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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News mourns David Pocock’s retirement, the return of a Waratah, a call to arms for Wallaby fans and the rise of Super Rugby.


Pocock retires from Brumbies

pocock injury

David Pocock has announced his immediate retirement from domestic rugby after his struggles with a calf injury.

Pocock has been sidelined since round four after suffering what he described as a ‘rare’ calf injury during Wallaby camp which has left him frustrated and itching to get back.

“It’s been frustrating,” he said. “I took December and tried to get my body right and then first day of camp in January I strained my calf and since then it’s been an ongoing issue.

“You’re putting pressure on yourself to get back out there, you want to be contributing and I think after talking to (McKellar and CEO Phil Thomson), I think the best thing now is to take the pressure off and actually get it right rather than continuing to do what I was doing.”

The injury was outlined as an issue in which a section of the calf muscle had failed to knit back together, with experts describing it as fairly rare.

Pocock will now switch his focus towards being fit for the World Cup, refusing to categorical confirm his fitness for the upcoming Test season in July, revealing that he is throwing everything into his rehab.

“You’re doing everything you can,” he said. “So, you’re obviously aiming for that and that’s driving you. To pull on the Wallabies jersey again is obviously my goal.

“It’s a huge honour and it’s something I love doing so I’ll be doing everything I can to get myself right and get into the best shape I can.”

Pocock will head to Japan regardless of his fitness during the World Cup, as he is set to fulfil the final year of his contract with the Panasonic Wild Knights.

However, he refused to rule out playing for the Wallabies after 2019, with the flanker still available through the Giteau law.

Hopefully, this isn’t the end for David Pocock in Australian rugby and he can get back to full fitness for the start of the Rugby Championship.

Pocock has been one of the best for the Wallabies, along with the Force and Brumbies and he has been a true representative of how an athlete should conduct themselves on and off the field.

Dempsey set for return

Jack Dempsey claims a restart.

Jack Dempsey claims a restart.

Waratahs backrower Jack Dempsey is set to return for the all-important clash with the Rebels on Friday night.

Dempsey has missed the past four weeks due to a back injury and will be a welcome addition to a Waratahs side who need a miracle to have any chance of playing finals.

Defensive coach Steve Tandy confirmed Dempsey’s availability for the clash with the Rebels, however, he noted that he was not an automatic selection into the struggling side.

“We’ll have selection meetings this week. It’s a very competitive spot, the back row and second row, there are some selection headaches there which is a good thing for us,” Tandy said.

“Having the calibre of Demo back is huge for us, but I think the boys are playing pretty well. You’ve got [Michael Hooper] doing well, Will Miller, Ned [Hanigan] who can slot back, it’s a really competitive area for us.”

Meanwhile, centre Karmichael Hunt is will miss four to eight weeks due to an MCL injury suffered in the side’s loss to the Jaguares.

Hunt went for scans on Monday which found that he had suffered a grade three MCL injury, which keeps his World Cup hopes alive (shame his form when he was fit ruled him out a month ago).

Lalakai Foketi is firming as his replacement after a strong showing off the bench on the weekend, with Tandy confident that he can step up in his replacement.

“Losing a player of that experience and his physical presence and what he brings to the training week is a big miss, but then Lalakai came on and did really well,” Tandy said.

“I think he’s been waiting in the wings to get his opportunity so as much as it’s a pretty big blow not to have Karmichael around the group … I think La (Foketi) is ready to go.”

Tandy admitted that the scandals and injuries that have engulfed the team had taken its toll on the group, noting that the strong group synergy and the quest for World Cup spots were spurring the side on in the final three rounds.

Rodda calls for support

Izack Rodda scores off a chargedown of a kick from Jack Maddocks.

Izack Rodda scores off a chargedown of a kick from Jack Maddocks.

Wallaby and Reds Lock Izack Rodda has urged fans to get behind the Wallabies and attend the upcoming test match against Argentina, as discussions about the dwindling crowds continue.

Rodda plea comes as tickets for the Wallabies clash with Argentina at Suncorp Stadium on July 27 go on sale Friday, a fixture which has been synonymous with poor attendance, with only 16,019 turing up to last year’s clash on the Gold Coast.

The test match will be one of just three that will be held in the country this year, with the only other opportunities coming with the Wallabies/Wallaroos Bledisloe doubleheader in Perth and the World Cup send-off match against Samoa at the new Bankwest Stadium.

“For a start, Suncorp, I feel is one of the best stadiums in the world to watch football at,” he said. “And it’d be great to see a big crowd turn out to watch a quality game of football because it’s going to be two quality sides going at it.”

Rodda was wary of the emerging Pumas, who have developed into a significant threat since their arrival in Super Rugby, singling out the immense physicality that they bring to each contest.

“The Pumas as a team have been slowly growing each year and each game, I’ve found. They’re definitely turning into a quality side, they have a strong set-piece and their pack is very strong, so it’s going to be a very physical game.”

The Argentinian Super Rugby side has seemed to be the biggest benefactor to the implemented rest periods by Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, with the Jaguares surging to the top of the South African Conference on the back of having their full allotment of test players available at all times.

However, this strategy has led to questions surrounding the potential ‘burning out’ of their key players, which has left Rodda undecided on which was best.

“It could definitely go one of two ways,” Rodda said. “If you’re playing a lot of footy, you tend to get a lot sorer and things like that and form can tend to slip.”

“But when you rest players, they stay in form and get that rest they need, because it is, when you think about it, going from Super Rugby into Tests, it is a long season and I can see the benefits from both sides.”

Rats to Richmond

Warringah vs. Sydney Uni (Image Credit - Rising Sun Photography)

Warringah vs. Sydney Uni (Image Credit – Rising Sun Photography)

Whilst on the topic of crowd attendance, an interesting analysis has been conducted surrounding the growth of suburban rugby, particular in the Shute Shield.

It examines how cash-strapped clubs such as Warringah and Manly have managed to draw crowds similar to the Super Rugby/NRL, with their derby clash recording a crowd over 10,000.

The revival of crowds for Warringah in particular has been credited to an unlikely source in the AFL side, Richmond, when club president Phil Parsons was curious how a team that hadn’t won a competition in 1980 (at the time) was still managing to draw 20,000 to their supporter days.

“What they do so well is that they make an event out of every game, so every game has a purpose that goes beyond,” he said. “So we took that away and applied it to our club. That was six years ago but that was the moment the penny dropped for us. Now every club in Shute Shield makes each game an event.”

After this meeting, the Rats concluded that they needed to revamp their gameday experience if they wished to attract a larger and more diverse crowd.

