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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News examines the Brumbies influence on the Wallabies gameplan, confirms the worst kept secret in rugby, looks at the newest dual-code superstar starring for the Wallaroos and celebrates NSW rugby finally taking the NRC seriously.


Captialising on strong foundations

Rory Arnold gets into full stride

Rory Arnold gets into full stride

The Wallabies will be looking to draw off the strategies that guided the Brumbies to Super Rugby success throughout their Rugby Championship campaign.

The Brumbies were able to dominant the Australian Conference as a result of the strong platform laid out by their set-piece, particularly their rolling maul, which saw hooker Folau Fainga’a rocket towards the top of the try-scoring tallies.

“I think they’ve acknowledged how well we’ve gone this year as a Brumbies team but just trying to maximise the strengths they use as well,” Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano said.

“I think the boys have done some mauling stuff and some scrum stuff and they’re adopting that kind of stuff to be on the same page, to be able to use those strengths to be able to move forward as well.

“I think they’re trying to use the strengths of (the Brumbies’ set-piece) and then add in their twists and flavour on it as well.”

Like the majority of Wallabies fans, lock Rory Arnold is hopeful that the majority of the Brumbies tight five will get the chance to play together at the international level when the side is selected.

“It’d be nice to keep that together but it’s whoever is playing their best footy,” he said. “You’re not going to just play those group of players because they play Super Rugby together.”

“You’ve got to be playing your best footy and that warrants selection and I think that will show this weekend with the squad [Cheika] picks.”

Lealiifano believes that the Wallabies side shouldn’t necessarily be dictated by the momentum gained from the Super Rugby, rather which combinations will allow for optimal performance.

“I wouldn’t say you put a bulk of Brumbies players in to go with that momentum,” he said.

“We’ve been just trying to get our heads around the last week of what the boys have been doing for the whole little block so I think it’ll be quite tough to be able to jump in and try and put everyone in just to see if that would work for you but the combinations and everything else has been really good, I think from the whole squad.”

Not a JOC this time

371_DSC_7599_2013_07_06_3435

The worst kept secret in Australian rugby has finally been confirmed with outside back James O’Connor committing to the Queensland Reds for the next two seasons.

O’Connor links back up with the Reds after spending two years with the Sale Sharks, which finally makes him test eligilbe after linking up with the Wallabies last week.

His contract is reportedly well under the going rate for a player with 44 international caps, with Queensland Rugby Union safeguarding themselves from his reckless history.

It contains unprecedented behavioural and drug clauses which will provide financial incentives that will earn him more money the longer he stays clean.

O’Connor was grateful for receiving another chance by the Reds and the ARU, admitting that he was broken physically and mentally when he last returned and he was looking to cherish the opportunity that he has been afforded.

“I just want to say how grateful I am to be given this opportunity again,” O’Connor said.

“I came back last time [in 2015] and I wasn’t in the best place mentally but also physically I was quite broken, so I couldn’t produce and perform the rugby I wanted to for the team.”

“I’m finally ready to return and make amends. I want to do right by the team and the fans and I intend to deliver the very best of my energy. If I can help the team get back to the top of the sport and if we can bring success back to Queensland that would be a dream for me.”

Rugby Australia director Scott Johnson was pleased to have JOC back, however, he put out the challenge for O’Connor to back up his talk with positive performances on and off the field.

“James has immense Rugby talent. He started his career in Queensland and this is a chance for him to show his full potential for his home state,” Johnson said.

“Now is the time for James’ Rugby to do the talking. He’s come home for the right reasons to play Rugby and to help develop our Rugby programs.”

“He’s matured and understands the leadership roles both on-and-off the field. He’s been honest and transparent throughout this whole process. We want to back the man to be the player we know he can be,” said Johnson.

Not so Vanilli Millie

Millie Boyle celebrates Super W Semi Final Queensland v Brumbies 2019 (Photo Credit Brendan Hertel QRU)

Wallaroos flanker Millie Boyle is refusing to give up the dream of becoming a dual-code international as she prepares for the Wallaroos 2nd test against Japan.

