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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at Adam Ashley-Cooper’s return to the Wallabies, the optimism of the Welsh ahead of the upcoming test, the rebranding of World Series Rugby and Eddie Jones’ radical suggestion to improve officiating in rugby


Ashley-Cooper ready to get up and Adam

Hoping for more of these over the next twelve months

Hoping for more of these over the next twelve months


With the Wallabies set to begin their Spring Tour in the early hours of Sunday morning against Wales, one of the main talking points has been the sudden return of Adam Ashley-Cooper into the Wallabies framework.

Ashley-Cooper had targeted his return from the European and Japanese wilderne$$ into Australian rugby as the 2019 Super Rugby season, attempting to reprise the role of the veteran Wallaby back hunting one last shot at the William Webb Ellis trophy that won Matt Giteau acclaims back in 2015 (coming to theatres next spring).

However, injury to the incumbent centre Reece Hodge saw his return to the Wallabies squad acclerated, a move which even took Ashley-Cooper by surprise.

“I wasn’t expecting to come on tour – there’s an opportunity and there could be the possibility of Super Rugby next year to get to that World Cup but apart from that I wasn’t expecting to come on tour,” Ashley-Cooper said.

“When Cheik rang a couple of weeks ago, I was in Japan playing Top League, he discussed the potential of coming back into the squad and coming on tour and I told him I’d jump at the opportunity.”

Ashley-Cooper was unsure about the role that he would play across the tour, noting that his main priority was to start building connections with the new wave of Wallabies that have come through the system over the past two years.

“I am not sure if I will get the opportunity to play but if I have the mindset and I am competing than I am sure I am creating healthy competition around the squad…The guys are still using the same language, similar shapes and terminology but apart from that it’s just the new faces, so for me I’ve got to establish those relationships.”

His selection has led to him putting any talks about his Super Rugby destination on hold for 2019, although most reports have him at Winx like odds to join the Waratahs.

“There’s been chats with a few teams back home but I didn’t expect to come on the tour so those discussions are on hold at the moment, I certainly made it clear that is the way I want to get to a World Cup is by playing in a Super Rugby competition and a Super Rugby team and earning that selection later on in the year.”

Dragons ready to fire

wallabies vs wales world cup

Speaking of the test match, Wales have been openly optimistic about their chances against the under-fire Wallabies, hoping to break their 13 games losing streak which has spaned a decade. Their hopes of breaking the hoodoo have been boosted with hooker Ken Owens and flanker Ellis Jenkins declared fit for the clash.

Owens broke his nose during the side’s 21-10 win over Scotland and has been cleared of any head injuries, whilst Jenkins is set to return to the team after missing the victory with a shoulder injury.

“Ken has a bit of a cut on his nose, but that is not going to stop him from doing anything, We will just keep an eye out for contact stuff, but it is nothing major… Ellis (Jenkins) definitely is back in selection talks, they just have a couple of tests to pass before they are deemed fit but they are moving in the right direction.” Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde said.

Their inclusion is huge for the Welsh side, who believe that this is their best opportunity to claim victory over the Australian side, according to 1/2 of Wales’ modern-day rugby version of Mount Rushmore; Sam Warburton and Shane Williams.

Warburton backed the home support of the rapturous Cardiff crowd to carry the side over to victory, although stopped short of calling the under fire Wallabies vulnerable.

“I can put my hand on my heart and say that Wales are good enough to beat Australia. If 75,000 supporters can believe the same thing and express that in their voices on Saturday, Wales will beat Australia and end that losing run,” Warburton said.

“Are Australia more vulnerable than ever before? I wouldn’t say so, Whenever Wales play Australia, the Australian players who have been in supposedly poor form or lacking fitness always turn up.”

Williams believes that the hit out against Scotland, despite their sloppiness, had set to the side up perfectly to break their drought.

“However flawed a performance it was against Scotland … I’m far more convinced now that we can end that run of 13 consecutive defeats to the tiresome Wallabies because the players have got a full, tough 80 minutes under their belts,” Williams said.

Forrest’s vision undertakes rapid rebrand

ForceRebels4

With Andrew Forrest set to expand World Series Rugby globally in 2019, the competition has undertaken a complete rebranding, under the title of Global Rapid Rugby.

This was confirmed by Forrest and the competition’s website, which has provided further information about the teams that are set to take part in what the website describes as a “rugby revolution”.

The new name comes after talks with World Rugby due to the similarities that existed with the organisation’s name with the original competition and represents Forrest vision for the expansion and growth of rugby across Asia to build the appeal and development of rugby beyond traditional markets.

“It’s a brilliant new name for a brave new beginning,” Forrest said. “Rapid Rugby is the perfect name that speaks directly to what we will deliver in 2019 and beyond – a dynamic sports and entertainment concept.”

“We are working hard on taking the success of the 2018 series in Perth (played under the banner World Series Rugby) and super-charging it for the Asia Pacific region and I am confident it’s going to be even more innovative and exciting than what people experienced this year.”