Along with the traditional, sophisticated corporate boxes that are a staple at most sporting events in order to cater to those of high society, the club implemented a ‘hillbilly’ section, which now has its own membership plan with a complimentary flannel shirt for the mad and devoted fans.

This was augmented by the inclusion of a forecourt with live music throughout and after the matches, along with jumping castles and pieces of cardboard to slide down the notorious slopes of Pittwater Park.

The full game day experience offered across the country at clubs such as Warringah has been essential to be revitalising of club rugby according to Easts President John Murray.

“I think NSW Rugby is doing a wonderful job in the circumstances but Super Rugby is not packing out stadiums in New Zealand or Australia either, even though the quality of rugby is fabulous.

“People don’t turn up to watch players warm up, they want to watch games, so I’d have a Shute Shield game, a Subbies game, a women’s game and a school kids game. It makes it better value money and you can build a festival of events around it.”

  • Patrick

    Honestly I’d have taken Pocock as captain coach over the entire current Wallabies coaching set up.

    I most of all want him to get back on the field for the RWC and the tests before it, but I’d love it if our coach could actually pick him in the position that he’s the best in the world at…

    • Greg

      I couldn’t find the +100 button.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Here here!

    • joy

      He’s missed 2 plus years with injury and a years holiday since his peak. A lot of good world 7s have emerged in that time.

      • John Miller

        Since his peak? Geez, he must have been something back then. Because having missed the entire 2017 Northern tour (and all the JE Medal voting points that come with it), as well as coming back from sabbatical + injury/surgery at the beginning of 2018, Poey was still Australia’s best rugby player last test season by about the distance between two outback sheep stations:

        John Eales Medal

        David Pocock- 262
        Lukhan Tui- 139
        Dane Haylett-Petty – 132
        Scott Sio – 124
        Marika Koroibete – 110
        Will Genia – 101
        Sean McMahon- 89
        Michael Hooper – 80
        Tatafu Polota-Nau- 77
        Sekope Kepu- 73

        https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-union/david-pocock-wins-2018-john-eales-medal-20181019-p50apd.html

        There are no Australian 7’s remotely near his class.

        • From NooZealand

          Agree that he is the best in Australia, but the world? I am still very sorry about David though as it has been said before: respected on and off the field. Greetings

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Who is the better 7 right now? Please don’t say Sam Cane… Ardie Savea might prove that this world cup, but he certainly hasn’t proved it at international level so far. O’Brien is passed it, the English guys no way, Kolisi no. Tipuric maybe, but i am still sceptical he is of Pocock’s standard.

        • From NooZealand

          By no means I was thinking in anyone in particular and it never crossed my mind anyone in NZ.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          7 has gone from a position with heaps of international class a few years ago (McCaw, Pocock and O’Brien) to one with far less.

          But now we have we have a bunch of locks that are world class. Appears virtually impossible to pick the two best locks in the world (although Brodie is surely number 1).

        • Who?

          Crazy thing is, we’ve arguably got as many quality 7’s as anyone else. It’s just that a few of them (LFGill and McMahon) aren’t playing here, and are therefore ineligible.

        • joy

          Sure but he has hardly been around since 2012 – Knee, another Knee, White Knights, World Cup in15, Then long service leave?, test seasons consolidating his hold on 8 in 16/17, a good 2018 until his neck was targeted and now in 2019 Cheika apparently targets his calf.

          As good as he may have been in recent years, Pocock was at his peak 2010/11 when he was twice finalist for IRB Player of the Year.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          So your logic is the following if I am correct… Pocock was injured in 2013 and 2014, before being our best player in 2015 and 2016 (despite the JE medal), taking a sabbatical in 2017 and coming back as our best player in 2018, last year.

          Therefore, he is past his best and shouldn’t be selected… Even though he was our best player last year?

          Right…

        • John Miller

          The bloke was the best rugby player in Australia in 2018. Why on earth does it matter if he was also the best player in Australia in 2010, 2011 and 2015?

      • From NooZealand

        Disagree with JMiller below. There is a big difference with being the best in Australia and the best in the world.

        • John Miller

          Well, it’s conjecture that won’t be settled today. And I suspect we’ll disagree regardless of the dialogue. What isn’t conjecture, is that you don’t need to be the best in the world to be the best in Australia. If he’s fit, he’s wearing 7. If he’s not, don’t select him at all.

        • Hoss

          Now you’ve done it. I told you not to mention the war.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I don’t think that what From NooZealand says is correct in this instance.

          We have two to three players that might arguably make a world 15. They’re Pocock, Kerevi and Kuridrani.

        • Hoss

          It’s hard to be objective about subjective content. I am with you re Pocock in form as the worlds premier 7, convincing our Shaky Isle cousins of same…..hmmmmmm. If our coach actually picked him there, well we could point to a body of evidence, but.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I’ve spoken to a fair few who do. Cane is good, just hasn’t proven himself to be in the class of Pocock.

        • Hoss

          Be wary of Kiwis in Oz Sherbert. They will say anything to secure their Centrelink funds. Come out here marry our women, take our jobs and ogle our livestock.

        • From NooZealand

          You know us well, brother …. sorry cousin. Your pasture (well your mines) is greener than ours.

        • From NooZealand

          LOL – I wasn’t thinking of anyone in particular Mr Hoss. You well know that in my thoughts reign certain tits, I mean tips from adolescent years. Greetings

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        He was our best player last year….

    • RF

      Pocock and Fardy would be the first two names in my team-sheet.

      Both could still be accommodated even if we persisted with the “Pooper” arrangement (which I don’t think we will) considering how well Fardy has been performing at lock in the last 2 seasons.

    • Missing Link

      I bloody hope if David Pocock retires from all forms of rugby after the world cup, that he is fast tracked into a coaching role with a super rugby team and long term, the Wallabies.

  • Custard Taht

    In regards to Pocock’s injury……Fuck you Cheika, your end as coach can’t come soon enough.

    There is a part of me that would love nothing more, than for the Wallabies to be knocked out at the group stages, cementing Cheikas legacy as the worst coach ever.

    • IIPA

      Yeah you see over on the Roar yesterday was a 400 odd comment thread about the crowd issue in Australian rugby. A few people touched on the concept of perception. And how negativity feeds negativity.

      Over on here day after day it’s all Cheika fucking ass clown, Waratahs are dog shit blah blah. Some of it is dressed up humorously. Hoss’s contributions are essential daily reading.

      But a lot of it is crap. And we’re meant to be the rugby “fans”?!?!

