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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at David Pocock’s fitness, Daryl Gibson re-signs with the Waratahs, inside the preseason with the Reds and the loss of further talent to rugby league.


Pocock non-committal on fitness

david pocock

Brumbies and future saint David Pocock has refused to call himself a certain starter ahead of their clash against the Rebels, with the flanker still working back to full fitness after dealing with a variety of niggling injuries over the preseason.

Pocock has struggled with neck and shoulder injuries since nearly being decapitated at various stages throughout the Rugby Championship and Spring Tour with his preparations also been hampered by a calf strain during Wallabies camp in January.

Pocock and Brumbies coach Dan Mckellar was non-committal about the flanker’s availability ahead of the ACT side’s opening match against the Rebels on Friday, with Pocock noting that he was getting back close to full fitness.

“Getting there,” Pocock said. “I have great support here with Ben Serpell and the strength and conditioning support team so I am in good hands. I am getting back into the swing of things, getting the body right, getting across all the plays and meeting a bunch of new players. I think we are good to go now.”

Pocock’s nagging injuries prevented him from participating in any of the Brumbies trial matches, but the lack of game time did not seem to worry him, taking confidence out of the extensive contact and fitness work done in the lead up to the season.

Ahead of the clash with the Rebels, Pocock was full of praise for new Rebel Quade Cooper, who was happy to see his former Wallaby and schoolboy flyhalf  back playing Super Rugby (Fun fact: Cooper and Pocock began their schoolboy career at flyhalf and inside centre respectively according to the article)

“It’s great for Australian rugby to have players like Quade Cooper in the mix and playing. People enjoy watching him play. He is certainly one of the most talented players I have played alongside and against,” he said.

Gibson re-signs (for now)

Re-signed for another year

Re-signed for another year

NSW coach Daryl Gibson has inked a one-year extension with the Waratahs,  extending the New Zealander’s contract until 2020, which is likely to be his last season.

The extension will push the former All Black centre past Ewen Mckenzie as the longest tenured coach of the NSW side, however, his stay at the helm is set to end in 2020 regardless of results.

Rather than giving the cliche goal of wanting to finish with a title, Gibson’s focus was to provide stability to rugby in NSW and the retention of talent amongst heavy raids from other codes, which seems to be an uphill battle as evident in the story below.

“The ideal scenario is that we’re vibrant and strong every year,” Gibson said. “No reason we shouldn’t be strong every year. Given the talent pool and resources available.”

“We need to continue to do a better job of trying to retain all the talent that comes through our schools and clubs pathways and gets picked off by other codes. We’re doing a better job of retaining a lot of that. We’ve seen that with Will Harris … who was in hot demand with rugby league clubs.”

Gibson and the Waratahs are set to kick off their campaign against the Hurricanes in front of a sold out crowd at Brookvale Oval, which is a nice indicative of the strength of the sport on the northern beaches, as evident by clubs such as Manly and Warringah who drew upwards of 10,000 for their local derby last year.

The Waratahs are expected to be bolstered by the return of the majority of their Wallaby contingency who were unavailable or played limited minutes during their trial matches, with inside centre Kurtley Beale set to cross the white line from the bench and halfback Nick Phipps not expected back for another 2-3 weeks.

Reds commando roll to finals campaign

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto  Reds v Chiefs trial 2019 (photo credit: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel)

In hopes of installing physical and mental toughness in his young side, Reds coach Brad Thorn has once again put his troops through a gruelling, old fashion three-day camp with the Australian Army on the Gold Coast in his quest ro return the Queensland side to the finals.

This practice was introduced by Thorn in his rookie season when he performed a classic stitch up on his team, when a promised Gold Coast ‘retreat’ turned into a three day camp with the Australian Army at the Kokoda Barracks in Canungra (to be fair, for Thorn this would probably what he would consider being a relaxing retreat)

“It was pretty tough,” captain Samu Kerevi confirmed. “Last year was probably tougher in the sense that we didn’t know what was coming, this year we knew it was coming. They gave us a bit more food this year than last and it was an awesome experience.”

“That time together and those team activities — there were nights where we’d think we’d sleep but we wouldn’t. We walked miles and miles — I don’t know how many — we pushed trailers, we carried people, injured combatants that we had to carry for ages, a couple of hours for walks.”

Kerevi was full of praise for the program and for his tough as nails (literally) coach Thorn, who was known for his physical and mental toughness which allowed him to thrive in the heat of the battle and embrace the “dark places” of these moments.

“It was awesome for us, it really brings the team together knowing how much the mind can push the body,” said Kerevi, who inherited the Reds captaincy from Scott Higginbotham this season. “You think your body can only get to a certain stage but with perseverance and the mind, pushing those limits, you can actually do more than what you think.

“So in that sense, it was really awesome to find out how far we can go, how far we can push the body, how far we can mentally handle that pressure. That’s going to really help us in games when we know we’ve been through tougher situations.”

