Wednesday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby
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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News examines Eddie Jones’ perception of the Pocock injury, Genia reflects on test 100, a big call on the horizon for the hottest coach in World Rugby and stars begin to flock to Global Rapid Rugby.


Eddie refuses to take Pocock bait

Laughing off the talk about Pocock

Laughing off the talk about Pocock

As Wallaby fans light candlelight vigils and research voodoo healing spells to try and get David Pocock fit for the clash against England, coach Eddie Jones has refused to bite on the possibility of Pocock missing the clash.

Pocock came from the field during the 26-7 win against Italy after complaining of neck soreness, an injury that had plagued Pocock during The Rugby Championship, causing him to miss the clash with South Africa in September.

Despite the Wallaby camp labelling the injury as merely a “stinger”, Pocock did not train with the side on Monday and halfback Will Genia did not put fans at ease when he said “He’s pretty busted walking around, so I guess that’ll be a call by the doctor and the medical staff”.

Despite these concerns, England coach Eddie Jones was sceptical about the severity of the injury, refusing to bite on any possibility of the loose forward missing the grudge match against the old enemy.

“I hear this every time we play Australia, ‘Pocock’s not going to be fit’,” Jones said. “When I heard it, I thought, ‘here we go again’. You know those merry-go-rounds at the Royal Easter Show? It’s a bit like that. We’re not even thinking about it.”

Jones sees the mysterious reporting of Pocock’s injury as another co-ordinated ploy of mind games by current and past greats, who is already waiting from input from some of his old Randwick rugby mates.

“I’m sure Bob’s (Dwyer) got something to say about that, let’s just wait and see what Bob says,” said Jones. “You know the timing, it’s usually Wednesday. When’s Poido (Simon Poidevin) due? Tuesday? (right on the money) Campo will be Thursday. It’s all lined up, here’s the order, I’m just waiting for it. It’s all coordinated, it’s all fun. If you’re a bookmaker you’d bet on when they’re going to say it.”

Hopefully, Eddie is right with his assesment on Pocock’s injury as the Wallabies look like a different side without him and he would be a crucial loss for this huge encounter.

Willing his way to 100

Australian scrumhalf, Will Genia, runs at the impenetrable Welsh defence line.
One of the main storylines going into the clash against England will be the 100th appearance for stalwart halfback Will Genia for the Wallabies.

Genia will become the 10th Australian and the 2nd halfback to reach the 100 cap mark, with the clash on Saturday (Sunday morning Australian time) symbolically coming against the coach who he began his professional rugby career with, Eddie Jones.

“I remember this fat little bloke in the academy,” Jones told reporters “They said, “Nah, he doesn’t work hard enough”. I remember having a meeting him and his dad, we had a bit of a chat about what he needed to do and where he needed to go and I never saw a boy work as hard as him.”

“I can always remember on a Thursday when we didn’t train he’d always come up and get a bag of balls and practise his box kicking. It’s a real tribute to him how hard he’s worked and what a great player he’s been for Australia.”

Genia has started in 88 of the 99 matches he has played for Australia, and across his 10-year career he has seen plenty of ups and downs, but his passions and belief in the squad has never been stronger.

“I love this team,” he said. “It’s like a family, it’s the most I’ve ever felt part of a team. Whether we win or lose we bust our backsides to work hard on the training field and we make sure we enjoy ourselves off the field and get to enjoy each other’s company.

“That doesn’t always necessarily translate to results but it certainly helps. I love this team, I’m a believer and I’ll be a believer until I am not here.”

Genia will be joined by his family for the historic clash, including his three-year-old daughter who he credits for finding the joy back in rugby.

“She’s one of the reasons that I have refound my enjoyment in the game and why, from my perspective I have played some decent rugby, I just want her to be proud of me and look back on and be able to say, “My dad was good at what he did.” That is very much a driving force for me.”

Scmitten with options

Joe Schmidt has become the most in-demand coach in World Rugby

Joe Schmidt has become the most in-demand coach in World Rugby

After conquering one of the hardest tasks in World Rugby in defeating the All Blacks, Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has another huge decision on his horizon, deciding where his future lies.

Schmidt has become the most in-demand coach after winning the 2018 Six Nations, securing the Grand Slam in the process, which goes nicely along with his 2nd straight win over the consensus number 1 ranked team, New Zealand (despite what Steve Hansen and the NZ media continue to bleat out).

The New Zealander is signed up with Ireland Rugby Union until the 2019 Rugby World Cup and is set to announce his future at the end of the month, a decision that is going to be heavily influeced by his family.

“I’m not that good at many things but I compartmentalise really well,” he said. “So I’m happy to just park that. To be honest, I’d like to think about it but it’s very much a family decision and I haven’t really seen my family since I went to Chicago.”

“We had a pretty good chat about it over the summer and then we’ll just confirm things, one way or the other.”

Schmidt was full of pride for his troops after the impressive performance on the weekend and he was confident that the side would be able to handle the expectations that they will inevitably face heading into their defence of the Six Nations crown and the Rugby World Cup.

