath to see what the selection lottery brings up this week.

  • Bobas

    Hanigan is likely to start in 6 again because he always nails the behavioural based questions in the second round of positional interviews.
    RA is due to review the team announcement for bias, as they do every week, in the 24-48 hours post team announcement.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Pure gold!

  • Hitcho

    Patience? Did Cheika seriously say patience? I think having a teenager that has never seen the Wallabies win a Bledisloe, waiting because we are “building” for how many years is patient. All the while we sink to all new lows and display unfathomable incompetence on the field. Patience is not something I have anymore Mr Cheika. Shape up or ship out! And that goes for the entire squad and management too!

    • Funk

      How about…“Part of it is understanding when the right time is to move the dial, not to be too stubborn, and move the dial sometimes when things get to a certain situation,”…this comment STINKS of hypocrisy!!

      • Hitcho

        I know mate. I couldn’t even come at commenting on that or the rest of the article. It would have turned into more of an angry essay rather than a comment.

      • Brumby Runner

        Assuming you understand what it means. Imagine Cheika lining Beale up after his last outing and saying it’s time to move the dial. What exactly would Beale, or any other player for that matter, think that meant? Time for a coach who knows how to speak and express himself in clear and certain terms, and who hopefully has some understanding of the game of rugby.

        • laurence king

          It’s Postmodern language, you say something, and you let the hearer interpret it how he’d like it to mean, just as long as his interpretation is also bullshit.Truth is subjective, there are no grand narratives, no right or wrongs. Rather, what would you like it say. “This is not just a white canvas, oh no! Its an expression of white anglo saxon protestant oppression of all that’s good and holy.” “Goodness me Kurtley, you’re a bright lad, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I think you should play 10″

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      You know mate I think you are correct and I’m not sure RA gets this

    • Bakkies

      Yeah that’s the scary thing there is nearly a generation that hasn’t seen the Wallabies’ captain lift up the cup. Pretty hard to entice juniors when they aren’t succeeding. That’s why provincial Rugby is so important to get people in to the game on a week to week basis.

  • The Jackal

    Hearing whispers that Cheika is considering Rob Simmons at 6 for this weekend.

    100% record in Super Rugby & Tests

    2017 v Brumbies for Reds – 80 min effort
    2013 v Italy for Wallabies – 80 min effort

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I have never met a man more unfathomable understanding of back-rows.

      Even if he had Owen Finegan, George Smith and Toutai Kefu available he would find a way not to play them at 6, 7 and 8.

      • John Miller

        Smith would need to play @ 8 to accommodate Hooper @ 7. Because as good as Toutai might be one day, down the track, in the distant future, it’s not like he’s Zinzan Brooke or something.

      • Bakkies

        Scary considering he played as a backrower. It is a bit like Eddie neglecting the scrum and the lineout declined. I remember Sharpe getting dropped because he couldn’t catch a cold.

        Can’t say it is a Randwick thing as Bob Dwyer got it spot on.

        • Brumby Runner

          Cheika’s omission from the Wallabies when playing probably instigated his attitude that he knows better than anyone else.

        • Bernie Chan

          And yet…while Dwyer also laments the apparent lack of fitness shown by Oz rugby players, he passionately defends Cheika and his role as the head Coach. Eg Cheika kept picking Skelton when is seemed obvious that Skelton was overweight and unfit for task. The shuffling of turnstiles in our defensive line is an attempt to ‘hide’ two players that are selected by Cheika, but Grey is copping most of the backlash for the failure of his system. Surely the buck stops with the head Coach?

        • Bakkies

          All former coaches are sticking up for Cheika. The other points go back to what others are saying about selections.

  • Hoss

    Morning honourable members of the house of rugby,

    Surely that image atop is photo-shopped – there’s no way Cheik would ever drag Gilbert off the field, even when he is having a shocker ??

    Slow news week where every morsel that is dripped fed is examined, re-examined, autopsied and investigated for hidden meaning and particular bias that suits the readers natural inclinations. Poor old Ned, he may as well come out and said he jhas a preference for molesting marsupials, probably better received. I admit i scratch my head at his selection (at thios point), but he is 110kg’s, has a good motor and like many here today, if i got the call up to gold – farrrrk, i would be in and give it the best 3 minutes my fitness allowed. If it wasnt for lack of ability, aversion to training, ill-discipline lack of smarts, i could have been a contender.