Thorn’s coaching style has reflected how he played the game and hopefully, preseason camps such as this can help to install a much-needed toughness in Queensland and Australian rugby.

League continues its talent raid

Another schoolboy lost the league (this is all that comes up when you search Australian schoolboys in our media library)

Another schoolboy lost the league (this is all that comes up when you search Australian schoolboys in our media library)

Rugby League has continued to wrap up and poach the future of Australian rugby, with South Sydney signing teenager prodigies Lachlan Ilias and Joseph Suaalii until the end of 2021.

Both Suaalii and Ilias have represented Australia in the underage Rugby Sevens and follows the trend of notable players such as Angus Crichton and Izaia Perese who have been lured to the dark side by NRL clubs South Sydney and Brisbane respectively.

“We believe Joseph and Lachlan have long and fruitful NRL careers in front of them,” Souths head of football Shane Richardson said. “It’s exciting to see young talent like Joseph and Lachlan in the red and green, showing the Rabbitohs are the club of choice for young talent in our game and young players from other codes”

Ilias was selected in the Australian schoolboy’s squad during their tour of Scotland and Ireland and he has long juggled his commitments with both codes, having represented NSW at the under 16 levels along with playing first grade for Trinity Grammar School for the last three years.

The loss of Suaalii is especially massive for the code, who despite only being 15, has already made his first-grade debut for The Kings School, which led to Suaalii representing the Combined States at the Australian School Championships.

The wrap on Suaalii was particular high within rugby circles already, having already been invited to train with the Australian men Sevens team with particular Souths officials believing that he even had the potential to represent the Wallabies whilst still being in high school.

As Daryl Gibson said earlier in today’s rugby news, there needs to be a serious focus put in the retention of these multi-code players who continue to the choose the other codes who can offer these teenagers big money.

  • Ian Rodger

    Even with the fighting fund we can’t keep hold of these youngster. Personally i had’n’t heard of these guys but they seem to be getting some huge right ups.
    These seem like the guys we should be hanging on to.

    • Who?

      When was the last time we produced a genuinely talented half, who showed talent through school, club, Super Rugby, won a gold cap before he was 23 and managed to establish himself in the national team..? I don’t think we’ve done that in a decade. Foley was (I think) 24. Frisby would’ve been close, but didn’t establish himself. So it’s probably Genia and Cooper… How can Australian Rugby – with such a rich tradition of brilliant 9’s and quality 10’s – have allowed itself to get to this position?!

      • Ian Rodger

        I honestly couldn’t tell you mate! I don’t live in Oz, so don’t know the ins and outs of all levels of rugby. I can only comment on the things i see in the news or hear from the family over there.

        • Who?

          All good mate, it was really more a rhetorical question. :-) Even moreso, given I think I’ve answered it.

    • Happyman

      There are plenty of very good young players. I personally think it is not about money nut about education.

      There are also plenty of talented players who love rugby and want to play the game. I would suggest that giving guys the opportunity to train with quality specialist coaches is the answer. Throwing limited resources at Schoolboys is just not playing the numbers game.

      As I see it the real issue now is that they will continue to play school rugby depriving another of the chance to play at that level.

  • NSWelsham in London

    I find it interesting that yesterdays news had Will Genia praising Quade as a brilliant fly-half and teammate and today we hear from Pocock saying something very similar. I cant remember if or ever there has been an article from any player saying the same thing about Foley. Maybe the players are in the same mindset as the public and can see his deficiencies. Anyway, I am getting tingly feelings thinking about this year, lets hope we can see something positive and we have something to smile about and a national team we can be proud of..

    • Brisneyland Local

      Couldnt agree with you more. Gee Foley must be feeling like he is being dammed by faint praise. Or in his case, none at all.
      Does it feel like the players are shaping their environment?

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Imagine Quade’s career had he played for the Tahs rather than the Reds.

        Or even imagine Toomua’s had he played for the Tahs rather than the Brumbies.

        The propaganda circus from Fox and the SMH is hideous.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep. Well looks like the senior Wallabies are starting some propaganda of their own. In Psychological Operations, this is call called Psychological condition. I hope it works.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Mate I agree. Maybe the feeling inside the camp isn’t as rosy as Hooper and Cheika keep telling us.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        I’ve heard from many people that I trust who say they have sources inside the camp who assure me it isn’t good at all.

        Although I think the KB/AAC farce, coupled with all the stuff that came out about the tour in South Africa, already told us that.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Don’t worry, I think Foley does just fine being praised by every Fairfax and Fox employee every day.

      • Huw Tindall

        Gold. There is some beer on the laptop right now. Cheers!

    • Happyman

      QC was just sensational at club level last year passing on detail to younger players at e very opportunity.
      I would suggest that if he wanted to he could be an excellent skills coach when he hangs up hi boots.

    • Hoss

      I cant stands it no more.

