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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News reveals the return of James O’Connor to the Wallaby set-up, weeps at Will Genia’s last game at Suncorp, looks at how a move to 12 revitalised Samu Kerevi and examines what the opposition is thinking ahead of their clash with the Wallabies


JOC’s back in gold

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Wallaby and newly signed Reds outside back James O’Connor is expected to make his return to the Wallabies when they take on Argentina on Saturday at his old stomping grounds, Suncorp Stadium.

O’Connor has not played for the Wallabies since 2013, only recently becoming eligible for national duty after signing a 2 ½ year deal with Australian Rugby and the Reds.

Coach Michael Cheika all but confirmed that there would be changes from the disappointing 35-17 loss to South Africa as the selection panel continues to try out different combinations.

“There’ll be a few more opportunities, based on what we think tomorrow with the selectors,” Cheika said.

“Maybe some guys will get an opportunity. We might try to keep some pairings together, we’ll just see how it pans out.”

O’Connor is expected to be utilised in some capacity on Saturday, with Cheika impressed on how he has trained and settled in since returning to Wallaby camp.

“He’s been with us, he’s training really well, he’s reintegrated really well, and he wouldn’t be with us if we didn’t want to give him a chance at some stage. It’s a question of when we decided to do that whether it’s this week or in the coming weeks,” Cheika said.

“He can play multiple positions so that gives him a plus without a doubt around where he can play in any side, whether he’s a finisher or in the starting team and in the squad as a whole.

“I’m not going to nail down anything for him just quite yet. It’s the first time I’ve ever coached him so I’m still discovering what he can bring as well.”

This has excited halfback Will Genia, who has been impressed with the level of commitment that O’Connor has shown since his return.

“Tuesday nights, James was always out and about doing stuff because Wednesday we have off,” Genia said. “Tuesday night in the last three or four weeks that we’ve had, he’s in his room stretching, doing what it takes in terms of recovery.

“He understands that this is a huge opportunity for him.”

Genia’s final home stand

Will Genia clears, watched by Agustin Creevy

Will Genia clears, watched by Agustin Creevy

Wallabies halfback Will Genia is confident that the side can turn their performance around against Argentina in his last game at Suncorp Stadium, hoping to quell any concerns about having a similar season to last year.

The Wallabies loss to the Springboks last week left many fans questioning whether we were in for a repeat of last year, where the Wallabies experienced their worst performing year in over 50 years.

However, Genia believes that the side is in a much better place than not only last year, stating that the “teething problems” facing the side will hopefully be resolved at the end of Saturday night.

“We’re in a different position (to 2015) in the sense that we’re trying to do things differently from a game perspective,” he said.

“It was really pleasing to see things come together with the way that they did on the weekend.

“Obviously we didn’t get the result which was disappointing but when you’re trying things and doing things a different way, there’s always going to be some teething problems but I think we’re on track.”

Genia is set to start at halfback for his last match at Suncorp Stadium, the place where he has called home for almost a decade, which he expects will be an emotional encounter for the lifelong Red.

“Suncorp’s always been my favourite place to play in all of world rugby and I’ve had some really good memories here from a team perspective and an individual perspective as well,” he said.

“It’ll be sad, no doubt but it’ll also be exciting if I get the opportunity to get out there and give it one last crack.”

“So I think the biggest thing for me this weekend, if I am lucky enough to be selected and play, is just to really enjoy it and be grateful for all the times that I’ve been able to play at this great stadium and all the great memories.”

However, he expects no sympathy from the Pumas, believing that they will show no fear after their impressive performance against the All Blacks.

“I think (they’re) a far better team. You look at Super Rugby and see how well the Jaguares played in getting to the final and holding the Crusaders to one try,” he said.

“I think if you look at their last result, I think the All Blacks would count themselves a little bit lucky to come away with the win there, you’d probably expect them to get over from that maul more often than not.

“So they’re going to be coming here with a lot of confidence which will make our job that much harder as well.”

Kerevi grateful for inside job

Samu Kerevi offloads

Samu Kerevi offloads

Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi has admitted that his forced move to inside centre has reignited his career.

Kerevi was shifted to inside centre by Reds coach Brad Thorn during the off-season last year and he admitted that the changing role was initially difficult to get used.

“Even though I’d played there in the past I was really confident at 13. The way it attacks, you get a bit more free rein … a 12 is a bit different, you’re organising a bit more,” Kerevi said.

However, the move has helped Kerevi establish himself as one of the premier centres in the world, allowing him to stamp his own mark on the inside centre position.

“I had to realise I could play 12 in a different way,” he said.

“I was so used to seeing 12s play that playmaking role. I had to bring my own little mix into it and I’m happy with the way things went in Super Rugby.”

Kerevi was still positive about the Wallabies chances, believing that they must learn to adapt their game plan earlier if they wish to overcome the Pumas.

“[South Africa] did really well to pressure us but I think for us, just needing to adapt a bit earlier, and myself, seeing that space on the outside and really adapting to the game plan,” Kerevi said. “Hopefully I’ll just keep getting better with time.”

With talk of James O’Connor potentially returning to the centres, Kerevi is unfazed about being moved back to outside centre, happy to play wherever so long as he’s on the field.

