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

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at the past, present and future of the Wallabies. It examines the retirement of Wallaby great George Smith, the standing down of hooker Tolu Latu along with the confidence of the Junior Wallabies ahead of the U20 World Championships. It also details the unfolding drama engulfing the Crusaders.


Smith announces retirement

George Smith makes a break

George Smith makes a break

Former Brumbies and Wallaby flanker George Smith has announced his retirement from rugby after a nearly two-decade span in the sport.

Smith had been playing with UK side Bristol this season, however, he was released from his short term contract, with Smith confirming his departure from the sport on Tuesday.

“Finally the day has come where I officially announce my retirement from professional rugby,” he wrote.

“It’s been an absolute privilege to play professionally for the past 20 years. Rugby has provided and given me so much. The dreams that I had of playing rugby professionally as a young bloke, I’m fortunate to say that I’ve lived them and experienced so much more during my time.”

Smith made his debut in 2000 (when I was three years old) for the Brumbies, playing in France for Toulon, Lyon and Stade Francais, along with stints in Japan (Suntory), Australia and England (Wasps and Bristol) across his 19-year career.

His longevity in the sport has made him a stalwart of rugby union in the 21st century, having played 142 games for the Brumbies along with 111 tests for Australia.

In his retirement post, Smith gave special credit to Eddie Jones, who was his first coach at the Brumbies, along with being the coach for the majority of his caps with the Wallabies and during his time in Japan.

“Special mention to Eddie Jones, who has been a constant supporter and mentor of mine throughout this time,” he wrote.

“The day I rocked up to sign my first Brumbies contract with dreadlocked hair, board shorts and thongs. I think back and shake my head as to why he didn’t just turn me away tight there and then…I’m grateful for his advice and friendship.”

Smith looked back on his storybook career with fond affection, noting that his early experiences in the sport had him immediately hooked with the sport for life, shaping him to be the person that he is today.

“The day my father registered me with the Warringah Roos at 4 years of age in manly I found myself returning to the game every year thereafter,” he wrote.

“I had a great time there and look back fondly. Those early years in Canberra shaped a part of my rugby identity and further encouraged my personal ambitions to better myself as a rugby player.”

Latu stood down

Latu with the Waratahs last Saturday despite his impeding charges

Latu with the Waratahs last Saturday despite his impending charges

Waratahs and Wallabies hooker Tolu Latu has been officially stood down by the Waratahs ahead of an upcoming court appearance for alleged drink driving on June 6.

Latu was kicked out of Wallaby camp on Sunday after he was found sleeping behind the wheel of his car near Rugby HQ on early Thursday morning, recording a blood alcohol reading of 0.135.

The Waratahs were unaware about the incident until mere hours before their match against the Reds, with Latu coming off the bench for 13 minutes during the 40-32 win on Saturday.

Latu attends court on June 6 to face the charges along with being subject to a Rugby Australia Code of Conduct process, pending the result of the hearing.

“I’m disappointed with my actions because I recognise the seriousness of this situation,” Latu said in a statement on Tuesday. “I take full responsibility for what has happened, and I will accept any potential sanctions from my court case.”

“I want to apologise to my teammates and New South Wales Rugby Union. I also want to apologise to the rugby community, I know that my actions do not reflect well on the game.”

“I will accept the support from the NSW Waratahs, RUPA and my own support networks to ensure that I don’t find myself in this position again,” he said.

NSW Rugby Union CEO Andrew Hore stated that the organisation was extremely disappointed in the actions and lack of transparency by Latu, however, they maintain that they will continue the support the hooker.

“Tolu’s actions are a serious breach of the standards we set for the players, coaches and staff both on and off the field,” Hore said.

“He is regretful of his actions and has taken full responsibility and NSW Waratahs will provide him with the necessary support and further education.”

“We expressed our disappointment in the manner which we were notified of this issue as we expect our players to be open and honest with our wider team.”

Junior Wallabies have eyes on the main prize

Junior Wallabies are 2019 Oceania U20 Champions

Junior Wallabies are 2019 Oceania U20 Champions

The Junior Wallabies will be looking to build off the success of the Oceania U20s as they prepare for the World Rugby U20 Championships.