      Good afternoon to those in lesser states & territories (snigger – not even an real state) from the cradle of our great nation, the strongest economy and home to all things beautiful – NSW

      For those of you in Queensland (and Queensland Sympathisers – i am looking squarely at you Mexico) I am typing this slowly as i understand you do not read very well – try sounding out the words first, you’ll get there – kindy will be the toughest 8 years of your life. After that its a life of crime that awaits – scott-free. Cant solve old homicides in Queensland as there are no dental records and all the DNA is the same.

      I cant stand by and watch the soul, nay, the nursery of Australian Rugby besmirched on these great pages by heathens of a lesser state and i will be damned if i am gonna cop vitriol and unsubstantiated character assassination of Spanners – not on my watch, no sir, not ever.

      Spanners needs, wait, deserves to be the prominent 10 in Australia with supporting coverage to match –

      Who was it that bombed a series win v Ireland with his last pass to an unsuspecting pie eating, beer carrying punter named Roy Dawson in row C7 in the third test ?
      Who is it that kicks less distance than female 7’s players from Sudan when they kick into the teeth of the Sudan westerlies?
      Who is it that has the lowest successful completed tackle rate of all international 10’s ?
      Who is it that cant pass L2R at all ?

      That’s right – Spanners. You want coverage, you want to compare square inches of print media – Spanners is your guy. Kade Hooper be damned.

      Whats David Pocock ever done – what’s he won – SR title anyone ???? And Little Sanchez Genia – please – paint you nails and stand back at rucks and keep your hands out princess.

      Makes me made enough to spit. But with level 5 water restrictions in place in the Hunter i cant waste the water, in fact i am not even allowed to type wa…, or say it out loud.

      Write this down – YEAR OF THE TAH, i will watch closely as the battle for second in Aussie conference should be a peach.

      Good day.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Pure Gold my friend!

      • Happyman

        I take issue with the Mexico comment my friend. As far as I and my friends who spent those fantastic 8 years at Kindy are concerned anything south of the Rio Grande/Tweed Is Mexico. Those of you from the lesser states can send us your Red Wine and little else.

        • Hoss

          Cab Sav or Shiraz or a cheeky little Pinot Noir mate ?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          All of the above with perhaps a Grenache thrown in

        • Hoss

          You blew your chance to visit gods country mate. I will send you a coaster and some grapes – the rest is on you.

        • Patrick

          Pinot with Grenache??

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Not in the same glass obviously

        • Happyman

          All three
          Unfortunately if my calendar was free for the Hoss’s inaugural GAGR get together to watch the Tarts play the Monodogs we could have done that then. However work intervenes and the NT awaits.

          Talking rugby eating protein and drinking red wine for a weekend would have been much more preferable.

        • Hoss

          I am sure Hoss-fest will be reciprocated by like minded gaggers during the season mate – maybe we should start planning a Bledisloe Sojourn in 2020 (i think we only get Perth this year dont we ??).

          Simmering state squabbles aside – we could unite in our quest to conquer a common enemy from Middle Earth who needs taking down a peg or two.

        • Happyman

          You mount a compelling argument as always.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I’m in for that one.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        You are on fire my friend. You just left a bit off the shout at the end. perhaps the words “FAILING MISERABLY” should be added

        • Hoss

          Firstly, you should start with ‘Sorry Hoss’ – i saw your tips the other day – how dare you – Canes over Tah’s, the temerity.

          Revenge is a dish best served cold comrade, stay tuned.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Hahahaha bite my friend, just bite

      • Huw Tindall

        Who was the top points scorer in Super Rugby 2018 and kicked at >80%? Spanners! Like it or not he has been the best Aussie 10 in Super Rugby for a while now. Not his fault there is bugger all competition. He is a good Super player but his game doesn’t stand up to Test match rugby (unless we are dominating in the forwards) which requires better kicking to control the game and you can’t have any passengers in defense.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan,

    It’ll be interesting as to how Gibson’s tenure is remembered. I personally think it hasn’t been that successful and for me the biggest failure is the lack of progress for the so called elite members of the team. I really can’t understand how they’ve been allowed to stay so long and not improve on any of their glaring deficiencies and regardless of the reasons behind this (I do believe the individual is as much to blame) I see this as a serious failure. To me it feels like the players know they are safe in their selection and so don’t need to and the management see them as critical and don’t want to push them in case they move elsewhere. Regardless as to which parts of these are true it is a total failure for me.

    Interesting that first Genia and now Pocock are coming out and praising Cooper. Like a lot here I haven’t heard anything like this in support of Foley and I wonder if there are internal issues that are causing this.

    Having spent 30+ years in the NZ Army I can only agree that a 3 day camp being beasted by the evil people that are Army PTI’s would be a hard challenge. A great way of bonding the players together and I hope it pays dividends during the season.

    • Nutta

      Morning KRL

      I was tempted to agree to your ‘beasting’ comment with a combination of schoolboy/beastiality smut under-pinning my general agreement with your point that shared pain builds bonds.