The dual code and state representative (does that make her a dual/dual or a quad?) has had a breakout year across both rugby codes, playing a starring role in the Blues State of Origin win, along with guiding the Queensland Reds to the Super W final.

Boyle has rugby league running through her blood, with her brother Morgan playing for the Gold Coast Titans and her uncle being Canberra legend Jason Croker.

However, bloodline does not dictate sporting preference and it was the complexity of union compared to league that continues to draw her back to the game played in heaven.

“I grew up playing rugby league, I’ve watched it a lot, it’s always on at home and whatnot. I like the concept of that game and how it can just be easily applied and picked up.”

“However I like the complexity of rugby and the set-piece play, being a forward, obviously scrums and lineouts are a massive thing. The set-piece is probably one of the biggest things that I like in rugby union and everyone has their role. So I really enjoy that.”

Boyle was one of the standouts in the Wallaroos 34-5 win over Japan and she believes that another strong performance this weekend can help build confidence and momentum ahead of their two-test series against New Zealand.

“It was a historic win, first win on home soil for the Wallaroos so to be a part of that is just amazing,” Boyle said.

“We set the platform last week playing Japan so it will be just building on top of that and recognising what we can do better and what went well.

“Every team is beatable so we’ll be looking at some of the New Zealand games. They are over in San Diego in a tournament at the moment so it’ll just be a matter of what we can do now and taking that into the next tournament.”

Playing for Real

NSW NRC 2019 Coaches Pauli Taumoepeau & Chris Whitaker (Rays) Robert Taylor & Ben McCormack (Eagles)

It appears that NSW has finally committed to the National Rugby Championship, formalising the management and coaching staff of their teams.

The teams representing NSW for the 2019 instalment of the competition will be split into two: Sydney (formerly known as the Sydney Rays) and the Country Eagles.

Sydney will be managed by the NSWRU, who have reappointed Waratahs assistant coach Chris Whittaker as the head coach alogn with Easts coach Pauli Taumoepeau as his deputy.

“We’ve seen a lot of really talented young players pushing for selection from within our development pathways,” Whitaker said.

“There’ll be opportunity for those guys to work with some experienced heads, hopefully [they] get plenty out of the competition individually but also pick up some good results along the way.”

The Country Eagles side will be operated by NSW Country Rugby Union, who have appointed Sydney Uni coach Stuart Taylor to the head role.

Taylor will be assisted by Randwick’s Ben McCormack, with Taylor looking forward to making the step up to NRC after guiding Sydney Uni to back-to-back Shute Shield titles.

“We’ve got an extremely strong club rugby competition in New South Wales and plenty of guys with the ability to take that step up,” Taylor said.

“It’s about us creating an environment where these players can be challenged and succeed. We want to give them the tools to produce their best rugby while representing Country New South Wales on a national stage.”

NSWRU General Manager of Rugby Tim Rapp said that the state’s respective NRC squads would be working alongside an experienced group of coaches, including Waratahs defensive coach Steve Tandy and an unnamed set-piece specialist.

“We see the NRC as an important development opportunity for young players that are aspiring to make a permanent step into a professional environment – we’ve assembled some really experienced guys to help facilitate that,” said Rapp.

“It’s also a chance for aspiring staff to be challenged at the next level, as we look at some of our up-and-coming coaches and support staff.”

The 2019 National Rugby Championship is set to kick off in late August with further details on the draw to be confirmed shortly.

  • Huw Tindall

    I’ll believe NSW are taking NRC seriously when there are the best Shute Shield players in the sides who don’t have any sort of Tahs contract (academy, extended squad, etc). They need to put their money where their mouth is.

    • Brumby Runner

      Huw, surely the teams will need to be a mix of the two – best from the SS to complement the Tahs contracted players who are available to play?

      One of the main complaints about the NSW sides in the history of the NRC is that the contracted players haven’t been used and the teams’ standards have been way below the standards of the others.