    Interesting to note on FUX that Bob Dwyer is calling for Jake Gordon to start. Dont mind that, i reckon Sanchez gets an inside run from a few on here – much like the Quade-Brigade (3,2,1….). Rugby.com is predicting a Gilbert / Toomua 10/12 pairing again based on opposed training drills – hmmmmm. Would prefer Toomua / Gilbert, but lets see.

    Unsure what to expect – based on Hoss patented ranking system , The Falkland Island Silver Medallists are currently World Number 1 (beat South Africa, who beat the faux ranked World #1), Wallabies are 2nd who also beat the team who beat THE team, The 3D’s are 3rd and the Nearlies are 4th. Sounds about right.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hahahahaha so that world ranking might change again over the next 2 weeks when we beat both again mate.

      I’d like to see a few changes in the team but I fear that Cheika’s talk during the week has led me to believe that he won’t do this. I think he believes if he does make changes he’ll be demonstrating weakness and doing it to pander to the requests rather than for any tactical reasons and will refuse to make any to demonstrate that he can’t be pushed around.

      • Hoss

        The floor recognises the honourable KRL.

        I enjoy a book or two a week my long white cloud friend and i am currently devouring books of the great civilisations of the past and its that sort of thinking that got the Aztecs in trouble.

        Great damn collapses start with the smallest crack……..

      • laurence king

        Hi, I think that he is determined to do it his way, and seemingly as things get more and more desperate and it’s his neck on the chopping block, he is retiring back into what is familiar. Same faces, same plans. It just seems, despite all the talk, Cheika is trying to make as few changes as possible.

    • Nathan Williamson

      Very slow news week which is suprising heading into the Wallabies clash and with World Rugby visiting. I don’t mind Gordon starting, got high raps on him

      • Hoss

        I think they will enjoy being away from the blast furnace for a while mate.

        Hopefully reflect in a more relaxed performance from the boys. They did seem uptight with team friction evident agaisnt the FISM’s.

        • Brumby Runner

          Funny that. So with the Wallabies we now know that the home ground is a disadvantage. How did it come to this?

        • Hoss

          The top 6 inches and the weight of expectation.

    • Alister Smith

      the Quade Brigade seems slow to comment. I suspect, to paraphrase JC “your mirth has saved you, go in peace”

      • laurence king

        I like Quade, but I’m thinking of calling him, Matador, after his wonderful evasion of the oncoming behemoth in the NRC game on the weekend

    • Andy

      Was a good listen. I like Bobs calls. He calls it straight and I think he makes some good points. I agree with him on Gordon. He easily has the highest potential of the lot. As such should be coming offf the pine as a minimum even if he isn’t the bes right now. Same on Jordan Petai and Banks. They are lock-ins for the future and Banks potentially even right now. They should be playing a larger part in the current teams being selected.

    • Nutta
      • laurence king

        Good movie, Waterfront, or On the Waterfront. And your right, we’ve the players to be contenders, but we’re playing like bums

  • first time long time

    Surely Cheik jests….. Is he suggesting that he doesn’t want to make changes just to appease us?
    I thought we had been appeasing him.

  • Alister Smith

    Some criticism here about Cheika staying in the job despite poor results. Are people suggesting he should fall on his sword or step aside to avoid RA having to make a difficult decision. While I have got poor results in jobs before it’s not been up to me to decide whether I keep my job or not. It’s up to me to review what I have done, look at changes, improve my effort and strategy if required. I don’t think there is any evidence that Cheika isn’t working hard or that he isn’t looking to improve but it’s not his position to call time on himself.

    • Hoss

      Good read Mr Smith. I think if a selection panel (Cheik would be one of three votes) was established we could better see the measure of him as a coach. The guys obviously got talent. You don’t win Northern and Southern Hemisphere Championships by luck. But he is a crap selector.