      • Custard Taht

        I don’t blame Cheika for everything, but he is certainly responsible for;

        1. The poor results of the wallabies.
        2. The poor team selection of the wallabies.
        3. The continuation of Grey as wallabies defence coach.
        4. The 1 game plan to rule them all, and when it doesn’t work, just keep on keepin on but with more intent.
        5. The injuries from his training camp, which could lead to Pocock missing the RWC.
        6. The Wallabies being basically unwatchable.

        Perception is reality, whether something is true or not does not matter, people do believe what they perceive to be true. In regards to the wallabies, perception is based on reality, and the reality is they are shit and that is on the coach.

        • Dud Roodt

          To say he is solely responsible for the poor results of the Wallabies is ridiculous.
          It completely ignores the fact that the game has consistently been going down the shitter in this country for the best part of 15 years.
          I’ve said it more than a few times here, it’s very hard to pick 23 players from 4 incredibly poor Super rugby teams and expect to beat a team that can select 23 players from 5 incredibly good teams. It doesn’t make much sense does it?

        • Custard Taht

          They are his team and he picks the players, he picks them out of position and is the one who doesn’t pick the best player in each position.

          He comes up with the predictable game plan, and the genius ideas like playing Foley at 12.

          To say that we can’t field a team of 23 that could and should consistently beat any team not NZ, is what is ridiculous. Not win every game, but our win percentage should be well into the 50s or early 60s.

          He and he alone owns the record losses to England, Scotland. We are consistently losing to teams with the similar size or smaller player pools to select from.

          Not sure if you noticed, there are other countries not called NZ that play rugby.

        • John Miller

          48% win rate. 40% since RWC2015. Dire.

          Worst record of an Australian coach in the professional era. And about 30 years prior.

        • RF

          Agree with the first 2 sentences, not the 3rd. As with all Cheika critiques hyperbole takes over in the end.

          Cheika is a hugely successful coach, he has every business coaching a top 10 team. The time for him to depart the Australian job has come (probably came 18 months ago) but that happens to most coaches. There is a 0% chance of RA retaining his services post-WC so I wouldn’t worry about that.

        • John Miller

          Thanks for your response RF.

          We’ll disagree on the last point. Cheika’s recalcitrant, blinkered and old school rugby coaching style is antiquated; and his siege mentality and one-eyed parochialism, all encompassing.

          Cheika belongs at provincial or tier 2 test nations level at best. The water found its level several seasons ago, the administration simply forgot to take out the plug.

        • Mica

          Probably the worst players that we’ve had in the professional era too though.
          Not saying that we could’ve done better, but look at the players the Macqueen and Dwyer had.

        • John Miller

          Selected by Cheika. Combined by Cheika. Game plans green lit or architected by Cheika. Scant governance or interference from on high (except as an arbitrary gesture in response to consistent, overwhelming public dissatisfaction), at the specific behest of Cheika. In every way this Wallabies team breathes, walks and talks like Michael Cheika. If a single cog is out of alignment, that party is exiled / persona non grata.

          This Wallabies side is fundamentally and intrinsically linked to its coach in a way no other professional Wallabies side has been – Dwyer and Macqueen included.

          Extracting Michael Cheika from responsibility for the performance of this poorly selected, strategised and led side is a frivolous exercise in propaganda at best.

          Cheik wanted complete control. He demanded it. He got it. He owns the results.

        • Mica

          All I am pointing out is that if I were coach I’d rather be picking from the Dwyer and Macqueen era than the Cheika era.
          That said I wouldn’t have picked the team that Cheika picked and there are a few fundamentals that even an arm chair coach like myself would change for the better, the most obvious being who kicks for touch when you get a penalty………

        • John Miller

          Perhaps Mica. But by comparison, Eddie Jones has taken the worst England side to go to a World Cup and with few personnel changes took the same side on a 24 wins out of 25 games run.

          In coming “down to earth” since, his win ratio in the same period is almost double Cheika’s success rate 40% versus almost 80%. And yet, if you look at the pressure both coaches have faced to keep their positions over this period, you’d think the win rate of each might be reversed.

          Coaches make a fundamental difference regardless of players. Cheika is just one step above his current station.

        • Mica

          Yep – I don’t want Eddie back though…… :)
          So if you were the coach what would you change. Genuine question too.

        • John Miller

          If I was the current coach of the Wallabies, I’d hope I’d have enough integrity to recognise I haven’t got the skills or approach to bring out the best in this team, and change my job / employer.

        • Dud Roodt

          I had noticed, yeah, (and definitely appreciate the sarcastic tone champ), but we play NZ 3 times a year, we play South Africa twice every year, since the last world cup we’ve played England 6 times, we’ve played Ireland 4 times.

          Those countries have immeasurably stronger rugby programs than ours.

          In that same period, NZ has lost to Ireland twice, and won once.

          Under Cheika against Scotland we’ve lost twice, won twice. Robbie Deans lost twice and won once…

          In the years since the last world cup we’ve had a single team in the super rugby finals on merit twice, the other two times the team was there by default. We have not had 2 teams in the top 8 on merit, or by default, in that time.

          Again, to say he is solely responsible for the poor results of the Wallabies is ridiculous.

        • Custard Taht

          And I never used the word “soley”….that was your addition champ.

          I said he was responsible for the wallabies performance. Head coaches, which he is one, are hired and fired on performance, because they are held accountable and are responsible for their teams performance.

        • Dud Roodt

          He and he alone owns the record losses to England, Scotland.”

          Righto chief.

        • Custard Taht

          Nice cherry picking champ.

          The first line from my post you originally replied to

          “I don’t blame Cheika for everything, but he is certainly responsible for”

          The 1st line of your 1st reply

          “To say he is solely responsible for the poor results of the Wallabies is ridiculous.”

          And he and he alone does own the record losses to England and Scotland.
          Neither of those teams are man for man so superior to the Wallabies, to hand us record losses.

          The difference between a loss and a record loss to those teams is not talent, but coaching.

          Nice addition of your own word and then subsequent deflection from what you originally said.

        • Dud Roodt

          You seem a bit confused. Let me clear it up for you OK champion.

          I responded to your first point which said he is responsible for the poor results of the Wallabies. This was after you had said he wasn’t responsible for “everything”. When you say something like that, the inference is “he might not be responsible for this, but he is responsible for this”. Get it?

          It wasn’t so much an addition of a word rather than a deduction I made from your post. If you didn’t think he was solely responsible, perhaps you could have said as much? For example, you could have said “he, amongst others, are certainly responsible for the poor results of the Wallabies”. But you didn’t, and hence my confusion, you see?

          I haven’t deflected from a single thing, but I will certainly bring up when you prove my point with a follow up statement (in this instance “”He and he alone”).

        • Custard Taht

          Or, if I meant he was solely responsible for all those things, I could have said Cheika is certainly solely or entirely responsible for….