      I would really expect to see a fair sprinkling of Tahs fully contracted players ( the likes of Hanigan, Gordon, Foketai etc), spread over the two sides and be complemented by many of the U23s from this year.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate absolutely. I’d suggest not too many Super players should be involved as a good rest and slow build up to next season is needed for a lot of them, however some definitely along with the best of the club players would be great

        • Jason

          I don’t know about too many of them, given their results I’m not sure they’ve earned a rest. Obviously you take out their Wallabies and injuries and older players, IMO if you’re under 25 and not in the Wallabies Squad or injured — you’re playing NRC.

        • Charcoal

          I agree that all fit contracted Super Rugby players, not part of the Wallaby squad and including older players, should play in the NRC, notwithstanding the fact that it gives the one city teams somewhat of an advantage because of their greater concentration of fully professional players. The downside is that it doesn’t leave much room to introduce up and coming players from the respective Premier Rugby competitions.

          On the other hand, the contracted players are spread too thinly across the multiple teams in NSW and Qld. While this allows for more opportunities for the recruitment of the best of the Premier Rugby players in each State, it’s not until late in the competition that they come up to speed in terms of matching it with the fully professional players in terms of skills and fitness training.

          I like your earlier suggestion that each Super Rugby franchise, and I include The Force in this, should have at least two NRC feeder clubs. They should be based on a regional grouping of Premier Rugby clubs, which is more likely to engender a tribal following. It would even out the competition and at the same time create more opportunities for the best of the club players to be exposed to a higher level of competition, particularly for the one city teams.

          In the NSW context, with which I’m most familiar, I still don’t think they’ve got it quite right in splitting their two teams between Sydney and NSW Country. While it might be a sop to the NSW Country Rugby Union, the reality is that most if not all players for each team are based in Sydney with Shute Shield clubs. There are undoubtedly many players who originated from Country NSW spread across the two teams as well as those from Sydney. They are artificially contrived teams with no tribal following compared with the alternative of Sydney based Shute Shield representative regional teams.

          This has been one the major reasons for the lack of support for the NRC in Sydney. They should build on the increasing tribal support for the Shute Shield competition in recent years by basing the NSW teams on the Sydney regions. Initially, it should be a grouping of North Harbour and South Harbour Shute Shield clubs, with each acting as feeders into their respective regions. As the NRC matures, I would envisage the addition of a Western Sydney regional team.

          That doesn’t mean that NSW Country supporters are neglected. Each of the Sydney regional teams should be required to play at least one home game in a NSW regional city. Each team would have a representation of players originating from the country, so it’s a win/win situation for them.

        • Jason

          I don’t think you would necessarily need specific team allocations. Queensland do this — they base QC on where the player is ‘from’ all of the Reds players play Club Rugby. Even if it were just based on a contracting letting teams just pick players (perhaps limited to their respective club teams) with that Super Rugby team having first pick on those players playing in their NRC teams.

          I find what they have done with it in Queensland to be really quite good the Brisbane City team spend their home games playing at all (most) the club grounds, while the country team plays in the regional centers to ensure the game is taken to the general rugby community. Also generating income for those clubs (regional and premier), showing the kids (city or country) that they can make it and that NRC (and thus Super Rugby) is obtainable.

          I think if the NSW Clubs got behind it the fans would follow much as has happened in Queensland. Due to the Brisbane City effectively touring they pick up a lot (if not most or all) the respective club supporters. I think the real fundamental issue is the fractured nature of the NSW Club system (with respect to the NSWRU/ARU), if they could get to a point where they are all pulling in the same direction I think that would go a long way to mending the NRC in NSW. But the difficulty is a lot of the damage is already done, the club fans have already been told ‘oh, we don’t like/support the NRC.’ It’ll be hard to repair that damage.

      • Keith Butler

        A very difficult question, how many contracted players with a lot of super rugby experience do you use. I recall seeing a Rising team a few seasons back that comprised mainly of full contract players with a couple of club players thrown into the mix. By all means include a few to provide leadership/experience but maybe focus on development of fringe players and feed into the system our u20 talent

        • Who?