From 2019, it is expected that teams from Hawaii, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Fiji were set to join the Western Force in the expanded eight-team tournament that is set to contain a purse of $1 million.

The competition will continue to implement the innovative rules such as rolling substitutions and power trys, and will look to work with World Rugby in order to make the game more entertaining.

“Our team continues to work alongside the sport’s governing body, World Rugby, to develop new rules that will make our brand even more appealing. Their input is obviously invaluable,” the website said.

Despite my early scepticism about the competition, you have to give credit to Forrest for his efforts to expand the sport across the most populated continent and hopefully, the competiton can generate fresh interest in the sport within the region.

Two for the price of one

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As the fallout from Owen Farrell’s controversial tackle continues, Eddie Jones has taken inspiration from Union’s little brother in relation to how to solve issues regarding the officiating of the game.

Jones believes that the sport should look to adopt a similar approach to the NRL in the appointment of two referees in order to deal with the complexity surrounding the decision-making process and the constant pressure that they have faced.

This has sufraced due to the conjecture around the rugby community about the legality of Owen Farrell’s tackle on Andre Esterhuizen which denied the Springbok a penalty shot that would have provided them with the opportunity to steal the victory on the siren.

“I just think the game is getting more intense. All the data shows that” Jones said on Monday. “The game went for 100 minutes on the weekend, with 39 minutes of the ball in play. 61 minutes now are where the players can recover, so the intensity of the hits, the quickness of the contact.”

“We are asking one referee to do it the way they did it when blokes like me were playing, jogging around the field basically. And he’s still doing the same job. So I think the referees are doing a great job. At some stage in the future, probably not in my time, they may have to look at two referees on the field.”

This is the first time that the system has been suggested by someone of Jones’ statue and in theory, would see one referee focus on the play surrounding the breakdown whilst the second referee would examine and maintain last feet in the backline.

Whilst this is a good idea in theory and the system has provided success in increasing the success rate of on-field decisions and faster speed at the breakdown, the system is not perfect and has often lead to the over-refereeing of certain situations, which would most likely lead to slowly play and more controversy.

  • Sorry Eddie, but you’re talking shite.

    If you want better policing of the back feet and the offside lines, there are two officials, I think we still call them ARs who can be empowered to do that. They seem to neglect to look at things half the time… but they could add that to their list of actual duties easily enough. Add crooked feeds at scrum time for one and the two offside lines at scrum for the other, offside at the kick for one and a few other things. Two officials isn’t enough to police everything that’s happening at the breakdown and both sets of back feet if you want to be a pedant about it… the current referee has a moderately good view of both sets of players, but the second official stands where exactly? Becomes a target for who to run at and get a good blocking line? Sees both sets of players are behind the back feet in an elongated maul how exactly?

    I’m not 100% sure we need an extra referee, but if we’re going down that route, add an extra AR in the in-goal areas. they can advise the referee from a different point of view on hits near/in the in-goal, grounding, dropping the ball and the like. Since they’re mostly going to be head-on to play, I wonder how often we’d have a short conference between two (that person in goal and the referee) or three (the touch-line AR, the in-goal AR and the referee) on-field officials and no referral to the TMO for tries, nor for no-arms hits like Farrell’s.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Spot on Eloise, Nutta got this right. Eddies trying to take the focus off last week’s poor play from both sides.

      I do agree that if they do go for more then an in goal referee to rule on the grounding would be helpful as the AR’s could then remain focussed on off side and the like.

    • TouchFinderGeneral

      Here’s a thought – make the coaches accountable to the match officials for management-endorsed crooked feeds, off-side protocols, taking key players out off the ball, et-bloody-cetera. Give the buggers the equivalent of a yellow for persistent infringements by the team they are paid to coach, and red for subsequent sanctimonious whingeing when things go aglay. Suggestions for what constitutes ‘equivalent of yellow & red’ welcome.

      • Since we’re talking about persistent infringements and post-match comments, I would convert it from YC and RC into match bans. And the bans are for half-time team talks.

        YC = 1 match, RC = 3 matches. But you can pick up multiple YC, one per offence, and likewise multiple, stacking RC, so if you moan after one match you’re banned for the next 3 half-time talks. If you moan after the next one, when you’ve been banned, your ban (now down to 2 remaining) is extended by 3 matches. If in the next match your team feeds crookedly, and is off-side repeatedly, you get two more added and so on….

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    If Wales lose to the Wallabies then they, including Garland, then they have serious problems. People have bandied about the thought of Gatland coaching the Wallabies after the RWC… no thanks if he cannot even beat Australia now.

    Oh, and if gramps plays this week then Cheika is proving he doesn’t care about Australia rugby.

    • Huw Tindall

      Not so sure about that. Welsh domestic rugby was almost as much of a shambles as RA until the last couple of years. Essentially went bankrupt but are now on the Ireland style model. Would have a smaller player base than Australia for sure and lots of players getting poached by the Premiership and Top 14. Gatland’s record is probably worse than Cheks in fact! It may be the best chance they’ve had in a while to beat us but it doesn’t mean they should sound the panic alarms if they lose.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Wales’ domestic woes were significantly longer ago than you’re making out, mate.