Australia’s U20 side has taken huge confidence out of their successful performance at the Oceania U20s championship, with the side going undefeated, capped off by a 24-0 win over New Zealand.

Whilst the performance provided timely positive news for the future of Australia rugby, flyhalf Will Harrison stated that the side was refusing to savour the victory, noting the real prize that they were aiming for was the title at next month’s World Rugby U20s Championships.

“Even straight after New Zealand, Gilly had us in the shed and said, that’s one tick but our heads turn straight to that World Cup, with a tough pool with that first game against Italy,” he said.

“I think looking into it, we’ve got a lot of hard work to do. It’s one of those tournaments where you can’t miss a beat and you can’t lose but I’ve got full confidence in our team and our coaching staff that we can go all the way.”

Australia has notoriously struggled at the tournament in previous years, having failed to reach the podium since 2011, most recently finishing 6th at last year’s tournament.

However, the side is brimming with confidence from the tournament earlier in the month, and the added access to their Super Rugby players for the lead-up and the entirety of the tournament has provided them with the belief that they can win the competition.

“We’re going there with only one thing and that’s to win,” Harrison said. “You can’t have a top-four finish, we’re going there to win.”

“I’ve got full confidence. We’ve worked really hard in the four months leading into it, tough pool but you’ve got to beat everyone to win it so we want to win it.”

Coach Jason Gilmore believes that the difference between finals and a pool finish is marginal, noting that the strong bond between players as the main point of difference from previous tournaments.

“The biggest thing we’ve done with the boys is just worked on our off-field stuff, so on-field’s always a focus but getting together as a team and building that culture between them collectively has been a really big focus for us this year.”

Crusaders saga continues

ForceCrusaders1

The fallout from the Crusaders trip to South Africa continues with further allegations made surrounding the conduct of flyhalf Richie Mo’unga, as the Crusaders work towards clearing allegations of homophobia levelled against a group of their players.

The incident involving Mo’unga revolves around allegations from a Cape Town women that
accuses Mo’unga of spitting beer at her and her friends in Cape Town’s Arcade Bar on the day after the side beat the Bulls 45-13.

Later in the evening, Mo’unga was also accused of inappropriately touching one of the women, pinching her on the bottom.

Mo’unga to his credit took full responsibility for his actions, apologising to the women for his actions and the harm that it had caused to the group via Instagram.

“I’m really sorry for that I’m not aware that I did that. Obviously was intoxicated and should’ve gone home long before that stage, I’m sorry to you and your friends and want to assure you I don’t condone that behaviour and am sorry about that,” he said.

Whilst that incident seems to be under wrap, the Crusaders are still working to clear the names of a group of players, including winger George Bridge, who were accused of homophobic behaviour at a Cape Town McDonalds last Sunday.

Two people at the restaurant took to social media to accuse the players of being “physically intimidating” and alleging they made homophobic slurs, limp wrist gestures and adopted high pitched voices.

However, Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge said that the players, who have denied the claims, had received backing from independent witnesses who reached out to advise that there was no homophobic behaviour displayed by the group.

“In addition to the players, in addition to the security detail that was with us, in addition to security guards that were at McDonald’s, there has been other people contact us directly to say that was not their recollection of the events,” said Mansbridge.

No formal complaints have been made regarding both incidents, with Mansbridge rejecting any claims of alcohol being involved in regards to the incident involving Bridge.

“We just have to do it as quickly as we can thoroughly. It’s about independence, these complainants have to have the right to go to someone independent and be confident,” Mansbridge said.

  • This “homophobic assault” by the Saders just seems to get murkier and murkier.

    My position is simple: if they did it, they should be kicked to the curb, pure and simple. Same as with Izzy. But there’s ever increasing amounts of doubt; now random other people in the area are saying it didn’t happen, not just all the Saders’ players and their hired security – who obviously have a financial incentive to say the guys they were working for did nothing wrong, but no “club loyalty” beyond that.

    Looking more and more like someone is out stirring shit, which is a real shame.

    On a more bittersweet note, bye George Smith. After what seems like forever playing one of the hardest positions – look at Pocock’s neck injuries – at a really high level, and schooling players all around the world I hope you enjoy your retirement. Quality players rarely make good coaches, but I think he might make a brilliant forwards coach if he decides to give that a try. Whatever he does, all the best to him.