          I said exactly what I meant, if you wish to read more into it, that is on you.

          I was pretty clear in my post what I think Cheika is responsible for, exact same thing every other head coach is judged on.

          The don’t blame cheika for everything comment was in realtion to Cheika copping a lot of crap, even for things he is not responsible for.

          I then elaborated on what I believe cheika is responsible for, and yes the poor results are his responsibility, he is the head coach.

          And yet you continue to chop off the rest of the statement to suit your own agenda, (which you created by adding in solely), which makes it clear that that the he and he alone owns the record losses to england and scotland, is only in reference to those 2 lossess and nothing else.

          Which I have explained why I apportion those 2 losses to Cheika alone.

        • IIPA

          The Grade Cricketer has a fair bit to say about people who use “champ”….

        • Custard Taht

          No idea what you are talking about….I reciprocated the use of champ.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Mate to be fair….in CONTEXT “owning” something is far different from responsible! Owning is certainly a word suited to describing a Coach!

        • joy

          Your just said solely twice in one splurt!

        • RF

          Well said.

          Cheika’s tenure as Wallabies coach has been poor in the current WC cycle but as always here everything is black and white with no nuance.

        • Given there’s only been 3 SR championships since the last RWC (we’re still playing the fourth) I’m not sure how we’ve had a team in the finals on merit twice and by winning the conference but not on points twice… I know there are games to go and it’s not guaranteed, but in this year’s SR it’s looking like there could be two Australian teams in the finals thanks to their points.

          Suggesting that the Wallabies woes are due to poor SR teams may or may not be true. There is a counter-argument that suggests, yes NZ can (usually) field 5 quality sides – the Blues are a quality side, just for a number of years the worst the NZ franchises, they were winning 80% of their matches against non-NZ opponents and 0% against NZ opponents, but Australia doesn’t have the breadth of talent to do that. Fielding only 4 SR rugby sides concentrates the talented players, and they do better. Honestly I’m not convinced by the evidence to date – the drop off in the NZ sides when they’re resting their AB as part of the RWC preparations, because they tend to rest them en masse, is dramatic. But, discounting playing to Jo’burg, the Australian sides seem to be playing better in SA so perhaps it is true.

          Regardless of that, Cheika has had 30+ players of test quality, known or suspected, spread across the 5, and now 4 franchises. Probably more. But he doesn’t seem to pick them. Every coach makes calls that fans disagree with. I read the Welsh, English and NZ media, and to a lesser extent the Irish and Scottish too, and sometimes the French and SA get a look in. That’s a function of where I live more than anything. There are (were for some of those, although it’s starting up again) huge debates about a few selections. Barrett or Mo’unga? Anscombe or Biggar? Faletau or Moriarty? But it’s typically 2 or 3, rarely 4 decisions and they’re often close calls, even those on the other side can admit that when they’re not on social media.

          For Cheika, it’s rare he picks a side where the fans agree with half his picks. That’s not just discontent, that’s terrible. Yes, coaches are meant to be in a position to know more than fans, but fans aren’t stupid. They can see things are broken, they can see things that need to be fixed and they can suggest plausible fixes.

          Is it solely his fault? No, probably not. But blind faith that keeping on doing the same things “with more intensity” will magically change the outcomes is nonsense. To compare the situation to Fast Eddie – he changed the mindset of the England players, he tweaked (rather than wholesale changes) the way they played, and instilled some confidence. They started winning with not many changes, but a difference in attitude and personnel and game-plan. All things Cheika has resisted. Then, in 2018 the wheels fell off the wagon. There wasn’t a panic, but there wasn’t blind denial. There was some more tinkering, some more adjustments to the personnel and the game plan. 2019 hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been a big improvement in their results to date.

          Those are things you expect of a good coach. I’m not saying Jones should replace Cheika, but the contrast is very pointed, and they are things that are under Cheika’s control and things he could change about how he coaches to do better.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          And a little point I’d like to add about the fans not being stupid…… we are a huge group of people and gain a wide set of ideas and info that all adds up! That can lead to a very well informed group whose views shouldn’t be cast aside as worthless! Balance that with a coach who doesn’t even watch much rugby!

        • True. I’d add to that, that rugby fans are often are well informed group of people. There are a lot of former players, coaches, current and former referees and the like. Not at the national level, not at provincial level even, but people who have a firm grasp of the game. They certainly have the ability to analyse what’s wrong, even if they don’t necessarily have the skill set and experience to work with the top flight players and put it right.

        • John Miller

          Great post EP

        • Mica

          Would love to have the choose Mo’unga or Barrett dilemma!!

        • Who wouldn’t?! Away from NZ I think a fair few coaches wouldn’t mind the Anscombe/Biggar dilemma, nor the Faletau/Moriarty dilemma.

          Imagine having to choose between two experienced (at test level) 10’s, one probably reaching the end of his career who kicks well from hand, kicks well from the tee, reads the opposition line well, collects his own kicks like a machine, but has started to step back from the gain line a little as he’s got older and slower. Oh and he also tackles bravely and pretty well. The other one who kicks probably better from hand, at a solid international level from the tee, plays closer to the line, and sets the backs alight when he gets it right. What would Australia do for that choice right now?

          Equally, between two number 8’s that might not be the #1 in their position in the world, but probably get into a lot of people’s discussion for a world XV in that position. Given Read, who I think a lot of people would write into their World XV number 8 shirt is definitely coming to the end of his career and it’s showing on his body, one of these two might just take over his mantle. Australia has some good players coming through, but… we need to see them on the big stage still to know for sure.

        • Mica

          Would love to have the choose Mo’unga or Barrett dilemma!!

        • Who?

          There’s one (compound) question to be raised about any coach. And it’s really simple.
          “Is this coach picking the best team available, and is the team performing to the best of it’s ability?”
          .
          I’d be happy with losses, if we looked like we were playing to our potential. But when did we last look like the sum of our parts, let alone look like more than the sum of our parts (which is what a team is)..?

        • IIPA

          Fair enough. Even as a Tahs supporter I question a lot of his decisions, selections and methods.

          But what is shit? 6th in the world ? Compared to the 91 team? Compared to the ABs?

        • Custard Taht

          Record losses to Scotland, England and a winning percentage south of 50.

        • IIPA

          Touché !

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think the issue with the 6th position is that up until Cheika the Wallabies were regularly 2 or 3. The real issue though is that there doesn’t appear to be any improvement and a likelihood of falling more

        • Andy

          All the home series losses got me and the persistent selection of players either out of position, not in form or players who completely don’t warrant a jersey at that level.