          The ‘advantage’ the NSWRU has is that it has two teams, unlike the VRU. So they can afford to play all their contracted, available (i.e. non-Wallaby, non-injured, non-retiring) players and still have plenty of spots up for grabs. That’s not true for the Rising, the Force, or ACT.

        • Jason

          Awkwardly all those did better than the NSWRU at both managing their SR/Club mix.

        • Jason

          The problem is the Waratahs don’t have this conundrum they have two (or three?) teams, they could have their whole squad less those in the Wallabies Squad or injured (or the few you’d leave out like AAC) and still have plenty of spots for development.

          I would like to see eventually each of the Super teams given at least two affiliated NRC teams. If I remember correctly the NSWRU had three or even four affiliated teams at one point. They squandard that advantage. If they need advice as to how to use the NRC I’m sure the QRU would be glad to give them some pointers.

    • Braveheart81

      Every Super Rugby contracted player who isn’t playing test rugby or having off season surgery should be playing. That’s a big part of what the NRC is about. Giving those players a chance to play at a level above club rugby.

      There will always be some better club players at later points in their careers that miss out because of this but that is what is needed. The NRC isn’t just a club rugby rep comp.

      • Jason

        I’d almost be okay with some kind of age cap on the NRC. I’d prefer the older Club or Super guys to be set aside (maybe a sprinkling of older guys like say Slipper playing for Q-Country last year or year before, or Quade playing for Brisbane City).

        • Who?

          Not sure we’d ever need it? Those older guys generally end up in Japan or Europe anyway…
          And people talk up the fact that the young bucks need to clash with the old heads in club land.

        • Jason

          I was more talking about some of the club guys who are old AF (I think one of the fly halves in Shute Shield is like 32… 32 and an excellent club player but never a Super player. That’s the kind of guy I’d prefer not to have in the NRC.
          I don’t mind a few guys like a George Smith or Slipper in their respective squads, but guys who are over 25 and have never made it into a Super Squad are really not who I’d like to see playing NRC.

        • Not sure I agree. Sorry to compare the NRC to the ITM Cup or whatever it’s being called this year, but there is a leavening of older SR and even the occasionally former AB you see scattered through it (as well as the occasional young AB who has dipped in form).

          There aren’t a lot of them, it’s been a couple of years since I watched and without checking this year’s teams from memory it was about 3-5 in most teams, more in the squads maybe, but it’s enough to show the up and coming players the attitude and work required to succeed at the next level. I think that makes a big difference to those youngsters who are on their way up. However, across the whole competition there’s a lot of space for young players in every position to develop and break through as potential SR and AB players.

          Now, OK, NZ has better establish paths for development and better processes to handle all of this. RA shouldn’t blindly follow everything the NZRU does but this is one where I think they should look at it and say “That works, we should try and do it more like that.”

    • Jason

      I’m pretty sure they won’t…

  • Dave P

    What’s happened to Darren Coleman? He had performed really well with Country coaching with one hand tied behind his back. Loving that the idea of NSW rugby getting serious about the NRC means installing Uni, Easts and Randwick coaches to the two teams.

    • Huw Tindall

      I’m as skeptical as you mate but if it means the best Shute players from those teams test themselves in NRC then all good.

      • Brumby Runner

        Do you not think some of the best SS players are from teams like Manly, Warringah, Eastwood, et al Huw? I would certainly not want to see the coaches just picking from their own SS teams.

    • Sevenwithasixonmyback

      And ROB Taylor hasn’t guided Uni to back-to-back titles just yet… The pointy end of the Shute season awaits and Uni have some areas in which to improve if they are going to run onto North Sydney Oval again this year.

      • Nutta

        Yeh but isn’t this the time of year that the Uni 1sts become the 2nds and the tarts extended squad becomes the 1sts?