        Not at all convinced that they have a smaller base either – where do you come up with that stat from? From memory it was only recently that they started having to basically select domestic teams.

        Gatland’s record is much better than Cheika’s. He has just failed to have any impact against Southern Hemisphere teams aside from South Africa since Coetzee took over.

        Wales have played dull rugby under Gatland, and while that has changed the last 12 months, I’ve never been inspired by his teams even when they’ve had really good players.

        However, they are 3 in the world and playing at home and we are 6, playing away and have been truly pathetic these last three years under Cheika. Wales simply have to win. If they don’t, it reflects terribly on them.

        • Huw Tindall

          WRU stats apparently – about 20K senior males which is half of Australia. Gatland’s record also covers 10 years in charge! He got off to a flyer with grand slams and 6 nation title. Been a while between drinks though.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a7a42fb4a3471e25b23e6d9bb2fcd45144f5601c9de4229fa597950ffa350c2b.jpg

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I don’t think aggregate number of adults playing the sport is relevant at all, mate, especially since I don’t trust RAs stats. RA are operating in a more competitive landscape and need to make stats look good to attract government funding. Less so in Wales where rugby is more popular.

          Australia has 4 professional teams, the same number as Wales.

          Scotland have a far smaller player pool (2 teams) and beat the Wallabies with regularity post-08.

        • It’s worth remembering to add to that he coached the BIL to a series win in SA, a series win in Australia and a drawn series in NZ.

          If you take out his record against the SH sides, which he acknowledges as a real issue for the side – without looking them up that’s about 30 of his loses – and to keep it fair say that’s 10 wins against Italy too, a roughly 70% win rate against the likes of England, Scotland, Ireland and France over ten years is also not to be sniffed at. At least one of those has been a top three side for most of the last 10 years after all. Cheika wouldn’t complain about 70% record against any of those sides.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Thanks Eloise. That is some very rational analysis.

        • Huw Tindall

          Let’s take out our losses to the ABs then while we are at it!

        • That’s a fair comment. Except if you do that… under Cheika just how do the Wobs do against Ireland, England, France, SA and Scotland?

          Gatland has a more limited pool of quality players than Australia by most people’s reckoning, whether you trust the WR numbers or look at how the Welsh regions do in the Pro 14 or whatever. He seems to have a training regime that leaves Wales particularly vulnerable in the first game of their campaigns, whether that’s the November tests or the 6N – no one is quite sure why – and to Australia and, like everyone else, the ABs. It’s fair to comment that, against the other top sides, given his side has a terrible record against Australia and the ABs, and a very poor one against SA, he’s actually got a really pretty impressive record. Cheika has a terrible record against the ABs – ok, we don’t like that but we might forgive it, because everyone is in the same situation. But he’s not got a good record against any top flight nation except Wales.

          Gatland is not the second coming disguised as a rugby coach. But despite his poor record against Australia he seems to have a record to stack up against a lot of others.

        • Hoss

          Yeah, but if you take out the games he has lost to all opposition i think you will find he has a win ratio of 100%.

          Love statistics.

        • Funk

          Sorry Hoss, it’d be 97.94%.

        • Hoss

          Well played my Funky friend.

          We live in a world of ‘grey’ where a win or a loss really isn’t a win or a loss, thanks to that all powerful word – ‘but’.

          Taking out / inserting data that suits a particular argument or desired outcome.

          Excuse the racist overtones, but give me good ol’ black and white any day.

          Grey sucks

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah he does. Still the defence coach though

        • Funk

          Numbers bring out the pedant in me….I couldnt give a toss if you miss an apostrophe though!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Personally, I’d take a combined 70%+ winning percentage against Scotland, England, Ireland and France – wouldn’t you?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Ba-boom!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Morning mate.

      Yeah I agree on AAC. I’m almost resigned that he will play as Cheika doesn’t trust innovation and future planning. I also think he’s hurting so much that he’s reverting to what he knows rather than looking forward.

      I think the Welsh will be up for this but I do think they have a bit of a mental block against the Wallabies and this will count against them a bit.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Agree, Re AAC or Mr I dont pass to anyone as I call him.
        Re the Welsh, I reckon they are dead set up for this. Yes they have a mental challenge, but it is a home game for them. And they can smell blood in the water. We are weaker then we have ever been, so it is now or never.
        Also our coaching and tactical weaknesses are so laid bare, it doesnt take a rocket surgeon to know how to beat us.

        • Ed

          Speaking of coaches, have you heard of this one BL?

          https://twitter.com/RugbyReg/status/1059936060321423361?s=19

        • Who?

          That’d be right – we get rid of an Aussie 10 in an attempt to play yet another Wallaby-ineligible 10, avoiding any chance of providing depth behind the undroppable Spanners…
          Bring on central contracting!!!

        • Brisneyland Local

          Ed, cant see it because my work blocks twitter. Will have a look at it tonight from Home computer.