“I don’t know what’s going through the boss’s head, he’ll be trying different combinations but I’ve been comfortable playing 12 and ended up playing 13 as well on the weekend,” Kerevi said.

“I’m just pushing for a spot, competing at training. A lot of guys are here to compete and driving the standard of play for us.
“Wherever that is, I just want to get out on the field.”

Ledesma’s direct Wallaby links

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Argentina coach Mario Ledesma believes that the Wallabies will play a more direct style of rugby as the Pumas look to replicate their heroics down the M1 at the Gold Coast last year.

Ledesma is 1-1 against his former side since taking up the head-coaching role in his native Argentina, having snatched victory last year in the Gold Coast after Israel Folau chose not to use his support on his right (never forget Izzy, never forget)

He believes that the inclusion of Samu Kerevi and Tevita Kuridrani will ensure that the Australians will play a more direct style of rugby than their previous encounters.

“This will be the third time we’ve played. We won once and they won the second one after a half-time speech from Cheik,” he said.

“I think they’re playing a more direct style of rugby, especially because they have very big guys, and I thought they were biting onto that advantage line really hard so it’ll be a challenge to stop their momentum,” he said.

Ledesma and the Pumas took plenty of positives out of their four-point loss to the All Blacks, stating that the side is full of optimism for the way they kept themselves in the fight for the entire match.

“It was disappointing, we could’ve won on the last ball but I still think that those four points, it’s not a big difference but it (shows) the work that we have to do to win those kind of games,” he said.

“The boys will be up to it, they were really excited because while the performance was good, the result wasn’t, but still having the All Blacks against the ropes is quite a good performance.”

Despite their performance and recent successes against Australia, the Pumas were refusing to be overconfident against the struggling Wallabies, with Ledesma suggesting that the Wallabies were only a few moments away from winning last week against the Springboks.

If they scored those two tries in the first half, we’d be talking about after 60 years the Wallabies have won in (Johannesburg) so that’s high performance sport, elite sport, it goes one way or the other,” he said.

“They’re confident, not confident because we’re playing the Wallabies just because of the work they’ve been doing.”

  • Max Graham

    Good post!!

    The only thing I’d add – can we please see what happens if Foley isn’t on the park? Just once? A strong tackling 10 might make a world of difference.

    • Huw Tindall

      I’m fine with CLL at 10. His support play isn’t as good as Foley but deserves a shot. Although against the Jags in the semis CLL was poo against the aggressive defence. In Foley’s corner at least he is used to playing behind a pack going backwards since the last world cup.

      • Max Graham

        Foley can’t tackle. He tries but he can’t. At best, people sometimes trip on him. Defence is 50% of the game – well, in Australia’s case it’s actually somewhere between 70-80%, so why can’t we see what happens when our 10 channel isn’t a freeway? Most of South Africa’s points started with an easy 10-20 metres via the 10 channel with a resulting fast ball to that set up the next phases. At the RWC, Ecuador will be specifically targeting Foley and it will likely be effective. Rather than focus on the arguably marginal benefit Foley might have over Toomua in attack, why don’t we ever discuss the neglected 50% of the game which he’s appalling at? We never see what happens if we shore up this easy-to-target weakness. Back in the old days when we used to win world cups, defence was optional, but these days it’s important to be able to tackle, yet we have a number of frontline favourites that miss more than they make. Yet after the games, we just talk about this pass or that kick. The best rugby players are great defenders, yet in Australia we seem to ignore the frailties, unless you’re Quade Cooper. In the last year we leak on average more than 30 points a game. Foley played every single one. Why can’t we for once see what happens if we replace a non-tackler with a bloke that smashes people? In fact, what happens if we replace all the media darlings with blokes that do the hard stuff well? What do we have to lose? Foley never misses a game in an era where we suck. Do the maths.

        • UTG

          Except defence is not 50% of the game for a 10. Most 10s will drop back into the back three in defence to organise counter, return kicks etc. while the 11 will fill in, in the frontline. If we look around the world we can see strong defence is not a requirement of a 10, Mo’unga, Jantijes, and Sanchez are all good (even great) 10s but poor defenders, Barrett is also hardly the strongest frontline defender. Defence really will only ever come into a selector’s radar if two tens are very evenly matched (so defence is the deciding factor) or if they are shockingly bad (e.g. Quade’s propensity to receive YCs for high tackles).

        • Max Graham

          Jonny Wilkinson, Dan Carter and Stephen Larkham were outstanding defenders. JW is perhaps the best I ever saw. Sexton, Farrell, Sanchez are excellent and Barrett isn’t bad ….. a non-tackling 10 is a liability. It’s nonsense to say it shouldn’t be on the radar.

        • UTG

          Those you list as outstanding defenders all played predominantly in an era when teams didn’t play with a pendulum style back three defensive setup (because the laws were different, you could pass it back into your 22 and kick out etc., teams rarely used the midfield bomb…). They were also arguably their nations best ever flyhalves so it’s not really the benchmark for your average international flyhalf. Of those you list next, Sanchez, for most of his career was the guy you ran the ball at, I’ve heard he’s improved but I’ll hold my judgement until Kerevi’s had a crack at him this weekend. Farrell’s as bad as Cooper when it comes to tackling technique, he’s had multiple YCs for shoulder charges and should have had more. Sexton is good, again best ever flyhalf for his nation though. Barrett’s alright in cover, not great in the frontline. Flyhalves just aren’t picked on defensive capabilities in 2019 because it’s not really required of them.