      • John R

        Out there theory: we have been reading a fair bit lately about a lot of behind the scenes work that Cheika is involved with (centralisation etc. etc.), I wonder if perhaps he has been spending a bit too much time on head office projects, and not being as hands on with the team as he should be?

        • Greg

          I think it is just that the selections don’t fly. Mr Cheika needs some support and robust discussion.

          To be fair to Mr Grey, if you given him more than one turnstile…. what can he realistically do.

        • John R

          Yeah that’s fair Greg. I actually can’t understand Cheika’s resistance to a panel either. Like it sounds as though he canvasses opinions from ex players/coaches with semi regularity, so why is this different?

        • laurence king

          Sell tickets

        • Hoss

          If i may swim against the current for a moment. I believe the Wallaby set-up will benefit, for some time to come, from the structural changes Cheik has been involved in implementing. Centralised training & fitness techniques across SR sides, player depth, pathways, better relationships between the National & Provincial coaches. I think there is a lot of good that has been done that has his fingerprints all over it. Alas coaching is also a results orientated gig and we need to see more W’s than L’s. Even if we were to win the next 6 on the trot (what odds on that ?) it would be 8 from 13 for the year and a pass mark, but 6 or 7 from 13 leading into a RWC, hardly the stuff of inspiration.

        • John R

          Yeah agreed Hoss, it really is his main KPI, there’s no escaping it!.

          Like I was saying to you a couple of weeks ago, Cheika might be better suited to being a Director of Rugby or something.

        • Who?

          Making Cheika a ‘Director of Rugby’ would follow the Australian pattern, of promoting someone out of jobs where they’re already beyond their skillset. :-

        • John R

          Disagree there mate, his greatest success in life is as a self made businessman, which would involve a lot of setting up robust processes for a stated outcome.

          If I apply your idiom there, I would do it in reverse, he’s in the wrong job now, because his skillset is in business.

        • Who?

          I thought Cheika’s success was in trading – in being a fashion middle man. That does involve some setting up of logistics, but a lot of it is sales, which is personal relationships. Success in business doesn’t necessarily mean you understand how to set up processes to meet KPI’s, and a major issue is understanding what the KPI’s should be.
          Many argue that Cheika is a great coach, because he was the first to win both the Heineken Cup and Super Rugby. So they say he should be a coach.
          By the same argument, our greatest coach – Rod Macqueen – should only have been a director of rugby, because he was a successful businessman…
          My point was based off Nathan Grey leading the Tahs’ worst ever defensive season and then going full time with the Wallabies, just like Graham was an assistant coach who couldn’t get the Force or Wallabies to score points, so he was made a head coach at two provinces, where he was our worst performed head coach.

        • John R

          Yeah correct mate, referring to Cheika’s success as a merchant.

          If you build a company from the ground up, you must be pretty skilled at problem solving and applying critical thought. To turn that into millions of dollars in profit would mean he’s found the most efficient way to make money.

          Which is what made me think he must know to analyse a problem and implement the solution.

          If the problem is the foundations of our game (which seems to be the conclusion the hive mind is coming to), I think Cheika is probably the best person to look at the current state and advise/implement the future state. I don’t work in Rugby, so I’m operating on guess work here, but for lack of a better term, I figured this responsibility could sit under a DOR role.

          Where as picking teams, signing off on a play book, signing off on a game plan etc. Cheika is probably very good at that, but that’s probably not where his skill set could be best utilised for the long term health of the game.

          Completely agree re: Graham et al. The Australian has a story out today about Jim McKay getting the attack coach gig with the Reds, which was an appointment made in conjunction with RA, through Kafer’s branch. In short, some noses in the greater QLD rugby system were put out, as they felt they had paid their dues, and deserved the step up, but Kafer explained that ‘super rugby is a performance environment, not a learning environment’ and those in line would need to prove themselves at that level first, before getting a gig in SR.

          And ya know what, I like the way they’re thinking there! If we had that mind set, the Reds wouldn’t have burnt their goodwill from 2011 to the ground with Graham etc etc etc etc.

        • Who?