        • Ed

          The tweet is from Rugby Reg.
          “The Wallabies are clearly feeling the pressure around next year’s RWC. I’m hearing the Fijian Drua gun flyhalf Alivereti Veitokani was set to play for the Reds but the deal was nixed by Chek because Fiji are in our pool and we didn’t want to give them a leg up.”

        • Brisneyland Local

          WOW! That is appalling. If that is correct I am totally embarrassed. To all our Fijian brothers and sisters I truly apologise!
          Vosota sara

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I’m not convinced Cheika truly cares for anything rugby related beyond his own success.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep. You are preaching to the converted on that one.

        • Nutta

          If true, that is shameful. Utterly, completely and unforgivably appalling and a betrayal of an absolute essence of our game.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Spot on mate!

        • Rob Andreatta

          Garbage….maybe he wants an Australian to play there…we seem to have a lack of 10’s…

        • Brisneyland Local

          Cheikeister has largely been solely responsible for destroying he stocks of 7 & 10’s through out the country. It is why they all head over seas. Thorn cant get a decent one in his opinion, and decides to sign an available Fijian option that is a known commodity, and Cheika blocks it. SO now he is doing everything to trash Fiji player development as well.
          Not garbage, but fact.

        • Rob Andreatta

          Okay you can be critical of Cheik for certain things…but destroying playing stocks in 1 and 10 is not right at all. I will assume you are referring to Toomua and Gill?
          Also he is “hearing” that’s great I heard a lot of stuff about Link doesn’t mean I accepted it!

        • Brisneyland Local

          7 and 10. Referring to Gill, McMahon, screwing Pocock around by making him play 8. 10’s he has basically shut out anyone that isnt Spanners Foley. Putting Beale in there was pure folley. Toomua would be a good option. But the fact that when Foley completely sucked ass, he still wouldn’t bring in anyone else for a shot. That tells every other 10 out there, your services arent wanted. Same same with 7. Whilst we are on it, he aint doing much better at 9. The Bovine Sprinkler is not the second best choice 9 in Australia. But it pretty much locks out everyone else. There are some things that Cheika cops the blame for but he probably shouldnt. But player selection and the knock on effect it has is his to own! And because he is the only selector, his to own entirely.
          There are many other GAGR’s that will agree with this one.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Absolutely. That is disgusting if true.

        • Hoss

          And a sneaky insight into the mentality of the Wallabies, no disrespect intended, but a Wallaby side afraid of giving a Fijian side some intel – my how the mighty have truly fallen.

        • Singapore Sling

          If this is true where the fuck are the rugby journalists asking putting Cheika on the spot? While they’re at it ask him why a hard working SR 13 like Tom English is overlooked for a has been player with a limited skill set. If he arc’s up hit him in the face with a pie.

        • idiot savant

          Journos dont ask hard questions because they will be excluded from access to the inner sanctum. Its how you neutralise dissent. There are no flies on Cheik.

        • Nutta

          Ahhh, the Mitchell Inner Scrotum.

          The MIS.

          We don’t have Jake the Mus.

          We have Chek the Mis.

        • Who?

          The last time we were this vulnerable to Wales was 2012, where KB played 10, badly, and scrambled in for a long range try at the death to steal it. I didn’t think we had any right to hope to win that game (even though it was Sharpie’s last Test). I feel the same way here. No right to be optimistic.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I completely agree. The blueprint is out for teams to beat us. They know what they have to do.

        • Custard Taht

          Yep, keep kicking us the ball, let us tire ourselves out going side to side, wait for the dropped ball or poor pass and take advantage of either our poor defence or poor discipline.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep. OUr scrum will be targetable. SO will our line out. When attacking run at Beale and Foley!

        • Custard Taht

          Lets not forget the Lineout! Basically, the game plan to beat us is simples: Let the Wallabies try and play rugby.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Sad but true

        • idiot savant

          Line out yes. Scrum no. We have close to the best scrummaging props going around. The ABs are awesome but couldnt dominate us in the scrums.

        • Brisneyland Local

          IS, at best we have scrum parity, occasionally are dominate. Problem is, like all things Aus Rugby related is consistency! We are consistently inconsistant.

        • Who?

          Have a look at Nick Bishop’s column today – he’s basically come out and proclaimed the ABs the best scrum in the world. We did fine against SA. We did VERY well against a VERY good Irish scrum. And I expect we shouldn’t find much trouble up north. Nick Bish has said that Samson Lee’s out, so this weekend shouldn’t be too challenging, against England we’ve got 15kg on each prop, so Italy may be the biggest scrum challenge.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Who, just finished reading it. On paper our scrum should be better than it is. Last year against Italy and Fiji, our scrums were moderate to dominate and we still almost lost those matches. Italy game we should have lost if it wasnt for a generous referump.
          I know I should have more confidence in it but I just dont! ;-(

        • Who?

          I don’t have any confidence in our ability to turn a strong scrum into a win! But I do have confidence that we shouldn’t be giving away metres and points on scrum penalties this November.

        • Brisneyland Local

          To mee, it depends on the whistle blower. Some of those scrum penalties can be so random (to quote a term my young millennial staff use quite often). Do we know who the whistle blowers for the three matches are?