      However on a moments reflection, if that were true then the Wobblies – having experienced depths of pain in-terms of being the focal point of national humiliation for such an extended amount of both depth and time – would all be the worlds BFF’s. I mean I share pain-bonds with guys that would come close to unnatural in the eyes of some, yet none of that was earned in anything even remotely as hallowed as a gold jersey.

      So I think there is something in what you say about things not being great in Camp Wobbly.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Pure Gold.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        That’s a fair comment mate. Not so much on the schoolboy/beastiality for me as I didn’t attend a catholic boarding school.

        • Brisneyland Local

          SO more the Christian brothers or the priests?

    • Ed

      KRL,
      BL mentioned he had read The Jersey over the break. I have read chapters of it and I am surprised more of our media have not picked up some of the comments. Not those by the kiwis but by John Connolly and Digby Ioane in particular. Some of what they say in the book is scathing about the attitude among players and coaches in Australian rugby.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah, I leant him my copy and I agree it makes interesting reading. between that and the other book “legacy” by James Kerr there are some interesting stories and thoughts.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I think it should be compulsory reading for young rugby players. I have since bought a copy and lent it to my 12 year old daughter. Her comment was “Why don’t we just copy what they do! We might not beat them, but at least we might beat most other people!”

    • Brisneyland Local

      KRL, agree totally.
      NOthing like a good beasting. Having been posted to Canungra as an Instructor for a few years, I can attest to that Confidence Course being completely farked. there is nothing fun in it. Especially if the did the far stands. they suck big time.
      No one is coming out in support of Foley (except Fux and SMH), but none of the players! Like D Braithwaite, my sources are saying camp Wallaby isnt the rosey happy place it is being spelt out to be. That there is certainly a real player divide.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I must admit, in my early years there was nothing better than a day being beasted on the Confidence Course – and then 3 days cleaning and fixing kit afterwards. As I got older, not so much.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Truth be told me too! The older I got the harder the recovery. Plus showering with you r rifle to get all the baked on mud out of it was not fun either!

  • OnTheBurst

    The news of Gibson’s extension may mean Australian Rugby loses the services of one of the best emerging coaches, Simon Cron. Will be a damn shame if he goes back to NZ.

    Frankly Gibson has an embarrassment of riches at the Tahs and I think he should have delivered more in his tenure, and can’t see why he’s been given an extension so early in the season.

    There’s an article here but under News Limited paywall. Can anyone access and post here?

    https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/rugby/waratahs-reward-coach-daryl-gibson-with-oneyear-extension-on-eve-of-super-rugby-season/news-story/22b94007412ddb162d4c13c8283a7ffd

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Cron has only been an assistant at super rugby level for one year, and frankly doesn’t deserve to be made a head coach yet. It would be typical Australia rugby to sing the praises of someone with a modicum of success at this level and promote them too soon.

      If Cron isn’t willing to wait as an assistant for three years before being made head coach, then he probably isn’t the sort of character we’d want in Australian rugby.

      I also don’t think the Tahs have been strong on paper for the last three years, and I think that they overperformed in 2018, which is a testament to Gibson’s coaching.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Bang on mate

      • Nutta

        Your comment re Cron and biding his time has merit. But in all things there are variances. For instance he did do remarkable things with a fair-to-middling Norths to topple the might of Sydney Uni, Eastwood and Randwick. That was no small feat. He seems to build a loyalty among players that is quite something and he has them playing simple, direct rugby that wins more matches then it loses.

        But in general I do agree with your main thrust – bide your time and build quality as opposed to Flash/Bang approaches. Hope is not a strategy that I rely on.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Stiles looked unbelievable at NRC level.

          Performing at a lower level against inferior opposition coaches doesn’t mean you’ll be brilliant at the next level. Premature promotion is the best way to wreck a bloke’s reputation, and ruin a team.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Hope is not a mission verb! There are two things that rely on hope:
          1. Religion.
          2. Beauty products!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          And my financial security plans with Lotto

        • Brisneyland Local

          You and I must go to the same planner!

      • OnTheBurst

        I don’t necessarily disagree with your comment re apprenticeship.

        But I don’t feel that Gibson should have been given an extension after a very underwhelming tenure, at least this early in the season.

        You “don’t think the Tahs have been strong on paper for the last three years”? Not sure what Tahs team you’ve been watching, they are full of frontline Wallabies, have had a stable squad in all the key positions.

        Even Gibson himself referred to it as an “embarrassment of riches”…!

        The Tahs should be doing much better year in, year out than they are.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I don’t think most of the Tahs’ frontline Wallabies deserve to be frontline Wallabies.

        • Ed

          Agree, and the results of the Wallabies in this RWC cycle has been the worst in the pro-era. Maybe our expectations are a wee too high for the current crop of players.

        • OnTheBurst

          So you think he’s done a great job?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think he’s done a pretty good job. He isn’t Rod Macqueen or Link, but I think he’s done well.

          He even had Foley and Beale firing last year, which they certainly didn’t for the Wallabies.