“We want to be as good as we can be, so we try to create our own expectation, We’ll benchmark Saturday and say: ‘Can we reach that again? Can we make sure that we deliver at that level.’ Now, you might deliver that again and an All Black team might beat you.”

Schmidt has confirmed himself as one of the best coaches currently going around in World Rugby, if not the best, with his overhaul of Irish Rugby culminating in their back to back wins against New Zealand.

With his contract up at the end of the World Cup, there will be plenty of jobs open for him to choose from, particular one national job close to home whose coaches’ contract will coincidentally finish up at the same time…..ARU…in the words of Jerry Maguire “Show him the MONEY.

Rapid recruit of star players

matt hodgson andrew twiggy forrest dave wessels
As the pieces start to come together for Andrew Forrest’s Global Rapid Rugby, it seems that the competition has begun to recruit some big-name players for 2019.

Forrest will launch the competition between late February to early March and is planning on recruiting up to 20 of the world’s top 100 players.

Two of these players who have already been linked to the competition has been former All Black and Wallaby killer Dan Carter along with former Wallaby Matt Giteau, who have both been plying their trade in Japan for the past couple of years.

The competition will be looking to secure further marquee players for its initial expanded season, and with the sizeable investment that Forrest is putting into the venture along with the lack of a salary cap, this will ensure that it can compete with the big spenders of the Japanese and European competitions.

The competition’s teams are all but settled, with the Western Force set to be joined by teams from Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Fiji, and Samoa, along with an eighth-team that has not been confirmed but is expected to come from Hawaii.

Forrest has noted that his phone has been lighting up with interest, turning into the rugby version of Tinder, Rinder (trademarked by yours truly for potential future projects), full of international stars wanting to play in the competition.

“There’s so much I’d love to tell you. There’s action everywhere,” Forrest said. “We are receiving a number of calls. We don’t have to make them — they’re ringing us. They are some of the best names, you could reel them off the top of your head. I’m not going to mention any of them, but please watch this space.”

The appeal of both staying at home and earning the big bucks could become a huge factor in stopping the typically brain drain that generally occurs after the World Cup for both Australia and New Zealand.

  • Steve

    Unfortunately I doubt Eddie will be too fussed whether Pocock comes good or not this time around – It’s going to be very hard for us to gain parity in the set pieces either way which is going to have a huge bearing on the result. The England back 5 have been really solid this month.

    I also wish we had Tevita back this weekend, would to field Toomua-Kerevi-Kuridrani to really stiffen up the midfield.

    As it stands all I see is a cardboard Wallabies team.

    • UTG

      Why is it going to be hard for us to gain parity in the set piece? This is the same English team that had their lineout completely dismembered by the All Blacks a few weeks ago and our scrum is the best it has been in years.

      • Who?

        Agreed. I think this game will be a bizarro world experience, where we win the scrum, draw the lineout, and get beaten around the field…

        • UTG

          One of our major problems this year has been missing opportunities presented to us. It directly cost us the final game against Ireland and the game on the Gold Coast against the Pumas. In the 3rd Bledislode the defensive stats were about even but NZ capitalised when given opportunity whereas we did not.

          Their defence will be hard to crack, when we do we can’t push the pass or try and throw the miracle offload. Remain patient, reset, and reload is what I’d be telling the players. Take the three points when on offer.

          If we convert our opporunities we may actually have a chance given the setpiece is probably about even and our defence will probably hold firm.

        • Who?

          There’s reasons for our lack of finishing. They range from skill shortages through lack of vision in our playmakers to sheer exhaustion due to our defensive shuffling.
          But we also give away the ball due to poor work through poor support lines (backs), poor support (forwards) and inaccurate cleanouts.
          Further, when we do make a break, whilst sometimes we push a pass (a risk increased by poor support lanes from support runners), we’re even more likely to give the ball to a forward. In the lead up to Koroibete’s second try, with Kerevi having just (again) shredded the defensive line, Gordon got to the breakdown early and threw a beautiful 15m pass to his right to a flying…… Scott Sio. Who was over 10m from the gain line, running back towards the ruck. This is something that Burke has highlighted all year – that the ball isn’t in the hands of the decision makers enough, especially when we make a break. The defensive line’s retreating, disorganized, we’ve got fast ball, and we don’t give it to our playmakers. Where’s the sense in that?!
          I think we’re a good chance of shredding the English scrum (pending refereeing biases), but I don’t hold much hope for the lineout (which has clearly gone backwards this year), I expect our front rows will be strong in general play, I don’t hold much hope that our locks and loosies will be great in the midfield retaining possession, and I don’t hold much hope that our backs will have a clue what to do with the ball they’re provided. Especially if, as I expect, Cheika reverts to Foley and Beale.

        • UTG

          I’d also add that part of our problem in regards to lack of finishing is always being behind the game and trying to do everything too quickly. It’s an easy trap to fall into if you have to score 3 tries in 15 minutes against the ABs. Against the Pumas in Argentina we actually kept our heads and finished off the opportunities for once.

          I think one of Beale or Foley will miss out and Toomua and Kerevi will keep us flatter in attack.