        • Sevenwithasixonmyback

          Yes. The Uni 2s are certainly a stronger team towards the end of the season. But simply dropping rep players into a functioning team doesn’t always produce results.
          Uni’s game plan this year has been defensive and scrum focused. Bringing in attacking Tahs (and occasional Reb) didn’t work on the paddock last week. Yeas a win but a sloppy one.
          Would have liked to have seen Jake Gordon and Matt Philip with the Wallabies rather than Forshaw this week.

    • Brumby Runner

      Maybe waiting to be confirmed as Tahs’ coach?

    • Nicholas Wasiliev

      In an ideal world, I’d put him in contention to be Tahs coach. The man has been nothing short of outstanding in every team he’s been involved in, and if the Tahs don’t get him into that organisation in some capacity there should be a riot. What else does the dude have to do to get recognised!?

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Do you think starting as Tahs coach or coming in as an assistant coach for a couple of years first?

        • Nicholas Wasiliev

          Assistant coach. Think it’s way too early to throw him in the top job. He’s got potential, but he needs to be like Simon Cron and have a few years before he should be considered.

        • Dave P

          I think he is ready now, he has spent time as an assistant at the Brumbies. I would love to see the likes of Nick Styles as forwards coach, with an experienced breakdown / defence coach. In an ideal world a guy like Link would still be involved in Oz rugby as a coaching mentor but that makes too much sense for RA.

        • Hoss

          So ignored, no succession plans and consultation and send him to Japan ???

      • Dave P

        Coach the ‘deserved’ team to a SS title? I was sceptical of the bloke when he was first appointed the Eagles coach as I had only seen mediocrity to that point, but it was pointed out the teams he advocated had been improved to the level of mediocre from abysmal. I decided to hold fire and give him a chance – every team he has coached at SS level has improved under his tenure and the Eagles performed better than any other NSW team every year, including making a couple of finals. I am hoping the Wisemantel rumours are wrong as he does not fill me with any confidence – he was the attack coach of the ‘tags in 04 & 05 when the game plan was to avoid losing and the attack consisted of pass it to Matt to weave some magic.

        • Nicholas Wasiliev

          Yes, but I think Coleman has grown since the days of 04 and 05 as a coach. He seems like a lot more mature coach, and has admitted that having the NRC has improved his skills in terms of coaching and team management. With good SS teams, he has shown great potential, and with the Country Eagles of past seasons, with effectively one hand tied behind his back, he has performed exceptionally.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan,
    I think it’ll be interesting to see how much of the Wallabies game does go through. That podcast with the analyst opened up some interesting points and talked a bit to why the top Super team doesn’t always lead to the national level game. I do hope a lot of those players are rewarded for their efforts though.

    I do hope NSW are as serious as they say. The NRC has got a lot of potential if it is supported properly and will do a lot more for developing players for super rugby than any club competition.

    Looking forward to the women’s games. They are great spectacles. Good luck to the dual code but I do wonder if it’s achievable.

    One last thing. Sorry team for snapping a bit yesterday. I lowered myself to the level of someone else and that was wrong. This isn’t The Roar and I’ll try and ignore it now

    • AllyOz

      there was a little bit of provocation KRL. I have noticed a couple of recent posts from people I haven’t seen here much before that have broken the rules of good social behaviour. Playing the man and not the ball if you like.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yes unfortuntaely there are known Richard Craniums here!

    • Custard Taht

      The Wallabies game plan under Cheika has been “Bring the opposition down to our level and beat them with experience”.

      It is worked on and off against the rest of the world, except the Kiwis.

      Yesterday seeing you being dragged down to someone else’s level, has given me hope.

      Hope, that in a RWC, Cheika’s dastardly plan is finally going to hit pay dirt against the kiwis.

      Cheika should print your comments out and post them on the locker room walls and say “see guys, kiwis can be dragged down, no go out there drag them down to your level and then beat them with experience”.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        mate, that’s gold. Good luck with it

      • Brisneyland Local

        Bloody hilarious!

    • Damo

      More of a bend than a snap KRL. Mate if we can be comfortable with your kiwi-ness we can handle the odd terse comment. All good, don’t stop.