    • Geoffro

      What happened to Arnie in Joburg was assault which in the long run will probably gain less media attention there than the shrieking attention seeking of some of the rainbow nations finest.
      Thought George was going to shoot for being the first player to play top class rugby in four separate decades.Bummer,maybe the Tahs could offer him a short term contract as Fullback/Hooker cover to get him over the line

      • AllyOz

        Yes I read a week or two that George was looking to secure another contract to take him into a fourth decade as a professional player but either he couldn’t secure a contract or he just thought better of it. having said that, I would be surprised to see him pull the boots on for Suntory if they are hit by injury or something similar.

        • Geoffro

          would or wouldn’t ?

        • AllyOz

          Wouldn’t…..obviously even I lose interest in my own posts before I finish them properly

      • Although I’m not a lawyer, the legal definition of assault in most countries that base their legal code off that in the UK (so I’m guessing that includes SA) includes language that makes you feel threatened. That’s why there are additional charges like assault and battery (when you actually batter, or hit someone), assault leading to actual bodily harm, assault leading to grievous bodily harm and so on. Arnie was subjected to assault and battery.

        I don’t know what the SA and Australian mainstream media are running with, but in the UK the attack on Arnie got covered, the dispute between RA and Izzy did too, the behaviour by the Saders’ players hasn’t been mentioned (although it will be if it escalates I’m sure).

        And I had heard George was going to try and play into the 2020’s too, but I guess his body has finally given up on him. Shame.

        • Geoffro

          So,battered as well.Good to see he is a big man (in physical and a personal sense) and no charges were laid but I’ll bet he thought get me to the chopper and outta here.I reckon George got offered the Suntory gig so figured can still be involved without getting bashed up every week.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan,

    George Smith, what a friggen legend. Hated him playing against my teams but only because he was so good. A real thinker and just a great human being. Personally I would have liked him to take more of an open leadership role but it seems like he just wants to play so good on him.

    Latu, Mo’unga you dicks. I guess we’ll see how neutral things are once these are dealt with. I’m glad there is contrasting views on the other incident and being a one eyed kiwi I’m hoping the alternative view is correct. If not then I hope the punishment suits the crime

    Good to see the U20’s with confidence and I hope they do well. It’s a big hill to climb though and the opposition might be a bit tougher than what they faced earlier.

    • Geoffro

      Mounga unreservedly apologised (as did Latu,after hiding his indiscretion causing a whole lot of shit) but it appears to me that the other incident at Mcdonalds hardly warrants apology (pending more facts being revealed).Have seen a few members of the gay community in my time going completely over the top in their efforts to gain attention publicly.If those efforts are rewarded in a non threatening manner they shouldn’t be calling foul.Don’t shout me down as a homophobe,I’m not,just not fond of exhibitionists or attention seekers of any pursuasion

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    The game says goodbye to a true legend, perhaps the finest Wallaby and almost certainly the finest Brumby ever to play the sport. A man deeply unlucky to debut a year after the World Cup win, but this is how life is.

    With Smith’s retirement, the last vestiges of the Wallabies’ last great era fades into history.

    • Geoffro

      A sweetly tailored suit,white shirt and tie and a nice bottle of red.Glad his 20 yrs has enabled him to get some decent clobber and a haircut.Legend.

      • Prefered the dreads meself.
        Made us commoners feel more included.

        • formerflanker

          Got him a few penalties from opposition players who frustratedly pulled at them.

        • juswal

          The Boks put a bounty on GS dreads. 100 bucks (or whatever their equivalent is . . . in meat, maybe) for each one you tore out.

        • Who?

          And the late Jerry Collins, too……

    • Brisneyland Local

      Oh so true.

    • I think this means there is no longer an active player who played when Aus won the Bledisloe?

  • Nutta

    Thank you George. I’ll buy you a beer one day if I get the chance.

    • Nutta

      And Latu is a knob-fool. With the retirement of Squeak and the aging of Taf there has been a real opportunity for him to lock down the 2 jersey for the last 2yrs. But thug-dumb penalties, suspensions and general shite like this put paid to that.

      I imagine there will be ample time and many days staring at an empty schooy glass wondering…

      I actually feel sorry for the guy.