        • Max Graham

          Australia has apparently stopped playing the 10 in the back 3. The 11 stayed on his wing and Foley defended in the front line last week and most (all?) for the season with the Tahs. With the current Oz defensive structure, the 10 needs to be able to tackle well.

        • UTG

          This will change when Koroibete comes back. He’ll defend in the line, he’s not much use under the high ball and better in the line.

        • Max Graham

          We can’t have the whole defense structure changed dependent on the bloke we select at 11, can we? Well, I don’t think we should anyway.

        • UTG

          It’s not much of a change. It’s just one player dropping back and another shifting into the line. They’re pros, they can handle it.

        • Max Graham

          So what happens when we change out Kuridrani for someone else? Do we change back again or change to something else again? Also, don’t we like Koroibete chasing high kicks and smashing the catcher? If so, do we only do those kicks when he’s in his alternate position or do we have someone to sub for him dependent on the phase and/or field position and/or set piece? Considering that at least 3 pf the saffer tries were the direct result of players making incorrect choices from confusion with the new defence strategy, I’d say that it’s quite important to have very clear roles and to avoid changing things too much from week to week.

        • UTG

          I don’t think changing the 13 will change the defensive roles of the wingers too much. Chasing kicks is one of the reasons that Koroibete defends in the line. Foley roosts it, Koroibete scoots through, and Foley remains back to cover any kick returns. This is all pretty standard stuff you’d see in a decent schoolboy team, the Wallabies should be able to handle it.

          I don’t think the tries resulted from issues with the new defensive system and a lack of clarity around roles. One was from a turnover ball and we failed to execute a pretty standard drift given how bunched the Boks were and how close they were to the sideline. Another was a lack of awareness on the short side and the others were just one on one screw ups or when we were a man down.

        • Who?

          Think that was pretty consistent across all the teams, wasn’t it? Hegarty played some 15 on defence, with Stewart at 10 early in the season, but I don’t think it stayed that way for the Reds. Cooper mainly defended in the front line. Leali’ifano’s never been one to slip into the backfield.
          Handy when the national coaching team put together a defensive system somewhat closer to what’s being used at provincial level. Though obviously we’ve got issues with figuring out how to run defence on the short side (given most of our tries came down the short side).

        • Max Graham

          Good article in The Roar about defence issues on the blind side. Suggestion was it was a problem whenever White was in a tackle and unable to organize it. New combinations and blokes playing out of position- hopefully it’s something we won’t see often.

        • Who?

          Nick Bishop never writes bad articles… Used to write on here, and he’s the only author I read on The Roar.

        • Max Graham

          I’ll remember that name – knows this stuff!

        • Max Graham

          Also, the back 3 pendulum defensive structure has been around for at least a generation. Including the 10 in the back and playing musical chairs was never universally adopted and not used by many today.

        • Geoffro

          Butch James (when he wasnt trying to decapitate people)

        • Max Graham

          Great example!

        • Geoffro

          I agree,it’s a fundamental.They don’t have to smash people but at least be competent (though a few with Mortlock type capabilities would be nice)

        • Funk

          “Back in the old days when we used to win world cups, defence was optional,…” not too sure about that one Max, 1999 was won on our defence, we only had 1 try scored against us during whole WC.

        • Max Graham

          Fair point.

        • Packy

          Ecuador! likely to be effective
          you crackin me up.
          Keep it comin
          I read your post with the Sam Krakovich eat more mutton voice in my head

  • AllyOz

    “I don’t know what’s going through the boss’s head” Samu Kerevi. Well it’s good to know it’s not just me who doesn’t understand what’s going through Cheika’s head.

    I think Mario Ledesma is ready and waiting for us. This is going to be a very tough test and unless we improve significantly from last Saturday I think we will go into the Bledisloe games 0 – 2.

    • onlinesideline

      The Pumas were one rolling mall away from a famous victory last week on home soil. They will be full of self belief. Its not hard to predict these big mobile loosies running right up the guts, offloading and going in under the posts, causing some serious despair. We need more than significant improvemnt. We need to be a new team.

      • AllyOz

        I like to be understated …but fully agree.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        The Puma’s will be a dangerous beast this week. Hurting after not completing the job last week for a start

        • Custard Taht

          Yep, I think Kearns will be oozing salty tears, the Jags are going to win it by 12.

        • Yowie

          Kearns will be furious that the Pumas are pretty much the national rugby team of Argentina.

        • Custard Taht

          Yep….if he thought the Tahs losing to a national team was bad, he gunna flip his shit at the Wallabies losing to a Super Rugby team.

        • Yowie

          Probably just as well there won’t be any mid-week exhibition matches against the Crusaders then.

        • Who?

          Post of the day. :-)

        • Brumby Runner

          It’s all the fault of WR letting that bloody Jaguares team into Super Rugby. Only need one or two outsiders to make it the test team but the poor sod Wallabies have to mix and match so many players from different teams that we won’t know what our best combinations will be until after the RWC has come and gone. Bloody Pumas/Jaguares have been playing as a test team the whole bloody year long.