    • Nutta

      Ownership among members is the best form of defence and standards. As a sinner myself I tip my hat your way.

    • Hoss

      ‘Never wrestle with a pig. You get dirty and besides, the pig likes it.’

      • Custard Taht

        Unless it is 2am and the bar has called last drinks…….

        • Hoss

          As an avid observer of wildlife i have always found the difference between a dog and a fox to be approx 6 bourbons.

        • Yowie

          It’s an interesting shot of adrenaline for me when a C-grader I don’t recognise greets me by name in public.
          Thankfully it usually ends up being work-related.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Like Hoss, I always say:
      Never argue you with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience everytime! ;-)

      • John Tynan

        Or they think they’re doing the same thing…

      • Custard Taht

        I used to think that, but now I am happy to engag, it can be very amusing and entertaining.

        I found the following method works;

        1. Keep words to two syllables or less.
        2. Words ending in ‘g’ replace with a ‘k’, eg somethink.
        3. Throw in lots of you knows.
        4. Use ‘like’ in front of words.
        5. If things aren’t going well, talk louder and longer.
        6. If you are on the ropes, throw out a label ending in ist.

        • Hoss

          Shit stirr-ist

        • Brisneyland Local

          You see to do all that requires effort.

        • Custard Taht

          As my wife tells me, I’m an arsehole with time to spare”.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Sounds like your wife and my wife are related.

    • Sevenwithasixonmyback

      He’s still poking, by the looks.
      Yesterday’s news.

  • Patrick

    So some reasonable scepticism below but does this NSWRU move mean +1 to Raelene?

    • Nutta

      I confess I am a little reluctant to kill the fattened calf and toss him a jersey just yet. I get I am a cynical, jaded old bugger but I’m like that for a reason – I’ve learned to be by experience.

      • AllyOz

        I think Pococks calf was torn and inflamed rather than fattened – oh sorry you are talking about something else

    • Brisneyland Local

      If it is Raelene’s drive that have got NSWRU to NRC I will give her a +1. And not even begrudgingly!

  • Geoffro

    Is JOC in line to be selected this Saturday then ?

    • AllyOz

      I think he has ticked all the boxes now yes

      • Geoffro

        Getting a bit excited now.Don’t really rate the Boks midfield and with the right selections could see the Wallabies doing a bit of damage there

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Be interesting where he plays. I still see Kerevi and TK as the 12, 13 combo and maybe he’ll replace one of them. Although I still wonder who’ll be the starting 15 and where Hodge fits in now

      • Geoffro

        Dont think Hodge will make the cut.Maybe 6-2 split on the bench with JOC as one of them

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I’d certainly prefer to see him on the bench rather than start but I guess either needs to happen if we want to see if he has actually got what is needed for the Wallabies.

    • Sevenwithasixonmyback

      Hence the signing announcement…
      I hope he starts. Has a blinding 50 minutes and sits out the remainder knowing he’s done good.
      That’s how you build someone.

      • Brumby Runner

        Really can’t see him starting in the midfield in preference to eithe Kerevi or Kuridrani. More likely on the bench if at all. Maybe more in contention for a wing spot.

        • Geoffro

          We pretty well know what the two K’s have to offer and the Boks are fielding a bit of a patched up side.JOC reckons he’s a 12 now so wouldn’t mind seeing get a start in his preferred position.Save Samu for the Puma’s and AB’s

        • Brumby Runner

          I’d rather see the two Ks start working together to get their systems and combinations going in both attack and defense.

        • Geoffro

          true

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Absolutely. By all means bring in JOC and perhaps others at times so you have cover in case of injury but the basic combinations expected at RWC need to start being cemented now

        • Hoss

          He’s gotta be ahead of Maddocks & Koribete surely

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I guess it depends if he’s seen as a centre or not. Knowing this current set up he’ll probably be put out of position at lock and then blamed for not performing

        • John Tynan

          Will see him jammed into 10 at some stage prior to WC, I reckon.