      • OnTheBurst

        Too true. He has all the skills (including being a beast at the breakdown) but not the temperament

        • Brisneyland Local

          Temperament can be re-engineered! Being a knob cant!

        • Custard Taht

          Not true, John Wayne Bobbit managed to have a knob re-engineered!

        • Brisneyland Local

          Boom tish!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Absolutely mate. Oh what might have been

      • GO THE Q REDS

        You feel sorry for Latu?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Surely everyone does? He’s a young man who perhaps just ended his career from some poor decisions.

        • Nutta

          Sort of like I feel sorry for Dylan Hartley and Whatshisname Reddy – I feel sorry for them because one day they will realise that they threw it all away. That must be a terribly desolate feeling that I don’t wish on anyone.

      • Who?

        You know, you might be right to feel sorry for him… He probably went looking for family out in the desolate spaces beyond the CBD, and couldn’t get all the way back to safety before the wild beasts come out.
        Plus, being affiliated with the Tahs, his car’s GPS would’ve had all the irrelevant information west of Anzac Parade deleted from it, so he would also likely have been lost………..
        :-P

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s. Well it is an interesting morning. There is lots to write about, coffee in hand let me begin:
    – George smith you absolute bloody legend. With out a doubt my favourite player. I have had the honour of sitting next to him at a fund raising dinner, and not only is he a great rugby player he is a very witty and funny conversationalist. A privilege. I wish him all the best in his retirement. I think he would make a great mentor in a coaching set up, his experience and knowledge are vast. The man has made a great contribution to the game, all the accolades are well deserved.
    – Latu, what an idiot. So he is already in breach of contract for not reporting his initial licence suspension, then he goes out and does this. In NSW Drink Driving is a criminal offence. So he already has one criminal conviction and may soon have two if his admissions of guilt in the media are replicated in court. It is interesting to see how RA handle this one. But one would think that they have little option but to tear up his contract. Consistency will be the killer hear. If they don’t, they will have people baying for their blood.
    – I am not going to comment on the NZ players. That is an NZ issue. Let them deal with it. But KRL’s comments pretty much nail it.
    – Good to see we still have no attack coach, even after the Wallabies camp. The attack plan was briefed to the players. But they still havnt been told who the attack coach is. Gee our coaching set up is a bunch of professionals.
    – This weekends round is going to be a very tight, so hopefully we will see some real tight contests! Bring it on.
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Custard Taht

      It is a shame that George Smiths retirement is being overshadowed by all the off field crap.

      Don’t worry about the lack of attack coach and other Cheika/Wallaby issues. Once you realise that RA does not stand for Rugby Australia, but instead Rank Amateurs, the whole thing makes sense.

      The RA rebranding is a “back to the future” ploy. Since turning professional, the Wallabies have been on a steady decline, with the decline rapidly increasing since 2015.

      In RA it is referred to as the upside down inconvenient truth, and is demonstrated via an upside down hockey stick pasted into an excel spreadsheet.

      By rebranding to and embracing being Rank Amateurs, they aim to make Australian Rugby Great Again.

      • Geoffro

        Not entirely correct mate.Since turning professional we swept all before us at the turn of the century and have had some moderate success since then in line with where we’ve stood historically for the last 100 years.The last three years have been poor indeed but I wouldn’t throw the baby (wallabies) out with the bath water (Cheika and the current admin)

        • AllyOz

          While I don’t disagree with your overall comment, I think seeds of our poorer results were planted a little earlier than the last three years. Cheika’s influence, for instance, doesn’t explain entirely the poor results at Super Rugby level but yes the current admin and immediate past admin (Pulver) are probably a large part of it too.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I didn’t pick up on the lack of an attack coach. Maybe people don’t want to be associated with Cheika. I mean if I was looking to ignite a coaching career I’d steer well clear of him

      • Brisneyland Local

        About as popular as Izzy at Gay Mardi gras!

      • Patrick

        That is what I have thought is happening. People tend to jump off sinking ships, not on them.

    • Braveheart81

      It depends what Latu’s licence was suspended for originally. Clearly if it was drink driving then that is a criminal offence and should have been reported to his employer. If it was for demerit points then it is a civil offence and would have no relevance. Clearly driving on a suspended licence is an issue but that pales in relation to the high range drink driving charge he is facing.