        • Who?

          If either of Beale or Foley play, we’re in trouble. Both are completely out of form, having been coached out of all form all season long (not an uncommon thing in a Gold jersey this decade). And part of Foley’s issue last week was that he was so flat in attack that any time Kerevi tried to offload to him in the tackle, he’d already overrun the ball. Flatness in attack isn’t a player issue, it’s a structural design for the most part (with the ‘out the back’ ‘second line’ plays).
          And the finishing issues? They’re generally as prevalent in the first five minutes as the last five. I don’t imagine Foley would’ve done any differently against Ireland had there been 30 minutes on the clock or had it been after the whistle. And they’re not anywhere near mentally capable of beating the ABs… If they were mentally right, they should’ve beaten Wales, who were also mentally off their game.

        • Brumby Runner

          The sort of vision in the No 9 that you describe is best offered atm by Joe Powell. Phipps, Gordon and even Genia are more likely to go to whichever side of the ruck the “play by rote” says but Powell actually looks to see where there might be a mismatch in the defensive line and more often than not is capable of picking out the playmaker in best position to do some damage.

        • Brumby Runner

          So, pretty much a completely new game plan UTG. But I agree, played with intelligence the Wallabies have the ability to give England a real shake.

        • UTG

          I’m thinking the game plan should be exactly like it was vs Ireland in Brisbane. Keep it simple, get guys running onto the ball at pace, go wide as the exception rather than the rule. The individual talent of players like Kerevi, Folau, Tupou etc. is more than enough to spark some brilliance, we don’t need to manufacture it with complex patterns of play. The nous of guys like Toomua and AAC should enable us to capitalise on opportunities we’re given, they know when to put the ball through the hands as opposed to throwing unnecessary cuts and they know how to put their man into a bit of space.

      • They’re not even contests. It’s not like a maths questions, if 4 > 3 and 3 > 2, is 4 > 2? In maths the answer is always yes. But in rugby, if NZ smash the English line out, and Australia stand up to to the NZ line out, can Australia smash the English line out? Answers from a good soothsayer please… (The little fact that Australia’s line out has been absolutely terrible should not be overlooked, and England are really good at 10 man rugby.)

        Equally, part of scrummaging is certainly technique, but part is mental. The English believe they’ve got the wood over the Wobs pack. They might be rudely surprised come Saturday afternoon of course, but lets say it’s actually 50-50, that core belief may well help them turn those close scrums into a bit more effort, a bit more shove. That has them going forward and has the referee look a bit more kindly on them when he’s not sure. Two or three extra scrum penalties for “the side going forward” because of more self-belief and it looks like England’s day in the set piece.

        I’m not sure that England will win the scrum battle. But I don’t think the Wobs can win the line out battle and if the scrums are even, and it could be a messy day at the office. If the scrums edge England’s way, it could be really bad.

        That said… England were pretty shitty on offence for most of this year, and only just beat a SA side that kept very generously giving them the ball. While the Wobs do that too, England could still fail to score enough points to win the match.

    • Red Block

      England will do what they have done the last 4 times…kick it long and wait for the Wallabies to self-destruct.

  • Brisneyland Local

    MOrning GAGR’s! Coffee in hand, EA is here but is busy fussing over my meeting schedule for the day so I have 10 mins of breathing space! My points for the day:
    – Whether they are foxing with Pocock or not I dont care. I want him on the paddock. He is our best player by a country mile, we are always better with him. I hope he is well enough to play.
    – Big Willy G! The G Man! Sanchez. What a legend. A great servant of Aus rugby well done!
    – Joe Schmidt. Now there is a man I think RA should be pursuing as hard as humanly possible to take over the Wallabies after the World cup. I would still sack Cheika now and bring in an interim coach (Jake White to name one).
    – Go Twiggy. Dan Carter. There is a guy people will pay money to watch play. At least someone has a modicum of business sense.
    – 48 hours till the Ass Clown announces his team! What do we think it is going to be?
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Custard Taht

      I hope Pocock doesn’t play. What is the point of him risking further or even serious injury, by sacrificing himself upon the alter of Cheika.
      This game is basically inconsequential, win and the delusion of Cheika and RA will become more entrenched. Lose, and nothing changes.

      • disqus_NMX

        Spot on, Pocock may as well take another sabatical as far as I am concerned. Save him for a real coach.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Scary isnt it.

        • Custard Taht

          It does my head in thinking about the heads in the sand and pie in the sky attitude of RA/Cheika.

          They are either totally oblivious or completely dismissive of the long term damage they are doing to the game.

          I can’t believe how apathetic I am towards the Wallabies and Rugby in general. I can handle losses, but not in the manner we are currently losing.

        • Brisneyland Local

          CT,

          What I am starting to wonder is what we arent being told. I met RC very briefly once, and she didnt strike me an idiot. Infact quite the opposite. And soooooooooo many of the decisions made lately seem quite contrary to what my impression of her was. I wonder whether she is being squeezed or left committed to a path of action decided before she arrived. She now cant unpick, or unfuck due to either board or contractual decisions already in place. So she just prays for more bread to absorb the taste of the shit sandwich she has to choke down!