        • Dave P

          Inside centre with Kerrville outside, Cheika has shown a reluctance to play Tevita at centre in the past until the backline defence turns custard.

  • Yowie

    His contract is reportedly well under the going rate for a player with 44 international caps, with Queensland Rugby Union safeguarding themselves from his reckless history. It contains unprecedented behavioural and drug clauses which will provide financial incentives that will earn him more money the longer he stays clean.

    Made it to the second week without a bender or a scandal lads. Anyone want to join me for a night out to celebrate? I’ll text one of Karmichael’s mates to see if he’s available too.

  • idiot savant

    Behold the prodigal son returns! And Pastor Brad has welcomed him back with open arms.

    12 months is a long time in rugby and politics. Last year, the Pastor declared, “You cant have cocaine, drug use” as he shoved Slipper out the door. A faithful servant of the club who turned to the drug while struggling with personal issues was cast out because the Pastor didnt want to ‘let down the mums and dads’.

    Well Mum and Dad, Jimmy’s back! No the other one. The one who wasn’t a faithful servant, who chased the dollar and celebrity and personal gratification, who pissed opportunity up against the wall. Life imitates the Bible! and here was I thinking it was a fairy tale. No doubt the Pastor will now quote Luke 15, 11-32 and declare Jimmy was lost but now he is found!

    Avarice is a sin. Brad, check your phone, theres a text from Izzy. Youre going to hell mate. With the rest of us.

    • Nutta

      Drunkards and Fornicators rejoice!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      That’s gold mate. Not sure Brad is technically savy enough to understand texting

      • Brisneyland Local

        I saw him at the shops the other weekend and he still had an old Nokia phone ;-)

  • Nicholas Wasiliev

    Ahhh, finally! It’s that time of year again! I love it when the NRC comes around. And I must admit, I didn’t expect the first coaching announcement to come from NSW.

    As much as I will be slightly sceptical and am of the mindset that it only matters when the results come in, considering I’ve been calling till I’m blue in the mouth for years for NSW Rugby to take ownership of these teams, to see them finally do it is fantastic, and a great step forward. And to name the coaches this early gives a sense, at least to me, that they want to take this seriously.

    It’s only taken them six seasons, but as a wise man once said, “better late than never.” Considering the amount of players and talent they have, NSW have been horrendously underperforming at NRC level for years, and if they are already starting to prepare and if is clubland is on board, it’ll be a matter of when, not if, they win that first Toast Rack. I’m cautiously optimistic, which is a hell of a lot better than how I’ve felt in previous years…

    Up the Country Eagles!

    • Who?

      I really hope I’m wrong, Nick, but this looks like just another step towards proper integration, as opposed to full integration. Because rather than divvying up the players and then running the teams, the NSWRU is running one team, and the NSWCRU is running the other. That’s still more disjointed than the QRU model, where the QRU runs both teams. I believe the Eagles have outdone the Rays (and other Sydney clubs) over the years, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, but do they have the cash/infrastructure required to maintain their competitive edge against Sydney, let alone the other clubs..?

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I’m just hoping the SS mafia don’t sideswipe it as the season goes on. Together the NRC and SS could provide a really good development path if people’s self interest doesn’t get in the way

      • Brisneyland Local

        Well in the horse race of life I back self interest everytime.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah mate but one day these people must wake up and realise that they are the actual problem not the solution

        • Brisneyland Local

          They will go to the grave blaming someone else.

    • MST

      It’s great news for the NRC in general.

      As per the point Who makes below, you have to give credit to the QRU who are able to run 2x teams themselves whereas six years down the track and NSW rugby is now split across 2x rugby bodies and the apparent heartland of rugby will only be able to cobble together 2x teams with its huge catchment.

      Even the Brumbies will be farming out talent again as 1x NRC does not provide enough opportunity to give all the potential emerging talent a run to see if they will develop to a higher standard.

      I will be interested to see if this last more than one season. I really though with the lack of depth in the Tahs over the past season and available talent fed from the NRC to other Super teams the penny would have dropped for NSW Rugby. But I suppose its only been 6 years and usually its about the 20 year mark they catch up.