          If bloody Cheika had half a brain he would just fill the test team with the Waratahs so they would have the bloody benefit too of playing together all year round.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I’m not so negative. Yeah there has to be some changes and I guess I’m waiting until the teams announced, but I do think the Wallabies should come out on top. It’ll require a changed plan as well as changed players but it should be done

        • Custard Taht

          I work out like this. The Jags beat the Brumbies and Tahs, and the Jags are basically the Pumas, and the Tahs/Brumbies are the bulk of the Wallabies.

          Is Cheika such a good coach, that he will get more out of these players, and is he a better coach than Ledisimo….I think no to both, there has been a pattern of in form players losing form under cheika. I am starting to think Ledisimo was more important to the Wallabies and cheika then previously thought.

          The Pumas almost did what the Wallabies haven’t in a fair while….beat the All Blacks.

    • Huw Tindall

      Ironically somewhat I think our best chance is beat the Pumas at set piece. They have arguably the poorest scrum and average lineout. If we play old fashioned rugby with plenty of pick and goes (like we did in the Salta second half) we may be a shot. They go so hard at the breakdown any of this second man sh!t or forward runners exposed will lead to turnovers and tries. Keep it tight and spread it only when we get behind their D.

      • Brumby Runner

        Did you miss the Jaguares lineout against the Brumbies Huw. The main, and almost only, reason for the extent of their win in the semi final.

      • AllyOz

        This proved to be very true Huw.

        • Huw Tindall

          I’ll chuck my hat in the ring for the empty coaching spots at the Tahs and Wallabies then I guess

    • John Tynan

      I just posted a similar thing. Sad state in modern leadership.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Good morning GAGR’s. Happy Humpday! Sitting here in Sydnos drinking my coffee knowing it is less than 36 hours before I board the big tin can and fly home to god’s country. And going home will bring added joy of hosting our Novocastrian Hoss, and our Tasweigan’s Keith and Lindy Butler to a fabulous weekend and hopefully, though not expected, a Wallabies victory. My points in no particular order:
    – If there are any other GAGR’s going to the game in Brissy let us know and come and join us for a Sour Mash or an Amber Nectar before during or after the game.
    – I sure hope our starters 7A’s and SS are back for the scrum. We so need that platform.
    – Hoping Cheika sticks with Banks at Fullback and leaves Gilbert to be the super-sub. That really is Gilberts role.
    – So wish Pooey was back on board so we had someone to compete at the breakdown, doing an actual 7’s job.
    – CLL to start for me, as what Foley dished up last week, and to be honest for most of the last 4 years was tripe.
    – Not Sure where I would squeeze O’Connor in. Again maybe coming of the pine when legs are tired in the wing or 13 slot.
    I am looking forward to the game and the catch up. Not confident about the result at all.
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Huw Tindall

      2 comments:
      1. LSL is a fast lock having a go a 6. Modern 6’s are dynamic and have a great all round skill set. You can carry one big bopper in the back row but not 2 (LSL and Isi). For mine get Valentini in their stat. Sure he’s young but he goes hard at the ruck and is a missile in defence.
      2. Don’t ‘real’ Queenslanders serve Bundy and XXXX or is that just me buying too much into the north of the border trope?

      • Brisneyland Local

        I view it like Australians drinking Fosters! XXXX is bloody awful. And whilst Bundy isnt a bad drink, they dont call them dark and punchies for no reason!

        • Yowie

          Yesterday – “I did grow up south of the border!”

          Today – “XXXX is bloody awful”

          You’ll need to hand back your Queenslander badge, banjo and thongs. Report to Wally Lewis’ office immediately.

        • Brisneyland Local

          I have lived in QLD for more than 50% of my life, and NSW for about 15% and everywhere in Australia and around the world for the rest of my life. I love beer, but have never been able to drink XXXX. It is terrible. And Bundy turns me into a stark raving idiot so am wise enough not to drink it.
          I cant play the Banjo, although I would love to after listening to Mumford and Sons!
          And I think Wally is a good guy, but League should be banned! I was a Qld Reds member and corporate sponsor for about 15 years, but now support the Melb Rebels. I dont know where that puts me in the spectrum of statehoodness?

        • Keith Butler

          Stateless. Watch out or Mr Potatohead will be after you.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Nah! He loves me!

        • Yowie

          Are you an attractive female European au pair?

        • Brisneyland Local

          I consider myself attractive, but those that have met me would say not!

        • John Tynan

          Second that motion! I don’t actually know anyone who buys and drinks XXXX. I drink it after games because the club lays it on or a shotgun fine on fishing trip. No other occassion sees me handing over good coin for a Milton Mango.

        • Geoffro

          When its your shout buy everyone a xxxx (might get you out of a few rounds) because I’d sure as hell rather buy my own than have a glass of the Brisbane river put in front of me.

        • John Tynan

          Gold!

          (pardon the pun…)

        • Brisneyland Local

          JT, I cant even stomach it. I would rather drink water than a mango!

        • Damo

          So may beer choices up here, why would we drink that crap. And rum is only acceptable if it has been produced somewhere in proximity to the Bermuda Triangle.