        • Huw Tindall

          It’s old mate Ben O’Keeffe…of shafting the Tahs vs the Crusaders whilst also completely missing Moody’s elbow to Beale’s neck/head.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Then we are screwed!

        • Huw Tindall

          Scrum I don’t think so. Welsh scrum got bossed a bit by England and they are of course without Warburton. The Ken Owens bloke who is Hooke for the Welsh I rate. Had a great game against Scotland and is very handy over the ball.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Play rugby mate that’s all

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep sad but true.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I agree they have a mental block, but if they can’t get over it now then it’s virtually at the point that you just cannot believe in them.

  • Huw Tindall

    As a growth product/side interest the Rapid Rugby thing will be interesting but my word it’s looking like an expensive tournament with all that travel. Hawaii will be the new Argentina…having to fly 18 hours or more from Perth then back! Top marks for effort and passion from Twiggy and his team. Pity they couldn’t make something happen in Western Sydney and with a NZ team. Who knows, maybe they’ll be back and help sort out the next TV rights package along with changes to Super Rugby. I really think someone like Twiggy would be good for Rugby in Australia. A real get it done attitude and no baggage. If only he had played for Randwick or Eastwood!

    • Geoffro

      Mate,playing in Malaysia and Honkers in the heat would be the killer for me.I remember really struggling in preseason and early season games in Sydney in my day and it’s even hotter these days.Thats another expense to throw in-ice vests. Rolling subs make a lot of sense in those conditions.

      • Huw Tindall

        Didn’t think about that. Would be like the Brisbane 10s the other year but worse! Would need to play 20 min quarters!

    • Perth girl

      As RA has done everything in its power to halt or slow down Andrew Forrest’s involvement in Australian rugby I don’t think he will be stepping in to assist RA with Super Rugby anytime soon. The new tournament will be expensive but I dont think Forrest will be the only millionare funding it.

      • Huw Tindall

        Totally and you wouldn’t blame him! I don’t think millionaires is a sustainable solution for a rugby tournament however. Also don’t see Twiggy’s end game. At the least though it’s allowed rugby to have a continued presence and coverage in WA despite RA’s best efforts so there is that to be very thankful for. Keeping the torch burning until we can get a truly united national union.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          Twiggy’s end game is pretty clear to me: a restructure of RA with a new administration, Clyne out of the way and WA included in the Australia Rugby landscape. Until then he can take a few million $ hit.

    • Alister Smith

      If only he bought a FTA TV network and stuck some rugby on it but I was pretty happy we got to watch the Force games on 7 this year and I hope the GRR!! (like a tiger) is shown on FTA next year. I think Fox could do more to promote the game and grow their audience by allowing at least one game of Super Rugby and the match of the round in the NRC onto FTA.

      • andrewM

        Grr..about the only thing I like about the new name!

      • Huw Tindall

        That’s the dream Alister! There have been regular comments from NRC aficionados that Fox wanted to make all NRC games free on live stream but the accountants put the kibosh on it. Personally think it would have been a great idea. People aren’t buy Fox subscriptions just for NRC so they aren’t giving away any serious revenue opportunities. If anything it builds interest in the wider packages and they can advertise all their other programming during the breaks.

  • Archie

    Disagree Eddie…

    If an official is presented with a slow mode replay with a player clearly conducting a shoulder charge with no arm wrap… and that official still does not have the balls to call it for what it is… the issue is with the competency of that official, not the number of officials looking at the incident.

  • Nutta

    Guys, when a fella like Wee Eddy says ‘Look over there!’ and points left it generally has nothing to do with what’s over there on the left.

    He just doesn’t want you to look right…

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Spot on mate. He knows he dodged one last week

    • Brisneyland Local

      Yep but like my Children, the media and the pundits fall for it every time.

  • Alister Smith

    Quick thoughts
    1.AAC – young enough if good enough
    2. Wales – I’ll wait to watch the game but they are good enough to beat us
    3. Global Rapid Rugby – interesting concept but shit name – but it spells GRR !!!! – playing in Malaysia in the wet season would be tough – be interesting to see who will play for some of the sides
    4. I don’t think rugby league wants 2 refs – it would be adopting a failed idea – would be even worse i rugby with so much down to interpretation- now we’ll have two interpretations on field plus tmo- give the touchies some responsibilities on off side lines perhaps and keep one ref

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      In regards to AAC when I last watched him in Europe, he won’t be good enough (I don’t think we should ever return to the days of totally non-passing centres – a centre isn’t a winger, they have to distribute). In regards to being a winger, haven’t we moved past the days of slow wingers? I remember how much better our team immediately got when Horne was injured and Mitchell replaced him in 2015.

      Even if AAC is good enough he is taking the spot of a younger player who may well be better than him by 2019 if given the chance. Would we rather gramps given another shot after literally no first tier rugby, or for Petaia or Banks to be given a shot and hopefully be the incumbent by the world cup? Both of those players are more dynamic than straight running AAC ever was, as much as he used to be a good breakdown exponent in the backs.