          Is Jim McKay back at the Reds?! If so, that’s arguably the best news they’ve seen in about 5 years. Because he (along with Matt Taylor) was a major part of the success under Link.
          IN terms of a DOR role, I’d argue much of what you’re considering is part of the HP unit, and something that’s nigh on impossible without having a complete restructure of the administrative arms of the game. In reality, Rugby needs to be torn down and rebuilt with new institutions, something more democratic and far less feudal.

        • John R

          Yeah mate, I’ll paste the article for ya in another response.

          Would agree there, that yep probably would fall under a HP Unit. If we think along those lines, what has Whittaker achieved? Maybe Cheika can take his job? We know that Cheika (along with many others I’m sure) got us centralised etc etc.

          So I see these structural outcomes and they are normally linked to Cheika, and I see the Wallabies outcome(s) under Cheika, and I just wonder if we are using the guy in the best capacity?

          An absolutely. Look at the whole system! We are falling behind, so we need to work out what best practice looks like, and go about getting it into place! There are no sacred cows. And if people in the way like to think of themselves as such, then they can get fucked!

        • John R

          Article:
          “A massive blunder in Australian rugby is about to be rectified, at least partially, with the Queensland Reds poised to announce the appointment of Jim McKay as their Super Rugby attack coach for the next two seasons.

          The decision, the first made with a direct input from Rugby Australia’s high-performance unit, represents a return to Australian rugby of one of the country’s most successful coaches who was cut adrift as Wallabies ­attack coach following Ewen ­McKenzie’s shock resignation in 2014.

          The incoming coach Michael Cheika had his own thoughts on unstructured attack, thanked McKay and let him go, which was recognised at the time — and even more so in recent times — as a major mistake. In his 15-month stint with the Wallabies, McKay helped guide them to seven wins in succession. It was McKay, too, who McKenzie brought on to reshape the Queensland Reds’ attack and in two seasons brought them from second last on the Super Rugby table in 2009 to a title win in 2011. In their banner year, with halves Will Genia and Quade Cooper both in the form of their lives, they scored 45 tries, a franchise record for the Reds.

          After leaving the Wallabies, McKay had a stint as coaching consultant with the Worcester Warriors that resulted in their promotion back into the English Premiership. He then took a role as assistant coach of Tonga for the 2015 World Cup before becoming head coach of the Kobe Steelers in Japan’s Top League in 2016.

          If he can form the same relationship with Brad Thorn as he did with McKenzie, McKay should prove a major success — again — at Ballymore. The Reds had the second-worst attacking record in Super Rugby this year and were third-worst in terms of tries scored. Certainly McKay, who has a published masters thesis on ­unstructured attack from the University of Sydney, has a proven ­record in getting teams to play what is in front of them.

          McKay, who takes over the ­attack coaching role made vacant when Paul Carozza decided to ­return to his original role as boss of the Reds Academy, was selected by a process that it is hoped will ­become standard throughout Australian rugby, with heavy input from RA.

          “Hopefully it will be the first of many such appointment,” said Rod Kafer, the head of RA’s national coaching advisory panel. “It came about because of the absolute collaboration of RA and the Queensland Reds.”

          There was, initially, considerable scepticism about the national body interfering in the selection of a key member of the Reds coaching staff, especially when some leading Queensland rugby identities were not even given an interview for the job. But, as Kafer put it, Super Rugby is not a learning environment, it’s a performance environment, on a line second only to the Wallabies.

          It is understood there were 40 applicants for the coaching role, including five from candidates with international experience.

          Meanwhile, there were eyebrows raised at Ballymore recently when Jonny Wilkinson’s former kicking coach, Dave Alred, was seen working with the kickers, Hamish Stewart, James Tuttle and Moses Sorovi. Certainly one of the key points of the post-season ­review was that Queensland desperately needed to improve both their tactical kicking and kicking off the tee, but in bringing in Alred — who these days is as much an elite golfing coach as a rugby guru — the Reds have gone to the very top of the list. It is understood that Alred’s visits are only a “getting to know you” exercise at this time.

          Meanwhile, James Slipper’s transfer from the Reds to the Brumbies is still dragging on, ­although Brumbies coach Dan McKellar admitted he hoped the deal would be finalised in the next couple of days.