        • Yowie

          I’ll be conducting an experiment to see if drinking Fijian rum gives me mad running, passing & razzle-dazzle skills.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I’d say confused mate :-)

        • Brisneyland Local

          Well you know me so that is easy to say! ;-)

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I’d like to see Valentini or Jones get a go as well

      • Keith Butler

        Wouldn’t mind seeing LSL at lock in place of Rodda and either Valentini or Jones at 6. Time to test out a few alternative combinations before the business starts in September.

        • Huw Tindall

          100% Keith. Probably LSL to bench for mine and Valentini at 6 but can live with Jones. He has experience and smarts required for Test rugby. McCaffrey would have been nice too but he wasn’t in the 34 unfortunately.

    • Keith Butler

      We have the Sour Mash and the Wildfire just got to get a new suitcase. A bit like the Wobblies in SA, the wheels fell off the old one and we need something a bit more robust. Provided our props are fit, take on the Argentine scrum and line out and take Matera out of the game.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Looking forward to having you up here.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      It’ll be interesting to see if he goes with the try new combos plan or the keep the combos together plan. I hope there’s changes at lock, 6, 10, 11 and 14. While I don’t rate Hooper as a 7 and certainly not as a captain I think he’s locked in. I’d still like to see Hegarty at 10 as I think the Wallabies need more options than they currently have.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I would take CLL / QC / Hegarty at 10 over Foley anyday and twice on Sunday. But my biggest fear is changing the players wont affect the shit game plan much!

    • Damo

      Have decided to attend the test. I hope I don’t regret it. As much as anything I’m going to watch a team that plays with skills supported by a lot of passion and instinct- a team that don’t look like they have to check the clipboard before each phase. Maybe some of this will rub off on the Wallabies (as per the famous Salta 2nd half). I bloody hope so. I actually don’t care who gets picked to be honest- as long as they go out and rip in and enjoy it.
      BTW, where are you guys sipping pre game?

      • Brisneyland Local

        I will send out a message to confirm location.

  • Big Ted

    Hey Huw, what were the new scrum laws passed last week? I must have missed that one

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Front rows have to hold back at the Bind and not put pressure on the Hooker. Most Props lean in onto the hooker and at the set squeeze onto his neck which is dangerous. So Props need a long bind, no weight and being cheek to cheek so no touching, then a big hit at the set.

      • Nutta

        The reinforcement of the spacing is necessary because the axial loading on the Hooker was getting ridiculous. What’s interesting though is that it forces the LH prop esp to both come forward from out behind the Hooker but also to effectively bind short/er because of the increased distance between opponents. Shorter binding by definition means more bent elbow post engage. Bent elbows creates opportunities for more cranking especially by the TH on the LH. Cranking will mean either boring or collapsing esp by LH’s pinned short so hinging.

        And so the merry-go-round continues…

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah the guys reach long but because they’re coming from further back they end up with a short bind. Trying to work out who’s pulling on who during a game is fun

      • adastra32

        Wasn’t a big hit a the set the order of the day pre-2013 or so? Then, if I recall, there were specialists in the dark arts of making that “work” to advantage – e.g. Adam Jones for Wales.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate as Nutta says it’s a merry go round. Solve one part and another part becomes an issue. Part of the game

        • Who?

          It was, but it was way bigger than we’ll ever see with a pre-bound scrum. Chibba Hanson reckoned the Lions set up a metre away – it might’ve been Crouch-Touch-Pause-Engage, but the ‘Touch’ was fingertips on the shoulders, not a bind near the armpits. Did his neck in that game…

    • Huw Tindall

      Bit of discussion on this thread here. GAGR own scrum doctor @cdtedge illuminating things for us: https://twitter.com/RugbyPass/status/1148495139641446400?s=20

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan,

    I think it’ll be interesting to see what, if any, changes are made this weekend. I’m hoping for some speed on the wing as that was a very poor decision last week. Although to be honest I’m more interested in what changes to get the ball out toTK and bring Banks into play, if they are both picked.
    I don’t think I’d start JOC. I know White did well but I think the combinations need more time and chopping and changing each week isn’t going to help the build for RWC.

    I know there’s a strong case for trying other players but like a lot of people here I’m not sure mass changes are needed so much as a change of plan and style and I really hope that occurs. It would be good to see some of the injured players come back but this will happen in the World Cup games so I guess we just have to live with that.

    I think Argentina are going to come out strong as they’ll be hurting about not managing to knock off the ABs and I see the first 30 minutes being a very high paced and hard game. The timing of the replacements are going to be critical I think and it may be that some are brought on earlier than normal if players do go 100% early and get knackered.

    Looking for ward to this

    • Geoffro

      Either we need a new gameplan because the current one isnt working (get new faces in now with new plan) or the current one isnt working because the current players cant implement it (get new faces in who can) The fine tuning line to me an excuse and I’m a bit jack of it when some of these guys are just poor performers.FFS give a few other guys a run and if they perform well start fine tuning them

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Agree 100% on the wingers. I thought Cam Clark had a good year at times and I think he’s worth a risk. Either him or Maddocks

    • Geoffro

      Why isn’t Speight in the conversation,is he injured ?? thought he had a good year and was one of our form wings

      • John Tynan

        I’ve seen a heap calling for Sefa, but I think he is just as flakey in defence as Maddocks. I’d have Speight above Sefa.