        • Ed

          Speaking of Beale, the Tahs may have a more complete backline if they start him on the bench with Hunt at 12. Sure Kurtley has more “X” factor than Karmichael but Hunt is a superior defender who also organises the defensive line.
          Christy Doran on the FUX podcast said the Tahs possibly had the best backline in SR. They would be up there with the Canes in attack but are let down in defence – Foley, Beale and Folau. It is a problem with our media that they focus just on the attack side and ignore the other half – defence.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah I think Christy is overcooking it a tad. Foley cant orchestrate an attack. Beale cant run forwards. Folau can only pass to one side. Foley cant kick ball in hand longer than 20m. Plus the point you highlighted. None of them can tackle properly.

        • nmpcart

          Hunt can run forward though. Beale just dances sideways hoping a defender slips over to give him a gap but Hunt will give them go forward and he will make effective tackles. I think having him at 12 is a big improvement over Beale. Let Beale come on when the defence is tired so he has some room.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I agree. Also Hunt can kick left foot and right foot. Courtesy of his time in the AFL. He is a better tactical kicker than Foley. I hope they use him to do that. Anyone can quick better than Foley.

        • Ed

          It will be interesting to see if Hunt plays well for the Tahs that Gibson decides to play Kurtley from the bench or start him at 15 and Folau moves to wing. Then it would be twitter alert for Maria.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Damn straight. I really do hope Hunt seizes his opportunity!

        • Huw Tindall

          Looks like that could be the case for the first game at least. SMH saying Gibson likely to run most of his Wallabies off the bench.

        • Ed

          The proposed 12/13 – Hunt/Two Dads would fix one weak area for the Tahs last season – their midfield defence. Maybe Gibson didn’t like the look of Laumape running at Kurtley all game.

        • Nutta

          What is interesting is that with Hunt at 12, Beale actually becomes an option at 10 (I can’t believe I’m actually saying this) without requiring Boolean mathematical defensive structures. Hunt will defend the centre – folk forget he once topped the tackle count in a State of Orgin FFS. Yeh yeh, different game and all that. But hands down, anyone who tops a tackle count in SOO will have somewhere between no and zero issues patrolling the 12 channel in rugby. He will also make some hard yards when needed which will attract D and so takes structural pressure off 10. He also kicks and passes on both sides as you rightly point out. Beale’s strengths are in his vision and his short-gap speed. He defends ok front-on when the channel is tight but not if there is space developing. That means Beale can work inside a solid 12. In-fact I sort of prefer a Beale 10 with a Hunt 12 because the D will heavy-stack Hunt and that will leave chances for Beale on the inside which he is actually better equipped to exploit than Foley is. Certainly I see that as more potent than a Foley/Hunt and certainly either is preferable to a Foley/Beale combo.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate Beale is a shit 10. The only time he should play there is if every other back is injured and the options are a prop or hooker. Even then I’d put one of them in. Beale is NOT a playmaker. He’s a guy who excels with broken play or when he has room to move. At 10 he is cramped up worse than he is at 12 and look how shit that has been. Mind you at any time the Tahs or Wallabies are playing a NZ team I’d love to see him at 10

        • nmpcart

          I agree on Beale at 10, doesn’t work. Broken field running he is very good, so chiming in from fullback perhaps but I don’t think he can set up and structure play for other people well enough to be 10.

        • Nutta

          Yeh fair enuf. I take it all back except that KHunt is a 12.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think he makes a better 12 than 15 but still has a lot to learn and I’m not sure he’ll learn much at the Tahs

        • Huw Tindall

          Beale at 10. Wash your mouth out Nutta. :)

        • Brumby Runner

          Nutta, I am a voice in the wilderness, but that doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve been there many times before and have often earnt unsubstantiated criticism for some of the out there views I express. Hunt is not the strong defender at 12 that many here are sprouting. I clearly recall a few missed tackles, some of them quite embarrassing misses, when playing for the Wallabies and his form last week at 12 was less than stellar. An ineffectual tackle on Taliauli who went straight over the top of Hunt to score, and a terrible misread to come off his man to try to stop Folau Fainga’a who then slipped an off load to Simone to run 10 – 15 metres to score under the posts. I have never come away from a game involving Hunt thinking that he had a huge impact with his defense.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate I agree. I think he can tackle ok but he gets caught out of position a lot and doesn’t have that instinctive knowledge of where to be as he hasn’t played the game enough to get it. SBW still gets it wrong and he’s been through a much better path than Hunt

        • Hoss

          Yes, but apart from that….

        • Brisneyland Local

          They are great players! ;-)

        • Huw Tindall

          What do we do though, if like last year, Foley is clearly the best Aussie 10 in Super Rugby? THink we just have to admit we are short of quality 10s and QC has a big if over his head given he has been out of the game for a while.

        • Who?