        • John Miller

          I had a similar (if brief) one-on-one conversation with Castle at an RA event earlier this year. She is clearly intelligent and far more savvy than she is portrayed on these – and other – pages.

          Testing the waters, I (half-jokingly) proposed that the bureaucracy of “managing up” might be more challenging even than the multifaceted decisions she faced “looking down”. Her wide-eyed, straight faced and silent stare was deafening and spoke volumes.

        • Brisneyland Local

          That sounds like an interesting conversation. Mine was more focussed on trying to get me to return as a Corporate sponsor. I said “Get rid of the current coaching structure and I would return.” Lets just say that was not the response she was looking for.

        • John Miller

          Would love to have been a fly on the wall for that one BL.

        • Brisneyland Local

          It was very short!

        • Custard Taht

          It does seem as though she has a tight leash, whilst Cheika has none. I could only begin to imagine what the boys club of RA must be like, especially towards an outsider.

        • Brisneyland Local

          They are bad enough to their own. I wouldn’t want to be in her position for quids.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          And the sad part is that when you read the posts here this feeling of apathy is prevelant everywhere. Hell I’ve even seen it on posts in the Roar. It just shits me that nothing is being done

        • Custard Taht

          That is the worst part. At least the Rebels should be entertaining next season.

        • RF

          As Castle is publicly undermining Cheika I don’t think that anyone has their head in the sand. It looks like we are heading for a stand off.

          If RA want him out they should pay out his contract.

        • John Miller

          From a few utterances, I suspect Castle does want Cheika out but I wonder if she is being over-ruled by the Board. I don’t think it was coincidence that Clyne (not Castle) was the one to front the media following the end of TRC review to declare “full support” for Cheika. He hadn’t stuck his head over the parapet since the Force debacle prior to this.

          Truth is, RA didn’t even need to pay out Cheika’s contract. All they needed to do was reign in his ridiculous blank cheque: “Cheik, you’ve got a contract that says end of RWC2019 and we’re honouring that. But, there’ll be some changes. Here’s your independent selection panel moving forward. Here’s your new coaching support team. Oh, and you’ll be agreeing KPI’s with the new Director of Rugby to whom you’ll also now be reporting – I believe you know Jake White.”

          How long to do you think MC would suck eggs for?

          Resignation pending. No payout required. Interim coach appointed (“Jake, you know the team, the structures, the coaches, the processes – guide us through 2019 would you.”

          That’s what an administration with cojones would have done. What RA has done however, is SFA.

        • Bakkies

          Munster pulled the DoR hat over the late Anthony Foley which was inevitable but when they did it people raised a lot of comments in anger in how they did it. Foley was groomed as a future Ireland coach but had a lot of weaknesses in his management style despite his Rugby brain.

          Foley took months to accept a contract extension and went past the deadline with results and attendances dropping so Munster through Nucifora hired Rassie Erasmus as DoR in the dark of night and he was a matching personality to Foley.

          Anyone who has seen Rassie being interviewed as a player on YouTube knows that he studied the game, had figures per opposition, built a database on how the game was refereed so he planned for situations on the pitch, like Foley scored a lot of tries as he knew where the ball will end up (both were always fit) and that database was built on DoS which took hours.

          Foley was the same his sister Olive who has played for Ireland said in one of his obituaries that Axel would sit in the lounge with his old man Brendan who was a fine player himself both spent hours with the curtains shut on a sunny day analysing games. Rassie and Foley were both raised in the countryside so they had a lot of time and space to think. They appear distant and staring in to space but really they are thinking about the game.

          Foley like Chieka struggled with the media to the point where he was accused of being plain rude to people he used to play with, had detoriariting results, attendances dropped and there were rumours of him playing politics under previous coach Rob Penney, allegations of a spreadsheet being leaked which saw certain players have their careers changed or ended and jobs for the boys as assistants.

        • RF

          Sounds like the grounds for a text-book constructive dismissal case if they tried that.

        • John Miller

          I’m no employment law expert, but would constructive dismissal be likely if RA is plainly acting to remedy measurably poor performance? The least successful coaching results of the professional era might qualify.

        • RF

          It is not simply changing the hierarchy, it would be drastically changing his job description, duties and working conditions. RA wouldn’t even contest a legal challenge.

        • John Miller

          Thanks RF. Makes sense.

      • UTG

        No need to risk Pocock when we have Hooper playing the house down like he did on the weekend. 20/20 tackles made, massive effort. Go with 6. Samu, 7. Hooper, 8. Dempsey instead.

        • Custard Taht

          Yep. That is a good balanced back row overall.