        • Geoffro

          Thats probably it but is faster than the wingers weve been fielding,goes looking for more work and is positionally more aware

        • John Tynan

          The joys of a selection committee discussion!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        I think he’s seen as being past the tail end of his career at test level. TBH I’d take him in a heartbeat over DHP or Hodge

    • John Tynan

      Is Newsome the other new-ish Tah’s winger? I thought he was excellent when played, although probably asking a bit much a bit early.

    • Brumby Runner

      Pretty sure Clark lost his spot to Newsome by the end of the super season. Not a very inspired choice imo.

  • John Tynan

    One off the cuff comment from Kerevi that I am choosing to read a lot into:

    “I don’t know what’s going through the boss’s head…”

    Surely the players SHOULD know what’s going through nthe bosses head,shouldn’t they? Because the team objectives, KPI’s, targets, plans, etc should be communicated, measured against, reported back, reinforced and the gaps actioned?

    More so Kerevi, who was a state captain this year, and should be an integral part of this charge to WC glory?

    Or am I just talking coporate BS?

    • Yowie

      Without defending Cheika specifically, there are probably some advantages to the coach keeping the team slightly unsettled (i.e not being totally predictable/readable). Perhaps more so with the professional-era Wallabies traditional problem of too much player power.

      • John Tynan

        It’s a theory. I’ll chew on that one for a bit.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Mate I’m not so sure I agree. I think the coaching team and senior leaders in the playing group need to work closely together with a clear understanding of what is to be achieved both on and off the field. That can only help with decision making at crucial times.
        All this “keep them on their toes” bullshit has a very short life

      • Brumby Runner

        The last example and most morale destroying, of player power occurred five years ago and resulted in the sacking of the Wallaby coach of the time. I’d argue that the current coach has done everything possible to keep that group of entitled, semi-talented nitwits together as the crux of the Wallabies ever since. I cannot subscribe to any explanation for Cheika’s waffling and mostly incoherent ramblings being to keep player power under control.

        I really don’t know why he does it though. I would think a proper thinking coach would be open and forthcoming about his thoughts on the progress being made by individuals and combinations and set about putting positive comments in the public realm about what he is expecting and working towards with his selections. I don’t see any of that coming out of Cheika, more negativity than anything about particular players and their fitness and training activities.

        If he really is keeping the players in the dark, week to week, about where he’s wanting to go, then they have no more idea than we do, and are very unlikely to buy into whatever it is that he wants.

  • Moz

    Ok, my thought is that we are going to win this weekend, and give us yet another false dawn. We will all start believing again, drink the cool-aid, realise that there are new systems, both in attack and defence, and the new combinations just need a little time to stick, the players just need to adjust.
    We’ve seen exactly the same for the last 3 years. Remember when we beat the Darkness of the 3rd Bledisloe at Suncorp. One game last year when our defence worked. We all thought “We were wrong, they were right, they did know what they are doing, its all going to be fine”.
    But of course they were wrong, it quickly turned to crap again. We had terrible Northern tours, we won 4 from 13 last year…
    So, my prediction is we win this weekend. There will be a beautiful sunrise, so breathtaking we wish we could photo and instagram it to all our followers (thanks mum & dad), Cheiks and the No. 7 who captains the team (thanks Blake & Jim, players will not be mentioned by name), will be vindicated and we will all start to believe again!

    I have tickets to Oz v Fiji and then Oz v Wales. The belief is back!!!

  • ForceFan

    “I don’t know what goes through the boss’ head” – welcome to the club….

    • laurence king

      Same when a grasshopper hits the windscreen. Happened on the weekend, likely to happen again this weekend and it surely is guaranteed to happen against the ABs

  • juswal

    Huw, you said “The guys didn’t combat the rush defence very well but they can fix that. More pick and go and chips and grubbers.”

    Not dealing with rush defence has been the Wallabies’ single biggest failing in attack since the first Test matches of 2016. It won’t be fixed now. The only counter-measure that Cheika has conceived is having everyone stand deeper so there’s time and space to pass.

    • Huw Tindall

      Yes this is the sad thing. It can be fixed. The question is will they. On evidence, probably not. You can’t rush/blitz two phases in a row if you aren’t going forward as the D line needs to reset. Play the ball in close or dummy to 12 and back in the to a player running close to the ruck to put stop the rush coming into play. Even if it’s only 1-2 metres gain the rush will be offside already and need to reset. That and of course some kicks in behind. ABs first play was just that.

  • Funk

    Australia vs Argentina
    @ Suncorp Stadium
    Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
    Assistant Referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
    TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

    FAAAAARRRRRRKKKKK!!!!!
    I can already hear Cheika complaining…

    • Brisneyland Local

      Man more Sheep lovers than in Bondi! KRL did someone send Barbara to Brissy?

      • Yowie

        The flights were a baaaaaaagain ewe wouldn’t believe.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure gold!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Hahahahaha this path cracks me up

        • Brisneyland Local

          That reminds me I am having Lamb for dinner

        • Yowie

          “Lamb on the bone” means different things in different places unfortunately.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Pure Gold

        • Geoffro

          lamb !!?? sorry, but paedophiia disgusts me

        • Yowie

          ….shagging animals on the other hand

    • Missing Link

      bloody kiwis, it’s going to go like this:

      “Bin, Bin, chick chick, dud ya git thet? puttinshal high shot on fufteen”

      “yi yi, Bin, jist rolling the futtich”

      “Bin, Bin, heve ya got anythung? Because I made a dusushun”

      “Paul un Brindun rickon uts a difinut Rid, contict wuth the hid ay”

      • Yowie

        “Is thit the bist futtich of the uncidint?”