  • The Jackal

    After scanning the training footage and who is wearing what bibs here is the 23 i think we are getting. Only thing that doesn’t fit is the props by the vision unless one of Kepu or 7As are switching to loosehead because i can’t see Robertson starting.

    1 Robertson/Ala’alatoa
    2 Uelese
    3 Kepu
    4 Arnold
    5 Rodda
    6 Salakaia-Loto
    7 Hooper
    8 Valetini
    9 White
    10 Foley
    11 Koroibete
    12 Kerevi
    13 Ashley-Cooper
    14 Haylett-Petty
    15 Beale
    16 Fainga’a
    17 Slipper
    18 Tupou
    19 Naisarani
    20 Wright
    21 Powell
    22 Leali’ifani
    23
    O’Connor
    Kuridrani
    Maddocks
    Hodge

    • Hoss

      Please no.

    • Who?

      Kepu would be the one to swap – he did it on the EOYT.
      I can’t imagine any good reason why TK wouldn’t be starting… AAC’s a great player, but even at his peak, I’d take TK over him at 13. And his peak was some time ago.
      .
      But having that sort of mix and match 23, in a year when Cheika’s clearly stated it’s not about experimentation but momentum, to play at a venue where we haven’t won during the lifetimes of the vast majority of Australians… That’d be a very Cheika thing. He’s just lucky that, for the most part, he’s picked a pretty strong squad. The questions are mostly not about the squad, but about coaching, cohesion and tactics.
      .
      I mean, it’s not THAT far off a very good side. I don’t know why the LHP’s wouldn’t be Slipper and Sio. I don’t know why you wouldn’t start with a Brumbies combination front row (I know Uelese – if his body’s hardened enough yet – has huge potential, but this is about momentum), but the locks aren’t bad, the loose forwards aren’t horrific (the balance should be ok, but Lukhan’s really gonna feel it at altitude playing 6), the backline’s always a lucky dip but let’s be honest, they’ve got Cheika as backs coach, so anything could happen. They might not see much ball anyway.

      • UTG

        Sio and CLL aren’t playing, landed in Perth earlier today. There’ll be some tinkering around the edges even if we’re not playing two different teams like NZ. Expect the Brumbies to have their workload managed early in the RC.

        • Who?

          There’s logic to that. But I hadn’t heard about that – thanks for the update. :-)

    • Brumby Runner

      Nobody in their right mind, and perhaps that does exclude Cheika (we’ll see tomorrow), would change the Brumbies front row. It is one of the real strengths of the Aussie teams and their impact would be easily transferable to the test arena. Not having Sio/Slipper as the two LHPs is insane.

      • The Jackal

        No trolling I promise. Sio has been spotted in Perth airport having flown back to Aus already. Today’s vision didn’t have Robinson so maybe a start for Kepu. JOC was straight into the starters colors bibs. They aren’t in numbers or anything so I’m making some assumptions trying to get the puzzle pieces fitting together. Could be completely wrong but seems like it could be a legit lineup. We’ll see at 6:30pm tomorrow.

        • UTG

          If JOC is in starters bibs then I reckon he’ll be at 13 with Kerevi at 12. Seems like they’re giving the Brumbies heavyweights some time off this week.

        • Who?

          Given how many times Cheika’s wasted Kerevi at 13 (which, in Wallabies attacking structures, often sticks him on the wing), it wouldn’t surprise to see JOC at 12 (the Beale role) and Kerevi at 13…
          It would be insanity, but hey, it’s Cheika.

        • UTG

          I believe JOC played most commonly at 13 during his exile in the north. If they wanted to give Kurindrani a break it would make most sense to play JOC at 13 and Kerevi at 12. It also means no AAC which nearly everyone would consider a good thing.

    • Keith Butler

      AAC at 13 please NO! It has got to me the two Ks. DHP at 14 again no. Must be Cheikas fetish for having KB in the run on team anywhere.

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@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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