      • Missing Link

        I think not playing Pocock will increase our chances of winning. Not only will have Eddie spent time studying how other teams have nullified the pooper, we don’t want an 80% fit David Pocock on the park. Agree, don’t risk him. Play Dempsey, Hooper and Timu in the back row and take the result on the chin

        • Simon

          Yeah, there is strong logic for trying an unconventional backline just to shake things up. Spring a potential surprise on They Who Fear Soap in a match that nobody gives us much chance of winning anyway. There’s nothing to be gained risking Pocock, they have us covered across the park and any breakdown advantage he gets us will inevitably be squandered elsewhere, probably immediately at the resulting lineout. Write off the last of this year, give some of the fringe players the chance to prove themselves, and start afresh next year.
          It makes so much sense that there’s zero chance Cheika will do it. Pocock will need to be unable to get out of bed to avoid being named IMO.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      When I’m next in Brisvegas I’m going to have to take a trip to your office, mate. See where it all happens!

      • Brisneyland Local

        DB, believe it or not, my office is in Sydney. I am now working down in Syd Mon-FRi. I get to fly home for the weekends.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          What do you do?

          I might actually be in Sydney this Friday, or the next, if I’m able to take a day off work!

        • Brisneyland Local

          I unfuck Government problems!
          I am based at Parramatta at the moment.

        • Bobas

          Hiding in Parramatta, where Cameron Clyne and the guy you call ass clown will never find you.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep. They have never been this far west in their life.

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          Oh, I thought you said ‘Sydney’. Everyone knows that Parra isn’t part of Sydney. At least, everyone at RA.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Oh so true.

    • Bobas

      Ainsley
      TPN
      Kepu
      Simmo
      Coleman
      Hanigan
      Hooper
      Dempsey
      Phipps
      Foley
      Koroibete
      Beale
      AAC
      DHP
      Folau

      • Geoffro

        Imagine if that team beat the poms,love to see EJ’s face and the kerfuffle on here

        • Bobas

          I think the gagr servers would experience two ddos attacks, just like the servers the census website did a couple of years ago.
          One when the team is named.
          Second when they beat England.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Is that what you think he will pick? Or what you would pick?

        • Bobas

          Them fighting words

        • Brisneyland Local

          Sorry Bobas, was being genuine!

        • Bobas

          Ainsley is a lemonade sandwich, if he played for the tahs more people would know it.

      • Sambo

        Worth a shot?

        10. Toomua
        11. Koroibete
        12. Kerevi
        13. Folau
        14. AAC
        15. DHP

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate I personally think Folau is a shit 13. For me he should play 14 and only 14. I’d have Petaia at 13

        • Sambo

          Agree. I was thinking this weekend. Is Petaia fit again? If so I would be:

          10. Toomua
          11. Folau
          12. Kerevi
          13. Petaia
          14. AAC
          15. DHP

    • Patrick

      LIke everyone else, I agree on the coaches, but not Pocock. I already think I’ll be skipping the pub with the local poms, we may as well play without him – maybe someone else will step up!

      • Brisneyland Local

        I am worried if he comes back and is still not 100% and hurts himself. But selfishly I want him on the paddock because i love watching him play!

      • Geoffro

        Dempsey has the potential , not that enamoured with Samu though.(or were you talking about someone else stepping up to the bar at the pub,I can manage that)

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Morning mate.

      Gotta love EA’s at least they keep you honest.

      – I’d be worried about Pocock taking the field if he’s not right. There’s always a risk that “it’s the last game of the season so it will be ok” mentality creeping in. Absolutely he is needed but not at the expense of his health or being available next year. I mean lets face it on or off the Wallabies have very little chance of beating England.

      – fantastic achievement by Genia. Yes he ha some issues that a good coaching team would have rectified but he’s still by far the best option for Australia.

      – I’m a bit Meh! over the Twiggy rugby. I think they’ve stuffed with the rules too much and it’s been denigrated to an exhibition that will have no relevance elsewhere. Pretty sad actually.

      – Go Jones, you just know he’s dying to say more and lets hope the gloves slip off as I love it when him and Cheika go for it together.

      – This weekend – more of the same with protected love children being protected.

      • Brisneyland Local

        YEs she keeps me honest.
        – Pocock. I think you are 100% right on that one.
        – Yep I would love to see Genia with serious coaches. That little refinement could make him close to the best 9 in the world.
        – Twiggy rugby, I can understand the hesitation over rule changes. I think that is being used as a brand differentiator. In time I think it will come back closer to regular rugby to included pathways management for players.
        – Yep I hope Eddie gives Cheika serve.
        – I hope not on protected species but am sure it will be more of the same.

        • Bakkies

          Some of Twiggy’s law experiments have to deal with the conditions. I don’t agree with points changes and the thugs charter.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah agree. I think in time it will return more towards the normal style of rugby. It is more a marketing differentiator! GRab the attention of those that are lost.