      Who knows what will happen. He’s shown contrition and apologised and this is his first offence. Not alerting his employer immediately and them finding out through the media will work against him.

      His on field indiscretions will have no bearing (although both are relevant in terms of future contract dealings because they both represent risks around his playing).

      I will be surprised if a drink driving conviction results in a termination of his contract although at this stage we haven’t heard all of the facts around the initial licence suspension and the charge(s) he is facing now.

      • Brisneyland Local

        It was for drink driving (the first offence).
        So breach of contract, and two criminal convictions are not bringing the game into disrepute?

        • Custard Taht

          Basically, no, cause no one is offended.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep! Pretty much about it!

        • Funk

          Tell that to the thousands whose, mothers/daughters/fathers/sons/brother/sisters have been killed or injured in drink driving incidents. I think say they would be deeply offended if RA didn’t sanction him appropriately.

        • Custard Taht

          They may be offended, but there is crickets. No rabid online campaigns, no trial by social media, no sponsorship threats. There is no public pressure on RA to rip up his contract, only RA self inflicted pressure.

          If RA don’t rip up his contract, it probably won’t cause a ripple in the wider community, and it doesn’t appear any of the sponsors are particularly concerned about the incident.

          I would not be surprised if all Latu gets is a fine, a few weeks suspension and maybe ordered to undergo counselling/treatment for alcohol.

        • Timbo

          Should we compare the numbers of people who have had family members affected by DUI drivers vs those who have been affected by Folau’s tweets?
          Probably not. Wouldn’t make for good enough reporting

        • GO THE Q REDS

          I was wondering how different it would be if Mr Qantas had of lost a family member to drink driving…..

        • Braveheart81

          People keep acting like Joyce and Qantas were the only ones that had an issue with what Folau said yet the Salteri family withdrew the substantial amount of money they were paying him to top up his contract, Land Rover withdrew the vehicle he had the use of and Asics cancelled their direct sponsorship of Folau.

        • Who?

          There’s a pretty clear difference between QANTAS’ actions and the other three sponsors you’ve mentioned. And that’s the public nature of QANTAS’ actions. They went public about it the last two times almost as quickly as RA did. The other three, they were quiet in handling the situation, they didn’t add to the publicity pressure RA faced.
          .
          For that reason, no one complained about Folau’s Land Rover being taken away. If QANTAS had stayed behind closed doors, rather than going public, it’s likely few would’ve even thought about them, let alone their own recent history of hypocrisy around these sorts of issues (deals with Emirates and Royal Brunei Airlines, a culture of abuse towards cabin crew, etc).

        • Braveheart81

          Qantas are also the major sponsor and most closely associated with the Wallabies. They’re called the Qantas Wallabies. I think there is far more need for them to make public statements because they get drawn into it whether they like it or not. The media will absolutely be asking them for a statement immediately whereas the same won’t happen for those other sponsors.

          I agree regarding the hypocrisy but a substantial part of it the public image they want to have versus the commercial realities of their business. Dubai/Abu Dhabi etc. are major hubs and all major airlines need to be partnered with an airline there and all those countries have shady human rights records and the airlines are state owned. Because that side of it is essential for their business operations should they also try and convey a public persona of being against human rights so they’re not seen as hypocritical or do you try and soften it by being inclusive etc?

          The other sponsors have the luxury of not making a public statement when there is a negative story because they are not being drawn into it immediately. There’s no benefit for them speaking out there because it just brings them into a negative story that currently doesn’t involve them.

        • Who?