          The former Reds and Wallabies captain — who twice tested positive to cocaine use earlier this year and quickly came to realise he had no future in the Queensland squad — is effectively the last player on the Brumbies’ list, save from a still-to-be-determined front-rower.

          “It would just be Slipper and one other, a prop out of the NRC,” ­McKellar told The Australian from Britain, where he is on a coaching fact-finding mission. “Scott Sio, Allan Alaalatoa and Slipper, plus Les Makin, young Tom Ross from the Australian Under-20s … we’re pretty comfortable with the depth.””

        • Who?

          As much as the article you’ve linked credits McKay’s ability to set up unstructured attack, perhaps even more critical is that he understood structured attack and kicking for advantage. Because whilst the Reds attacked in unstructured positions from 2010-2013 (and at the Reds McKay was taking over some excellent work done by Phil Mooney), their kicking game (they kicked away 44% of their possession in 2011) and structured attack was also top class. They scored tries from every situation, not just on the counter.
          It’s amazing to think we went from McKay to Larkham as our attack coach for the Wallabies…
          Given that it’s been pointed out that Thorn was penalized for cynically tripping Quade in the 2011 SR Final, highlighting the distinct possibility of bad blood there, I wonder how Thorn feels about the architect of his 2011 Final loss now being appointed to work alongside him? :-P
          Honestly, it’s fantastic news, best Reds news in 4 years. Yep, better than Cooper returning in 2016, better than other players (including Gill) choosing not to leave under Graham…

        • Bernie Chan

          If Kafer did say ‘Super Rugby is a performance environment, not a learning environment’ then that’s a good start…as others have alluded to, since Link left the Reds the appointments of coaches has been baffling. The coaches have all been so inexperienced, and that includes BT. I guess RA gets a ‘say’ as they are propping up the QRU…. Jim McKay had QC and Genia running the backs, and we’ve heard the stories that that pair basically ran the backs as soon as the coaches left them alone…

        • Bakkies

          Cheika without a selection panel takes away control. Even if his assistants have a voice which is what should happen when you are trying to implement their patterns.

      • Bakkies

        The biggest problem he hasn’t adapted his tactics as opposition coaches have had so long to plot against his playing style. As soon as the Wallabies get a couple of good performances in he runs in to an opposition coach who is too shrewd. England had a lot of injuries leading in to last year’s test but picked a side to counter Cheika ball and frustrate his team in to giving away penalties. Can’t do that against a team that has the kicking game of Owen Farrell.

        It is not just the lack of tactics it is the discipline he hasn’t addressed.

        • Hoss

          Good point and i would also ask is Cheika picking the best players and moulding a game plan accordingly or the players who best suit ‘his game plan’ ?

        • laurence king

          I don’t believe that he is, opposition coaches are pragmatic enough to attempt to counter our strengths and work that into their game-plan. Surely, an opportunity arises whenever and wherever a strength is countered. And when opposition do this to us, we often look rudderless.

        • Bakkies

          He definitely isn’t and his style of play needs a Finegan at 6 and a Kefu at 8 we haven’t had players like that since. Closest was Elsom but he was a different player. Elsom played his best Rugby under Cheika.

        • Who?

          But Elsom came home from playing from Cheika crocked, and wasn’t ever the same again…

        • Bakkies

          There was no sign of him having hamstring issues at Leinster.

    • Damo

      A bit like the scenario with Arlo’s sister at the ABC this week.

  • Who?

    Cheika comparing himself to Buckley is interesting. What he didn’t mention is that it’s been widely covered that Collingwood did a major end of season review last year, and decided to staff Buckley’s weaknesses. Some of these were weaknesses he personally couldn’t see. Has RA done that to Cheika? And would Cheika accept it with the grace that Buckley has..? I’m not an AFL fan, and Buckley doesn’t give me a great impression, but he deserves credit for having the humility to work in the system and to work with those selected to assist him.
    Further, Cheika’s season with Leinster was similar to Link in 2007 with the Tahs. Or was it 2006? Looked horrible, nothing going right, but you just knew the basics were there. Patience was viable because of the credit the team and staff had, which this current coaching staff doesn’t have.

    • GeorgiaSatellite

      I think he has Buckley’s chance of coaching at RWC2019.