    • st saens

      Morning BL
      My predictions for Cheika’s team
      1 Folau (Because league FBs wear ‘1’)
      2 Foley (coach misread Larkham’s note ‘should be hooked’ as ‘should be hooker’)
      3 Genia (has propped the team up for 99 games already)
      4 Rodda (because he was bloody good last week)
      5 Hannigan (crash ball merchant)
      6 Hannigan (two blondes are better than one)
      7. Superdooper Hooper the untouchable
      8. Timu (left out recently because Cheika forgot he existed)
      9. Toomua (suspicions rising that he ‘needs to enjoy his rugby more’ so try him out of position, then drop him)
      10. Phipps (a must play kind of player…neither back line (nor he) will know who he is passing to)
      11. AAC
      12. Kerevi (coach gotta get some right)
      13. Folau (moves forward into number 1 at scrum time, otherwise plays out of position at 13)
      14. AAAAA (provides neat symmetry with AAC on the other wing)
      15. Folau Faainga (best in the world under the high ball and I think his wife wants him there.

      Bench take your pick of Higgers, McMahon, Gill, Fardy, NicWhite…

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        That’s gold mate

        • Greg

          Damn…. it seems the team sheet has leaked.

          I proposed Foley or Beale for 2 & 3 last week.

        • Bobas

          Even if the RA ratings were their accidental number this week we’d only see them in the second row.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Depends whether GAGR or Fuxsports did their ratings.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Pure gold SS!

      • Happyman

        Perfect mate just change Folau Faainga to Palestine as in not quite israel and you are perfect.

      • Missing Link

        Your number 8 should be “Tim Who?”

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure Gold.

      • Simon

        Crash ball merchant! We should start calling him Hulk Hanigan.

    • Bakkies

      Pocock shouldn’t play.

      On Carter he said months ago that he would be interested in working with a Hong Kong side if he couldn’t play he would look at getting involved in the coaching.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Excellent. Even though he is a Kiwi, I always liked the cut of his jib!

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan, I’m looking forward to the gloves coming off and the usual spiteful shit being touted. Always makes me laugh. I hope Pocock is ok but TBH whether he plays or not I think the loss is still on the cards so I’d rest him.

    Fantastic achievement by Genia. Regardless of perceived or real issues he is by far and away the best 9 in Australia and is one of the few players who I think would actually be looked at by another country. I hope he does play for his 100 games and that he has a blinder.

    Jos Schmidt is certainly flavour of the month. Personally I’d wait and see how he does at next years RWC first as Ireland have never kicked out of the Qtr finals so lets wait for that first. I think Australia could do much worse than him but I’m not sure he’d actually want the job. I personally think that Cheika and the players power plays have tainted Australian rugby too much and the good coaches would want to wait for some of the players and administrators that encouraged this have moved on. I think you’d find some players with long term contracts sitting outside the team and being paid big money to not be there with a good coaching team. The other issue is “who is the team he would bring?” It’s not about one person and the Australian coaching team needs a total clean out. I’m not sure Schmidt will have an entire team available to come with him and he’d be more interested into going into a setup where there was at least some members there that he wanted to keep on. That won’t happen here.

    Looking forward to seeing the team line up tis week. Not sure I’ll be happy with it but it’ll be interesting if nothing else.

    • Happyman

      Mate I am always about the system rather than the individual coach. The main reason the Irish are not he rise is systems they have in place. Australia is set up looking for the next big thing a kid with a youtube video and an agent will go further at the moment than a proper Rugby player.

      The Irish have David Nucifora as director of coaching. Proved to unpopular for the Gregans, Larkhams and Kafers of this world.
      They used to have Les Kiss as a Defence coach
      Joe Schmidt is clearly a great coach also.
      They are clearly aligned from top to bottom (I am sure there are some political issues but they clearly have a plan.)
      The big thing with the Irish rugby is they are set up to succeed they have built depth and have a system that everyone understands. If you play in a certain position you have to have certain skill and play a certain way. You can bring extra qualities to the game based on your ability but there are certain non negotiable. Thus with no Connor Murray you can just plug another half into the position and you know what you are going to get and he knows what he has to do.

      The team this week could be almost anyone I honestly do not know what it is going to look like. I wonder what the bookies would give you if you could pick the team but also with the correct positions. The odds would be pretty high I think.

      • Adrian

        Good analysis Happy, and correct understanding of the old boys from Canberra, and currently from Foxtel and RA or both.

        Bookies odds 8.5 start for us. They use a formula which disregards selections, and its mostly right.

        I have no idea what/who will be picked either, nor the tactics. The tactics are everything however, the guys are confused and/or not much good, or….good at something’s and not others

      • Geoffro

        Feel good for Dave Nucifora,he’s had a rough trot in and away from the game and Oz rugby could do worse than bringing him home.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Would he want to come back after the way he was treated

        • Geoffro

          Probably not or at least while members of the hatchet brigade are stiil involved with RA

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah the Irish setup is a big plus and has definitely assisted their growth and good play. I’m not sure that any coach wouldn’t struggle with the setup here

  • Damo

    The really depressing thing is that Pocock is the only Australian player that Eddie would gives a rat’s arse as to whether he plays or not.