        • RF

          The World Rankings don’t really matter. Ireland climbed to 2, almost got 1st in between World Cup cycles and now are dropping down as we get into World Cup mode.

          What matters to Australian rugby is our performances against NZ, SA, England and the World Cup.

          Poor against NZ, diabolical against Eng, acceptable against SA and we did very well in the WC.

        • Who?

          Acceptable against SA? Not sure I agree, especially when in 2016/17 they were said to be the worst Bokke team in history.
          .
          We were lucky at the RWC in a rather weak field. We got to the final and were unable to score against our opponents unless they were a man down. And that was four years ago now. Last year we won what, 3 games..? And didn’t look likely to win most of the games we lost. Our selections, structures and tactics have been off for years.

        • Mica

          They had luck, but they also played well.
          Loved the England game. Defence against Wales was epic. Fiji is not exactly an easy side too. They can be dangerous on their day and have lots of skill in broken play.

        • Who?

          The England game, where Beale played the house down (everyone talks up Foley, who had an excellent game that day, but Beale was my MOTM that game – he was exceptional), that was Cheika’s greatest moment. Wales was as much as anything down to the mental edge accrued in not losing between 2009 and 2015. So it’s arguable that Deans and Link and their shared legacy of beating Wales into submission helped there.
          .
          Has Fiji ever beaten us..? I mean, they were tough in 2017…
          .
          The NH was nowhere near as strong in 2015 as they are now. The SH teams blocked out the SF’s. I can’t see that happening this time – I could easily see NZ being the only SH team in the SF’s.
          .
          But even in our best game (England), there was an issue to note. Cheika brought back Giteau, and we never threatened with width beyond him. In fact, the only try I can recall being scored down a wing in our RWC campaign was scored by Giteau, on the far right wing at the death. So, we couldn’t attack with width, meaning we were relying on the Cheika game plan of rolling through the forwards.
          .
          In the final, Carter is on record as saying they already understood the Grey shuffle, they knew they could stick up the gerryowen without fear of being carved up Mitchell, as he was exhausted from the defensive shuffle.
          .
          The seeds of our failings were visible in the analysis of the RWC campaign. It was effectively Cheika’s debut as an international coach, and it’s not uncommon for debutants to perform well. 2016 showed our second season blues, a common thing after impressive debuts. Because the second year player has now been analysed, and their frailties are tested and exposed. They then have to work out their own game, and adapt to what’s coming at them. Through 2017 and 2018, we’ve seen Wallaby attempts at knowing their own game, and attempting to improve it, without any consideration of what’s coming at them and how they should adapt to that.

        • The NH was nowhere near as strong in 2015 as they are now. The SH teams blocked out the SF’s. I can’t see that happening this time – I could easily see NZ being the only SH team in the SF’s.

          I agree that there probably won’t be a 100% SH semifinal lineup. If SA play well in the QF they can make it. They were improving last year, and then had games they just lost focus, as improving teams with new systems tend to do. Even international teams. But they’ll have had an extra year, extra games, and they’ll have a long build up together to get to the QFs. Argentina and Australia I think are the weaker links, England and Wales are likely to replace them IMO.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think to a lot of people they do still matter a bit. You’re right in that for each game they are meaningless and it’s how the team performs on the day that’s important, however the drop in world standings has come about because of the losses the Wallabies have had in the last 4 years. I think if the Wallabies do well at the RWC then Cheika will be remembered for that, however if they perform poorly then I think his legacy will be very tarnished.

        • Hoss

          One gets used to caviar and Dom with the elite whilst enjoying being best of the best.

          Old sausage rolls and flat lemonade don’t resonate the same as you start sliding down the pecking order.

        • joy

          I’d put it another way. Four northern nations have improved out of site. Then again this could be just a perception not based on reality.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          I think it’s the speed we fell to 6th that makes the impact!

        • Mica

          Agree 1 through 4.
          5 could just be bad luck – don’t know enough detail, but the outcome is near a disaster for the Wobs.
          6 is a bit harsh. Frustrating – yes, rage inducing – tick, moments of good play – enough to tease you and give you a bit of false hope. Maybe I’m just a slow learner and live in hope that they will give me something to cheer about.

        • Custard Taht

          The loss of Pocock for the RWC would be huge, but honestly, not sure it would be disastrous.

          There is plenty of talent waiting in the winds
          and the Brumbies pack is going pretty good without him.

        • NSWelsham in London

          to link this back with comments before hand though, without selecting the right lineup, it will be disastrous, at least when Pocock was picked (albeit out of position) we had a pilferer. We could potentially get a backrow of 3 Hooper’s the way Cheika selects a team.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah mate but you have to remember the Roar is full of the Sydney NE crowd who support all things NSW regardless of actual reality

        • AllyOz

          I haven’t noticed too many of them being any more forgiving of Cheika of late to be honest.

        • IIPA

          Don’t get me wrong there was plenty of good, bad and stupid suggestions and reasons given. Along with the crowd equivalent of climate deniers.

          And article was written by B.McKay who’s an NRC man and hardly a Shute Shield booster.

          Crowd issue in Super Rugby at least is just as big an issue in SA.

          So I wasn’t pushing any particular angle just offering up the idea that many casual fans pick up on the negativity in media, social media etc and think “yeah rugby sucks these days”.

        • joy

          No chance of climate change here mate – despite the mea culpas.

      • Hoss

        I posted last night mate that technically Cheika has fucked more calves than mad-cow disease, so some blame is required.

        I think, like you, we are all fans who care deeply for the game it’s simply that 3 years of frustration has withered some souls.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I am the coiner of the term “Ass Clown”, and whilst I understand your sentiment, I think Cheika’s results speak for themselves. This world cup will be telling. If he wins the world cup through great selections and a brilliant tactical plan I will humbly and happily eat my hat! There will not be anyone happier than I! I want us to be a fantastic team again and winning again. My criticism is based purely on the lack of results, terrible game plans and poor selections.

        • IIPA

          Mate appreciate the reply. When I first started reading GAGR your rants off the long run up were amusing, brilliant and rarely inaccurate. But even Lillee and Thommo steaming in gets a little repetitive after a while.

          Then again RA, Wallabies, Cheika, Grey, the Tahs, the Reds, SANZAAR etc have given you a lot of material to work with the last few years.

          But it does feel like the site is often 85% so-and-so is rubbish and 15% how good was that guy on the weekend… be nice if it was more 50-50.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I shall attempt to bring more balance to the Force! Pardon the pun to the Western Australians).
          I think it is the imposing closeness of the Tests and the World cup. I am starting to think that we have some really good players who are coming into form. I just hope they get picked based on form.
          But if the usual squad is picked, I reserve the right to come in off the extremely long run up! Thanks for the message.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          I’m be your wingman……

        • Brisneyland Local

          Always good with company

        • Mica

          Wash your mouth out – I never got sick of Lillee and Thommo.
          I am suitably outraged as appears to be the fashion these days when you read something on the interweb that you don’t agree with……… (too soon??)