          I get that QANTAS are the major sponsor of the QANTAS Wallabies, the issue is more that they were extremely quickly onto it – it felt as if they went looking to make a statement before RA managed to make one last year. They were better this year than last year – saying they’ll watch RA’s process before saying anything (though even that’s adding pressure, and can be seen as weighting the scales) – but last year in particular, they were far too fast out of the gates, and made their own statements which ultimately gave the impression that they were dictating terms. If they’d waited for questioning, then replied with a statement along the lines of, “QANTAS does not endorse the views held by Mr Folau. Our position is one of equality and inclusion, a position shared by RA. This is a matter for RA, and we support their stance of inclusion and equality,” there’d have been no question as to their thoughts, but much less appearance of pushing an agenda.
          .
          .
          The issue with QANTAS hypocrisy is all of their own making. If they weren’t seeking to campaign on issues which really aren’t particularly relevant to them (because sexuality doesn’t, in Australia, make a difference on your freedom to travel – and I really don’t care about abhorrent old stereotypes about male cabin crew, those stereotypes should be treated with contempt, as being discrimination we left in the past), then people would pay much less attention to their business dealings. And I completely agree – economically, they need those sorts of arrangements. Their major role is to make money for shareholders.
          .
          Anthony Albanese’s in the news today as saying, “I believe in markets but I believe that there’s a government role to intervene in a market economy because markets don’t have a conscience.” He’s right – markets don’t have a conscience. They don’t care whether or not QANTAS is inclusive, they just want profits. But beyond that, I don’t believe that corporations should have a conscience. Because they are run by shareholders, not by the society, and there’s no guarantee their conscience will align with the broader society. Business has funded a lot of bad movements and decisions over the years. And the fact that a business takes a ‘progressive’ approach doesn’t mean they’re any more right in taking that position over a conservative approach. Either or both can be wrong. If there’s a call to be made on morality, the society should make the ones to make it, not corporations, or individuals with significant cash.
          I understand that’s not the reality we live in, but it’s what I believe should be the case.
          .
          .
          Your last paragraph, I understand, but don’t necessarily agree. There’s probably significant moral benefit for Land Rover to have publicised that they were taking Folau’s car away from him. Because it’s more likely to be seen as a positive in more affluent suburbs (which are tending more progressive) than poorer suburbs, where people can’t afford the cars, because those issues are less likely to be front of mind (they matter, but they’re lower down the list). For a fitness and fashion brand like Asics, there’s definitely more upside than downside. It’s why Nike put Colin Kaepernick on the front of their last campaign, even though he’s done nothing of note on the sporting field for a couple of years (and I think it’s wrong that he was bullied out of the NFL). Folau’s sort of ideology is far less prevalent amongst Asics’ target demographic. They could’ve gained positive publicity, but they chose not to do so, and chose to minimize the chances of making themselves a target for either side of the situation.

        • AllyOz

          Peta Credlin made an interesting point last night. I don’t know if I agree with it or not but I think it is worth restating for interest’s sake. She said that mum and dad investors used to make up a much higher proportion of shareholdings. Now the sector is dominated by superannuation funds, particularly Industry Superannuation funds who are mostly dominated by unions. Mum and dad investors have a more diverse range of opinions and many would be pissed off if companies spent too much time on “corporate activism”. Plenty would stand up at a company AGM and tell a company to stick to their knitting and focus on making a profit for their shareholders first, rather than engaging in “social reform”. But when Industry Super Funds dominate shareholding and the unions that control these funds have a particular social reform agenda that is much more unlikely.

        • Braveheart81

          AGMs are still dominated by mum and dad investors (or more specifically grandma and granddad investors). Percentage or shareholding doesn’t impact on your ability to ask a question etc. Those individual shareholders have never had the numbers at any time to influence company decisions.

          I think that social media has put a far greater focus on big companies in terms of the positioning of their brand, social awareness etc. I think increased corporate activism is more due to companies deeming it as important to their positioning in the market amongst competitors and their own employees than it was in the past. Corporate Social Responsibility is a big deal at all these companies now.

          I agree that the chief focus is on maximising shareholder return but that isn’t really impacted by how the shareholders view the company. Attractiveness of the company to employees and customers does have a huge impact on the ability to maximise shareholder value and that is where CSR etc. comes in.

        • AllyOz

          “As a proportion of the value of the total sharemarket, super fund ownership rose from 29 per cent to 37 per cent over the decade, the analysis shows.”

          The above is from a SMH article from last month that says a recent study expects it to rise further to 50% by 2030. So maybe she is correct on that part of it at least.

          Also this article
          https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/we-re-not-activists-australiansuper-s-heather-ridout-hits-back-20190306-p5127v.html

          The head of Industry Super Australia is Greg Combet, a former Labor minister and union leader, so it is possible in my view that there is something to this.

        • Braveheart81

          I agree that super fund ownership is a substantial portion of the market. Large institutional investors and founders have always dominated public company shareholdings. Individual shareholders have never carried enough votes to push change through that method (although shareholder activism can work via making it a public issue the company needs to respond to).