  • Silver Ghost

    Just over a 100 years ago another group of disenchanted Rugby people started a new competition with modified rules. Even though this comp has been sanctioned by a moribund RA, is history repeating itself?
    I don’t think I’ll follow Twiggyball. IMO if Australian rugby was played at the standard of other leading countries we wouldn’t talking about modified rules!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I agree mate. The changes make it irrelevant and too easy for RA to ignore

    • onlinesideline

      Im actually for it. I think the rule changes are in the same spirit as the comps creation. Rebellous and a pretty big middle finger to the establishment. Lets face it. Most games are not of the Irish – AllBlacks level. Most games are pretty average these days. Just a constant pick and drive and the 2 league style decoy runners (blockers really) out wide. Anything that tires out the big fellas and enables more overlaps to be created is good in my book. The Bash and barge of backlne is sore on the eye as as a spectator. I would much rather see faster forwards bring the moment forward and let the flashy backs entertain rather than bulky forwards bash it up and force a setup again. Not all changes are good but the game needs a shakeup in the direction of making it faster. How many times have ppl complained about riduclously long stoppages and lack of atmosphere. If a game needs dumpf dumpft dumpf played every minute or so, is that an indication the rules need adjusting ?

      • Silver Ghost

        Understand your sentiment. But this is starting to it look like league.

        Next – to speed up the game drop 2 players, then to speed it up even further bastardise the scrum. Oh, and 1 more thing after 1 team dominates the pick and drive (like St George of old) change the rules to 6 tackles only.

        Hmmm. For me, give me proper rugby.

        Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

        • onlinesideline

          well maybe the League – esque aspects of the rule changes we dont need but things like fastening up stoppage times in lineouts and scrum resets I dont think can hurt. Or 40/20 intoduced or no marks in the 22 . They sort of make sense to me. We will have to see.

      • Huw Tindall

        Agree the game is too much about bash and barge right now. Not a gain for all shapes and sizes anymore – just behemoths. Shot clock on kicks and speeding up lineouts/scrums is a great idea.

        • onlinesideline

          there is a reason AFL posts are in rugby schools now – if the code doesnt change its all over for rugby in OZ – not so much for other countries.

    • Missing Link

      I wont ignore it, I’ll definitely have a look at it, however I’m not going to watch it because I think Super Rugby is broken, I don’t think Rugby needs any gimmicky rules – just my opinion. We currently have a great game, I’d just like the Wallabies and Aus teams to be more competitive.

    • Gun

      I’ll watch it. Rugby needs to exist in the sporting market place and having the ball in play for 35-40% of the time is too little. We won’t get new fans from other codes with this stat and the game has been run by the global stuffed shirts (IRB and others) and vested interest here for too long. All games evolve.
      I’m not sure on the 40/20 though, have to see how it goes.

    • Adrian

      On the money Silver

  • IIPA

    Rinder is a bit too close to Grinder.

    I think GRR will end up not tinkering with the rules too much. Main thing is reducing time for scrum and play resets and creating more ball in play equals more points.

    54-51 was the score in Monday night NFL this week and the Yanks are carrying on like it’s the greteast game ever played and this style of offence and point scoring will revolutionise / save the game over there.

    It what the fans want it seems.

    • Bakkies

      Well that was the way Super 12 was but in reality two of the SA teams were shite despite their pedigree, the kiwis hadn’t balanced their sides out yet and the European teams were slow on the up take in regards to professionalism. Alan Quinlan and Ronan O’Gara in their books mentioned that Macqueen influenced Jim Williams and John Langford gave Munster their professional attitude.

  • Bobas
    • GeorgiaSatellite

      At least we beat Ireland (once out of 3, but still).

  • Adrian

    Thanks Nathan, good stuff on a flat day.

    No news on Wallaby injuries, just on sickness,..but I won’t go there.

    I’m (as usual) more interested in Wallaby tactics and team v England.

    Except for the second half v Argentina, the attacking tactics have been decided by the toss of a one sided coin.

    Glenn Ella lamented about this on SBS prior to Italy game. We could well use him, and don’t need to give him administrative power if we do that.

    Bookies say we’ll lose by 8.5, and they’ve been pretty accurate lately re Wallaby games. That’s probably accurate if another predictable team is picked.

    I’d rather pick a team which will probably lose by 10, but has an outside chance of winning, than a safety first side with no chance of winning.

    Once again, tactics are everything. Can the defence work 3 weeks in a row?

    Can other players notice that Kerevi, Kepu and (at times) Tuopo took the ball on the fly?

    Who is our least worst 5/8?

    We know he can play 13, but can the new passing genius AAC play 12? I fancy him at 12, with Toomua sending cut-out passes to Kerevi on the fly at 13…wother AAC running decoy.. but that’s just me.

    Will Folau be apply again because Kerevi is the main man?…or will Izzy pull his finger out and be main man?

    Lots of challenges for the Wallabies

    • John Tynan

      Nice commentary as always, Adrian. If it’s a Toomua/Kerevi/AAC inside back combo, that’s actually the order I would play them, rather than AAC at 12 ie reversion to type under pressure would see the ball tied up to narrow when he opts to tuck and run. I would like to see Kerevi as our Nonu/SBW lookalike in the 12 channel, because he can nearly always get an arm free.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Very true.
        Provided there is a runner along side of him to recieve an offload it would be even better.
        Kerevi is certainly becoming a better poker player. Knows when to hold and when to fold.