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I think most people are fair and do say the good with the bad. There’s just so much bad at the moment, and has been for a long time. People want their team to win every game of course but they don’t expect it. What they want is for when the team goes down it’s because they were beaten by a better team whilst giving it all and having the best team on the field. There will always be the odd disagreement on individual players but I think what has led to the strong negativity is the continual poor play and seemingly poor selections with no accountability and no change. That is quite rightly unacceptable and as there is no recourse on this it manifests itself on disgruntled posts.

          I know I bag Hanigan, Beale, Folau and a few others quite regularly but I also think I do give them credit for what they bring to the table. Maybe I’m harsher at times than I should be but it is frustrating so much when the same players do the same dumb things time after time and yet still get picked.

        • Mica

          I doubt we’d win the RWC with any coach at the moment.
          On a player for player basis how many of any current Australian fit rugby players are better than their NZ counter part.

          If you could pick a world rugby 23 how many Wallabies will be in it.

          I’d love them to win, but I doubt any coach in the world at the moment could turn them into the number 1 side.

          This is not saying that I believe Cheika has done a great job – more so we just need to keep it realistic in terms of criticism and expectations.

          i.e. If they beat any of NZ, Ireland, England or SA (and possibly Wales considering how they played last time round) you should probably eat your hat or at least have a bit of a gnaw on it…… :)

        • Custard Taht

          On the flip side, how many non all blacks would be in the side.

          I would think the Wallabies would have had 2 or maybe 3 players make it, Pocock, maybe Hooper and up until recently Folau.

          Take out the all blacks, and man for man, the other teams are not vastly superior to the best 23 in Australia.

          The issue is that the coach has not necessarily picked the best 23. And that the other coaches have worked the wallabies attack, defence and game plan out. Cheika is being out coached.

        • Mica

          NZ would likely have the lion share – I’d only pick Pocock at the moment (if back to fitness and assuming he was as good as last time he was fit). Maybe it’s more realistic to say pick the top 3 or 4 players in the world in their positions and see how many Aussies you get then. I reckon it’d still be pretty bare. Kerevi, Genia and TK now come into contention, maybe Folau, 6As, Sio, Slipper…….

        • Custard Taht

          The talent is here and overseas, to field a wallabies team that matches up well against the rest of the world, and be very competitive against the kiwis.

          By match up well against the rest, I mean win most, if not all our home games and do better than 1 from 3 against the Northerners.

          It is not a lack of player talent hurting the wallabies, it is a lack of smart coaching.

        • AllyOz

          I think Kerevi on this year’s super rugby form has been the equal of anyone in Super Rugby and i think the stats back that up. Otherwise, of the players who have played consistently through the season and still with SR/Wallaby contracts… maybe some of the front rowers … there have been blokes in decent form but probably a touch below world class or world team selection.

        • Brisneyland Local

          If we get knocked out at the pool stages I will be proven 100% correct.
          I dont think we will beat NZ or win. BUt we can make it to the finals if we selected the in form players and right combinations. And if we had tactical game plan that worked unlike Cheika’s present plan.

        • NSWelsham in London

          Dont need to be the no.1 side, just need to be the better side on the day.. Maybe its the gold in me or the fact that we have had almost 10 days of decent weather here in London, but I do believe, with the right side picked we could win this tournament. My greatest fear is at 10 and goal kicker and unfortunately we dont have a Flatley or Burke to select..

        • Hoss

          10 days of rain – is it summer in Blighty ??

        • NSWelsham in London

          its coming…… you can always tell as every Brit brings their sunglasses to work and the top buttons come down. When there is sun the excitement is like a wallabies fan seeing a bledisloe win..

        • Hoss

          I share in their eternal optimism mate. Just parted with $300 hard earned on this years main & indigenous jerseys in faint of hope of glory on foreign shores.

          Bought the tickets and accommodation to the Lang Park year v the FISM’s. Put my money where my mouth his.

          Hope springs eternal.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          You don’t need to have better players, or even be a better team, you only need to play better over 80 mins.

          I think our players were arguably further behind in the 2015 world cup, and we were in it with 10 mins to go.

          Would any Australian have made a combined 15 in the 2015 final? I honestly don’t think so.

        • joy

          It’s the language mate not the sentiment.

        • From NooZealand

          Will the hat have some hot chilly, pepperoni, avocado, lamb? I will assist. Actually my hopes are fading rapidly. No attack coach. Maybe they cannot see any attack, only defense. Greetings.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I will eat it cold and plain as deserved if I am
          Wrong

        • From NooZealand

          Agree. I see your point of view. But I still have some faith. There are good enough players to carry the flag to the top of the Mt. Fuji.

        • Brisneyland Local

          YEs. But they have to get picked by Cheika first.

      • Huw Tindall

        Reality is Poey’s rig has been breaking down regularly for a few years now due to the physical nature of his game. If not in the pre-season camp then could easily have been some other time across a long season before they even get on the plane to Japan. Laying this at entirely at Chek’s feet is a bit of a long bow IMO. I’m no Chek apologist but fair cop.

        • Who?

          The rehab isn’t Cheika’s fault, but given it was one of four injuries of the same type to similarly disciplined players in punishment sprints, it’s clear the initial injury is Cheika’s fault.
          If it was a one off, then there’d be less argument that Cheika was to blame. But the fact it’s four guys with the same injury… The initial injury was definitely on Cheika.

        • Hoss

          Agreed.

      • Khun Pugwash

        Use the block button mate. Not having to read a few ‘regulars’ who have nothing interesting to contribute makes for much better reading.

      • RF

        I agree.

        I moved to Australia from Europe in 2009 and have been shocked with the negativity throughout this whole time.

        I do feel that a lot of the Cheika criticisms here are hugely exaggerated in some sort of race to the bottom in order to heard.

      • Andrew Luscombe

        I’ve got to second this. If the fans are complaining too much, then the slightly interested and passers by aren’t going to be attracted.

        • John Miller

          Forget the passers by, the rusted on fans are becoming increasingly disinterested in, and dispassionate about, this appalling Wallabies side. At least if some of the fans are complaining, they are still holding out hope: for change if nothing else. It is silence you should be worried about. On rugby blogs, on sidelines, in stadiums. Don’t bemoan differences of opinion and the noise that follows from it. Bemoan apathy. And the death that accompanies its stony quiet.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Well said!