        • Who?

          So, is it a good thing that a toxic cesspool like social media is now driving corporate behaviour, especially in non-core activities….? I don’t know how anyone could think that’s a good thing.
          .
          The perfect counter example is climate change. Business is all over it – they’re making decisions based on it, not worrying about public opinion (either way) or social media (where only the extremes of argument exist), purely focused on business costs. And they’re making decisions, which, in the majority, has everyone pleased. And it’s happening quietly, without controversy.
          .
          Corporate Social Responsibility should only be an issue when it’s about safety, not about activism outside the extents of corporate operations. I don’t care if Ronald McDonald thinks he should tell me to exercise. We don’t want another James Hardie, but I don’t want any corporation telling me how to live (or how to vote).

        • Braveheart81

          No, it’s just a reality of the modern world. Stories (particularly negative ones) go viral very quickly and can have a very real effect on brands.

          You have misunderstood CSR if you think it is done for the reason of the corporation trying to influence the public. It is the opposite. It’s done to improve the reputation of the company amongst key stakeholders (employees, customers, partners etc.). Obviously some things they do won’t be liked by all of the population.

        • Geoffro

          CSR ?? theres a furphy if I ever heard one.If it involves CPR (corporate profit realisation) they apply to themselves consistently I understand.

        • Who?

          Stories may go viral quickly, but that doesn’t mean that they should have any impact on companies. What damage would be done to QANTAS for having any sort of position on Folau? They’re in a duopoly, I don’t imagine it makes any difference to their clients. Of the few who might react to a position either way, they’re not going to have a significant impact on QANTAS’ bottom line. And having no position? Equally, no impact.
          .
          CSR starts as do no evil, but then extends… And I wouldn’t trust that people understand customers and stakeholders anymore. Not after Brexit, after Trump, even after the weekend. Not that I think the weekend was a Trump-like result (in that one was voting to blow up the system, the other was a vote, arguably, for no change), but it was clearly missed by pollsters and the press.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Were they extremely quick? Qantas just said they were deeply disappointed. For all we know, that’s as far as it went, or maybe Qantas told RA 12 months ago when this first happened that they’d pull their funding if Folau did it again unless RA severely punished him.

        • Who?

          They didn’t feel as quick or a direct this year as last, but they were still quick.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          So as you say and as I was saying in my first comment…. we now wait for Mr Qantas and their “public” opinion and threats of pulling sponsorship in the Latu case! In fact I’m having trouble finding where Qantas sits on drugs, drink driving, sexual abuse and domestic viilence!
          Ive pointed this out before but there is a global trend of companies getting involved with PC issues….. and either tanking or take a big hit! It’s common sense that personal agendas and politics don’t mix with business!

        • Custard Taht

          That is why Latu’s case will be handled differently to Folau’s, there is no external pressure on RA, from any quarter
          Rightly or wrongly, I don’t think RA will see any similarities with the Folau incident.

        • Braveheart81

          Where has that been reported? I have only seen that it was a suspended licence, not what is was suspended for. Clearly a drink driving conviction is going to come under bringing the game into disrepute. How serious a breach that is considered is unknown. Certainly the standard across Australian professional sport is that a drink driving conviction has not been deemed serious enough for termination of contract.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Hasnt been reported yet but soon will be.
          I think the difference now is that One player has had their contract terminated for two code of conduct breaches, yet has committed no offences at all. Although he may have offended many.
          Another player has breached his contract now multiple times and committed two criminal offences.
          The bar has now been set very high by RA, they must now be consistent.

        • Braveheart81

          Clearly if the first one was a drink driving conviction and he hasn’t told RA/Waratahs then he is really in trouble.

          You have to consider with Folau the fact that he completely refused to reconcile with RA on the many occasions it was available. There was no acknowledgement that what he did was an issue, he refused to take the post down and showed no remorse. If any of those things had happened his contract wouldn’t have been terminated. It was basically a case of let him say whatever he wants on social media going forward or terminate his contract. He made it impossible for there to be any middle ground.

          Latu is presumably going to try and do everything he can to keep his contract.