      • Adrian

        I agree in theory re Kerevi at 12, but at the moment I think it would reduce his bullocking running. England will (maybe) defend well at 12, and will remember shutting down Kerevi at 12 in 2016. Even worse, Kerevi might remember it too, and lose confidence.

        I also think that unless it is Jordan Petaia, we probably don’t have anyone to run off him.

        I was also trying (much to my amazement) to fit AAC in for this England game.

        I’d try anything though, not a lot to lose

        • Who?

          Kerevi’s issues in 2016 were increased by the quality of player at 10 inside him. Remember, England 2016, it was the game Quade was dropped after steadying the ship being slowly sunk by Foley. Even though Quade had Foley stepping on his toes from 12. So Foley moved back to 10 for England, after showing he wasn’t quite completely out of form (only ‘mostly’ by that point), and then had to deal with a backline he doesn’t understand (i.e. people looking for him to create opportunities for them, rather than a 12 who’s carrying much of the creative work). Better flyhalf, and a better result for Kerevi. Plus, one of the few who understands support lines is AAC – I’d expect he’d run well of Samu’s hip (and, thankfully for Salt and Pepper, Samu’s not the quickest back to be asked to support).

        • Adrian

          Yes Who, I’d try it, why not

        • Brisneyland Local

          That has merit. Gee I wish we had another Digby Ioane tye player running off Kerevi at 12.

        • UTG

          There’s a lot of talk, particularly in Super, about getting players to run off Folau but he’s actually at is his best when he’s running off other players. I’d be telling him to trail Kerevi in attack and wait for him to get a hand free. Chances are if he gets it on the burst inside the opposition’s 40 it will be lights out.

          Also think Kerevi 2018 is a different beast to Kerevi 2016. He’s added a lot to his distribution game and i think he had a real turning point after Bledislode I 2017 and been a much better player thereafter.

        • Adrian

          Yes UTG
          Kerevi is miles better now than in 2016, but he still could be spooked by the occasion.
          Really, I’d have him anywhere, but he did look comfortable at 13 last week. I guess that’s all I’m saying

        • UTG

          Very true RE Kerevi at 13. His real strength is getting slightly on the outside of his opponent and slipping away. He’s much easier to manage at 12 where you can double team him and he has less space to work with.

        • Huw Tindall

          Assuming Toomua is 10 or 12. With Beale or Foley outside/inside him respectively, I’d slot AAC onto the wing. Showed he has rugby nous and if you listened to the GAGR podcast this week that is something that Larkham admitted the team doesn’t have – no on field rugby brains. Even on the wing you could see his influence. Means leaving out DHP (with Sefa or Marika adding the speed and aggressive defense) and that’s a tough call.

        • Adrian

          That’s not bad either Huw. I quite like it.

          I suspect that DHP will play though, and the guys to miss out will be Koeebette and Naivalu. Therefore it could be: DHP, Folau, Kerevi, Beale, AAC, Foley, Genia.

          I think it would be a tough call to leave DHP out, but I would do it, mainly for reasons of speed.

          The advantage of having DHP in though, is that he stays back in attack, and is therefore available to field a kick from first phase turnover ball

    • juswal

      “decided by the toss of a one sided coin” . . . a nice turn of phrase.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Good questions Adrian. I prefer Kerevi as a 12 and I’d have AAC as 13 if Petaia wasn’t ready. Much prefer Petaia looking at the future, so maybe him start with AAC as reserve. Toomua is not only least worse but actually quite good if he’s just bloody well allowed to play there. Folau needs to pull his head out of his arse and start getting involved. He actually looked like a petulant little teenage boy last week. I thin k he’s got headspace issues and that needs to be sorted.

      • Adrian

        He could pray!

        • Brisneyland Local

          Boom tish!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Ba-boom!

    • RF

      These 2 underperforming sides will likely deliver a tier 2 nation game, either of these average sides could win. Certainly nothing to fear in England.

  • RF

    Tough situation for the NZ union.

    Opportunity to pre-sign the best coach in rugby but don’t want to piss off Hansen and Foster ahead of the World Cup.

    It probably will be time for fresh blood in the setup. New Zealand had no plan B when plan A didn’t work. Plan B had always been Plan A with more intensity, not enough against sides who match their intensity.

    • Missing Link

      they keep telling us they’re constantly reinventing the game….

  • Bakkies

    https://thewest.com.au/sport/western-force/andrew-forrest-issues-bold-rebuke-as-global-rapid-rugby-launches-ng-b881026934z

    His podcast with Oliver Peterson from 6PR goes in to further details. The RA cancelling meetings due to illnesses which is bullshit as they were stalling, sticking the boot in to NSWRU over western Sydney and full of praise for Castle well he is hardly going to slag her when needing her approval.

    In regards to de Clyne he did appear when he gave the RA 75 out of 100 when the annual report was released in April. Alan Jones mentioned last Friday what we already know that he is skipping IRB and Sanzaar meetings due to dislike of travel but appearing at test matches stuffing his ugly face.

Rugby
@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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