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Yeah. Whinging is better than many other things. Eg stubbing your toe on a door frame or burning the dinner. Positive enthusiasm is still better than whinging.

          One of the problems with a sport that depends on national teams is that when the national team is doing badly the whole sport is too in the nation. But really is sixth in the world so bad that it’s worth trashing the whole sport?

          SR has provincial teams but each nation governs their own teams and uses them for national player development, so even there we get whole nations of teams that under or out perform for periods. It’s a poor set up from a marketing point of view, but again how bad is it really. The standard of teams is still as good as any club or provincial comp in the world.

        • John Miller

          Sorry Andrew. But that’s abject rubbish. The crude labels you ascribe to the contrasting critiques of Michael Cheika’s test coaching record lack any fragment of objectivity. You’ll note a plethora of anecdotal and empirical substantiation presented in the various critiques of Cheika’s inarguably poor coaching records by a host of commentators. To carte blanche describe reasoned, evidenced opinion as, “whinging”, is both partisan and just plain lazy. It would be akin to labelling obsequious, unconditional devotion to a broken rugby program and its parochial leader, “cheerleading”. And I would never do that.

          Though, it’s good to know we can count on your unswerving, unequivocal positive enthusiasm for the post-Cheika Australian coach; much as the completely sans-critical support you no doubt provided for the likes of McKenzie, Deans and Jones in the pre-Cheika-disaster years. That, of course, doesn’t and shouldn’t stop similarly passionate rugby supporters – on a rugby supporters opinion blogsite – from providing their opinion, whatever the flavour, provided it adheres to the publication guidelines. Because unless we work for Murdoch, more than one world view is allowed, yes?

          1st, 6th, 16th doesn’t really matter. If the team represents the best eligible Australian players, deployed in logical, complimentary combinations, mandated with intelligent, customised game plans and executing in excess of the sum of their parts, the commentary would be tempered. With the Wallabies a firm 0/4 across all of these metrics, expect more “whinging” Andrew.

      • GO THE Q REDS

        There’s an aweful lot a reasoning behind alot of the “crap” we all talk! I personally prefer stats and topics with a foundation! RA has made it possible for ALL of us to whinge and complain…… and the biggest problem most of it is justified with realities!

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Is it the role of a fan to mindlessly support? Not really a reasonable analogy, but would Europe have had two world wars if people hadn’t mindlessly supported their nation out of loyalty?

        I think we’re all rugby fans, but I think it’s difficult to be a fan of Cheika’s current Wallaby setup.

    • joy

      “The injury was outlined as an issue in which a section of the calf muscle had failed to knit back together, with experts describing it as fairly rare.” How is a common injury that should but wont heal somehow Cheika’s fault? I’ve said for a while now that Pocock has run out of spare parts. As much as I want him to make it to Japan I think the odds are against him.

      • RF

        The line is that Cheika was negligent in the training camp in January and caused this, and that Pocock would have had no idea what he was signing up for etc

        • Timbo

          Its a long bow to blame Cheika even for negligence by not having a strength and conditioning coach at said dune sprints session when these players are all at peak fitness and this is a new injury that wasn’t an extension of a known calf issue.
          It also easy to blame him when the reality is Pocock’s anatomy is the issue here.

        • RF

          We’re in the land of alternative facts, mate. If it involves slating the Wallabies coach then it’s a fact

        • Timbo

          true that. Im certainly not Cheikas biggest fan or RA for that matter. I was on the fence until the Folau Fiasco but now RA needs a cleanout and Cheika needs to bugger off. AS much as it pains me, I don’t see the Wallabies getting close to the finals of the RWC and that is going to be the best thing to happen to the wallabies in 15 years.

        • Who?

          If it were only Pocock that were injured, that would be fair. But Phipps lost between a third and half his Super season due to the same injury. Coleman almost the same with his calf, and hasn’t been right since. Haylett-Petty also missed something like a month with his calf.
          .
          No question, the Brums and Pocock got his rehab wrong. Pocock returned earlier than the others, he’s played in three games this year for no good outcome. But none of this changes the fact that we had our Wallabies go to camp in their very short offseason, get flogged by a non-specialist coach for a few of them missing out-of-season benchmarks, and then four of the thirty players copped the same type of injury. That’s 13% of the players in the camp coming home with the same injury.
          .
          We see a lot of talk about player welfare these days. Lots of talk about players not getting sufficient downtime. To the extent that Wallabies are being rested this Super season. And even that, apparently, isn’t enough – Hoiles and Mitchell are on the record as saying the current rest regime isn’t good enough, because the Wallabies are expected to do the full week’s training, the only break is the 80 minutes on game day. They don’t miss even a contact session, they don’t get to have a week on a beach somewhere to truly clear the mind.
          .
          Cheika ran this session with the Roosters. They were down there, both ‘teams’ joined up to do the session. Cheika’s attitude was, “It was fine for the Roosters, why not us?” Why not? Because the Roosters stopped playing in October, and didn’t play again until March. Whereas the Wallabies finished playing in late November (well over a month later), and started playing again in February (a month sooner). So the Roosters had more flexibility in their strength and conditioning regimes. Plus, the Roosters run the WHOLE strength and conditioning regime, under a sports scientist/S&C coach, whereas Cheika had these guys for a few days, without a specialist sports scientist, and without consultation from the provinces – who were managing the players’ conditioning the rest of the time.
          .
          The situation is like having someone building a new shopping centre, having engineers design all the slabs and structure, then having a builder unfamiliar with the project come through (say, if the regular builder’s on sick leave) and making a call that you can just hang massive loads off the structure where he thinks it’s right. But the builder’s not responsible for the structural integrity of the structure, and he’s not familiar with how that building works. He might be a builder, he might seem qualified – certainly to someone not in the industry – to make such a call. But reality is that it’s outside his scope. And whilst you might get lucky, and not see damage, that doesn’t mean it’s ever a great idea.
          .
          It’s also like having someone restoring a car, and another mechanic comes into the garage to do some work while the car builder’s away. What he does may well work, but he may well grab the wrong bolts, or put things in out of the planned sequence, as he’s not necessarily going to be aware of the foibles of that project.
          .
          Reality is that Cheika was working outside his area of expertise, without consulting the people maintaining these athletes, and he had an injury rate from a fitness session we haven’t seen in Australia since amateur days. We can all see that Pocock’s return has been mismanaged by the Brumbies, but it’s a return that shouldn’t have been required if Cheika’s camp hadn’t injured multiple fit players.

      • Custard Taht

        So we just ignore the other 3 players who suffered calf injuries during the same training camp?

        But yep, it is Pococks fault he suffered a calf injury during a session, being run by the head coach without a qualified strength and conditioning coach.