        • Missing Link

          “wait a munut, us thier a bitter ingle? whattaya mean unconclusuv?”

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          You guys are gold

        • Missing Link

          sorry bro, this is what it has come to….

          We cannot pick on your Rugby team
          We cannot pick on your Cricket team
          We cannot pick on your Netball team

          But we can pick on your accent :)

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Maaaaaate! She’ll be right bro. We got this

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      It’s a World Rugby conspiracy mate

      • Yowie

        NZ rugby people must be filling your various cup-shaped trophies with tears because of this savage mocking from Aussie rugby people. Take that!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          It hurts to the very centre of my existence mate

  • GeorgiaSatellite
    • RedAnt

      Depressing, but pretty good summary of where we’re at to be honest

    • laurence king

      Yep

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Pretty damning but hard to argue against.

  • Custard Taht

    Agreed, changing the cattle won’t fix a thing. The farmer and his cattle dogs have no idea how to direct the herd. To change the results, a new farmer and dogs are needed, cause finding the farmer a new wife hasn’t worked.

    • onlinesideline

      yeeeeeeeeepp

  • John Miller

    The systems/plan are broken and that is the reason Cheika should have been exited last year if not before.

    I agree, some should be “given a chance“. Though, I’d suggest that those should predominantly be ringfenced to the newer options who haven’t been afforded chance after endless chance previously, such as Naisarani who – in his 55 minutes – was Australia’s biggest and most prolific ball carrier, forward line breaker, 3rd highest tackling player (per minute / with no misses) and 3rd highest lineout taker. In a sorry Gold side, he was one of the few who can hold his head high.

    Predictably, the offensive and defensive breakdown was an abject shambles. Selections dictated this result prior to a ball being kicked. Valetini is a good hard shouldered, cleaner. But he won’t win many contests for possession, slow attacking pill or disrupt halfback distributions like the top flankers (and exactly what a rampant Francois Louw did on the weekend). That’s simply not his game and measuring him against breakdown proficiency simply throws another potential-filled loose forward to the wolves. Valentini affected 2 forced ruck turnovers all Super Rugby season at a rate of 0.4 per match. McCaffrey might have done a half-way decent job but can’t even make the extended training squad in Michael Cheika’s blinkered regime. With 24 forced breakdown turnovers this season, top 5 tackling and outstanding success rates, Liam Wright is the single breakdown proficient player in the Wallabies squad.

    Wingers – totally agree that we should actually select some.

    • Huw Tindall

      I’m with you 100% John. Isi shouldn’t have been subbed unless he was totally gassed. For a debut he was putting in his all. Dempsey to 6 would have been my go on the subs.

      Valentini was injured for a good chunk of the season so that may impact his stats but you’re right he isn’t a jackler, rather a clean out presence which is just as important in securing fast clean ball which we’ve struggled with. McCaffrey the most unluckly to miss out on the squad IMO. If you look at a lot of teams not the 7 isn’t the jackal all the time. Saffas don’t have a Jackal 7 on the weekend but still were effective. For the Argies Creevey is arguably the best exponent at the breakdown. For Aus we need a balance in the whole pack. Let’s face it Hooper isn’t going anywere at 7. The selection panel kept him there and he leads the defensive line and work rate. He still gets involved at the ruck but isn’t most effective. He actually led Australia ruck involvements on the weekend and snaffled a turnover. Problem is he is doing so much tackling he can’t be that second man in. No reason he couldn’t go back to the on ball play if there was another defensive leader. The coaches clearly want him playing like he does though. Accepting that, you’d argue for a McCaffrey (Fardy 2.0) or even Jones. Can’t carry 2 ball runners at 6 and 8. If we do then would suggest Latu and or Tupou need to be start to bring the agro at ruck time. To be fair if 7As and Sio were there we probably would have been better at the ruck. Kepu isn’t that great around the ruck. He’s there for D and running/hands.

      Also, the defensive structure looked like they were not committing to the ruck and keeping 13/14 men in the line. That’s fine but you need dominant tackles if you aren’t going to compete. We didn’t have that.

      All this suggests the balance is a bit out. At least we got rid of musical chairs! Tweak the pack then and play wingers on the wing will go a way to sorting things out. Strangely there is only one legit wing in the 34 – Marika at #11. DHP is not a Test wing, I’m sorry. 15 or wearing the team suit and tie. Same for Hodge. Poor guy needs to pick and stick a position and develop. If that’s wing the fine but he should play wing all Super season. Banks only guy who could be wing with his pace. sadly we are short of 14s. Hell Cam Clark is probably the front runner. His positioning and D is top notch.

      • John Miller

        I believe you’re up north Huw? Rumour has it Fardy is still in white hot form? A travesty he isn’t in our World Cup year conversations.