          It is definitely a major problem. But thanks to the Giteau law, we’re not bound to Australian Super players. And we’ve seen quite a bit of speculation that the Giteau law may well be adjusted, to allow even more foreign-based players to come back. Last year, we had Toomua come back, and he wasn’t tried at 10 without having a clueless player at 12 (i.e. Foley out of position – not blaming him for not knowing the position, he doesn’t play it at Super level and doesn’t have a strong history there, whereas Toomua has a strong history at 10).

        • Huw Tindall

          Good point Who. Don’t remind me of Toomua/Foley 10/12 combo. That was the moment that Chek lost me. I was a wavering and giving him the benefit of the doubt but that was one step too far. Not Foley’s fault mind you. Nor Toomuas. Hopefully the selection panel sorts our that sh!t.

        • Brisneyland Local

          He has been out of the game not due to form, but due to the fact that he was exiled. His form in Club and NRC clearly demonstrated that he is at least on par if not better than Foley in all forms of the game. Foley was poorly out of form and has some serious skill deficiencies. The worst case we have is try Cooper again. If he sucks we can always go back to Foley and accept that we are fucked.

        • Huw Tindall

          It won’t take much to unseat Foley on recent form I agree. QC is the only obvious big contender. Should be an interesting season. Hope QC recaptures past form and Foley gets the rocket he needs to up his game.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Dot get me wrong. I would love to see Foley lift his game, but until he overcomes the skills weaknesses he has, he wont ever be a fully rounded player. Cant pass L to R, catn tackle, cant orchestrate an attack, cant kick more than 20m. that is a lot of weakness. Quade’s defence is bad, but is improving after watching the NRC and club game. so at beast that weakness is an equal point. But QC has a sublime pass both ways, he can orchestrate an attack, can kick well and more than 20 m. So on balance he has to be the pick. I think this season will be telling. If QC’s form is good. And Foley’s remains the same. ANd Foley is picked, then we based that 9 / 10 partnership at the rebels will cement that relationship. Then we know it is institutional bias.
          But bugger me I so want at least three strong players vying for every position.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I don’t raven think they’re close to the best in attack. Lost TN who was their main attacking threat last head, have a grandpa at 13 and then either a small maverick or solid guy in Hunt.

          They’re also nowhere close to the Crusaders in attack or defence.

          Christy Doran is just part of the propaganda unit.

        • Huw Tindall

          Agree mate. Either bench or give Hunt 12 and Beale 15 with Folau 14. Rona and AAC can have a tilt at 13 now Foketi is out for a few weeks with a hammy. The paucity of quality wings means shifting Folau there doesn’t bump out a legitimate world class wing.

        • Huw Tindall

          Foley was top points scorer in Super Rugby last year and was well over 80% plus off the boot. Think the issue with Beale and Foley is their games don’t translate well to the Test match game. Defenses are just too good and you need a more tactical game plan rather than flashy players. At Super Level they are great though.

        • Braveheart81

          Which team isn’t strong on paper? Super Rugby is a strong competition. Few rated the Tahs as being likely to top the Aussie conference last year.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I think everything is relative.

          Our teams certainly look more akin to the Highlanders than the Crusaders.

        • Nutta

          Yeh but even in a race between 4 maggots 1 of them will win. Doesn’t mean it was a good race!

      • Brumby Runner

        Or a recognition of the importance of Naiyaravoro to their attack.

        • Huw Tindall

          The biggest hole, literally and figuratively, to fill on the Tahs roster. I’ve said before that last year maybe half his tries (about 7) were tries only he could have scored. Almost Lomu like in his own way. There is no replacement in Australian rugby if we are honest. I don’t see Rona, Newsome, Clark, or John Folau as anywhere near as effective as TQ. And last year TQ showed for the first time he was getting in the right position defensively and wasn’t a liability outside ball in hand. Big shame. Should have been in the Wallabies on form.

      • Happyman

        Mate I would suggest that Cron has served an apprenticeship as he coached at Shute shield for a couple of years and ultimately took a team that had not won a premiership for a long time to the promised land.

        Based on that he has nore coaching experience that either Brad Thorn Qld country for a season or two. And Larkham did before he became Brumbies coach as to the best of my knowledge he had never coached at club level.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Shute Shield to super rugby head coach – you are having a laugh right?

        • Happyman

          Not having a laugh.

          So your idea is that you can only coach Super Rugby if you have done so in the past.

          My point is that he had a couple of years moulding a group of players at an underperforming club to a Shute Shield GF illustrates the capacity to build a team over time. Shute Shield is not a Mickey Mouse comp. He is now been a Super assistant coach for a year or so he is showing progression and excelling at every level.

          What would be your pathway.

        • Who?

          I think there’s no question that Cron’s on a much better pathway than either Larkham or Thorn, but he still won’t be harmed by waiting. It’s never too late to promote a good coach to the top, but it can easily be too early. Both Larkham and Thorn are prospective proofs of that.

        • Happyman

          Agreed

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Larkham got the Brumbies to the semi finals in 2014 and 2015, playing very good rugby. In 2016 and 2017 after he lost over half his senior players, he still made the finals.