      • Ads

        I see more upside in Barnes at 10 than AAC to be honest. And neither are great options.

      • disqus_NMX

        Don’t get too overly concerned about age. When England won the world cup, their team was so full of older players that they were dubbed Dad’s Army by some. If he’s good enough, he’s good enough. If he’s not, he’s not.

        • Who?

          That Dad’s Army team was actually younger than a couple of the teams who followed them through as title winners.
          However… The majority of the age was in key positions, especially in the pack. Where pace isn’t generally as important. Their 10 still played nearly a decade more rugby at the top, their #8 captained the next RWC team…

        • Geoffro

          I reckon AAC is a fair chance against the likes of Davies,North,Kriel or the current iteration of English outside backs but he’ll get skinned by the AB and Irish threequarters (and Scotlands Huw Jones who is a very good o. centre)

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I don’t want to see AAC defending against Liam Williams.

          More to the point I don’t see what he offers in attack whatsoever.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          1. He has slowed down hugely.

          2. We aren’t winning the World Cup, so we may as well build depth.

          3. At his peak AAC wasn’t a great 13 as he never passed, now he is kuchb slower, passes just as little and defends worse (Dane Coles embarrassed him the last two times he played for the wallabies).

          4. Age matters for a winger.

          5. The last thing the Wallabies need is another slow player who can’t pass.

      • Twoilms

        Thing is, Hodge is garbage at 13. He brings nothing. His distribution is average, running game average, can’t defend at 13 properly. AAC had his flaws but he was capable of playing as a specialist 13, particularly in defence. He could also finish a try like no other.

        If anyone else is available, they should be picked ahead of AAC. That includes Petaia. But, if its a choice between Hodge, who is a jack of all trades – master of none, or AAC i choose the latter.

        • Who?

          Hodge’s distribution is better than AAC’s, but the reality is that our 13 rarely plays as a 13. Certainly not in defence, and not even in attack. How much time have Kerevi (in June) and Hodge spent on the openside wing, then receiving wide cutout balls?

        • Greg

          They have to fight 7 for that channel!

        • Who?

          And Folau (regardless of his jersey number).

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          TK is the only one who does.

          Playing Kerevi on the wing makes me wonder if Cheika is a tad insane.

        • Who?

          Given we haven’t seen TK in Gold this year, I’m not 100% certain that Cheika and Larkham’s structures wouldn’t put TK out on the wing this year, too…

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Thing is, that’s all irrelevant even if it was all true, because Hodge is injured and Kerevi will be first choice 13.

          And it isn’t all true, Hodge has defended well and distributed well, despite what you say – which are the only things he’s done a thing 13 as he attacked from the wing.

          AAC is ‘capable of playing a specialist 13′, really? I was under the impression he was a utility back that played 13 during a period on which we were bereft of 13s, and as shafted as soon as TK came around. Passing isn’t optional in a centres game, it’s required, and AAC never passes. Actually, I lie, he passed once to Quade vs Wales in 2013.

          AAC could finish a try well, but I’d take Folau or Digby as a finisher over him, but he was never a specialist centre, he wa a jack of all trades too, and he’s ancient now, and has slowed down hugely.

      • Alister Smith

        At this stage (unless they’ve announced the team while I have been away) there is no intention that they are going to pick him. But, given the injuries to two of the last three incumbents and the relative inexperience of Petaia and the lack of match fitness with Kerevi I think its a fair decision to take AAC on tour as cover and to mentor some of the younger players, including Petaia. I think if Hodge and Kuridrani were both fit then Petaia would be with the u20’s and AAC still in Japan. But I don’t mind if AAC gets a few extra minutes – that gives us an experience option of the bench and a less experienced one and there is nothing wrong with having depth in the squad. If AAC gets a start with the Waratahs and plays the house down and is clearly the best OC option across all the Super Rugby teams then I have no problem taking him to the World Cup. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the next 8-10 months with injury or who we are going to have – and the younger players isn’t always the better option – we don’t know how AAC would have gone in the NRC – he might have ripped it up too. Jordan Petaia is a great young player though and even if he doesnt get selected for the 2019 RWC he probably still has another 2-3 RWCs ahead of him (maybe 4 if he’s not considered too old at 34 years of age ;) ).

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          AAC came from second tier rugby and struggled when he last played international rugby more than two years ago, and even back then wasn’t a great centre.

          Unless you’re seriously suggesting we move back to playing a slow bloke, rather than someone like Banks, on the wing?

        • Alister Smith

          That’s your view. I don’t share it. I think AAC has been one of our better OC’s in the last ten years. He was generally one of the better defenders in that position. He may well be past it but I personally think its worth having a look at him. I don’t think he is an option at wing unless its for injury of the bench.

        • Who?

          I agree that AAC was one of our better 13’s in the last 10 years, but that was 5 years ago. In the last 5, he’s been a winger, or gone.
          I also agree that AAC was one of our better defensive 13’s (behind TK), but whilst he was an excellent ball carrier, he was among the poorer of our regular 13’s at distributing (TK and Kerevi both pass more than him).
          He’s one of our greats, but we don’t play Larkham at 10 anymore.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          We’ve also only really had three outside centres in the last ten years – AAC, TK and Kerevi.