        I like Valentini for his hard edge, physicality and blunt instrument capability at the rucks and wouldn’t have minded seeing him or Jones reside in the blindside jersey for this match. It is an early call but I wouldn’t have minded seeing Lachie Swinton in test discussions this year either. Might be a year too early but his late season impact was the kind of bruising impact we desperately need. Though, none of these guys would have addressed the glaring ruck inequity from the weekend.

        You are absolutely correct about the spread of wealth within other international teams with non-flankers such as Creevy, Marx, Coles, Read etc. providing multiple threats outside of the backrow. The Wallabies are unfortunately not blessed with such operators. It makes Fardy’s ostracism even harder to understand.

        And whilst you are also correct that a Cheika coached Wallabies will only ever give oxygen to a Hooper openside selection. That doesn’t mean it necessarily should. McCaffrey would have provided some gravitas in the ground contest (if he could even make a Gold training squad of course), but Liam Wright is Australia’s best available breakdown exponent by several Randwick straights and would have been custom made for this match. As it stands, Louw and co. raped and pillaged almost unopposed all match. It was a key pillar of their win; predictable and predicted.

        Your last paragraph is spot on in all aspects.

        • Huw Tindall

          Yup ensconced in the old dart. Fardy was nominated for European player of the year this season…..says it all. At 34 still putting in. Pro 14 + Heineken Cup is a long season so it shows he still has the gas in the tank. Oh well, that ship had sailed a while back. No point dwelling on it now.

        • Brumby Runner

          Liam Wright clearly should be the No 7 atm for his work at the ruck. And at probably one quater of the cost of Hooper, extremely good value for money also.

  • Most sides manage fairly well against a rush defence without a second playmaker, why do the Wallabies need one? What we need is a 10 who can kick-pass and throw a miss pass and chip and kick a decent grubber. Three of those would be good, two would be acceptable. Admittedly for one of those we also need at least one, ideally two, genuine wingers. The miss pass lets TK organise the defence, yes, but also touch the ball in attack.

    I’d keep Banks at 15, kick Hodge and DHP to touch, and keep Beale on the bench. For me, although it’s fantasy land, I’d keep LSL and Naisarani, and get a genuine 7. I know they’re not going to drop Hooper, but we’ve picked two guys that broadly play the numbers on their backs, lets be radical and pick three of them in the back row! Everyone else in the world does it, most of the time, there must be a reason for it…

    • Huw Tindall

      Not sure it’s true that most sides don’t have a second play maker. For the ABs it’s been 15 with Ben Smith and even Jordy Barrett. Increasingly so it’s the 9 doing more of the play making too. Both Genia and White are a bit too traditional in that sense and need to run more and feed the one out runners and players back on the inside around the ruck. Still, we don’t NEED a player maker at 12 I agree. A class 10 should be able to manage that.

      Regardless though, with our backfoot ball any 10 will struggle. I don’t see why Foley can’t do it. His kick through for DHPs fluffed try shows he’s got it. Maybe he doesn’t have the ‘heads up’ game smarts to do it and just plays to the game plan too much. Would have like to see some cross field kicks to the wingers too. Even without Folau it’s worth a shot and like the chip kick makes the wingers think twice about rushing up with the line.

      Re LSL I don’t think he is up to a modern 6. He offers ball running and some hits in defence but his ball playing, speed, and ruck work is not up to scratch. Still, probably an improvement on the maligned Ned Hanigan. Maybe Dempsey or Jones are better all around 6 players?

      • I guess we’re arguing semantics a bit.

        I don’t see Smith as a second play-maker, he’s a 15 who inserts himself at key moments. Jordie Barrett too, although he’s got enough of a 12 that he’s got a kicking game from the line that Smith lacks IMO. I’m still picking Smith at 15 because he’s a safer fullback for mine, the try he didn’t defend on Saturday under the highball notwithstanding.

        Equally, I don’t see 9’s as second playmakers, but with a good box kick and a good running game it doesn’t all rest on the 10. Between at 15 that gives an extra option and a 9 that makes metres and takes the pressure off you’ve not got a second playmaker in the Beale at 12 sense, you’ve got people who reduce the pressure and/or don’t usually give the 10 bad ball. That’s different in my book but I can see what you mean. White certainly has the kicking game to relieve some pressure.

        I think saying Foley can do it… yes, he can, but he doesn’t. Or, rather, he did it once, in a rather unusual position. Barrett had, by his standards, a bad game. He still kicked for his wingers to chase (unsuccessfully) about 5 times, chipped about the same number (I wasn’t really counting either of these but that’s a rough memory from the game), and threw a mix of short offloads and long passes to forwards, the 12 and 13. I don’t remember a grubber, but we know he’s capable of it.

        It kept the defence, while aggressive, honest… they didn’t know on every play, it’s a pass to Laumape, let’s hit him with 2/3 players and basically forget everyone else.

        • Huw Tindall

          I like how you’ve put it here Eloise. Just need other players to take a bit of pressure off the 10. 9 and 15 the usual suspects for that these days.

          Hopefully CLL gets a run when he is fit as he deserves a shot. Would have been interesting to see if he was picked last weekend had he been fit.

  • Who?

    NineMSN’s reporting that Taf’s been dragged back. Again. Taf’s quoted as saying he hadn’t given Cheik his UK phone number, and didn’t want Cheik to have it, but somehow Cheik got it and rang him to drag him back for one last campaign…

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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