          We cannot consider his performance at Wallabies as being indicative of anything as he was frozen out.

          Not saying he is a great coach, but he did well at the Brumbies.

        • Who?

          Agree we can’t be confident of Larkham’s coaching off the back of his Wallabies tenure, though 2017 gives hint that he has some nous.
          But I still think he was fast tracked too much, and 2014/15 was helped by coming off the back of White’s tenure, White having taken the Brums from nowhere to a final. He’ll definitely be a better coach in 2030 than 2020.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I have to agree that he was fast tracked massively, and it hurt his development.

          However,

          (and it is a big however)

          Look at the coaches that have taken good teams backwards at an incredible rate of knots:

          – Coetzee at the Boks in 2016
          – Graham at the Reds
          – Thorn at the Reds
          – Cheika at the Wallabies
          – McKellar at the Brumbies (arguably).

          Sure, he had a good squad built by Jake White, but despite being thrust into the head coaching role in 2014, he had the team playing almost as well for the next two years. It was only after so many of his top players left that results slipped.

          I don’t agree that Larkham was promoted too early. But I think that too many people are judging him purely by the results of the Brumbies in 2016 and 2017, and not taking into account the effect of having so many top players leave overseas, retire in tragic circumstances or be out of the game for a year or longer due to things like Lealiifano’s injury and Pocock’s sabbatical.

        • Who?

          But then….
          In 14/15 Larkham was co-head coach with Lord Laurie, wasn’t he? So it’s quite arguable that the greatest loss in 2016 wasn’t his senior players, it was his coaching colleague. And Lord Laurie has to be given equal credit for maintaining the standards that were set under Jake.
          I don’t know that Thorn or McKellar have taken their clubs backwards. Because we haven’t seen their teams yet – not truly. We’ve seen them pulling apart old structures, but not implementing their own structures. It’s why I might’ve been furious and frustrated by the 53-8 loss in South Africa in 2008, but I wasn’t going to sack Deans over it. Because he was removing the (old, highly successful) Muggleton defensive structures and implementing his own (which, eventually, were almost as good). McKellar had the Brums humming at the end of last year, let’s wait and see what this year brings for McKellar, Thorn and Wessells in their second seasons at their respective clubs.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Fisher left after 2014, Larkham was the tenonly coach in 2015.

          Laurie also only had limited success during his stint as head coach, and at Gloucester. He’s an excellent assistant – perhaps the best in Australia – but his specific skill set seems better suited to being an assistant. Perhaps because he so talented at the technical stuff.

        • Who?

          Laurie seems to be a bit of a Wayne Smith. Brilliant assistant, not one to have as your head coach. But absolutely makes his head coaches look great.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Absolutely.

          And Wayne Smith was, without doubt in my mind, the single best coach in the world. He was just better at the technical stuff than the managerial responsibilities of the head coach.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Richard Graham took over from Link. great squad well drilled team and the screwed it into the ground. Woody Graham was the herpes of Aus Rugby. The gift that just keeps on giving.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Given that Nick Stiles looked world class at NRC, a higher level than Shute Shield (the single city amateur competition), but couldn’t make the step up to super rugby, I think it’s fair to say that success at Shute shield shouldn’t be seen as adequate preparation for super rugby.

          The pathway would be serving as an assistant at super rugby for a few years plus ideally also succeeding at NRC, or else succeeding at a club comp abroad.

  • nmpcart

    While these army camps might ‘build toughness’ to me it’s a bit like the players who look good in a tight fitting shirt – lots of gym muscles but no ability to make decisions on the field. I would rather that they spent ‘camp time’ in a skills and on field decision making camp, working on things like ‘what do you do if you’re a player down because of a sin binning?’ (which is highly likely to happen given past records). Interestingly, I heard some of the women’s 7s players interviewed during the Sydney 7s and they said Tim Walsh used to train these scenarios – player short, how do you adapt? In the military they do war gaming to simulate potential scenarios, did the camp include that side of things?

    • Brisneyland Local

      I am sure it would of. Amending the plan halfway through execution is the military raison d’etre.

      • Huw Tindall

        but in the A-Team the plan always comes together? maybe we should get Hannibal for the vacant attack coach position