        It was the first week of January, so the players were not at peak fitness, they were coming back from their end of season break.

        Maybe a qualified strength and conditioning coach would have advised against such a session, so soon back.

        The fact that it won’t repair isn’t on Cheika, that it was injured in the first place is.

        It seems the Super coaches and staff of those players injured are of similar mind, as they complained to RA about it all.

        As stated by someone below, we do indeed live in a land of alternative facts.

        • joy

          There are no alternative facts. I’m not interested in whether Cheika contributed to the injury. That’s yesterday’s news. The issue now is that the injury wont heal and that’s got nothing to do with Cheika. He’s retiring from the Brumbies to give himself more time but if Cheika rushes him back into the rugby championship or even later for the world cup he will be guilty of making exactly the same mistake, flogging an unprepared player. I feel his season and even his career could be over.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          You’ve been pushing the ‘Pocock needs to make way for Hooper’ line for more than the last few season.

          The reality is that Pocock came back into the Brumbies last season after a very long injury layoff and after taking a sabbatical the year before and was fantastic. He has a history of being able to come back from injuries and perform close to his best level. He has also been training in recent months and is in no way unfit or non-conditioned. The only question is whether his injury will heal to the point that he can play for the Wallabies.

          If he does, he’s still a better player than Hooper. I’m struggling to think of a single game that Hooper has ever won for the Wallabies on his own (as in, the Wallabies were comprehensively outplayed but won due to his performance) and I can think of multiple with Pocock. Also struggling to think of a game that Hooper has ever outplayed Pocock.

          Rather like your claims about the Folau saga, your agenda is pretty transparent.

  • Hoss

    The most discussed 12 inches of muscle in Australia since the John Holmes era.

    That our national team has yet to rise to any sort of greatness with this true gentlemen and brilliant 7 is an indictment on all.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Totally agree

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan,

    Really sorry to see Pocock go. A great competitor and someone you can respect both on and off the field. I think the Pooper killed him off to an extent as he was never able to play his best game when that was picked. Good luck for the future and I hope he does get fit enough for the RWC.

    You cracked me up with your Hunt comment about his form, that is gold and I think quite accurate. TBH I’d have both Kerevi and Simone over him as well as Meakes. Good to see Dempsey back and I hope he goes well.

    Well Rodda, myself, Hoss, BL and perhaps a few others are all planning to watch the game so we’ll support you. Can you and your team mates now support us by playing some good rugby and actually winning please.

    • Keith Butler

      Looking forward to the Argentine game as well and meeting a few more GAGRs, should be a good test. Just hope that Cheika selects on current form.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I’m not holding my breath on that mate. It’d be a radical change from the last 4 years and in some ways such a big change could be a bit negative for the team harmony.

        • Keith Butler

          I should have added chances of that happening Buckley’s and none.

      • Custard Taht

        Wasn’t the Argie v wallabies test last week? And didn’t the Wallabies fail. That is what phil kearns has lead me to believe.

        • Keith Butler

          Fake news.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure Gold

        • Huw Tindall

          Custard you are quickly becoming my favourite contributor.

  • Yowie

    “Along with the traditional, sophisticated corporate boxes that are a staple at most sporting events in order to cater to those of high society, the club implemented a ‘hillbilly’ section, which now has its own membership plan with a complimentary flannel shirt for the mad and devoted fans.”

    This is awesome.

    Although, being at Warringah, they probably bring high-end custom banjos and wear Gucci thongs.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hahahaha gold

    • Greg

      Being from the area…. I don’t know what you mean. Do companies other than Gucci make thongs?

      • Yowie

        You could try Yves Saint Laurent, but it would be a bit, you-know, nouveau riche looking.

      • Bernie Chan

        Prada

    • Funk

      Don’t they wear scuffed RMs…

      • Huw Tindall

        They buy pre-scuffed RMs as you certainly won’t get them scuffed down the Greenwood on Friday nights or walking around manicured lawns of the private schools

        • Brisneyland Local

          They still get beer slops spilt on them at the Greenwood!

        • John Miller

          Yes. But strictly premium European beer slops.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Absolutely

  • The Jackal

    A curious case Pocock, who flew himself over at his own personal cost to Cape Town when the Brumbies faced the Stormers because he felt he was ready to play and then sent home when they went to Argentina. That was at the end of April. Something doesn’t seem to add up.Re-injured the calf or some sort of conspiracy by either the Wallabies or Brumbies…

  • Huw Tindall

    Fox Sports saying Will Skelton could be the RWC reckoning with a Matt Toomua style deal. Bending the eligibility rules to breaking point! Still, if you’ve seen any of his form for Saracens this year you wouldn’t be complaining. He’d walk into the Wallabies squad today.

    • Keith Butler

      Could be more fake news. With Kruis and Itoje being selected for the RWC and also the 6Ns in 2020 I reckon Mark McCall will want to hang on to Skelton for as long as possible. His time in the NH certainly seems to hav3 improved his overall game.

    • RF

      Skelton is unrecognisable (physically) from the player he was in Australia. Very excited at the prospect of his return.

      The #1 Wallaby abroad is Fardy though, we should do whatever it takes to get him back

      • Brisneyland Local

        Agree.

      • formerflanker

        Tough on selectors who want to compare players against each other. Aussie players compete against each other and selectors can see relative strengths and weaknesses. But trying to work out if Skelton is Wallaby standard would be very tough.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Nah, just like with Fardy, when you’re starting for one of the absolute top sides in Europe (and in the world) that are of much higher standard than any Aussie sides, and looking as good as or even outplaying other internationals, then you’re good enough for the Wallabies.

          Question is how to make the line out work?

          Maybe you could have Arnold and Jones at 5 and 6, with Jones calling. But in that case you need a backup caller on the bench, which probably means Simmons. In that case, you may as well start Simmons and have either Arnold or Skelton start, with the other coming off the bench. Then they can both go hard for about a half.

      • Patrick

        Don’t be silly, have you ever seen Fardy look like he is enjoying his rugby??

        • Who?

          I’m waiting for someone to complete misunderstand this statement. It’s a very clever one, Patrick…

    • GO THE Q REDS

      Yeah he’s been playing awesome…. so good he pushed Itoje out…. Rules aside I would not say no!

      • Hoss

        He also got voted ‘players player’. Fairly esteemed opinions I would think.

        • From NooZealand

          The Players’ player is when the players “play” a lot with the elected? ((:))

  • Greg

    That’s 7 IFFDs!!

    • From NooZealand

      Sorry, what’s IFDDs?

      • NickAJW

        Slightly guessing but ‘Israel Folau Free Days’ ?

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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