      • Who?

        Which Buckley? Great call. :-)

  • Bay35Pablo

    “bringing to light how little they get paid for the 8 week period ($2000).”
    No shit Sherlock. If people didn’t know that they are not paying attention. The only people getting paid “properly” are the SR contracted players. The NRC is run on the sniff of an oily rag. It literally only runs because Foxtel essentially pays to cover it (hey geniuses, do you know it costs tens of thousands of dollars to run an “outside broadcast” with all the equipment, trucks and beaming the picture from the ground – this is why Fordham had to guarantee ad dollars to Seven to get the Shute telecast with them), and some operating expenses. Most teams are run as 2nd teams by the SR sides. Except NSW who just seem to fark around mostly until recently.
    “other suggestions such as increasing the pay from $2,000 to $10,000″
    Where’s that money coming from? Twiggy dropping in from a Blackhawk with bags of cash like Santa?
    Seriously, the level of ignorance this type of sh!t betrays is infuriating.
    NEWSFLASH – AUSTRALIAN RUGBY IS SHORT ON CASH!!!! WE CUT THE FORCE BECAUSE OF IT!!!! Do people think there is some secret bank vault of moolah squirrelled away to pay for board buffets, or for a rainy day.
    ANOTHER NEWSFLASH – WE HAD $30-40M IN PROFIT FROM RWC2003 AND PISSED IT AWAY ON OPERATIONAL LOSSES (in layman’s terms that means “Oh we made a loss this year, do we tighten our belts and find savings? Nah fark it raid the RWC kitty!” repeated until all spent)!!!

  • laurence king

    For what it’s worth, here is my team for the weekend, I’m not saying I like it but after factoring in Mr Cheika’s self-belief this is my guess. Please take pot-shots at my cynicism if you wish:
    Sio
    Fainga’a
    Ala’alatoa
    Coleman
    Rodda
    Hannigan
    Poecock
    Hooper
    Genia
    Beale
    Folau
    Toomua
    Hodge
    Koriebete
    DHP

    • Hoss

      I’ll see your XV and raise you mine. I am sure Cheik is an avid follower of my tripe.
      1 7A’s
      2 Not Israel
      3. Even his shit has muscles
      4 Coleman
      5 Arnold
      6 Hannigan
      7 Lee magors
      8 Brian
      9 Commissioner
      10 Toomua
      11 Sauce
      12 Gilbert
      13 Super Boot
      14 Dusty
      15 Bastards.

      16 Latu
      17 Sio
      18 Methuselah
      19 Simmons
      20 Timu
      21 Sanchez
      22 Spanners
      23 Maddocks

      • laurence king

        There are certain picks here that are seismic, and I don’t know If Mr Cheika could let himself stray so far. Ah, desperate times ….. Here’s hoping

        • Hoss

          We live in strange and uncertain times oh artistic one.

          – A shoulder charge isn’t a shoulder charge if your a good guy
          – Acting like a turd on a tennis court cant be challenged if you are melanin enhanced and lacking a certain chromosone
          – A PM can be executed at a whim
          – A plus sized orange caricature leads the world
          – And a small island with a distasteful attraction to livestock rules the Unionverse.

          If i channel my inner Freddy and ask, can anybody find me someone to love ?

        • laurence king

          LOL Wonderfully put, I haven’t laughed so much for ages. And if Mr Cheika were to step out of the confines of his hitherto selection policy, then indeed you may find someone to love.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Our Kiwi friends can!

        • Hoss

          I am having that stricken from the Hansard.

        • Brisneyland Local

          The Memeber for Jagga Jagga duly apologises

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Baaaaabaaara

      • John Tynan

        Does that make FF Palestine, if he’s Not Israel?

        • Hoss

          That my friend is gold – enter that in the lexicon please and i doff my cap. Truly, very funny

        • Brisneyland Local

          JT you are on fire.

        • John Tynan

          Aww shucks fellas….

      • Who?