        • Brisneyland Local

          I personally would hire him as defence coach, because then the plan would come together. unlike Grey’s.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s. Sorry for the absence the last few days, bullshit long hours, with no GAGR time. Makes BL a cranky old fart. Here are my points similar to below:
    – I have no real opinion on Gibson. Whilst he has had a talent of riches per se, he also has had a pretty bad group of players to manage ego and self-importance wise. Between, Palestine, Sk8trboy, Spanners, Bovine Sprinkler, and Gilbert. I couldn’t think of a more self-entitled bunch of wankers to manage.
    – Good to see Pocock getting back to fitness. Aus rugby without Pooey will be a sad thing.
    – Also good to see Pooey speak about QC. Like others have mentioned we now have Wessels, Genia, and now Pooey. Foley must be thinking he shat on everyone’s front door step. He is being dammed by faint praise, nah actually he is being dammed by no praise. And as mentioned in my response to KRL, I am hearing from peep’s I know inside the fold, that all is not well in Wallaby land. That there is a serious player divide.
    – Like KRL, I spent 20+ years in the Army. I was also posted to Canungra for a couple of years. That Confidence Course in known throughout the Army as a bastard course. In the early Naughties I had the pleasure of being one of the instructors that put Rod McQueens Wallabies through that course. We gave them a beasting. I don’t think they really enjoyed the no food, no sleep, keep going, complete the mission mentality. But credit to them they were fit bastards. But just not that mentally resilient. In the Army you assume you are going to get fucked over. I.E. “Righto team, we have to walk 5km to where the truck is, board the truck and it will take us back to camp.” Of course when you get there mysteriously the truck is fucked, so now you have to push that truck back to camp. Then half way there, mysteriously one of the wheels falls off the truck, so you have to improvise, adapt over come. And end up pushing and pulling the truck minus one wheel all the way back to camp. Point is, when ever the end is in sight. It isn’t. Expect to get hosed over and you wont be let down! That builds resilience.

    Anyway enough of me crapping on! Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      The joys of being an instructor and legally able to bastardise troops. I miss that!

      • Brisneyland Local

        It had its moments! ;-)

      • Nutta

        It all started in 1750 when Royal Decree stated no subject of the Crown could be struck more than 12 times for any single offence. The way around that of-course was simply to charge them with multiple offences. Then in 1881 floggings of enlisted were first outlawed by the Royal navy. Discipline has all been downhill since then I reckon.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yes but the Royal Navy have three obsessions:
          1. Rum;
          2. Sodomy; and
          3. The Lash!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Only gay if you smile and push back!

        • Hoss

          So asking for a number could be construed as needy ????

        • Brisneyland Local

          Allegedly your honour!

        • Nutta

          Sounds like a standard night at the old Hellfire…

        • Brisneyland Local

          Never been there.

    • GeorgiaSatellite

      Couple of things, BL. Agree on most of what you wrote (as usual), but I suspect the reason for the comments about Quade is that they’re being asked about him. Future PM the Right Hon. D. Pocock is a class act and would find something good to say about Sid Chrome too, if asked. Not saying you’re wrong about the way the guys actually feel, but I don’t think that’s why one (QC) is drawing comment and the other isn’t (SC).

      Also, I don’t disagree about the entitled ‘Tahs players you mention, except for Steve Austin. I haven’t heard anything negative about him in terms of attitude or commitment. Sure, he’s no ref manager and perhaps not a natural leader – nor is he the best 7 we have nationally (as often noted in these parts). But I don’t think he’s quite in the Gilbert or Sprinkler mold.

      • NSWelsham in London

        I agree that maybe the reason they are talking about Quade is because of questions being posed to them about him and of course his reemergence into Super Rugby but the interesting part of it is not that they are saying stuff about him and not Spanners but its what they are saying in general. Genia basically outright says best Flyhalf he has played with and Pocock eludes to the same fact. They could have just said great to have him back and looking forward to the competition he will bring to the 10 jumper, but, alas, they dont and they are basically telling Cheika enough is enough, select a 10 who can play not one who might get it right 1 out of 15 tests per year.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Concur on all of the above. But Lee Majors was called out severely over the AAC / Gilbert girls in the room issue. He didn’t want to report it. Was severely pressured by Kerevi and Genia, due to the earlier punishment issued for the young fella that missed the bus. Whilst he may not be the enititled prat the others are, his judgement and misguided loyalty has been called now multiple times.

    • Huw Tindall

      No wonder you old codgers are pessimists! Been conditioned to expect the worst! :D

      • Brisneyland Local

        NOt pessimists. Optimists with real world experience is what I refer to myself as.

  • ForceFan

    Pocock starting in the opening game against the Rebels.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Sweet. Even though I want the Rebs to win. I love watching that man play!

  • HomerJ

    It is a shame to lose guys like Suaalii and Ilias, but they are the tip of the iceberg. For every Joey Walton or WIll Harris, there are four Luca Moretti’s, Tepi Moroea, Cameron Murray’s heading to the dark side. The big schools are happy to carry the league players to meet their own purposes, while the league clubs continue to support them.
    You can earn 50-200k in the league system or play colts at Gordon with a free pair of shorts fro the NSW Gen Blue squad.
    When even second and third tier league clubs are getting multi million dollar govt handouts to build and own grounds and clubhouses, rugby will struggle to hold onto this talent.

    • Huw Tindall

      This is not a new story. League has been plundering junior ranks for years. The financial reality is that there is little we can do about that right now. What it means then is we need to have excellent talent and identification capabilities in place so we can invest in some of the most promising young players.

      At least league is only stealing a certain type of player. Not poaching many tight 5 union players!!

  • 1 year eh…. I suppose RA and the NSWRU are sorting out Gibson to take over from Chieka then?

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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