          Pretty hard not to be in one of the better ones when that’s basically all there has been.

          He’s definitely a great in terms of longevity, no doubt. But we don’t need to go backwards with players who don’t or won’t pass, and who have slowed down, and who struggled with the pace of international rugby over 2 years earlier.

        • Who?

          But AAC had to nail down that position… 2009-11 we had guys like Ryan Cross in there. And, given his time at 13 in Gold, I’d have AAC – overall, at their peaks – ahead of Kerevi at 13, for now. But if selecting a team for this weekend, AAC’s not in my team.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Personally, I wouldn’t, as we are already so small at 10-12, and AACs best rugby was on the wing where he just had to finish, not create. It is, however, a defensible position. His peak was probably 7-8 years ago now though.

        • Who?

          I don’t mean I’d have AAC selected this weekend, I mean that on the overall list of 13’s, I think AAC’s record puts him ahead of Kerevi, the same way that Larkham’s record puts him ahead of Foley.
          I am in no way arguing for his selection today, only defending his legacy (something that it’s arguable he’s not doing himself, given he’s saying he wants another RWC when he’s clearly past his best).

        • Brumby Runner

          Now AS, what were Cheika’s words? He (AAC) is not on tour for a holiday. He is expected to play if and when selected by Cheika. Which, I daresay, will be at least off the bench v Wales if not starting.

        • Alister Smith

          I think he will start Kerevi after his game in Japan but I am not going to stick my neck out guessing Cheika’s selections. He may well have AAC on the bench and I wouldn’t have a problem with that against Wales. Petaia is the new shiny toy at the moment and everyone want to play with him. And yes he has played really well through NRC but I would suggest Top League is above NRC in terms of player depth and international experience. I would like to see Petaia on the bench against Italy but would start Kerevi in all three and they also have the option to use Folau there again. I would actually like to see Petaia playing for the U20s to be honest.

  • Bakkies

    No mention of the RA sweeping Longstaff review under and the ACB style mass resignations that followed.

    • Nutta

      Don’t mention the war…

      https://youtu.be/yfl6Lu3xQW0

      • Brisneyland Local

        One of my absolute favourites!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Gold mate

    • Nathan Williamson

      Yeah I was tossing up whether to include it. Decide not to since most of the outcomes/sackings from that report have already happened over the past 3 years, also the results ended up no where near as bad the cricket report (somehow)

      • Perth girl

        Really! The result has ended up pretty badly for rugby in Aus especially in the West. A crucial story I would have thought

        • Bakkies

          Yep the scary thing is that the RA think they have done nothing wrong and go out stating that they want to wipe the slate clean.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Nathan Have to disagree with your comment re the result. The report has not seen the light of day. And a majority of the stakeholders ended up having the interviews cancelled. The initial report or preliminary report was so damming that people lost their jobs, the rest of the review and follow up reports were canned. Also the report was deep sixed. This is not “no where near as bad as cricket’ it is worse. The process didnt occur, and the report was buried deliberately so people never found out how bad the findings were.

      • Bakkies

        It is worse than the Cricket report as BL has covered cancelled interviews, etc the results since have been catastrophic on the pitch, the RA is in the red mainly due to mismanagement not the Wallabies’ opponents which was condescendingly mentioned in an annual report, exodus of players, head coach who behaves like a bold child, captain who is ignorant of the laws and a dunderhead as Chairman.

        The testimony in the Senate Inquiry further highlights Rugby’s bad culture.

    • Custard Taht

      Whilst I understand our WA cousins were shafted, the outcome is not going to change.
      You can keep grinding your axe, but you will run out of iron to grind long before any change comes.

      • Bakkies

        Sweeping it under the carpet like most journalists and The Roar have is saying that this behaviour is acceptable.

        • Custard Taht

          Look it is fucked up, but shit like this happens all the time. The Senate inquiry yielded diddly squat, the ASIC investigation yielded even less…..basically there was no smoking gun and really, the vast majority of Australians don’t give a rats arse about the Wallabies, Super Rugby and Rugby in general.
          It is a big deal in a very little and isolated pond.

        • Bakkies

          The smoking gun was that the RA voted to axe a side in October 2016 based on the August meeting that year. De Clyne threw the toys out of the cot when that was made public.

          What happened last year was a very expensive charade that should have been resolved by the governing body being honest earlier on in the piece.

        • Custard Taht

          If that was the smoking gun, then why has nothing happened?
          The court, the senate and ASIC have all had their say, and found nothing to see here.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          Why has nothing happened? Ask NSWRU and QRU why they continue to support the current administration despite the evidence of mismanagement and the poor outcomes on the field and off the field. Answer: RA is governing in the interest of NSW and QRU at the cost of the rest of Australia. Wholescale change is required but it will not happen under the current structure that favours NSW and QLD interests at the cost of rugby

        • Custard Taht

          When I was a wee lad, I was given this advice “Change the things you can, accept the things you can’t, because life is too short to sweat shit that is out of your control”.