        Still maintain ‘Not Israel’ should be ‘Not Saia’, given he’s the second Wallaby Hooker with the surname ‘Fainga’a’ in the last decade.
        And Tupou still needs work… Happy to move on from Tongan Thor, but that’s the longest abbreviated name I’ve ever seen you use, and not at your usual standard (FISM is long, but is much better value).
        Actually, the overall list is concerning – you’ve not been asked to explain ANY of the names! When was the last time that happened?!

        • laurence king

          Toupee?

      • GeorgiaSatellite

        I do so enjoy your cryptic Roy&HG monikers, Mr Cartwright. However, I’m feeling sorry for a couple of guys in the nickname stakes here. Namely (Bo?) Diddly Hanigan, Gary Coleman (What choo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?) and Mr Perry. Then to the bench: Soy Latu, Lemme Sio, Beef Cottrell and Back Paddocks (left field?). I also thought you’d dubbed Simmons ‘Gene’ in a previous incarnation.

        • Who?

          Ooh, I really like Gary for Adam… Think you’re right that Rob was dubbed ‘Gene’, too.
          Not sure about Hanigan – labelling him for a musical legend, might be too kind…

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          It was a step beyond the Ned Flanders reference. Overreach for sure :-)

        • Who?

          It’d be fan-diddly-iddly-tastic if young Ned grew a tache like Flanderino, though. :-

      • mikado

        Couldn’t Gordon be “Alive”?

        (As in “Gordon’s alive!” from Flash Gordon)

  • Greg

    btw any news on whether Mr Cooper is playing SR next year?

  • Nutta

    Good Pigs are good Pigs because they are obstinate. Checks was a good pig. Anyone surprised?

    Ned. I want to crystal clear: he strikes me as a lovely bloke. Every time I hear him speak beyond a 5sec grab he seems articulate, respectful, just cheeky enough and has something reasonably intelligent to say. Funnily enough he is a bit of the post-modern Dean Mumm in that he is doing everything asked of him, but what’s being asked is not quite aligned to what he has to offer. That’s not his fault and it wasn’t Mummies either. My beef is that Ned is being selected to play, and seems to have the natural inclination to play, in a crowbar role. But the guy is still a kid. He will never be an Viliami Ofahengaue which is the manner in-which he is trying to play (either by instruction or naturally – probably both). He may well develop into a Fardy or a Melon but those guys had a solid 5-8yrs on young Neddy when filling that gig. I honestly ask where is his manager in all this because I don’t see the guy playing for too much longer at the current course & speed they have him on.

    Go girls. Go harder. What I find particularly amusing this week is that I have heard the Mungo & FAFL coaches and captains speak repeatedly and with the exception of Cameron Smith they all sound like uneducated village idiots with that many ‘Yehs’, ‘Nahs’ and “ummms” that they are bloody near unintelligible. Compare that to the grabs of not just the NRL female captains, but also some of the media from the womens uni 7’s players at the moment and they just come across so much more elevated & thoughtful in their comments that it’s seriously gender-embarrassing. Add to that the fact that the NRL 360 show on Fox last night was reduced to using a clip of not just a FEMALE but a RUGBY player at that in demonstrating what executing a proper covering tackle looks like (as opposed to Slaters illegality) and it has been nothing but a positive week for womens sport. Go Girls.

    Tell me why I should play in the NRC? Fkn oath. It offers so much potential but it’s good footy hamstrung by willful and deliberate under-investment to the point where it doesn’t surprise me that our proper 2nd tier talent is flat-out booking flights overseas. So would I (apologies to Matt Burke and Stephen Hoiles for being presumptuous). As such we are just about left with the can’t-be-dropped and the strugglers still in-country. No wonder JOC sees an opportunity back here.

    • laurence king

      Now that was a momentum shift lol

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Top tackle that.
      Mate agree with your points 100%. Hanigan may well develop as you say but I wonder how much damage his reputation is getting and whether that may hold him back.

    • Ian Rodger

      That’s a good bloody cover tackle that!

    • mikado

      Crumbs, that’s some hit from Nicole Beck.

    • Patrick

      I would not have liked to be that English winger.

      However I would like to be on the other half of any bet that Hanigan develops into a Fardy or a Melon!

      • Nutta

        The use of the word ‘may’ is deliberate.

        • Patrick

          Damn. I was looking forward to that bet :)

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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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