          I disagree that the bar has been set particularly high by RA in the wake of Folau.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Lets see what the courts say but as Mr Wood QC looks like being Folau’s legal rep, watch this space.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Mate when you run a clown show your quite OK to set the bar up wonky….. low one side and high on the other! Suits a wide range of agendas then…..

        • Brisneyland Local

          I prefer my bar to be made of rubber!

          Semper Gumbius = Always flexible! ;-)

        • Bobas

          If you have a level bar urine doesn’t drain off it as easily.

      • Metootootoo

        With two convictions for DIU he may end up in gaol. I think that would be terminal

      • AllyOz

        Depends on whether he was shouting quotes from the bible out the window while driving around drunk ;)

    • Geoffro

      George and Gits should be lolling around Japan at WC time.Cheika could do worse than to invite them along to the party in an unofficial capacity for some advice

      • Brisneyland Local

        Well George and Dr Evil are very good friends! But you are right, RA should have been on the blower months ago. But they have been a little bit busy lately, not doing their jobs.

      • Damo

        If England win RWC 19 he will expect to be dubbed Sir Evil, brave knight of the Colonies. If they drop out at the pools like last time he will be just Eddie.

        • Geoffro

          Haha,he’ll always just be Eddie to me and predicting another choke from the poms.

    • Metootootoo

      With regards to this weekends games, the Brumbies had better watch out they Peyper as ref with Who’s on Seconds running the line. Tahs fans can also say hello to Egon Saturday night.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yep. One always hates getting Jayco’d!

        • Bobas

          He’s OK when he doesn’t have Jonker in his ear.

        • Brisneyland Local

          The Double J!
          Is that like a different version of the Double P?

      • Bobas

        As the old saffa saying goes ‘the sideline (official) is your best defender’. Not too bad as a cleaner either.

  • formerflanker

    Thanks George for all the wonderful memories.
    And what about his shoutout to his junior club! Grassroots rugby could do with that sort of shot in the arm.

  • Yowie

    “…after he was found sleeping behind the wheel of his car near Rugby HQ on early Thursday morning…”

    This must be a breach of protocol.

    Rugby HQ itself is the place for being asleep at the wheel.

    • Tah Tragic

      Considering all Aussie coaches now get drafted for various carparks, after an extensive worldwide search, he is lucky he wasn’t appointed as the new Wallabies attack coach.

      • Who?

        True gold, TT. Probably his only saving grace was that the carpark wasn’t Ballymore……

    • Brisneyland Local

      Pure Gold Howie

    • Uncle Tony

      I thought it had a bit of the mixed metaphor about it

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Well said that man

  • Brumby Runner

    Great career George, always one of my favourite players. Simply the best.

  • adastra32

    Smith’s position as an all-time best in the game is assured. Having played recently ‘up here’, he has been a source of advice and mentoring to younger emerging players (Tom Curry in particular), as well as being invited into England camp by EJ.

  • John Miller

    And so, with nary a stray hair in sight – let alone a bedraggled dreadlock – one of the bona fide Titans of World Rugby takes his leave. And what a sparkling, multi-generational legacy resides in George Smith’s formidable wake.

    A Giant of the Game, in impact if not stature, Smith re-defined backrow open play and particularly the breakdown contest for which he is intrinsically synonymous. Scioned at the very tail end of the Wallabies richest era, (and together with a small clutch of mostly co-Brumbies backs), Smith desperately held together an increasingly porous national team as it piecemeal descended from the ranks of Innovator to Imitator. If Smith’s overwhelmingly unremarkable tight and loose forward compatriots throughout the 2000’s possessed even a modicum of the efficacy of GS and a world class backline, George Smith’s already storied stature, and bulging trophy cabinet, would better reflect his true contribution to Australian rugby.

    As it stands, Iridium-coated bones have given fans the world over the singular privilege of two decades of rapacious competitiveness, inhumanly altitudinous consistency and just plain rugby freak factor.

    Congratulations George Smith. And thank you.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Iridium or adamantium? ;-)

      • Who?

        They were my thoughts, especially given George is ageless!
        However, he doesn’t have the claws……

        • Brisneyland Local

          That we have seen! They could be stealth!

        • John Miller

          Impossible to win back the pill once he’s got his paws on. Perhaps the claws are retractable?

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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