        • Bakkies

          Yes you can change it by not turning up to matches, buying overpriced jerseys, not pay for Foxsports and encourage your club officials to put pressure on the state union.

          I learnt early on that saying and doing nothing is acceptance as you will get screwed over and over again. This country forgot how to protest as there was plenty of that in the 70s, 80s and 90s that drove change.

          Doing nothing will lead to the future having no or little game to follow and play.

        • Custard Taht

          Based on the fact the Bledisloe in Perth is sold out, there is no protest against RA.
          I would say the protest is down to a handful of people.

        • Perth girl

          And you’ve overestimated the Bledisloe match in Perth being a sellout. Most tickets will be freebies for RA arselickers and sponsors, there would be very few tickets for sale to people from WA and most of them would have been sold to AB supporters. Those Force fans who attend will be wearing blue , not as a protest against the Wallabies but as a protest against RA

        • Huw Tindall

          60K seats and most of them freebies? Come on.

        • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

          The fact that Bledisloe is sold out is a protest against RA. I demonstrate that despite the efforts from RA to kill the game in Perth it is thriving despite the RA while the areas that RA are favouring are deClyning. You will see a lot of blue and black at the test match played in Australia showing that fans that are prepare to pay for rugby but protesting against RA misadministration.

      • Perth girl

        You underestimate us CT! Anyway it’s not just about rug by over here in WA it’s about rugby in Australia unless of course you are satisfied with the way RA are running things

      • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

        Custard, a protest is a marathon not a sprint. The rage in WA will continue until the injustice is addressed. The protest has become more intense not less since >10,000 protested the first time, evidence are the crowds to WSR games (the most in the country for “nothing” games) and the sell-out of the Bledisloe test (the first since 2006 and a record rugby crowd for WA). WA fans are united in our disgust at the treatment of WA by RA, RA attempts to swipe the issue under the carpet and start with a “clean sheet” and our willingness to get behind Twiggy and carve out own future independent of RA. In the meantime RA despite their obvious bias towards NSW are struggling even to keep NSW interest satisfied, the Wallabies dropped dramatically in ranking and it becomes obvious day by day that WA is correct and that the game is mismanaged by Clyne and his clowns. The outcome is clear, RA will need to restructure and mend the bridges some day – what is not clear is when that will happen and how much rugby will suffer under this administration before it happens. From a WA perspective the low point was September last year, since then we have made significant progress with WSR, selling out a test match, and GRR competition starting next year – all done despite of the RA administration. We have a lot to be proud of but it does not change our view of RA

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Morning Nathan,

    Thanks for this,

    I think the game this weekend is going to be quite intriguing. I personally think the Welsh have moved forward over the last couple of years whereas I think the Wallabies have regressed. However, I think the recent history between the two does count and it may just hold the balance a bit. Really looking forward to this one and in some ways almost more than the AB vs England (almost!). Eddie is doing a good job of shifting the interest from what was a pretty poor game by both sides last week. I’m sure he is looking at how the Lions played against us and will try and emulate that for this game. Not sure it’ll work that well as he hasn’t got the players for it and Hansen and Co have devised plans to beat that. Either way the game will be great.

    By the way 2 referees is a stupid suggestion, anyone who thinks it has merit is dreaming. All the things he complained about can already be managed if all the officials are actually doing their job. Besides, with the way his players disregarded the off side line I’m not so sure he’ll want it policed as tightly as he says he does.

  • Hoss

    Isnt it the Season to be Jolly ?

    Man, i need to grow a moustache and support Movember – its depressing on here today.

    Conceding defeat to the Livestock Lotharios of the North – not on my watch. Gold 33 Them 19-21.

    Our West Australia friends or ‘Wailers’ still tilting at windmills.

    Buck up gaggers, sure the priest is next to the bed mumbling some shit in Latin, but the patient is still drawing breathe and has a pulse.

    Stay the course.

    • Alister Smith

      I think I saw him reaching for the chrism oil Hoss.

      • Hoss

        Well yes, espiritu santo is in the building, but he’s not needed yet, just yet anyway. Ask me lunchtime Sunday and I may revisit my position.

    • Huw Tindall

      Imagine living a life of such pessimism. It’s depressing even thinking about it. I’m looking forward to seeing how Australia play when they aren’t up against the ABs for once. It must be tough on the psyche getting continually done over by the best team in the world. We need some confidence building wins. Wales won’t punish our mistakes as much as the ABs and if there is one thing that has cost us games this year it’s turnovers. Not delusional and it’ll probably be another tight one but hell we’ve got a good shot of putting one on the Taffies this weekend.

  • onlinesideline
    • Geoffro

      I’m feelin old

    • Huw Tindall

      Yeah I don’t so much miss the Tooheys itself though. Although it’s better than the Fosters over here….

    • formerflanker

      Loved the Sydney v Baa Baas video.
      Also enjoyed all the other ads.
      Thank you.

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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